Can You Be Raped in Marriage?

1 Corinthians 7:4-5 says: “The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

This is an oft-quoted verse regarding sexuality in marriage. Some have read it as meaning that you can never say no to your spouse — a position with which I am uncomfortable. In fact, Sheila Gregoire explained what “deprive” really looks like in a marriage, and it’s not a single instance of “Not right now.”

But beyond even the relational issue of whether you can ever refuse your spouse’s sexual advances is the sad reality that some, even Christians, have used this idea that your spouse owes you sex to commit what is essentially marital rape.

Haven’t heard of that term? It’s a real thing.

And it’s a horrifying experience to have the someone you should trust more than any other person treat your body with such blind violence. According to the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN): “Research shows that it can be equally, if not more, emotionally and physically traumatizing than rape by a stranger.”

All states have laws against rape, including marital rape, although prosecutions are not common. A broad definition is “any unwanted intercourse or penetration (vaginal, anal, or oral) obtained by force, threat of force, or when the wife is unable to consent.”

But whether any laws existed against marital rape, it’s still wrong.

The Bible doesn’t deal specifically with marital rape. Perhaps the closest scriptures that we have are regulations from Deuteronomy specifying that a man who violates a woman will have to marry her and will never be allowed to divorce her (Deuteronomy 22:28-29). At first read, this seems appalling! Did God actually say you could get a wife by starting out your relationship with rape? But these regulations were made in the context of the culture of that era. At a time in history when many cultures allowed men to use women however they wanted, Israel discouraged such horrid behavior by warning men that if they tried that . . . they’d better be ready to provide for that woman for the rest of her life. And in such a culture, a violated woman would not be considered marriageable because she was no longer a virgin, so this regulation made sure she was provided for.

Without a specific verse on marital rape, we turn to principles. And the principles of the Bible are very clear about how we should treat one another.

Husbands

“Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” Colossians 3:19

“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” 1 Peter 3:7

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” Ephesians 5:25-28

Wives

“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:10-12

Moreover, you can take any “one another” passage in the Bible and know that it applies to marriage too. For example:

“Live in harmony with one another.” Romans 12:16; 1 Peter 3:8

“Serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21

“Love one another deeply, from the heart.” 1 Peter 3:8

“Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

“Be kind and compassionate to one another.” Ephesians 4:32

Rape has no part in a loving, giving, godly marriage. It is never okay to force your spouse to have sex. If you have been the victim of marital rape, that was not okay. That is not what God intended when he said that you have an obligation of physical intimacy in marriage.

If your marriage is at the point where spouse has drawn the line and said no to sex, and the other is tempted to force it, get help. It’s not okay to deprive your spouse of sexual intimacy, but it’s not okay for anyone — spouse included — to force you into a sexual act.

Why would I tackle this sensitive subject? Because it happens. I know someone it happened to.

Sexual intimacy should be the voluntary sharing of our bodies with one another in marriage. You don’t have a right to withdraw from that duty, but your spouse doesn’t have a right to use your body as he wishes. As the first verse cited indicates, your body belongs to you, and you yield it to your husband. Willingly.

Yes, you can be raped in marriage. No, it’s not okay with God. Seek help if this has happened or may happen soon. Talk to your pastor. Seek a Christian counselor. My prayers are with you and your marriage.

23 thoughts on “Can You Be Raped in Marriage?

  1. Jason@SongSix3

    Wow J… heavy topic, and not humorous at all.

    Even though I am most definitely the higher drive spouse in my marriage, the thought of forcefully taking my wife’s body (without her being a willing participant) simply does not compute. In my mind, this action would essentially break the ultimate trust between us… a trust that I feel would be virtually impossible to rebuild.

    She and I have walked through (and worked through) some hideous sexual sins against each other in our past. But to me, marital rape would outweigh them all.

