How a husband can enjoy sex that is grudgingly given by his wife

“You said we shouldn’t feel guilty to have sex even if it’s grudgingly but how can you? I would probably just cry and try to sleep.” – This was a question I got this week from a young husband who has been married a few years and is now experiencing a lack of sexual desire from his wife. He also needed me to help clarify the differences between sexual refusal, sexual rain-checks and sexual desire.

As I started to respond to his email I thought it would be good if I included this for my readers.

Sexual Refusal

This is when a wife just comes out and says “NO!” or pushes your hands away. As I said in my post on “8 steps to confronting your wife’s sexual refusal” you as a husband should not tolerate refusal.  If your wife says “NO” and slaps your hand away that is a disrespectful and unloving response by your wife to your sexual initiation and there is no sin in you trying to initiate sex with your wife.

Sexual Rain-check

This is when you go to initiate sex with your wife and she responds kindly and gently.  Perhaps she says something like “Honey, I know you really need it, but I am just really sick tonight, can I make it up to you tomorrow?” There are other reasons of course that a woman might legitimately ask for a rain-check of course like after the birth of a child, or surgeries, chronic pain flare-ups, deaths in the family and other reasons like these.

Sexual Desire

This is her actually wanting to have sex with you and obviously this is what every man who loves his wife would prefer from his wife at every sexual encounter. But women are not like men are when it comes to sexual arousal. They just don’t instantly get horny and want to have sex.  In most cases a woman’s desire for sex must be cultivated either by her husband, herself or a combination of the two.

“But I want my wife to desire and enjoy sex with me!”

We as men are programmed by God to want our wives to have pleasure when we are having sex with her. When your wife looks (or sounds) like what you are doing is giving her pleasure that is what makes sex the best! That is what makes it the most fulfilling in not just a physical manner, but also a psychological manner.

But then we have the conundrum, women don’t always feel like having sex. Even women that have a healthy view of sex don’t always feel like having sex as much as their husbands do. Then we have the women who do not have a healthy view of sex and see it as “dirty” or just something you do to have babies.

So how do we solve this conundrum? He wants her to desire and enjoy sex and she may desire sex far less frequently or not at all.

Those who reject the Biblical concept that sex is both a gift and a duty in marriage solve this problem by saying “They should only have sex when they BOTH desire to have sex”. But that is not God’s answer.

“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)

The only time sex should not occur is when both the husband and wife give mutual consent not to for a short period of time.

As a husband you can attempt to cultivate desire for sex in your wife by doing what God has commanded you to do outside the bedroom – and that is to know your wife(I Peter 3:7).  That means talking to her and hearing about her day and her concerns. It might also mean giving her a foot massage or a back massage after a rough day. Every woman is different and as husbands we need to get to know what makes our wife’s tick and not just for sexual purposes but to know her as God would have us to know her.

But a husband is NOT 100% responsible for cultivating all of his wife’s sexual desire.  A woman bears some responsibility for cultivating her own sexual desire.  The Bible says this about women:

“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” – Titus 2:4-5 (KJV)

That phrase “to love their husbands” is based on the Greek word philandros and it is the only time that word is used in the Bible.  Unlike Agape love which is the most common word for love in the New Testament, philandros love speaks of an affectionate love that a wife is to have toward her husband. Some have wrongly tried to suggest that this is exactly the same as the love women are told to have for their children because the roots are the same.  But in Greek usage this word took on the context of a woman being “a lover of her husband” and yes it meant in the sexual context, not just simple affection.

Women are commanded by God to be their husband’s lovers (in every sexual and affectionate sense of that word).

We need only look to the Song of Solomon to see a woman giving us an example of how a wife can be a lover to her husband.

But in the end – your wife has to realize that the greatest impediment to her own enjoyment of sex may be her own mind! A woman’s mind can literally put her body in lock down mode and she may not enjoy any touch from you in that mindset. She must let go and focus on her body and understand how it works before she can truly enjoy sex.

But until your wife truly overcomes her impediments to sex should she fake it? I believe the answer is yes. I think as a husband you can let her know it is ok to “fake it until she makes it”. I have written a companion post to this post for wives entitled “Should Christian wives fake it?” that talks to women about this.

You need to stop pressuring your wife for “the truth”

But if your wife agrees to “fake it till she makes it” then you need to let her do that.

“Was it really good or were you just faking for me” – those words need to be erased from your vocabulary as a husband. If your wife appeared to have a good time leave it there.

I realize you might think you are just trying to figure out what works. Also I am not saying it always wrong to talk about sex with your wife, but few women want to do a post-game analysis.

Women don’t always want to talk to you about specific technique in most cases, they just want to show you what they want and you need to watch for her nonverbal guidance during sex. If your wife actually expresses a desire to talk about some specifics when it comes to foreplay and the act itself than by all means have that conversation with her.

You need to talk to your wife about helping her with her desire, but I am talking about things outside the act of sex itself. I mean ways you can help her relax BEFORE sex so she will have an easier time mentally preparing herself for sex.

But what you don’t want to do is constantly annoy your wife for “scorecards”.

Things like “So what was my rating for that time babe? Or “Did you like that special thing I did?” or any of these types of things will annoy and bother most wives.

Should your wife complement your sexual performance? Absolutely! But if you have to ask for a compliment then it’s not really a compliment is it?

Your wife knows you love her. She knows you want to please her. If she has accepted the truth that she has to understand her own body and then show you the way she will do it. You just need to do your best to watch for her signals and simply enjoy that your wife is trying to please you and make you feel loved!

Stop prying. Just enjoy. Even if your wife is in touch with her body will there still be times when she fakes it? Sure. But rest assured that for women sex is not considered a complete failure if she does not have an orgasm every time.

“So HOW do I have sex with my wife knowing she is not in the mood?”

But what if you have tried everything you can as husband but your wife refuses to do her part and look inward at things she can change in herself to help herself enjoy sex more and cultivate a desire?

What if she agrees to sex grudgingly and refuses to “fake it” but instead displays her displeasure the entire time?

First of all, your reaction of being upset at the displeasure on your wife’s face during sex that she has grudgingly agreed to is completely normal.

You need to realize that this is a physical need that you have as a man. You also need to realize that whether your wife knows it or not she needs to have sex too. Your marriage needs sex at regular intervals. If you don’t have sex with your wife at regular intervals, even sometimes when she is not in the mood but consents anyway, you will open yourself to temptation. You will find yourself becoming distant from your wife, because this is the primary way that you as man feel closeness with your wife.

But even if you realize and accept this truth that you need sex and it needs to happen even if your wife refuses to “fake it” and bury her wrong attitude then what?

The secret of enjoying grudgingly given sex from your wife

Focus your eyes on her body, not her face. Focus on the visual pleasure you receive from looking at her body and physical pleasure you receive from being inside your wife.

I know you love your wife, most of us as men love our wives. You want to connect with her physically AND emotionally during sex. But your wife is the one refusing to connect with you emotionally, so you have to concentrate 100% on the physical side.

Let me try and explain this in another way. In Greek mythology there was a monster woman named Medusa. She was a cursed and hideous creature and if men looked upon her face they were turned to stone.

I know you love your wife, most men love their wives. But sin is ugly. Your beautiful bride’s face becomes ugly during this sinful time that she is grudgingly giving you sex as she grimaces wanting you to “just hurry up and get it over with”.

So like the men who could not look at Medusa’s face otherwise they would be killed, realize that if you look on your wife’s face when she is displaying a sinful attitude toward sex it will kill your sexual pleasure and may actually make it much more difficult for you to achieve the physical connection and release that you need. Again you know you want that emotional connection too, but your wife is the one who is in sinful rebellion against God’s design for sex in your marriage and is refusing to emotionally connect with you.

Conclusion

It is sad that any husband ever has to do this. This is not what God intended sex to be. But we live in a sin cursed world – we are sinners and so are our wives. Sometimes we have to work around the sinful behavior of our wives and this will be one of those times.

Yes this a way to cope with and deal with your wife’s sin but at the same time keep sex happening in your marriage. But don’t stop trying to work with your wife outside the bedroom, and remember to pray for your wife every day that God will work in her heart and change her wrong attitude toward his wonderful gift of sex.

Martin Luther on divorce for sexual denial

“Only first the husband should admonish and warn his wife two or three times, and let the situation be known to others so that her stubbornness becomes a matter of common knowledge and is rebuked before the congregation. If she still refuses, get rid of her; take an Esther and let Vashti go, as King Ahasuerus did [Esther 1:12‑2:17]”.  This was a statement by Martin Luther “Living as Husband and Wife” (1523) on the subject of sexual denial and abandonment in marriage.

I had one of my readers(thanks Dash) bring this quote to my attention today.  I have attended a Baptist Church for most of my life, but I studied many of the writing of reformers like Martin Luther and John Calvin in my youth and I don’t remember coming across this quote. After verifying it in several sources I thought I would bring Martin Luther’s words on this subject to your attention.

Let me first say, that unlike the Catholics, we as Protestants do not believe that our church leaders are inerrant in their utterances on doctrinal interpretation. So while I agree with the sentiment here of Martin Luther on the subject of sexual denial, there are many other areas where I would not agree with him.  But where we as Christians agree (whether we be Protestant or Catholic), we should stand together.

I think Luther’s words stand in stark contrast to a Pastor who emailed a man scolding him for considering discipline against his wife for her chronic sexual denial:

“I do not think it right to pursue discipline toward your wife for not having sex with you as you have previously suggested. Sex is the physical expression of intimacy that is to exist in a marriage relationship where the two are one – not just physically. I have never heard of or read of anyone being disciplined by a church for such a reason. And, I am not alone in that position. I have sought counsel from other pastors and elders on it without divulging your identities to those outside our church.”

So again I am not advocating for the inerrancy of Luther’s application and interpretations of the Scripture.  But whether you agree that the Scriptures allow divorce for sexual denial or not what this does provide is historical evidence for Pastors that the Christian belief in discipline for sexual denial is not a new teaching.

With all that said – here is the full quote from Luther on this subject of divorce for sexual denial:

 “The third case for divorce is that in which one of the parties deprives and avoids the other, refusing to fulfill the conjugal duty or to live with the other person. For example, one finds many a stubborn wife like that who will not give in, and who cares not a whit whether her husband falls into the sin of unchastity ten times over. Here it is time for the husband to say, “If you will not, another will; the maid will come if the wife will not.” Only first the husband should admonish and warn his wife two or three times, and let the situation be known to others so that her stubbornness becomes a matter of common knowledge and is rebuked before the congregation. If she still refuses, get rid of her; take an Esther and let Vashti go, as King Ahasuerus did [Esther 1:12‑2:17].

