Daniel Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Weaponizes 1 Corinthians 7 Against Women

by | Jun 3, 2022 | Libido | 31 comments

Weaponizing Sex Against Women by an SBC President
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If you think 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 is a command for women to have sex on demand with their husbands, you’ve lost the plot.

And not just that, but you have no business leading an SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) seminary where future SBC pastors are trained.

But that’s exactly what Daniel Akin did. (For reference, Daniel Akin is also on the board of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.)

Let’s take a quick look at 1 Corinthians 7:3-7 for a moment–and yes, I’m going to add in the later two verses that we often forget about. These are the famous “do not deprive” verses:

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 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. I say this as a concession, not as a command. I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.

1 Corinthians 7:3-7, NIV

This is advice to BOTH the husband and the wife, and the key theme in this passage is utter mutuality. Nothing is given to the husband that was not also given to the wife. In fact, this is the only time in Scripture that authority in marriage is explicitly talked about, and when it is, it’s completely mutual.

But Daniel Akin–again, a president of an SBC seminary–wrote an article called “The Bible and Sexuality” which appears in the Holman Christian Standard Bible, where he weaponized these verses against women.

I created a Fixed It For You of that this week:

Think about the mental twisting and total bias you have to bring to that passage to phrase it as only a command to wives–and specifically a command to be “sexually available.”

Does he not know how icky a phrase “sexually available” is?

It turns her into a prostitute. She’s available for sex on demand. She must be ready to let him use her whenever he wants.

And it’s totally passive, too. Sex isn’t something that she participates in; sex is something that is done to her. She’s just a receptacle. And somehow he got that from a passage which was completely and utterly mutual. 

Seriously, the only way that you can translate it that way is if you think that women are meant to serve men, and you interpret absolutely everything through that lens. Oh, and if you totally misunderstand sex too!

But Daniel Akin isn’t the only one to do this. As we said in The Great Sex Rescue:

 

Great Sex Rescue

From The Great Sex Rescue

Too often, though, books portray that verse and the surrounding ones as applying only to men. Fred and Brenda Stoeker’s Every Heart Restored even says this: “Sure, men are promised regular sexual release by Scripture. But by the same token, women are promised that their husbands will treat them with honor and tenderness (1 Pet. 3:7).” Let’s look more closely though. Notice something interesting about that passage they referred to about men’s needs? They forgot to mention that it’s directed at both spouses. If they use that verse to show women they need to give their husbands “sexual release” (i.e., orgasm), then by their own logic, they should have charged men with the same responsibility to bring their wives release too.

When people hear 1 Corinthians 7 quoted, for some inexplicable reason they think it promises men that wives will give “release” and make themselves “sexually available”, and completely ignore the mutuality of it.

That’s a big thing we talk about in The Great Sex Rescue, in our section on how it’s actually women who are most likely to be deprived!

What if you’re NOT the problem with your sex life?

What if the messages that you’ve been taught have messed things up–and what if there’s a way to escape these toxic teachings?

It’s time for a Great Sex Rescue.

Why would so many authors and seminary professors and pastors teach on 1 Corinthians 7 this way?

I actually think the root of it goes to completely not understanding sex, let alone women’s sexuality.

Think about it: You can’t possibly make such a glaringly bad, biased, and inaccurate translation of 1 Corinthians 7 if you believe that:

  • Wives want orgasm
  • Wives CAN orgasm, and SHOULD orgasm
  • Women want sex sometimes too
  • Sex is about more than just a man’s physical release, since it’s also be an intimate experience
  • Women can be active participants in sex
  • Men should do foreplay and spend time pleasing their wives
  • Women have the right to say no when they are not interested, since sex is to be totally mutual

You simply could never read 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 and summarize that passage by saying “God commands women be sexually available to their husbands” if you believe any of the above things. Even if you SAY you believe some of these things, and even write some of these things down, if you still summarize the passage saying that it’s a command to women to be sexually available, you can’t really believe them. It’s like when you say things because you know, in the political climate, you have to say them, even if you don’t believe them.

Thinking that this is a command JUST TO WIVES to be “sexually available” negates everything else. Anyone who actually believed these things could never summarize the passage that way.