    Readers, if your marriage is on the verge of this, or its’ already happened, then like J said… get help. Talk to your Pastor, or Christian counselor. You will need Godly guidance from someone who knows the Word of God.

    J, I pray the Lord is comforting your friend, and that there would be healing in that marriage.

  2. Jay Dee - Sex Within Marriage

    Well, admittedly, I’m one of those bloggers who advocate for never saying no to your spouse, but I’m arguing for an ideal position: where both spouses are living for each other. I think a person should be able to say to their spouse “I physically cannot do this” and have their spouse return with “then I will not even ask”, or “then I abdicate my request”. Therefore, no refusal, no issue. I hope no one ever takes one my posts and says “here, see, this is what YOU should be doing!” Instead, I hope people read and think “I need to make some changes in MY thinking/behaviour”.

    I think the issues come up when people think they can force the other to be willing. You cannot force someone into not being a refuser/gatekeeper. You cannot force someone into being willingly submissive, you cannot force someone into taking a leadership role. Whenever you try, I think a terrible crime is being committed. In the case of sex, we call it rape, in the case of submission, we call it slavery. These are crimes which we, as a society, have almost universal agreement on, they are against the very core of our need for free-will, something God instituted in us, and He Himself will not override. So much more then should we seek not to control others, but only ourselves.

    Great post J.

    1. ButterflyWings

      Hi Jay Dee, I really like how you describe the situation. I wonder if it’s splitting hairs but I do like it.

      I was in the situation with my first husband, a day after having major surgery, after having discharged myself two days early, I said to my husband I couldn’t do it, because I was in agony (and medically wasn’t allowed to be having sex) and my husband simply decided if I wasn’t able to, he’d force me to. We weren’t able to use our normal form of contraception at the time because of my surgery, so after trying to tell him I couldn’t do it, when he began forcing it, I begged him to at least go to the shop and get condoms. Mainly to diffuse the situation, hoping it would be a distraction for him to drop it, but at least if he did force me, we’d be protected from having children he wasn’t mentally capable of dealing with.

      And that’s how my daughter was conceived. I adore her – and I cannot stand people who use rape as an excuse to dispose of their babies, their own flesh and blood. How she was conceived doesn’t change that she is my child and adored. But my exhusband couldn’t cope with her, and just after she was born he went from mentally ill to having a total psychotic break and things never got better from there.

      But that is the only time in our marriage I ever said no – even after I was sexually assaulted by a stranger two years later, I didn’t say no then because I figured if I was physically capable, then I wouldn’t say no. Unfortunately that wasn’t even enough for my now-ex husband. I’d occasionally jump when he did something specific my attacker did even though I explained to him that’s what my attacker did and he’d totally lose it and verbally and even sometimes physically abuse me because I “didn’t really love him” because I couldn’t make myself enjoy that one particular thing. Before it happened, it wasn’t even something he was much interested in, but after it happened, he did it over and over to make a point, that I had to enjoy anything and everything he did if I “truly loved” him.

      In many ways, that was worse than him raping me or the sexual assault from a stranger combined.

      A marriage is meant to be the pinnacle of human relationship closeness which is why it is so destructive when rape rears it’s ugly head. No matter who does, it is a terrible evil, but when it’s someone you know, it’s harder to deal with, and the closer that someone is, the more incredibly painful it is. The only thing I consider worse is paedophilia or incest.

      It is not a violation of your body, but it is a violation of your inner person. And sadly something that many people don’t take seriously. I know all too many churches and authorities (like the police and courts) who deny that spousal rape is even possible and that is just really sad. Most victims don’t even speak up (spousal rape is far more under reported than general rape, and even that is drastically under reported) and those do finally speak up, have to deal with being mocked by authorites, and often being told by their churches, that their body belongs to their spouse and therefore there is no such thing as spousal rape.

      I know the church is full of humans, and humans are “only human” and while I know that fellowship is very important, I sometimes wonder if churches do more harm than good most of the time.

