S&M: Sinister & Malignant or Sexy & Mysterious – Part 2

fluffy pink handcuffs

We’re considering the viability of sadism and masochism (commonly referred to as S&M) in a Christian marriage. The prospect is daunting — after all, the whole idea centers around one person inflicting harm on another, the very antithesis of the Christian love marriage is supposed to be founded upon.

It’s no major concession to acknowledge S&M’s extremities have no place in Christian marriage, but must we avoid the shallows of a lake because the ocean is teeming with monsters of depravity in its deep?

Suitable & Moral

I’m sure any who have read very much here know where I’m going next: Hebrews 13:4. The Bible depicts very strict but liberating rules for the marriage bed. Without exception, two things defile it every time: fornication and adultery. It is otherwise undefiled. My interpretation is that anything else is kosher. In other words, as long as your sexual partner is your spouse, the activity itself doesn’t matter so much. The participants matter more than the party.

So, on the surface, I see lots of room for S&M, even in a Christian marriage. Especially in a Christian marriage. But there are requirements.

Sincere & Mutual

A healthy Christian marriage is built on a foundation of mutual commitment, transparency, integrity, and love. For any activity, sexual or otherwise, both parties must be willing. Rape has no place in the marriage bed, not because the act of intercourse is wrong (it passes the Hebrews 13:4 test) but because it betrays the soundness (integrity) and honor (love) the marriage requires to function.

Err on the side of moderation, especially at first. If you both agree, you can always dial it up a notch next time.

Accordingly, S&M must be something both parties consider ahead of time and agree to participate in. Any and all reservations should be aired at this stage without fear of reprisal. With everything out in the open, the couple can inter into this activity with some peace of mind. As much as is possible with S&M, at least.

Self-Restraint & Moderation

Even outside Christian marriage, consensual S&M includes precautions. Safe words, rules of engagements, and other safeguards ensure the play remains just that — play.

It is easy to get carried away in the activity, and doing so can be harmful to your spouse, yourself, and your marriage. You must always listen to your spouse and check yourself as well. Be aware of whether or not things are going overboard. Both people need to be willing and able to end everything immediately — again without fear of reprisal.

Keep in mind Christian love when defining your ground rules. Even mild humiliation, injury, and violence should be approached with extreme caution. Err on the side of moderation, especially at first. If you both agree, you can always dial it up a notch next time. But if you go too far this time, it’s too late to take it back. The deeper into the fire you reach, the more you’ll get burned. Make sure you know what you’re doing.

Symptoms & Misery

Make sure you also know why you’re doing it. Examine your motivations on both sides of S&M.

If you’re a sadist, try to identify what makes you one. Is it the thrill of seeing your spouse helpless and willing or the thrill of harming them?

If you’re a masochist, why? Is it a crossed-wires scenario, where you get pleasure or arousal from certain pains, or do you feel you deserve some sort of punishment.

Seek these answers together or with the help of a sex-friendly Christian counselor.

Sensual & Mercurial

If nothing else, remember this… Revisit your motivations and ground rules regularly.

Since S&M is all about feeling, and feelings are never fixed but are inherently variable, you should always be cognizant of the changing nature of this activity. Pain may equal pleasure today, but it could be simply excruciating tomorrow. What merely aroused you to do yesterday might give you a power trip when you do it today. S&M’s effect on us is volatile, so we must be vigilant to be aware of changes on any level.

Seductive & Myopic

Unless you’ve done some real soul searching and been totally honest with yourself and your spouse, you could be drawn into something you’re not emotionally, spiritually, mentally, or relationally equipped to deal with in the long run.

Keep in mind also that because of this ever-changing characteristic, practicing S&M can have a lot of short-term appeal but it also comes with a short-sighted perspective. Unless you’ve done some real soul searching and been totally honest with yourself and your spouse (and possibly even if you have done all that), you could be drawn into something you’re not emotionally, spiritually, mentally, or relationally equipped to deal with in the long run.

Know that the activities you engage in could have subtle but cumulative effects on you, your spouse, and even your relationship with God. You’ll be mostly blind to this sort of baggage at the onset, so be wise and don’t dive in the deep water just because it looks like fun. Give it time to see how its effects stack up.

Servility & Mischief

Overall, don’t feel like an occasional bit of sexual “slavery” or stimulating spanking is inherently wrong.

It’s something you can potentially enjoy guilt-free and can actually draw you and your spouse closer to together through improved intimacy and transparency while reducing monotony.

But know you can go too far easily, it’s capricious, and it can be unhealthy for some people.

As with everything else, approach S&M with wisdom and prayer. And if you decide to go forward, establish clear and specific (even written) ground rules.

Series Navigation<< Sinister & Malignant or Sexy & Mysterious – Part 1

Originally posted 2016-10-10 08:00:30.

Photo credit: kstepanoff / Foter / CC BY
About Phil (251 Articles)
Philip Osgood is a Christian husband, father, and writer who considers himself a passable video game player, fiction reader, camping and hiking enthusiast, welder, computer guy, and fitness aficionado, though real experts in each field might just die of laughter to hear him claim it. He has been called snarky, cynical, intelligent, eccentric, creative, logical, and Steve for some reason. Phil and his beautiful wife Clara live in Texas with their children in a house with a dog but no white picket fence. He does own a titanium spork from ThinkGeek, though, so he must be alright.