Sex Tonight? What Does Your Magic 8-Ball Say?

Magic 8-BallWhen I was growing up, there was a toy that many of us played with called a Magic 8-Ball. Manufactured by Mattel, it looked like a pool table 8-ball but had an icosahedral (20-sided) die inside. When you asked a question and then shook the ball, one side of the die would show up through a window to give you an answer.

I never had one myself, but I played with others’ magic 8-balls. It was fun to ask random questions and then see such answers as: “Without a doubt”; “Cannot predict now”; and “Don’t count on it.” It was all a game, of course.

But I was thinking about how we often have a set of ready answers when it comes to having sex in marriage. It’s like we have our own internal magic 8-balls and whenever our husband asks, “Do you want to have sex?” we shake up the ball and spit out one of the preprinted replies.

The original possibilities for the magic 8-balls included 10 positive responses, five wishy-washy, and five ain’t-happening:

● It is certain
● It is decidedly so
● Without a doubt
● Yes definitely
● You may rely on it
● As I see it, yes
● Most likely
● Outlook good
● Yes
● Signs point to yes
● Reply hazy try again
● Ask again later
● Better not tell you now
● Cannot predict now
● Concentrate and ask again
● Don’t count on it
● My reply is no
● My sources say no
● Outlook not so good
● Very doubtful

Those aren’t terrible odds. If your hubby approached you to make love, it might be a nice deal if half the time he got a positive response, one-quarter of the time he got what amounts to “you can talk me into it,” and only one-quarter of the time was a no. Of course, it would be even better if the nos were fewer and the yeses or maybes higher, but for some marriages and some seasons in marriage, a 75% success rate of experiencing sexual intimacy when a higher-drive spouse initiates is a decent result.

But you know what? I bet a lot of us wives have an internal magic 8-ball stacked with negative responses. Maybe half of the time, your set-point is no. Or maybe it’s just a whole lot of maybes — with your willingness contingent on all of your to-dos getting done and the stars aligning just so.

And yes, I know, it could be you with the higher desire and your husband whose magic 8-ball could use a substantial adjustment.

Refusal of sexual intimacy isn’t a game to the one who’s asking. If the higher-drive spouse wants to make love, it’s usually not about physical release or recreational enjoyment. As I’ve often said, if it was just about the orgasm, they could get that done without you. Rather, the desire to make love, and the rejection felt when the nos pile up, run much deeper.

Maybe like me, you toyed with a magic 8-ball when you were young. You asked questions like, “Will we have a pop quiz tomorrow?” “Am I smarter than my sister?” or “Am I getting the gift I want for Christmas?” The results you got were interesting or even funny, but they didn’t really matter. However, perhaps you also asked relational questions like “Will I get invited to prom?” or “Does the guy I have a crush on like me?” Remember how you felt when the negative answer kept coming up over and over? Even though we knew it was a toy — just a silly way to pass the time — we longed for a positive answer and felt a sense of disappointment when it didn’t happen.

Now imagine that’s real. Your husband approaches you for sex, you shake up your magic 8-ball, and a negative answer spits out time and time again. What kind of disappointment does he feel?

I recently shared one of my archived posts, Be His “Sure Thing”, on social media and received several positive comments and shares. Because I think this is one of those game-changing ideas in marriage, that saying yes to sexual intimacy should be the response that our spouse most hears. As I said in that post:

There is a deep warmth that comes from knowing that your spouse is your “sure thing” — the one who will talk with you when you need conversation, who will embrace you when you need to be held, who will make love when you need to feel that one-flesh physical connection.

In marriage, we’re supposed to be there for our spouses in all those ways that make us feel loved. Your way might involve more affection or conversation, but his way might focus on mutual sexual pleasure. Or vice versa. And that’s a completely legitimate way to express love in marriage. It’s God-made and Heaven-endorsed.

I’m not saying you can never say no. I think that’s a legitimate answer when circumstances force sexual intimacy to take a temporary backseat to other needs in your lives. (Although I highly recommend rain check sex.) But how’s your internal magic 8-ball? How many of your possible answers are positive? Do you need to rewrite a few?

29 thoughts on “Sex Tonight? What Does Your Magic 8-Ball Say?

  1. Nick Peters

    I’ve often told my own Princess that when she says no, I often start asking questions about my own self and none of the conclusions are good. She assures me that they’re not true, but the actions always speak louder than the words do. I really think many women just don’t understand how deep this runs with us and do think all we want is that release or an orgasm. No. We want to be close and be loved and appreciated and sex is often the loudest way that screams that.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to google to see if it’s possible to hack a Magic 8-ball.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I think we need to understand each other. I believe her that those things aren’t true, and I believe that you feel all those self-doubts, so somehow you’ve got to figure out how to prioritize what’s important to your mate. That doesn’t mean spouses never hear no, but overall they feel that they’re likely to get a yes.

      Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Such a great post! I’m definitely his ‘sure thing’. I came into marriage with a personal conviction of ‘never say no’… and I’ve achieved that the last 4 years 🙂 My heart and body are all in and I love that I can say yes with pure excitement, not because I have to, but because I get to. It’s such a gift! And so much fun when 2 people want in! On the other hand my husband seems to have a ‘rarely say yes’ conviction and that it’s his right to say no when he feels like saying no. And if he does say yes; there’s rarely much effort put in. It’s more heartbreaking and painful than I can even describe. The isolation, loneliness, rejection and hurtful words I’ve experienced has broken me in ways I never thought I could be broken. The body that I thought was going to be seen as a gift to my husband now feels common, familiar, ugly and optional. The great thing is I also have a conviction (I’ve tried to tell myself otherwise sometimes 😉 ) that I don’t get to give up or stop trying. I refuse to stay where we are even if it’s comfortable for him. We love Jesus and therefore we must run after His best, His wholeness, His healing, His answers. We don’t get to have a crappy sex life and just accept it. I don’t get to have low self esteem and just accept it. We get to chase after the most life giving, fun, wanting, intimate, adventurous sex life because that’s exactly what God desires for us. And ‘us’ includes my broken husband. So I will continue to pursue the difficult conversations with him, I will encourage him, I will forgive him, I will cry in front of him and share my heartache and my desire for him, I will love him, serve him, and I won’t allow this area of our marriage to go silent because God in His goodness will heal our wounds and past baggage and crap and bring us onto the other side… we just need to not stop moving forward… even if it means me putting my husband on my back and helping him to keep moving forward in the seasons when he just doesn’t know how to.

    Reply
    1. Cindy G

      Wow!!! It sounds like we are living the same (sex) life. My husband and I found each other later in life and are in our late 50’s. I am definitely the higher drive spouse and have NEVER said “NO” in the six years we have been married. I could not have said this any better. Thank you for putting into words what I have been feeling for most of our married life.

      Reply
    2. B

      Wow! We have somewhat similar situations, as far as I am also a higher drive wife. However, your attitude is SO MUCH BETTER than mine! Thanks for commenting. You’re an inspiration.
      Not sure I can get where you are, but you are still an inspiration!

      Reply
      1. Anonomous

        B, I was hoping you would write 🙂 This is the first time I’d commented on J’s blog but I’ve been reading it every single week since I got married (Thankyou for bringing us truth every time J!)… which means I’ve read every single time you’ve poured your heart out. My heart has broken for you every single time. I’m so sorry it’s been so hard for way too long and the longing in your heart for your husband to draw near is a constant open wound. I’ve experienced emotional and some sexual abuse (it stopped recently) and neglect in my marriage and I can 100% pull the victim card… well… because I was one… BUT I’m also a grown as woman in her 30’s who knows a lot more now than I did just a few years ago and I get to choose to rise up with my Creator and begin to counter all the lies my husband has bought into from the enemy about my body, my sex drive, my desire for deep intimacy with him, my desire for purity in my marriage… you name it my husband has probably said it out loud or done it. SO my job is to know the truth. The truth about my body, the truth about my husband and the truth about God’s desire for sex in marriage. So that every time something happens, or something is said, or something is done (or not done), that counters that… I know I can boldly (this has looked pretty pitiful many a time) stand on the truth. And if I truly believe that God is who He says He is… then He will win the battle.

        Does this mean it’s not costly? It’s by far the most costly few years of my life to date. I have been depressed, riddled with anxiety, asked God to gift me with not waking up the next day, left my husband, spent days on the scales weighing myself, put on more makeup, exercised more, shaved more, and yes… bared the weight of his words that have ripped my body image to shreds. And then I remember… God has called me to a higher standard of living. One that does not shrink back but stands up for truth. God’s truth about me; His daughter. It is selfish to think that for some reason I get to be the exception and give up.

        My mind and body struggle with the truth because they naturally lean into the lies… but my spirit knows different. God is good and He never left me. He has seen it all. And He is working on my behalf to heal and restore in ways I could never dream of. And that is what keeps me at my post… loving my husband, directing Him to Jesus, surrounding us with wise council, confronting him when needed and initiating sex even when the answer might be no.

        It’s time to stand up B! No one can fight for your body image and sexual intimacy like you and God can! We’re all right here with you!

        Reply
  3. Ham

    The answer should never be “no.” If the timing’s bad, then the answer ought to be “not right now, but how about _________ instead,” where the underline might be “later tonight,” “tomorrow morning,” or some other definite alternative. “No” is very off-putting, and your partner will stop asking if he hears it too often. On the other hand, putting all your money on that one roll of the dice is a risky proposition to begin with. Stack the odds in your favor by kindling the romance hours before the big question ever comes up. Help with the kids, or do some of the housework, guys! Whatever it takes to lift some of the burden off her shoulders so she doesn’t look at lovemaking as yet another chore on her endless list. Somebody pointed out that, as your helpmeet, it’s not her job to do the work. It’s her job to help YOU do the work! And when the big event happens, make durn sure that she gets off plenty good and the fireworks detonate for her. Then cuddle her afterward, which was probably what she wanted in the first place. You will know you did well if she falls asleep in your embrace. Do it right, and maybe next time, you won’t have to ask!

