“Being a newlywed I thought marriage was going to be all rainbows, I had quite a rude reality check very early on, and it’s embarrassing to talk about your new husband not desiring you anymore… I am always the one who has to initiate sex, and EVERY time I’m shot down, my normal response is to clam up and avoid him, which often leads to a fight. It’s gotten to a point where he will even refuse to hold my hand or hug me.” This is an excerpt from an email I received from Hannah, a young Christian newlywed wife.
While sexual denial most often occurs with the wife denying her husband, there have been many women throughout history who have been sexually denied by their husbands. Over 3000 years ago men were sexually denying their wives prompting God to give this command through his Prophet Moses:
“If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.” – Exodus 21:10-11 (KJV)
God made it clear, whether a man had one wife or many – he was not allowed to sexually deny any of his wives. Here is Hannah’s full story.
“I just wanted to thank you for your blog, I have searched all over the internet for a CHRISTIAN based blog on sexual relations between a husband and wife, and none would address the issues that you do here. It has helped my perspective so much, especially with the sexual denial posting. I have been experiencing this from my husband in my own marriage. I have tried everything and nothing has helped. We haven’t been sexually active in 10 months and we’ve only been married for 11 months.
I prayed for my husband for eight years, we met when I was 14 and it was love at first sight. After eight years of an off again, on again relationship, God answered my prayer and brought us together. I never truly dated anyone else but him, I knew in my spirit he was created to be my husband.
Being a newlywed I thought marriage was going to be all rainbows, I had quite a rude reality check very early on, and it’s embarrassing to talk about your new husband not desiring you anymore.
Right after we were married, I got pregnant and lost the baby when I was six weeks along, since then all affection and intimacy has stopped. I’ve talked to him, reasoned with him, even pleaded with him to change or tell me what I should do differently. I have felt like something is so incredibly wrong with me. It’s been a heartbreaking experience and I’m so glad to learn and see in scripture that I’m not alone or a “lustful” woman for desiring my husband.
I have tried getting him to go to counseling but he continually brushes it off. We currently don’t have a home church of our own. My former pastor that I served under in ministry for several years has announced he is homosexual and left the church. This was a shock to all of us and left us very hurt, so getting him to find a new pastor to council with is very difficult. After we lost the baby it has been a downhill spiral. I am fighting feelings of bitterness towards him which I know is wrong. It’s just so hard to deal with the rejection. There have been moments of weakness where I wanted to leave or pursue someone else, but my Spirit (thankfully) overrided my flesh.
Do you have any practical advice as to how I should react to his sexual rejection?
I am always the one who has to initiate sex, and EVERY time I’m shot down, my normal response is to clam up and avoid him, which often leads to a fight. It’s gotten to a point where he will even refuse to hold my hand or hug me. It annoys him when I try to show affection, not just in public but even if we’re alone. Now if in want a kiss or to hold his hand I have to ask permission. He says it’s because he’s not ready after the miscarriage but it’s been several months since we lost the baby.
I have respectfully poured my heart out to him several times about the issue, he listens, and then nothing is ever fixed. There is always an excuse why he doesn’t want sex and they change each time. I really don’t know what to do. I was raised in a strict Christian home that does not condone divorce between Christians. After reading your post I am viewing my right as a Christian woman in a completely different light. I am so glad to know I have a biblical right to divorce if this doesn’t change and that God has given me this right. I love my husband and I am willing to stick this out, but it is very hard.
Please if you have any advice, I would love to hear from you. Thank you again for your blog, it’s been such a blessing.”
My Response to Hannah
Hannah I just want to say how sorry I am for the loss of your first child. My first wife and I lost our first child to a miscarriage as well – it was a tubal pregnancy. My niece lost her first child two days after she was born without any indication there was problem last year. The loss of a child can have a traumatic effect on a marriage and sometimes takes years to recover from.
