Dennis Prager features a lot of discussions about male-female relationships on his show, particularly during the male-female hour.
He did a two part series a while back on 1) male sexuality and 2) what women should do about it within a marriage. Basically, he makes the case that in general, if a woman is married to a good man – a good man whom she freely chose – then she should be willing to say yes to his sexual advances more than she says no.
Part 1 is here.
It is an axiom of contemporary marital life that if a wife is not in the mood, she need not have sex with her husband. Here are some arguments why a woman who loves her husband might want to rethink this axiom.
First, women need to recognize how a man understands a wife’s refusal to have sex with him: A husband knows that his wife loves him first and foremost by her willingness to give her body to him. This is rarely the case for women. Few women know their husband loves them because he gives her his body (the idea sounds almost funny). This is, therefore, usually a revelation to a woman. Many women think men’s natures are similar to theirs, and this is so different from a woman’s nature, that few women know this about men unless told about it.
This is a major reason many husbands clam up. A man whose wife frequently denies him sex will first be hurt, then sad, then angry, then quiet. And most men will never tell their wives why they have become quiet and distant. They are afraid to tell their wives. They are often made to feel ashamed of their male sexual nature, and they are humiliated (indeed emasculated) by feeling that they are reduced to having to beg for sex.
When first told this about men, women generally react in one or more of five ways…
It’s important to restate that Prager is assuming that the woman has done a competent job of choosing a man who is serious about holding his end of the marriage up. I take this to mean that she has chosen a man who protects, provides and leads on moral and spiritual issues.
Prager then explains the 5 ways that women respond to his statement.
1. You have to be kidding. That certainly isn’t my way of knowing if he loves me. There have to be deeper ways than sex for me to show my husband that I love him.
And this is the common mistake that some women (especially Western women who are often influenced by radical feminism) make because they think that men are just hairy women with no feelings and desires of their own that are distinctly theirs. In the past, all women understood how men are different than women, but today almost no younger women do. In fact, many younger women today struggle with the idea that there is anything about men’s natures (and children’s natures) that they need to learn about. Younger women in the West today often think that they only need to be in touch with their own feelings – and that men and children simply have to get used to the idea that they have no right to make any demands on a woman – she has no moral obligations in a marriage.
Here’s another from the list:
4. You have it backwards. If he truly loved me, he wouldn’t expect sex when I’m not in the mood.
Again, this is the common mistake that many younger Western/feminist women today make in thinking that love is a one-way street – flowing from men and children to the woman. If men and children DON’T do what the woman wants, or if they make demands on her, then they don’t “love” her and she is justified in ignoring them. In older generations, women knew that they had moral obligations that existed whether they felt like doing them or not. They especially knew that their free decision to get married to a man would impose obligations on them to supply for the man’s distinct male needs. She might not understand those needs. She might be made happy by fulfilling them. But old-fashioned women knew what men needed, and they felt obliged to perform their role if the man was perform his roles (protector, provider, moral/spiritual leader). She didn’t have to be “happy” to do the roles, just as the man doesn’t have to be “happy” about doing his roles. Marriage is about commitment to roles that impose moral obligations on each partner. Marriage is not about happiness, primarily.
I think this whole problem of Western/feminist women not understanding men, of treating men as objects, and of demeaning male feelings and values, is very serious. In my opinion, there is a whole lot of work that needs to be done by Western/feminist women in order to fix this problem. The best place to learn about this is in Dr. Laura’s book “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands”, which is a book that women should have to read and write about in order to begin a relationship with a man, just to prove that they understand the needs of men and the concept of moral obligations. It’s like an application form for a serious relationship. Sex is just one thing in a marriage, but a serious man should insist that a woman take him seriously about it. He should also make sure that she has shown, during the courtship, that she is comfortable doing things to help him that don’t necessarily make her happy.
It is important for a man to test-drive a woman before marrying her by giving her things to do that are good things (e.g. – reading a book on apologetics or economics or intelligent design) so that he can see that she is willing to do good things whether they make her happy or not. Men seem to be very silly these days about marrying women who have only shown that they like having fun all the time, and never want to learn anything hard. Pre-marital sex, having fun, getting drunk, and going out, etc. are not the right foundation for marriage, which requires mutual self-sacrifice. There is no such thing as a “feminist” marriage – marriage is not about selfishness and playing the victim. Men should understand that many women who are willing to have sex before marriage will cut it out after marriage, because they are not used to doing things that don’t make them happy. I think you can even remain chaste and still test a women during courtship for this self-sacrificial quality by asking her to do other things that are still very good for her to do. The important thing is to see if “doing right” is more important to her than “feeling happy”.
