A young married couple emailed me recently, admitting that they were both aroused by using certain obscene and/or slang language during sex.
They wondered if I thought this was okay.
Some of you may think the couple’s quandary is a rare exception among Christian couples.
I would argue otherwise, though.
If more married couples were candid about this, I think we would discover that many face the same dilemma.
As Christians, they would never use the F word or other “cuss” words in their public conversations or even in private casual conversations in their own home.
Yet when it comes to being in the throes of passion in their marriage bed, they find the use of such language surprisingly arousing.
Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.
I’m simply shedding light on something that is worthy of discussion, especially if a married couple is feeling angst about whether something is right or wrong in their marriage bed.
I mean, it’s kind of my wheelhouse to talk out loud about these things rather than allow silence and darkness to fuel uncertainty and struggle.
Just for clarification, I’m not talking about using language that is done with the intention of berating the other spouse or when one spouse has clearly said they are not comfortable with it. I think we can all agree those scenarios do not exemplify love.
I’m talking about when both of the spouses find the use of vulgar language arousing. They are not turned off by it, but are incredibly turned on by it and find it heightens the intensity of the sexual encounter.
What is a couple to do?
Below is what I told the young couple (Spoiler alert, you probably aren’t going to like my answer).
I told them I could argue it both ways — that it’s okay and that it’s not okay.
In one regard, I believe we must consider the spirit and context of such conversations.
When a word — even what most people generally consider is an obscene word — is used within the context of mutual, exclusive and passionate sexual intimacy between a husband and a wife, in the privacy of their lovemaking, some would argue this isn’t damaging to anyone or anything.
In another regard, though, when we hold everything up to scripture, some would argue that an obscene word could never, in any context, meet the standard of…
“whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8); or
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)
Of course, we could take this deeper and cause all kinds of theological debate by posing the question:
“Is obscenity that is mutually enjoyed by a married couple in the privacy of their lovemaking actually an example of the above scriptures being upheld — rather than an example of the scriptures being violated?”
Ornery of me, I know, to try to come at this from all angles. I’m mischievous that way. I’m just trying to get you to think.
And suffice to say, I can’t answer these questions for you.
They are “wrestling with God” matters. If you and your spouse are struggling with this issue of certain obscene words being a turn on during sex, then I encourage you to seek God on it.
The Holy Spirit is faithful. And He will reveal direction for you.
I will say this, though:
Don’t beat yourself up if you have used obscene words during sex and found it arousing. It’s wise to seek discernment, yes. But it’s not helpful at all to wallow and get stuck in self defeat.
If you want to stop using certain obscene words, then find other expressions and words that can be equally arousing.
Honestly, I think the more descriptive a husband and wife can become in telling each other what they like sexually, the better.
You don’t have to use the F word.
You and your husband may be surprised you both are just as turned on when you say to your husband, “I need you in me” or “I like when you ________ with the head of your penis.”
You both may be turned on when he tells you in vivid detail what he likes you to do with your breasts or your hands or your mouth.
Anyway. You get the idea.
If you and/or your spouse are not used to talking or making any sound of ecstasy during sex, then becoming more descriptive may seem awkward or distracting, especially at first.
But I think this is a great aspect of lovemaking to explore.
I think staying completely silent during sex is frustrating (and, in my case, almost impossible. Not gonna lie.) But I have had to, at times, stay quiet in certain circumstances so that the exclusivity of our lovemaking wouldn’t be compromised.
I’m guessing that’s a topic for another blog, though. Quiet Lovemaking When There Is No Other Option. (I can assure you it will be a short post. I have so little practical experience to write a post like that).
Your turn to chime in. Have you and your husband struggled with wondering if it is okay to use obscene language during your lovemaking?
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26 thoughts on “When Bad Language is a Turn On During Sex. Is This Okay?”
A few thoughts:
1) Body parts and functions were all created by God, and all have proper names. There is absolutely nothing wrong with married couples who are being totally open and intimate with each other referring to any body part or any body function by its proper name, nor should they be ashamed to do so. (If they are reluctant or feel ashamed to do so, this can be overcome – just talk about it and work through it.)
2) Almost universally, slang terminology for body parts and functions have a negative connotation – the intent is to put these things down, to lower them into the gutter. For people who have no respect for themselves, for other people, or for God, the gutter is where they think they and everyone else ought to be, where they think they will be most comfortable. There is some deep psychology here which I don’t fully understand. I think it is partly a matter of self-justification: if they think that these things are all trash that belongs in the gutter, then they think that they are not very important and don’t matter. I suspect that part of it is a more deep-rooted rejection of and running away from God and His good creation. In any case, it should be obvious that none of this is compatible with a Christian worldview and a faithful way of life – so why mimic it?