For some couples the loss of a child bring them closer together, while for others it may tear them apart. Some couples have even divorced over the loss of a child when one or both of them cannot move past it. The reason for this is that sometimes a person allows their spouse to be a constant reminder of the loss and only by leaving them do they feel they can truly leave the death behind.
It sounds like based on your story that you husband had to great disappointments one with the loss of a child and another with loss of your Pastor in such a terrible way.
Your husband is a broken a man. He is bitter at God for all these disappointments in his life.
Your husband pushing you away shows that he is directly associating the death of your child with you. Your face might be a constant reminder to him of the loss of your child. Only through intense counseling will your husband be able to disassociate you from the death of your child.
But let me assure you that your feelings of wanting to be close and intimate with your husband are completely normal. Many people deal with the loss of a child very differently and you wanted to comforted in your husband’s arms – but instead have been pushed away. That must be heartbreaking for you.
How you should handle your husband’s sexual denial
First and foremost if your husband won’t go to church you at least should get yourself in a good Bible preaching church. Seek out a counselor on your own even if your husband won’t go so you can talk about how you are feeling. Make sure it is a Christian that holds to your same world view and faith.
If you don’t have some good Christian girlfriends, make some friends. Spend time with family and friends and draw strength from them for the battle you have ahead.
I realize it is a horrible feeling to be rejected for physical intimacy by the man you love but continue to make occasional attempts to be intimate with him realizing he may continue to reject you.
At the same time you need to have a serious talk with your husband. Let him know that you love him and you want to repair your marriage and move past the loss of your first child. Continue to offer to go to counseling with him, or even if he wants to go by himself to see a counselor that will be fine to.
Be sure to pray for your husband daily.
But you also need to let your husband know that your marriage is broken. The covenant of your marriage is broken while there is no physical intimacy between the two of you. You are no longer one flesh and this is not pleasing to God. Tell him you will only allow this grave sin to go on for so long until you will exercise your right to divorce him for this breach of your marriage.
I would recommend giving him at least a year or so with occasional respectful requests to him to get help he needs.
If over the next year you see no forward progress and he still refuses counseling or any to talk to the Pastor of the new church you will find then you probably need to file for divorce.
But filing for divorce does not necessarily mean the end of your marriage. For some filing for divorce shakes them out of their sinful stubbornness and bitterness and helps them to see what they are about to lose. For others they will only sink deeper into the abyss of their bitterness.
The two possible outcomes of your attempts to confront your husband’s sin
The best outcome, and the one you are praying for is that you husband will allow God to free his heart of the bitterness that has poisoned him.
But if your husband refuses to repent and give his heart back to God – you are free to go because he has chosen to remain in his sin and refuses to be one flesh with you as his wife.
Realize though that many conservative Churches that would condemn your husband for sexually denying you would also condemn you for divorcing him over sexual denial. They will try and teach you a false doctrine that God wants you to just live in a celibate marriage potentially for the rest of your life if he never changes.
“Celibate Marriage” is a huge oxymoron.
While there is more to marriage than sex, a marriage with no sex is not a marriage. There is a reason why marriage is called a “one flesh” relationship as opposed to a “one mind” or “one soul” relationship.
You must be convinced of this right you have before God knowing that your Pastor may not agree.
I pray the Lord will give you the strength you need for the battle ahead.
Here is another post on this subject:
19 thoughts on “Stories of Sexual Denial in Marriage Episode 9”
Bgr, i feell very bad for her. My wife has intimated that her sister and b-i-l only do it 2x/year and that is when she initiates. He (in our observation) is bisexual. She however is a flaming feminist and very very disrespectful to the point of making b-i-l cry. He smokes pot and drinks a lot, but has an advanced medical degree and although he is snarky he cares deeply for her and others. I will never figure a guy with low libido, but a wife with that kind of libido is a rare find and i am truly truly happy for the man who has one.
I think you do not get huge reponse on this or the victim of rape rebuking rape culture is because they are outliers and so i think men commenting on your blog draw a blank and women will just say, “see it happens to us too.”
