I saw an interesting article at the radically leftist New York Times, written by a woman who has had a lot of sex with married men. I thought it might be interesting to see what she reports is the reason for why men cheat on their wives.
All told I communicated with maybe a dozen men during that time in my life, and had sex with fewer than half. Others I texted or talked with, which sometimes felt nearly as intimate.
Before I met each man I would ask: “Why are you doing this?” I wanted assurance that all he desired was sex.
What surprised me was that these husbands weren’t looking to have more sex. They were looking to have any sex.
I met one man whose wife had implicitly consented to her husband having a lover because she was no longer interested in sex, at all. They both, to some degree, got what they needed without having to give up what they wanted. But the other husbands I met would have preferred to be having sex with their wives. For whatever reason, that wasn’t happening.
[…]Maybe the reason some wives aren’t having sex with their husbands is because, as women age, we long for a different kind of sex. I know I did, which is what led me down this path of illicit encounters. After all, nearly as many women are initiating affairs as men.
If you read the work of Esther Perel, the author of the recently published book “State of Affairs,” you’ll learn that, for many wives, sex outside of marriage is their way of breaking free from being the responsible spouses and mothers they have to be at home. Married sex, for them, often feels obligatory. An affair is adventure.
Meanwhile, the husbands I spent time with would have been fine with obligatory sex. For them, adventure wasn’t the main reason for their adultery.
And in particular:
After our second night together, though, I could tell this was about more than sex for him; he was desperate for affection. He said he wanted to be close to his wife but couldn’t because they were unable to get past their fundamental disconnect: lack of sex, which led to a lack of closeness, which made sex even less likely and then turned into resentment and blame.
Interesting. Many wives get tired of sex or they want “adventure” and so they stop having sex with their husbands. They probably expect their husbands to man up and keep doing husband and father things, without any fuel. If they don’t feel like doing something, then they think they shouldn’t have to do it. And they think that everything else should go on as before, without them having to do anything they don’t feel like doing.
Here’s a related post from Lindsay’s Logic on sex and marriage. She has an opinion about how married women can get around this.
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 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”
2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.
3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.
4 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. The rules are different for men.
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. Feelings of expecting “adventure” in order to make them feel like doing what they promised to do. 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 before they marry them. And look at their lives for red flags: see if there is a frantic desire for “adventure”, or an immature desire to avoid relationship obligations to others. And men should not be satisfied with simple, spiritual-sounding answers.
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.