Here you should be guided by the words of St. Paul, I Corinthians 7 [:4‑5], “The husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does; likewise the wife does not rule over her own body, but the husband does. Do not deprive each other, except by agreement,” etc. Notice that St. Paul forbids either party to deprive the other, for by the marriage vow each submits his body to the other in conjugal duty. When one resists the other and refuses the conjugal duty she is robbing the other of the body she had bestowed upon him. This is really contrary to marriage, and dissolves the marriage. For this reason the civil government must compel the wife, or put her to death. If the government fails to act, the husband must reason that his wife has been stolen away and slain by robbers; he must seek another. We would certainly have to accept it if someone’s life were taken from him. Why then should we not also accept it if a wife steals herself away from her husband, or is stolen away by others?”

Martin Luther, “Living as Husband and Wife” (1523)

http://www.lutherdansk.dk/Web-Living%20as%20husband%20and%20wife/Living%20as%20husband%20and%20wife.htm

By the way I am not advocating for the death penalty by civil government for a wife denying her husband.  Martin Luther was a product of his time and his day there were a lot more crimes that people thought were punishable by death.

But I do think we make divorce far too painless today, especially as it relates to women. Today a woman can deny her husband sexually or have affairs with men and then when they divorce she gets either joint custody or primary custody of the children, his house and half of his assets. It is almost as if the government(which has been thoroughly infected by feminism) rewards the rebellion of modern women today.

If it can be proven that a woman was purposefully and willfully denying her husband or that she was committing adultery then I do think it should affect property settlements and child custody in divorce. There must be a price to pay.

On the issue of proving sexual denial, I think Martin Luther actually had a great idea.  Let others know. Make sure for some time that other members of the Church as well as family and friends know about her denial if she will not repent privately.  I agree that a husband should not make this public if his wife admits her wrong privately and changes her ways.  But if she is continues in her ways, it is time to drag her sin into the light.  Sin wants to hide in the dark, it wants to remain in secret.

Stories of Sexual Denial in Marriage Episode 7

Imagine if your Christian wife did not want to have sex on your wedding night? What if for the next 20 years she only let you have sex with her 8 times a year? This next story of sexual denial in marriage comes to us from a man named Mark. He has been married for 22 years. He sent me several emails detailing different aspects of his story. I am including relevant parts of his emails to show a picture of what was happening and he very much wanted me to share his story to help other men who are facing this situation know they are not alone.

Mark’s Story

“I am so thankful for your advice regarding how a Christian man can biblically handle a situation where his wife is perpetually sinning against God and the husband, by refusing sex to her husband.  I have that situation and am about to file for divorce.  I have lived with it for 22 years and never knew how to handle it.  Once I did finally follow the same advice that you have given, my problem was that when I got to the step of taking my wife to the pastor, the pastor, like our society, was afraid of my wife.  He got on me pretty hard about being a Christian husband, but never held her accountable to being a Christian wife.  In other words, he never said that she needed to have sex with me.  So, I have now gone a year without sex.

I have done everything that I know of to provide a loving peaceful home environment, but she will not repent.  I say this because I believe that there are many pastors, and churches that have embraced feminism.  So, they always see the man as the villain and the wife as basically sinless, and always right.  I am not claiming innocence in some of my marital problems because I am a sinner, but my wife is convinced that she is justified in her behavior and I received absolutely no help from the church.

I ended up going to a different church by myself.  I met with the pastor there and he referred me/us to a trained marriage counselor.  That marriage counselor is, at least, non-biased in evaluating our marital situation.  This feminism problem IN THE CHURCH is something that you might want to make your readers aware of.  It is a sad thing that is destroying homes.  Sadly, it looks like my home is one of the victims….”

In another email Mark supplied some more background and context to his situation:

“My wife has only had sex with me approximately 8 times per year. This is absolutely horrible. I’m getting older (47), but would still like to have sex at least twice per week. It also makes it difficult to want to stay faithful to her when all she does is turn me down.

Whenever I have confronted my wife about this, she clams up. She just won’t talk about it and usually walks away to avoid addressing it. She knows the scriptural command because I’ve shown it to her several times, but doesn’t really seem to care, and she faithfully attends church once or twice per week.

My wife has had a history of being unsubmissive toward me. She was raised in a home from age 5 until adulthood without a dad or brothers. Her dad left her mom when she was 5 (I strongly suspect because her mom did the same thing to her dad as my wife has done to me.). So, she was very independent growing up and never had a model for a Christian home life.

My wife has been a stay-at-home home school mother. By the way, tell any of your readers to not home school if the parents do not have a solid marriage. It is sad to say, but as a friend told me, it seems like many home school mothers have an entitlement attitude. I think that he is right.

I have six kids. Two of those six are daughters. I am most concerned about their future marriages as they have not had a good example in my wife…

The church needs to be the final step in the process of discipline, but if the church is not there to give support, we’re kind of out there on our own. That has been my case. The church that my wife now attends by herself but with my 2 youngest kids seems to be a very doctrinally solid church with plural elders and wise men leading. However, the lead/teaching pastor, the one that counseled us, does not even see that he is blind to the feminism that he has embraced…

Here is an excerpt from an email that I received from my wife’s pastor:

I do not think it right to pursue discipline toward your wife for not having sex with you as you have previously suggested. Sex is the physical expression of intimacy that is to exist in a marriage relationship where the two are one – not just physically. I have never heard of or read of anyone being disciplined by a church for such a reason. And, I am not alone in that position. I have sought counsel from other pastors and elders on it without divulging your identities to those outside our church.”

Mark gives more detail on the sexual denial and its impact on their marriage

“The entire 22 years has been a perpetual rejection sexually on my wife’s part….

I would say that I did try to do whatever it took to make/keep her happy so that she would be willing to have sex. But a majority of the time, it still resulted in rejection. We have only had sex, on average, 8 times per year for the past 10 years. Recently, she has withheld sex from me for a year as I stated in my first email. I moved out of the bedroom 12 months ago. I could not take the continual, perpetual rejection. At least I have not had to see her walking around the bedroom in her underwear knowing that I wasn’t getting any of that.

I would say that she pretty much has always been rejecting of me. She didn’t even want to have sex our wedding night. Not only that, we probably only had sex, maybe 3 times, our entire honeymoon week and I remember being upset about that.

For the most part, sex rejection on her part has always been a problem. I wish I would have had this advice years ago. Some people might wrongly think “Wow, you have 6 kids. Your marriage’s sex life must be great.” Not true. It has been horrible. What is sad is that she was much more affectionate before marriage. I assumed that I was marrying someone that would enjoy sex. That has not been the case.

She wanted all of the kids and was more willing to have sex when she wanted to get pregnant. But, as stated before, it never has been good as far as a willingness on her part – mostly rejection. And that has been another problem where she has elevated the kids way above the marriage. I love my kids, but not more than my wife.

I really want a companion that is a friend and lover and have never had that…

Mark’s experience with marriage counselors

“I put up with it (the perpetual sexual rejection), just praying away and hoping that God would intervene. But after 17 years, I threw in the towel. I was extremely frustrated. I said hurtful things to my wife and began to just do my own thing. I was never unfaithful but did not care about hurting her feelings. After about 2 years of that, realizing that that was not the way to go, I sought marriage counseling for us. The pastor (now her pastor, not mine) stated something like “Well, you can’t expect your wife to want to have sex with you if there is no relationship.”

I now realize how bad this advice was/is. This was just what my wife wanted to hear. This really angered me, because my wife has never wanted a relationship. She is just so different from probably most women. I actually have been the one that has wanted a relationship (even outside of sex). Over the past 5 years we have been through 5 different marriage counselors. We are about to have another session tonight with our 5th counselor. However, at our last session with the marriage counselor (who has been good at seeing both sides, not just the woman’s) I stated that this is it. I am drawing a line in the sand. If my wife (with her present to hear me) wasn’t willing to make any effort at reconciliation, that I was through and would be looking for a lawyer. I finally manned up…

By the way, we were sent to an expensive 3 day weekend ($1500) “Counseling Ministry” in Brown County, Indiana called Twelve Stones. It was absolutely terrible. Again, I tried to explain that my reaction to my frustrations of not getting any sex with my wife had caused my bad behavior toward my wife. I explained to them that the root problem was my wife’s perpetual rejection of sex. Well, they basically swept it under the rug and wanted to almost exclusively focus on me and my sinful reactions, etc. Upon my return home, I talked with 3 other men that had been to Twelve Stones and they all stated basically the same thing of how the focus was on the man, and very little on the woman. Tell your readers to avoid that place if their church, pastor, or elders recommends it…

My wife has stated that she clams up and does not want a relationship (of any kind) because she thinks that I am overly controlling (this was true some times in the past). I have repented of that. She also stated that is “isn’t safe” to talk to me about anything. She does see me as a male chauvinist, even though my view of husband leadership is based upon the scriptures, which she should certainly know because we have been in bible teaching churches our entire married life.

However, she does not like me to be a strong leader. I have really become a subdued wimp over the past couple of years in order to appease her. My oldest son, who does not live at home any longer and is well aware of the marital problems stated that he could not believe how subdued and wimpy I am these days. He said that one of the things that made him proud of me is how I was a good leader and strong in my convictions and how I taught him how to be a man’s man…

Mark recently sent me this update to what was previously stated:

“Last night’s counseling session was our last. Even the counselor sees the futility in continuing when my wife wants nothing to do with reconciliation or repentance. It is really hurtful to me that she does not see any need on her part to repent of such deep seated bitterness and also disobedience regarding the sexual rejection – in particular. I have gone to every possible effort to demonstrate my repentance and desire to save our marriage. It is really sad…

I believe that most, if not all, of this has happened because of feminism which has infected my wife’s thinking. She struggled for years with submission, but then the wrongful counseling is what cemented the wrong thinking. It is sad…

Thank you very much. I just don’t think most people, even Christians, realize what good you are doing. You will have the feminists after you for sure…

I do want my story out there though. Maybe it can help someone else and save their marriage or prevent some marriages for men that are planning to marry the wrong woman.”

My response to Mark and other men who face similar situations

Mark sent me this in as a response to my post “8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal” which I am thankful to say is making an impact for Christ against the scourge of feminism that has infected our culture over the last century.

While I have seen many emails and stories from men about long term sexual denial from their wives I think Mark’s story highlights the problem of feminism in the church.

Thankfully the Pastor of the church I attend would not have such a cavalier attitude toward sexual denial and there are still Bible practicing churches that will call women to account for this. But Mark raises a great point which leads us to this question – “What if your Church is infected with feminism and false modern views of marriage as opposed the Biblical model of marriage?”