A well know nouthetic counselor says this scenario is 30%, but i have read men refusers in marriage is more like 13%. It proves the rule in this case.
It’s so interesting to see a woman’s side of this scenario, but equally as painful and sad. I’m so sorry for Hannah, especially for the trauma they experienced before this, and for all of this happening within their first year of marriage.
The good thing is that the first year of marriage seems to be one of the hardest in general, if you both can make it out of this, your marriage will be rock solid. But yes, letting him know that it’s either going to go in 2 directions, with a definite end – that you won’t be in limbo forever – may help.
Imagine the outcry as you have well read from female readers when the roles are switched. In saying that, I agree with you. If I would have known the sex struggles I went through, I would have left my wife long ago. Unfortunately or fortunately I refused to do this with children involved even before I became a believer.
I really believe when it comes to sex, the turn around is too long. For example, you saw that poor guy who documented his lack of sex and sent it to his wife and then she went public with it. I would say it closely mirrored a month in my marriage only early on in my marriage I initiated as much as time would allow. Like i said over about 16 years of rejections it was probably in the thousands of refusals. I could have easily had sex 3-4 times a day in my 20s and early 30s. Saying this, I would have to have sex daily for the next X years to make up for this. That sounds ridiculous. I would much rather have my youth back to spend on someone else. Also, keep in mind my wife’s decrease in attractiveness due to age and that I use to be multi orgasmic which I am not now…. If i would have known then what I know now I would have not had kids and left her.
My advice is to run fast and far. The sexual energy i had in my youth is gone and never to come back. You have seen my venting rages. Even with more sex now than i have ever had in my marriage the urgency for my wife is gone. Its hard to describe the loss i feel. Not quite like a loss of someone or something. More of a pit that no matter what will never be filled. That is where my faith in Him brings me peace.
By the way. I know the venting is sin. I am aware and sorrowful for it, and at the same time it could have easily been remedied years ago by a loving wife of titus 2 and proverbs.
I know you have been hurt by your wife and you have regrets because of it. I have been hurt by two women for different reasons. But let me just say that there are two extremes when it comes to sexual problems in marriage. The one is that people are wrongly taught that God leaves them trapped in sexless marriage with no options – that they are at the mercy of their spouse for their sexual needs. That God actually wants people to remain in a celibate marriage.
But the other extreme is – if there are any sexual problems – that you just run and divorce the person. I think God calls us to do the hard work, to stick it out as long as we can. To do what what he did with his wife Israel where he disciplined her and waited such a long time before he finally had to divorce her. I get non-Christians all the time that write me and say “if your not sexually compatible – forget all this counseling and discipline stuff and just divorce the person and move on”.
But I tell them as Christians we don’t have the power to just run – God wants us to fight for our marriage like he did with his marriage Israel. Only after a long time of trying to get his wife Israel to repent did he finally divorce her – and I think that is an example for us on how to handle these very difficult issues.
The other thing to remember is – don’t think because you leave one woman, that the next woman will be so much better. My first wife did not sexually deny me. She gave it to me any time I wanted it. The only stipulation was I had to treat her like a princess and do whatever she wanted and I would have all the sex I wanted. She actually liked sex and was very physical like me.
The problem with her was – if did not treat her like the princess she thought she was, and do everything she wanted she would go and have affairs. So again sex drive was not an issue with her.
But then I divorced her and found a woman of great character in my second wife, a woman who I knew from checking with her church friends and family would never cheat on me. The problem I discovered after we got married – she was not that into sex. She thought it was not a big thing in marriage and if it happened ever so often(like once or twice a month maybe) that should be fine. She was also a LOT more more of a feminist than my first my wife.
Now after 5 years of marriage we are in a much better place and I fought long and hard those first three years of marriage to put her sexual denial to an end. She knows if that ever comes back I will divorce her. The feminism in her is still there and it does shows its ugly head from time to time, but again I have been able to work with her more on that where it is less than it was.
