Should A Christian Wife Submit to Her Husband’s Sexual Sadism?

“What do you do as a spiritual wife if you know that your husband is aroused by your pain (sexual sadism). And that it is inflicted purposefully? How much of this type of pain is it our duty to endure?”

These were some questions that were sent in on my article “Why A Wife Should Endure Painful Sex with Her Husband”.

What is Sexual Sadism?

The overwhelming vast majority of men would be turned off by their wife expressing any symptoms of pain during sexual intercourse.  This natural response is by the design of God.   Whether it be with our wives, our children, other human beings or even animals the natural human response to pain is that we are uncomfortable with seeing it.

A sadist is one who actually enjoys causing pain, or watching pain being caused to others. A sexual sadist is one who is sexually aroused by causing pain to others.  Some sexual sadists cannot be aroused to sex by any other way except causing the person they are about to have sex with pain. And to continue their arousal during sex they need to continually be causing pain to that person as they are having sex with them.

Unfortunately, though, pain is apart of living in this sin cursed world.  We all experience lesser or greater amounts of pain from various activities.  Some people experience chronic types of pain every day of their lives.  Many common chronic types of pain revolve around neck, back, shoulder, and joint paint that people suffer on a daily basis especially as they age.

Many couples have to overcome chronic neck, shoulder and back pain in order to have sex.

And in some situations, husbands must overcome how their wife’s chronic pain inhibits their sexual arousal. They take no joy or arousal from their wife’s pain, and they must block it out to find any enjoyment in sexual intercourse with her.  They must train their minds to take pleasure from sexual intercourse with their wife DESPITE her pain for the proper bonding of their marriage and to keep from sexual temptation.

A husband who is a sexual sadist is one who is aroused by the pain his wife is having both before or during sex, and he is most aroused by pain that he inflicts on her.  A husband who is not aroused by his wife’s pain, but has sex with her DESPITE her pain for the good of their marriage cannot be classified as a sexual sadist.

The Bible Condemns All Forms of Sadism

The Bible condemns sadism in several passages including the following passage from Mark 7:20-23:

“20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”

The English word “wickedness” found in verse 22 is a translation of the Greek word ‘’Poneria” not to be confused with “Porneia” which refers to sexually immoral acts.  This word refers to taking pleasure from causing others pain.

The English phrase “evil eye” also found in verse 22 is a translation of the Greek words “Poneros” and “Ophthalmos”.  What this phrase refers to is one who derives pleasure from watching another person cause pain to others.

God shows us in Revelation 21:4 that suffering and pain are a result of the corrupting influence of sin on this world:

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” – Revelation 21:4

A man who seeks to cause his wife pain to arouse himself sexually is engaging in wickedness.  1 Corinthians 11:9 tell us of man that he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.  The Scriptures tell us as part of this sacred duty for men to live out the attributes of God that they are to paint a picture of the relationship between Christ and his Church with their wives:

“25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself f or it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” – Ephesians 5:25-29

Can we honestly say that Christ gets a kick out of needlessly causing the church pain? The answer is no! While it is absolutely true that Christ disciplines his churches as seen in Revelation 3:19 he does this for their holiness, not because he gets his kicks from causing them pain.

God does not cause his people pain to arouse himself or amuse himself.

A husband is who causes his wife pain to sexually arouse himself is not protecting his wife’s body as he does his own.  When a man causes his wife pain for his own arousal or amusement he is doing the exact opposite of what God calls him to do in Ephesians 5:29.

Husbands Who Use Misuse Biblical Truths to Satisfy their Sadism

Some Christian men take the doctrines of Biblical gender roles and use them for evil instead of for the purposes for which God intended them.  The Scriptures tell us the following principles regarding the roles for which God created men and women:

Principle # 1 – Man is the Head of Woman and Woman Was Made for Man

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God… Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” – I Corinthians 11:3 & 9

Principle # 2 – Part of God’s Purpose in Making Woman was For Man’s Pleasure

“Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.” – Proverbs 5:18-19

Principle # 3- Women are to Submit to their Husbands in Everything

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” – Ephesians 5:22-24

Principle # 4- Women are to Submit Even to Husbands Who Disobey God’s Word

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear… For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” – I Peter 3:1-2 & 5-6

Some Christian husbands use these four Biblical principles for evil and not for the purposes for which God intended them.  Instead of using their God given position to image God and paint the picture of Christ and his Church with their wife they use their position for their own evil desires.  And as we have said previously if a man seeks to be aroused by his wife’s pain this is an evil desire.

