“Is it wrong for me to motivate my wife into having good sex with me using money? Am I treating my wife like a prostitute by doing this?” This was part of an email I received from a Christian husband going by the name of Luke.
But before I answer this question from a Biblical perspective, I want to show more of his email to add more context to this story.
Luke’s story raises several questions beyond what he has asked here at the end of his story.
Is It Possible for a Husband to Treat His Wife Like A Prostitute?
Remember that as Christians the Bible is our first dictionary. That means before I crack out the Websters dictionary, I look at the Bible. Whether it is defining what male and female are, what marriage is, what rape is, what slavery is or what murder is. Any word that is at all connected with moral issues must be defined by the Bible.
That means it is utterly irrelevant that most modern dictionaries define prostitution as “a person that engages in sexual intercourse for money”.
The Biblical definition of a prostitute is shown in the story of Judah and Tamar in Genesis 38:15-18:
“15 When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face.
16 And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?
17 And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it? 18 And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.”
As we can see from the story above, a prostitute is MORE than a woman who engages in sexual relations with a man for something of value (whether it be money, cattle…etc.). According the Bible, a prostitute is woman who engages in sexual relations with a man who is NOT her husband for something of value.
The only way it is possible for a man to treat his wife like a prostitute is if he had her have sex with another man for money. But within the context of sexual relations between himself and his wife, it is utterly impossible for a man to engage in prostitution with his own wife because a defining attribute of prostitution is that a woman is having sex with a man who is NOT her husband.
This brings us to our next question.
Is it Wrong for a Wife to Insist Upon Payment for Sex from Her Husband?
The Bible says that sex is automatically owed in marriage as a duty simply based upon the marriage covenant as seen in 1 Corinthians 11:3-5:
“3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.”
Sex is pictured both as a kindness that that is rendered, literally paid like wages owed in marriage to one’s spouse. And to refuse sex in marriage is like keeping back a payment that is owed.
Therefore, it is crystal clear in the Bible that it would be a sin for a man to insist on some exchange of something of value or a service from his wife in order for her to have sexual access to his body and it would likewise be a sin for a wife to demand something of value or a service be done first in order for her husband to have sexual access to her body.
It is Wrong for a Husband to Motivate his Wife to Better and More Frequent Sex with Money?
We are taught today from many different sides, both liberal and conservative, that sex should only occur based on the mutual and genuine desire for it by both the man and woman. Therefore, a wife having sex with her husband which is motivated by duty, fear or even money is seen as immoral by most Christians and non-Christians alike in our culture today.
The problem is that the typical woman does not desire sex as often or in the same ways as the typical man does.
With this idea that sex should always be based on the mutual and genuine desire of both a husband and wife, myriads of books and web articles have been written in the last several decades on how to help stoke genuine sexual desire in women. The purpose of all these books and articles is to raise the woman’s desire for sex to be equal with that of the man who usually has the stronger desire for sex. In other words, it’s just another attempt in our modern equality obsessed society to make women the same as men.
But God did not make women the same as men in this area of sexual desire and what motivates desire in men and women is radically different.
Luke made it clear that his wife would not outright refuse him sexual relations. But if he insisted on it more than his wife offered it, she would give him sex grudgingly and it would not be as pleasant an experience. It does not appear that his wife was purposefully holding out for more money, but rather she genuinely just did not have the desire for the kind of sex and frequency of sex her husband was wanting. She made it clear that even the little sex she offered was done for him and not for her.
What happened with Luke’s wife is common with many women as they age where their libido decreases. Sometimes it might also have to do with other outside stresses or medications or weight gain either by herself or her husband. A woman’s libido can also decrease simply because the newness and excitement of her relationship with her husband has wore off.
For a woman sexual desire is primarily fueled by how she feels and not simply by physical need. In other words, a woman’s desire for sex with a man at any given time is like a physics equation with several complex variables that all need to come together in just the right order to spark her desire.
On the other hand, a man’s sexual desire follows the simple Biblical equation that “they two shall be one flesh” (Eph 5:31). A man literally sees a woman’s body as something to be consumed and he has a furious appetite to explore a woman’s body by viewing it, tasting it, feeling it and finally indwelling it where he ultimately leaves his mark on it with his seed.
The idea of trying to make men and women the same in their sexual desire, whether it is regarding frequency or what kind of sexual things are desired is about as futile as the goals of the transgender movement. You will never make a man a woman nor can you make a woman a man.
The Scriptures never place any prerequisite of mutual desire for sex on a man and woman coming together in the act of sexual relations. The only prerequisite that God places on sex is that it is between a man and woman that have entered into a covenant of marriage with one another (Hebrews 13:4). In other words, God has no problem with a man initiating sex with his wife at any given moment and her giving him her body for his sexual use even if she does not desire it at that time.
In fact, God commands a man to use his wife’s body (Romans 1:27), to literally drink his fill and satisfy his every sexual desire with his wife’s body (Proverbs 5:18-19). And the wife is commanded to be “loving”, “pleasant” and to “ravish” her husband by making him feel loved through the sexual use of her body.
But what about the husband motivating his wife with her spending money to do all the sexual extras he wants and have sex more often and enthusiastically even if she has to fake it? Nothing in the Bible forbids a man from motivating his wife to pleasing him better sexually through giving or taking away things from her as long as they are not things God requires him to provide for her. And no Scripture stops a wife from faking it and putting on an elaborate show in order to ravish her husband sexually as God commands.
Christian wives “faking it” is a related but still separate discussion from this one of a man using money to motivate his wife to fake it. For more on that subject see my article “Why Christian Wives SHOULD fake it”.