Should You Refuse? Wanda vs. Nina Cont’d

The question I posed on Monday was:  “Here comes hubby looking for some nooky, and you are feeling more worn out than a Tupperware container from 1974.  What should you do?”

Last week, I said that I have met women on both bookends of this question — women who withhold sex whenever they don’t feel perfectly primed for the event and women who feel that a godly wife never refuses her husband’s advances.  I called them Withholding Wanda and Never-Say-No Nina.  If you want to know what I said to Wanda, click on that post here.

While Withholding Wanda practically requires her husband to cross an alligator-infested moat, scale castle walls, and fight off numerous defenders to reach his princess and get a little bedroom reward, Never-Say-No Nina swears that the best way to keep a man happy is to always be available.  No barriers.  No hesitation.  No nos.

Open sign

Photo credit: Microsoft Word Clipart

Now listen, there are legitimate reasons to refrain now and then.  1 Corinthians 7:5 tells us that a husband and wife may mutually agree to take a break from the physical to focus on the spiritual.  And they are good physical reasons to postpone lovemaking as well, such as a contagious illness, a severe migraine, a yeast infection, or a period of pelvic rest following childbirth.  Additionally, emotional reasons can play a part in waiting; for instance, following the death of a very close friend, I wasn’t ready for a sexual encounter with my husband for a few days because I was steeped in grief.  He simply held me instead (Thanks, Honey!).

Sex demonstrates relational intimacy best when two willing, fully participating spouses come together at a time when both of them can concentrate on mutual pleasure and unity.  Now it would be terrific if one spouse never approached the other spouse at a bad time, and thus a refusal never occurred.  But speaking from my own experience, my husband is not a mind-reader.   He doesn’t always know that my head has been throbbing for three straight hours and any movement whatsoever causes a sharp pain between the eyes like an ice pick stabbing my forehead.  He needs me to gently tell him that another time might be more enjoyable for us both.

Some women need to feel free enough to say, “Not tonight, honey.”  BUT — and pay close to attention to this very important but — the statement should NOT end there.  Suggest a better time for coming together!  Something like, “Oh, baby, you know how you turn me on!  But I’m afraid that if you get my engine revvin’, my migraine-inflicted head will explode and then how will you raise the kids without me?  If you can hang onto that exciting thought until morning, I will ravage you like a wild beast let loose in the jungle!”  Or something to that effect.  

Your husband likely prefers waiting a few hours if it means that you are more fully engaged and pleasured by the experience.  If you’re struggling with this concept, think of it this way.  Would you rather your husband let you drone on and on in conversation, barely responding and nodding his head periodically because he has worked two straight eight-hour shifts and can hardly process your words?  Or would you rather your husband ask you to wait until he gets a quick nap in and afterward cuddle up next to you, listen to your every word, and offer support for what you’re saying?  Same thing.  In that case, he isn’t refusing; he’s suggesting a time when he can fully be there for you.

You can say no now and then.  Make those times rare and recommend a better time in the near future.  Ensure your hubby that he turns you on and you desire him, and then schedule a time in the very near future to come together for your own personal party.

Remember your body belongs to three people — you, your husband, and God.  Use it to honor everyone in this equation.

“It is He who made us, and we are His.” Psalm 100:3a

“I am my lover’s, and my lover is mine.” Song of Songs 6:3a

20 thoughts on “Should You Refuse? Wanda vs. Nina Cont’d

  1. Julie Sibert

    Great post Mrs. Hot Holy Humorous! So many wives in particular are less than enthusiastic about sex… they long for a happy, healthy marriage, but often push sex aside like it’s not a vital ingredient. (Some husbands are this way too, but more often than not, it is wives who are saying “no” to sex).

    Try as we may to give the impression that sex “doesn’t really matter,” the truth is that it does matter. It is a vital ingredient. It won’t take care of itself. It needs to be nurtured. The more we walk in that direction, the easier it is to walk in that direction.

