1. Sex is romantic
Song of Solomon 4 takes us into the bedroom of Solomon and his bride, immediately after their wedding. Over the course of their relationship they’ve exposed their hearts to one another, and now, finally, their bodies. But they don’t rip their clothes off and jump into bed. After all of that waiting, and all of that patience, they take their time.
Chandler says that if we misread this intimate experience, “we may set ourselves up for having our joy stolen.” It would be easy to read this and expect far too much from ourselves or our spouse—but that’s our culture talking, not our Bibles.
“Between the buildup of anticipation, the nirvana-like category our culture has assigned sex, and the long, long wait, sometimes that first time is built up out of proportion.”
Our culture is often caught between an ideology that suggests that sex is simply physical—where the timid, delicate stage of virginity is something to “get out of the way” so you can enjoy more sex with more people—and the reality that sex is actually a far more powerful experience when combined with love (and the emotional and spiritual intimacy that comes from familiarity).
So Solomon takes his time appreciating the beauty of his bride. “He started from the top,” Chandler says, “and worked his way slowly down, doling out praise in a very measured fashion.”
His intimate knowledge of his bride told him that to love her well, building her confidence in her body image was the place to start.
“We know from the previous chapters that she likely carried around some insecurity about her body, about her appearance . . . Solomon knew this. And because Solomon was very wise, he also knew that insecure women do not feel safe. Nor do they feel free and sexually uninhibited.”
He compliments the face he sees behind the veil (Song of Solomon 4:3–4), showing his desire and appreciation for her as she already is, as if to say, after all this waiting, “Even just looking at you is pleasurable.”
This slow, methodical approval of her physical beauty doesn’t hinder the experience—it enhances it.
“And what we see in his slowness, his poetry, his wise understanding of how she was wired and what she needed to hear,” Matt says, “Is that marital sex according to God’s Word is romantic.”
2. Sex is tender
“Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, that graze among the lilies” (Song of Solomon 4:5).
Solomon’s metaphor for his bride’s breasts shows us that despite their mutual affection and desire for one another, Solomon knew her nakedness was delicate. Her body was something to gently approach. Carefully. Slowly. It was not something to snatch up greedily.
“I often hear guys complain about the frequency of sex in their marriage,” Chandler says. “But I can tell by the things they say and the way they say those things that they may be their own worst problem. I want to say to them, ‘Maybe if you quit groping your wife, she’d be more interested.'”
Sex is designed to be mutually satisfying. Our anatomies allow for both partners to be satisfied during sex, but the means by which we get there are different, and we’re naturally inclined to focus on pleasing ourselves first.
Solomon, however, took his time to carefully, slowly, approach his bride sexually.
“He was interested in more than his own gratification,” Chandler says. “He wanted his bride to feel sexual pleasure too—but beyond that, he wanted her to feel loved.”
Chandler believes one source of frustration in the bedroom is pornography, or perhaps more broadly, the root of pornography—male lust. Pornography and the sexualization of all-things-women creates false expectations. It’s not a real picture of sex because it’s only one half of the equation. You need a real, broken man and a real, broken woman to complete it.
“Sex the way God created it to be is very romantic and, yes, very intense,” Chandler says, “But also very tender.”
If the intensity of sex is not mutually desired, it’s selfish. At best, the selflessness is one-sided. Tenderness ultimately leads to the most loving, mutually satisfying outcome.
3. Sex is passionate
“Until the day breathes and the shadows flee, I will go away to the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense” (Song of Solomon 4:6).
Solomon’s vivid (and perhaps, seemingly bizarre) descriptions of his wife’s body continue as the encounter becomes increasingly sexual. Reading with modern eyes, it’s easy to miss how his carefully-picked compliments continue to dissolve his wife’s insecurities. He refers to her body as an impossibly beautiful thing he could have only imagined, as she stands completely naked before a man for the first time.
Chandler says, “He was out of his mind with passion for her. There were mountain peaks, wild animals—a romantic ferocity, a passion taking place. They were being transported! Maybe you’ve heard some sexual encounters described as out-of-body experiences. This was one of those. They felt swept away. The passion was so great that this sex became about more than sex and physical gratification. It became the culmination and the means of something greater, something beyond themselves.”
This wasn’t the sinful shadow of passion one feels in a moment of lust. This wasn’t two people ruled by instinct.
“The couple in the Song of Solomon possessed a passion akin to adoration. It was awash with glory, not about urges but unction.”
Tomorrow, we will continue our discussion...
This post was taken from Ryan Nelson. You can find his original, complete post here: https://blog.faithlife.com/blog/2016/01/7-things-the-bible-says-about-sex/