This continues a web series that begins at
When a Woman Doesn’t Want Sex
People suffering long term distress often feel a strong need to assign blame. Except for blaming evil spiritual powers, however, assigning blame almost inevitably ends up hindering our healing. It is neither helpful, nor realistic to blame either yourself or your husband for the sexual tension between you.
For a woman who finds sex unpleasant, sexual desire could be such a foreign experience that she has little conception of her husband’s torment. I am about to share my best attempt to help such a woman understand her man and so be less hurt when his strong yearnings sometimes override his ability to sacrifice. I would be bitterly disappointed if my attempt were to cause you the slightest twinge of guilt about you being presently unable to fully meet your husband’s sexual desires. Such guilt is false guilt. Already in the mind of nearly every abuse survivor is a false link between lovemaking and guilt feelings. You deserve to be freed from these false feelings, not have me or anyone else say something that you interpret in a way that even slightly adds to your burden. If ever I do this, please forgive me and e-mail me so that I might consider rewording what I write.
Without adequate motivation, any of us would miss God’s best. I urge you not to let the following stir up negative feelings but to let it motivate you further in your quest to enjoy God’s best.
Suppose you had drunk huge quantities of fluid and were almost bursting with the need to relieve yourself, but you were expected to restrain yourself for hour after agonizing hour. The urge would become so demanding you could hardly think of anything else. Although the overall trend would be for the discomfort to keep increasing, the intensity would fluctuate somewhat, with the urge fading at times, only to return later with greater than ever urgency, until restraining yourself seems beyond your control. When aroused, your husband’s sexual urge becomes extremely demanding and will peak at the intensity just described. Other times his nagging discomfort will be more controllable. It will fluctuate throughout the day, depending on what thoughts and sights hit him. At times the tension will fade into the background but there will be times each day when the dull ache will sharpen, even if no woman is present and he seems engrossed in non-sexual activities.
In addition to the physical, there is an inevitable emotional dimension to a man’s sexual deprivation. Intellectually, he may know he is loved and accepted and yet lurking deep within him are shadowy hints of a sad emptiness – vague feelings of being rejected, unloved and cut-off from his darling. Even in a wonderful marriage he will be haunted by a sense of incompleteness, somewhat like that of a happily married woman pining over her childlessness.
Your man no doubt expected marriage would relieve his frustration. Instead, marrying you inflamed his yearnings to nearly intolerable levels. This is not in any way to trivialize your own pain – which is probably even greater than his – but the better each of you can understand the other’s very different type of torment, the deeper you will bond.
Someone wisely observed that people who feel sorry for themselves usually do so because they have no one to feel sorry for them. In most marriages, the more the husband feels his wife sympathizes with his anguish and is convinced that she longs to meet his needs, the more tolerable his predicament will seem to him.
Most abused women marry with little comprehension of the sexual torture they will put their husbands through. Had they not been so utterly unaware – and especially if there were no cure – their marrying might possibly be viewed as an act of cruelty. Nevertheless, their husband’s pain inevitably boomerangs back onto the wives and they suffer just as much – usually more – than their husbands. Marriage is for life, but this distressing situation need only be temporary. It can be turned around. So banish guilt. Don’t tolerate that destructive feeling. If there is any genuine basis feeling guilty, come to Jesus, let him wash you spotlessly pure, and let the past pass. No longer blame yourself for things that not even God remembers.
You might think that at times your husband has been gravely lacking in self-control, gentleness, and understanding, but because you cannot feel what he feels, you have no idea of what he has endured to control himself as much as he has. You might imagine that with all my understanding and ability to sound godly that I would be patient and gentle. If, however, I were subjected to the pressures your husband is under, both you and I might be appalled at how poorly I would cope. I expect there are men whose sacrificial love and efforts to control their explosive feelings are of heroic proportions and yet their wives, having no conception of their husband’s torment, mistakenly conclude that their men are selfish, cold-hearted, sex-crazed beasts.
If your husband were always able with clinical precision to restrict himself to what is best for your healing, you might be delighted now, but most likely such a man would have a libido so low that it would frustrate and deeply disappoint most wives. After you are healed, you would regret not having a more passionate husband. You can’t have it both ways: what disppoints you about your husband this side of healing, might thrill you the other side.
