The basic question is re: having power over the other's body. Dave
Hello my dear brother Dave!! :)
As far as that whole section of Paul's letter I suspect there was a lot going on that we just aren't aware of. Here's the passage:
Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But this I say by way of concession, not of command. Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that. 1 Corinthians 7:1-7
The Corinthians had written to Paul about some specific things regarding sexual relations between men and women, and here he is addressing those things ... though what they are is only implied in his answer. I think THEY were the ones who made the statement, "It is good for a man not to touch a woman" and Paul was merely referencing it.
You know, from all the contradictions Paul addressed regarding the Corinthians I'm wondering if maybe they had been trying to impress him by telling him about their duty or devotion to God that entailed a neglect of their spouses based upon this idea that sexual touch was evil. Otherwise, why was Paul so adamant in demanding that they stop depriving one another unless it was something they WERE doing? The bogus claim that something is being done for God has been a long-standing historical hypocrisy.
So, what about the authority or power a spouse has over the body of the other? What if it was simply Paul's counter-proposal of truth to the husband or wife that was snubbing the other under the pretext that he or she was submitting him or herself to GOD? Picture the neglected husband or wife being told, You're not getting any because I have devoted myself to God because HE has the authority over my body and sexual contact would be 'unclean'.
And so both the spouse who neglects AND the neglected one are being put into a place of sexual temptation. The one who is devoted to prayer in neglect of the other will find it easy to justify a sexual encounter with another who is as devoted as he or she - especially in view of their former religion where worship in the temple included having sex with a temple priest or priestess. On the other hand, the one who is neglected is just getting hornier by the moment and knows full well what could be happening as a result of the spouse's devotion.
So, in other words, while the devoted are claiming that they are only being submissive to GOD, Paul is bringing a true perspective to that old religious BS. He does it by revealing that a true devotion of one's body is wrapped up in the union with the spouse and that there is no conflict between one and the other.
Remember when Jesus ripped the Pharisee's devotion-to-God BS to shreds in front of the the whole community? They had also assumed that devotion to God released them from the real stuff of life. Here they were, supposedly the teachers of the Law, demanding that the clergy was released from any obligation to support their parents because they were now serving God. What a crock!! God didn't need their blasted support, and in reality, all they did was create their own expense account. Well, I think this is the same kind of BS some of the Corinthians were falling for. It was nothing but the re-creation of the same legalism the Pharisees had established.
While some were depriving their spouses of sexual intimacy under the pretext of prayer and/or devotion, Paul demands that any true time of prayer would be by mutual consent, and only for a short period so that they are not sabotaging themselves by the obvious neglect that would happen otherwise.