That means that Daniel Akin, Fred and Brenda Stoeker and Steve Arterburn, and many others, must actually believe:

  • Women don’t really orgasm
  • Orgasm is not important to women
  • Women don’t want sex
  • Sex is only focused on a man’s physical release, and true intimacy and closeness isn’t a part of sex
  • Women aren’t really active during sex, but mostly just let him use her
  • Foreplay isn’t a thing
  • Women have no right to say no

We dealt with all of those terrible beliefs in The Great Sex Rescue, by the way. And I wish Daniel Akin could at least read our chapter on when obligation becomes coercion, since he apparently doesn’t think women can say no.

If anyone wants any more reason to not attend an SBC seminary, I think that’s a pretty good list. And remember: SBC pastors are being trained in an environment where this is how sex is seen. This is how women are seen.

All I can say is, “how dare they!”

Is it any wonder that the SBC been so reticent to do anything at all about sexual abuse? 

They see sex as a male entitlement and a female obligation. So why would they treat abuse any differently?

Lord, have mercy.

 

 

Weaponizing Sex Against Women in an SBC Seminary

What do you think? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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31 Comments

  1. Codec

    You know i find that ” be sexually available” thing disturbing.

    Men have a refractory period. Besides people simply can not be aroused 24/7.

    I once again look back to the song of songs and how well the couple coordinates with each other

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly. This is assuming that she is having sex when she doesn’t want it and isn’t turned on.

      Reply
  2. Angharad

    “Since this article appears in a Bible, 1 Cor 7 : 6 should be easy to find.”

    Even for a seminary president!

    Reply
  3. Jo R

    As Jane Eyre said two days ago,

    “Yes, men do think that sticking it in us is the end of their duty to us. This is largely because intercourse works so well for them; they don’t understand that the clitoris is where most women get pleasure; and they have been taught over and over that women can enjoy sex plenty well without climax.”

    And as Rebecca pointed out yesterday in the podcast, yes, plenty of men clearly think their penises are magic wands of delight for their wives, so yeah, all the men do need to do is stick it in.

    Once again, women are turned into on-demand prostitutes in their own homes by their “Christian” husbands. Oh, and if women don’t like that, then it’s the WOMEN who are sinning against God.

    🤮🤮🤮

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s a pretty good summary! How can people think that this is of Jesus?

      Reply
    • CMT

      I’m just thinking of that gigolo thing you brought up in the comments the other day. Like, guys, it’s totally possible to not HAVE to manipulate a woman into having sex. If we don’t collectively stomp all over women’s sexuality, they actually tend to LIKE sex and don’t need to be told that God commands them to do it. How about writing study Bible blurbs to men telling them to help nurture that? Anybody ever think of that??

      Reply
      • Jo R

        “How about writing study Bible blurbs to men telling them to help nurture that?”

        Because the general belief is that men are “good at sex,” because they’re exceptional at using another human being’s body parts to exert circumferential pressure back and forth axially along their penises to induce the men’s own orgasms. So men are quite good at satisfying themselves, which is really all that matters when one tries to figure out what it means to say that “men are naturally good at sex.” No, what they’re actually naturally good at is achieving their own orgasms.

        Hence, my suggestion that men be challenged to be gigolos to their wives, which at least raises the woman’s experience to be somewhere in his line of sight and in his thoughts. And hey, who knows, maybe that raising of his attention would even translate into actions he takes that focuses his attention elsewhere than on his penis.

        Reply
  4. exwifeofasexaddict

    It’s just so sad. Such immaturity, entitlement, lack of intimacy……….. and telling people this is how God wants it. Sad. Sick. Maddening. Frustrating. It’s almost enough to make me thing all men suck. Except I know a few good men who are not entitled. I have to rehearse their names periodically so I don’t lose hope.

    Reply
    • Laura

      When I first became a Christian at 17 and heard from the pulpit how husbands are supposed to be in charge of their wives and wives are supposed to be obedient, I thought maybe God did not like women. So, I stopped going to church. This kind of teaching also caused me to resent the male species.

      Now, I know better, because I did not read the Bible for myself back then and I realize that a lot of pastors twist Scripture to fit their personal biases. Just like the SBC, CBMW (Danny Akin’s organization), the Gospel Coalition, etc. They’re all taking the Lord’s Name in vain by saying that these “teachings” are from God.

      Reply
  5. Helen

    Thank you, Sheila, for making such a powerful argument against the way these men have warped these verses for their own gain. It’s honestly so freeing to read your blog and the Great Sex Rescue because I sometimes find it hard to see clearly in this area because of past abuse and patriarchal teaching affecting my thinking. I just wanted to thank you for sticking up for the truth and setting people free in the process.

