I caught the end of your program on Midday Connection today and found it very interesting. In the past and currently, my husband has the fantasy to want to tie me up and put a gag in my mouth. He says that more people do this than what I think, and that it is a good way to spice up our marriage. I am starting to second guess my own thoughts in thinking that I must be a prude. In the past we have done this, but I don’t like it. What is normal or not? I feel embarrassed to even be typing this. Thank you for your insight.
A Midday Connection Listener
Dear Midday Connection Listener,
Thank you for your honesty. It can be embarrassing to discuss sexual matters, but you have bravely asked an important question about married couples acting out sexual fantasies. Here are some guidelines for Christians to follow:
1) See what the Bible has to say about the sexual behavior under consideration. There are sexual behaviors that are prohibited in the Bible, including sex before and outside of marriage, adultery, prostitution, homosexuality, threesomes or orgies, and sex with immediate family members or animals (see Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 18:7-23, Romans 1:27; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 6:9-16, 7:2; Proverbs 7:4-27). If the behavior is prohibited in the Bible, then it should be avoided.
2) Consider whether the sexual behavior under consideration would be beneficial or harmful to the husband, wife, or the marriage. If it would cause unwanted emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, financial, or sexual harm to either spouse or to the relationship, then the behavior should be avoided.
3) Consider whether the sexual behavior under consideration would involve anyone else other than the husband and wife. If the behavior involves someone else (and yes, looking at pornography together involves someone else in your sexual relationship) or is publicly viewed by others, then it should be avoided in order to keep the marriage bed pure as instructed in Hebrews 13:4. The Message puts Hebrews 13:4 this way: “Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband.”
If we apply those guidelines to your situation, we see that the Bible doesn’t specifically prohibit spouses from acting out the sexual fantasy of tying one another up or gagging one another. Some couples may find light bondage activities erotic; however, some people find those activities distressing or degrading. You are not a prude if you fall into the second category.Everyone comes into marriage with their own unique history of experiences and personal preferences that shape what they find erotic. We need to respect that our spouse may be coming from a very different place than us when it comes to comfort with exploring new sexual behaviors. Also, if in your marriage there have been breaches of trust outside your bedroom (such as financial deception or discovering that your spouse has been looking at pornography or has had an affair), it can make it particularly hard to trust your spouse inside the bedroom when s/he asks you to try a new sexual behavior.
You said that you didn’t like being tied up and gagged when you tried it in the past. That means that continuing this behavior would cause you unwanted emotional (and possibly physical/mental) harm. Because this behavior is not beneficial to both you and your husband, you should avoid it. If light bondage no longer distresses you at some point in the future, you can always try it again if your husband is still interested.
In the meantime, you might want to run some of your own sexual fantasies (that meet the guidelines above) by your husband for his consideration. This demonstrates your willingness to be sexually creative but also shows respect for your own personal boundaries.
Personally, I do have concerns about his request to gag you while having sex with you. A gag would prevent you from communicating clearly with him and is reminiscent of a forced sex situation where the woman is powerless and her voice is ignored. I would encourage couples to really talk out and pray through the possible negative ramifications before trying out this practice in their bedroom. It could go bad very quickly and create division when God created sex to draw married couples into oneness.
Thanks again for your brave question.
Jennifer Degler, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist and CWIVES Founder