Song of Solomon: “Sex is best between friends.”

Song of Solomon is pretty steamy. In terms of graphic content—if you could really understand it—, it’d get an X-rating. The lovers taste, touch, mingle, play and consummate their love through every poetic verse.

And they talk about it. Man, do they have a lot to say. Talk, it seems, is pretty alluring. They speak of their love for each other. As in many languages, there are specific kinds of love rather than the one tell-all word that the English language uses. (I love my husband. I also love hot fudge sundaes. Just not the same way.) The kind of love found in the pages of Solomon’s love song is rather telling. It’s not erotic love. It’s not romantic love. It’s not committed love. It is…(drum roll, please)…”uncle love.” What?

It was actually a love that spoke of friendship. Not just any friendship, but one in which there was incredibly safety. This, not an erotic love, is the kind of love that should be at the heart of great, playful pleasure.

Contrast this to some love stories in the Old Testament where a physical love—characterized by “falling in love”—is expressed and acted upon. In the midst of this erotic kind of love, we find a lot of tragic endings. Stories that highlight this love include David and Bathsheba. Samson and Delilah. Need I go on? Despite the fact that a physical attraction often leads to heartache, it seems to be the American way.

If only people knew the depth of pleasure possible in a friendship love, as expressed in Song of Solomon. It’s statistical! Sex is better when there is a deep friendship. One New York Times best-selling book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, highlights this truth.

“The determining factor in whether wives feel satisfied with sex, romance, and passion in their marriage is, by 70 percent, the quality of the couple’s friendship. For men, the determining factor is, by 70 percent, the quality of the couple’s friendship. So men and women come from the same planet after all.”

What’s this mean for you? Well, if you’re married: how are you pursuing friendship with your spouse? If you’re not: maybe stop looking for that hot bod attached to the flawless personality with no odd quirks. He doesn’t exist. But a great friendship could be just the ingredient for a passionate marriage.

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