  3. Paul Byerly

    The 1 Cor 7 verse is not about rights, but responsibility. The problem is we assume rights – which is going beyond what the scripture says. The husband or wife who refuses has failed to fulfil his or her responsibility, but that does not give their spouse the right to take what has not been given.

    Think of it this way, we are commanded to feed the hungry and give to the poor – but that does not give the hungry the right to steal from us if we don’t feed them, or the poor the right to mug us if we do not give.

    1. ButterflyWings

      Paul I can’t agree that a person who has refused has always failed to fulfil their responsibility. When someone is seriously ill or injured for example, there is no failure or sin on their part because they are genuinely unable to.

      I guess it’s like comparing the situation to if someone who is hungry approaches us and asks for food and we are so poor ourselves that we have no food and are wondering how we are going to feed our kids that day, we have done nothing wrong in “refusing” to give food to someone who is hungry.

      A person cannot give what they don’t have.

      But I do like what you said otherwise.

  4. Anonymous

    Sex is one of those things where for me, there can be a fine line between love and hate.

    When I am a willing participant, when my heart and mind are into it (when I’m mentally and emotionally healthy), and things are going well in our marriage – it’s great!

    The times when I hate sex are the times when I’m personally struggling – stress, exhaustion, conflict in our relationship, etc – and I feel like I still *have* to have sex. I’m not being raped physically, but feel like I’m being *forced* somehow to do something that I’m not wanting to do at that time. My husband would never physically make me have sex with him. I feel *forced* to have sex by the obligation to meet his needs (even when I’m not in the mood, or am not feeling particularly loved or cared for). I have observed that at times when I have refused sex, a big wall builds between my husband and I. My husband becomes a little less patience, a little more easily irritated, frequently has a headache, doesn’t sleep well, he uses a *rougher* tone of voice with me, etc These behaviors are subtle, but enough for me to notice and feel uneasy. I don’t like to feel the “stress so thick you can cut it with a knife”. It feels like disappointment, disapproval, and frustration directed at me.

  5. Anonymous

    Okay, as uncomfortable as I am saying a for sure yes or for sure no to this question & as third world Taliban as this will make me sound (and to be clear I asked my wife beforehand without giving my thoughts to her she agreed with this conclusion). No. On the day you say “I do” you gave permission. You can’t be one flesh when you choose to or when it’s convenient to. You said on that day “always” and forever. I think we look at this threw modern eyes and up until 100 years ago you would have had a much different answer than the responses I’ve seen so far. That would be 5900 years of human civilization (much more of it’s thought influenced by God’s Word than our current times) vs. 100 years tops.

    That said, I don’t think the husband would be living up to “loving his wife as Christ loves the church” obviously and he would be falling short in that respect and it would be a terribly unwise decision and even cruel, definitely sinful and selfish and hurtful…but rape, no, as uneasy as I am with that answer.

    To put it another way, I think the frame of the question or argument in a marriage context is off. If you are a bible believing christian and you are holding your spouse to that (as you should), is not the act of refusal just as much rape? There is no other outlet? Are not the physical side effects and mental side effects and spiritual side effects just as deep? I’ve never been raped, outside of prison I can’t see that happening and I’m certainly not trying to minimize the effects (I personally would castrate someone who raped my mother, wife or daughter…never been good at that turn the other cheek thing) but I’ve spoken to both women who have been raped and men who have been refused for a decade…I’ve seen more women recover from the first then men from the second.

    Sorry, I know this is politically incorrect and will come across awful…but it’s what I believe (and my wife also, if that softens it).

