Is sex in marriage for procreation only, and doesn’t need to be continued once all your children are born?
Answer: Cultural Myth
I’ve come across many LDS members who have let their sex life die out of neglect, or purposefully stamped it out, after their children were born. This is a serious mistake to make, and is not supported by the doctrine of the apostles and prophets, old or new.
“It is the destiny of men and women to join together to make eternal family units. 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 the process of creation and in an expression of love.”~ Spencer W. Kimball, The Lord’s Plan for Men and Women, Ensign, Oct. 1974, emphasis added
“Physical intimacy between husband and wife is beautiful and sacred. It is ordained of God for the creation of children and for the expression of love between husband and wife. God has commanded that sexual intimacy be reserved for marriage.”~Sexual Purity," For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God, (2001), emphasis added
The belief that sex is for procreation only, and should or will someday be eradicated entirely originates with the early Catholic beliefs that:
- the body is evil
- the day will come that we will be freed from our body and all these earthly desires, and
- we must discipline ourselves to not give in to any bodily desires under any circumstances if we are to obtain perfection.
Important as the function of procreation in marriage is, sex in marriage is good for much more than having children. It helps us (and peripherally, our children and grandchildren) to become more like our Heavenly Father.
“The lawful association of the sexes is ordained of God, not only for the sole means of race perpetuation, but for the development of the higher faculties and nobler traits of human nature, which the love-inspired companionship of man and woman alone can insure.” – Joseph F. Smith, as quoted in The Eternal Marriage Student Manual, p. 139, emphasis added
We don’t get the benefits of eternal marriage by simply pretending to be happily married while our husband or wife is miserable because they’re not getting any sexual intimacy. We must choose the path of happiness every day and go to work on it (2 Nephi 5:27). This includes sex with our spouse – for all of our married life; not just during the childbearing years.