As I pointed out in a previous post, our Church leaders do not always follow the Scriptures and often times they will bow to cultural pressures and not preach and teach the entire counsel of God. This is why we need to be as the Bereans were when they received the Word of God from the Apostle Paul and they compared it to the Old Testament Scriptures to verify it was true before they accepted it.

“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” – Acts 17:10-11 (KJV)

Mark did the right thing and searched the Scriptures and found in fact that what his Pastor was saying and how his Pastor was advising his wife was in fact “not so” from a Biblical perspective. His Pastor was flat wrong on this issue and was blinded to his own feminist view of marriage.

The husband is always the villain in modern marriage counseling

This is one of the biggest problems with marital counseling in modern times. It all about feelings and nothing about sacred duties to one another. The man is not making his wife “feel such and such” therefore she cannot be blamed for her actions.

You can see the complete and utter deafness to his concerns in his first Pastor’s response to their marital issues. Mark explains that after 17 years of denial, he threw in the towel and said some things toward his wife that were not right. Then after 2 years of just being angry and speaking wrongly to her he realized they needed counseling. So he goes to their Pastor and after explaining that his wife had been sexually denying him for 17 years before he threw in the towel for the last 2 years this is what his Pastor came away with:

“Well, you can’t expect your wife to want to have sex with you if there is no relationship.”

If I were Mark – my head would have exploded. He admits he was wrong for his behavior for the past two years, but the Pastor completely failed to see how he had put in all the effort of praying for his wife and trying to please her for the previous 17 years while she continued to deny him sexually!

“The Quiet Man” (1952) has always been one of my favorite movies since I was a child. In that movie a newlywed wife (played by Maureen O’Hara) goes to talk to her local town priest about her marriage troubles to her new husband (played by John Wayne). The priest’s reaction is the complete opposite of what most Christian Pastors and counselors would have toward sexual denial. She whispers in his ear that she has been denying her husband because she was upset at him for some things he was not doing and the priest went NUTS! He was yelling and screaming at this young wife.

The point is there was a time in our culture before the last 70 years or so that if a man and woman came into a priest or pastor and he heard sexual denial was going on he would hear nothing more and tell that woman to go home and do her duty with her husband.

Today unfortunately we have a lot of Pastors who may be brave in speaking out against many social wrongs but are cowards when it comes to preaching on the duties of husbands and wives toward each other in the bedroom and also confronting women in counseling for lack of submission in the bedroom.

The roots of Mark’s wife’s problems

Mark has admitted here as well as in other emails to me that he was not the perfect husband nor would he claim to be. I always ask men who email me when their wife’s sexual issues began and if it was from the very beginning of their marriage. I often ask “how was sex on your honeymoon?” as this can indicate where issues began.

In some marriages the sex is great in the beginning, including the honeymoon and into the first few years of marriage. Then after those first few years is when issues sometimes arise. Now sometimes the man does have some blame in the sense that he becomes neglectful of his wife and never wants to talk with her (know her) and spend time with her outside the bedroom.

Now this is not to say that a wife is justified in withholding sex from her husband, even under those conditions. Two wrongs never make a right. A husband must know his wife (talk to her) and a wife must have sex with her husband. Neither are prerequisites for the other – they stand independently from each other.

But in our sinful natures as men we will often clam up and not talk to our wives when they deny us sexually. And in the same way wives in their sinful natures will often deny their husband’s sexually when their husbands don’t make an effort to talk with them or spend time with them outside the bedroom.

But from what we can see in Mark’s account – his wife had problems in the sexual arena on day one of their marriage. She didn’t want to have sex on their wedding night! Now I know I will hear from some people and I have in the past heard of couples who did not have sex on their wedding night because she was too stressed out and tired from the wedding. But the next day and the following days she made it up to her groom.

I am not saying your marriage is cursed if your wife says no on your wedding night, but that is certainly never a good start to a marriage. There are going to be a lot more tiring and stressful days throughout the rest of your marriage and if she starts the trend on your wedding night – watch out! You might be in for some trouble.

And from a Biblical perspective, the marriage is not consummated until the husband and wife have sex. So technically speaking you were not husband and wife on your wedding night – vows don’t mean squat without the act of marriage sealing the deal.

It seems from Mark’s account the only time his wife wanted to have sex was when she wanted to get pregnant. How many men have heard this tune before? And she wanted all six kids!

It appears unfortunately for Mark, that like so many men (Christian and non-Christian alike) he was simply an accessory she needed to complete her life’s dream of having a big family and home schooling them.

Mark’s wife needed the man to bring home a paycheck for her and make sure she had everything she needed for her home. He was the sperm donor to supply her with the raw material for having the six kids she wanted. He was the father to pose for family pictures, help take care of the kids and fix things around the house and supply whatever the family needed.

In return for his services to her causes, she determined that she would gracious supply him with her body 8 times a year for sexual relief that had nothing to do with producing children.

But what she did not need was a husband. What she did not need was lover. She did not need someone trying to lead her or tell her what to do. Oh no, she would have none of that. And if Mark did not appease his wife and do what she said, he would get sex even less than the eight times a year!

The common thread in this story with every other story I have received from men facing sexual denial is a lack of submission on the wife’s part. It started on day one of their marriage. Yes Mark did act sinfully at some points down the road by his own admission, and he repented of it and tried to restore the marriage.

If a wife is truly submitted to God’s design for marriage then she will submit to her husband “as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). The first act of submission a wife makes to her husband in accordance with her submission to God is to submit her body in the act of marriage (sex). This forms the foundation for all other types of submission in marriage.

“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)

I pray that if you are husband reading this you will have the courage to do as Mark did and search the Scriptures on this issue. I pray that you will see that this is about so much more than sexual denial, but rather it is about confronting sin and rebellion against God’s design and model in marriage. Do not be lead astray even to capitulate to this sinful behavior even by well-meaning Pastors, counselors and even relatives.

Counseling can be good, but only if it is Biblically based. When you see out counseling go and vet the counselor first to see they believe in the Biblical model of marriage. If you do not, then a counselor who rejects the Biblical models of love and marriage could actually do more harm than good.

If you are a wife reading this and you recognize any part of yourself here in denying your husband sexually you need to repent and ask God and then your husband to forgive you. You need to humble yourself before God, and then accept that God has placed husband over you as your head just as Christ is the head of the Church. God wants you to submit to your husband in “every thing”.

“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 5:23-34(KJV)

One you have repented and humbled yourself before God as well as your husband make every effort to be as the wife of Proverbs 5:18-19 and ravish your husband with your body. This will transform your marriage and give it a new life like you have never experienced.

“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 (KJV)

4 Steps to confronting your husband’s sexual refusal

How should a Christian woman handle her husband’s sexual refusal? Many Christian women are embarrassed to even bring this subject up – let alone actually look for help.

Since the explosive popularity of my post “8 Steps to confronting your wife’s sexual refusal” I have had many requests by Christian wives to write “sister” article of sorts to that article since that was specifically targeted toward Christian husbands who experience sexual refusal from their wives.

Christian Wives – I want to be as clear here as I was when addressing this subject with Christian husbands. The situation I am addressing in this article is not your husband occasionally turning you down for sex (even with a bad attitude, as opposed to for health or other legitimate reasons). What I am addressing here is the husband who consistently and routinely denies his wife sexually simply because he does not need sex as much or he thinks he should not have to do it except when he is in the mood or he thinks his wife should have to earn sex with him by “putting him in the mood” by doing various things he expects or likes. You prayed about it for years but nothing has changed and your husband refuses to meet the obligations of his marital covenant.

Again this is about sexual denial on the husband’s part – not lack of sexual initiation. For reasons your husband may not be pursing you sexually see my post “12 Reasons your husband may NOT want to have sex with you”.  For many women they interpret their husband’s lack of sexual pursuit as sexual denial but this is not the case. In fact it is very common in many marriages where the couple is older that the man may not pursue sex as much and the woman actually pursues it more – so they switch roles (as in who is doing the chasing). To this I would say that a man still needs to pursue his wife sexually even as he ages, just as a woman should pursue her husband even when her desire is not there. Now the percentage of who pursues who more might change – but neither spouse should feel like they are the only ones that ever want sex.

So now that we have established what scenario these steps are addressing – let’s now establish the right of a woman to have sex with her husband.

A woman has the right to have sex with her husband, and the husband has a duty to have sex with his wife

Let me say that first and foremost God give a woman the right to initiate and have sex with her husband.

“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)

This passage when taken in context was talking about if a man decided to take another wife (exercise his right to polygamy) he must still provide food, clothing (shelter is implied as well) and sex (this is conjugal rights). If a man took another wife and neglected his first wife sexually her family members or other town elders could approach the man and tell him to release this neglected wife (give her a bill of divorce). But it provides though a general moral principle – that a wife has the right to have sexual relations with her husband in marriage.

God reiterates this command that a wife has the right to initiate sex and have sex with her husband in his first letter to the Corinthian church:

“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.” – I Corinthians 7:3-4 (KJV)

Throughout the Bible the husband is consistently seen as the head of the wife, as the owner of the wife and we see here that even though he is her head and owner – she has certain rights as his wife that he may not deny and sex is one them.

So if a wife has the right to have sex with her husband – why don’t women (or men for that matter) want to talk about issue? We will discuss this next.

Why don’t women want to talk about sexual denial from their husbands?

There are two common reasons why Christian wives won’t are embarrassed to bring up this subject – either with their husbands or women from their churches, or even to their pastors.

The first reason is that sadly many Christian women were raised by their parents, or taught in the churches growing up that “only dirty women want sex”. Unfortunately the Church over its history has been complicit in this teaching as the Church fathers quickly fell into the error that sex was “dirty” and “fleshly” not long after the Apostles died.

The second reason is that many women feel to bring up this subject would be a bad reflection on them. “What husband would not want to have sex with wife? Men always want sex right?” They think it reflects badly on their appearance. “Perhaps he no longer finds me attractive” – a Christian wife might reason.

But the truth is neither one of these reasons should stop a woman bringing this issue up and confronting it when it occurs in her marriage.

On the issue of appearance and hygiene – these things are important for both a man and a woman. Both a husband and a wife should do their best to keep their bodies healthy and clean and available for sexual relations on a regular basis. If the man has problems with weight or ED (erectile dysfunction) it is his job to seek medical help so that he can sexually please his wife.

So once a Christian wife understands that sex with her husband is a right in marriage, and she overcomes her inhibitions to talking about this issue – how should she confront this issue in her marriage?

Before you can confront you husband’s sexual refusal you must know and accept your position

The Bible is not a “unisex” book. Yes God loves men and women equally – and a woman is no less human being than a man is. But God created men and women with different purposes and roles and this is seen throughout the Scriptures. So when we come to how a wife confronts sexual refusal from her husband and how a man confronts sexual refusal from his wife the steps will look different.

