I heard such a sad thing the other day on the radio. Now and then, I listen to the Dennis Prager show. I particularly enjoy his “happiness hour” and the hour he lets callers ask him anything under the sun. (He’s also interviewed the fabulous Sheila Gregoire for his male/female hour.)
Anyway, this man called in to ask Mr. Prager for his take on this scenario: The man’s wife wanted him to have an affair so that he could “get it out of his system” and not desire sex so much with her. What floored me is that Mr. Prager said he knew of another couple where the wife had said the same thing and he presumed that other wives felt that way.
I immediately wanted to find that wife, buy her a cup of coffee, and have a heart-to-heart. But I would have to make my tongue behave, because what I’d want to start out saying is:
You’d rather he have an affair?!!
Which really isn’t the way to ease into a conversation about what sex should mean for a marriage. A wife who is this reluctant simply doesn’t get it.
I don’t know if such a wife would even read my blog, but if she did, here’s what I’d truly want to share with her:
God gave your husband his sex drive for a reason. Yes, there are crazed sex addicts, but your husband isn’t likely one of them. If he wants to have sex frequently and friskily, he is most likely . . . normal. God created us to be sexual beings, to desire and enjoy physical connection with our mate. His Word is clear that sex serves several purposes: reproduction, relational intimacy, and pleasure. God knew what He was doing when he invented libido. It’s only when we twist sex to purposes outside God’s plan that the drive becomes a problem. In the context of a covenant marriage, a desire to have sex is a blessing.
Your husband doesn’t just want sex. When he chose you, he chose having sex with you. Yes, some husbands do not make this clear when they say things like, “But I need sex!” However, having heard from many husbands at this point, the vast majority are not merely interested in sex. They specifically want to have sex with their wife. He chose you. He wants you. To put it bluntly, if it was just about physical release, he could accomplish that without you. Sex has a deeper meaning for him, and what he most desires is connection with you (though, yes, that does include the Yippee! feeling of climax — hopefully both his and yours).
If you don’t like sex now, you can learn to like it. If you really hate sex, there’s something going on that needs to be addressed. Maybe you simply received bad teaching on what sex is in a marriage. Maybe you’ve had a bad history that includes abuse, promiscuity, or mistreatment. Maybe your body isn’t cooperating due to health issues. Maybe your relationship is faltering and needs work. Maybe you haven’t tapped into the pleasure centers of your body and learned to relax and enjoy. Whatever the issue, it can be addressed and, in almost all cases, fixed. If you don’t like sex now, make sex a priority, deal with any medical or psychological issues, and learn what you need to do to foster a positive response to sexual intimacy with your husband.
Extramarital affairs take their toll, even if they only seem sex-based. It’s simply a fallacy to believe such drivel as: “It’s just sex, nothing else” or “What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.” The act of sex engages the senses, releases pleasurable body chemicals, and can result in positive or negative consequences depending on the context. It is not a neutral thing. Sex has the power to bind you to the other individual in a private, shared way. No wife should want another woman to have that influence and connection with her husband. Yes, I joked about how tempting it would have been to say, “Go see the other wife,” when the kids were young, I was exhausted, and I entertained the thought of polygamy for a split second . . . but ain’t no way I want another woman touching my husband. I know too well the impact of sex, and only spouses should have that kind of impact.
Sex both expresses and fosters covenant love in a marriage. Sex is not icing on the cake. It’s an ingredient in the cake. Want a great cake? You’ll need flour, eggs, sugar, etc. Want a great marriage? You’ll need shared values, communication, sex, etc. God blessed marriage with the gift of sex as a way to both express our love to one another and foster our love for one another. Sex in marriage should not be optional. It’s essential. Those couples who have the best marriages will testify to the importance of sex in keeping them connected and engaged with one another. Plus, as I’ve said many times, it’s hard to get your “panties in a wad” over some small annoyance when your hubby just sent you to the moon with a mind-blowing orgasm. I doubt that’s what the apostle Peter meant when he said, “Love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8), but it does apply.
Mostly, I would want to listen to this wife and hear her emotional state — why she has concluded that she would rather her husband be in the arms of another woman than to make love to him herself. I would want to guide her past the hurt or faulty thinking she possesses. I would want to give her tips for desiring and enjoying sexual intimacy. I would want to challenge her to love her husband in the way God intended her to love him — with her mind, heart, and body.
Have you ever felt this way about sex in your marriage? What would you want to tell such a wife?
64 thoughts on “What?! You’d Rather He Have an Affair?”
I have struggled for years with sexual issues. We have been married 15 & 1/2 years now, but for probably 10 of those, it was painful for me due to some female problems. But now I am past that and at 36 found myself feeling ashamed and trying at all costs to avoid sex with my husband. He is a wonderful, Godly, man who has been very patient with me through the years in this matter. I finally realized that my issues now and what has probably been an issue all along is because I was sexually abused a child. I thought I had worked through it by forgiving the person and moving on. But the deep wounds that have it left have never healed. I am currently seeking Christian counseling for the first time in my life to try and work through these things. I refuse to have what happened to me in the past affect any part of my life in the present and in the future.
