"Is there ever a place for pornography in a relationship?"

The problem with pornography is it brings in the presence of other people to your sexual relationship. Christian sexual ethics are based on monogamy, faithfulness and exclusivity. This brings a profound security and stability that is often not fully appreciated by those who haven’t experienced the lack of it. Though pornography can bring more easy arousal, it’s a bit like living on chocolate bars for quick shots of sugar that leave us depleted of sustainable energy in the long-term. Pornography brings a lot of baggage with it. We can end up feeling unsexy ourselves, or dissatisfied with our partners. We can crave fantasies that are impossible to recreate in real life. Pornography can also deceive us into thinking that arousal and sexual gratification are the treasures, rather than the language of adoration and intimacy – which ultimately leads to a much more all-encompassing release.

"Is it wrong to experiment with sex within marriage, eg giving blow jobs?"

God gives us a freedom within our marriages to turn each other on, and enjoy making each other feel loved in whatever ways we are both comfortable with. The Bible is not prescriptive about particular acts, but simply gives us principles to apply. The principles I would suggest include faithfulness, not hurting each other emotionally or physically, and everything being fully consensual.

Experimentation within such healthy boundaries is good as it stops sex from getting boring and unsatisfying. 1 Corinthians 7:5 tells us not to abstain from sex for too long; in order to fulfil this with our hearts in it, it needs to be mutually enjoyable. People have their own personal preferences as to what is tasteful to them and what is not, and that should be respected within an overarching freedom under God to experiment. Oral sex can be a good additional ‘string to your bow’; just keep the overall experience satisfying for both people most of the time.

"Does sex always have to be ‘love making’ in marriage? Or can it be cheeky/dirty/sexy?"

These questions are subtle to answer as we are playing with the semantics of each of our understandings of the specific words used. Good sex is a connected experience between body and relationship. It is physically arousing and emotionally bonding and intimate, all at the same time. If we disconnect and it becomes an entirely physical experience (good or bad) it messes us up.

If ‘cheeky’ involves it being playful and fun, then go for it. If ‘sexy’ means you get in touch with the erotic side of your passion for each other, then that is part of the fire of love. If ‘dirty’ brings in disrespect for the other and cheapens the treasure of their body, then it will be like a rotten apple that will ruin your luscious fruit bowl.

"Should sex be initiated by both men and women, or just men?"

It is not at all wrong for women to initiate sex and take the lead at times. The ideal for a relationship is that there is an easy mix of both people initiating whenever they want to, and with sensitivity to when it is appropriate for the other person. Initiating sex is a sign that you want to be intimate with your partner and that you are attracted to them. Both men and women have this built into them. There are many drives that cause us to initiate sex – not just feeling raunchy. It is good to tap into the many sources that can make us want to make love. It is also important not to feel ashamed when we do feel in the mood. That is a lovely compliment to give to your partner, to make them feel desired.

"What is your view on domestic violence? Should women leave or stick it out?"

Violence in any relationship is always wrong. We should always honour and respect other people’s bodies, whatever our relationship with that person.

The Bible makes it clear that there are behaviours which break the marriage covenant. I don’t believe either men or women should ‘stick it out’ if their partner is being violent towards them. It is damaging to the souls of both people. If you are in this situation, I recommend strongly that you contact your local domestic abuse outreach service and create a safe plan as to how to remove yourself from the possibility of any further violence womensaid.org.uk.