Some Christian husbands abuse their authority to convince their wife to do horrible and heinous things.

I have corresponded with Christian husbands, professing the name of Christ, who have admitted that they forced their wives to strip naked in the presence of other men and then encouraged those other men to masturbate and ejaculate on their wife.  They would convince their wife that she was not actually having sex with the man because he never physically touched them. Yes this really happened and does happen.

I have conversed with husbands via email who force their wives to endure horrible pain through vaginal fisting or rough anal sex and the more pain they cause their wives the more it turns them on.

Some sadist husbands’ men whip their wives or hurt them in ways that will only leave bruises in places people cannot see and they tell themselves as long as they don’t break any bones or cause a permanent damage this is all fine before God.

I have conversed with men via email who have forced their wives to purposefully wear very revealing clothes to public places and forced them to show nipples to waiters or other men.

These actions of these husbands causing both pain and humiliation to their wives are textbook examples of sexual sadism.

They justify all this behavior by twisting the principle that God made their wives for them and that their wife must obey them in everything.  They convince their wives that even if they ask them to sin, that she bears no consequences and the consequences are all on him.  These men  take their wives through mental conditioning courses breaking down their opposition to these heinous acts teaching them that I Peter 3:1-2 absolves a woman from all sin that her husband commands her to do.

Some men literally have used I Peter 3:1-2 to convince their wife to have full sexual intercourse with other men for their amusement.

So, what has my response been to these men who misuse Biblical truths to get their wives to submit to their sexual sadism?  My response from one man who claims Christ to another who claims Christ has been simple.   REPENT.  What you are doing is wicked and you are perverting what God meant for his glory and not your desire for sin. You must recognize that if you are a Christian man with sadist tendencies these tendencies are NOT from God.  They are a corruption of the sexual nature he designed in you.

You need to repent both to God and to your wife for this evil you have committed against her.  And as a failsafe against you giving into your evil desires again, you need to tell your wife that she must resist your sadism with all her ability if this happens again.  You need to explain to her the principles I will now outline for wives in dealing with their husbands who have sadist desires.

How Should a Christian Wife Respond to Her Husband’s Sexual Sadism?

In a previous article I wrote entitled “Why God Wants You to STAY in an Abusive Relationship” I made the following statements:

“So on the one hand Biblically speaking we do not have to suffer or allow every kind of abuse from every sphere in our life but on the other hand the Bible does not allow us to or encourage us to do what the world says and confront EVERY kind of abuse or mistreatment toward us no matter what the offense is or where it comes from.

We all need to look to Christ’s example of “taking it patiently”.

What I was tackling in that article was the American “abuse” industry.  We are told here in America that we are not to tolerate any kind mistreatment by others.

Many people did not actually fully read that article and did not see the disclaimers I made.  I made it clear that if a person feels their life is threatened, or they are suffering serious physical abuse that causes permanent damage they should get out.  They should seek out the proper authorities for help.

But today we have people saying if a husband or wife calls the other person a name that is “verbal abuse” and they need to get out of that relationship.

Now let’s relate this to a husband engaging in sexual sadism with his wife.  This is definitely an abuse or mistreatment toward his wife.  God did not give a man his wife so that he could arouse himself by causing her pain.  This is evil and wicked in the sight of God.

So how should a Christian wife respond? Some Christian teachers would say she should separate from him and tell him if he does not seek counseling to address the issue, she will divorce him.  The problem with that advice is that it is completely based on emotion and not one ounce of Scripture.  That Bible does NOT allow a person to be divorced or free from their marriage for just any kind of mistreatment by their spouse.  See my article “For what reasons does God allow divorce” for the Scriptural reasons that God allows divorce.

