Since sex is what seems to occupy modern man the most I thought I would deal with this subject early on and get it out of the way. This is not because we look upon sex with disfavour but because we wish to primarily focus on other things. These things are shared mostly for those interested in regulating this activity within a polygamous relationship. Where I do not go into detail it is because I choose not to -- most sexual matters are common sense and need no in-depth articulation. The purpose of this article is to remove the artifically contrived cloud of misinformation that is occasionally spewed out by those of the rabidly anti-polygamous camp whose purpose seems more to denigrate rather than to get at the truth. We hope that what is written here will be helpful. If you have further questions, e-mail us and we will put our responses in the e-mail section.
Different Levels of Sex
To begin with, sex is important. You can hardly ignore it. At the same time, to be a Christian living closely to the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and with a polygamous household to manage, it is something that must be controlled by both husband and wives.
The first principle of a New Covenant polygamous Christian is that the Ruach (Spirit) comes first. We have, if you like, a hierarchy of values. Our priority is therefore:
- 1. The spiritual
- 2. The mental
- 3. The emotional
- 4. The sexual
This is not to say that you have the right to neglect a principle on a "lower rung". Polygamy involves all four principles. The apostle Paul called them "spirit, body and soul" though he was not specifically identifying three areas of a human being in a scientific reductionist way.
Pure and Impure Sex
When looking at sex we first see it through the spiritual lens of Yahweh's Word, the Bible. Sex elicits both thoughts and very powerful feelings and these must be understood clearly too, within the light of the spiritual realm. Understanding what sex is is therefore as important to us as enjoying the act since it was created by Yahweh for a purpose. Accordingly, the Scriptures regulate it most strictly, not in order to restrict us but to heighten our joy in true sex. Needless to say, true Christians/Messianics regard the world's view of sex as topsy-turvey.
As you will have read in our other articles, we have a rather special view of courtship. Most courtship these days is governed by physical or chemical attraction. There is little cogniscence of the spiritual dimension. Early on our children are taught that there are two types of sex:
The former operates within the rules established by Yahweh; the latter operates outside of it. We also teach that sex has a mental and a physical dimension: a person may have no physical sex but be engaging in mental and emotional sex -- if a person if doing this with anyone but his lawfully wedded spouse he is engaging in dirty sex. Yahweh sanctifies (makes holy and pure) sex conducted within His boundaries but departs from souls who do not obey His rules. And when He leaves, demons take His place. That is why sex can become so addictive because demons, deprived of physical bodies, can only experience sex through impure men and women. They crave it, which is why they so strongly latch on to those who don't practice it accoring to Yahweh's Holy Laws in the Torah.
Rules Governing Sexual Activity
We do not tolerate impure sex in the Chavurat Bekorot and deal with it strictly but encourage those who engage in pure sex to pursue it as often as spouses mutually agree. These rules apply to monogamous and polygamous relationships.
To begin with, the Scriptures forbid sexual intercourse during a woman's menstruation, what in Torah is known as Yahweh's Nidda Law:
There are sound reasons for this which are explained in a revelation we have received on this subject (NC&C 222). Further more, it is recommended that sexual activity be curbed for one week after a woman's menstruation has ceased (NC&C 433). Both these revelations are extrapolations of instructions already given in the Bible for the spiritual and physical health of man. This means that for two weeks every month men and women are celibate in the Chavurat Bekorot. Beyond this married men and women are free to have sex as much as they want. Sometimes husbands and wives may mutually agree to abstain at other times to give devotion to prayer (1 Corinthians 7:5).
"Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period" (Leviticus 18:19, NIV).
The biblical command to abstain during menstruation is almost universally ignored by Christians, and at great cost. (The second week of abstention is disputed by many who see it only as an extra precaution). Impure sex lives lead to a withdrawal of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). Yahweh does not live in unclean vessels, and the body is the temple of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) (1 Corinthians 6:19). It must be treated as such. I remember having my doubts about the "one week after" rule once and engaging in sex during that time. I was shown in vision by Yahweh how I had polluted myself and was never tempted to break that commandment again. (A person who defies these rules is not permitted to have sex for a week after breaking them even after repentance. This is to allow the Ruach (Spirit) to properly cleanse the physical body).
A man's body belongs to his wife, and a wife's body belongs to her husband. Therefore neither have the right to deny one another sex. Of course, sometimes one or the other partner may not want it (because they are physically ill, sad, or for some other legitimate reason) and this should always be respected. If sex is being denied because of spite, jealosy, or some other negative reason, it is a sin. Nevertheless is shall not be forced on anyone. Some people like it more than others. But in our experience those who are full of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and who are genuinely free in Christ enjoy this activity tremendously. However it must be recognised that no two people are alike and that sometimes people have genuine physical problems (low testosterone or oestrogen levels -- men with low testosterone levels probably shouldn't enter polygamy unless they marry women with low oestrogen levels too. I know of some polygamists who have virtually no sex and regard it only for child-producing).
Some polygamous cultures proscribe sex during pregnancy and lactation. We have no such restrictions. However, if the Spirit of Yahweh inspires a couple to abstain during this time they must obey Him. There may, for example, be medical reasons.
Self-control is important for a Bible-believing Christian/Messianic. A man or woman ought not to be so consumed with sex that he/she cannot control it. We are first of all creatures of spirit and should never forget that. We are not to be driven by mindless animal instincts.
The Purpose of Sex & Prevention
Sex has two fundamental purposes:
- 1. To reproduce the species with a view to raising up sons and daughters who will honour and reverence the Name of Yahweh-Elohim, the Lord God of Israel, and His Son Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ);
- 2. To more deeply bond husband and wife/wives together.
