Sermon explaining that Scripture prohibits sexual abuse in marriage

I found this Sermon on 1 Corinthians 7:1-7 [Internet Archive link] by Pastor Chris Davis on the Mending the Soul website, and I’ve added it to our Resources page, Sermons.

One of the things it discusses is that 1 Corinthians 7 explicitly prohibits sexual abuse in marriage.

If you have any comments on the sermon, please put them here. I’ll link this post to the item on the Sermons page.

[November 5, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to November 5, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to November 5, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to November 5, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (November 5, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]

7 thoughts on “Sermon explaining that Scripture prohibits sexual abuse in marriage”

  1. This is very helpful. I just read a book that I found here (at least that is where I think I saw it) – “Foolproofing Your Life”. It was ok, but the author states that even if you “feel like a prostitute” when having sex with your husband, you are still biblically expected to do it. She didn’t touch on sexual abuse at all, but I wondered what your reaction to that statement would be. I struggled ALOT with that Scripture because sleeping with my husband was something that literally made my skin crawl.

    1. Dear Jodi,

      I have not read Foolproofing Your Life1 [Affiliate link]. Several people I respect in the field of domestic abuse have recommended it to me, but I just haven’t got round to reading it yet. I am interested in your comment about it. I would love to hear if others who have read that book noticed the same thing.

      My own opinion is that if you “feel like a prostitute” when having sex with your husband, you need not feel that you must slavishly comply with each and every time he wants to do it. If you compel yourself to go on that way, the feeling of prostituting yourself will only get worse. It will end up like a giant boil that needs to burst. Not pleasant!

      If your husband is an abuser, you are most likely not going to get anywhere with trying to ‘discuss’ the issue with him in a rational manner. The issue will only get resolved in the way that all abuse usually gets resolved — impasse, increasing pain, distance and suffering, leading either to a walking death (for the victim), a real death (for either victim or abuser), or separation and divorce.

      But, let’s say he is not an abuser. (Hey, be aware that I’m speculating big time here, because I don’t have a great deal of personal experience in this regard.) Let’s imagine the husband is not an abuser, just a guy who wants sex quite a bit more frequently than his wife does. He’s not pushing for unnatural practices, and not making her act or dress the part of a prostitute, or any of those obviously ‘off’ things. He’s not demeaning and degrading her sexually with his actions or words. He’s just wanting ordinary sex more often than she does. And let’s imagine that the wife is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and that is one of the reason why she’s not got much libido. (CSA can have two effects on libido: it can numb it right down; or it can amp it right up so the survivor might becomes quite promiscuous and lascivious.) Or let’s imagine that the wife just happens to have a pretty low libido — that’s her chemistry so to speak.

      Getting back to the scenario:
      The wife would express her lack of interest to the husband, and might say “I feel that when I don’t want sex but do it anyway to comply with you, it’s like I’m being a prostitute. But at the same time, I don’t want you to suffer from inordinate desire because of being unduly deprived. ” A non-abusive husband could then say, “Well how can I help? How can we do sex in ways that don’t bring up those awful feelings for you? I don’t want to go without sex completely, but I do want to find ways we can adjust and work through this together, so it doesn’t become a big stumbling block for either of us.” And you can embroider the story onwards from there.

      If she is a victim of CSA, then they might even find that by talking and hugging and praying and being very gentle and non-demanding about sex, she can recover greatly from the damage of the childhood abuse, and her sexual feelings and responses can be healed, her nerves re-wired so that she actually enjoys sex a lot more, without having to force herself at all. That happened to me in my second marriage. God healed me, in the arms of that husband. I am still amazed to this day. I think of it as a direct and very specific gift from God to me, because that husband eventually revealed himself as an abuser — but he was never once sexually abusive. Go figure! I certainly can’t figure it out; I just accept it.

      1[November 5, 2022: Since Barb wrote this comment, a caveat was added to Jan Silvious’ book Foolproofing Your Life: How to Deal Effectively with the Impossible People in Your Life. The caveat — including that abuse is not grounds for divorce — can be read on our ACFJ Resources pages that list books. Editors.]

      1. Oh my – reading about you having to go through abuse not once, but twice-just shakes me.
        I was disappointed with the book – it was good in some ways, but the “prostitute” comment was the only thing she had to say about the sexual aspect of being married to a “fool” — as if that were the only possible hang up. All of us here know that giving yourself physically to an abusive man destroys everything you are eventually, and to have this author diminish that experience in such an offhand way was offensive and insulting. She also believes that, while you can leave your “fool”, you may not divorce him. I wish you could get refunds on “Kindle”!

  2. FYI: The link says the page doesn’t exist or can’t be found.

    As a side note: my personal experience with being made to feel like a prostitute in my (former) marriage was that I would say, for example, that the kids needed new shoes. He would say he’d give me money to buy them if I had sex with him. When I told him that it made me feel like a prostitute, he just laughed. Because apparently that was amusing to him.

    1. Hi, JS,

      Welcome to the blog! Thanks for bringing the broken link to our attention. I’ve done a cursory look into fixing the link without any success. I will keep digging and will leave a comment on this post when it is fixed.

      Also, we like to encourage new commenters to read our New Users’ Information page as it gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

      And yes, you were being used sexually – shoe money in exchange for sex. Aaarrgh…. Glad you are safe from that abuser!

  3. Thank you for providing a link to the sermon. To know that God works through some pastors who truly listen to Him and know His heart enough to preach a sermon on this topic is quite incredible. It’s rare that abuse of any kind is ever mentioned from the pulpit in my experience and not usually covered enough to provide any clear message to abusers or their victims.

    For this pastor to make this church a safe place for abuse victims, especially the almost-never recognized sin of sexual abuse in marriage gives me so much comfort.

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