Thank you for sharing. I’m so sorry that happened to you. A bad early experience can reshape a spouse’s approach to sex in ways they don’t fully understand unless they deal with the issue head-on. I’m glad that you are getting Christian counseling. Best wishes!
works the other way around. My husband doesn’t want sex (no sex months at a time), tells he I mean nothing to him, tells me he doesn’t want me, does nothing with me, works 6 days a week, before sun up to after sundown, does what “he enjoys.” Don’t know why he married me or why I stay. Then he wonders why I get upset or hurt because we never do anything together. Sex???? not likely.
Yes, it does, Anonymous. It is indeed painful to be rejected over and over in such an intimate way. It sounds like you two need more than just talking with each other. Perhaps you can consult a pastor or counselor.
My hearts breaks a little whenever I hear stories like this. My prayers are with you!
Wow. This is both astounding and saddening. You are right on with every one of your points! Thanks J.
Same holds for wives who want their husband just to go masturbate and leave them alone.
I just want to second that yes, sex is so much more than just the physical feeling (though that’s amazing too), and, for me at least, sex being good is not defined by how good, or long or even the existence of an orgasm, but rather the involvement of and connection with my wife during sex.
And I’m so glad you didn’t say sex is the icing on the cake.
Jay Dee, my husband told me he wishes I would masturbate and leave him alone. Unfortunately, it isn’t just wives saying that. He has also teased me about needing two teenage boys to keep up with my drive. It is heartbreaking because I want him!
Ha! Every person I have ever heard say that sex is just the icing on the cake were either wives that refuse or wives who have to cope with husbands refusing.
Yes, of course, you are right. The roles can reverse just as easily. I didn’t mean to imply otherwise.
Jay Dee – If my wife told me to go masturbate instead of having sex with me, there would be some problems lol
I think people underestimate how important sex can be to a marriage. Sex is extremely important to both people in a marriage because it helps bonding both emotionally and physically. That’s why its important to make love to ‘completion’, shall we say.
There are hormone reactions that take place in both partners when the man ejaculates inside his wife that create an attraction and pair bonding process.
Where this wife is concerned, maybe she isn’t happy with him and wants to have an excuse to start her own affair?
It happens in many marriages I’m afraid. I used to happen in mine.
How foolish of that woman! If I could have coffe with her I would say, “Trust me. You don’t want him to have an affair. Ask me how I know.”
I agree! I could share so many reasons she does not want her husband to have an affair. Such a sad statement for so many reasons.
An even better idea: Just have such wives sit down with women who experienced infidelity in their marriage. I’m sure that would be an eye-opener. I pray that things are good in your marriage now.
Very important issue to address. Thanks J for this essay.
It is sad that there is still much confusion among some Christians about sex in marriage. No, it is not solely, nor even primarily, for pro-creation. It is for true bonding and intimacy primarily. Doubt this? Consider that God made both sexes desirous and capable of having and enjoying sex all throughout the month, even though the wife is only “fertile” a few days each month.
In a book on anthropology many years ago, I came across the view that the pairing of adult males and females for life was largely due to the non-seasonal (i.e. year round) sexual interest/desire of the man for the woman. Thousands of years before revealed religion and the institution of marriage, couples were bonding for life through sex. The basis for marriage is biological. Religions can bless or burden marriages, but they cannot alter the biology. Food for thought.
The husband, whose wife is affectionate and playful during lovemaking and is not a refuser of sex, will likely be more tender and thoughtful of his wife and value her more. A sexually frustrated husband is going to harbor resentment of his wife. Can be that good for the marriage?
Interesting take on biology vs. religion, although I believe faith and relationship to God existed from the first day we had biology, so… Religion and biology need not be in conflict regardless. God designed both.
I agree with your conclusion, though: That sexual frustration should be not part of a marriage.
The first thing I thought when reading this post was, how sad. It made my heart hurt for that ladies husband. Really? Could you have rejected him anymore. That’s hurtful and ruins your husbands self esteem. You might think it is building him up, making him feel empowered but its not. He chose to marry and be sexually intimate with you. It’s not cool, it’s not trendy, it’s not the right thing to give your spouse
“Permission” to sleep around. It destroys a man to not only feel like but know for sure his wife does not desire him. You should love him the most. OK off my soap box.
So sad. I would look her in the eye and tell her how foolish and stupid she is being. She may think she wants her husband to have an affair, but the pain and devastation to a family as a result of an affair is unbearable. I know from experience. My husband and I have always had a great sex life and he still fell into adultery. Trust me, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.
I pray that your marriage has recovered. That is certainly a hard road. Blessings! And thanks for sharing.
Such an attitude from a wife is doubly dangerous, because should he actually look outside the marriage for sex, now she has additional ammo when she decides to blow up the marriage.
