A couple of days ago, I sent out this tweet:
Now you might expect that Mrs. Hot, Holy & Humorous is always ready for a midnight romp or an early morning roll-in-the-hay . . . but sadly, no. I am squarely in the “do not deprive each other” camp regarding marital sexuality. (See Sheila Gregoire’s great article on what that really means.) However, I am not among those who believe that every single attempt at lovemaking will result in actual lovemaking.
Because life interferes.
For instance, in my above example, someone might make the case that I denied my husband sex by refusing his 1:00 a.m. advances. But, for the sake of argument, let’s just assume that my moniker “J” actually stands for Jekyll. If you wake me in the middle of a deep sleep, you get Mrs. Hyde. While I know I am ultimately responsible for what Mrs. Hyde says and does, it’s a little hard to get a grip on that when Mrs. Jekyll doesn’t even know what Mrs. Hyde is doing!
Honestly, I was barely aware of what had happened the next day and said something to my husband like, “Did you come on to me last night around one o’clock?” I half-wondered if I’d dreamed the whole thing.
I’m a believer that in the long course of your married life, you will be met with various interruptions to your plans to have sex. It might be . . .
- inability to arouse yourself from a really deep sleep
- your child awakening from a bad dream just as you and your honey were about to live out a good dream (Seriously? Couldn’t the Bogeyman wait 15 minutes?)
- getting called into work or an emergency
- your period arriving a day early (for which “Aunt Flo” should be made to leave two days early)
- a myriad of other reasons
So if we are indeed supposed to fulfill our marital duty and not supposed to deprive each other (1 Corinthians 7:3-5), then what should we do when sex just isn’t fitting into that moment you anticipated it would?
Rain Check Sex.
This is important, so listen up. If you cannot engage in sex at that moment, it is important to reschedule and then follow through. (See Should You Refuse? Part 2.)
Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” I think this is true of marital intimacy.
When your spouse makes sexual advances, they are hoping to engage in physical intimacy with you. Having that hope dashed doesn’t just frustrate their physical release; no, it saddens their heart. Most men in particular would have a hard time putting that feeling into words, so they may end up claiming “blue balls” or pent-up sexual frustration. However, when you interview husbands and get to the core of it, their hearts are sick at the thought that their wives don’t want them. And that’s also very true of wives whose husbands turn them down — perhaps even more so because women constantly hear that it’s the other way around.
But the second half of the verse is so important: “A desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” That sickened feeling in your heart doesn’t have to happen . . . if you know that your desire will be fulfilled.
If you make a habit of giving rain check sex, your spouse can hold on — knowing that sexuality is a priority in your marriage and, even if this moment didn’t happen, sex is on the calendar very soon. Their desire will be fulfilled.
Looking at my tweet again, you’ll see what I mean:
I immediately offered to my husband “Tonight?” My no — even if delivered by grumpy ol’ Mrs. Hyde — was never really a “no.” It was a “not now.” Given the regularity and reciprocity we have in our sexual relationship, my husband knew with certainty that he would get a rain check.
Did I deliver on that promise? You bet I did! No way was I going to defer that hope until his heart felt sick. Not to mention that when awake, I’m rather excited to be physically intimate with him. I can’t say that a tree grew in our bedroom afterward, but our desires were definitely fulfilled.
If your lovemaking gets interrupted, welcome to Life. It happens. But don’t just leave it there. Reschedule. Give your spouse a rain check. Then make sure you follow through!
22 thoughts on “Rain Check Sex”
I’m not sure this totally relates, but I wanted to tell you, so here it is! Yesterday, my husband came home from a 3 month long deployment. We’ve been married 2 years, but we’ve never had sex every day…usually more like a couple times a week, due to my “not feeling it”. Since he left, I’ve been reading your blog, among others, and my goal after he got home was more sex. In 12 hours, we had sex 4 times!!! That’s a huge deal for us. So, thank you for all your advice! It’s working!
I bet he’s so glad to be home! Congrats!
How beautiful! I bet he is walking on sunshine. 🙂 Glad that your husband is home safe and in your loving arms.
Please thank him for his service.
What a wonderful way to fulfill his dreams while he was over yonder. How awesome to come home to your purple mountain majesties above your fruited plain. You are the one best (birthday) suited and in the best position to thank him for his service. Thank you for thanking him for the rest of us.
I. Love. This. Love it! I’m also in the Do Not Deprive camp, but I think many of us in that camp sway over towards legalism in saying that you can’t ever defer sex for whatever reason or that you can’t negotiate about a good time for it. Great post!
Thank so much, Elizabeth! I agree with you. Negotiate a better time, and then get to it. 🙂
I think it’s a sign of a sexually healthy marriage when one of you can gently defer sex to a later time. I’m not saying it’s good to do often, but if you’re enjoying intimacy on a regular basis (at least a few times a week), with both of you doing your share of initiating, then it really shouldn’t be a big issue on the occasion when you need to say, “gee, I’d love to, but I really don’t have it in me right now” And honestly, I really don’t think it’s fair to wake someone up from a deep sleep and expect them to be hot and ready. My husband and I enjoy lots of intimacy, and we believe in responding positively to sexual advances, but neither of us would expect a very cheery response if we tried to wake the other up from a sound sleep for sex.
