Intended for Pleasure

by Ed & Gaye Wheat

This book by the Masters and Johnson of Christianity (Ed Wheat is a medical doctor and a "certified sex therapist"; the publisher dubs Intended for Pleasure: "the definitive Christian sex manual") continues to come highly recommended by many pastors and church leaders. The Wheats have also published a set of two 90-minute cassette tapes entitled, "Sex Techniques & Sex Problems in Marriage" -- the cassettes contain many of the things found in Intended for Pleasure. Even if one were to accept the premise that a Christian needs a "how-to" sex manual (which we do not accept, since if it were necessary, it would already be in Scripture; otherwise God has left us deficient of what we need), Intended for Pleasure also provides the reader with a large dose of unbiblical teaching that has drawn upon the concepts and teachings of humanistic psychology. Below are listed some quotes from the book (1981Ed:Revell) and our comments that detail these concerns: (All emphases added.)

(a) "You can build up her self-esteem just through your words to her" (p. 41).

(b) "[Impotence] cuts away his [a man's] self-esteem where he is most vulnerable" (p. 121).

(c) "[Obesity] sometimes lowers the individual's self-image and confidence" (p. 123).

(d) "A woman who has difficulty in accepting herself may view the husband's impotency as a personal rejection of her ..." (p. 126).

(e) "But a different problem arises when an individual does not have a good feeling about himself ... People with a low self-image may feel that they have nothing to give ..." (p. 135).

(f) Interprets Psa. 139:14, "Fearfully and wonderfully made" to mean, "I need to take the best care of my body possible," in order to develop a positive feeling toward my body! (pp. 135-136).

(g) "Do you accept yourself the way you are?" (p. 146).

(h) "... [Have] confidence in your own desirability ..." (p. 151).

(i) People feeling inadequate with themselves "may temporarily lose their sense of themselves as persons" (p. 191).

(j) Wheat becomes obsessed with psychological "needs," when Biblically, these so-called needs should be called "wants" or "desires" (p. 197).

(k) "Loving, mutual appreciation will amazingly enhance your relationship and your total self-concept" (p. 206).

(l) "The aftereffects of stroke often reduce a patient's confidence and sense of self-esteem" (p. 208).

(m) If appreciated by our mate, "we develop the assurance of our own self-worth" (p. 236).

-  Wheat's list of suggested readings at the end of the book (pp. 245-246) further reflects his love of psychologically-oriented concepts:

(a) Linda Dillow, Creative Counterpart
(b) James Dobson, What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women
(c) Tim & Beverly LaHaye, The Act of Marriage (Tim LaHaye has also endorsed and written the Foreword to Intended for Pleasure)
(d) Frank Minirth, Christian Psychiatry (A "balanced, biblical approach to personal problems")
(e) Frank Minirth & Paul Meier, Happiness is a Choice ("A psychotheraputic approach to depression and anxiety")
(f) Marabel Morgan, The Total Woman (heavily self-esteem oriented)
(g) Charles Swindoll, Strike the Original Match
(h) H. Norman Wright, Communication: Key to Your Marriage (Freudian psychologist and endorser of Intended for Pleasure)

-  Dr. Robert Smith, a medical doctor and "Biblical counselor," reviewed Intended for Pleasure in an article in The Journal of Pastoral Practice. Smith personally recommends that Intended for Pleasure not be given by counselors to married couples without proper warning. Dr. Smith expresses his concerns when he says:

"The chapter [Chapter 3] thus begins with a strong proper definition of love as giving and commitment, but regrettably is diluted by the giving-to-get concept which appears in the last half of the chapter ... [Wheat] gives the impression that these benefits [reciprocal respect and consideration] should motivate one to love ... this is contrary to biblical teaching and the way Wheat began the chapter ... One of the main weaknesses that appears throughout the entire book ... is the giving-to-get philosophy ..." (Emphasis added.)

In Wheat's discussion (in Chapter 7) of a wife unable to achieve orgasm, Wheat suggests self-stimulation/masturbation. Smith correctly observes that, "the focus on masturbation is on getting, whereas the Word of God teaches that the focus should be on giving, with receiving as a by-product." Smith recommends that, "Whenever it [the book] is used, the concepts of self-stimulation and giving-to-get must be counteracted." We might add that the humanistic psychological concepts taught by the Wheats must also be counteracted. This being the case, why use the book at all?

Biblical Discernment Ministries - Revised 9/99