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Withholding Sex, Is It Really That Bad?

28 Aug

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Okay ladies, this post may not be what you were looking to read today, but I feel like I need to address some of these issues.   See, Gerad has been getting a lot of comments over on mission:husband from husbands who aren’t satisfied with their sex lives and feel like their wife couldn’t care less.

Here’s an anonymous email:

Like many marriages, I have a stronger physical desire than my wife. Nothing new there. However, I don’t feel like I put out much pressure toward this. Sure, it is important to me, but I know she needs her space, so many times I let my desires fall by the wayside. Likewise, I am disappointed when I am turned down, which happens most of the time, but I also don’t request it that much (our frequency is around once every 10 days or so). Here’s the problem. My wife recently revealed to me that my desires for her “make me feel like a prostitute” (said with obvious disdain), and that “that is all you need me for”. I love my wife. She is a great person. I do all she asks, provide for what she needs, listen when she needs someone to talk to, and never lay out any requirements for what she needs to do or help me with. However, now I am mostly paralyzed to inaction to the point that I have lost desire for my wife. How can she feel this way? What am I not doing right?

I feel like I can address this because as I was reading this comment my heart broke for the couple, but also, because Gerad could have written that a year or two ago.  I was causing him so much pain and had no idea.  My views on sex in marriage were skewed. I grew up in the “don’t have sex until you get married, at all costs” camp.  Not a bad place to be, but I didn’t have anyone tell me how great it could be in marriage.  I mean I had the normal, “just wait, it’s so great,” comments, but no one really spoke into my life and told me how great it really is, and how important it is, and how much work it is. 

I started our marriage off like every other couple who don’t have sex until they get married, we had a lot of sex. Then life happened and I began to buy the lies.  I didn’t feel like having sex, I didn’t want to tonight and I tried my best to be loving in my rejection.  I didn’t understand why Gerad wanted or needed it all the time.  I bought the lie that says guys are just pigs, they don’t really need sex this often, it’s just their way of fooling us women,” 

I felt like if I was expected to “just give it to him” every 3 days or so because “my body is not my own.”  I didn’t know why didn’t he have to go without when I didn’t feel like having sex then.  I started to get frustrated with certain preachers on the topic of sex because I didn’t want to HAVE to give Gerad sex.  I was tired, I was working full-time, taking care of a 1-year-old at work, keeping a house etc.  You know, life.  Fast forward a year, I was a stay at home mom with 2 kids, under 3 trying to potty train one and clean the house while chasing the other. 

I NEVER wanted to have sex.  I still expected Gerad to meet each and every one of my needs, I certainly made sure he knew if he wasn’t meeting my needs in the way I expected, and it wasn’t usually in the nicest way.  I expected conversation, help around the house and with the kids, and if he even looked at me before that was done, I was irritated that he didn’t care that I wasn’t in the mood and therefore didn’t care about me. 

I started reading some marriage books on sex, hoping they might let me off the hook, they never did.  I started reading Is That All He Thinks About? How to Enjoy Great Sex with Your Husband by Marla Taviano at the recommendation of One Flesh Marriage. This book definitely didn’t let me off the hook, at first it really kinda irritated me.  For some reason I kept reading and it changed everything!

In reference to a man’s heart she says,

It’s give and take.  We women give to a lot of people, but when it comes to our husbands, we often just take. And harp and complain when we think they’re not giving enough. “He’s just using me for sex,” we whine self-righteously.  And what are we using him for? A wedding ring? His sperm? …

OUCH!  I read this and saw myself in her paragraph.  I was the whiner, the complainer, the one who thought all my husband wanted was sex all the time. 

Okay, so you wonder if sex is really a “NEED” for him?  He just wants it to feel connected and for physical release you say? Here’s her reply

Whether or not sex is an actual ‘need’ for a guy is beside the point.  It sure feels like a need to him, and when we willingly meet that need for our husbands, they become very grateful indeed.

Ok, here’s my take on what she says, it may sound harsh but its the reality I’ve come to live with: I AM SELFISH! Utterly and immensely SELFISH!  I wanted to control when we had sex according to how I ‘feel’. 

I didn’t change overnight, it took time.  It wasn’t easy, I had to sacrifice, to choose to put Gerad above me.  I had to learn how God created him different from me, not poorly or needy, just different.  I began to look at Gerad the way God created him and to praise and appreciate the masculinity in him instead of trying to take it away and make him my girlfriend.  (You know, cuddle on the couch, listen to my day and then watch a girly movie with me, maybe have some ice cream and then go to bed type of girlfriend.  Sounds like a teenage girl sleepover to me.  Definitely not the way God wants me to see my husband.) I need to see him as the masculine figure God wants created him to be.  In turn, he treats and pursues me the way God desires for him to.

I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me.
Song of Solomon 7:10

May her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
Proverbs 5:19

I’m pretty sure my husband can’t be intoxicated with my love if we have sex once a week, or month … I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be satisfied if we only had sex when I feel like it.  I have had to learn it’s not all about me.  Sometimes I wish it was, but it’s not.  And the beauty of God’s creation of sex in marriage is, he knew that once a wife has given herself to her husband that way, life seems to get in the way less.  I’m happier, I have more grace, more patience.  I speak kindly to my children when they annoy me.  Not because of the physical act of sex, but because I am honoring God in my relationship with my husband.

How can you do this? 

  • Pray
  • Pray
  • Learn what God says about sex, not the world.
  • Pray again

I can’t say it enough, pray!  Prayer is such an important tool in changing your attitude about sex.  I know it seems weird to pray about sex, at least it did to me first.  Then I realized it was something God created for our marriage.  When I was willing to be open and honest (not that God didn’t know anyway), the walls in my heart that were holding up the lies came crashing down.  I learned I was being selfish in so many areas, but if you would have asked me I would have never thought I was a selfish person.  I just bought the lies our society has pushed upon us about how guys are pigs…God changed my heart, there is no other explanation.  I dug deep and saw the selfishness, desire to control and have my way in other areas of our marriage and started working on it.  I’m a work in progress, I still have days where I struggle to want sex, or I complain that he’s asking again, it was just yesterday.  But I know this, you can do it!  God can change your attitude about sex, it won’t be easy, but it’ll be life changing!

That’s all I have for now, I’m going to address why sex is so important to our hubby’s in an upcoming post. 

If this is something you’re working on, or worked through I’d love to hear your story.

Linking with To Love, Honor and Vacuum

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