I’m a 30 year old married woman. This is the first time I’m ever going through a sex-based website, let alone christian. I was brought up in a very orthodox christian family and in a culture where “sex” is considered as a procreation tool and nothing more. I remember as a teenager when I had wet dreams i used to ask Christ to forgive me! Also I had this belief that a good husband wouldn’t care if sex happened or not. I got married at 28 and had never masturbated till then! But somehow I always used to think that I would be an excellent love maker once i get my hands on a man! And i believed I wasnt doing too bad, until yesterday when we had a BIG fight (as a culmination of all the little fights we have been having for nearly 2years) that I’m terrible (Zero!) at sex!!! It hit me real hard and both of us didnt sleep all night! I was crying and he didn’t know what to do!! I felt helpless- disabled and really wished he could find happiness else where,even contemplating divorce(like you mentioned in your article)!
I guess I wished this for 3 reasons: 1) I didnt know how I could change something that was inherent in me- I have a low sexual drive and physical&mental fatigue; by 10 pm I would simply faint into deep slumber!!! My husband confessed yesterday that while he was in bed with me he would have painful erections and wished i cared for him! ; 2) my husband was never good at communicating this to me clearly- he blamed me for lots of things until yesterday he just burst out with the truth so rashly; suddenly everything started falling into place- i realized my mistake but i was also sooo angry with him for taking so long to wait for me to discover what was really happening!; 3)We still don’t have a good plan to make things work- My husband feels guilty about making me take interest in sex (he calls me a nun! 🙁 ) – he wants to believe that we were just not meant to be together- he sometimes hates himself sor wanting sex! we need to stop being guilty or angry with each other and ourselves and find ways to make it work!
I wish and pray that we can forgive each other and can make this work! I’m going through everything in this website! If anyone can guide me with practical tips on hand-jobs (my husband likes it and I dont mind doing it but it takes lots of time for him to release, it makes me tired and him frustrated! Am i doing it wrong? Is there a technique to make release faster?). I still have slight inhibitions on oral sex, but I want to do it. I want to use coconut oil for lubrication (because I dont get wet unless I am in the mood, and my husband says its a hard job getting me in the mood! Yeah! thats how bad things are!), but our primarly mode of birth control is condoms and it doesnt seem to work with oil- I hate using artifical lubricants! Is there any natural lubricant that can be used with condoms?…May be I can learn to do it all, but i need to want to do it- i want to love sex and be crazy about it! remember me in your prayers!
Okay, so it wasn’t the best way for it to come out. But now that you both know there is a problem, you can work on it. You can both end up with the sex life you desire for your marriage! It may just take some time and learning.
I can’t say everything in a comment, but here are the highlights:
* Attitude matters. Remind yourself that God gave you and your husband sexuality as a gift for marriage. He could have focused on reproduction and made it efficient but not so much fun, but our Lord made it pleasurable (for example, the clitoris has no purpose whatever but female pleasure) because He loves His children.
* Female and male sex drives are often quite different. Men tend to desire, then get aroused; women tend to get aroused, then desire. Wives can mentally decide to engage before they feel all that interested, and get very interested as the kissing/touching begins. (Sheila Gregoire explains this well in a post: When You Don’t Want to Make Love.
*Here’s my post on hand jobs: How to Give a Hand Job
*Here’s my post on oral sex: Oral Sex: How to
*Lubricant. I’ve been testing out some good ones from Sliquid. They have natural H20 based lubricants (including some flavored ones that I swear taste like a Jolly Rancher…anyway). Others may have recommendations.
* And here’s another post that might help deal with how your views about sex developed: Creating an Intimacy Timeline
And finally, yes, I’m praying for you. Blessings!
I hope you don’t mind me jumping in here, J. Anonymous, it sounds like you really want to enjoy wonderful intimacy with your husband but you didn’t have the information to make that happen! It certainly isn’t too late.
I want to suggest that you also pop over to http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/ and check out Sheilas posts on sex. She has a 28 days to Intimacy series that you might find really helpful, as well as an e-book, “31 Days to Great Sex” that is intended to be worked through together as a couple. If your husband is willing, that could be a great help to you. You might also look into getting her book “The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex”
Just a few more things I thought of as I read your post…A note about Coconut Oil… it will break down the rubber of condoms so don’t do that, but yes, a lubricant will be of great help to you. I find it much easier to get aroused when I’m lubricated. Things just feel better down there (even when I have some natural lube going on) I am also passed out by 10 pm… we make sure to have our play time earlier… have sex at 8 and then go watch a show together if you aren’t ready for sleep yet. You certainly don’t have to wait until you’re ready to turn in for the night to make love. And on hand jobs… I get tired and frustrated too when I can’t seem to get him there with my hand. Sometimes I’ll start with my hand, do a bit of oral, and then have him finish inside… nowhere is it written that you must finish the way you started. I have noticed that I can get him there with a hand job much more quickly in the morning than at night.
Don’t give up… you have many years to learn how to pleasure each other. You’ll go through great seasons and not so great seasons, but if you work on it, you will find sex to be so much better with each passing decade. Good sex takes time to learn and it takes work and communication. Let your husband know that you honestly want to work on this and you will reap the blessings in time. Good luck!
