An “atheist” from the Prairie provinces once said to me in a misotheistic tone: “you’re free to have a kinky fetish. But don’t use the Bible to justify it.”
I’m sure many believers share his sentiment, sans the you’re-free-to-live-your-life-without-regard-for-that-ancient-book-called-the-bible mindset. In fact, I agree with believers on this point. It’s wrong to thumb through God’s Word in order to justify our every sex act and bedroom fantasy. Such irreverence reduces Scripture to a sex manual.
However, I’ve said several times that Couples Nursing is no mere sex act. Since it creates such a deep bond that it has spiritual ramifications (even non-believers have lauded it for being spiritual and soul-deep), it’s well worth exploring from a Biblical perspective. I think lifestyles ought to be defended biblically, specific sex acts or our favorite positions should not.
But before we go any further, let’s dispel any notions of Couples Nursing being a fetish.
The Oxford English dictionary defines fetish as “a form of sexual desire in which gratification is linked to an abnormal degree to a particular object, item of clothing, part of the body, etc.”
WebMD says “A fetish is sexual excitement in response to an object or body part that’s not typically sexual, such as shoes or feet. They’re more common in men. Many people with fetishes must have the object of their attraction at hand or be fantasizing about it, alone or with a partner, in order to become sexually aroused, get an erection, and have an orgasm.”
For many with fetishes, sexual climax cannot be achieved without the particular object or act.
Is Couples Nursing a fetish for some? Undoubtedly. Is it a fetish for most? Is it intrinsically a fetish? Well, given the fact that many ANR-interested folks never experience it, yet they get married and have children, I think the answer is obvious.
I’ve learned that the majority of the ANR-desirous have no problem enjoying sex that doesn’t include nursing. Therefore, it fails to meet the definition of fetish.
Note WebMD’s inclusion of the sentence “[fetishes are] more common in men”. While there are men out there who fetishize ANRs, the fact that a roughly equal proportion of women also greatly yearn for this intimacy destroys the selfish male fantasy theory.
I admit the fact that we all have our biases. For example, I mentioned the owner of the Christian site on sexuality who said he’s not into ANR. His bias was revealed when he gave his interpretation of Proverbs 5:19 to be along the lines of “let her breasts satisfy you in a sexually exhilarating but non-milky sense.” The encouragement to nurse from one’s wife would be inconsistent with the rest of Scripture, he opined. He didn’t elaborate on this perceived inconsistency but I’m guessing he believes that Couples Nursing contradicts the biblical mandate men have to be the leader in the marriage. I could see why he would think that, but he’s making an assumption.
He doesn’t realize that vulnerability/humility and leadership aren’t mutually exclusive. He seems to have jumped to a conclusion and likely never researched or consulted any men engaged in this lifestyle, or else he would get a first hand account from real men whose masculinity is never threatened and who don’t even come close to thinking about paraphilic infantilism or pedophilia at any time during the course of their Adult Nursing Relationship. Placing yourself in a position of vulnerability doesn’t necessarily diminish your status as a strong leader. Even Christ, despite His universal preeminence, was born in a manger, had no place to lay His head and although the only innocent man that ever lived, was brutally murdered. Jesus is my Lord and Master, with all power and authority, but for my sins, He didn’t think twice about putting Himself in a vulnerable position that to the undiscerning eye, seems totally foolish and inconsistent with His position of absolute supremacy. Frankly, that the God of the universe would humble Himself to die like a criminal for His sinful subjects seems crazy. It is utterly inconsistent with most parts of the Hebrew Scriptures, so the Jews took offense and rejected it outright, sometimes violently. This ANR refuser’s claims of inconsistency supports my conjecture that people oppose Couples Nursing probably due to psychological reasons. Most of us have been so socially conditioned that we’re unable to dissociate breast milk and babies.
I haven’t come across anything in Scripture that says breast milk is only for babies. The mental block against Adult Breastfeeding is psychological, not spiritual, in the same way people back in the ’50s had a psychological block against some now widely practiced sex acts- notably oral sex, and I’m sure even against kissing some centuries ago. Christ has set us free from such unbiblical taboos.
