When most people think of sex and the Bible, they stop thinking right there. The common conception is that the Bible isn’t too big on sex – sex is just a necessity we’re supposed to engage in when we want to “know” our spouses, or in other words, make babies. Sex is not supposed to be fun. It’s not supposed to be had outside of marriage. It’s not supposed to be used for anything other than procreation. Or at least that’s the conception.
But the fact of the matter is that sex crops up all over the Bible as an action of pleasure and of power. Below are just a few examples of people who used sex as power and/or pleasure in the Bible:
David and Bathsheba
David is considered the greatest king of Israel, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t do some fucked up shit. When David happened to spot Bathsheba bathing naked on a roof, his first order of business was to have her husband, Uriah sent to the front lines where he was promptly killed. David was then free to marry Bathsheba who in this case was too sexy for her own damn good, not to mention her husband’s good. But Bathsheba was a smart cookie – years later she was able to use the sway she held over David to make sure her son, Solomon, became the next king.
The Lover and the Beloved
Song of Solomon, aka Song of Songs is by far the sexiest book of the Bible. Why’s that? Well, because the whole thing is about sex. It’s a dialogue between a Lover and his Beloved all about how much they want each other and how hot they think one another are. Sure, their descriptions can be a bit strange to our ears – “Your two breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies” – but trust me, it’s sexy (Song 4:5).
Take this part, spoken by the Beloved with a few words from her Lover stuck in the middle: “I slept but my heart was awake. Listen! My lover is knocking: ‘Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one. My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night.’ I have taken off my robe—must I put it on again? My lover thrust his hand through the latch-opening: my heart began to pound for him” (Song 5:2-4). Admit it: that’s hot.
Lot and His Daughters
Lot is a pretty big name in the Bible. He’s the one who was visited by angels in Sodom. Then the town’s people came banging on the door wanting to rape the angels, and Lot offered them his two virgin daughters as a viable alternative. What a stand up dad, eh? Then he fled the city before God destroyed it, and his wife was turned into a pillar of salt when she turned back. (In those days, that probably upped her value significantly.) Then comes the part of the story most people skip over – after they got to safety, Lot’s daughters got him drunk and each had sex with their dad so they could continue his family line. Talk about girls with daddy issues. But at that time, family was everything, so the girls used the only power they had – their virgin loins – to help their father. Makes sense, but it’s still totally fucking gross.
Salome is the epitome of sex as power in the Bible. She’s the one who danced before King Herod and pleased him so much that he offered her anything she wanted, up to half of his kingdom. That either makes her a really sexy dancer or it makes King Herod a really horny bastard. Anyway, she asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter, and though he didn’t want to do it, King Herod refused to go back on his word and gave Salome exactly what she asked for. Gives a whole new meaning to giving head.
Samson and Delilah
Another example of a woman using her sexual power to get what she wanted in the Bible: Delilah was supposedly a prostitute (though she is never actually referred to as such in Judges, the book in which she appears) who was hired by her people to kill Samson, a Judge of Israel and enemy to her people. Delilah gets demonized as a whore, but in truth, she was acting for the good of her people in helping bring down someone who had ruthlessly murdered thousands of her countrymen. Guess it’s all a matter of perspective. Delilah succeeded in seducing Samson’s secret out of him – his power lay in his hair – and she promptly chopped his curly locks off.
Esther had the misfortune of being a gorgeous virgin who was picked out of a group of thousands of other virgins to marry the king of Persia. Esther was Jewish, and Jewish people were persecuted in Persia at the time. So what did she do? She hid her ethnicity as she played the role of the doting wife, then used her sway over the king to convince him to save her people from an impending genocide planned by one of his advisers. Not too bad for a girl who was picked for being pretty.
Deborah doesn’t quite fit into this list, but she is so damn bad ass, I just couldn’t leave her off. Deborah was one of the most successful Judges of Israel—that means she pretty much ruled the country and led the army. Her wins on the battlefield led to 40 years of peace in Israel, plus she was a prophet and a poet. She didn’t have to use sex—pretty much the only weapon women had at the time—to accomplish anything. Like I said: bad ass.
Sarah and Hagar
Having kids was so ridiculously important back in the old testament days that if you couldn’t have any, you were pretty much required to give your hubby another chick who could. That’s what happened to Sarah—she couldn’t conceive, so she said to Abraham, here, have sex with Hagar. (I highly doubt Hagar had any choice in the matter.) Hagar had a baby, which saved Sarah from being a bad barren wife—yay Hagar! And what was Hagar’s reward? Well, when Sarah finally did have a baby, she demanded that Hagar and her son be thrown out. Not the nicest way to treat someone that you forced to have sex with your husband.
Sarah and Abraham
Same Sarah as before. She was married to Abraham, aka the father of Israel. I realize that given Abraham’s status, I probably shouldn’t talk shit. But this guy acted like a pussy when it came to his marriage—I’m sorry, but it’s true. When he traveled with Sarah, he was terrified that other men would be so attracted to Sarah that they would kill him in order to be with her. His solution: pretend to be her brother. When someone came along and said, hey Sarah, I want you to be my wife, Abraham just let her go. And this happened multiple times! Not exactly husband of the year. But luckily for Abraham and Sarah, her sexual allure always ended up working toward their benefit when the truth about their marital status came out. Sarah must have been one fine broad to have her husband that terrified.
Hosea and Gomer
According to the book of Hosea, God told Hosea, “Go, take for yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord” (Hosea 1:2). Put in layman’s terms, God told his prophet to marry a prostitute. The idea was that Hosea would represent God and Gomer, the prostitute would represent Israel, and through the living symbol that was their marriage, God would speak to the people. Pretty fucked up, right? This is a clear cut case of God him or herself using sex as power.