3) Where do people get the coarse, gutter language? I suspect it is either from their friends, or from the media – or most likely from both.
a) A cursory review of Proverbs will quickly remind Christians about the importance of being very careful and selective about their choice of friendships. People who have such a low opinion of themselves, each other, and of human sexuality, and that want to infect you with their same attitudes and language, aren’t going to do you any good, nor do they desire to do you any good. We Christians need to be remember to be selective and guarded in our friendships, and parents especially need to be on their guard when it comes to the friendships of their children.
b) It used to be that inappropriate language, as well as inappropriate images, were extremely hard to access. It was quite possible and normal to grow up as a child and live as an adult with little or no exposure to these. Today it is quite different, as we all unfortunately know all too well. It takes some deliberate effort to be selective and critical in our viewing, listening, and reading choices (and in those of our children). When Christians fail to practice such selectivity, then it shouldn’t be a surprise when the bad attitudes and the language that is reflective of those attitudes start to appear. Computer programmers have a phrase: GIGO. It means “garbage in, garbage out.” When you program your brain with inappropriate images and language that belongs in and comes out of the gutter, it shouldn’t be a surprise if that is what starts coming out of your mouth.
4) Jesus and James both said that what comes out of our mouths defile us, and are one of the best and most reliable indicators of what our true spiritual state really is. This is something that is very much worth meditating upon seriously.
The F word refers to the act of intercourse. When used for something you don’t actually want to have intercourse with (or shouldn’t), it’s a “bad word.” But when used in keeping with its true meaning within marriage, I don’t see a problem with it.
In that regard, it’s a lot like “hell.” You can use the word as profanity as in “What the…” Or you can use it to speak of a real place, in which case it is not profanity or wrong.
Much the same sort of thing can be said for other questionable words that might be objectionable in some contexts. The words themselves aren’t evil. The problem is when we use them in ways that are inappropriate, rude, vulgar, or insulting.
i would argue that obscenity is not intrinsic to a word, but that it is situational. Every word has a meaning and when used properly it is not obscene. It might be shocking or flagrant, but that is not necessarily the same thing as obscene.
For example, (I will try to be delicate) using the F-word in conversation at church is obscene. But the F-word describes a thing/act loaded with a specific kind of emotion and passion. If a couple in the privacy of their own bedroom is not in the mood for slow, love-making, but rather for that type of act suggested by the F-word, then it it completely appropriate to use that word in that context.
As a pastor and husband of 22 years, I believe we need to be very careful about bringing legalism into our bedroom. There are things that scripture is specific about, such as not taking the Lords name in vain, even in the throes of passion.
However, in other cases scripture provides a principle, such as not allowing corrupt communication to come out of your mouth, but only what edifies the hearer. If my wife in a fit of anger were to tell me to f____off, which she never would! I certainly would not feel edified. However if she whispers in my ear that she wants to F___my eyes brown. (They are currently hazel,). Well I must say I definitely DO FEEL EDIFIED!!! When she cheers me on using that same word while we are in the throes of passion, I don’t find myself scandalized or offended, nor do I feel that she has relegated our sex life to the gutter! I feel that she is telling me to keep up the good work and to not stop under any circumstances. I feel EDIFIED!!!
Further, I guarantee that her telling me not to be weary in well doing for in due season I will reap if I faint not, will be a show stopper under those same circumstances. In fact, I may feel more confounded than edified.
Context is everything! And a text taken out of context is but a pretext.
I think context is significantly more important than vocabulary. I can rip you to shreds and do true.damage without ever using a vulgar word. Does that uphold the scripture? I am not saying that bad words are totes.okay — I’m saying that using.bad words (alone) is not near as bad as saying bad things.
Side thought: It may be that the naughtiness of saying a dirty word is what makes it so arousing. It could be the verbal equivalent of flashing your husband — modesty is important, but it’s not immodest when done privately with your spouse.
Great article Julie. This came up in class just this week.
Maybe this is another example of the greater freedom you can enjoy when you keep yourself pure. When you don’t use those words as a way to put others down outside of the bedroom then there is no connection to negativity with using those words. So inside the bedroom those words simply communicates a passion because they are only used in the throws of passion.
I would also suggest that according to Eph 4:29, we are to “speak what builds each other up”, and trust me, when your spouse really lets loose and shares their deepest desires through words, it builds you up.