The biggest reason the steps are different is because a wife is not her husband’s authority. She is not spiritually responsible for him as he is for her. While his role is to love her by leading her, providing for her, protecting her and knowing her – her role is to submit to him, to serve him and to gently and respectfully share her wisdom with him(as the Proverbs 31 wife does).

I have written on this previously that Christian marriage is a type of Master/Servant relationship – but it is not a typical Master/Servant relationship in that a wife has many more rights than a servant, and this is a much more intimate Master/Servant relationship in that a husband is commanded to “know” his wife.

But in the context of a master servant relationship – the Bible tells us that servants have the right to bring grievances to their masters:

“If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?” – Job 31:13-15 (KJV)

Job tells us that his servants made in the womb – i.e. just as human as he was. You as a human being, and even more so as your husband’s wife have certain rights and when you believe he has violated those rights you have a right bring those grievances before him.

But you must always be respectful of your husband’s position and his authority over you when you bring your grievances before him.

Before you take any steps to confront your husband’s sin of sexual refusal check yourself first

Before you embark on this difficult journey, you need to first address any un-repented sin in your own life. You need to pray very hard and make sure you are doing the right thing. You need to confess any bitterness you have toward your husband over this issue before you can confront it. Perhaps there are some other wrong ways you handled it, things you have said or done that need to be confessed to God, and perhaps even to your husband if it directly affects him.

A common issue that women who are experiencing sexual refusal face is – they were the ones refusing their husbands earlier in their marriage. What happens is because of many years of sexual refusal on the part of his wife, a man simply stops pursing his wife sexually. Then one day the wife wakes up and realizes they have not had sex in months or even a year or more and she pursues him at which point he turns her down. Now is the husband right to do this? Absolutely not. But the wife must realize her part in this and confess her sin of sexual refusal before she can confront her husband’s sin of sexual refusal.

4 Steps to confronting your husband’s sexual refusal

Christ said this about confronting a brother (or sister) that has sinned against you:

“If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he won’t listen, take one or two more with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established. If he pays no attention to them, tell the church. But if he doesn’t pay attention even to the church, let him be like an unbeliever and a tax collector to you.” – Matthew 18:15-17 (HCSB)

Matthew 18 gives us the first two steps a Christian wife must take to confront his husband’s sexual refusal.

Step 1 – Rebuke him privately

Rebuke your husband’s sin to him in private. A wife’s rebuke will look slightly different than a husband’s rebuke of his wife’s sinful behavior. A husband can speak “with authority” to his wife, as one under his authority. But a wife must remember her husband is her authority. You as a wife can bring your grievance to your husband in a respectful manner, you can plead with him to change his sinful pattern of sexual denial. This assumes you have already on several occasions tried to speaking gently to him about this issue. You have tried time and time again to find out if there is anything you can help him with, and anything you can do different. This assumes you have ruled out health problems, and or other mental problems and he simply has a stubborn and willful attitude toward sex in marriage and he does not think he needs to change.

Step 2 – Rebuke him before witnesses

If he is still defiant after rebuking him, privately ask him to go to a Christian marriage counselor, or maybe even a sex therapist if he is willing to go.

Step 3 – Bring him before the Church

If he will not listen to counselors, or refuses to go to counseling then bring him to your Pastor and his wife. If he will not listen even to them then he has chosen to act like an unbeliever, and now he will be treated as such.

Step 4 – Divorce your husband for the sin of sexual denial

Unlike a husband who has authority over his wife, a wife does not have authority over her husband. So unlike a husband in the same situation with his wife – a wife cannot stop going out with her husband on dates or stop doing her house hold duties or following his wishes. Your only option as a wife after confronting him with the Church is divorce.

But according to Exodus 21:10-11 you have the right to be freed from this marriage(and thus his authority) for his willful sexual denial.

“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 (KJV)

Under the theocracy of Israel – a husband was pressured by male relatives or elders of the town to give his wife a bill of divorce if he was neglecting her in any of these areas. Our government allows women to file this bill of divorce for themselves and there is no problem with this scripturally as the woman is divorcing her wife on Biblical grounds.

12 Reasons your husband may NOT want to have sex with you

“Why does my Christian husband no longer want to have sex with me?” This is a question that some Christian wives ask. What do you do as a Christian wife if your husband does not want sex? This is very delicate subject for many Christian wives and it can often times be embarrassing for them to even raise the subject because of cultural and religious conditioning.

I have received many emails from women asking me to talk about the subject of husbands not wanting sex and here it is finally! Sorry it took so long.

Yes wives want sex too!

Do not be ashamed of the fact that as a woman you want to have sex. In the Scriptures we need to look no further than the entire book of the Song of Solomon to see that women want sex too:

“May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine…

My beloved is to me a pouch of myrrh Which lies all night between my breasts.” – Song of Solomon 1:2 & 13(NASB)

“Awake, O north wind,

And come, wind of the south;

Make my garden breathe out fragrance,

Let its spices be wafted abroad.

May my beloved come into his garden

And eat its choice fruits!” – Song of Solomon 4:16 (NASB)

Unfortunately our culture as well as our churches make women feel dirty for desiring sex with their husbands – “Men are the ones that are supposed to want sex, not women” or so we are told. But nothing could be further from the truth.

In this area of sexuality we have to battle two extremes. One extreme says that “if you don’t want sex as much or as often as your husband then there is something wrong with you”. The other extreme is “If you want sex more than your husband there is something wrong with you”. If you find yourself as a wife in either of these situations – rest assured there is nothing wrong with you.

Many people have commented or emailed me accusing me of thinking women don’t want or enjoy sex because I deal so much with sexual denial by wives toward their husbands. But I do recognize that many women enjoy sex with their husbands, even if they don’t want sex as often. I also recognize that some women not only enjoy sex with their husbands, but they actually want it more often than their husbands!

But the truth is despite those women who find themselves having higher libidos (sex drives) than their husbands – the vast majority of low libido situations are found in women. Just search on “sexual denial”, “low libido” and “sexless marriage” and count the number of comments from men verses women. Ask a Pastor or therapist where they find low libido issues the most and they will say the vast majority of cases are with women having lower libidos than their husbands.

The mistake we make in this area of low libido is thinking that we have to make everything equal. We are told we have to say “This issue of low libido spouses in marriage is equally prevalent among men and women in marriage” when this simply is not true.

But even though it is true that if you want sex more than your husband that puts you in smaller percentage group of women (because the vast majority of women usually want it less than their husbands) – it does not make you abnormal, dirty or unchristian. That is my point.

But now that we have established that it is perfectly normal and fine for you to desire sex more than your husband let’s look at the difference between sexual denial and low libido.

The difference between sexual denial and low libido

A person (husband or wife) is capable of having little to no desire for sex (low libido) and still having sex with their spouse. Spouses do this all the time. Not having sexual desire, no matter the reason, is not the same as sexually denying your spouse.

Most men understand this key difference but women often times confuse the two. For many women – if their husband stops initiating sex as often or not at all then they interpret this as sexual denial when that is not the case.

Sexual denial is when you reject your spouse’s initiation of or request for sex, it is not the lack of them desiring you sexually or failure on their part to initiate sex with you.

Reasons your husband might have little to no sexual desire

When we look at reasons your husband might not want to have sex with you we have to divide these reasons into three major categories. The three categories are “Reasons that have nothing to do you”, “Reasons that definitely have to do with you” and “Reasons that may or may not have to do with you”.

First lets tackle the reasons your husband might have little to no desire to have sex with you.

Reasons that have nothing to do with you

Death of a loved one

Your husband may have lost a friend or loved one and this can take a huge toll on a man’s libido. For some men it increases their libido as sex helps to alleviate their depression. But for other men their depression causes their libido to drop. Usually though this type of event should only cause a temporary period of depression. If this goes on for years you may need to gently prod your husband into counseling if you think this is the case.

Your husband is stressed because of his job situation

Talk to him about it. Tell him how much you love him and how grateful you are for him providing for your family. Listen and empathize with his position (use your super power of empathy that God has given you as a woman). Reassure him that if in a worst case scenario he needs to look for a new job you will support that. Many women are afraid for their husband’s to switch jobs because of their need for security, but sometimes this is not what is best for your husband.

If your husband lost his job – the worst thing you can do as a wife is kick him when he is down. Let him know that you believe in him and that you know he will find something else soon. You need to be strong and not fall apart and worry about financial issues or bringing up finances to him. He knows that time is short and he needs to get a job – adding pressure will not help him. Obviously if he is being lazy or unwilling to support your family that is a different issue.

Your husband has a health issue

Maybe your husband has chronic pain issues or perhaps he has issues with ED or low testosterone. Try to gently speak with him about this. Tell him how you understand that he has chronic pain but you still need to have sex with him – you need that type of physical connection in your marriage. Some types of medication your husband takes may be killing his libido. If he has ED or low testosterone again reiterate to him how much you desire him and want to be physically intimate with him. Let him know he is not the only man that faces this and there is help – he just needs to be willing to seek it out.

Your husband was sexually abused

This is usually something you won’t find out until counseling. It is one of those issues that is usually buried deep. Basically if you can’t figure out a health issue, job issue or one of these other reasons you might want to pursue this in counseling.

Your husband thinks sex is just for having kids

Sometimes people are raised in homes or churches that teach that sex is only for having children. If your husband has this attitude toward sex, you will need to seek out counseling where a third party can help dig out this faulty and wrong view of sex.

Your husband is Asexual or has a true low libido

While these types of men are extremely rare – they do exist. Some men want a wife and they want kids but they have little desire for sex or they may even be Asexual and have NO desire for sex. Often times these men will hide this during the dating and engagement period so their fiancés won’t know and also men with low libidos or Asexuality are often mistaken for being homosexual. They want to appear like a “normal guy” so they put on a show.

But not long into the marriage they drop their guard and the show is over. Most of these men assume women don’t really care about sex so they think it won’t be a problem. While this kind of relationship is some women’s dream – most women want to have sex even if it is not as often as the average man.

You probably won’t be able to determine if your husband truly just has low libido (not for health or other reasons) or is Asexual without counseling to rule out other factors. If he is Asexual or has true low libido not caused by other factors – then you may have to initiate sex more often (and that is nothing to be ashamed of).

Your husband has homosexual desires

This has to be most women’s worst nightmare. Your husband admits to you or a counselor that the reason he has stopped having sex with you is because he has homosexual desires. He may truly love you – he simply has no sexual desire towards you because he prefers men to women. First know that you are not the first woman to face this situation and you will not be the last.