Suppose you are working with machinery and your hand gets caught in its vise-like jaws. It’s not life-threatening – it’s not even bleeding – but your body is screaming out for release from the painful pressure on your hand. You are trapped, unable to reach the switch to turn off the machine. Then enters your marriage partner, the one who claims to love you so deeply.
“Quick!” you shout, “flick the switch!”
“I can’t,” comes the reply, “I’m afraid of electricity.”
“That’s ridiculous! It won’t hurt you!” Every second feels like an hour. “Flick the switch!”
“No, I can’t.”
To you, what your husband is asking of you sexually is enormous, but to him and to most other people, it seems as small as flicking a switch and his need for it seems enormous. The more you understand each other’s pressures, the more loved and less hurt you will feel.
To move to a new analogy: your man is starving. Your long term goal is to affirm how special he is to you by feeding him gourmet delights, pampering him like no other woman on earth would. Achieving that goal, however, might be years away. Your immediate goal is to somehow fill his aching stomach with enough bread and water to satisfy his basic need. He might be missing lots of delicious courses that other women would be pleased to give him, but at least he will not be so out of his mind with hunger as to be quite incapable of giving your sensitivities the patient attention you deserve.
Satisfying a man’s most basic sexual need is important. A wife must consider, however, how miserable and even sorry for herself she might sometimes feel if she were on a diet of nothing but bread and water for weeks. That would be hard enough in a prison, but so much harder if constantly surrounded by the smells and sights of delicious food and drink. It would be harder still if all the mouth-watering food and chocolates and candy and delicious drinks were yours for the taking, with nothing but sheer will-power to restrain yourself. A woman on such a diet might at least enjoy the benefits of a trim figure, but for a man missing out on sexual treats there are no personal benefits. In fact he is likely to feel less desirable and less masculine.
Your negative reaction to expressing love to your husband in the manner that he aches for is perfectly understandable. No matter how much he rationalizes, however, he will still feel hurt. He might try to tough it out, but inside he is almost certainly hurting emotionally; perhaps, for example, battling feelings of rejection. Do everything you can to assure him regularly that it is your past, not him, nor your feelings towards him, that is the problem.
You may feel you want to shower your husband with other acts of kindness to compensate him for the sexual fulfillment he is missing out on. Before blindly proceeding, however, carefully talk it over with him. Let’s return to the analogy of having your hand painfully caught in that machine. What if someone said, “No, I don’t feel able to flick the switch and end your pain, but I’ll bake a cake for you.”
You might find that your efforts to compensate your husband are simply not worth what it costs you. It might be like giving him something that costs you $500 in effort and to him it’s worth only $2. The value he puts on things could be startlingly different to what you expect. It might be, for example, that a man denied the opportunity to drink in his wife’s beauty, would prefer a two second glimpse at his wife’s breasts than a luxurious all-expense paid vacation.
Sex is far more important to a man than many women could ever imagine. By the act of marriage a woman cuts a man off from every other woman in the world, many of whom would willingly do incredible things for him sexually. By marrying, a woman takes upon herself the grave responsibility of being solely responsible for his sexual welfare. Had you realized the enormity of what you had taken on, you might not have married. Nevertheless, you have done it, and instead of it being a negative thing, sealing your husband’s fate, it can seal your healing, provided you let him motivate you, without you letting yourself do too much too soon.
The famine was so horrific that people were dying all over the Middle East. A lone woman and her son living in a pagan, apparently God-forsaken place, were going to be the next statistics. In another place a man of God was contentedly enjoying God’s miraculous provision of food, but the Lord was not content. The Almighty was not going to let this apparently forgotten woman suffer. So the Lord dried up Elijah’s supply, driving him to seek out this woman. There was much this special man might possibly give her. She would gladly welcome him into her home for his wisdom or protection, or in hope of words of comfort or companionship in her darkest days. And yet none of these were to be his greatest blessing to her.
There was just one thing she did not want him to do, and that was exactly what he asked. He hungered for the very thing she was convinced she could not give. In her case it was food, in your case it is sex. “I have nothing to spare,” she protested, “I don’t even have enough for myself.” And yet, despite her initial reluctance, in an astounding display of love she gave what she had feared to give. And in so doing, she received from God himself. And she received and received and received, day after day after day.
