My 2 questions are: 1) According to 1 Corinthians 7, is it okay to have marital relations and foreplay all night without sleeping? and 2) What is the meaning that husbands and wives must fullfill their marital duty to each other?
1 Corinthians 7:3-5 teaches husbands and wives that their spouse has authority over their bodies. That is, a husband or wife has the right to ask his or her spouse to participate in sexual foreplay culminating in an orgasm. But are there any limits? What can a spouse request and receive? Our specific question is, “Does 1 Corinthians 7 indicate we can have foreplay and sex all night?”
1 Corinthians 7:3-5 And Sexual Activity
While many husbands and wives will be thrilled to read 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 and understand that they can ask their spouses and receive foreplay that ends in orgasm, it is important to realize that the passage also teaches husbands and wives that they are to be humble and be more concerned about their spouse than themselves.
The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (NASB)
The word “depriving” comes from the Greek word apostereo. This word has been translated elsewhere in the New Testament as “defraud, deprive, withheld, cheat or keep back.” That is, when a spouse refuses to engage in foreplay, ending in an orgasm, he or she is in sin because they cheated his or her spouse. These are strong words. Now why did the apostle Paul write these words? He wrote this because some spouses were being self-centered and thinking only of themselves. In Philippians 2:3-4 we are told that we are not to be selfish but to think of the needs and interests of the other person.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 (NASB)
This biblical principle also applies on the marriage bed between married people. Therefore, when a spouse asks for foreplay and orgasm, the requesting spouse should seriously think about his or her spouse, not just about what he or she wants. No spouse should rob their spouse.
Sexual Activity God Approves
Now what does God allow a husband and wife to do on the marriage bed? Hebrews 13:4 states that the marriage bed is to be undefiled and held in high honor!
Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Hebrews 13:4 (NASB)
Christians usually notice that the verse warns husbands and wives to not engage in fornication and not to be an adulterer or adulterous. But we must not miss that marriage is to be held in high honor too! Marriage is not primarily about me but about my spouse. Marriage means that each spouse is to love his or her spouse (Ephesians 5:25; Titus 2:4) and that includes activities that occur on the marriage bed.
Now what sexual activities can a Christian husband and wife do together? They can do anything that they desire to do! It is important to notice that Song of Solomon 4 figuratively describes foreplay and orgasm between King Solomon and his bride. The chapter is devoted to a description of sexual activity. Song of Solomon 5:2-5 describes his wife denying him sexual activity and then Song of Solomon 7:10-13 reveals that she planned a trip into the country culminating in sexual activity in a vineyard. Why did God include such explicit and detailed information in the Bible? It teaches us that God approves of sexual activity between a husband and his wife. It is important to realize that chapter 4 is educational. It is not intended to be a sexy novel that stimulates. It is instructional and one of the lessons in that chapter is that Solomon’s wife orgasms first and then she asked him to enter her. Then he had his orgasm.
It is also important to notice that Scripture never prohibits any sexual activity between a husband and a wife. But that does not mean it is wise to do any and everything that a husband or wife desires. In some previous articles warnings were given about engaging in anal sex and oral sex. In Song of Solomon 4 King Solomon praises his wife’s hair, eyes, lips, tongue, her love, her genitals but never her anus. They may have engaged in oral sex, but nowhere in the book is it clear they did. Please visit the following articles for more information about what the Bible teaches about these topics:
Foreplay and Sex All Night
Yes, a husband and wife can engage in foreplay all night if they both desires to do so, and then end in sexual intercourse and orgasm. While it is true that research suggests that most couples want sexual activity to not last more than about 30 minutes, it can last as long as a married couple desires. God does not prohibit it, as long as it occurs between a husband and wife. Scripture does not prohibit a couple from trying if both desire.
From a practical perspective it may be difficult for some husbands and wives to engage in foreplay all night without sleeping. But a couple can plan extended foreplay activities that delay intercourse and orgasm for hours. One of both marriage partners can plan various activities before deciding to enjoy orgasm.
Now we will revisit Song of Solomon 7:10-13, where King Solomon’s wife planned a trip into the country where she and her husband would engage in sexual activity. In verse 12, she said that she wanted to engage in sexual activity in the vineyard. Then she added, “I will give you my love.” The passage is very sensuous. The point is that she planned it. We do not know what else she planned to do together with him in the vineyard. Here is the passage.
I am my beloved’s,
And his desire is for me.
Come, my beloved, let us go out into the country,
Let us spend the night in the villages.
Let us rise early and go to the vineyards;
Let us see whether the vine has budded
And its blossoms have opened,
And whether the pomegranates have bloomed.
There I will give you my love.
The mandrakes have given forth fragrance;
And over our doors are all choice fruits,
Both new and old,
Which I have saved up for you, my beloved.
Song of Solomon 7:10-13 (NASB)
It is important to know that God put Song of Solomon in the Bible. It is an instruction manual for marriage couples. Song of Solomon reveals that God approves of a couple enjoying foreplay and orgasms. The following statement from Song of Solomon 5:1 is spoken by God to both King Solomon and his wife after they engaged in foreplay and experienced their orgasms. It can only have been made by God, since the couple were in their bedroom. Who else would have been able to watch?
Eat, friends, drink,
and be drunk with love!
Song of Solomon 5:1 (ESV)
It is important to remember that whatever occurs between a husband and a wife should be agreed upon by both, and both of you must avoid sin. All sexual touching and contact must occur only between a husband and a wife. Nothing should be forced, but each should be willing to at least experiment. As mentioned in the links above, there are strong reasons to avoid anal and oral sex. The final two points are that sexual activity should be a selfless expression of love and whatever happens during the evening, expressing love must be the goal. If a couple cannot succeed in making love all night, do not be disappointed. Each spouse must focus on helping his or her spouse enjoy the evening! In everything that occurs, honor the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NASB)
1. Michael Castleman. “Surprise: Men Enjoy—and Want—Foreplay.” Psychology Today. August 01, 2017.
Suggested Links:What is the correct meaning of fornication in the Bible?
What does the Bible say about foreplay and sex in marriage?
Is oral sex within marriage wrong?
What does the Bible say about anal sex in marriage?
What does the Bible say about sexual positions? What is sin?
Is masturbation a sin if I control my thoughts?
Porneia Definition — What is the meaning of the Greek word porneia in the Bible?
God’s Purpose For Marriage