The tendency to relate adult breastfeeding with adult bottle feeding is unfounded. While some in the ANR community belong to a sub-community that celebrates infantilism (adult babies), I know from spending time researching and viewing hundreds of ANR dating profiles that fewer than 10% also include this mother-baby role playing sub-lifestyle in their nursing relationship.
I totally disagree with the ANR skeptic’s view of it being inconsistent with God’s Word. One of the most critical reasons for having an Adult Nursing Relationship is unity. What does the Bible say about unity? Genesis 2:24-25 tells us that “a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed,” and we’re reminded in Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:6-9: “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Ephesians 5:29 says a husband is to treat his wife’s body like his very own and in v. 21, we’re commanded to submit to one another. Again reminding us of the one-flesh union and its gospel implication, 1 Corinthians 6:16-17 states: “Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” Song 7:8 states “may your breasts be clusters of the vine,” Song 8:2 essentially reads “we’re in an intimate setting and I’m giving him the juice of my pomegranate to drink,” Romans 12:4-5 and 1 Corinthians 12 tell us we are one body with many members. Hebrews 2:11 states “For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all are of one. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters” and in John 17:22b-23, Jesus prayed: “that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one.” Time and again, I’ve discovered that couples in an ANR report being a lot more united.
Marriage is an analogy of the gospel. A beautiful one, I should add. But it isn’t a perfect analogy. Husbands and wives aren’t literally Christ and the Church, respectively. Christ doesn’t need the Church like husbands need their wives. While men are called to be spiritual and financial nurturers, women are to be nutritional and emotional nurturers. Ephesians 5:21-33 implicitly says God intends nurturing in marriage to be a two way street. Yes, it’s extremely biblical and beautiful for men to be nurtured by their wives.
Rather than undermining divinely established gender roles by infantilizing the strong spiritual leader of the marriage, Couples Nursing upholds these roles. It fortifies men’s existing natural sexual attraction to breasts, women’s instinct to nurture, and both parties’ desires for marital intimacy.
If one knew every detail of said ANR skeptic’s life, a case could be made for the biblical inconsistency of almost all his actions. If we choose to approach life skeptically, we can probably label everything as being inconsistent with Scripture.
The opposite is also true. We all have our biases and are prone to using any means, especially the most authoritative, to defend them. I admit my inclination towards defending ANRs due to my personal interest. But to see if I’m perverting the grace of God into a license for immorality as Jude warns against, or if I’m twisting Scripture to protect my interest and further some ANR “agenda” of mine, let’s examine the objective biblical evidence. I implore you to click the links to follow and investigate the primary sources for yourself. Unfortunately, some ANR skeptics won’t click any links to these sites in order to do any Berean investigation, for fear of being confronted with what I believe is the truth.
The interlinear Hebrew Bible is available for anyone to read online. Logos Bible Software gives a detailed explanation of interlinear Bibles here. Proverbs 5:19 in the interlinear Hebrew found at scripture4all.org literally reads “nipples-of·her they-shall-satiate·you in·every-of season”. In other words, “let her nipples satiate you in all seasons.”
Screenshot taken directly from Proverbs 5:19 of Interlinear Hebrew Bible on Scripture4all.org (PDF)
Let’s review that. “Let her nipples satiate you.” Men tend to be attracted to women’s breasts as a whole. Mentioning a wife’s nipples sounds incredibly specific.
If the verse were meant to clearly steer us away from getting any ideas about nursing, why would Scripture 4 All use the word ‘nipples’ or a term whose root is to “drench, drink, drink its fill, drink our fill, fill, filled, made me drunk, satiated, satisfy, soaked, water its abundantly, watering, waters”?
Said Christian ANR skeptic objected to concluding that the word ravah, Strong’s number H7301 in Proverbs 5:19 refers to drinking anything, and as another usage worth exploring in the debate, he quoted Proverbs 7:18: “Come, let’s drink deeply (H7301) of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love!” The same word, he countered, yet nonsensical if it’s rendered in a drinking sense in this context, since love is obviously not a fluid to drink. Good counter argument, but he’s ignoring some inconvenient evidence. Besides Proverbs 5:19, the root word ravah (H7301) appears 14 times in Scripture. In every instance except 4, it has a denotation of drinking a liquid substance. 9 of the 14 are clearly about being bathed/satisfied/drunk with a literal fluid.