In her desperate need, God had remembered her and sent her a man with ravenous hunger for that which was hers – that which it seemed she could not give. It was bad enough that God had let her grow so needy. Now it seemed God had gone insane. And yet out of all the needy people, the woman who thought she was most despised and rejected was the very one God singled out for a miracle. She could so easily have missed it. Her needs were so great she could have refused to meet this man’s needs. And yet it is God’s mysterious law that it is in giving that we receive.
Likewise, you can miss it. You can fail to see God’s miraculous provision in your husband’s hunger for sex. As unlikely as it seems, your husband’s hunger for what you feel you cannot give is the key to your healing, opening to you a whole new world of wonder and delight and fulfillment, almost as precious as a person born blind receiving the gift of sight.
One of the greatest advances of the healing profession has been the use of vaccines. To be inoculated is virtually to willingly let your body be invaded by the very disease that you fear might invade your body. People are apprehensive about injections as it is, and yet when thought of in these terms it is quite a leap of faith to allow it. There are immense similarities between the vaccination and the dreaded disease. These similarities are not to be despised. It is the similarities that make it work. But there are subtle differences that make it safe and make it right for the healing profession to use it. Likewise, there are alarming similarities between your husband’s longings for you and those of a feared sex offender, but in those very similarities are the power to heal. And the subtle differences – such as his desire to control himself for your sake and the fact that you are united to him in marriage – make it safe.
The woman to whom God sent Elijah got her miracle because she changed her thinking from I can’t to I can; from thinking of Elijah as a self-centered man who cared only about his stomach, to seeing him as her opportunity to display enormous love. She chose to put her own need to one side and focus on the need of the man who had come to into her home, even though she suspected his need was much less than her own. She received her miracle and so can you. It was little by little, day by day, but the Lord brought her through. Likewise, with you – as by faith you see the loving hand of God behind a man whose legitimate hunger seems to threaten your well-being. Step out in faith and you will slip into the arms of God. In him you are secure. In him you have healing and delights beyond your wildest hopes.
Since there is almost nothing about marital relations that Scripture specifically rules in, nor rules out, there is enormous scope for Bible-lovers to fight each other. I’d dearly love to duck for cover and stay in everyone’s favor by avoiding this whole issue. And there are hundreds of topics I’d personally find more edifying to write about. But can I close my ears to the cry of hurting couples? God’s heart breaks for them. Dare I act like the priest and Levite in Jesus’ parable of the Samaritan – too holy to help someone reeling in pain?
May our Lord flood our hearts with his compassion and wisdom. May he save us from the enticing trap that snared those accused by our Lord of laying down heavy laws and doing nothing to help those buckling under the weight. If your heart is more Christlike than mine, I honor you. And since you are Christlike would you permit me the grace to make mistakes as I fumble in my search for godly solutions to people’s pain? Let’s not be like those who used the plight of the man born blind merely as an opportunity for theological debate and finger pointing (John 9:2). Rather, let’s try to follow the lead of our Lord who looked to God and healed that man. Let’s not be like those driven by what they thought was righteous rage over the fact that compassion moved Jesus to break man-made Sabbath laws.
Of course, I’m not our mighty, perfect Lord. I have no hotline to heaven that is denied other Christians. By all means ditch any of my thoughts you do not like. This is a sacred matter between you and your Holy Lord. In my longing to ease your pain, all I can hope for is to offer support by suggesting a range of options for you to consult the Lord and each other about.
My nightmare is that some people might take upon themselves a man-made rule of lofty intentions, and instead of it increasing their holiness, in a moment of weakness their self-denial explodes into blatant sin. Let me give a non-sexual example. Suppose someone decides to fast from food. God doesn’t demand it, but he chooses to deny himself as a highly commendable expression of devotion to Christ. To ensure he succeeds, he takes no money with him as he goes about his business. As he walks past a bakery he finds himself drooling over cream cakes. Suddenly he must have one of those cakes. But he has no money. So he steals it. His admirable decision to go beyond God’s law ended with him breaking God’s law. We need to be very prayerful about laying laws upon ourselves and others that are not spelt out in Scripture. Speaking specifically about marriage, 1 Corinthians 7:5 affirms that there is a degree of sexual self-denial that is spiritually dangerous. The restraint we imagine leads to holiness can lead to a moral fall. On the other extreme, many a man tells himself he is getting sexual release by using porn or fantasy when he is merely inflaming cravings for things that, in the short term at least, only adultery would provide. What he imagines is helping him cope is actually intensifying his temptation to find another woman. Under no circumstances are porn or sexual fantasies about someone other than one’s wife acceptable.
