The scriptures say that to be carnally minded is death, while to be spiritually minded is life eternal. How does this apply to intimacy in marriage? How can one engage in physical intimacy with one’s own spouse without having carnal thoughts and feelings creep in—even lust? It’s driving me crazy. Don’t those things quench the spirit just as much in marriage as they do outside of it? I don’t understand how I could give someone an inspired priesthood blessing if I had recently been “physical” with my spouse. The desire to pray or read the scriptures is far from my mind after such things happen—for many hours. Please forgive the nature of the question, but I truly don’t understand.
In 5th chapter of Abraham we are told that after the Gods created Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden, they said: “14…Let us make an help meet for the man, for it is not good that the man should be alone, therefore we will form an help meet for him.” They then created Eve and brought her unto Adam. Abraham continues: “18 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh. 19 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
They were commanded to multiply and fill the earth after having been sealed for time and eternity by the Lord himself. When Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, Adam was aware that he had to follow suit or they would have been separated and unable to fulfill this great commandment from the Lord.
In the October 1998 issue of the Ensign, Elder Dallin H. Oaks stated: “The expression of our procreative powers is pleasing to God, but he has commanded that this be confined within the relationship of marriage.” President Kimball taught us: “in the context of lawful marriage, the intimacy of sexual relations is right and divinely approved. There is nothing unholy or degrading about sexuality in itself, for by that means men and women join in a process of creation and in an expression of love.”(The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball)
Sexual relations between a man and woman who have been properly wed is not only a means of procreation, but also a means of expressing one’s love for another. It is something that binds couples together and brings them closer to one another. This is part of the meaning of becoming one flesh. Just as it would not be right for one to engage in sexual relations outside the bonds of marriage, it would not be right if there was not a great love for one’s spouse. Sexual relations with one’s spouse whom you have tremendous love for cannot be carnal or lustful.
In the same issue of the Ensign, Elder Richard G. Scott stated: “Within the enduring covenant of marriage, the Lord permits husband and wife the expression of the sacred procreative powers in all their loveliness and beauty within the bounds He has set. One purpose of this private, sacred, intimate experience is to provide the physical bodies for the spirits Father in Heaven wants to experience mortality, another reason for these powerful and beautiful feelings of love is to bind husband and wife together in loyalty, fidelity, consideration of each other, and common purpose.”
As we engage in sexual relations with our spouses as a means of expressing our great love for them, it will bind us together and strengthen our loyalty, fidelity and resolve to be a better companions. There can be nothing about it that is carnal or lustful.