Reader Question: Am I a prude because I don’t enjoy acting out my husband’s sexual fantasies?

Hi Jennifer,

I caught the end of your program on Midday Connection today and found it very interesting. In the past and currently, my husband has the fantasy to want to tie me up and put a gag in my mouth. He says that more people do this than what I think, and that it is a good way to spice up our marriage. I am starting to second guess my own thoughts in thinking that I must be a prude. In the past we have done this, but I don’t like it. What is normal or not? I feel embarrassed to even be typing this. Thank you for your insight.

A Midday Connection Listener

Dear Midday Connection Listener,

Thank you for your honesty. It can be embarrassing to discuss sexual matters, but you have bravely asked an important question about married couples acting out sexual fantasies. Here are some guidelines for Christians to follow:

1) See what the Bible has to say about the sexual behavior under consideration. There are sexual behaviors that are prohibited in the Bible, including sex before and outside of marriage, adultery, prostitution, homosexuality, threesomes or orgies, and sex with immediate family members or animals (see Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 18:7-23, Romans 1:27; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 6:9-16, 7:2; Proverbs 7:4-27). If the behavior is prohibited in the Bible, then it should be avoided.

2) Consider whether the sexual behavior under consideration would be beneficial or harmful to the husband, wife, or the marriage. If it would cause unwanted emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, financial, or sexual harm to either spouse or to the relationship, then the behavior should be avoided.

3) Consider whether the sexual behavior under consideration would involve anyone else other than the husband and wife. If the behavior involves someone else (and yes, looking at pornography together involves someone else in your sexual relationship) or is publicly viewed by others, then it should be avoided in order to keep the marriage bed pure as instructed in Hebrews 13:4. The Message puts Hebrews 13:4 this way: “Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband.”

If we apply those guidelines to your situation, we see that the Bible doesn’t specifically prohibit spouses from acting out the sexual fantasy of tying one another up or gagging one another. Some couples may find light bondage activities erotic; however, some people find those activities distressing or degrading. You are not a prude if you fall into the second category.Everyone comes into marriage with their own unique history of experiences and personal preferences that shape what they find erotic. We need to respect that our spouse may be coming from a very different place than us when it comes to comfort with exploring new sexual behaviors. Also, if in your marriage there have been breaches of trust outside your bedroom (such as financial deception or discovering that your spouse has been looking at pornography or has had an affair), it can make it particularly hard to trust your spouse inside the bedroom when s/he asks you to try a new sexual behavior.

You said that you didn’t like being tied up and gagged when you tried it in the past. That means that continuing this behavior would cause you unwanted emotional (and possibly physical/mental) harm. Because this behavior is not beneficial to both you and your husband, you should avoid it. If light bondage no longer distresses you at some point in the future, you can always try it again if your husband is still interested.

In the meantime, you might want to run some of your own sexual fantasies (that meet the guidelines above) by your husband for his consideration. This demonstrates your willingness to be sexually creative but also shows respect for your own personal boundaries.

Thanks again for your brave question.


Jennifer Degler, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist and CWIVES Founder

Comments 14

  1. Lori
    January 29, 2011

    Wow! I appreciate your 3 biblical guidelines. I wonder about what a man is feeding with a fantasy that ties up and gags his wife, the woman he is supposed to love and cherish as Christ loves the church. It does not seem to be anything uplifting and, actually, degrading. Do men have these desires without having seen such things in pornography or movies?

  2. January 29, 2011

    Thanks for your comment, Lori. It is important to ask ourselves, “what is my motivation for asking my spouse to participate in this sexual behavior?” If our motives are selfish, then we are likely to push for what we want without considering the damage it could do to our spouse and our marriage.

    The adult human mind is creative and capable of imagining sexual situations without having viewed pornographic images or movies, so a husband or wife with a light bondage fantasy hasn’t necessarily been viewing pornography. However, it’s also true that viewing pornography (or something like rated R movies/TV shows with explicit sexual content) can increase someone’s interest in the depicted activities. Oh be careful little eyes what you see….

  3. Hil
    February 8, 2012

    Thank you, Jennifer for this website and platform that allows us the opportunity to help our marriages, our hurts, and help others.

    In this instance, I agree with Lori. When I consider how Christ loves the Church, He is completely moved for her (our) benefit, blessedness, beauty, and glory in Him…and at His expense! Never are we compromised or ashamed in order to feed the fantasies of our Lord. Jesus is altogether lovely and makes us the same! He whom the Son sets free is free indeed. The anointing of the Holy Spirit breaks the yoke of bondage.

    Sex is special, edifying, mutually pleasurable and exciting, and particularly beautiful in its intimacy when healthy. I believe that the need to victimize others, or a fantasy of such, comes from some past wounding that needs to be healed. When any of us sees in our spouse the opportunity to satisfy something we wouldn’t admit to someone else, see as honorable in someone else, or find a blessing to both, there is dysfunction.

    Jesus is made unto us Wisdom from God, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption. I sincerely believe that if you press into pray for your husband and this situation, Jesus will become in you Wisdom and show you the way to release the power of His loving Redemption, through His free gift of Righteousness and Sanctification to set your husband free in Christ from what has hurt him and subsequently hurt you. God bless you.

    1. February 8, 2012

      Thank you for your beautifully written and uplifting comments. They are a wonderful reminder of what God has designed sex to be, and how important it is to discuss with our spouse any areas of sexual woundedness/brokenness.


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