Homosexual desires exist because our flesh has been corrupted by sin. There are Christian programs that can help men recondition their minds toward heterosexual orientation. Just go online and look up a Christian counseling program in your area that can help your husband with this. But he has to be willing for this work.

Reasons that may or may not have to do with you

Your husband is addicted to porn

This may have been something that proceeded your marriage, or may have developed during your marriage but has nothing to do with you as his wife. However some men turn to porn because of their wives’ constant sexual refusal and denial. Some men turn to porn because even though their wife’s do not directly refuse them, they make having sex a difficult proposition. Some wives are overly critical of their husband’s sexual performance rather than gently asking for changes that might make their sex life better.

Your husband is having an affair

This like porn addiction is something that may or may not have to do with you. You may never deny your husband. You may rock his world in the bedroom, so this may have nothing to do with you and everything to do with him. But it may have to do with you if you been routinely denying your husband sexually. Am I saying it is right for your husband to have an affair because you were denying him?

No way!

The Bible does not allow sex outside of marriage under any conditions.

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

But by your consistent denial you may have placed your husband in a very tempting position and he fell.

“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 7:5 (KJV)

Reasons that definitely have to do with you

You are overly critical and disrespectful

Maybe your husband has not turned to porn, but rather he fills his time with hobbies (like video games) or other projects and he has no desire for you sexually because you emasculate him with your constant criticisms. For some men their sex drive is so strong – that they will still have sex with a critical woman just to get the physical release they need, but for others with weaker libidos they will redirect their sexual energy into other areas.

“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” – Ephesians 5:33 (KJV)

“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.” – Proverbs 12:4 (KJV)

You have let yourself go physically

Yes this affects some men more than others. Men are visual creatures – we are designed this way by God. Now most men can handle the natural aging process women go through with their breasts sagging and them getting love handles and bellies. Our bodies change with age and the majority of men accept these realities.

But there are extremes on this issue on both sides. Some men are constantly prompting their wives to get cosmetic surgeries in an attempt for their bodies to continue to look like that of a twenty year old and that is ridiculous. However we do have the other extreme where a wife let’s her body go and she gets massively obese. Let me just speak truth into your lives ladies – while there are a few men that will find obese woman attractive, the vast majority of men will not.

Contrary to what some blogs teach – Beauty does have a weight limit!

Some men will still have sex with their wives being vastly overweight but it is no longer fueled by their sexual attraction to their wife, but it is only fueled by their need for a release. Often these men will make sure the lights are turned off before proceeding. I know this is tough to hear – but it is the truth.

“But the Bible does not say that wives have to keep themselves beautiful for their husbands!” This is a common statement brought forward by women who do not wish to do the work that it takes to keep themselves beautiful. They are right – there is not a specific passage that says a wife must keep herself beautiful for her husband. BUT there are principles of Scripture that would require a wife to keep herself beautiful for her husband.

The Church is pictured as a bride adorned for her husband

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” – Revelation 21:2 (KJV)

Ephesians 5 tells us that Marriage is a picture of the relationship of God and his people, Christ and his Church.

“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 5:23-24 (KJV)

The model of marriage is – Man is symbolic of God and Woman is symbolic of the people of God. If Christ’s bride is adorned for her husband, should a Christian wife be any less adorned for her husband?

Also a wife must remember she is to submit to her husband in “everything”. That includes in the areas of sexuality and beauty. If your husband wants you to dress a certain way as long as it is appropriate to the occasion then you should do as you husband asks. Your husband should not have to ask you to keep yourself clean and well kept, as well as not obese – you ought to do this out of the recognition that your beauty is a symbol of the beauty of Christ’s bride who adorns herself for her husband.

You used to deny him sexually

This happens a lot to Christian wives. Early in your marriage you never denied your husband and you enjoyed sex together. Then the kids came along. You had years of pregnancies, raising kids and getting them off to school. Now you can finally breathe!

What you did not realize is during all those years of business you either subtly or directly denied your husband’s sexual advances. You made him feel selfish because you were so exhausted from dealing with the kids and you thought “How can he even think of having sex with all this going on? How can he be so selfish?” This devastated your husband in a way few women can comprehend. Eventually he determined that you simply did not care about his needs but simply saw him as a paycheck and helper with the kids.

Now after years of sexual denial you have decided you are ready to have sex! Well he is done. Some men might come back from this, while others will need counseling to get their minds straightened out about this. He may have a lot of unresolved bitterness that he needs to give to the Lord before he will be able to sexually desire you again.

Questions for Wives

As a Christian wife you need to ask yourself these questions:

“Is he actually turning me down for sex or is he simply not pursuing me sexually?”

“Is he pursuing me less or not at all?”

“When was the last time I initiated sex? Have I given up after a few attempts or many attempts?

“Have I talked to him about this – directly rather than in indirect ways?”

“Am I do anything else mentioned here that can directly contribute to lowering my husband’s sexual desire for me?”

Conclusion

Am I saying that a husband is right in sexually deny his wife for any of the reasons above (whether it has to do with her or not)? Absolutely not!

“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.” I Corinthians 7:3-4 (KJV)

The Scriptures are clear – a husband and wife may not deny one another sexually. But what if he is not denying you but simply not pursuing you?

Obviously as Christians we ought to coming to the Lord daily in prayer, to both offer our thanks to him as well as our petitions. But prayer is not going to find out what your husband’s issue is.  It may resolve on it is own, but more than likely you are going to have to explore this issue with your husband  – God means for couples to talk and you can’t read each others minds.

I do believe that a husband should lead his wife in all areas, and that includes in the area of sexuality. So he should be doing at least some sexual initiating and should not be leaving all sexual initiation to his wife. Desire or lack of desire has nothing to do with it. Sex is a duty in marriage – it is to occur on a regular basis by the will of God.

But can a wife look to herself and see ways she may be contributing to her husband’s decreased sexual desire? Absolutely she should.

If a woman has done a self-evaluation and communicated with her husband her need for sexual connection and he refuses to comply then she may need to take this to next level as this may amount to sexual denial if he is actually refusing her.

If you believe your husband is sexually denying you after reading this post I suggest you read my post “4 ways to confront your husband’s sexual refusal”.

Stories of Sexual Denial in Marriage – Episode 6

This next story of sexual denial comes from a man who is a minister and has been married 27 years.  I asked him for some clarification on his initial comments because I had some confusion on how often he was having sex with his wife.  I truly believe that as a minister he has the potential to make a huge impact for God with this situation.

Just a warning – this is probably the longest post I have ever done, but what has been said here needed to be said. But for men seeking help I believe it is worth the read.

Joe’s Story

“My wife and I have been married 27 years. I’m a minister.
We have been sexual only 7 times. (when she wants to be) This is the middle of September.
She tells me that sex is the farthest thing from her mind. I exercise often and am in athletic condition and well groomed. I do the things that most women complain about their husband NOT doing. I do most of the chores and cook almost all of the meals.

My wife says that she’s attracted to me and we are very nice to each other. We hold hands often. I give her back rubs which seems to help her chronic pain that she’s had for a number of years. She comes in from work every day totally exhausted and wanting no affection from me, unless it’s just a small kiss.

I’ve lovingly told her how rejected I feel for her not wanting to have sex with me. Oh, every time in our married life when we make love I always help her to achieve an orgasm.

At our last counseling appointment the counselor reiterated scripture that you mentioned above. The thing is…I don’t want her to make love to me out of a “duty”. I want her to do it because SHE wants to. I want to be desired her but she’s not interested.

I’m feeling resentful and very angry. I feel unloved. I recently just read Kevin Leman’s book “Sheet Music” and it made me angry cause I know that my wife will never do the things that Leman mentioned.
From what I’ve read in other articles if you have sex less than 8 times in a year that’s considered a “sexless” marriage.

I never thought I would only be 53 and be in a sexless marriage. If I were 85 or 90 I could understand but I’m so frustrated right now and honestly do not see an end to this. For me to “divorce” her over this could put an end to me being a pastor. I doubt seriously I could convince others that she’s committed sexual immorality against me over not wanting to have sex with me.

I’ve tried to woo her, wanting to take her on a date, just me and her. Nope, she’s too tired and wants to veg out on Netflix. I’ve suggested a weekend away somewhere or a cruise, just me and her. Not interested. I married “in sickess and in health, richer or poorer” but I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS. I’ve shed a bucket of tears over this and just don’t know how much more rejection I can handle. I’m ready to leave.”

He then responded to my questions asking for clarification with these comments:

“Sorry for the confusion. I meant to say we’ve had sex 7 times this year. ..which is way better than 7 times in 27 years. We’ve been seeing a wonderful Christian counselor…for other other issues but Only 2 times now for this particular “no sex” issue.

Sex in our marriage started out great..like most couples but then when children came along it basically came to a screeching halt. With child #2 my wife seemed to be sick the entire pregnancy which meant no sex for me…but i felt sorry for her. She also seemed to develop an invisible disease called fibromyalgia which causes pain all over her body. Its hard to diagnose. It was pretty bad for a number of years. We would only have sex a handful of times a year (whenever SHE was in the mood) .

Now things are somewhat better with her physically but we still seldom have any sex or any other physical touch. The issue now is she works full time, comes home and collapses and has nothing left. She says she loves me but just has no interest in sex. I’ve told her how i feel. The counselor (a woman) has used the same scripture you mentioned.
There is however, a ray of hope. Today she left me a note saying that she wants to pursue passion and for me not to despair. She does realize that she’s not normal. But it’s very upsetting to me that regardless of her non existent libido that she would not care about my desires and needs. I don’t feel desired at all.

Ive noticed that as a result of my situation i am now being tempted to do some immoral things. Have not given in yet but i feel very vulnerable right now. At this point i have resentment that’s built up. I lay awake at night wanting to be touched…and honestly it all just ticks me off. I want to sleep somewhere else.

In response to your last questions:
She initiates. And yes, i gave up initiating long ago because of the rejection. She lets me know when. When she IS in the mood i will ask “is there something i did that put you in the mood? If so what was it so i can try that again.” As far as touch she does not smack my hand but just move it away and then tell me she’s too tired or she’s hurting (with her pain issue). At the moment she feels like i am pressuring her and all i am doing is trying to have conversation about it. “Speak the truth in love”. Im trying real hard to get the “in love” part. I’ve read both books our counselor suggested in three days. She’s struggling to read them cause she doesn’t want to and said it makes her angry. Im all alone here.

My Response to Joe and other men who see themselves in this situation

First and foremost I want to extend my heart felt sympathy to this Christian husband and any other Christian husband who faces this issue of chronic and willful sexual denial from his wife.

