Why would the Apostle Paul insist that married couples have regular sex "except [for one reason only] by mutual consent and for a time (of prayer)" when there may be other factors such as sickness, busyness, or fatigue? 1 Corinthians 7:5 1 Corinthians 7:5 New International Version (NIV) 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
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To me, Paul is saying that, whatever the cause of the couple's sexual inactivity may be, as long as they have a shared understanding and are both agreeable to the situation (in other words, as long as there is mutual consent), then that is the primary consideration. Problems and temptations arise when that agreement is absent, and either spouse persistently and/or unreasonably refuses to accommodate the other with respect to sex (which is a natural, normal human desire, and for which there is no other outlet of which God approves besides marriage). Such persistent, unilateral refusal would be contrary to Paul's statement that, with regard to sex, the husband does not rule over his body, and the wife does not rule over her body.
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