When the world ponders sex and pleasure, most often genuine intimacy is buried beneath a mountain of sinful acts and shameful motives.  The driving force in the pursuit of sexual pleasure has become something centered on novelty, bizarre and mysterious acts, masturbation, and even inflicting or receiving pain. Society continues to go further and further in their quest for the ultimate high, the all too powerful orgasm; and in the process, the purity of intimacy has been forgotten.  The world thinks we’ve arrived; enjoying sexual freedoms that previous generations oppressed. But the truth is we’ve allowed ourselves to become enslaved to sexual deviances and stain the very thing that God intended to connect a man and wife like nothing else. Sin does that. Sin creeps in, disguised as something enchanting, and we run, spellbound towards certain death. And the result is a muddied mockery of this beautiful gift God gave us to treasure and enjoy.

I was recently asked whether or not the use of sex toys is “okay” and how would I feel if my husband were to ask me to use them in our sexual relationship. Before I can answer the first question, I must consider motive. What is the motivation behind the use of sex toys? Is the motivation to bring greater intimacy between a man and his wife? When we examine websites and catalogs that cater to the sex toy clientele, we find that most sex toys are created for motivations void of intimacy. In fact, most sex toys are created for the sole purpose of masturbation.  Masturbation in itself denies intimacy as it is selfish by nature and does not involve one’s spouse. It is virtually impossible to masturbate without the use of sexual fantasy, which in turn produces impure thoughts on the part of the husband or the wife. Studies have shown that masturbation leads too… more masturbation. It’s as addictive as a drug. It’s quick, easy, and involves no commitment. So in that sense, the use of sex toys for masturbation would be out of the realm of God-honoring sex between a husband and wife.

There are, however, some sex toys (and by some I mean very few) that, if used together with proper motives, could possibly bring intimacy between a husband and wife.  The problem is when we allow an inanimate object to come between a man and his wife, fulfilling a role that God ordained for human interaction. A couple who chooses to use sex toys, after spending time in prayer and communicating the motives behind their desires, would need to be cautious not to allow the “toy” to replace their connection. After all, intimacy is about connecting emotionally, spiritually, and then physically. If a couple uses a sex toy as their “go-to” solution for sexual interaction without nurturing the emotional and spiritual aspect of their relationship, they will find their physical intimacy to be empty.  To the couple who feels compelled to purchase a sex toy due to lack of connection or even due to health reasons, I would recommend experimenting with each other before taking the route of artificial interaction. There are some health issues that can hinder sexual intercourse such as a husband with erectile dysfunction or a wife that has recently given birth, etc.  There are, however, other options for a husband and wife to connect and enjoy each other intimately without actually having intercourse. A couple might benefit from first exploring the options of oral sex and/or using their hands to pleasure each other before investing in a sex toy.   Although these options may not take the place of full sexual intercourse, they can be a great benefit to a couple who is struggling to connect physically due to health concerns.

God’s intent is that sexual intimacy would be something to draw a man and his wife close and unite them in a bond that is not easily broken. It is meant to bring pleasure and joy as they are naked and unashamed. It is to build trust—physically with their bodies, emotionally with their feelings, and spiritually in an atmosphere of grace that allows both the husband and wife to freely confess to and forgive each other.  When a couple is considering the use of sex toys, they must first align their perspective with God’s intent for sexual intimacy. Ultimately, it’s a question of “will this honor God?” The Bible is not very specific about sex within marriage, rather God says in Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (NKJV).  The marriage bed is honorable, it’s sanctified, and through Christ, married couples have freedom to explore and enjoy each other sexually. The things done between husband and wife, when done with proper motive, are to be considered honorable. To have proper motive we must ask ourselves — is this prohibited in Scripture, am I serving my spouse, is this beneficial to our intimacy, and does this bring oneness between us? If there is a question as to whether a sexual activity is honorable, including the use of sex toys, it’s better to wait and communicate with God and each other before continuing further. Although the Bible seems to be ambiguous as to what is permissible in the marriage bed, we do read in Song of Solomon examples of God-honoring sexual activity shared between a husband and wife that are not limited to sexual intercourse. There is mention of sensual kissing, mutual caressing, oral sex, nude dancing, undressing each other, passion, and erotic conversation between the husband and his wife. (Note, sex toys are not mentioned. Perhaps they weren’t invented yet. Or perhaps Solomon and his bride found them unnecessary in their pursuit of intimacy.)

Instead of asking questions about what we can and can’t do sexually, what if couples started to excavate intimacy?  Removing the layers upon layers of sexual sin, shame, insecurity, and misunderstanding of God’s design for sex, and began digging up the essence of genuine intimacy with their spouse. That’s where true pleasure lies. Not in orgasms. But in connecting with someone so deeply – emotionally, spiritually, physically – that it’s really indescribable. My husband and I have been blessed to experience this type of intimacy. It wasn’t easy. Our excavation of intimacy took digging through years of pornography, lust, betrayal, woundedness, insecurity, and shame that had tainted every part of our relationship. Intimacy had become a forgotten concept, if we ever really had it. But God gave us the tools and the courage to break through those sediments of ungodliness and begin cleaning up what God intended for us to honor and cherish. Over time, we have come to a place where it’s not about who gets to have an orgasm or who gets pleasured. It’s about serving each other and honoring God in the process. It’s about nurturing each other’s needs emotionally and spiritually, as well as fulfilling each other’s physical desires.  And this leads me to answer the second question asked of me, how would I feel if my husband were to ask me to use sex toys in our marriage bed? If my husband were to ask this question, I’d have to assume something is wrong. We are connected emotionally, spiritually, and physically; so to have him approach me about the use of sex toys would be a misnomer. There would have to be a hidden motive behind that request. We would need to dig deeper to find out what is amiss in our intimate relationship. Is there hidden sin by either of us? Is there a health issue I’m unaware of? Are we slacking in spending time in prayer and Bible study? Have we gotten lazy in our attempts to pursue and nurture each other emotionally? My husband and I would need to discuss these things openly and honestly, pray for wisdom, and seek God’s Truth about whether the use of sex toys would encourage us to serve each other, benefit our intimacy, and bring oneness between us.  Perhaps, if this situation were to arise in my marriage, we’d discover we’ve got a lot more excavating to do.