Joe truly seems to have been trying to “woo” his wife, to see what he can do to put her in the mood.  He gives her back rubs, he does most of the cooking and cleaning  all in an attempt to relieve her stress which might allow her to be in the mood more often.  He tries to take her on dates. On those rare occasions when she is in the mood he asks her what put her in the mood so he can do whatever that is more to help her to be in the mood more often.

He has shared his frustration with his wife and she has been honest with him that she simply does not have the desire to have sex.

Joe is right that he is truly living in a sexless marriage(only 7 times in a year).

Joe’s situation is further compounded by the fact that he is a minister and he is afraid of what it will do to his Church if he confronts his wife and has to divorce her.

Joe’s story is very close to my own

I receive these emails and comments all the time and rarely do I see a story that so closely mimics issues I faced in my own marriage.   I believe God is leading me to share my story here for Joe as an encouragement for him to learn from what God had to show me in my marriage.  Previously I have shared bits and pieces about my marriage history in other posts.  But this will probably be the most I have ever opened up about my marriage history in a single post.

As I have stated on several occasions on this blog – I was divorced from my first wife with whom I had my children.  While it takes two for a marriage to fall apart the fault is not always equal on both sides. I was not the perfect husband and I know that I failed her many ways, despite trying to love her the best I could.

In my first marriage my wife had several affairs.  We really didn’t have sexual issues in the sense that until we were getting divorced she really never denied me sexually.  But I could never trust her as she would keep returning to affairs and I had to eventually divorce her.

Not long after I divorced her – I went on a Christian dating site where I met the woman who would eventually become my second wife.  When we were first married the sex was great! For about 3 months.

Then after about 3 months of marriage my wife started feeling more free to turn me down for sex. During this same period the personal touching between us went down drastically as well.  My wife started sitting on her couch and I had my couch, and if I were to go and try and sit with her to cuddle up she would tell me she needed her space.

My wife worked a full time job as a manager and she would routinely tell me she was stressed out from work and she had back pain and foot pain from her job.

Why did I marry a career woman?

I realize that may seem like a complete contradiction to what I believe and teach on this site – why would I marry a career woman? The reason is because after my divorce from my first wife I was in the position where I had older children who did not need a mother at home to care for them.  If you look closely at my articles on this site about career women – I say that a woman should not work until at least when her kids are in school and they are not needing full time care at home from their mother.

But even though I am not against women working outside the home when their kids are grown and in school, I think they have to be careful of over committing themselves to their jobs to the neglect of their husbands, their children or their home.

My first wife was a very untrustworthy woman constantly lying and doing things behind my back.  The most important thing to me was finding a Christian woman and a person I could trust with my heart and my children and one that would not betray me as my first wife had.

My second wife was involved in her church before I met her  – she went on missions trips and was involved in various ministries of her church.   I met her family and church friends and found that my wife was a woman with great character.   Once I realized she was the kind of woman who would never betray me and that we shared a common faith in Christ that was it – I was head over heels for her!

She was married previously and was never able to have kids and I came with a ready made family.  My kids loved her and she loved them.  We were married about a year after we met.

While we were dating and then engaged we did talk about how I felt about Biblical gender roles and she asked if it would be a problem with me that she worked full time once she knew my beliefs.  I told her that as long she put me, my kids and our home before her career I had no problem with her continuing to work as a manager since my kids were older and in school full time.  I even offered to help with doing half the house work.

But even while we were dating I detected feminist tendencies in her that she had from her upbringing(her mom was a career woman as well).  Her mom even told me on one occasion that she taught her daughters to “be independent and not need a man”.  So even though my wife had become a Christian a few years before she met me, the feminism ran deep in her.  I also detected that her job as a manager might cause some friction in her commitment to our marriage and our home.

But she was so different from my first wife, and such a good Christian woman with great character that I chose to overlook some of these areas that would later come back to haunt me, naively thinking I could help her to see what God says a Christian woman’s priorities should be in regard to her husband, her children and her home.

Some might say “well they were not her children” so they are not her responsibility.   That is false.  When a woman agrees to marry a man who already has children, she agrees to be a mother to his children and we agreed to that before we were married.

So now with all that as a backdrop to the sexual issues I faced with my wife let me go into what I did to address the issue of my wife’s sexual denial.

Mr Nice guy goes to work

So like Joe I went to work trying to help reduce my wife’s stress.  My first wife was a traditional stay at home mom and did the majority of the cooking and cleaning(although I did cook frequently too).

My second wife was the polar opposite – she was a hardworking successful career woman working as a manager.   My second wife did not cook much as her mother did not cook much so she had no example to learn from.  Her father cooked more often then her mother because he got home from his factory job earlier than her mom from her office job.  Her mom would take care of most of the laundry.

My wife has admitted to me many times that for her growing the norm was “the dad does the cooking and the mom does the laundry” so this is why she never really took an interest in learning how to cook.

So my wife did not have the homemaker model of mother teaching her how to cook.  It was a big change for her to cook at all for our family but she tried.  Not long into our marriage I took on most of the cooking duties(where I cooked about 80% to 90%  of the time)  and at some points I cooked 100% of the time.  Eventually I was doing most of the laundry but she would help put the clean and folded clothes a way.

I hoped that by doing all these things it would help reduce the stress I saw in my wife and perhaps it would jump start and rekindle our love life.  I would try to take her on dates and buy my wife expensive jewelry and take her on expensive getaways(just me and her).  Because she suffered back pain I would give her back rubs and foot rubs.

None of this worked to get her to open up sexually or for us to even have more non sexual touch(like sitting on couch cuddling up together).

At one point in the first year of our marriage I remember sitting in a parking lot and I just told my wife how I felt. I wept. I told her that this was not how marriage was supposed to be were a couple rarely had sex and rarely touched one another.

She told me very candidly that while she understood my feelings, that she felt that a couple should only have sex when both the husband and wife are in the mood and that she really was not in the mood that often – maybe once or twice a month. She told me she was not a “touchy feely person” and she needed her space.  She told me that she loved me, enjoyed spending time together and going on trips together, but that she felt marriage should be more about companionship and friendship than having to be about these physical things.

I asked her “What happened to the woman I dated and the woman who I was married to for the first few months of our marriage?”

Her response was “That was not the real me.  That was just because our relationship was brand new, now this is what I am really like.” She then told me that since we were not young, but in our 30’s that “Sex and touchiness should not be a big deal – that is for younger couples in their teens and early 20’s”.

I wish I could say that right after that conversation I went to work confronting my wife’s sexual denial as I now advice men to do in many posts on this site.  I did tell her that day that I thought she was wrong, but then I dropped it hoping she would realize it on her own and change.

I continued doing almost all the cooking and laundry, taking her on dates and trips, buying her expensive jewelry and giving her back rubs and foot rubs.

Then she began to have health problems which eventually lead to her having to step down from her job as a manager and she worked a regular worker part time.   Then she had a car accident which caused her to become disabled.  During all this time I cared for her with all her various ailments.

I believe in some ways God allowed all these things to come into my wife’s life to humble her, because she was so neglectful of our marriage and our home in favor of her career and other interests.

But even through God allowed all these things to come into my wife’s life and despite my caring for her needs and taking care of the household duties she continued to sexually deny me except on the rare occasions that she was in the mood.  She also continued to deny me the physical touch(not just sexual, but just touch) that I so needed.

So you can see by my own story that I can very much relate to Joe’s story.

My confrontation of my wife’s sexual denial

Eventually I came to the point where I realized that I could not stand back and allow my wife’s behavior to go unchecked. Despite all the trials God had brought into her life to show her that her marriage and family were more important than her career she did not see the changes that God was trying make in her life.

She continued to focus on the loss of her health and her job with no consideration for the opportunity God had given her to focus on our marriage and our family.

This is not to say that I had not complained to her before this – but it was just that a complaint with no followup.

Then God revealed to me that I was not powerless to try and change this situation with my wife. I realized that God had called me not only to love her and care for her physical and emotional needs, but also to rebuke sin in her life toward our marriage.

We went and counseled with our Pastor and his wife(whom she respects) and our Pastor made it clear to her that God says a wife is not to deny her husband sexually, even if she is not in the mood.

After that she stopped denying me for a short period but then it started up again. At that point I felt the Lord leading me to discipline my wife.  I stopped buying her flowers(I used to buy them at least once or twice a month for her).  I stopped taking her to our favorite restaurants when my kids were with their mom.  I stopped the weekend getaways and I stopped the jewelry and gifts.  I stopped giving her the back and foot massages. The message was clear – this sinful behavior will stop.

At first she acted stubborn about it, and then she tried to pull the “Am I your whore that I have to perform to get these things”.  She told me “you just think marriage is all about sex”.

I told her “I do not expect you to have sex with me in order for you to get these things from me – in fact you ought to have sex with me regardless of if I do those things. I expect you to honor the vows you made to God and me when we got married to respect me, submit to me and give me your body freely and without complaint.”

I told her “you are breaking the marriage vows you made to me and you are being unfaithful to me by denying me sexually – this is a breach of our marriage covenant”. I made it clear to her that I would eventually seek divorce if this situation did not change.

You know what happened? Now she does not deny me except for when she is truly sick and I know she is, and then she humbly gives me a rain check.  Has she had some relapses where turns me down in a wrong way or for wrong reasons? Yes. Do we still have issues with her not wanting to touch? Yes.   But I address it head on and remind her that I won’t tolerate this sin to rise up again in our marriage.

I also realized that I was not only enabling her sin of sexual denial, but I was also enabling her laziness.  Yes she had some health issues, but according to her own doctors it would be healthy for her to do things like wash dishes and do laundry as long as I could help her with any heavy lifting(which I always still do).

So I told her I expected her to do what she could and that meant doing dishes and learning to cook.  I would no longer cook 80% percent of the time now that she is at home full time.  You know what? She learned how to cook.  She looks up recipes and now she cooks 80% of the time and I only cook 20% of the time.  She packs my lunch every evening for me to take to work the next morning.

Has my wife completely turned from her feminist tendencies and fully embraced Biblical patriarchy as I have laid out on this site?  No she has not.  But she has made progress and I recognize that.  However, it is my job as a husband to not only continue to search my own self for sinful thoughts and actions but to search my wife as well.  Ephesians 5: 25-27 tells us that as Christian husbands part of loving our wives is for us to wash their spiritual spots, wrinkles and blemishes with the Word of God as Christ washes his Church.

My wife, like myself, still has many spiritual spots, wrinkles and blemishes that need to be washed.  However, while it is not her job as one under my spiritual authority to wash my spiritual spots, wrinkles and blemishes  – it is my job to wash hers.

But I can only wash my wife as she full submits to God and then to me.  She no longer flat out denies like she did before but she still has not fully recognized that God made her for me and has given her to me.  She still is retaining ownership of herself.