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I agree with you, happywife. It is a sign of a sexually healthy marriage when you can communicate and negotiate times to be intimate. I don’t think that it’s depriving at all to good time for you both, as long as sex is still frequent and satisfying for you both.
My husband used to arouse me (in more ways than one!) in the middle of the night when the mood struck him hot and heavy. I never refused him! Not that I’m bragging, but for me, I LOVED when he would gently wake me with the knowing physical signs of interest, but I’d be too groggy to really respond, so he’d take his time and really get some great foreplay going so by the time I was fully aroused, I was fully aroused! *sigh* I really miss that. I wish he’d do that more. Unfortunately, he’s very ill right now and his sexuality has shut down in the process of healing, so ALL sex is off the table.
By the way, in my defense, my husband middle-of-the-night advances have met with success at times. When I’m sleeping more lightly, it’s a lovely way to be awakened. This time, however, he would have needed a cattle prod to wake me up.
My heart goes out to you with your husband’s illness. I am saying a prayer for his health and your marriage.
Ok, I found out from hubby that recently, before his illness, he DID try to wake me for sex and I didn’t wake up. In my defense, I was out cold and he didn’t work the foreplay magic. In his defense, he knew I get up numerous times a night for the baby. Still, I was disappointed to have missed that, especially since he rarely initiates anymore. I did ask for sex come morning, but he said no.
Why does Aunt Flo stop your sex life? Hubby and I use Instead cups and keep on going!
Anon – Good for you!
Some couples are comfortable doing as you suggest, some simply aren’t. Also, some women experience pain or discomfort at a level that doesn’t make sex sound good at all. As long as couples work it out, and they are both satisfied with their sex life, I think it’s fine to take a break for Aunt Flo…and it’s also fine to keep going. 🙂
I am not a fan of sex during my period. I usually have horrible cramps, bloating, and major mood swings. Honestly, sex is the last thing on my mind. The funny this is is my hubby is a bit OCD, and I always thought that HE was going to be the one with the problem with it, not me. It turns out its the other way around!
We used to not have sex during my period because growing up I was taught that it was wrong and that my husband would find my period disgusting. It took 10 years of marriage before we talked about it and I found out he doesn’t care one way or the other. It is just a fact of nature and a part of me, part of my womanhood.
For my wife, sex during her period is a no-no. She does not even like it mentioned as she says it makes her hurt. I told her that some women feel it can actually reduce the aches and pains, but she doesn’t buy it. So I just look daily for the bathroom wastebasket to be empty wrappers before I move forward
When my hubby wakes me up in the middle of the night I’ sort of dream and have sex at the same time and go totally wild and loud. In the morning I’m not sure what exactly happened but I love it! Sometimes I’m kind of feeling guilty afterwards cause I’m not sure who I made sex to, being half sleeping and sort of dreaming at the same time lol
This would have eased my worry a couple months ago on my honeymoon. I remember a couple of times when my husband would get aroused during the night and try to wake me up and start something, and I’d be startled and disoriented and would have to tell him that we’d pick this back up in the morning. I’d follow through, but had heard so many stories about refusal and the damages that I’d feel really guilty about it.
Thankfully, my husband understood, and let me know that he wasn’t hurt, and I don’t feel worried about it anymore, especially since I’m the higher drive spouse.
As for the “midnight fun”, its died away, because I have to be up so early for work, and he respects that.. I wish it’d happen over the weekends though…
As with most others, I’m also decidedly in the ‘do not deprive’ group. And yes, life does get in the way sometimes. I believe that if the ‘no’ is not really a ‘no’ but in fact a real ‘get me later’ and hubs can trust that it will actually come later … then I don’t see this as deprivation at all.
I find that with sharing what is going on in each others lives, he can pretty much tell when it’s going to be the usual ‘gangbuster’ YES or a gentle — ‘catch me later babes’. Open and honest vulnerability seems to work best.
I really needed to read this. I’m definitely in the “do not deprive” camp, but it took me a while to realize it was ok to defer. It didn’t matter if I was exhausted, had backed up work, or really sick ( and by really sick I mean pneumonia, bronchitis, flu virus, or a bad case of sinuses) if he wanted it he got it. The problem was when the shoe went on the other foot I would get mad that it was ok for him to be exhausted and not have sex. But some of the problem was me. I had in my head that to say not tonight I really am sick was like the headache excuse. I had to get past that. I like the idea of setting a definite time then maybe it will feel more like a rain check and not a denial.
this was refreshing to read. some Christian sex bloggers make it seem so black and white. as if the husband (or higher drive spouse) should always get sex whenever they want it because their wants are their needs. anything less than that is labeled “deprivation”. but i totally agree with you that saying “later” or “in a little bit” is not the same as saying “no.” hopefully the initiating spouse can trust the other’s request for time, and simmer down until the time is right for both of them.
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