The last thing that I would say is, I think the medical terms for his parts, her parts and any form of sex are the biggest turn off ever. Come up with terms that work for both of you and that means you need to talk about it.
Good article Julie.
Ruth makes great points in her comment above. Medical, clinical terms are a “turn-off”. Couples should talk about the words they are comfortable with and aroused by. In the heat of passionate moments, some words (slang terms for body parts, etc.) not used outside the bedroom are fine and add to the moment. And, sunny-dee has a good insight that the naughtiness of using some of these words in the bedroom can be quite arousing. No one has to know what you and your spouse say in the throes of passion.
If a couple does not use these words in other situations, is that different than couples who use the words both for sex and for other uses?
Just adding to the many sides!
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Whispering dirty things to each other is awesome for foreplay when you’re in public 🙂 There are lots of things you can do with your spouse that are otherwise unwise.
I am with Paster Bob on this! It is all about context.
I was taught manners by my grandmother, a Spanish matriarch of a lady. Obscenity being relative to different people I would still have to say vulgarity is much more uniformly defined in society. Then I have the Scriptures telling me it is what comes out of my mouth that defiles me and also to keep the marriage bed honorable and undefiled.
I have read all the opinions expressing context and company makes it OK. But if that were truly so, then why is it that here, in an explicit forum with basic anonymity discussing frankly and neutrally about this issue of language, where the actual context is exactly about the language, no one spells out the F word?
So if we will not spell out the word here amongst people attempting to shed light on this particular subject, should we really be uttering it to our spouse?
Vulgarity has its roots in nothing good and never really has an excuse. Perhaps I’m being too old fashioned.
But I would consider that if the Lord Jesus had been married, would he use such language towards his wife?
While I don’t believe using certain words to describe body parts or to tell your spouse what you like them to do is wrong between a husband and wife in their marriage bed, I don’t see how using such crude, vulgar language is edifying as one commenter stated nor honoring to the marriage bed.
Perhaps I too am old fashioned as HopefullyHelpful commented or maybe it’s just all semantics here, but certain vulgar words used to describe sex such as the F- word just don’t turn me on and I don’t believe it matters what the context is.
Even in the heat of the moment I have never thought to utter or scream out a vulgar type word but have certainly verbalized as Julie wrote above…”I need you in me NOW!” or “That drives me crazy when you do ______ with your mouth!”
Anyway, that is my .02 cents…interesting to hear how others feel about this topic.
@Hopefully: The reason most people don’t spell it out here in the forum is that even though there is anonymity, we are generally nice folks still trying to be conscious of the sensibilities of others. Sex in the heat of the moment is often where such sensibilities are set aside and we allow a more primal part of ourselves to come forth.
I think it’s perfectly okay. If someone doesn’t really enjoy using it, that’s fine, but it’s certainly acceptable within the context of the marital bedroom to use the “f” word.
@John2: As I said, it is possible I’m just too old fashioned. But there are just too many things that keep me from condoning vulgarity. We are told more than once in the Scriptures it is what comes out of us that defiles us. The heat of the moment might sound more palatable yet the scriptures still tell us that even in the heat of anger we should not sin.
You talk about sensibilities and such so why deny that same consideration to one’s spouse? We are supposed to exercise self control and think about what is pure and good. I just can’t find room in all that for the F word and such anymore. Even before I was baptized, at the peak of my X’s infidelity, even in that anger I never utilized such words directly with a person.
I cannot say if it is sin or not because of context in a loving relationship. I’m not wise enough for that. But it just seems to fall short of what the scriptures tell us: We must be Holy because God is Holy. And I just can’t picture Jesus for the type to use that language with anyone at anytime for any reason. And it is him we’re supposed to imitate as Christians.
Cleanliness is not next to Godliness. Past generations getting by on good manners is ok if it’s genuine towards honoring others. But, in my opinion being prim, proper, & mannerly had its roots in wealth, property, & show.
Words are words. As others here say, it is so. Words only count in the heart. You would be surprised at cuss words that first we’re just words in another culture. Prim and proper have incarcerated us. Freedoms taken away all in the name of, “the other side of the track.” Guess what? The days of the week are named after false gods, but we use them anyway. Easter is originally a fertility celebration to a false pagan goddess, but we get a lot of mileage out of the word. Also, last time I new the secular world out there was having sex. Even have an industry of it, maybe you’ve heard of porn? That hasn’t stopped too many Christian from having sex now has it? We are our own worst enemy.
Scripture says to keep your words wholesome. It doesn’t say to keep track of letters and syllables. It also says there is a time and a place for everything under the sun. So, appropriately, talk dirty all you want.
