A little disclaimer before you read this post: This was not originally a blog post. I was commissioned by Circle Six Magazine, an online magazine aimed at Christian men ages 18-35, to write an article about Song of Solomon for Valentine’s Day. With their readership in mind, I let it all hang out with no self-censoring for this article. This might make you blush. It kind of makes me blush to have it on my blog. The article was published in 2006 and I’m just now posting a link to it in 2010. (I still can’t bring myself to share the link on Facebook.) But here’s the thing: I think this may be one of the best articles I’ve ever written.
After the article was published someone wrote in the forums that this article changed her life. She said that she and her husband had been doing everything that the article suggests, but she always felt a little guilty about it, like enjoying sex was wrong. Reading this, she said, gave her new freedom in her marriage. I loved that! So here it is… if you have trouble making eye contact with me after reading this, I’ll try to understand.
You have tried the candles, the wine, the Barry White, maybe even some toys… so what else is there? How about the Song of Solomon? You may not believe it, but hidden in the middle of the Bible is a book all about sex and love, and Solomon holds nothing back. The Song of Solomon is an X-rated, adults-only celebration of love and sex, as erotic as anything you are going to find in a porno shop. In fact, some Jewish rabbis recommend that no one under the age of thirty be allowed to read the book.
Song of Solomon paints a beautiful picture of romance, sex, and intimacy in the context of marriage, but for thousands of years interpreters have been trying to find some way to get around it. Surely God would not talk about things like that in the Bible! So they find all kinds of hidden meanings about God’s relationship with Israel or Jesus’ relationship with the Church – anything to avoid sex in the Bible. The fact is Song of Solomon is a celebration of love and sex enjoyed freely by a married couple the way God intended. This book is thick with eroticism and offers plenty of tips for married couples on how to keep each other happy between the sheets. There’s a lot of good stuff in these eight chapters, but I am going to cut to the chase and just talk about the dirty parts. Feel free to take notes.
First, let’s introduce the characters in the story. We have Solomon, the king of all Israel, and his new bride, a simple girl from the country who is only identified as “the Shulammite.” Already this sounds like the perfect setup for either a hit romantic comedy or a dirty porn. It is their wedding day, and this girl is already getting hot and bothered thinking about what is coming later that night. As we look at this book, there are some wonderful and steamy tips every couple can take away and put into practice.
Tip #1: Ladies, never be afraid to initiate sex in your marriage. Trust me; your husband will appreciate it!
1:2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
for your love is more delightful than wine.
3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
your name is like perfume poured out.
No wonder the maidens love you!
4 Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.
As the wedding approaches, the Shulammite is not worried about whether or not the caterer has been paid or what the flowers look like for the ceremony. She just wants to get this show on the road and get down to the business of lovemaking. She is imagining him kissing her, thinking about how he smells, and she longs to enter his chambers with him. This is a girl who has her priorities straight. She is not ashamed of her sex drive and is willing to initiate things when she feels the urge.
Tip #2: Try new things! Do not be afraid to experiment.
2:3 Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest
is my lover among the young men.
I delight to sit in his shade,
and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
Here she is giving him a little sneak peak of what she wants to do after they have walked across the threshold. She wants him to be standing while she sits in his shade and tastes his “fruit.” Now what exactly could she mean by fruit? Apples? Pears? Nuts? Most guys would run down the aisle if their bride-to-be starting making these kinds of offers. She is not afraid to experiment with her husband and tell him what she wants. All men should be so lucky.
Tip #3: Men, take your time and enjoy building anticipation. Do not rush through foreplay.
The wedding takes place in Chapter 3, and in Chapter 4, the marriage is consummated. For the first seven verses, Solomon looks at his new bride wearing nothing but a veil over her eyes, and talks seductively to her. (Note to men: When your wife is naked in front of you, choose your words carefully!) His eyes slowly inch down her body, as he describes her hair, her eyes, her lips, and her cheeks flushed with anticipation and desire.
4:5 Your two breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle
that browse among the lilies.
Why does seeing his wife topless make Solomon think of two furry little woodland creatures? I think there is something subtle going on here. When you see furry little baby animals, what is your first instinct? You pet them! Solomon is a breast man, and he cannot wait to get his hands on her. Instead of rushing right in though, he takes his time and uses his words to get her ready. Foreplay is important to a woman. He speaks of their sultry adventures, which only seem to end with the setting of the sun.
Tip #4: Enjoy every part of your partner. All five senses are important in the bedroom.
4:12 You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride;
you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.
13 Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates
with choice fruits,
with henna and nard,
14 nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes
and all the finest spices.