    To me it seems that these toxic teachings have more in common with porn than anything else. I wasn’t a Christian when I was in an abusive relationship, and my ex believed exactly this sort of message and forced it on me too. He got that mindset from his porn addiction and believed that he was owed sex, and that I didn’t love him if I didn’t give it to him whenever he wanted it. It just seems odd that the same people who criticise things as being ‘worldly’ are actually teaching something rooted in porn, which is hugely worldly in itself.

    Reply
  6. Cynthia

    I have to wonder how many people have heard small bits of the “do not deprive”, or the “rod” line in Proverbs, and simply thought that they can’t argue with the Bible without actually reading the entire quote in context.

    In context, it makes sense that Paul is saying that not everyone is cut out to be celibate, so don’t go making any kind of vow of celibacy if you are already married, unless your spouse is fine with it and you just do it temporarily.

    Reply
    • Dave W

      Cynthia – most Christians do not understand this issue was considered settled in the first century. Our Master said that only a very few were gifted to be celibate. Matthew 19:11 The “do not deprive” statement had been argued in the previous century by the founders of Paul’s sect of Judaism. The grandfather of Paul’s mentor Gamaliel (rabbi Hillel) said that was a maximum of 1 week. His counterpart rabbi Shammai said 2 weeks.

      Reply
  7. Nessie

    Having gone for years to a church whose pastor was SBC brainwashed- I mean trained- this is all too accurate in how sex/relationships are portrayed. The thing to remember is that these men have also essentially been trained in seminary to be narcissistic (not all are narcissists but plenty score fairly high on that spectrum) and they truly believe the junk they profess. They can be incredibly skilled at gaslighting, especially with bible verses. (If only these men were as capable in giving sex as they are at gaslighting, there would be a lot more wives joyfully seeking sex with their husbands!)

    If you are trying to be a good Christian, you desperately want to be obedient to God, so when it is thrown in your face that you must not be as giving and servant-hearted, as obedient and humble, as loving and joyful as God has called you to be and therefore you must not be “right” with God, it really can be hard to see the truth of how Christ sees us and what He wants for us- to live life abundantly.

    Reply
    • Nessie

      I should have said manipulated instead of gaslighted to be accurate. I think I was projecting my experiences with a specific pastor who was great at both and I apologize for that.

      Reply
  8. Martha

    All right. Premarital teaching in Europe. Catholic monk on marital intimacy…
    Men’s sexuality – animalistic (look at war rapes).
    Women’s sexuality – almost angelic, women tolerate sex to become mothers.
    Conclusions.
    Men, control yourselves, respect your wives and don’t lust after them.
    Women, be wary of men and don’t let them use you.
    Well, what would you say about this kind of ‘teaching’.?

    Reply
    • Dave W

      Very unbiblical.

      Reply
  9. SS

    Thank you for talking about Danny Akin! I went to Southeastern. Around Southeastern and also with the IMB, there was a popular understanding, at least from what I heard, that all men have, will, or are looking at porn. I heard multiple guys at Southeastern say that if a man said he’s never looked at porn that he’s a liar and probably is hiding that he still looks at it. So it seems to be that general negative view of men in those circles! And so many are of course, probably because they’ve been told from childhood it’s “every man’s battle.” It’s all so sickening.

    Reply
  10. Mara R

    Sheila, you are so gracious to use the term “weaponize”.

    I suppose you have to because you are in the game to be taken seriously by those who will listen, including those who oppose what you teach.

    All the while, I’m over here saying, “Uses the Bible as a bludgeoning tool”.