Consider these examples (emphases obviously mine):
They drink their fill H7301
of the abundance of Your house; And You give them to drink H7301
of the river
of Your delights.
You water H7301
its furrows abundantly
You settle its ridges,
You soften it with showers
You bless its growth.
The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters H7301
will himself be watered
For that day belongs to the Lord GOD
A day of vengeance, so as to avenge Himself on His foes;
And the sword will devour and be satiated
And drink H7301 its fill H7301
of their blood
For there will be a slaughter for the Lord GOD
In the land of the north by the river Euphrates.
“For as the rain
and the snow
come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering H7301
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
So we see that whenever ravah is used in Scripture, the object is often a liquid like rain, snow, blood, water or river. Proverbs 7:18 is one of the few clear exceptions to the majority rendering, because 64% of the time, the word (mis)translated “satisfy” or “fill with delight” in most of our English Bibles’ versions of Proverbs 5:19, means:
I. to be satiated or saturated, have or drink one’s fill
(Qal) to take one’s fill
to be drunk, be intoxicated
to drench, water abundantly, saturate
(Hiphil) to saturate, water, cause to drink
At 64%, I find the confidence interval slightly convincing. “But ravah is used as a figure of speech, as swords don’t literally drink blood! You’re obviously misinterpreting the Hebrew root,” some might argue. For context, if we read Proverbs 5:15-20 and consider the seven other references there that use liquid, refreshing, nourishing metaphors to describe wives,
(Drink water from your own cistern,
running water from your own well, … your springs overflow,
your streams of water, … may your fountain be blessed,
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts drench you always,
may you ever be led astray with her love.
20 Why, my son, be led astray with another man’s wife?
Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?),
the confidence interval is augmented by another 35%. All evidence considered, I’m virtually convinced that Proverbs 5:19 originally read “let her breasts satisfy you” both in a dry, psychological sense and in a sense of drinking a liquid substance.
If I were married and wrote my wife a letter, I wouldn’t want to annoy or confuse her with dozens of possible interpretations. I certainly won’t want her guessing and questioning my intentions.
17 Therefore, I was not vacillating when I intended to do this, was I? Or what I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, so that with me there will be yes, yes and no, no at the same time? 18 But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no. 19 For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—was not yes and no, but is yes in Him. 20 For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.
-2 Corinthians 1
Similarly, when He wrote the Scriptures, God had only one interpretation in mind. He doesn’t vacillate between 30 different interpretations. The duty of the believer is to be in harmony with that sole interpretation. This is precisely why “Second Timothy 2:15 commands believers to be involved in hermeneutics.” In this video, Dr. John Piper does a great job explaining the basics of hermeneutics.
(The following link is a PDF) Song 8:2-3 on Scripture 4 all’s Interlinear Hebrew literally states “I-am-giving-to-drink·you from·wine the·compound from·juice-of pomegranate-of·me left-arm-of·him under head-of·me and·right-arm-of·him she-is-embracing·me” or when translated non-literally: “I am giving you wine to drink, the juice of my pomegranate. His left hand is under my head, and his right hand is embracing me.“
On the topic of biblical hermeneutics, Got Questions Ministries says “Any attempt to ‘spiritualize’ the number [fed by the loaves and fish] or to deny a literal miracle is to do injustice to the text and ignore the purpose of language, which is to communicate. Some interpreters make the mistake of trying to read between the lines of Scripture to come up with esoteric meanings that are not truly in the text, as if every passage has a hidden spiritual truth that we should seek to decrypt. Biblical hermeneutics keeps us faithful to the intended meaning of Scripture and away from allegorizing Bible verses that should be understood literally.”
GQM also says “interpreting a passage contextually involves considering the context of a verse or passage when trying to determine the meaning. The context includes the verses immediately preceding and following, the chapter, the book, and, most broadly, the entire Bible.”