    1. happywife

      I hear what you are saying, and following your logic I would have to agree to am extent…but I don’t think I can. I can’t agree that by saying “I do”, I’m giving my body to my husband to use as his sexual object. Yes, I am committing to join him and live my life with him and become one with him and be his sexual partner for life. BUT that does not take away my free will. If I say to my husband, “I really do not have anything in me to make love with you right now” (whether emotional or physical) and he pins me down and penetrates me anyway, I don’t know what that could be called other than “forced sex” AKA rape.
      God never forces anything on us and He never asks anything of us that we are not ready for. Why should a husband think he has that right… especially since he’s not God and cannot know what is best for us?
      If a marriage is in a place where a husband is feeling the need to force sex, then said forced sex is certainly not going to do anything to help that marriage anyway. It just makes no sense (and I think you would agree with me.)
      Yes, denying your spouse sex is infidelity. No argument there. But physically forcing sexual acts is rape and abuse. What else could it be called?

    2. Anonymous

      Happywife,
      I hear you, but you are only giving half of the arguement and I understand why, and I can sympathize, but it’s still half the arguement.

      You are one flesh. Your body is his. You are under his authority as his wife, is he asking you to sin by having sex with him? No. Again, I want to reiterate it is a troubling question…but then again, just asking it is just as serious of a question in my opinion. Outside of just giving birth or just having surgery or maybe an actual rape by a stranger…what justification is there for saying no? And yet it happens WAY (what 1,000 to 1 or 10,000 to 1?)more than rape.

      So if rape is defined as taking something sexually that you do have have consent for and that causes physical, mental and emotional anguish…I would argue that a refuser is just as much of a rapist.
      Please to be clear, I know I’ve never been raped and fully don’t understand it and what it does to a female and I’m certainly not trying to make light of it. I would argue though that most females don’t know the other side of it either.

      I just can’t see how you can rape someone who you are one with…it would seem to be physically impossible. It seems in our modern world we are married or one when it’s convenient for us and when it’s not we call upon “our rights”.

      Everyone here is arguing rights vs. rights if you think about it…

    3. Anonymous

      Happywife,
      I thought about this thru the day…two things. First, I’m going to change my mind. Can there be rape in a marriage, I’m going to change to a tentative yes…BUT I would probably take only 5% of what other folks would call maritial rape, rape. For just having given birth (3 weeks maybe-6 weeks in a very traumtized child birth?), major surgergy or MAJOR illness (think just got chemotherapy). I could consider those circumstances.

      HOWEVER, I want to take a closer look at your response because I think it holds the key to the other 95%. You said you still maintain your free will? You agree that you are one. You agree that his body is yours and vice versa. So I will ask, first are we to mantain our free will in marriage and second, so if in that moment you choose free will does he also get to choose free will? If you choose yourself or not marriage over marriage is he then also allowed to choose that? So when he chooses his free will is he allowed to pick up a prostitute or a gal at a bar?

      Again, I want to say that I don’t believe 99% of men would ever do what we are calling maritial rape in this post, when sex is offered frequently…nor should they force themselves because they would not be living up to their end of the marriage agreeement even if she is not. But I think free will is dangerous. I think if we get to choose when we love, when we sacrifice, when we submit, etc…Is this is not what is wrong with marriage today? We want to enforce our spouses rights/responsiblities to us but we want to choose free will on our end?

      I wouldn’t want loved forced from my wife. But neither would I want to live in a marriage where I was held to my responsibilities and my spouse got to choose “free will” whenever they so desired….sounds like a recipe for disaster and reality in today’s marriages.

    4. J

      Stepping in here with my take. I am NOT by any means talking in this post about even demanding/insisting that your spouse fulfill their sexual duty to you. Yes, they should.

      I’m talking about a spouse who physically forces a sexual act on their spouse. I’m talking about abuse, brutality, and disregard for the other person as a human being. It doesn’t happen often, but it happens. And when it does, I call it rape.

      That said, I spend a LOT of time on my blog encouraging spouses to have sex with each other. God gave us free will. That’s just the way He did it. Thus, it is our decision to, as the scripture says, “yield” to our spouse. It is absolutely not okay to withhold from your spouse and keep him/her in a space of denial and rejection. That is also sin. And no one will have a good marriage if they selfishly deny sex to their spouse.