My point is every marriage will have its problems and a finding a good woman that not only is submissive and wants to have sex and does what the Lord would have her to do and requires little discipline is like finding a precious Jewel – they are rare. That is why Proverbs 31:10 says ” Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” If thousands of years ago it was hard to find a good wife how much harder is it today.
We also have to realize as husbands we are not perfect either – when they marry us they are getting a flawed man.
I’m so sorry, Jeff. I haven’t seen your venting as sin, just explaining how hurt you’ve been because of what you’ve been through. I think for men, the wife sexually denying them becomes manipulative abuse. I’m sure most of the women don’t think of it this way, but women don’t need sex the same way that men do (women still need it but to lesser degree for their fulfillment). So you were almost like living in a strange manipulative, abusive situation where she constantly denied you meeting your most deepest need – and to do that for 16 years, that is a lot of pain to go through. I imagine a lot of resentment and bitterness would build up in anyone going through that… but the horrible thing is how much that only hurts and harms YOU in the long run. That’s why the red pill is so good for men. It tells them that they matter. Their needs are legitimate. And that when you’re with a woman who does that to you, you are going through something real. Society will tell you the opposite of all those answers, which I think compounds the pain for men.
I’m so glad that you have your faith and that it brings you peace. And so glad that your marriage isn’t still in that place like it was. Blessings to you.
I can appreciate what you wrote. We are at our 21 anniversary in a few days. Notice I didnt say celebrate. I have long since dropped buying my wife nice gifts and dinners. I will not divorce her. Its just not in me to do that out of principle. If I were to divorce I certainly would not be stupid enough to marry again. She has damaged my perception of women to such a point that I literally had anxiety attacks until I found RP and now realize AWALT. You could not convince me of anything else, it is that bad. When I finally figured most of it out, I have picked up old hobbies. Hunting, triathlons and relaxing watching ball games, and lastly opening new clinics. I even built a small cabin in the rockies that I get away to as much as possible.
We have had a taste of what it will be like when the kids are gone, as they both have their own cars and have things to do. I will not supplicate to her ever again. I feel only sadness that when we become empty nesters while I have had to come up with replacements for her because of the lack of sex and companionship with her, she will have her dog. It is a huge house for two people. I will certainly look forward to being with her alone again, but when and how will be determined by me. For a decade and a half I ran myself ragged trying this way and that for her and she not only didnt acknowledge it, but I could never do enough.
I do not agree with all of rollos writings, but trying to earn sex for that long was a sisyphean nightmare. I could go on, but whats the point. I am trying my best to get my son to see without discouraging him or telling him outright. He has been affected spiritually by some of her maniplations when it came to church choice. Only in the last couple of months have we started seeing a turn around in him. She knows this and regrets her past decisions, but always seems on the verge of going back to her ways.
My dd is 20. I was hard on her to be strong blah blah blah because i thought it was a mans world. When I woke up, I realize how its a feminists world. 10 yeara ago i couldnt figure out little boys and girls and although my wife would agree when i pointed things out, there wasnt a name for it or a philosophy of it. Little did I know and when i found dalrock, rollo and the RP I realized I wasnt the only one. My wife use to be ok with it. She has learned enough from me now that we both realize we were protecting the wrong child. Now we are much more worried about our son. He is already more of a man that i will ever be. He wants to be a smoke jumper or a SEAL. He is RP naturally which worries the heck out of me because his nickname is the mayor. At 17 he is already very well known in 3 counties and girls and boys neither intimidate him nor bother him. His buddies call him the pick up man because he is the one who gets the girls when they hit dinner or the mall.
I fear for him, not my daughter, in this world she will most likely dominate her spouse. My son will too, but it may not turn out the way it should marriage/divorce wise for him.
Hannah, I will pray for you.
One of the dots that connected when I woke up was reading how men had suffered in their marriages like ours and the wife was faithful for years while refusing. At some point in the marriage the wife had an affair and had lots of sex with the affair.