  2. Anonymous

    I think that the matter is a give-and-take.

    It’s perfectly fine to decline sex with a legitimate reason. However, for the sake of balance, it’s nice to offer sex to one’s spouse out of nowhere from time to time. This way, there is compensation for any missed opportunities. That’s just my perspective as a guy.

  3. Heather

    This is a great post, but it’s dated Thursday, June 16th and we are only on Monday, June 13th. Did I miss a post?

    Anyway though, Withholding Wanda made an appearance in my first marriage to my husband and she did not make things any better! Now there were some legitimate times for her to appear, as you mentioned; but there were a whole lot of other things going on and Wanda put her foot down, much more often than hubby wanted her to. Now that we are remarried (and we both have matured a little), things are a little better. I can’t bring myself to become Never-Say-No Nina, but we are moving more towards that direction and hubby is definitely happier.

  4. J

    CLARIFICATION: Since I’m going to be out-of-pocket on Thursday, I decided to schedule this post. But oops! I posted it instead and couldn’t figure out how to get it back! So you’re treated to a 2-for-one on Monday with back-to-back posts. CLICK ON THE LINK TO READ PART 1!

    Perhaps I should have coined a third moniker – Rarely Refuse Rita? or Almost Always Available Anna? Because that’s the point I’m trying to get to here. What would you call it?

    Love the comments!

    Anonymous – I have to say I love your guy perspective. Your approach sounds wonderful, though I hope wives do more than “offering” but also initiating sex from time to time.

  5. Anonymous

    As a guy in a marriage that has no intimacy at all, I find both perspectives interesting. Not sure how we get from im not close to you because you forced me into celibacy to you’ll take me out of celibacy when I act closer to you. Its a vicious cycle that shows I am being rejected at every turn

  6. Jocelyn

    Awesome post. I totally agree with putting a time stamp on it rather than a flat out no. It’s important to do this so your hubby doesn’t confuse your being tired with you rejecting his advances. I say next time you have to say no, put a time stamp on the next sexpedition and be sure to beat him to the punch initiating that next encounter. Benefits untold… 🙂

  7. Anonymous

    I decided to do the initiating the last time, and I was hoping he would like it. Normally he would have, but unfortunately he’s been having back trouble. He actually hurt himself while we were having sex– now I feel horrible!

    And to the guy who’s in the sexless marriage… I’m so sorry. I’m pretty sure this was the situation with my parents marriage. My mother was complete ice queen to my father at every turn, and I swore that I would never do that to my husband. I can say that my husband and I are happy with our marriage, despite the injuries.

  8. Anonymous

    This is a bit much… Sometimes you just don’t feel like it and you don’t need a reason and you don’t need to promise the time for the next encounter. When you don’t like it, you’re doing it out of obligation anyway. I understand that there has to be frequency of sex in marriage. I get it. I get it. I get it. This perspective treats sex as currency that is owed. “I know I owe you $10, but I don’t have it today. I’ll pay you tomorrow, with interest…”

  9. Anonymous

    Sometimes your husband doesn’t feel like going to work, he may not have a specific reason. But I’m sure you would be upset if he didn’t bring home that paycheck. Even with things we are “obliged” to do we can choose to have a good attitude about it or a pissy one. As a Husband and Father that supports a wife and 10 kids I don’t always want to go to work. But I try to enjoy my obligations and find joy and satisfaction in doing them. A wife can find joy and satisfaction (and a bit of pleasure) if she has the right attitude about he obligation to her husband, her marriage, and herself.