      But rape and denial are not the same sin.

      Both sin.

      Not the same sin.

    5. Anonymous

      J,
      Forgive me, I was not trying to imply that they were the same sin. I was trying to imply the are very much the same in cause and effect.

      Rape=taking something from someone sexually they had no right to take
      Refusal=the same

      Rape & Refusal both are abusive, brutal and disregard the other human being (in your words).

      I think we look at this from very female and male viewpoints. Wives look to their husbands for protection, not to be violated. If that happens is a tragic thing because we have size over you. There is nothing short of a knife or gun that can stop us right?
      In the same way, you have sex over us. It’s one of the few things we look to our wives for. There’s nothing to stop you of abusing that over us. As believers we don’t believe in divorce or going elsewhere but even if we include divorce & extrimaritial affairs, in which case you will be granted the children, most assets, and 50% of our future earnings. We have no “power” to stop you. Between our faith and the current system of law you have us by the short hairs…even if you never want to see them again (the short hairs)

      Females are much more sensitive to physical force, violence. If you ask a man would he rather be punched in the mouth or turned down by his wife…most are going with the punched in the mouth without any hesitation, exact opposite for females. I could get more graphic here, but I won’t. Let’s just say if I had the choice to be raped by my wife or refused by her over a long period of time…I’m going with the rape. Now that would not be the situation if it was a stranger.
      As husbands, our job is to protect our wives. That’s why I think it would be a poor & sinful choice, but still not rape (because we are one). But wives has an equal responsiblity not to abuse their power over us.

      If anyone is in doubt. I ask you to sit down with several people who have lived in both situations. The results might be eye opening.

      And the whole reason for this arguement is 1) we don’t get to choose when we are one…we promised that on our wedding day 2)one does not take place without the other.

    6. J

      I know that we going to have to leave this at disagreement, Anon. But here are just a few final thoughts from me.

      * You can’t compare one act of rape with years of refusal and then draw comparisons. It’s apples and oranges.
      * I HAVE talked to people who have lived in both situations. And I am not in doubt that rape can happen in marriage, and that ongoing refusal from a spouse is also painful.
      * Being one does not mean that you lose free will. I do get to choose, every single moment of every single day, and I choose to be intimate with my husband. He chooses to treat my body with care.

      I ache at the thought that some raped woman will come to this site and read that her horrific experience is the equivalent of someone being sexually ignored for a month. I just don’t think that’s what she needs to hear.

      As I’ve said, yes, I believe ongoing sexual refusal of your spouse is sin. Rape is obviously sin. But I don’t know why that isn’t enough. Why must they be compared? It seems to me that comparison is not helpful to either side, who are each suffering in their own way.

      Thanks for respectfully laying out your position. I do appreciate that.

    7. Teresa

      Dear Anonymous:

      I’ve thought about your first response all day yesterday and then again this morning. I desperately wanted to tell you how much it bothered me. But I wanted to tell you in a healthy way that explained why. And then when I came back and looked at your follow up responses I realized that I just can’t explain it in a way that could ever make you understand. I was date raped at 16. That was how I lost my virginity. I am now 42 and despite 26 years of active healing on my part, I still struggle with the echoes of that violent act. I can tell you that if my husband was to hold me down, force his body into mine, and the entire time ignore the fact that I was struggling, crying and begging him to stop, not only would I consider that rape, I would consider it a much more vile act than the actions of that evil 16 year old boy. And not only would he be tainted by the sin of his act, he would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for his criminal act. I pray that all people exist in healthy, happy, loving marriages where rape could never happen. But it does. And, in my opinion, operates completely outside of the commitment I make to my spouse. I wish to take nothing away from the struggle of those people who feel like they have been unloved and neglected by their spouses. I don’t know their pain and I do not wish to chime in in ignorance. But I do suspect that that is indeed an apples to oranges discussion.