Thanks J and Happy wife…for giving me the directions…Yesterday was my Day 1 of TRYING to be a good sex partner- I read all the material that you asked me to read…and am definetely having a major mind transformation (even though its still only in my head and has not started moving my body)…And I tried to talk with my husband about what i learned.I admitted that I was very wrong- but i wanted him to understand why i behaved like how I behaved…I tried to tell him that I wasn’t the only woman who was bad at sex- there were so many!!..I asked him to go through your website…But, he was still so mad at me and said that it wasn’t something general (cos he has so many friends who have super sex partners!!) and that I was purposely inconsiderate and selfish..I kept trying to convince him that was not soo!! I understand how much I hurt him (especially because of the posts of many like men who have commented on this website) but it feels bad to be a culprit in his eyes! How can I have sex when he sees me as someone so cruel! I wish I could disconnect what he felt about me and our sex life! Cos yesterday he tried to have sex and I blew it AGAIN! Hmmm!!! We had another terrible night and I got up all sick and devastated!….Today I tried to let it go- I am praying to God that He heals the hurt that I caused him and that we both are able to forgive each other and ourselves!
I have added a separate comment intended for men who have wives like me!
So here are just a couple of other thoughts for you about convincing hubby you’re really trying now:
(1) Prepare yourself for sex and initiate. Yes, he may balk at first, wondering what you’re up to. But if you can follow through, that shows a good faith effort on your part. Will it be awkward at first? Um, yeah. I suspect so. But let him know with your words and actions that you want a quality intimate life with him.
(2) Realize that it may take time to overcome the past. You and your husband have developed a habit regarding your sex life. As with any habit, it takes a while to break it. Slowly but surely, though, you can develop a new habit and that newer history will replace the older one in his mind and yours. Think of it like a scale of justice, with all of your past experiences weighting down one side. Little by little, you put new, better experiences on the other side. It takes a while, but eventually those good moments and anticipation of the future outweigh whatever happened before. Just hang in there, and keep praying, learning, and finding ways to connect intimately.
To Love Honor and Vacuum has a great series called 29 Days to Great Sex that might help you in your quest for better intimacy with your husband. http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2012/02/29-days-to-great-sex-day-1-the-act-of-marriage/
I was sort of in her shoes, years ago. Struggling with sexuality. Not really seeing the beauty of sex and how it really unites you with your spouse.
I’ve been through the mess of an affair too (the affair was even after we had set my struggles straight and I was enjoying sex).
You really really really don’t want your husband to have an affair!! It’s the most devastating thing that has ever happened to me. It tore my world apart, everything that I believed in.
Praise God that a lot of good things have come out of this horrible thing (our sex life has become even better, after almost one year of hysterical bonding (which was sad at the same time, when you think about it)). This is something you shouldn’t wish for your worst enemy!
My (experienced) two cents…
Thanks so much for sharing your story, Mara. Blessings!
Now if there were more resources out there for those 20% of marriages that are in a reverse situation. SHE wants it, HE does NOT! That is a monstrous battle of feeling unloved, depressed, unwanted…and the words “it’s not you” do NOTHING to make that feeling go away, even if you do find a way to cope.
Culture and a lot of current research on sex life, place men in legitimate position to demand for sex and understands women who are sexually lethargic. But, ironically, it indirectly provides psychological protection for men who are sexually lethargic and alienates the woman who desires sex. I really cannot imagine how sexually lethargic men (particularly of the older generation) would react when a woman demands sex! Your life must be hell!!!
But in todays generation,even in conservative cultures, young men do realize that the women of their age need to be sexually satisfied and they try hard to get every resource possible to make themselves more sexually active- that why all these sexual products for men! So I’m guessing that such resources should be available and waiting for you to find them. God be with you!
Yes, the tables are often turned. Which is why I included that comment at the end. I will be addressing the opposite situation soon. Sorry for your circumstances, Karen. It is quite emotionally painful for such wives.
And to Anonymous: I appreciate your point. I disagree with one statement, however, that “young men do realize that the women of their age need to be sexually satisfied and they try hard to get every resource possible to make themselves more sexually active.” In fact, many young men are struggling worse than ever before because of high prevalence of Internet porn; their brains are being rewired, and their bodies simply don’t respond as well as they should to real interaction with their wives. I wish it weren’t true, but it’s something I do think we need to warn young husbands about. Porn takes a toll on marriage, including their sexual potency.
I, too, am in a marriage where my husband has a very low sex drive. (He usually wants sex about once every six weeks and will only kiss me with a closed mouth at other times and never ever touches me sexually unless he is in the mood.) I also have to disagree that men will use whatever resources are available to improve that situation. My husband was finally diagnosed with extremely low testosterone a couple of years ago. His doctor said he needs to use hormone replacement … there are many areas of a man’s health that are affected by this. Here we are two or so years later, and he won’t use the medication or even go back to see his doctor about it. On top of that he uses marijiana regularly which even further decreases his drive.
