It seems to me that men look to sex in order to feel better, whereas for women, willingness to have sex is proof that they already feel good. For men, sex makes the sun shine and the birds chirp (no preparation required). For women, unless the sun is already shining and the birds already chirping, sex is out of the question. Quite an oil and water scenario, to be sure.
So, this being the case, the question shifts to, what is it that makes the “sun shine and the birds chirp” for women? It’s all the seemingly peripheral dimensions of the relationship that create the proper context and foundation for sex. It’s the romancing, feeling loved, non-sexual affection, being talked to, being listened to, enjoying each other’s company, having fun together, laughing, and so on. In this sense, I think that the “natural wiring” of women in marriage, that is – how they view sex and where they place it – is actually God’s alarm system for marrieds. The women have got it right. Yank sex out of its proper context (a balanced, loving, committed relationship) and attempt to relate to it as a stand-alone entity, and you’re headed for trouble.
Recently I was on the road for three straight weeks (home on weekends). My wife is at home with our kids and so, while I’m away, she’s shouldering the entire burden of keeping the “homestead” functioning – making all the moment-to-moment decisions etc. – a veritable one-man band as it were. So here I am, “traveling the world,” and coming home a “sex-deprived, raving lunatic” because I’ve “gone without” for weeks at a time – and, from my wife’s perspective, gone all the time but just showing up for sex.
The three week “traveling road show” has now ended, but instead of celebrating my return with a sexual reunion, my wife felt she “needed a break” from sex. Now wait a minute, I’m thinking, she’s already “had a break”! But that’s not the space she’s living in. From her perspective, without me around to help shoulder the burden of running a household, her stress level was redlining. She’s to the point of overwhelm, just trying to get through one day at a time. The stress is so high, from her vantage point, that the additional emotional pressure of feeling that I expect to have sex that night – the additional weight of that “obligation” – was just too much for her to bear.
“Is there anything I can do to reduce your stress level?” I asked her.
Her response to my sincere question, was, “Well, actually there is . . . Tonight, when we go to bed, if you could not have any ‘expectations’ that would make a big difference for me.”
So here she was, absolutely dreading going to bed with me, because the “added weight” of feeling expected to have sex was just too much for her. She found herself trying to stay up as late as possible, so that I would be so exhausted as to fall straight to sleep, thus sparing her of the likelihood that I would try anything once we were in bed. Her energies were so preoccupied with other stresses involving the family, that come bedtime, her mind was still whirring a thousand miles an hour like a gyroscope. Consequently, sex was absolutely the furthest thing from her mind, resulting in not just zero libido, but less than zero. Yet, here I was, in my self-focus, fixated on sex – “when am I going to get my cookie?” as she would so aptly put it. I had totally lost sight of the greater picture. I could even sense her relief as I got out of bed in the morning to get ready for work. It was almost as if now she could relax because the “monster” had finally left. My wife had been “sleeping with the enemy” and the “enemy” was me!
Reflecting on this as a Christian, during Lent I found myself re-examining my sexuality as well as any habits that may have a hold on me (a disproportionate desire for snacks, drinking coffee, or watching TV, and so on). These are all variations on the same theme – that is, being devoted to anything with a level of intensity that rivals our devotion to Christ.
Plainly stated, the intentional break from sex that my wife and I agreed to has shone a spotlight on my addiction to sex. All the various perspectives and angles you have explored on www.net-burst.net have helped me to not just cope with this temporary moratorium on sex, but to reflect on the deeper issues at hand. This really is a LORDship issue. At one point the site raised a poignant question: something to the tune of - “ If Christ being Lord of my life meant never again having sex, for the rest of my life, would I still choose Christ over sex?” To my horror, that question caused me to hesitate. My hesitation revealed the fact of my idolatrous “relationship” with sex. This issue has become a repentance focal point over Lent and this web site have served as a sort of meditation guide to facilitate the self-reflection necessary for me to sort through the issues. An absolute God-send!
Developing the personal discipline now to put marital sex in its proper place will pay huge dividends later. At some point, one of us (my wife or me) will most likely die first. If it’s my wife who dies first, leaving me suddenly single, how will I cope with the instant loss of my “sex partner”? Will I instantly fall apart and resort to porn and self gratification, and so on? Or what if my wife develops breast cancer and requires a mastectomy? Not only would her mental body image be radically altered – which in itself would severely impact her ability to relate to me – the graveness of the whole experience would most likely trivialize her view of sex even further and its relative importance in the grand scheme of things (in this case, her life or death). In such a scenario, her view towards me could very understandably be, “How could you be fixated on sex, when my life is on the line? Don’t you even care?”
Bottom line: For the Christian, (males especially), periods of “intentional abstinence” are the training ground of self-control – self-control that may (and most likely will) be called upon in the future. Thus, such “trials” are truly something to be thankful for. They are truly sent by God to make us stronger – just like weight training causes sore muscles in the short term, the ultimate result is increased strength. So it really is a matter of short term pain for long term gain. That doesn’t make the “pain” any more pleasant, but having a better understanding of the higher purpose it serves can make all the difference. Having ourselves “suffered” through such periods of self-denial, is also God’s way of equipping us with the sensitivity to understand, empathize with, and comfort others in their struggles.
And ultimately, in a small tiny way, the “pain and suffering” of bringing our sexual urges under the control of Christ and experiencing the discomfort of self-denial, enables us to actually experience a fraction of exactly what Christ did for each of us – that is, “ . . . although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, and being made in the likeness of men . . . humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross . . .” Philippians 2: 6-8.
Important Note for Wives by Grantley Morris
I come down hard on men as to their marital obligations to sacrificially embrace hardship and even pain and suffering for the well-being of their wives, just as Christ suffered for you. The Lord tenderly cares for you and expects that same tender, selfless understanding from your husband.
Nevertheless, wives have equally solemn obligations to their husbands. There is no way around it: Scripture over and over commands women to obey their husbands as devout Christians obey Christ. Under God, the apostle Peter emphasized this as strongly as the divinely appointed apostle to the Gentiles, Paul (Scriptures). This clashes with worldly views as much as avoiding pre-marital sex; as much as God’s ways clash with the ways of the world. We dare not twist or ignore the Word of God.
If any woman would like to contribute to a page corresponding to this one to help wives understand and adapt in a similarly sacrificial, Christ-honoring way to their husband’s sexuality, please e-mail Grantley firstname.lastname@example.org
Towards a Christian View of Masturbation
How Harmless is Porn?
Finding Supernatural Power to Break Free
Spiritual Secrets: Dying to Self
Confessions of a Frigid Woman
How to Boost Your Wife’s Libido
How to Increase Your Wife’s Sexual Responsiveness
How to Bring a Woman to Orgasm or Increase Her Desire For More Sex
A Second Look at Conjugal Rights
When a Wife Doesn’t Want Sex
The Husband as Head of His Wife
You Can Find Love Receiving Divine Power to be a Lover
When One Partner Wants What the Other Fears is Perverted
Love Sex God Orgasm: Christian Sex Secrets
More about Marital Matters
Facebook? See Let’s Help Each Other
E-mail Grantley Morris: email@example.com
E-mail Grantley Morris: firstname.lastname@example.org
Not to be sold. © Copyright 2006, Grantley Morris. May be freely copied in whole or in part provided: it is not altered; this entire paragraph is included; readers are not charged; if used in a webpage, the new page is significantly different to this one. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings available free online at www.net-burst.net Freely you have received, freely give.
For use outside these limits, consult the author.