And just because a woman is a virgin and a Christian, it doesn’t make her immune to the danger of feeling justified in withholding sex. I actually had a conversation with a chaste Christian woman once who said that women should not be obligated to do things that they didn’t feel like doing in a marriage. So, I asked her if men were obligated to go to work when they didn’t feel like going. She said yes, and acted as though I were crazy for asking. I just laughed, because she didn’t even see the inconsistency. Men – there is a double standard that many Western/feminist women have, even chaste Christian women can have it. Most young women today just don’t understand men, and they don’t want to understand them. They just want what they want and in the quickest way possible. Understanding the needs of men and children, or how feminist-inspired laws discourage men from committing to marriage and parenting, are of no interest at all many Western/feminist women.
Part 2 is here.
Here are eight reasons for a woman not to allow not being in the mood for sex to determine whether she denies her husband sex.
He then explains the eight reasons.
Here’s one of them:
7. Many contemporary women have an almost exclusively romantic notion of sex: It should always be mutually desired and equally satisfying or one should not engage in it. Therefore, if a couple engages in sexual relations when he wants it and she does not, the act is “dehumanizing” and “mechanical.” Now, ideally, every time a husband and wife have sex, they would equally desire it and equally enjoy it. But, given the different sexual natures of men and women, this cannot always be the case. If it is romance a woman seeks — and she has every reason to seek it — it would help her to realize how much more romantic her husband and her marriage are likely to be if he is not regularly denied sex, even of the non-romantic variety.
This makes the point that many young women today do not really understand that they are, in a sense, capable of changing their husband’s conduct by the way they act themselves. I think that younger women seem to think that their role in the relationship is to sort of do nothing and wait for the man to serve them. This actually happened to me with another “Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” Calvinist woman. I sat down with her and tried to explain to her what I did for a living, and she got up and left, claiming she did not need to know how the money was made – nor did she need to support me in earning that money. On another occasion, I was explaining a difficult financial problem I had to solve and she screeched back her chair and said “go ahead and solve it then”. This is actually very common. Many, many women can read an entire book on “Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” and come out of it knowing all the obligations and responsibilities of men, and none of the obligations and responsibilities of women. Men, it’s your job to test for this during courtship, if you expect your woman to help you in making a marriage and children for God’s glory.
Let me emphasize the point. Women in the West who are influenced by radical feminism are really totally unaware that their role in the relationship is not to stand back and refuse to do anything, then respond to the man’s subsequent unwillingness to perform with nagging and complaining and gossiping to their girlfriends. What is interesting is that often many of these women who are very active in fashionable heroic causes are the least capable of self-denial and self-sacrifice when in a relationship with a man. They can march around with signs defending the unborn and promoting marriage, and still be very comfortable ignoring male needs and disrespecting men. Activism can be an expression of narcissism. “Look at me! I’m so great!” The very woman you see on TV being interviewed about abortion, homeschooling and daycare is the same one you need to test during courtship to see if she thinks that YOU are as deserving of concern as an unborn or born child is. One pro-family activist I spoke to about this told me that setting out obligations on her that would make the marriage serve God was “too strict”. She admitted that the things I was asking her to learn were good things, but that they were “too strict” for her, even if they were good things.
At the end of the article, Prager makes a general point about women that I think needs to be emphasized over and over and over:
That solution is for a wife who loves her husband — if she doesn’t love him, mood is not the problem — to be guided by her mind, not her mood, in deciding whether to deny her husband sex.
I think that is an excellent question to ask a woman. What does it mean to love a man? One of my favorite questions to ask women who I am courting is “If we were married for a day, legally, and before God, what are some of the things that you would want to do to me and for me?” Usually the response is to turn the question around and make it about them. Then I dazzle them with a string of activities that addresses their needs in specific ways, based on their feelings and past experiences. Men – you definitely want to ask women what she wants to provide for you if you were to get married. How does she see your feelings and past experiences, and what specific things would she like to do to address them with her own two hands? Does she even see marriage as having anything to do with you at all?