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Yes, I agree that the answer should almost always be “not now” rather than “no.”

      But there are times when no is the real answer; for instance, when you’re sick. You don’t know when you’re going to be better, so it’s just no, not happening with no promise of when. But if your set-point is yes, those rare instances are no big deal because your spouse knows the answer will be yes as soon as you feel better.

      Reply
      1. Ham

        If your spouse is sick, sex should be the last thing on your mind. Taking care of your spouse would be the top priority.

        Reply
        1. J Post author

          Yep. But I have actually had the occurrence of hubby comes home, starts to make a move, and then I say, “No, no, I just took my temp and I’m sick.” #justsayin 😉

          Reply
  4. John

    Hot endless loving pursuit is the solution no matter the situation.
    This should be our walk daily with God and our spouses as well.
    1 Timothy love with a clear conscience,pure heart and genuine faith.
    If my spouse doesn’t respond when I give it my all.
    No big deal my Father in heaven promises to notice and rewards us
    Constantly with riches

    Reply
  5. Lynn

    This morning, we were just getting warmed up to some pre-planned early-morning intimacy when the phone rang; it was his daughter, asking my husband to take grandson to school. He had to leave the house within the half hour to make it on time. I thought we’d wait but he said, “I can shave and eat breakfast later,” so – it was decidedly so!

    Reply
    1. Eric Wiggin

      Lynn,
      DW and I have a solution to this dilemma. Making love is a priority for us, and we usually take the downstairs phone off the hook and shut off the cell phone. Unless the house is on fire, anyone with an urgent need to contact us can wait or find another solution. Since it’s not the Garden of Eden, where there were only two lovers and no family members with needs, we must protect our privacy.

      Come to think of it, before the Fall, Eve and Adam must have had hours of intimate fun those long, warm evenings on a bed of moss beside a pool, with no mosquitoes!

      Wedding anniversary # 54 is coming up June 1, and we plan to spend it at a bed & breakfast with a “Do Not Disturb” card on the door! At our ages it’s too hard to take up where we left off, if we get interrupted.
      Eric

      Reply
  6. Alicia

    Depends on the kind of sickness. My husband is battling cancer, which means sex has become much less frequent, but that’s not his fault. I understand right now the answer does have to be no quite often, but not because of lack of desire on his or my part. But, even though for me taking care of him, and for him, fighting through this, is top priority, sex is a healing thing, those times we can have it. It’s a time to interact as husband and wife, not just as patient and caregiver, and that’s very needed.

    Reply
  7. Libl

    I promote the idea that when we say “I do,” that means the default answer is yes. “Not now” should be used sparingly, and “no” is for emergencies only. “Not now” means sex will happen within 24 to 48 hours. “No” means something is wrong and needs to be addressed (medical, emotional, relational problems).

    Reply
  8. Melissa

    It’s also woman who want sex not just men. Just saying because everyone has this stereotype that women never ask for sex but in reality they probably ask more than their husbands

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Not everyone has that stereotype. I’ve been very outspoken about higher drive wives. This time, I just mostly spoke to the wives who are the lower-drive spouse. But yes, it’s true for women who want sex.

      Reply
      1. melissa

        Yes you’re right, you have mentioned it. Thanks for your article ” What if hubby is passive in bedroom. Its important that people should knows it’s from both not just one spouse

        Reply
  9. Keelie Reason

    Really great points. I really loved your sure thing post the other day. A few years into my marriage, I realized I was squandering the gift God gave me of sexuality every time I said no, or not tonight. It really gave me the attitude change I needed to embrace sex more and to go after it.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    In our marriage, my wife’s default answer is no. We do have sex, just not very often (average of 14 times a year for the past 4 years). I honor her need for less sex since we have a difficult marriage (try living with a man who has Asperger’s syndrome). I am very thankful that my wife stays with me during our ups and downs.

    Reply
    1. Nick Peters

      If it can help you, my wife and I try to go for at least once a week and I am definitely the higher drive spouse. As for Aspergers, my wife handles living with a man with it very well. In fact, we both have Aspergers.

      Reply
  11. B

    I am the wife and I have the higher drive. On the rare occasion that my husband initiates sex, I never say “no” – even if I’m not feeling well. For one, I don’t want to shoot him down because he has shot me down literally hundreds of times, and I know how devastating that is. Secondly, I don’t want him to ever get the idea that he shouldn’t ask. And third, if he does initiate, it feels like a “you’re good enough today! Grab at the chance while you can!” Usually if he initiates I’m thrilled to say yes, but even if I’m sick or exhausted I say yes so he doesn’t feel badly about initiating.

    I envy wives who have the right to say “no” or “not now”. But I get asked so infrequently, my answer is always yes!! I feel like if he’s taking the time to initiate, I should be grateful that he finds me worthy that day.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      As you know, I don’t think it has anything to do with finding you “worthy.” But I definitely like your attitude of “my answer is always yes!” 🙂

      Reply

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