Believe me, if there was a technique, a flirtation, improvement of my appearance or ferverency in prayer … I have tried it all for 15+ years. The really sad thing is that this will only get worse as he age.
I have been crushed by the rejection, devistated by the lack of intimacy. I have cried and I have even asked God to take away my own desire so I could enjoy amd endure a sexless marriage (because I actually love sex with my husband!). There are times when I have been so tempted to have an affair … except I don’t want jist ANYONE, I want my husband!
All I can say is that God is faithful even in the most painful and difficult areas of our lives. Our sex life and intimacy have not changed. But God is healing and soothing my wounds so that I see myself through His eyes rather than through the lens of rejection. I can bear the pain of rejection more easily now because my God is always with me and HIS desire is for me. I know He will not allow me to be tempted more than I can bear but will always provide a way out. I truly love my husband and am so sad that we can’t enjoy this area of intimacy together. But with God’s help I can enjoy the marriage I actually have rather than the one I think I want.
Second Anon – And my heart cracks a little more. I’m so sorry for your situation and inspired by your perseverance and reliance on God. Blessings!
I was recently in a similar situation. My husband asked me to have an affair so I’d “be happier” and “have an outlet for my sexual needs.” There is no porn, no other woman, he doesn’t have low testosterone (he’s been tested twice). He just doesn’t want sex with me and he thought I’d shut up about the problem if he encouraged me to have sex with another man.
All I have to say is….you know your marriage has hit rock bottom when your spouse could care less about something so serious. Male or female, its just not a normal nor healthy thing to say to your spouse.
Oh. My. Goodness. I simply ache for you. I want you to feel God’s arms surrounding you with compassion. This is not what He intended.
Something is clearly amiss with your husband’s approach. I hope and pray that you can find the right words to discuss this issue with him and that he can wake up to see what God’s plan for intimacy really is. Please be encouraged that I hear from other couples who hit rock bottom…and then rose from that pit into a wonderful relationship. I pray that your marriage will be among that group.
I am dealing with zero desire most of the time. I’m not really sure what it is but when we have good sex where we both climax I start to feel sad, dirty, and silently cry after he is asleep. It just makes me feel really down. We’ve been married just over a year. I wish it wasn’t like this, and I pray about it. I know the biblical answers, but I want to get to the root issue, and no one is helping us. We’ve asked for help, but it’s being delayed. I’m tired of getting the non-compassionate answer that I’m being selfish. Won’t someone just teach us how to do it? It’s a real struggle for me and I’ve wanted to give up but I can’t –
I wish I knew more. I’m mostly wondering what your teaching about sexuality was and if you experienced any abuse, mistreatment, or bad sexual history.
If you are seeking help for this issue, I don’t think you’re being selfish. I’d like to help, but I’m not sure how without more information.
I remembered this post from Sheila Gregoire about how to Reawaken Your Body. Maybe it will help.
To the men who have low-desire wives like me…I have something to say- Most wives scarifice a lot for their families and obediently follow their husbands. When a man is not good at something (including sex) or makes a total fool of himself, a woman almost always puts it behind herself by remembering what he’s done for her! But when a wife is not good at sex, most men get so frustrated and shove everything good she has ever done as a wife into the background..My husband asked me “Whatever you have done for me, I could have got done using a maid or a friend! The kisses and hugs you give me (cos I kiss and hug a lot!), I can get it from my nieces and nephews! But what have you done for me as a wife?!!”…When all the work that she believed she did as a wife is extinguished only cos she was bad in bed- don’t you think a wife will be devastated and angry enough to tell him to go find someone else or give her a divorce?!!..
Yes, I understand husbands are terrbly hurt by denial of wives! But there are 3 things you have to understand-
1) She may not be doing it purposely- she has a unique upbringing and past and strongly-routed beliefs; understand a woman!for most women sex is just another activity in their daily life- and they may tend to give less priority to sex over other things because it takes lots of energy! If she shows dislike to you body fluids its truly not cos she doesnt love you or disrespects you- its as simple as not liking a particular food/clothing…For all that you know, she must just not know whats really happening inside you or about the facts about being a Man;
2) You may not be communicating well: Most women are eager to please their husbands (atleast they want the label of a Good Wife)…But first the husband should shed any guilt he has about righfully demanding sex from his wife. You can ask her to change by sincerely appreciating and telling her that you love what she is doing and that as a biological male your happiness would be complete if she could cooperate in sex. Don’t give her clues to figure out that you are not enjoying sex and don’t wait for her to discover or guess indirectly through all the little frustrations you take out on her cos you are not getting it. Because that can make her hurt, revengeful and angry! Be kind and straight forward immediately, without wasting time! Show her evidence and try to convince her. If she is not into reading or browsing- get her the resources that will help her understand clearly. Once she has understood her mistake and is ready to change, thats just the beginning. I’m on this stage!
3)Make a plan- The couple should work together patiently- restructure their life and purposely plan for change. The wife may feel all wierd at first but then it will become a habit and may be slowly the women will start enjoying it (I know this only from what I have read from this blog, I’m yet to experience this!).