      Teresa

    8. Anonymous

      Teresa,
      I apolagize for my post bothering you, and especially for what that man did to you on behalf of all men…sorry. While I don’t agree with your & J’s position, I can respect it and even sympathize with it greatly on an emotional level. My heart agrees with you but my mind and theology does not.

      J, while I agree we maintain our free will, we promised to act in a certain way more or less promising or guaruanteeing our free will goes to our spouse on every decision. Will we all fall short of that? Without a doubt. I know I sure have but I don’t get up everyday and decide whether to exercise my free will that day. I’ve already promised it. I hope that makes sense. I’m going to sign off now but thank you both & God bless you-

    9. ButterflyWings

      “I just can’t see how you can rape someone who you are one with…it would seem to be physically impossible. “

      “Rape=taking something from someone sexually they had no right to take
      Refusal=the same
      Rape & Refusal both are abusive, brutal and disregard the other human being (in your words).”

      I’m sorry Anonymous, I know you mean well and honestly believe what you are saying but you have no clue. Honestly no clue.

      There is a massive difference between physically violently forcing your way into someone’s body, and simply denying someone sex.

      There are completely valid reasons for refusal – you even mention them yourself such as surgery and recent childbirth. My (now ex) husband raped me the day after I had major surgery. The surgeon had made it clear to refrain from sex and I was in absolute agony. In fact I wasn’t even supposed to be home, having discharged myself two days early (staying one night instead of recommended minimum three) because I couldn’t sleep in a noisy hospital and desperately needed some rest. He violently forced himself out on me, refusing to take no or even just to wait a few hours. Even when I begged him to stop just long enough condoms he wouldn’t.

      Sticking any p**** in any v***** when a woman says no is rape. Doesn’t matter if she is a wife, a friend or a total stranger. It is a violent violation.

      It is NOTHING compared to being refused. And I have a right to say that. My second husband is a refuser and I have a very high sex drive. It drives me to distraction when he constantly says no. On our 15 day honeymoon, we had sex a grand total of three times in the first five days, and then nothing at all for 10 days. We got home, and then he was due to head off the next to go away for work for over a month and he repeatedly refused me those two days, even knowing full well we had had no sex for 10 days and were about to go another 40 with none.

      For someone with a high sex drive like me (I want to do it at least once a day and on my first honeymoon, we had sex 4-6 times a day, no less), this was horrible. But it is NOTHING compared to rape. Not even remotely close.

      …. to be continued (ran out of word count)

    10. ButterflyWings

      It’s like comparing being stolen from and being violently savagely beaten. Yes both are crimes, both can be serious, but there is no comparison. One involves something being taken from you, the other involves a horrific violent painful violation of your physical body.

      You say it is easier to recover from rape than refusal? rubbish. Speak to any man who has been raped by someone and who has been regularly refused by his wife, and I guarantee which he’ll say is worse. In years of looking into the issue, having come across tens of thousands of spousal rape, I have only once come across a case of a female raping their husband. I guarantee if you were in the situation where your wife could rape, where you flat out refused to have sex with her and strongly did not want to have sex with her, you’d finally understand why no man would choose spousal rape over refusal. Even in the case I have come across (and trust me, I’ve searched hard to find others), I guarantee the man would not have chosen the rape over refusal. The physical shock of being violated by his wives (yes wives, plural) killed him.