Let’s apply concepts we’ve just learned on Biblical hermeneutics from Got Questions to the Song of Solomon’s chapter 8, verse 2 as follows:
1. The first rule of biblical hermeneutics, we’re told, is to read literally. If the woman wants to feed her husband literal pomegranate juice, it’s rather odd that she prefers to do so in private, to avoid being subjected to neighborhood gossip. I find it rather juvenile to say “let’s sneak into my private quarters so I can feed you some pomegranate wine I just made.” Lovebirds past the puppy love stage are often eager to consummate their relationship in ways much more x-rated than sipping pomegranate wine – all on God’s schedule, of course.
2. Since the literal approach didn’t quite click, we proceed to read grammatically and (more) contextually, and we immediately discern that the wife isn’t referring to feeding her husband wine squeezed from literal pomegranates. Moreover, pomegranate wine isn’t made by simply squeezing it out of the fruit.
Therefore, she’s referring to something other than a literal pomegranate.
3. What is she referring to? Let’s re-read the verse in context. Again, she first expresses the desire to be with her man without being despised. In a private setting. She also longs for the ability to kiss him without engendering any gossip. In the next verse, she says “his left arm is under my head. His right arm is embracing me.” So we read that their bodies are touching and she’s giving him something to drink in a very up close and personal context.
4. With his left arm under her head and right arm embracing her, the husband can comfortably reach his wife’s head, neck, breasts, and her upper torso, not much else.
Further, the only organs that resemble pomegranates on a woman’s body, are easily accessible to her husband, produce a liquid that can be consumed in the intimate context of Song 8:2 are her breasts. Nothing else reasonably fits the scene depicted in the verse.
5. At this point, I believe it’s obvious she’s referring to Couples Nursing, but for the sake of completion, let’s consider the third and final law of biblical hermeneutics, “that Scripture is always the best interpreter of Scripture.” When we “most broadly [consider] the entire Bible,” we read in Genesis 2:24 that “[the two] shall become one flesh,” and in Ephesians 5:28-33: “husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body. As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself,” we realize that the Bible as a whole takes very seriously the one-flesh union of husband and wife, because it shadows the deep, abiding, organic, visceral, indwelling, invasive, intrusive union Christ has with His bride. Also, remember that placing yourself in a position of vulnerability can paradoxically be the best way to show biblical leadership (side note: the Maccabees aren’t inspired).
6. Since nothing else reasonably fits the scene described in Song 8:2, and such an intimate, invasive, indwelling, penetrative union between bride and Groom is very consistent with the rest of Scripture, she has to be referring to Couples Nursing.
Above: no matter how they’re positioned, with his left arm under her head and his right arm embracing her, a man’s face would likely be around the upper third of his wife’s body.
Unfortunately, I’m not 100% certain what the original Proverbs 5:19 says, although contextual evidence brings me extremely close to 100% certainty.
I honestly don’t know how one can twist “let her nipples satiate you” into anything except “let them satiate you in a liquid, milky sense.” I also don’t know how one can miss all the words in Proverbs 5 that describe wives as “fountains,” “springs,” “cisterns” and “wells” from which a man drinks “water,” “running water” and “streams of water.”
Again, Proverbs 5:19 is not 100% conclusive. Scripture 4 all’s interlinear Hebrew Bible reads “let her nipples satiate you.” Others say something like “let her breasts satisfy you.” This is where contextual reading and turning to parallel passages come really handy. I’m now convinced that Song 8:2 offers an even stronger apologetic. It’s interesting how each time I set out to dig into what the Bible really says about Couples Nursing to engage the ANR critic, I almost always uncover another truth that I myself wasn’t aware of, a truth that only ends up buttressing my own ANR convictions.
Furthermore, considering Bible translators’ proclivity for removing erotic material, all the anecdotal evidence of ANR’s ability to strengthen, stabilize, sizzle and steam up marriages, and the Christ-like character traits in ANR-interested women, in addition to the other two Bible verses that very strongly support a Couples Nursing interpretation, there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that God intentionally left Couples Nursing as an option for couples seeking to deepen their intimacy.