Is sex within the marriage a defilement?

Hello there,
This is Joseph, live in MN. I Don’t think I introduced myself here yet, although I,ve been following “connect” for a while.
I love the Lord, I have been in the ministry for several years.
I found it helpful reading your thoughts in the links. Thanks Saen and others who are able to contribute to the topics. I will do my best as well.
I want to post this question. Does the Bible say or indicate that sex within the marriage is defilement for men or women? How do you explain. Rev 14:4; 1 Sam 21:5; Deut 23:9-11 and there are few other passages in OT when people of Israel prepared to meet at the tent with Moses.


Yes marital sex was considered unclean. But there is a difference between being unclean and being sinful. Just like how a woman on her period in those times were considered unclean but not in sin.

This link explains things pretty well I think.


@Joseph.JD Great question! The answer is no, sex within marriage is not a defilement. As we see in Hebrews, marriage should be honored by all:

Hebrews 13:4 - Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Paul does make an allowance where married couples can remain apart for a brief time to devote themselves to prayer, but then encourages them to come together again.

I Cor 7:5 - Don’t refuse to meet each other’s needs unless you both agree for a short period of time to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come back together again so that Satan might not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Rev 14:4 - Two Interpretations

1 - “virginity in this passage is not referring to physical singleness, but rather their refusal to associate with the harlot” (Steve Gregg - Revelation: Four Views). In other words, they are virgins spiritually; not physically, because they refuse to worship the beast and be associated with the evil powers of the world. Instead, they keep themselves pure unto God.

2 - This is the Greek word in this passage and it refers generally to being defiled and in this context to sexual immorality; not sex within marriage.


  1. to pollute, stain, contaminate, defile 1a) used in NT of those who have not kept themselves pure from the defilements of sin, who have soiled themselves by fornication and adultery

Old Testament Purity Laws

The Old Testament required that people be ritually clean. But, as @Luna pointed out, ritual uncleanness itself is not sin. Likewise, as Jesus points out in the New Testament, ritual cleanness does not imply purity of heart. Righteousness comes from within - not by virtue of eating the right foods or remaining outwardly clean.

I believe these laws regarding cleanness were put in place to help the Israelites remember that they could not live like the surrounding nations; as a reminder that they were set apart unto God.

What then was the purpose of these laws regarding ritual cleanness? I believe to help people understand that sin within us is a deformity that cannot be dealt with easily - it would require a spotless sacrifice, God’s Son. And also to help the people understand that they could not live like the nations that surrounded them.


Thanks Sean and Luna for your insight.


two great answers… if you have not seen any of their material before, theBibleProject is quite interesting on the topic of ritual purity vs sin…

In the Torah Series ( the video on Leviticus might be of interest regarding ritual purity as compared to sin? Actually the whole Torah video series is very good. :slight_smile:

and the videos on ‘Holiness’ and ‘Atonement’ both are very good as well…