  10. Anonymous

    We all read the blogs and commentary with our own perspective, and you really never understand someone else’s relationship. I read these blogs because I am desperately trying to get the right attitude about things. I am desperately trying to have even the tiniest bit if desire for my husband. My husband doesn’t want to go to work. And even though he drags himself out of bed to go, he has never done anything in over a decade to advance his career. As a result I have become the bread-winner out of necessity. I work more, manage the household, care for the yard, nurture his interests, hobbies, and ensure that he has time to maintain his friendships with male friends. I make sure that the home, children, and I are always in condition that he is proud of. I try so hard to be “the wife of noble character” as described in Proverbs. In return, he ogles other women and complains that we don’t have a home and other possessions that are as nice as his friends’. In the area of sex I am a bad wife, and that is all he can focus on. Nothing else I do matters even a tiny bit if he doesn’t get sex when he wants it. Can you understand how hurtful that is? Can you? It’s horrible. So here I am, trying to be good in that way, too. Not out of any hope that respect will be given in return, but out of submission to God. It is painful. So pardon me for having a “pissy” attitude. I’m trying.

  11. Anonymous

    I’m a wife and I don’t think this post treats sex like currency. And it doesn’t mean everything has to be equal and fair, like someone is keeping an account. Yes, sometimes you can just say no, if you don’t feel like it. But it’s also about being generous with your husband and wanting him to feel good.

  12. J

    So many Anonymouses I could respond to! Frankly, though, I don’t have all the answers. I don’t believe sex is a currency, nor is engaging when you simply don’t feel up to it make you anyone’s plaything, so to speak.

    I often did not want to get up at 3:00 a.m. to feed my infant, but I did. And when I did, I sometimes experienced the most precious moments holding my beautiful baby in the quiet of the night. I’m so glad I didn’t miss those, even though it was difficult to drag myself out of bed back then.

    As to the woman who is trying to keep a good attitude, I don’t know the answer for your particular situation. However, we women can sometimes feel too much pressure to do it all like the Proverbs 31 woman. (Did you read the part about her having servants?!!) Maybe you need to step back and ask what is most important in your marriage and to yourself. Is there something you can let go? I can’t answer that for you, but I hope you pray about your situation, get godly counsel from those who know you well, and find a way to avoid resentment. And no, it isn’t “pissy” to want more from your marriage. It’s understandable.

    God bless all of you. I continue to pray for your marriages!!

  13. Anonymous

    it was harder for me to to do this when i was working. it’s difficult for a woman to be available when she’s exhausted. personally, i think men who get sex more frequently are more motivated at work. when i was working i just needed sleep!

  14. TK's Lady

    I enjoyed reading this! There is a lot of give and take in our marriage, but I truly only remember one time I had to refuse since we got married a year ago. I had heard so many stories about how much pain being a refuser could cause, that I determined NOT to do that to my hubby.

    The flip side to that is we frequently have conversations that basically amount to, “tonight or tomorrow? whatcha in the mood for?” At that point it could go either way and we’d both be satisfied without either needing to “refuse.”

  15. Anonymous

    I just decided after 25 years plus, it is no longer worth feeling “bad” for the God given sexual intimacy, aka, curse that He has given men. I do 90% of the house work, go to all the relationship classes/books/seminers, study the Word and am a hopeless romantic…but I’m on the “merit” system: 1 point for good behavior, 2 points are removed if I misunderstand what she was “thinking” but it wasn’t said. 3 points for dressing nicely but 5 points removed if I dare to utter a word to stand up for my self while her sister blasts away at me for whatever tirade she’s on, even if it in my area of profession….hey, I don’t matter as long as I continue to handle the finances. 6 points if I send her flowers on Valentines day but if I send them on other days I lose 7 points because I make the women at her work feel badly as their husbands don’t EVER send them flowers….opps I’m a negative 10^10. She asks me why I am, sometimes angry, and I tell her that I can’t remember who I am because the guy she married is dead and I’m whats’s left in his place!

  16. J

    Anonymous: Your story breaks my heart and is far too common for hubbies. God did gift us with sexual intimacy, and I pray that your wife realizes how important it is to you and how it can increase your emotional connection in marriage. Julie Sibert of http://www.IntimacyinMarriage.com recently had a terrific post for wives about what husbands are saying about their sex lives. It might be enlightening for your wife to read (if she even would?). Blessings!

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