My husband ingeniously and successfully converted a 3-time a day non-vegetarian like me into a vegetarian. He showed me love, materials, made step by step plans etc. until I changed. I wish he did the same with me to make me like sex. Thats why am writing this. Sorry for the long post!
I’m not big into assuming you know your spouse’s motives on almost any area you have conflict or struggle. I’ve learned (the hard way) that we often project our own expectations, assumptions, or feelings on the other…and miss the real deal by a mile.
That’s why I encourage wives to give the benefit of the doubt, take care of their own business, and pray and encourage their spouse far more than they criticize. If both spouses are doing their best, communicating well, and trusting one another, a lot of things fall into place.
Thanks for the comment.
My husband and I are nearing out 15 year wedding anniversary. But for years, I hated being intimate. It hurt all the time, sometimes to the point of crying. But after much prayer, I one day realized I had NO pain anymore.
I know sex is very important in a godly marriage. I would encourage a woman to keep intimacy as high as possible. Having an affair would not help anything!
Congratulations on 15 years! I’m glad things worked out for you. I hate that you ever hurt. There are sometimes physical or emotional reasons for such pain, but most women can address and resolve it in one way or another.
I knew a woman who said to her husband, “I wish I could just get you a girlfriend to have sex with you so I wouldn’t have to anymore” the premise basically being I want to be your wife and mother to your children in every other arena in our lives, but I do not want to be your wife in the bedroom. I think that is about the saddest thing you can say to your husband, what a blow to every aspect of his self esteem as a man. Thanks for addressing this J.
I know I will get a lot of criticism for this but I can relate to this woman. My husband and I have been married almost a decade. I never had a strong sex drive but after we had our children and I began working three part time jobs, I was just simply too tired to even consider sex. Even when life slowed down, it had been so long, it was just awkward being intimate with one another. I knew he was unhappy and it hurt knowing that I caused his unhappiness. We went to counseling, we read books, we watched videos, I can’t even count the number of articles I read trying to find a way to revive that part of our lives. After much internal debate, I told him I would understand if he wanted a divorce. He said no because of our children, family, friends, etc. So, I suggested he get another woman as an outlet for his sexual desire. For years he protested. However, within the past few months he has met someone. I felt sadness and relief. Sadness because a part of our marriage is gone forever but also relief that he is getting his needs met and is happy once again. So for now, we are good friends who have children we adore and we are enjoying raising them together. It has released so much tension in our home and we actually enjoy spending time together again, just talking, watching TV. If the future holds a divorce, so be it, but for now I’m thankful we can be open and honest and happy together.
Oh, wow. Yeah, the first thing that came to my mind was Proverbs 14:1: “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” You may indeed be a wise woman in many, many ways, but I completely disagree with your approach here. I cannot see how this will end well.
I cannot speak to your specific situation, because I don’t have details. I wonder what those counselors told you. Did you see a physician? Also, if that doctor or counselor didn’t help, GO TO ANOTHER. I liken it to having any other physical problem (like horrible pain or intense depression); you need to keep seeking for answers. And that doesn’t mean you keep seeing someone who isn’t helping you. You find someone who will.
You should not get married to be “friends.” You have plenty of other friends. Also, your children are at risk here.
I wish you could hear my voice pleading, not rebuking you. I just ache for your situation and, like God, want something so much better for you both. You’re in my prayers.
Our situation is unconventional however, as counter intuitive as it may seem, it has actually reduced the tension in our home. I disagree with your perspective on sex in two major ways. First, marriage at it’s heart is the ultimate friendship. When we married we made a commitment to each other regardless of our circumstances. We committed to each other, to our future children and to our in-laws. Those commitments have not wavered, nor has our love or respect for one another. I don’t feel in any way unloved because he is fulfilling his sexual needs with someone else. I realize that his having an intimate relationship with someone else may weaken our relationship, but so far, it seems to have increased our appreciation of one another and lessened our stress.
Secondly, I have to ask if you really believe that God wants wives to allow themselves to be violated (physically, emotionally, spiritually) by having sex when they do not desire or enjoy it? I see so many women like me on blogs like this who say they hate sex but are trying to be “godly” and do it anyway. And the advice they often get is “fake it til you make it.” Is that really healthy for a relationship? I don’t believe so and I don’t believe that God’s vision of marriage is the pent up resentment, hostility and tension that creates. Granted, an affair isn’t God’s vision of marriage either and my husband and I struggle with that as well. So there is no easy answer but I feel so sorry for these poor wives who feel so much guilt from their husbands and for religious reasons when they are simply trying to respect their own bodies.
“I have to ask if you really believe that God wants wives to allow themselves to be violated (physically, emotionally, spiritually) by having sex when they do not desire or enjoy it?” Of course not! I have not on this blog, nor will I ever, say that a wife should just shut up and put up. I say that wives should do everything possible to claim the gift of sexuality that God presents, through seeking answers and resources and communication and professional assistance and biblical study and whatever else they need.
