Stories of Sexual Denial in Marriage – Episode 4

Our next story is from a man I have conversed with a great deal privately and then he decided a little while back to make his story public on my site. While it grieves me every time I hear one of these stories, I am thankful then men of God like him are brave enough to share it – for two reasons.

The first is so that other believers can pray for them.  The second is to let other men know they are not alone this situation and this also serves to let Christian women know who may be doing this to their husbands – how much it truly hurts them, and how sinful it really it is.

We will just call him by his avatar name – “Missionary to Mexico”.  He send in this update to his story(you can read other comments from him on my post “8 Steps to confronting your wife’s sexual refusal”.

I just had a talk with my wife today. It did not go very well. I wanted to make an appointment with a gynecologist to see if her having sex with me would be dangerous to her health. I asked what she would do if the gynecologist said that there would be no danger to her health if she had sex with me. She reminded me of what another gynecologist said to us last year, that her sex drive was gone. My wife interpreted that to mean that I should have been prepared to live in a celibate marriage with her for the rest of my life. She said that because she is 68 years old, I should understand why she doesn’t want sex. (I am 76.)

I told my wife that just as it is a sin to have sex outside of marriage, it is also a sin to reject the other spouse when he or she wants sex in the marriage. That the one who is refusing sex is the one who is being selfish, not the other way around. I told her that God put the desire in me to have sex in the marriage. I also told her that I have been communicating with people on the internet who have the same problem as I have, men and women alike. I told her that all of us who have the problem with a spouse who refuses to have sex with us feel rejected and that the one who refuses to have sex is destroying the marriage. I also mentioned about the women (in other blogs) who refused to have sex with their husbands but repented because they knew it was wrong. I told her that these women have come to the point to where they now enjoy having sex with their husbands. She still doesn’t understand.

She also believes that she has to be in love with me to have sex with me, which she said she has never been, that she married me because she felt pressured to do so. I told her that I could not live in a celibate marriage the rest of my life. I explained that refusal by one spouse leads the other into a lot of temptation.

She plans on going to Colombia in December. When I saw some signs of hope a few weeks ago, l told her then that I would like to go to Colombia with her. However, today I told her that until we solve our marital problems I would not be going with her. Furthermore, I told her that if we could not solve them by December, that not only would she have to go there alone, but would have to stay there until we could solve them. I told her that if she wanted me only as a friend, she could call me via Skype from Colombia.

My wife receives two pensions, so she doesn’t have to depend on me to support her. Right now I am paying for all the expenses of the house, the car, and buy all the food. I don’t make a lot more money than she does.

Just a few minutes ago (after our conversation), she told me that she needed to get an exam for her kidneys. Although we have social security health coverage in Mexico, she told me she would get a much more complete exam via a private company. One of those that she really trusts would charge 800 pesos for the exam. I asked her if she had the money to pay for it and she said no. I told her that I would pay for it.

So, I really love my wife and have tried hard to be a good husband. Unfortunately, it does not look like this love is mutual. Please pray for our marriage! Fortunately, neither one of us want a divorce. I am hoping that if we separate, that both of us will come to the conclusion that God wants us to have a good marriage to each other and that both of us will be willing to do what it takes to have one.

From this point forward I will refer to Missionary to Mexico as MTM.

Let me just say clarify a few things that MTM did not mention here(and he would not mind me saying).  You might think because his wife is in her late 60’s and he is in his mid 70’s that they have been married for 50 years or so. That is not the case – MTM was previously married and so was this woman.  They just got married within the last 5 years I think.

So this is a relatively new marriage despite the advanced age of both of them.  I also happen to know from emailing with him that his wife does not have any real gynecological issues that would prevent intercourse – she simply has no desire.  And as he pointed out she uses her lack of desire as medical reason not to have sex with him, and he was taking her to the doctor so he could confirm with her with the doctor present that there is no medical problem for her to have sex with no desire.