Other Christians teachers will say that a wife must patiently and quietly take sexual sadism from her husband and that she is following Christ’s example in suffering in doing so.

But I would argue when it comes to sexual sadism that if a wife offers no resistance that she is in effect partaking in her husband’s sin.  And that is something the Bible forbids for us to do:

“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.  But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.  For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

Ephesians 5:2-7

Many women today wrongly believe they are to be the Holy Spirit for their husbands.  They believe they must try to correct their husband’s every sin. This is unbiblical and false. The Apostle Peter gave wives what was to be their default behavior toward their husbands when they acted in disobedient ways against God’s Word:

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” – I Peter 3:1-2

So rather than constantly rebuking and chastising their husbands, which is out of place for a wife, she is to win her husband without a word by her submission and reverent behavior toward her husband.

However, there is another Scriptural principle that I Peter 3:1-2 must be balanced against.  The same Apostle Peter who told wives to win their husbands without a word by their submission and reverent behavior also stated the following:

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” – Acts 5:29

So how do these two Biblical principles harmonize?

If a husband’s disobedience does not require his wife’s participation in his sin, and does not place her life or her children’s lives in imminent danger or risk of serious bodily harm then she is to say and do NOTHING.  She is not to preach the Word at her husband and tell him that he needs to repent.  She is to submit to him and attempt to win him with her life and actions, not her words.

Now what I just said there is a VERY hard pill for most American women, including Christian women, to swallow.  But it is the truth of God’s Word.  You are not his mother, you are not his equal partner, you are his wife which is his subordinate helper.

But if you as a Christian wife are asked to fulfill your husband’s sadist desires by letting him purposefully cause you pain to arouse himself the Ephesians 5:7 principle that you are not to be a partaker in other’s sin comes into play.  You must resist your husband to the best of your ability. 

What I just said I do not say lightly. Just as husbands can abuse their Biblical authority over their wives so too women can abuse God’s rare allowance for them to disobey their husbands.

Christian women – God calls on you to submit to your sinful and disobedient husbands, but you are not to be a willing partaker in his sin, including his sin of sadism.

“Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.” – 1 Timothy 5:22

7 thoughts on “Should A Christian Wife Submit to Her Husband’s Sexual Sadism?

  1. This a tough one. Lets say Mark and Carina are on a church outing. Carina is is behaving very badly so Mark makes some excuse to return home promising they will be back. Once home mark raises her skirt and administers biblical correction he leaves her bent over to think over her behavior. All of a sudden he is overwhelmed by her beauty and takes her roughly with no heed to her cries of pain.

    I don’t think that’s a sexual sadist.

  2. So, I’m sure you are aware of the wildly popular sexual spanking that involves a “gentle” swat on the butt of either partner during sex, as a means of additional arousal. The goal is stimulation without causing bruises, welts, or abrasions. Are you saying the Bible would oppose such a gentle swat as sexual sadism if both partners are equally favorable to this act?

  3. “But I would argue that that when it comes to sexual sadism that if a wife offers no resistance that she is in effect partaking in her husband’s sin.” The first two “thats” don’t belong in this sentence. But yes, seeing as its evil on his part, if she does as he says or does nothing to oppose it such as showing with Scripture it is evil, then she is herself sinning by partaking in his sin or condoning it. With regards to winning sinful husbands without words, Matthew 18:15-17 has to be factored in here as well, and as far as I can tell it either comes first and 1 Peter 3’s instructions cited here follow the husband not repenting after all three of the confrontation steps mentioned Matthew 18, or that the wife has no power to do these steps with regards to her husband and simply goes to men like deacons or pastors, tells them her husband’s sin against her, and has them confront her(somehow this scenario doesn’t sound right to me, but could be true). What do you think, BGR? Except for the grammar error here, wonderful job on this article. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  4. Tyler,

    As always thanks for the grammar help. Change made.

    Now on to the more difficult theological question. I actually hold Matthew 18:15-17 as the nuclear option for a woman. And it should be used only in the most serious of situations. I have had many emails from men over the years where their wife used the Matthew 18:15-17 option because she simply disagreed with her husband on marriage philosophy and she used her liberal church leaders to try and beat her husband(figuratively speaking) into submission to her theological views. If I am not mistaken I think this happened to Jonadab (one of our regular commenters) and I have seen it happen to many other men.