A battle plan for Joe and other husbands facing this situation

Joe – this is about way more than your feelings and your frustrations.  This about sin in your wife’s life.  But you can’t take on sin in your wife’s life until you take on the sin in your own life.

“See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;  that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.” – Hebrews 12:15-16 (KJV)

Your wife has sinned against you and she has hurt you in a very personal way by sexually denying you and refusing to give you the affection that every man needs from the woman he loves.

But as a minister I know that you know one sin never justifies another sin.  You have allowed a root bitterness and resentment to grow up and you need to rid yourself of that so you can clearly see and confront the sin in your wife’s life.  I struggled with this bitterness and resentment toward my wife for a while until I realized it was making me powerless to confront my wife’s sin.  I needed God’s power to confront my wife and I would not have that till I made my own heart right with God.

Once you make your heart right with God – you will be ready to take on your wife’s sin head on.

You said there is a “ray of hope” and your wife acknowledges the issue.  But my wife did that too but she would change for a week and go back to the same behavior. Your wife may do this as well.  You can’t let her just say “I know I need to change”, actions must follow her words and there needs to be a consistent change.

If you don’t see this real and consistent change occur then you need to move to discipline with your wife(tough love).

First realize why you are disciplining your wife

Your wife is acting selfishly toward you and thinks she should only have to have sex with you or let you touch her when she feels like it which is clear violation of God’s Word.

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

4 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.

5 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)

The  Bible also says you as her husband are to be able to be find satisfaction in your wife’s body and be ravished by her love – something she is not doing.

“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 5:19 (KJV)

Remember God made your wife as a helper for you, not you as a helper for her.

“Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” – I Corinthians 11:9 (KJV)

This is not to say that husbands should not serve their wives as Christ washed his Apostles feet.  But it must clear in your relationship who is the leader of your home and who is the helper in your home. And this is not about you being selfish. Biblically speaking selfishness  is when we think ONLY of our needs and not the needs of others.   But it is not selfish to also think of your needs.

“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:4 (NASB)

Most of the time sexual denial, especially on the part of the wife is way bigger than just sex.  Sexual denial is just the tip of the iceberg.  The issue is your wife’s attitude toward her role as your help meet.  She may say she believes she is to be a help meet to you – but her actions show something very different.

Her actions show a woman who has no problem with her husband acting as her help meet, instead of her acting as his help meet.  This needs to change.

How to discipline your wife

Joe – you need to confront this sin head on in your wife’s life by removing the back rubs, the dates and doing all the chores.  Does she really need to work? Maybe you can bring up to her that if she is so exhausted from her job maybe she does not need to work.  But whether she works or not – she must reserve some energy for you.  Her focus needs to be more on her role as your help meet and less on her role as an employee of whatever company she works for.

If she will not listen and rebels against your attempts to bring godly correction into her life then you may have to move to the next level.

It maybe require you stepping down from your Church as Pastor in anticipation of divorcing your wife for her marital unfaithfulness(which sexual denial is form of).

I know that some of my readers will disagree, but I do believe that one of the qualifications of Pastors, Deacons and Widows that serve directly in Church is that they cannot be divorced:

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;” – I Timothy 3:2 (KJV)

“Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” – I Timothy 3:12 (KJV)

“Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man.” – I Timothy 5:9 (KJV)

But this does not have to be the end of your life, but rather a new beginning and imagine the impact and spot light you could bring to sexual denial in marriage – something that is far too often ignored in our churches today.

This situation could be used for God’s glory

I know it does not seem like it now and you might be wondering – “How could God possibly get any glory from this horrible situation?”

If your wife repents and changes her ways – if she truly realizes how she was not being the help meet to you that God meant her to be you could use this to show other women how to be better help meets to their husbands by meeting their sexual needs.  Your wife could teach women’s classes and share her story and how God changed her life.

I know that many would disagree with me about this – but I believe if your wife remains in sinful rebellion that you need to let your Church know why you are getting divorced.  Do you realize as a minister how much impact this could have? I have no doubt there are other men in your church that face this issue and they do not know how to confront it.  In fact you could end up being an influence on many Christian men in other churches in the area.

You could literally ignite a spiritual fire in your church and perhaps other churches in the area for men to stand up and lead in their homes in this all important area of sexuality.

I hope this will be of some encouragement to you as you seek the Lord’s guidance.

How much pain would you endure to have sex with your husband?

How much pain would you endure to have sex with your husband? What if you could not consummate your wedding vows on your wedding night? If you are having painful intercourse should you tell your husband?

In some previous posts on stories of sexual denial where I have shared reader’s stories – the subject of painful intercourse has arisen several times whether in public comments or private emails.  This is a topic that many Christian engaged couples who are trying remain pure for marriage never consider might happen to them. This issue affects wives across the spectrum from newlyweds to elderly wives.

I recently received this email from a woman named Anna, and she asked me to make her story public.  Just a heads up – this conversation will get a little more “graphic” than I usually get when talking about sex but I think as you read Anna’s story you will understand the need to speak frankly and openly about these issues.

Anna’s Story

“I’ve been reading your blog for a couple months now and have taken special interest in your posts about a husband/wife’s sexual duties to each other. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything else you post, I think you are right on the money here.  I wanted to send you my story because I think it might be an encouragement to women, but of course whatever you choose to put on your blog is up to you.

My husband and I were married a little over a month ago, and I had assured him multiple times prior to marriage that he didn’t need to worry about my freezing him out in the bedroom later on in our marriage. He appreciated that, but i had no idea at the time what wall would be required to keep that promise. When we arrived at our apartment on our wedding night, I was ready to start, and he definitely was. However, it didn’t exactly go according to plan as my body was way too tight for him to enter. I was in tears from the massive pain but kept telling him to try again. My sweet husband prioritized my needs over his and nixed that idea.

However, there are other things a woman can do and I was able to give him one orgasm right then, and another later that evening. We left for our honeymoon later with me fighting (more like losing to) guilt and depression. On our honeymoon, we tried pain medications, alcohol (neither of us were remotely drunk but I still do acknowledge that this idea is not for everyone), and about 5 different kinds of lube, and nothing worked. He knows that I normally hate going to doctors, so I assured him that as soon as we got back home, I’d book an appointment with a gynecologist to see what was wrong. He wasn’t particularly interested in trying intercourse until then as each session resulted in me breaking down in tears at the slightest attempt.

I got back to work (i’m a nurse with a particularly open group of co-workers!) and shared my plight with a few of my closer nurses and my manager as well.  I told them that i was going to see a gynecologist and was hoping to have a ‘snip surgery’ done that would help open me up. Every single one of them (most of whom are also professing Christians) recoiled in horror and told me how much that would hurt and asked why in the world I would ever do that. My answer was simple: he was my husband, I had made marital vows to him (to have and to hold???), and I had no intention of backing down.

Thankfully the gynecologist said nothing was physically wrong and encouraged me to try a vaginal dilator set. We also booked an appointment with a sex therapist who encouraged the same thing. The dilator set was the worst pain I have ever experienced. I tried them each night after work and would send my husband out of the room because I didn’t want him to see me crying and feel guilty (the therapist encouraged me to let him stay so I did after that).

It took over a month of trying, but yesterday we were able to have sex for the first time. Our marriage is definitely stronger for the initial struggles,and I have so much respect for my husband who was always so sweet, supportive, and patient through the whole thing.  It never occurred to me that i had an option other than trying all these things because as a married person, I had responsibilities…simple as that. My husband and I have a lot of work left to do on our sexual relationship (although i’m not sure if a couple ever stops learning in that area!), but we are both very happy to be past that initial hurdle. God is good!”

What a powerful story of faith and commitment to marriage! It is often said that our faith is revealed not in the good times, but in the bad times and this story is no exception to that rule.

This story starts off with a young newlywed couple unable to consummate their marriage on their wedding night. How frustrating that must have been for both of them!

This young bride was an example for all Christian wives

First she recognized that even though they could not have intercourse, she needed to take care of her husband’s sexual needs in other ways. Bravo! So many Christian women would have quit there and told their new husband he would just have to wait – or he could go take care of himself. Her compassion for husband’s needs – despite her own frustrations is to be commended.

Secondly is the fact that she recognized that this was HER problem, not his. So many women jump to blaming their husbands when they have any type of difficulty in the bedroom. While sometimes it may be an issue of foreplay on the husband’s part, often times it may be physical or mental conditions on the part of the wife and she has a duty as wife to seek out medical or psychological help for herself. This young bride did just that. She saw a doctor and a therapist and fought through the pain to get herself to the point where she could have vaginal intercourse with her husband.

This young husband was an example for all Christian husbands

The young husband in this case is also a model for us as believing husbands. Contrary to all the slanderous statements that have been thrown my way – I do not believe a husband should ever force himself upon his wife. A loving husband who sees his wife is in pain will not want to cause her more pain.

This husband demonstrated love and compassion for his wife and waited until she was ready – a very admirable thing to do in this scenario. Yes I am sure his wife continued to help him out using manual or oral methods (as she should have). But as any man or woman can attest to, there is no sex like sexual intercourse. It is the most intimate and physical joining of a man and woman in marriage. When the Bible speaks of a husband and wife becoming “one flesh” in marriage, while it has spiritual and emotional implications – it’s most literal meaning is their bodies merging as one during the act of sexual intercourse.

Vaginismus – the cause of Anna’s pain

The condition that caused Anna not to be able to have sexual intercourse with her husband is called “Vaginismus” and this is what healthyplace.com says about it:

“Vaginismus is an involuntary spasm of the muscles surrounding the vaginal opening which occurs whenever an attempt is made to penetrate the vagina…

What causes this to occur? In most cases, this is not due to a physical deformity or disorder. Instead, it is an emotional condition that occurs because of psychological reasons but manifests itself in a physical response. The majority of women with vaginismus believe that intercourse will be very painful; often thinking that their vagina is too small to accommodate the penis and therefore, their vagina will be ripped or stretched too far. Consequently, they develop a phobic response to the penis; associating it with pain. Other women have indeed experienced some type of trauma to the vagina or genital region, such as rape, sexual abuse, or surgery, which then leads to a fear of intercourse. And, unfortunately, for some women, it is their first pelvic examination that causes them to be fearful. Lack of sensitivity on the physician’s part, or neglecting to adequately inform the patient what she can expect, has sometimes contributed to the pelvic exam being a negative experience for women; causing them to fear sexual intercourse….