P.S. For those who don’t want to talk dirty, don’t. You are free to, and free not to. Yet, what does your spouse think of it? Those of you that say no one should talk dirty, does your spouse agree? Are they free to disagree. Marriage = security. We should be free to discuss, disagree, and investigate together.
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@Hopefully : I feel that context is the key to this whole debate. For instance, I have never said f-you to my wife while passing in the hall. That would be something that defiled me because it will have been said in anger or disrespect. But when I tell her I want to f%#@ her senseless, I am saying that in a sense of urgent need and lust for the woman whom I love and am bonded to. We are not exactly being romantic in that scenario, we are allowing ourselves to be caught up in holy passion for each other. God knows what is in our heart when we say these words. In the same manner, my wife knows what message I am conveying to her, so her sensibilities aren’t compromised, and because she is in the same mindset, I am not being inconsiderate. There is nothing impure or wrong about feeling lustful for one`s spouse. However, I don’t think these types of words can be used casually either, or they lose their sense of urgency and primal appeal.
Followed a link from a marriage blog.
Ultimately, as some comments have said, it comes down to what you & your spouse are comfortable with.
I cannot / will not compare my relationship with someone else’s relationship or with what one could imagine is /was someone else’s relationship. I wouldn’t even care to imagine what this or that person’s intimacy would or would not be like.
My perfectly prim & proper southern grandmother once said it’s no one’s business what happens in your bed. Everyone would be shocked by what takes place in the intimacy of the bedroom of the most prim & proper, old-fashioned lady because she is willingly open and vulnerable with her equally open and vulnerable spouse. What goes on between the two of you is as old fashioned as old fashioned can be. There is no place for prim & proper in bed with your husband and there is no joy in prim & proper in bed with your husband. She also said flannel nightgowns are “from the devil.”
She was a wise, old-fashioned lady.
“Silent Sex” is usually a sure sign the parties have NOT learned to let go of their inhibitions and love in the manner that electrifies the PASSION in one another. God made passion and passion towards your spouse is prove positive that she turns you on in throes of sexual intimacy.
I would like to wait for the right moment to ask my wife to use slang. To me, “pussy” is mere slang, and has a passionate ring to it. I know we have heard filthy-tongued people use it, but they use the word “God” too, like, OMG. I’m not going to stop using the word “God” because someone misuses it. “Vagina” is cold. I would love it if my wife would say passionately, “Kiss my pussy!”. I don’t want to phrase it like,” I want to apply oral pressures and textures to your vagina!” I’d rather lick, suck and French kiss your pussy”. (Once I said with a smile, “I’m going to give you a good lickin!”, and she smiled. But her smile got a lot bigger when I was giving her all my licks, kisses sucks and vibe.) We are all different. I do not want to use “f—“, or “c—“.
Who gave meaning to the slang terms. Who decided that there were such things as cuss words? Why did they get the decision? Now I don’t cosine going around and using the words, but why can’t we decide for ourselves which words are “bad”?
Romans 14:29 is an applicable verse for this situation as well. There’s a lot of talk about permissible or not, can we do it or not, say it or not … looking for that letter of the law. I think most of us admit that there’s also a strong cultural influence, both on how we perceive or use a word, as well as on how we interpret scripture (ie, with Eph 4:29).
I would rather suggest that if you feel it’s wrong, that if you believe it’s wrong, then maybe you should avoid that, at least until you have time to question and think through if you will continue to hold to that position. If you feel upset or uneasy with the “F” word or some other so-called “vulgar” speech during times of sexual intimacy, then by all means, don’t engage in that.
Let us not be legalistic in our views, but let us also be honoring to God and obey His commands. Perhaps clarifying and understanding His commands is not as easy with potentially gray areas (areas that aren’t so clear).
One couple engages in certain practices, words, or even positions that another couple can’t and shouldn’t engage in. In either case, what’s most important is that they love and honor each other, lifting each other up, encouraging one another, and respecting each other … in all areas of their marriage.
I appreciate the transparency and candor expressed by my fellow Judeo- Christian brothers and sisters. I believe that there are truths in both camps. I know in Hebrews it says that “ the marriage bed is undefiled” and King Solomon used very Creative Language that was filled with lust, sensuality and sexually explicit without necessarily using vulgarity and profanity. I think we just need to be more creative and sexually poetic in our expressions and check our “prim and properbess at the door” Thanks Tony
Thanks for this dialog. I’m a young Christian woman married for over 3 years now and my husband and I have felt conflicted about using the f-word specifically. This thread and blog has given me a lot to think about.