    Bludgeon – verb
    ~ beat (someone) repeatedly with a bludgeon or other heavy object [hard to think of a heavier object, spiritually and in Christianity, than the Bible]
    ~ force or bully (someone) to do something [Yes, there’s a whole lot of bullying going on by men like Akin]
    ~ make one’s way by brute force

    Reply
  11. Dave W

    1 Cor 7 must MUST MUST be read in its historical context.

    1 – The Corinth congregation was next door to the local synagogue and most of the early converts were from there. (believing Jews)
    2 – the diaspora Jews that made up much of the congregation had a VASTLY different view of marriage and sex than the surrounding Greek culture. Paul actually balanced out the Jewish understanding and the opposite secular Greek viewpoint. He made it mutual:

    1 Cor 7.3 NASB The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

    Frequent sex was commanded in the OT scriptures, and ALWAYS from the point of the woman’s satisfaction. Ex 21.10 says that if a man has a slave wife and marries another, he cannot reduce 3 things to the slave woman: food, clothing and sexual satisfaction. The ancient rabbis properly concluded that if God was that concerned about the libido of a slave wife, how much more so the free wife. So starting at least as early as the first century bc, frequency of sex was being written into the Jewish Ketubah (marriage contract) and it was based on the man’s occupation. If it was a job that had little physical exertion, it was daily. This was how much the wife was to expect. A frequent legal complaint in Jewish religious courts during the first century ad was wives wanting their husband to live up to the contract or change jobs so he could give her more sex. The idea was this:

    Sex is a wife’s right and a husband’s responsibility.

    That is still the attitude in religious (orthodox) Jewish culture today. The church decided to take it the other way around and messed EVERYTHING up. They even decided to believe the 4th century bc Greek doctor Hippocrates who claimed that women had no sex drive or feelings. IT was not until ad1900 that western medicine “discovered” women had a sex drive and could respond to sexual stimulation.

    They should have believed the Song of Solomon. It is all about a woman’s sexual pleasure.

    Reply
      • Dave W

        You are most welcome. This is something I have been studying off and on for 40 years. If you have questions about what I found please ask.

        Reply
  12. Andrea

    I don’t think Danny Akin could find his wife’s clitoris with a map and a flashlight. Hey, here’s an idea: The Great Sex Rescue – Complementarian Edition (comes with a map of the clitoris and a tiny little flashlight)!

    P.S. Does anyone else get a kick out of the fact that the spell check does not recognized “complementarian” as a real word? I do, every time I see it underlined in red.

    Reply
    • Laura

      Andrea,

      I also notice that spell check with the word “complementarian” and “complementarianism.” Almost every time I write these words, they are underlined in red. Strangely, that’s not the case today.

      Reply
  13. Jane Eyre

    That passage is so obviously mutual, there is no other reading. If you read it as a sexual obligation foisted upon wives, I don’t trust any other interpretation you have of any other passage. Obviously this is something you are not to be trusted with.

    Reply
  14. Boone

    Up until the past two weeks to the vast majority of Southern Baptists the convention and things related were another planet. Their world was the local church and it’s ministries. These included evangelism, benevolence, disaster relief and in general being a help to the community. Who wrote or said what was of little concern due to the fact that none of us knows who any of these people are or what they do, or for that matter care. They were all so far removed from our real world existence that they just didn’t matter. They had no real power to affect our lives and since each SBC church is completely autonomous they really didn’t affect our local churches. Obviously, we were wrong.

    Something that I am curious about, is there a consensus out there among the commenters as to what a spouse’s sexual responsibilities are to their counterpart? If you join the Marines you’re going to have to learn to fire a rifle and hit a target. If you get married there is an expectation of sexual activity. Is there a common ground out there that one could call a reasonable base expectation?

    Reply
    • Laura

      I guess there’s an expectation that once you get married, you will have sex. It’s that way in the secular world with marriage and often dating relationships. What about the couples who marry late in life and cannot have sex due to health concerns? Maybe, they are only marrying for companionship and tax purposes. That should be acceptable as long as both people are in agreement.

      Reply
  15. Gail Smith

    Hello Sheila! Thank you for fighting truth. You have no idea how much you write about has been true in my life. I would love to help spread the word and your articles and articles like it with people in my church and really anyone who will listen. Is there a way to get a “cleaner” version of this article (and others) I can print to put in a packet to hand out? Those willing to read it will also get a copy of the Great Sex Rescue and a couple other books that saved my life.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Do you mean the article as a .pdf that you can print out? Sure, i can try to do that!

      Reply
  16. Barbara

    Well, I’m confused. Do you or do you not value Scripture? I can’t tell. At first it sounds like you do, and you want Dr. Akin to value Scripture more, too, by interpreting it correctly. Then I start reading rude and vulgar personal attacks against Dr. Akin, which tells me you don’t value Scripture, as these attacks are blatantly disobedient.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      How is it that I don’t value Scripture, when I am showing how he is the one misusing it?

      Reply

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