However, you don’t have to go with what I say, or second-guess what God wants for your marriage. He’s pretty clear about it, and it does not in any way involve adultery or withholding.
Song of Songs 5:1, 7:10
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
1 Corinthians 7:3-5
I pray that you and your husband continue to struggle with this choice, that you make a different one in the future. Not one that involves having sex out of resentful obligation (which I do not advocate), but one in which you jointly pursue with all of your heart God’s desires for your marriage–which include exclusivity and enjoyment in sexual intimacy.
My prayers for you. Blessings!
Simply Put – Profoundly Accurate!
I would love to be a fly on the wall when you had that conversation!
I no longer enjoy being intimate with my husband.I have several health issues and I just have no sex drive at all.My husband wants sex every day sometimes 2 to 3 times a day.I try not to refuse him every night but there are times I just can not stand it.I am trying my best to be a dutiful wife but he just wants more and more.I just don’t know what to do.He makes me feel guilty when I say no.He knows it hurts me at times but that doesn’t seem to matter.
It seems like you have more than one issue that needs to be addressed: (1) Your health issues. Consult with your doctor or other medical professional, and don’t give up until you have some answers/relief/improvement. All too often, I hear from a wife whose doctor blew off her concerns, and she keeps on suffering. I don’t think doctors are trying to be obtuse, but you need one who will listen and help. If one practitioner doesn’t take it seriously, try another. (2) Your husband’s over-drive. Sex should not be merely about satisfying your husband’s needs. Yes, there is that aspect, but marital intimacy should be more than that. You two need to talk OUTSIDE THE BEDROOM about expectations and goals when it comes to marital intimacy. Some men may be willing to have less frequent sex if his wife initiates sometimes, or they spice it up a little. (3) Relationship issues. If your husband knows it hurts, and he keeps going, you’ve got some underlying relationship or psychological issues happening. Communication or counseling needs to address this issue.
I hope that helps. I pray that your libido will return, and you two can talk, listen, and work together to improve and deepen your marital intimacy!
so what about a husband who has more than one wife, he has those sexual relations and “good” things from each wife? I’m just asking because I have a husband who wants another wife for many reasons and our relationship has suffered greatly. He also has been promiscuous, which has led to other issues. I used to think there was more to sex in a marriage, now I just don’t know!!!??
Your husband wants another wife?!! Nope. Not happening. No way, no how.
Yes, I know that the biblical patriarchs were polygamists, but they lived in a vastly different culture and the Bible suggests over and over that the intended set-up was one husband/one wife…for life.
And yes, there is more to sex in marriage, but some people unfortunately don’t get that. It sounds like your husband could be one of them. You need to let him know that your expectations are exclusivity and that you will do whatever it takes to pursue a healthy marriage. (Note that I said “healthy,” not “whatever you or I want or demand.”) Talk to a pastor or counselor or mentor and get some wisdom on what to do.
If your husband has cheated, you also have some rebuilding to do in your marriage. Sex is SO intimate that it’s awfully hard to let down your guard that way when you’re with someone you struggle to trust. When you have that trust and giving attitude in marriage, sex is awesome! But it sounds like you two have some work to do before you get there.
Blessings! I pray for your situation.
My husband and I have been together since we were 14 yrs old, 22 yrs now. We now have two children ages 2 and 3, they both have autism. My husband was physically and emotionally abused by his mother who killed herself when he was 12. He was completely ignored by his father and still is to this day. He has always struggled emotionally because of his past, he is selfish, easily angered, very little patience if at all.
Since the birth of our son (our second child) he has become a much more unstabe husband, quick to anger, physically abusive, rough, traumatic sex is the only kind he engages in now. I have tried so hard to have patience and to forgive. He has seen, counselors, both Christian and otherwise. The last time he was physically abusive (I think maybe March or April) was the day after a particularly rough, traumatic sexual experience. When I confronted him, I was VERY angry, he dismissed me and I hit him. He slammed my head in the wall 3x and choked me. The next day he admitted himself into crisis intervention and they put him on anti depressants and much talk therapy. But we had a very small arguemnt 3 weeks later and he OD’d on his Paxil. In all of this I have had it, just completely had it, I can’t take any of this anymore. But I don’t believe in divorce. I still feel that somewhere in him is the great boy I knew and I know if I leave him he will kill himself or at least spiral into the very worst version of himself and his children will only know abandoment from their father.
So, yes……. I have most certainly pleaded w him to go find someone to fulfill his physical needs because it may take YEARS before I/we can move past what has been done!
Katie, your husband does not need to fulfill his physical needs elsewhere. He needs to focus on something far more foundational. Physical abuse is NOT–I repeat, NOT–in God’s plan. Indeed, some scholars believe that the much-quoted passage in Malachi 2 (“I hate divorce”) includes reference to how much God also hates domestic violence.
Pursuing twisted sexual desires will not help your husband achieve balance. Rather, it will likely become more addictive. I’m so sorry, but it’s just true.
As much as I believe in sex in marriage, there are more important things like safety. And for now, he needs to shelve that libido and deal with his character.