I used to object to applying the term rape to sexual horrors within marriage. However, I know of no other term to adequately describe the abomination of a man physically forcing or emotionally blackmailing his wife into submitting to an act that terrorizes her. “Incest” is the only other word that comes to mind, since it is a crime against a loved one who has every right to expect that man’s protection. Marriage is a holy commitment before God to unconditional, selfless, lifelong love. How dare anyone violate that vow, perverting it into a license for cruelty; using as a gun to the head the threat of withdrawal of love or the exploitation of false guilt or a shameful abuse of authority! I imagine some men act like rapists towards their wives while self-righteously priding themselves in being so “holy” as to never climax outside of intercourse. No matter how lofty the intentions, self-made laws – such as deciding it is wrong to ever climax outside of intercourse – must not be allowed to take precedence over a wife’s emotional well-being and security. We should we allow standards of “purity” that end up weakening the marriage bond. Genuine love must come before pharisee-like attempts to keep extra-biblical laws.
Only the divine Judge’s view matters, but anyone who, under the pretext of exalted sexual standards, ends up forcing intercourse upon a wife who finds the experience traumatic, seems to me frighteningly like the respected Jewish leaders taking pains to retain their ceremonial purity as they arranged Jesus’ murder (John 18:28). This comparison seems harsh, but the tragic reality is that some abuse victims would actually prefer to be murdered than suffer more sexual horrors from their callous, self-righteous husbands.
I think we all agree that intercourse is the ideal. In this webpage, however, we are seeking to compassionately help couples for whom that ideal is currently impossible. And for such couples the ideal is unlikely ever to become possible except by a gradual process of getting closer and closer to full intercourse over an extended period. Is the ideal truly exalted by an all-or-none philosophy – in which the couple must either have full intercourse or are not permitted any sexual release – when that approach will probably prevent the couple from ever reaching the ideal? Or is the ideal most cherished and preserved by developing practical steps whereby a couple can work towards achieving the ideal?
With God not detailing in his Word exactly how a husband and wife should relate sexually, we Christians can arrive at very different presumptions as to what carries God’s blessing. (For a sensitive exploration of this matter, a link at the end of this web series entitled Is it perverted?) Despite differing opinions, however, most Christians acknowledge that humans – especially women – were divinely created with a need for sexual stimulation prior to intercourse in order to fully appreciate God’s gift to us. What we are about to discuss is, in a sense, genuine foreplay – preparing a partner for full marital relations. For unavoidable reasons, however, the time span between foreplay and intercourse has had to be extended to weeks or months instead of minutes. The long term goal is full marital relations, but to attempt it too soon with a sensitive woman would be to pervert God’s love-gift into the sexual abuse of that woman.
Not having infinite knowledge is a distinct hindrance to my plans to enthrone myself as the Judge of all humanity. My personal opinion is that unmarried people should avoid masturbation. Certainly in my own life I believe that the Lord would have me avoid it like a rattlesnake, and that’s how I treat it, even at times when it can seem an enticingly convenient option. And yet the Bible is strangely silent, saying nothing specific about this issue that has challenged every generation. God choosing not to put a prohibition in writing in no way implies his approval, nor does it give us license to condemn others. (For a brief note on this, see The dangers of arguing from Scripture’s silence.) If the very Creator of sex has elected not to put in writing his moral pronouncement on this matter, I hope I am smart enough not to dare attempt it. The Bible’s omission compels each of us to get off our soapboxes and on to our knees; moving closer than ever to the heart of God, lest we miss his whispers and fall into error.
