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Is oral sex between a married couple wrong?

This is a serious question, and I will answer it as best I understand the Scriptures. The first thing we must say is that the Bible does not directly address this question. The Bible is clear on sexual fidelity (e.g. Hebrews 13:4; Ephesians 5:1-3; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

The Bible does speak to us about our sexual conduct in general terms, and these principles should guide us.

First, the Bible is clear that our bodies are not our own, and that we are to glorify God with our bodies (see 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; 10:31). Our sexual conduct in marriage should glorify God.

Second, the Bible instructs that we are not to deprive our mates of sex, and that our bodies (in a sense) belong to our mate (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).

Third, sexual practices that are “contrary to nature” are forbidden (Romans 1:26-27). Homosexuality is the most obvious – and clearly condemned — example.

Fourth, our sanctification involves a different sexual ethic and practice than that of the unbelieving world (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; note especially verse 5).

Fifth, the husband is to live with his wife in an understanding way, or as the NET Bible puts it, “treat your wives with consideration” (1 Peter 3:7). This consideration should surely include what satisfies and stimulates his wife, and what is offensive.

Sixth, all Christians are to live together in a spirit of humility, practicing servanthood – not seeking our own interests, but the interests of others (Philippians 2:1ff.). Surely this would imply (if not clearly indicate) that the husband should seek the sexual fulfillment/satisfaction of his wife, as the wife should do for her husband. But when a particular practice is offensive to one, I would think that the other should not pursue it. The husband is to seek the purification of his wife (Ephesians 5:25-27).

I believe we should avoid every sexual practice that is clearly forbidden in the world of God, and that we should enjoy the freedom God gives to us in other matters, subject to the governing principles stated above and our conscience. It seems to me that in the particular issues you have raised, the husband has “liberty” (in his mind) to practice oral sex, and the wife does not. Even if her reticence is a matter of preference, I think the husband should honor it. (On the other hand, if it is only a matter of preference, the wife may choose to accommodate her husband, for his pleasure.) But if the wife has a guilty conscience about this matter, then the husband should not use either his authority or his need for sexual pleasure to compel his wife to practice oral sex, and thus to sin (Romans 14:23). Neither should he argue with her about this matter, seeking to change her mind (Romans 14:1-8, 19, 22).

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