However, in a small number of cases, physical factors (such as the presence of a rigid hymen, or deformities of the vagina) can make penetration of the vagina impossible. Additionally, although physical conditions, such as endometriosis, vaginal infections, or an episiotomy are not directly responsible for a woman experiencing vaginismus, they may, through association, contribute to vaginismus indirectly through conditioning. What this means is if a woman experiences pain upon intercourse, or with a pelvic exam, this may lead to a self-protecting tightening of the vaginal muscles the next time she attempts to have intercourse…

Treatment for vaginismus consists of a combination of relaxation training and various behavioral exercises in helping the woman overcome her fear of intercourse. The husband or partner’s participation in treatment and his emotional support are considered very important to the success of treatment. Sometimes, in addition to the above treatments, individual and/or couples therapy is recommended as well.”

http://www.healthyplace.com/sex/female-sexual-dysfunction/vaginismus-women-who-cant-have-intercourse/

Another site dealing with Vaginal Dilators (which helped Anna) states this:

“Together with appropriate exercises, as women consciously and consistently squeeze and relax the PC muscles with dilator insertions, they learn how to override the involuntary muscle contractions that had previously caused tightness or closed the entrance to the vagina to sex. The process helps create new ‘muscle memories’. Through the proper use of dilators, women can more easily develop control over involuntary tightness and simultaneously desensitize their vaginal muscles, body and mind to the sensation of having something in their vagina. This is all done as transition preparation for inserting the “real thing” (i.e. the man’s penis) without pain or tightness. Together with appropriate exercises, they help women retrain their bodies to respond correctly to penetration and to transition to fully pain-free intercourse.”

https://www.vaginismus.com/faqs/dilator-questions/vaginal-dilators-treating-vaginismus

A National Institutes of Health study revealed there is no clinical difference between dyspareunia and vaginismus.

Vaginismus and dyspareunia: is there a difference in clinical presentation?

The purpose of this exploratory study was to identify clinical similarities and differences in patients with vaginismus and dyspareunia. Thirty patients who were referred to an outpatient clinic for psychosomatic gynecology and sexology, with either of these two diagnoses, were investigated by means of a standardized interview, physical examination and self-rating questionnaires. Based on the interview, no significant differences were demonstrated between patients with vaginismus and dyspareunia, in the ability to insert a finger into the vagina or to have a gynecological examination. No differences were found in the reported level of pain during coitus (or attempted coitus), inserting one finger into the vagina, or during gynecological examination. Patients with vaginismus, however, more often reported that coitus was impossible. The physical examination and self-rating questionnaires showed no differences at all between patients with vaginismus and dyspareunia in palpated vaginal muscular tension and reported anxiety or tension during the examination. Moreover, in both groups redness and painful areas on the vulva were equally common. Redness and pain on the same location were more frequently present in the dyspareunia group. Patients with dyspareunia reported higher levels of pain during the examination. In conclusion, neither the interview nor the physical examination produced useful criteria to distinguish vaginismus from dyspareunia. A multi-axial description of these syndromes is suggested, rather than viewing them as two separate disorders.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11076336

Beyond the above basic classifications, physicians and specialists may use other medical terms referring to vaginismus such as:

Apareunia

Apareunia is a general term that refers to a condition where one is unable to have sexual intercourse. Vaginismus is one type of apareunia (if it is completely preventing penetrative intercourse).

Dyspareunia

Dyspareunia is a general term that refers to a condition where there is pain during sexual intercourse. Vaginismus is considered to be one type of dyspareunia, but is closely associated with all types of sexual pain.

https://www.vaginismus.com/faqs/vaginismus-questions/primary-and-secondary-vaginismus-differences

How Anna cured her Vaginismus(Apareunia)

Anna rightly gave all the praise to God for curing her Vaginismus. But in truth she does deserve some credit for taking aggressive action and enduring the mental and physical pain and discomfort to get herself to the place where she could finally have vaginal sex with her husband. God can miraculously heal people – he does it all the time without a doctor touching a person. But God directed Anna to see a doctor and a sex therapist and I think that as we can see that was his will for her and he worked through these people to help Anna. We need to realize as believers that God has gifted medical professionals and counselors to be able to help us if we will seek the help.

There are many other posts online and in medical journals about Vaginismus. But from these and many others we can see that more often than not Vaginismus is not usually caused by a physical deformity of the vagina.

What is most often the case is a woman’s fear based upon bad memories of doctor’s exams, her upbringing about sex, sexual abuse or just a phobia of anything being inserted into her vagina. So her body reacts in what seems to be an involuntary way with muscle contractions that close off the vagina and protect it from penetration.

This is why often it takes a combination of counseling and perhaps a vaginal dilator as Anna used to help train her mind and muscles to allow things – including the most important thing of all – her husband’s penis – to be inserted into her vagina.

Vaginismus reveals major differences between men and women in regard to sex

But what I think this reveals about women that is so different from men is – for a woman her mind, even her unconscious mind and her unconscious fears have a huge impact not only her ability to enjoy sex, but even on her ability to have sexual intercourse at all!

I am sure that on a conscious level Anna wanted nothing more than have sex with her husband on her wedding night. She may have had NO conscious fears about doing this. But on some unconscious level her mind and her body were fearful of penetration. She had to train her mind and body to think differently about sex.

How many women today who do not face Vaginismus still need to have their mind and body conditioned to think differently about sex? How many women would enjoy sex better with their husbands if they could only let go of what is holding them back? How many women would benefit from the counseling Anna sought?

Men can learn from this story too

Just because this story is from the perspective of wife having a sexual dysfunction does not mean we as men cannot learn from this as well. For men ED (erectile dysfunction) would be closest equivalent to a woman having Vaginismus except for the pain. Men certainly experience emotional pain from ED, but not the physical pain women experience from Vaginismus.

But for us as men – ED is usually more physically based than emotionally based. While it is true that some men cannot achieve erections due to issues in the marriage, or issues from their childhood most of the time it is a physical issue and matter of blood flow. Thankfully today there are kinds of treatments for ED and we as Christian husbands have the same obligation to our wives as Anna felt to her husband to seek treatment to help our ED. We can’t just give up and throw in the towel.

What if the pain could not be stopped?

But let’s face it – not every story of Vaginismus has a happy ending like this one did.   What if the cause was a physical issue that could not be repaired or changed? What if we were living a century ago without the help of modern medicine and counseling?

So these are the questions I leave for Christian wives reading this:

What if you had this kind of painful intercourse and there was nothing there was not medical or psychological help for you – Would you still have intercourse with you husband?

If sex is not mutually pleasurable for both the man and the woman should it sex cease in a marriage?

Maybe you don’t have Vaginismus – but would you stop having sex with your husband over other kinds of pain?

Should a wife always tell her husband when she has painful intercourse or are there times a wife should not reveal this to her husband?

And finally the question that is title of the article – How much pain would you endure to have sex with your husband?

I look forward to your answers and comments.

Photo Source: Rachel Titiriga https://www.flickr.com/photos/pocait/3589329865/in/photolist-qwXWfH-7P8Fkm-de5gm-cq89q3-8xbjPZ-H6k7k-cUqief-tbeUF-hgPux-gJ4e-gHZV-i2mh-66njL4-7PwRd2-8DkJho-gHYr-gNo1-gJ3N-pZDMzS-4LLfEM-6tbfHF-gJ4D-gKBM-gJ1j-gHYu-gJ4o-oxurem-52mEJW-4NcLTb-eqQG7N-mpALdt-gNjE-gHYL-6MRpy2-gNmH-gNkZ-epUmSR-epUhFa-rq2jDu-brKSri-gNnK-gHZw-gHZr-865s9A-5oRUGd-atspmj-hwymEm-4QYU4k-4VrBru-tvHqxb
Licensed under Creative Commmons 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Stories of Sexual Denial in Marriage – Episode 5

Our next story of sexual denial comes from a man named Owessco and he is from Liberia.  He sent this is in as public comment on my post “8 ways to confront your wife’s sexual denial”.

Here is his story:

My name is Owessco from Liberia, I read your article and it is so interesting and would like to share my own experience for your advise.
My wife and I have been married for the past almost ten years, but with no child to consumate our bond. She thinks I am the one with the problem and so she has resulted to constantly refusing me in be for sex whenever I needed to. Her last instance in quite these few days is walking out on me from the room to the extend of even sleeping in the living room.

In response to her action, I am forced to allow her have her will. So as it stands, I am playing the “ok go ahead and stay by yourself role”. And we are not talking to each other and I moved out of our room to the quest room. This way, I feel I am doing the right thing to avoid confrontations by forcing myself on her. Seeing her go to the bathroom and creaming infront of me definitely puts me off and I am trying as hard as possible to avoid such lawful temptation.

 

This was my response to his tragic story:

Owessco,

I am sorry to hear about the situation with your wife.  Are you and your wife Christians?

It sounds as if you wife has some bitterness towards you for not giving her a child.  Have you two been to a doctor to see which of you or if both of you are infertile or perhaps there is something they could do with it?

Even if you can’t have a child naturally – have you considered adoption?

I am not saying that your inability to have a child with your wife is an excuse for your wife’s actions toward you – but I do understand the natural yearning that God has placed in women to bare children.  In the Bible a woman named Hannah faced a similar dilemma as your wife is now:

“1 Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite: 2 And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

3 And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there. 4 And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:

5 But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb.

6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb.

7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.

8 Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?”

I Samuel 1:1- 8 (KJV)

While God ultimately gave Hannah a son, he does not always provide women with a child.  What this story illustrates for us is both the frustration of a wife at being childless and the frustration of a husband for feeling like he is not enough for her.  I am sure that is how you feel and perhaps your wife feels like Hannah in this story.

The pain that women feel from being childless is something we as men can barely comprehend.  Yes men want kids too, but being childless does not affect us the way it does a woman.  But what your wife needs to realize is in many ways the pain she feels of being childless is the way you feel of being emotionally and sexually shut out by her.  In the same way that men cannot fully grasp how being childless can cause a woman pain to the her core, women often cannot grasp the pain they cause their husbands by sexually shutting them out.

This is what I would suggest.

Make sure you have tried every way you can – seeing doctors to try and have a child.  If you already have then look into adoption.  Tell your wife how much you love her and want to provide her with a child.

But the most important truth you need to share with your wife is that true contentment and joy does not come from things or even people.  She cannot hinge her joy and contentment on having a child, or even on your.  Your bodies may fail to give you a child, but God is always there.  He is the one true constant. She needs to find contentment in God, and then realize the sinful way she has been treating you.

God commands a wife to give her body to her husband for sex. You cannot condone an attitude from her “until you provide me with a child, I will not provide you with sex” – this is a sinful attitude and must be confronted.

Seek out Godly counseling for you and your wife. Perhaps God will change her heart.
If after a long time of counseling she continues to act in rebellious ways you may have to take further actions.

But I would start there.

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.