For some women, this is a topic that a lot of them tend to go on the defense on. I think this has a lot to do with the approach people have taken to get the point across, either sounding very insensitive, or just abrasive in their delivery. By the same token, it’s also a passage that’s been either ignored or misunderstood because of the content.
1 Corinthians 7 is mainly directed towards marital topics such as a period of sexual abstinence, winning the soul of an unsaved spouse, as well as guidelines for believers if themselves or their spouse departs from their marriage. Needless to say, Paul wasted no time in addressing this issue, and he doesn’t beat it around the bush either:
“Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.”
-1 Corinthians 7:1-4
To preface the main point, Paul makes it clear that in the concept of sex, the goal is to avoid temptation at all costs, thus allowing every man to have his own wife, and every women to have her own husband. He’s trying to make a point here.
“5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.”
-1 Corinthians 5-6
So here’s the main issue people, specifically women, have: We all know that a male sex drive is significantly higher than a females in most cases. So this verse tends to get tossed as a direct commandment to women since typically women are the ones who are more likely to deny their husbands sex. At the same time, a lot of wives fail to realize the importance that sex holds to men, so the depravity of it can allow the potential of there to be adultery and possibly allow other temptations to sneak in. Can this happen to the wife as well? Absolutely! Paul isn’t just addressing to the women: “Defraud not your husband or else he’ll cheat on you.”. He says “Defraud ye not one the other…” which is directed to both the husband and the wife. Paul also mentions conditions for this abstinence period: that it may be of mutual consent (7:6), that it be for fasting and prayer, and that it is temporary “that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” In case his point wasn’t clear enough in verse 2, he mentions it again in verse 5.
Don’t open the doors for temptation!
“7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. 8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. 9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”
-1 Corinthians 7:7-9
Paul understands that the vast majority are not like himself, who can stay celibate for the rest of their lives. He also understands the severity of the damage temptation can cause. So in verse 9 he makes it clear AGAIN. Don’t allow the possibility of temptation. Don’t.
Ladies, I get it. I really do. But until we understand exactly how much our husbands need sex, it’s going to be hard to snap out of the mentality that sex should only be when we desire it. And yes, this can apply to men as well, but I don’t have the authority to direct any message towards them. Now if there’s a medical reason for the period of abstinence, such as vaginal pain, recent childbirth, or anything of the sort, then of course care for your body and don’t risk harm or injury. Don’t feel like this verse is a commandment for you to risk serious pain and discomfort to avoid defrauding your husband. There are other ways to fulfill that need that don’t involve intercourse.
Again, Paul is not saying all of this out of some malicious intent to hurt husbands or wives. He’s saying this to ensure that it isn’t any easier for the chance of there to be temptation, adultery, or fornication infiltrating your marriage. This is not to harm you or make you seem like you’re some sexual object, this is to protect your marriage, and it’s not just talking to wives.