15 You are a garden fountain,
a well of flowing water
streaming down from Lebanon.
The woman has saved her virginity for her husband and until this point has been a “locked garden” and a “sealed fountain.” Now that garden is wide open, and Solomon is enjoying all its fruits. Pomegranates, henna flowers, nard, saffron, calamus, cinnamon, incense, myrrh, and aloes were the finest fruits and spices available in the Middle East, and all had erotic implications. He’s talking about smells and tastes coming from her body, which he now calls a “well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon.” There is no place for inhibitions in the bedroom. Explore, touch, taste, feel, smell, and experience your partner in every way you can. After all this sensory indulgence, she is hot, horny, and ready, and she invites him to keep going. She gives herself freely to him.
Tip #5: Men, when your wife is in the mood for love, be willing to change your schedule around for her.
5:2 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.”
3 I have taken off my robe—
must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet—
must I soil them again?
4 My lover thrust his hand through the latch-opening;
my heart began to pound for him.
5 I arose to open for my lover,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with flowing myrrh,
on the handles of the lock.
6 I opened for my lover,
but my lover had left; he was gone.
Every couple has a bad night now and then; Solomon and the Shulammite were no exception. The beginning of the chapter says Solomon arrived home late, and his beloved was naked in bed awaiting his arrival. She had already perfumed her body with myrrh, a sure sign she had planned on making love, yet now the mood is ruined. She becomes angry with her beloved for not calling (forgetting, of course, that phones would not be invented for a few thousand more years) and refuses to unlock the door for him.
Solomon tries to smooth talk her into showing him a little affection, calling her “my darling,” “my dove,” and “my flawless one.” This time, though, his words fall on deaf ears, and he makes one final attempt reaching for his beloved through an opening in the door. Seeing how much he wants to be with her moves her heart, and she decides to open up for him. She goes to open the door, but it is too late. Solomon is gone. Solomon’s story aside, if you keep your wife waiting until one in the morning while you play X-Box, do not assume your wife is going to be so thrilled over your Halo victory that she will want to celebrate with you. Be considerate of her feelings. When she is in the mood, go spend time with her, or you may find her back to you, being in no mood for passion.
Tip #6: Ladies, every man appreciates a good striptease.
In Chapter 7, Solomon’s new bride gives him a private performance by dancing naked for him. This is one of the most explicit passages in the entire book. Solomon watches her intently, observing each part of her body, from her feet to the top of her head, leaving nothing out. The word Solomon uses for one of her body parts is so graphic the English translators get a little scared and translate it as “navel.” Solomon compares this body part to a bowl of wine: round, red, and wet. He says it is full of wine, sweet to the taste and intoxicating. Whoever said the Bible had to be boring? After her dance, he can no longer remain an observer.
Tip #7: When the time is right, let her know how you feel and make your move.
7:7 Your stature is like that of the palm,
and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
8 I said, “I will climb the palm tree;
I will take hold of its fruit.”
May your breasts be like the clusters of the vine,
the fragrance of your breath like apples,
9a and your mouth like the best wine.
Solomon makes his intentions clear – he wants to take hold of his bride, touch her breasts, taste them, and kiss her, taking in every part of her. The environment is perfect for a night of satisfying lovemaking.
Tip #8: Be spontaneous!
7:11 Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside,
let us spend the night in the villages.
12 Let us go early to the vineyards
to see if the vines have budded,
if their blossoms have opened,
and if the pomegranates are in bloom—
there I will give you my love.
13 The mandrakes send out their fragrance,
and at our door is every delicacy,
both new and old,
that I have stored up for you, my lover.
In the final sexual scene of the book, the Shulammite asks Solomon to take her away for the weekend. She wants to take a vacation to keep things fresh. Budding vines, opening blossoms, pomegranates, and mandrakes were all considered to be aphrodisiacs. Here, among all these outdoor delicacies, she promises, “There I will give you my love.” Not just in the country, but outside under the open sky, they will find a place for just the two of them where they can give themselves to each other. Outdoor sex… have I mentioned that Solomon was a lucky guy?
Did you take good notes? If not, pick up your Bible and read it again. You might even try reading some of it out loud to your wife. The Song of Solomon is what marriage and sex are all about: love, commitment, pleasure, enjoyment, and mutual satisfaction. God, in all his wisdom, gave us a guide book for a happy sex life, so make sure to not overlook it. Now stop reading and put your Bible study into action. You can have this same kind of passion in your own marriage. Go light the candles, pour some wine, turn up the music, and enjoy the fruits of your own private garden.
Originally published at Circle Six Magazine.