I want to take all other scenarios out, like husband having affair, he is “abusive” etc. lets say they have a christian type marriage but there is a lack of sex. She starts having an affair and there is lots of sex. How do women (wives) explain this? I read dr harleys forum for years and this played out over and over. My wife and i actually counseled with him (harley sr.) before he startes doing phone/online counseling. I had a friend who knew him. He was actually fairly retired when we counseled with him. What a joke that was. I met her needs but she wouldnt meet mine.
That is where the RP came in for me as I realized the need to do my own things again.
Do you have a post about this?
I am not sure what you are talking about as far a post – do you mean on the issue of women denying their husbands but then having affairs and having lots of sex with those men?
Jeff not sure what exactly you were talking about, but if you mean partners having more sex when in an affair, then there is actually a scientific/psychological explanation to it.
It’s called the Coolidge Effect: ” A phenomenon seen in mammalian species whereby males (and to a lesser extent females) exhibit renewed sexual interest if introduced to new receptive sexual partners, even after cessation of sex with prior but still available sexual partners.”
It’s mostly seen in males, but can also apply to some women of course. Interesting that you only seem to mention women in your post, though also rather typical I suppose.
Also, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – men don’t need the red pill, they need to dedicate their lives to God and prayer. That will improve their lives, not the red pill.
I’m convinced that most of these problems between those of us who say that we are born-again Christians is because of the false lite gospel that is preached from so many pulpits today. It seems to me that on Christian television the emphasis is on self rather than how to best serve others. This self-centered gospel, which is really no gospel at all, is destroying a lot of relationships.
While many churches believe that Jesus came to build up our self-esteem, in Luke 9:23 Jesus said that we must deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him. Taking up our cross daily means crucifying the flesh. How often is this preached in Evangelical churches these days? Obeying the Lord means obeying what the Scriptures tell us that we should do in our marriages in spite of our feelings. Those who refuse to have sex with their spouse are in rebellion against the Lord Himself, since the Bible is very clear about that subject.
Some years back I heard that the word joy stands for “Jesus, others, and you” in that order. How many churches preach this today?
Two elements necessary for salvation are repentence and receiving Jesus as our Lord. It seems to me that most preachers today leave out not only one but both of these points. Therefore, they are preaching another gospel that allows people to lead selfish, rebellious lives and call themselves Christians. I believe this is the heart of most of the problems in families, that are supposedly Christian, today.
Are you a chicken, rat, or a snail?
I am human myself.. Hello
Emily did respond to you – but I have removed her commented and she is now blocked from commenting on this blog. Again as with Insanity it saddens me that I have to block Emily. Emily by her own admission has bought into emotionalism which is a core tenant of feminism:
Emily’s previous comment to me:
This was Emily’s last reply to you(Jeff):
I have addressed this blatant inconsistency with Emily when she makes statements like the one above “Yes, we are humans. Which means we aren’t governed purely by natural instinct.” So apparently its wrong(and acting like an animal) for a man to desire sex with his wife even if they are not emotionally and spiritually connected but its fine for a woman to governed by and be a “slave” to her emotions? So basically a woman’s emotions are the ruling influence over a marriage?
This is completely and utterly unbiblical and I won’t allow these comments to stand or continue on this blog.
There are plenty of other blogs(Christian and non-Christian alike) that teach emotionalism as the foundation for marriage. Emily can go and comment there all she likes.
I don’t think Red Pill is right on all the solutions it offers, but there some truths in it. There is truth in the fact that our western culture has in fact been completely taken over by feminism and emotionalism.
But the fact is that thousands of years before The Red Pill was ever coined – God’s Word showed us how God designed men and women and the roles he gave us. God gave us marriage that is founded upon a Agape love – a love based in the will and not emotion, a love based in commitment and duty. So where the Red Pill speaks truths that coincide with Biblical truths I will use it. Where Red Pill deviates from Biblical principles I will call it out.