It has no other purpose. It was not created to relieve tension or for recreational purposes even if these may be secondary byproducts of the imprementation two fundamental purposes. If these two purposes are bourne in mind, the result will be a deelply satisfying sexual relationship in marriage.
For this reason the Chavurat Bekorot does not permit preventative media like pills, condoms, inter-uterine devices (IUDs), or anything like them. They are not natural and many of them lead to various forms of illness, including cancer. IUDs are, in any case, really a form of abortion, which is murder. Which leads me to mention something else: The only time my wives have ever had miscarriages (twice, in fact) was when we had conceived during the one week after menstruation had ended.
If a couple don't want to get pregnant (for whatever reason) then they should either abstain or only have intercourse at the end of the fertility cycle. The greatest joy of sex should always come with the realisation that a child may be created, for that is its primary function (NC&C 215). If the aim is purely for pleasure then there is something selfish in the motive. Controlling sex makes it all the more enjoyable -- over-indulgence leads to spiritual, mental, emotional and physical degradation and numbing down of the sensitivity of the finer aspects of the soul.
Sex is extremely private and we do not discuss our private sex lives outside the family -- ever. We find in any case that there is little need to discuss it, nor do we have the desire to as a rule. True Patriarchal Christians/Messianics are not sex-focused. It is simply something we enjoy within the privacy of our own homes within the sanctity of the marriage relationship.
We have little or no sexual instruction. Husbands and wives should find out together. It's the mutual exploration that makes it all the more enjoyable. Sex books aren't needed unless it is to underline the spiritual dimension. And if you want a practical primer, the Song of Solomon is more than adequate. In the Chavurat Bekorot our knowledge of sex is passed on by word-of-mouth -- between patriarchs, between wives, and between husbands and wives. Like the work of a painter, it is an art that is unique and special between husband and wife.
This is particularly challenging for a patriarch who must know all his wives intimately enough and be sufficiently controlled as to never forget who is who. It is one thing to know a spouse intimately in a monogamous marriage but in a polygamous one it is extremely difficult for a man. This is because sex is primarily about relationship, involving the whole person. It is not simply a physical act. Moreover, it is an an act that very much involves the love of Christ as empowerer and sanctifier.
In polygamy it is true that the husband must give far more than each individual wife. Each patriarch must determine what is best for himself and his wives, in other words, what he is realistically capable of giving without wearing himself out. His wives must be sensitive to this need. Women entering polygamy do so knowing that they will not receive as much sex as they would in a monogamous relationship, though this is not necessarily true either. Patriarchs living the Laws of Yahweh tend to be virile and I have never known my wives to be dissatisfied. The Spirit of Yahweh compensates for any physical lack of the natural man!
As always, it is important to let the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) lead and guide in matters sexual. This does not mean "follow your feelings" because feelings are an unreliable guide -- it means being sensitive to what Yahweh wants us to do with our time and energy.
Popular Misconceptions about Polygamous Sex
Polygamy is not a licence for uncontrolled sex even though such is a popular notion in the minds of hostile, frustrated monogamists. For those who want unliceneced sex, polygamy is the last place they will find it. Those men who enter polygamy for extra sex will soon be disappointed, because each marriage brings with it more responsibility and more time committments. Since sex leads to more children, more time must be spent with children. Polygamy is not a licence to have orgies either. Polygamy is for family men and women who love Yahweh...which means that there is impure polygamy in the same way that there is impure monogamy. Simply being in a legally (state-) recognised relationship does not make it pure necessarily -- it is one thing to become married, and it is another thing the way we conduct our marriages.
Sex and Adultery
There are, I know, many misguided Christians/Messianics who do not know their Bibles (or who don't want to know their Bibles) who believe that polygamists are de facto adulterers because they indulge in sex with more than one woman. Yet it is suprising how many of those Christians who will countenance remarriage after a divorce (as commonly understood by Christians using the Greek New Testament) where no adultery has been committed. Yet Christians who divorce for any other ground than adultery (according to the Bible) and who then remarry committ adultery. And those who countenance other Christians doing such become partakers of that adultery by association.
The fact of the matter is that polygamy is divinely sanctioned in Yahweh's Word and was never denounced by either Christ or the apostles. It remained a sanctioned practice in the Christian Church until the sixth century by which time heretical forms of the Gospel were in the ascendancy.
Lesbianism and Bisexuality
I am sometimes asked what kinds of sex are permissible. These questions are answered in the excellent tract, A Question of Sexual Purity. I will add as a footnote to this apostolic interview that lesbian or bisexual practices are not an option in plural marriage under any circumstances (see From Bisexuality to Echad Sexuality). If a true patriarch marries a bisexual woman (this is becoming increasingly common in patriarchal circles) it will be with a view to having her totally delivered before entering into a physical relationship, because a man having sexual contact with a lesbian or bisexual will automatically become spiritually polluted. Homosexuals, lesbians and bisexuals must be celibate until they are healed and become fully married to a patriarch.
Times of Purification
A Torah-observant New Covenant Christian Patriarch will not marry a woman who has been in a sexual relationship (lawful or unlawful - caused by death or immorality, respectively) until she has abstained for at least one year. In the Chavurah Bekorot there are various purification proceedures that husbands and wives must pass through before being allowed to enter a polygamous relationship. Purity (literal, as opposed to ceremonial) is something greatly prized in the Order. Virgins are always therefore given preferential consideration because such require little in the way of sexual purification.
Sex + Torah-defined purity = godly pleasure