Obviously with women of that age lubrication becomes an issue and if desire is not present then yes it can be more difficult, but there are ways to help with that  – if only she is willing to try.

He is truly trying to love his wife the best he knows how, but he is absolutely correct that God does not call us to live in a marriage with a spouse that willfully and purposefully rejects having sex for their own selfish reasons.  And yes “I don’t feel like, I have no desire” is a selfish reason.

God determines what is selfish and what is not selfish.  God says it is not NOT selfish for a man or woman to desire sex with their spouses.  On the other hand, God says it is selfish for a spouse to willfully deny sex to their spouse.

If MTM does not feel like going to his job – can he can just say “I have no desire, I don’t feel like it”.  Of course not.  Does a mother or father “feel like” or “desire” to get up with their sick child in the middle night? No.  But we do these things because it is our obligation, our duty to do so.

“I am not, nor have I ever been romantically in love you”  doesn’t cut it either.

This Christian wife needs to put her “big girl pants on” and start acting like an adult and a Christian.  It does not matter if she married him for the wrong reasons, or never felt romantic love toward him.  She made a commitment in marriage, and now she must fulfill the vows she made before God and man – and that includes giving her body to her husband.

The Bible is clear on this:

“3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” – I Corinthians 7:-3-5(KJV)

Additionally a woman to submit to her husband in “every thing”:

24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” – Ephesians 5:24 (KJV)

A wife is commanded to submit herself in everything to her husband, and that very much includes her body in the act of sex.  She does not have power over her own body, but her husband does.

And as I have answered the ridiculous notion many times put forward by other Christians online – NO the woman having power over husband’s body does not entitle her to say he cannot use his body with her in sex.  That interpretation goes against the entire principle of I Corinthians 7:3-5.

The power that a husband or wife have over their spouse’s body is a power to take their body in the act of sex, it is not the power to refuse sex.

“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another;” – Romans 1:27 (KJV)

What is “that natural use of the woman” that God mentions in Romans 1:27? Sex! Now the Bible tells a man in Ephesians 5 that he is to love his wife.   But there is absolutely no contradiction between a man loving his wife, and also having a physical and emotional  need to have sex with his wife on a regular basis.

A husband is not selfish for taking advantage of the “the natural use of the woman” when he feels like having sex with his wife.

I am not in any way advocating for men to be selfish lovers. A Christian husband should try and make sex as pleasant, and as mutually pleasurable for his wife as possible.  But make no mistake  – God himself says sex is “the natural use of the woman”.

In fact according to I Corinthians 7:3-5 the only way regular sex can cease for a short time between a couple is if they agree by CONSENT.  The consent Biblically is not to have sex, but rather the consent is to NOT have sex.  I realize this is completely backward from our modern sinful ways of viewing marriage – but that is not God’s way.

I realize that when I use language like “take sex” – many Christian women and men are offended by this, and I certainly do not mean by that a man forcing himself upon his wife.  But what that means is a man is allowed at anytime, except for when his wife gently refuses him for temporary medical or mental issues, to expect that if he requests to take pleasure in his wife’s body as  Proverbs 5:19 says he should be able to  – that his wife will submit herself and her body to that request.

To MTM – I am praying for you brother.  I realize God will have to let you know when it is time, but if your wife continues to willfully sexually deny you – she is committing sexual sex – sexual immorality by doing so.  Any time we do something sexually that God forbids, or DON’T do something sexually that God commands that is by definition sexual immorality.  Many believers do not understand that being unfaithful to your spouse does not just mean having sex with someone outside your marriage  – it also an unfaithfulness to willfully and chronically refuse to have sex with your spouse inside your marriage.

If she refuses to repent, I pray that one day God will give you the peace you need to send her way in divorce.