    For instance if a man believes sex is his right in marriage and uses the disciplinary tactics I recommend on this site many women will run to their church leaders to use the Matthew 18:15-17 to essentially “tell on their husbands” and get other men of the church to gang up on him and tell him he is wrong.

    I have seen this used with husbands and porn where wives drag their husbands before Church leaders to shame them over their porn use. Now whether you agree that some porn use is ok for a Christian or not(as I have argued on this site that it is) is besides the point. As long as the husband is not asking his wife to participate in something sinful she has no business going and tattling on her husband for his sins that are not against her to church leaders to try and persuade him that he is wrong.

    That is why I argue that in most cases marriage counseling today is unfruitful for Christians because basically what most marriage counseling comes down to is a wife tattling on her husband to another man to get that man to brow beat her husband into seeing things her way.

    So with all that said as to how Matthew 18:15-17 can be sorely misused by Christian women today here is how I think it can be used justly.

    If her husband is physically abusing her or her children or sexually abusing(like sexual sadism we mention here) her or molesting her children she absolutely has the right and responsibility to get both the civil and church authorities in involved to confront her husband’s sin that he is doing directly to her or her children.

    Another situation I can think of is a dead beat husband who refuses to work which I have seen many sad cases of over the years. The wife goes years watching her husband sit an play video games on a couch collecting unemployment and he may even send her out to work and then come home and take care of things while he does nothing. Or what if he refuses to have sex with her and has not had sex in many months or years? I belief this woman has every right under Exodus 21:10-11 to bring this situation to church leaders to confront her husband.

    But what if the husband drinks? That is one is tougher. Is he a functioning alcoholic who does not drink and drive, does not beat his wife or children as a result and goes to work each day but gets plowed in the evenings before bed? I would say if he is fulfilling his duty to provide for the family and not putting them in direct danger by his habits (like driving drunk) then she has no business bringing this before the church.

    What if the husband does not spend enough time with his wife?
    What if the husband yells too much at his wife?
    What if the husband has an anger problem that does not result in physical abuse, but verbal abuse?

    I actually believe you must combine Matthew 18:15-17 with I Corinthians 5 to see a full picture of what church discipline looks like. If someone is unrepentant when confronted by the church yes we treat them as a publican or tax collector but we also do as verse 13 of I Corinthians 5 says and “put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” That part is sorely missing in church discipline today.

    So when we apply Matthew 18:15-17 to the position of the wife we must realize this must be for something so serious that if her husband will not repent a separation or divorce will occur depending on the charge in question. I Peter 3 handles the sinfulness of a husband that does not rise to the level of things that are not cause for separation or divorce. For a wife Matthew 18:15-17 would then handle the most serious offenses which could be grounds for separation or divorce.

  5. Tom,

    I swat my wife on then butt and she does me all the time both inside and outside the bedroom. There is a huge difference between a playful swat on the behind and trying to invoke some serious pain in the other person for your own sexual arousal. So to answer your question – no I do not think playful swats on the behind are an example of sadism.

  6. Alice,

    I don’t think this subject is as tough as you imagine. I think the examples I gave in this article are clear examples of sadism (either through trying to cause pain or humiliation of someone for sexual arousal). We may be able to imagine scenarios that are borderline and debatable – but there are some that clearly are not borderline at all.

    In the situation you mention you said he was “overwhelmed by her beauty”. So he may be aroused by her bottom bare or other otherwise after some correction. That is different than him purposefully setting up a situation to cause her grain pain and agony or great humiliation for the express purpose of arousing himself sexually.

    Now personally I have counseled men who spank their wives(which I personally do not do) not to have sex immediately afterwards so as not to conflate the two together. I know some husbands disagree with me on this and feel it is a way of bonding after discipline. Some women have even written me that they prefer their husbands to have sex with them immediately after discipline. It’s not a hill I am willing to die on.

  7. Are you planning a follow up article wherein you detail the ways in which wives can resist their husbands’ sadism?

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