Lingerie is a category of women’s clothing that includes undergarments and nightwear. However, we do not usually think of lingerie as including flannel nightgowns and thermal body armor. The word lingerie connotes frilly, lacy, and provocative intimate apparel worn for the pleasure of a sexual partner. Since many pieces of lingerie are designed to elicit a sexual response, should a Christian wife wear that kind of lingerie for her husband?
When considering the intimate decisions between husband and wife, we must always keep in mind the Bible’s instruction in 1 Corinthians 7:3–5, which reminds spouses that their bodies belong to each other. A wife’s wearing of sexy lingerie for her husband is certainly within the realm of Christian liberty, and there is nothing wrong with a wife voluntarily wearing such lingerie for his enjoyment.
However, the practice of a wife wearing sexy lingerie for her husband can be taken too far. A lustful, selfish husband may insist that his wife play degrading roles for his own satisfaction and in ways that are not mutually pleasing. Making a wife dress like a prostitute, insisting she wear lingerie that demeans her, or pressuring her to pretend roles that make her uncomfortable is not a part of Paul’s instruction for mutual submission. Husbands and wives should not be ashamed to experiment with and enjoy sexual expression with each other in any way they want; however, some Christian wives feel pressured by their husbands to behave in the bedroom in ways they find revolting. A wise and loving husband will never use his wife’s submission as an excuse to violate her conscience. If a wife wears sexually provocative lingerie, it should be because both husband and wife are in agreement about it (Ephesians 5:21).
Sometimes a Christian wife will justify wearing revealing or sexually themed clothing in public by saying, “My husband likes it.” However, what is fine behind closed doors is not equally fine out and about. If her husband is not the only man who will be seeing her dressed that way, then modesty must prevail (1 Timothy 2:9). A woman who desires to honor the Lord with her body will dress and conduct herself to bring honor to her husband and to the Lord (Proverbs 31:11–12).
God invented sex and designated it as a loving action between a married man and woman (Genesis 2:22–25). But rebellious humanity has stripped it of its sacredness and perverted it with a myriad of sexual sins, some of which are evident in certain styles of lingerie. A Christian couple who desires to keep the sanctity of their marital union will guard their hearts against demeaning what God calls good. If lingerie or certain sexual actions challenge a husband or wife’s purity of heart, those choices need to be changed as a way of lovingly submitting to each other.