Lindsay’s Logic: why sex refusal hurts marriages

Lindsay's Logic on sex and marriage
Lindsay’s Logic on sex and marriage

New post from Lindsay’s Logic on sex and marriage.

She writes:

Sexual refusal is a serious problem in many marriages. Even Christian marriages. In most cases, it’s the wife doing the refusing. So here’s my message to the ladies who are saying no to their husbands and denying him sex or those who are struggling with wondering why they are expected to have sex regularly with their husbands.

Ladies, if you’re married, your husband probably doesn’t have the gift of celibacy. And he got married, at least partially, in order to fulfill his God-given sex drive. That’s one of the legitimate purposes of marriage.

Not only that, but when a man is single, while it’s certainly difficult to abstain from sex, at least he doesn’t have a beautiful woman sharing his living quarters and tempting him every day.

A married man has both the legitimate expectation of getting sex and a woman he loves and is attracted to right there in his home all the time. To expect him to abstain for long periods when the object of his desire is right there in his bed every night is to ask too much. It’s like staring at a box of chocolates all day while on a diet. It’s torture.

So how does a man deal with a wife who refuses him all the time? The same way we deal with the chocolates when we are trying to diet. We put them away, don’t look at them, and try not to think about them.

This is why refusal hurts marriages. A man will withdraw from his wife if he is being constantly refused. And it will tear them apart. It’s too hurtful for a man to engage with a wife, spend time with her, and build up all that desire from being around her only to be constantly frustrated. So he’ll protect himself by avoiding her.

It might be a good idea to check on what the Bible says about this problem. It’s in 1 Corinthians 7.

1 Corinthians 7:1-5:

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”

But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.

For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

I have heard a lot of Christian women tell me even before marriage that sex is something that they will do when they feel like it. I ask them if work is only something that Christian husbands should do when they feel like it. They say no to that, of course. It seems to me that part of the fun of having two sexes is learning the differences between the two, and taking care of the needs that the other person has. But I am seeing really widespread acceptance of sex-withholding among women, and even among married Christian women. And I see it being justified on the basis of feelings – feelings are the voice of God speaking to her, so that responsibilities and obligations fade away. Do a woman’s feelings overrule the plain meaning of Scripture? It seems to me that you could get into a lot of trouble by valuing feelings and intuitions over planning and prudence.

This sex-withholding problem makes me wonder what people think that marriage is when they get into the church and make vows that, ostensibly, will require self-sacrifice. What do women think that marriage is? What is the goal of it? What makes a marriage successful? Why do women think that men marry? What do men get out of marriage? What are the woman’s responsibilities to the man in a marriage? I think these are questions that men should ask women. And they should not be satisfied with simple, spiritual-sounding answers. Men should demand (during courtship) that books be read, that essays be written, that skills be developed, and that the woman’s life experiences show that she has understood what will be expected from her and why. And I don’t mean just Christian books written by feminists, I mean practical books written by scholars about what men need, and why men get married, and why men stay married. A woman who makes important decisions by relying on her feelings cannot be trusted to be a good wife. She needs to inform her mind about how marriage really works, and then act wisely.

6 thoughts on “Lindsay’s Logic: why sex refusal hurts marriages”

  1. Yes sex is important to relationships and we should give to each other but sex is not just about you. We have a sexual body for Children and its Gods plan to fill up the Kingdom. If for some reason sex is impossible there are other reasons for the human body. Celibacy is also a Christian choice as Christ modeled.

  2. Wintery,

    I have found, in my personal experience, that the best way to counter-act this attitude is through a little bit of “mirroring”. And so, for example, the next day after a spousal refusal, and after you go to get your morning coffee / breakfast, you purposely do not get your wife one. When she asks why you did not get her a coffee, you just advise her that you did not “feel” like getting her one and then use the same excuse as she did the night before as the reason for it (so long as its relevant). Also, make sure to stress the word “feel”. Then do that all day and it will not take long before she gets the idea.

    This is a harsh lesson, but it works.

      1. This is true…perhaps it only works on a certain type of spouse. But in that case, you might need to spell it out completely and literally. And if even that does not work, then maybe you should have picked a better spouse!

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