Although I enjoy the benefits of total abstinence from solitary sex or – any deliberate climax outside of intercourse – I confess to an advantage over most male readers of this webpage: I am single. As painful as being single often seems, and as much as I have difficulty conceiving of anyone suffering more sexual frustration than I have known, surely my situation at its worse must be less sexually agonizing than that of a young man who continually lives with a desirable woman who is unable to meet the desires she inflames. It seems critical for a wife’s healing that her husband have the self-control to not pressure her sexually, much less physically force himself upon her. He must forgo intercourse for as many months as necessary, while gradually getting closer and closer to having intercourse. A loving husband must be able to stop the instant she needs him to, even in the middle of the act. That is a form of torture that not even singles are subjected to. Being single, I can avoid most sources of sexual stimulation, and so reduce my torment. This is not an option, however, for a man who for weeks is slowly preparing his wife for intercourse. I am not implying that even in the worst situation it is impossible for a man to draw upon the supernatural power of Almighty God and control himself. It is nevertheless true that very many Christians will feel it is impossible. It is not impossible for your loved one to use a rusty handsaw to cut off his own foot, but would you want him to? Just how much agony do you want him to suffer? In Christ, nothing is impossible, but if there is a red-blooded man on the planet who can achieve that degree of control without ever climaxing outside of intercourse, I would like to meet him.
In most cases, however, sexual relief is possible without resorting to solitary sex.
Whatever her man’s decision in this regard, a wife should try to be highly supportive, provided it does not involve porn or fantasizing about other women,. It seems a tragic perversion of the Maker’s intentions for a couple to allow sex – the very thing God created to make a man and wife one – to become a divisive issue for them. Throughout this web series I’ve cited numerous situations where a husband should yield to his wife’s weaknesses. In this matter, however, it is the wife’s turn. I would urge her to work hard in bringing her emotions and prejudices into subjection, with a view to reaching the point where she is thrilled with her husband’s decision as to how he will cope with the enormous pressure without dishonoring her. They must close ranks on this matter.
If a wife feels incapable of even being in the same room as her husband when he climaxes and he has talked himself into believing he has only three options – marital unfaithfulness, sexual abuse of his wife, or solitary sex – all I can say is that the first two are so incompatible with love and his marriage covenant made before God that they cannot for a moment be considered. I am not giving my approval to anyone opting for solitary sex, but my approval is worth nothing anyhow. The Lord is the One you must convince. Regardless of your decision, however, I beg you to focus on the fact that the biblical goal of sex is to make a husband and wife one. So I plead with anyone resorting to solitary sex, to ensure it is used to get as close as possible to the goal of binding a man closer to his wife. Fantasies must focus solely on the wife. All pictures or thoughts of any other (real or imaginary) person must be avoided. Sex was divinely designed to give a man special feelings for his lifelong partner. To use God’s gift to deliberately incite feelings for another woman – or an imaginary being with characteristics different to one’s wife – is to spit in God’s face.
It would also be wise to restrict fantasies, as much as possible, to little more than what the wife is currently capable of. For example, if she is unable to be undressed in her husband’s presence, it would be better for him to imagine her in her sexiest clothes, rather than undressed. Otherwise, desires will be further inflamed for things he cannot presently have. This would fuel his frustration – and subsequent agony – and thus indirectly put more pressure on his wife and his marriage.
If the husband decides to relieve himself of sexual tension, his wife should lovingly share the experience as much as she can comfortably do so. By so doing she is moving it away from solitary sex to genuine lovemaking. Maybe the most she can do while he is pleasuring himself is close her eyes – and block her nose and use plenty of air freshener if unavoidable odors conjure bad memories – while telling her husband how much she loves him; tenderly expressing her desire for him to feel pleasure, and doing what she can to delight in his pleasure.
If she is not ready to be in the same room when this is happening, she could try whatever she can to make it a shared expression of love. For instance, she could make an audio or video recording for her husband to play at such a time, in which she verbally expresses love to him. It might be only a tiny step but at least through such efforts, sex is to some extent being used to express marital love, and drawing the couple a little closer rather than tearing them apart. The positive thing is that it creates a base from which the couple can gradually progress, over subsequent weeks and months, moving closer and closer to full marital relations.
The main things that would make it traumatic for a woman to be present when a husband finds sexual relief is what she sees, smells, feels, or fears it will lead to. Be prayerfully creative in seeking solutions to this and every aspect of lovemaking. Seek divine wisdom, and fully discuss with each other every option that comes to mind. It is important for the husband not to try anything on the spur of the moment. He needs to have earlier talked it through with his wife because what to him might seem minor could terrorize his wife and be a huge setback in her ability to trust him.