      Yes persistent refusal (and I mean repeated persistant, not the occasional one off thing) is abusive, but it is NOT brutal at all. “Brutal” in terms of rape is a physical thing. Even in terms of emotional abuse, refusal is not brutal. “Brutal” would be the refuser telling their spouse they are ugly, limp and suck in bed. That is emotionally brutal – not the simple act of refusal. Yes it is painful – even incredibly painful – try being a female being refused! It damages a woman to deal with a refusing husband because you are raised by society to believe that all men want sex all the time and if your husband never wants sex, imagine what that does to your mind – you not only feel unloved by your husband, but you feel unlovable – if your own husband doesn’t want to have sex and “all men want sex all the time), it’s devastating in a way that even most men who have been refused cannot undersand. Refused men know that they could sex, that other women would want them, that the problem is their wife is messed up – refused women don’t have that. they feel like no man could ever want them, that they are detestful and I have known women who have been driven suicide. And honestly, I reached the point at one stage where I seriously considered it because I felt so unwanted, especially after my first husband’s persistent cheating despite the fact we were having sex at least once a day and I was ready, willing and able 24/7 and the only time in our 8 year marriage I ever said no was after my major surgery and he raped me for it.

      Men who are refused know the problem is with their wife, women who are refused usually believe the fault lies with them as they must be pathetic to be able to make a man not want sex.

      I realise you honestly believe what you are saying, but it is out of touch with the truth of the situation.

      I guarantee you have never spoken to a person who has both been a victim of both chronic refusal and of spousal rape – they are rare. I doubt you even know anyone who has been a victim of both chronic refusal and any sort of rape. Until you have spoken to someone who has been through both you cannot understand. to be honest, until you have been through both, you cannot truly understand.

    11. J

      Note from J:

      Anonymous left another reply. In fairness, I want to report the following from it: “BW, I’m sorry for your history and wish you the best. I do still stick to my guns…God bless.” There is more. I contemplated for some time whether to print the whole message. There’s no personal attack in his response, and of course he can espouse whatever position he wishes. However, I vehemently disagree with his stance, and in this case, I’m more concerned with those who have personally been victims.

      Anonymous–If you want to talk about this further, maybe you can post something to your own blog. I am discontinuing this discussion about rape vs. refusal. That was never the point of this post, and I am utterly heartbroken by the stories of Teresa and Butterfly Wings–also knowing that there are other women out there who have experienced such violation.

      Anyone who reads my blog knows how much I advocate frequent sexual intimacy within marriage. But the focus of this post is for spouses who have been brutalized by rape in marriage to know that it’s not okay with God and they should seek help and healing.

      Blessings to all!

    12. J

      Teresa and Butterfly Wings,

      I thought long and hard about what to say to you both. I just have no words. I wish I could sit with you and just hold your hand.

      Prayers and healing,

      J

  6. James B

    I am of the view that 1 Corinthinas 7 means that the spouses should generally say “yes” to each other’s requests for sex. Sometimes this can be a “Not tonight, dear, how about tomorrow?”, but saying “No” should not become a habit. That’s not good for either spouse and it’s not good for a marriage.

    Also, sometimes a spouse may have little interest in sex when the request is made, but get into it as things get going. That’s how we were designed to work.

    However, there is also a long Christian tradition about when it is and is not appropriate for a spouse to request sex. There is a long Christian tradition about the need for moderation and self-control, even in marriage. If having sex would be harmful to the other spouse or otherwise unloving, then the spouse does not have the right to request it. (See Ephesians 5:26-33, guys) The idea that 1 Corinthians 7 gives spouses a right to unlimited sex on demand is a relatively new one.

    When a spouse absolutely positively does not want sex, can requesting sex be considered loving? I doubt it. Can having sex with someone without their consent every be considered loving? No.

  7. Anonymous

    I agree spot on here. No is no. When that “no” happens 9 out of 10 times, and sex occurs 4 times a year, thats still no excuse – its an excuse to go to counseling, but thats it.

    What I would like to see is a complementary article – “Is lack of sex equal to emotional or mental marital abuse?”

    Obviously lack of sex is not equal to physical abuse. That is another story, and can’t be compared.

    But I have read about many divorce cases and even criminal cases involving mental and emotional abuse, and that can damage a person emotionally, mentally, and even to a point of affecting their physical health.

    So, can denying sex be equivalent to that?

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