Lastly I repeat what I said in another comment to Emily:
Coolidge Effect is in lock with evolutional science. I didnt have time to write more, but you are write about natural instincts and the Word of God. Darwins theory has not ever been even close to being correct to the fact that it should be coined hypothesis and not theory.
Feminisms thought process is to rewrite history the same as liberalism and put a stamp on it and call it reality. As we have seen and can prove is christianity going along with it.
If Emily buys into the coolidge effect and it makes it ok, then it should go hand in hand that she believe in hypergamy and women being gold diggers.
A husband who cheats on his wife or beats her is NOT ok. We live with her in an understanding way. We must fight our flesh in many ways. That goes for the XX chromosome as well. Is it hard? Yes. I felt like leaving my office yesterday. Did i? No. I have an obligation to my God, my family and a schedule book full of patients. I shook it off and had a great day.
Emily is an example of a young heart that has been directed to “go” where her heart tells her, however the heart is wicked. This is something my wife still cannot believe is possible for her or women either. As my wife goes into her 50s she cannot comprehend that she could sin, only that she is a sinner. When a sin is pointed out she does what eve did she deceives herself and denies it.
Something she agrees with in moments of clarity:
Men rationalize why they sinned or why they are going to sin. They do not deny its sin.
Women rationize why its not sin and therefore deny its sin.
“Being “a slave” to your “own feelings, emotions, experiences” is what will actually be “destructive” to your future marriage if you sexually deny your husband simply because you are not in the mood. I pray the Lord will change your heart on this as you look at his Word.”
This is so true. Well said, BGR.
I discussed this topic with Mike when you first posted it. I haven’t responded because I don’t think anything I say would really help this wife in her very unfortunate situation. We knew a family like this, a while back. The marriage was essentially sexless (although they did have three sons, the youngest still a baby). The husband was simply not interested in having sex with his wife, and used every excuse he could to get out of it. For example, if he was in training (military) he would claim that he “needed his strength” for the next several months so sex was out of the question. And so forth. As time wore on he started to pick at her for very insignificant things (example: using “too much toothfloss”). We were very close but over time she started to pull away from our family because she was in such pain and felt so unloved by her husband (in contrast to how happy and close my husband and I are).
I’ve said before I consider this to be emotional abuse. It is abusive to deny your husband or wife sexual intimacy. That is effectively estrangement. In the case of that couple, I think they ended up getting a divorce, which was unfortunate with the children. But I know he come back from a long deployment to Afghanistan and things were “worse than ever” when he returned, in the last email I received from her years ago. FWIW, my husband suspected he was a latent homosexual.
“A husband who cheats on his wife or beats her is NOT ok.”
And yet, Emily (and others) would agree with this and simultaneously believe it’s okay to perpetually deny one’s spouse sex. This is why I think such estrangement should be called what it is. ABUSE. My husband has never hit me (he would never hurt me) and he doesn’t shag other women, but I’d prefer to get smack BY FAR than suffer under the perpetual emotional abuse of being constantly rejected. I’d die inside. I can’t imagine how awful that would be.
BGR, just wrote about a great book this morning on how to respond to foolish people and will write about an example from the book tomorrow about a wife that is treating her husband horribly, and how he responds well. Just thought you or your readers might be interested!
Just to add,
It is becoming more and more apparent to me that the same sorts of folks who scream about not having their physical and emotional needs met and cry abuse at so many far less consequential things (by comparison), simultaneously claim men who want sex from their wives (“if they don’t feel in the mood”) are on level with “histrionic toddlers”.
Now THAT is some toddler-level rationalization. Good grief.
Hannah, I am so sorry that you are being deprived. In the second year of my marriage, I had sex one time. There has been a bit of improvement because of some advice I received from this blog. My wife had no reason at all to deprive me and gave me unlimited excuses. She also refused counseling. I pray that you hang in there with your husband and turn this over to Jesus with much prayer. I also think you should find a church and to make that a priority.