Of course, everything depends on what the wife is comfortably able to do, but once the wife can be present and slightly share in the experience it is no longer solitary sex. The wife should try hard not to resent helping her darling to orgasm, nor see it as a duty, but regard it as a unique privilege to give special feelings that no one else in heaven or earth can legitimately give the man she loves.
Consider the possible advantages of condoms at this stage of a wife’s recovery. Condoms have the potential to seal up the smell and the feel and the stain of semen. This could be an enormous help, if any of these have the potential to evoke horrific memories for the wife. Since nakedness could be a problem with the wife, a condom also means the husband can climax while they are clothed with less inconvenience. Some men might think it feels marginally better without a condom, but that is irrelevant if it permits a degree of intimacy that would otherwise be impossible without further damaging the wife’s ability to relate to her husband. To avoid undoing the benefits of a condom, the husband would need to remove himself as soon as practical, and wash. However, the wife might find her husband’s quick exit emotionally difficult. Like so many other things raised in this webpage, in joyful submission to their Lord, each couple needs to find a compromise that best suits them.
God has a unique solution to for each couple’s unique mix of sensitivities, and the Lord will share his special solution with couples who seek him. He will usually do this by causing both partners to feel that a particular approach is the right compromise for that particular time in the healing process. Any example I choose might be something you cannot stomach. I beg your forgiveness for anything that is unacceptable. Just dismiss the details of the example and pray together for something that you can feel comfortable about before God. Whatever you decide upon, throughout your lovemaking times try to focus on yielding to the Spirit of God, and letting great love for each other well up within you.
So let’s progress to a specific example, keeping in mind it might not be suitable for you. The wife might feel uncomfortable about nudity but might decide to make the most of what she feels she can reveal to her husband by wearing something a little daring. It might be that at this stage, touching her husband below the waist would be a little too distressing to consider, so this will further reduce what would otherwise be obvious options. They might begin with lots of kisses and cuddles and verbal expressions of love. After quite a while the husband might begin to rub himself on part of his wife’s body, as carefully discussed with each other ahead of time. She might, for instance, feel claustrophobic about him being on top, but she might feel comfortable about laying on her side with her back to her husband, allowing him to rub himself on her back, while they both remain partially clothed.
This might seem quite inadequate, but if it is the maximum that a wife can comfortably do at present, and if her man believes he must have a sexual release lest he become vulnerable to temptation, options are limited. As we progress through these pages we will see with increasing clarity that it typically proves counterproductive for a woman to force herself beyond what she feels comfortable with. It usually delays the time when she can find the fulfillment in marital relations that God intended. What is critical is not how far from the ideal you presently are; what matters is that you are honoring God and loving your partner by continuing on a journey that will take you to the ideal. Moreover, if the husband is sacrificing his own pleasure in order to spare his wife unpleasantness, and if the wife is seeking to keep moving towards areas she finds emotionally challenging, then both are doing more to honor God and express genuine love to each other, than most couples having full intercourse.
Even if they cannot have intercourse, climaxing as a result of a married couple relating sexually is a world away from what I regard as masturbation. I remind you, however, that my opinion counts for nothing. The universe has room for just one Moral Authority, and it’s not me.
Any pleasurable sensation is like a drug – although it brings temporary relief, the more you indulge, the more you will want more. A climax provides a release of the sexual pressure. Like eating, however, the loss of appetite lasts only for a while and then the craving slowly returns. The exact timing depends on the individual, but at a certain time after experiencing sexual relief, it is much more within a man’s natural capacity to sexually relate to his sensitive wife with the patience, gentleness and self-control that she needs and deserves. It will still demand much love and self-sacrifice but for a man to control his sex drive during this period will be less like wrestling a man-eating crocodile and, most importantly, his wife will be in much less danger of him losing control.
If you were trying to walk a wounded friend to safety, you need to let your friend set the pace. A husband should realize that if his wife is emotionally wounded he must display controlled strength by letting her set the pace. Probably for several months or more he must exercise patient gentleness and strong self-control. It will be highly demanding, but the spiritual and material rewards of this achievement will make the highest price seem as nothing.