5 thoughts on “Stories of Sexual Denial in Marriage – Episode 4

  1. “But what that means is a man is allowed at anytime, except for when his wife gently refuses him for temporary medical or mental issues, to expect that if he requests to take pleasure in his wife’s body as Proverbs 5:19 says he should be able to – that his wife will submit herself and her body to that request.”
    What about long-term health issues, like cancer, or if she’s in a coma? Likewise, long-term mental health issues, like severe depression?

  2. A woman who is in a coma cannot consent(as she should if she was awake) and therefore a man should not be forcing himself on his wife who is in a coma. Cancer and chemo can be grueling and I am sure there are going to be extended periods where a wife could not perform her duties and a husband should be gracious and understanding during these times.

    Really what it comes down to is a heart attitude. Is the wife’s desire to give herself willingly to her husband – if she is awake does it grieve her that she cannot give herself to her husband? Does it grieve her to see her husband’s needs not met? A Christian husband needs to use discernment and seek out whether his wife is using her physical ailments as an excuse not to have sex, of if she truly wants to fulfill her duty to her him but cannot for legit health reasons.

    On the issue of severe depression, it is one thing if a woman had a traumatic life event happen like the loss of a parent or a child and this would cause depression in anyone. The husband should be gracious during these short periods and give his wife the time she needs. However this cannot be allowed to continue for a long length of time as it will break the marriage bond and open him to sexual temptation. He should encourage his wife to seek counseling and she should seek counseling as well.

    I have many relatives that have battled with depression their whole life. Just because they deal with depression does not mean they cannot help themselves. Leaving depression untreated is like getting a cut or an infection and not seeking out medical help(like antibiotics). So yes a husband should have some grace toward his wife during these times, but ultimately they cannot be allowed to go for long lengths of time, and a woman should not be allowed to hide behind her depression to neglect of her duties to her home, her children and most importantly her husband.

  3. If a woman is married to a man she has consented. She has no right to refuse, without good cause, his desires for intercourse.
    The same goes the other way, but this thread is about wives refusing their husbands.
    “Good cause” takes in:
    1. Menstrual period
    2. Illness that makes intercourse intolerably painful – she has to be the only judge of this
    3. Sexually communicable disease of either spouse
    4. He is committing adultery. However, if he has succumbed to temptation due to his wife refusing him without just cause, she should consider what she has done and repent, and be generous with forgiveness if he will stop.
    5. Pregnancy when advised by competent physician that intercourse is contraindicated.
    6. Following childbirth – 40 days for birth of a male, 80 for a female, OR continuing complications of birth.
    7. Excessive roughness. His right to sexual intercourse does not equate to any right to cause unusual pain, bruising, abrasion.
    Being an ass, jerk, rude does not justify refusing her husband sexual intercourse. She certainly should ask him to be nice to her. Having regular sexual release may inspire him to be kind and considerate, or at least less unkind and inconsiderate.

  4. Its always about women. But what if the husband is the chlorate? He has refuse to explain, excuses of errectile disfuntion, when this is delt with medically. He doesn’t want to. She is depressed and wont leave him hoping he will change after 15 years, of decline. Its the male, not the wife. What does she do?

  5. Pam,

    Actually it is not always about the women. It always saddens me when I hear about sexual denial either by a wife toward her husband or a husband toward his wife. Both are grave sins against the covenant of marriage and really strike at the core of the marriage relationship. Exodus 21:10-11(the first passage in the Bible where God allows divorce) is actually directed toward women being allowed divorce for certain sins on the part of their husbands:

    “10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.
    11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.”
    Exodus 21:10-11 (KJV)

    If your husband refuses to provide the basics of life for you(food, clothing, shelter) or he refuses marital relations to you then you have the Biblical right to divorce him.

    But before you just divorce him I think you need to go through a process with him that let’s him know if there is no change on his part at the end the result will be divorce. As Christians we want to do everything we can to fight for marriage, but just like killing is sometimes necessary in a sin cursed world, so to divorce is sometimes necessary in a sin cursed world and that is why God makes allowances for it.

    See this article for more detail on this type of situation from the wife’s perspective:

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