It might seem selfish for a wife to avoid anything that makes her feel very uncomfortable but because it will speed her healing, this approach will ultimately produce the greatest pleasure and satisfaction for the husband. As explained more fully in the next webpage, every time a woman feels something unpleasant during lovemaking, it delays recovery. Every time lovemaking is sufficiently restrained that it produces only pleasure, the experience hastens the time when a wife can joyously engage in things that she presently finds unpleasant.
Whether the wife forces herself or the pressure comes from hubby, makes little difference: trying to force the pace is like someone dangerously aggravating a sport’s injury by trying to get back on the field before being properly healed. Only after several sessions of being totally at ease with one aspect of lovemaking, should you slowly proceed to something slightly more daring. Then proceed no further until you become entirely at ease with that step. Anything the wife finds very unpleasant should be completely avoided until she eventually reaches the stage where the thought of it no longer seems unpleasant. The man will find this frustrating, but it is in his interests not to worsen the problem.
Both partners should focus on finding little things the wife enjoys, and majoring on them. Maybe it’s having her or her forearm caressed, or her feet massaged, or a certain type of kissing or her buttocks lightly stroked. With her husband’s help, the wife should keep slowly searching for additional things that feel nice. Whenever she finds something that is at least mildly pleasant, she should encourage her husband to keep doing it. Prolong the feeling. Savor it. These times of pleasure must be free from the fear that her husband will get carried away and move on to things the wife presently finds unpleasant. Her man must exercise such self-control that she can trust him to stop the moment she asks him to. For the husband to be able to cope with this, the couple will probably decide it is safest that the husband climax before becoming too amorous, lest in the heat of passion he go dangerously beyond the pre-set boundaries. With his libido suitably subdued, he can continue to relate to his wife with the required level of control. This may still be difficult for the man, but in time his reward will be great!
It is important that as much as possible the bedroom always be preserved as a place of security for the wife. If you have a suitable room it might be best to let that, rather than the bedroom, be the place for sexual experimentation. We cannot hope to get sufficient sleep if we feel frightened in our own bed. The time we are most vulnerable – and so the time we most desperately need to feel secure – is when we sleep. A man should never attempt anything with a sensitive wife when she is half asleep. If he did something – no matter how harmless it seemed to him – that makes her frightened to sleep, they may both have reason to regret it for a very long.
Here’s a suggested prayer for husbands:
Your Word affirms that your heart is particularly close to those who are hurting and vulnerable. You are their fearsome Avenger, and your protective eye is upon them in a special way. So I am awed that you have honored me so greatly as to entrust me with a wife whose emotional well-being means so very much to you. May I prove worthy of your trust.
Thank you that in giving me sex you have lovingly placed a fire within me to bring light and warmth and comfort and romance to my darling. By entrusting me with sex you have blessed me with a gift that empowers me to appreciate, in unique ways, the precious woman you have made my life partner. You gave me something so special that it enables me to feel ever so close to her and to cherish her.
And yet, out of control, the fire that warms can destroy. Instead of always taking the manly and noble option of using iron will to control the fire within, I have sometimes let it flare out of control. I have let it drive me to pressure my darling into things she is not yet ready for, causing her to feel guilt and inadequacy if she refused to yield to my selfishness. Instead of it bringing comfort to my wife as you intended, I have let that fire burn her, paining and wounding her, as I abandoned sacrificial love and surrendered to selfishness.
I beg your forgiveness and I determine to use every bit of my God-given strength to ensure it never happens again. But beyond my own efforts, I seek your enabling.
And as I stand in need of forgiveness for allowing my passions to get out of control – and so, hurting you and my wife – may I not grieve you by hypocritically refusing to forgive my wife’s abuser. Forgive me for feeling superior to him when I myself have sometimes let you down and seen my wife as an opportunity to indulge myself regardless of her sensitivities. Forgive me for perverting an opportunity to become more Christlike into an opportunity for selfishness.
Supernaturally empower me to be the husband you want me to be. Cause me to honor you by exercising self-control beyond what I have ever before attained. May I be intimately led of the Spirit whenever I make love to the woman who means so much to you.
Continued . . .
Grantley Morris 2000. No part of these writings may be copied without citing this entire paragraph. No part may be sold.