I am praying that he will wake up. But meanwhile, you need to take whatever steps to protect yourself and your children. Talk to your pastor. Seek out Christian resources for battered women. Reach out to family if they can help. God does not intend for you to be his punching bag, and allowing him to sin against you that way isn’t helping him in the long run. Set boundaries and seek help.
I wish I could hug you. I am indeed praying.
i have seen both sides of this. it first started with me, hitting peri-menopause, in my mid 40’s. one day i had desire, the next it was gone. i didn’t care if i ever did it again. this made my husband angry, saying hurtful things, and grabbing me, as if that would turn me on. it got to the point that i would guard myself when he walked by. that just made him madder, and he withdrew from me. the doctors say until i am in full-blown menopause there is nothing they can do. so i went into a black hole of depression, about the 3rd yr. in, hubby decided if i didn’t want it, there are plenty who do, and went to an internet adult friend site, and found someone, also married, to play with. lasted about 6 mos., he even took her to our church, because he cared for her, and her soul. i was withdrawn at home. i finally started fighting back, decided im going to be nice to my husband, go out, to church. that’s when i found out about her. an affair is like a nuclear bomb, totally destroys everything. they say ‘its just between us, we are hurting no one, what they don’t know won’t hurt them’ BIG FAT LIE. but we chose together to stay and work it out, and God blessed that. but there is collateral damage. our children were angry, didn’t talk to us for 4 yrs. mad at him for hurting me, mad at me for staying! but we pushed through, became teammates, its been better than it ever was. but now the tables have turned….HE has no desire. i am the one that is going crazy, needing and wanting him, but he could care less. our sex life dwindled to 3-5 mins. of fun every 4-6 weeks. fun for him, frustration for me. ive had to resort to sex for one to keep my sanity. he went to the doctor, had low T, and it worked some. but now he has decided the cream is too costly, and he feels better without it, so he is not inspired to get more. so we are now currently in a sexless marraige :(. its not that he doesn’t love me. i won’t go find someone that just wants to use me, i only desire my husband, so i feel too heavy, too ugly, too old…..and i still have periods, and menopause symptoms, 8 yrs. and counting. its hard not to get resentful. its a constant, daily battle to cast out negativity and stay positive, when i crave my man with every fiber of my being.
When people share issues like this, my typical response now is DO NOT SETTLE. Keep talking about what you want from your marital intimacy and seek out answers (from medical professionals, counselors, mentors, blogs, books, etc.). Too often, we throw up our hands and say, “Oh well!”
Spouses need to understand that if they have NO drive, that doesn’t take away the drive of their spouse. And they have an obligation to do everything in their power to not just meet those needs, but to seek out answers to awaken their bodies to what God wants us to have: deep physical intimacy in marriage.
Don’t give up, girlfriend! Pray and seek wisdom. Blessings!
I have been married to the same man for almost 30 years now. Sex was painful to me for various reasons… a wrong mind-set about it set in place by all the times I was told how “wrong” it was as a teen, I also am positive there was an aspect of physical issue that, even after several trips to see specialists, was not diagnosed… I have also suffered with diabetes since I was 8 & now know that the disease itself brings with it sometimes major clinical depression, which I also deal with.
Although within the first 10 years, we had two children, I dreaded sex, avoided it like the plague, had NO ONE to talk to about it because I didn’t even understand why or what was/could have been wrong… I offered the same option to my husband, we were both in our 20’s at the time. I felt like a horrible failure of a person because I couldn’t, yes, COULD NOT, give this apparently essential part of marriage to him, so because we had children together, did not believe in divorce & a part of me felt like I loved him too much to make him go crazy because his defective wife could not give him sex, I told him to find someone. I didn’t ever want to know who she was or want the kids to know this was going on, but if he needed sex so bad, then he should go find it.
After skimming over some of the comments & seeing that one lady’s husband did just that, my heart sank but then I felt SO THANKFUL that my husband would never do this.
Even though at that point in my life, I felt NOTHING would make me happier than for him to find someone else to have sex with & just let me be a mother & “wife-except-for-that” to him.
As I said, it’s been almost 30 years now. There has been a lot of very painful ‘water’ gone under our bridge, but we have made it. I still have some physical issues with sex that we have learned to work around and no, it’s still not something I usually look forward to or seek out, although, thank God, there are at least a few times when it is actually desirable to me. I am so thankful that, for whatever reason, God saw fit to hold my husband back from taking me up on what I assume many lesser men out there would be happy to have offered. I’m glad in our immature spiritual state, we didn’t walk into a situation that would have been so toxic, so destructive & a sure death for our marriage.
Marriage is hard enough and I know from experience how problems with sex can tear a husband & wife apart. Somehow, some way, God saw fit to pull us through those nightmare years when I felt like I would rather just die than live another day feeling the way this situation made me feel… He sent our children to give me a purpose that kept me from taking my own life, He sent churches and sermons and on & on to us and to me, to slowly, SO SO slowly heal our relationship so that we now have a good marriage… wow. That, of itself, is a miracle. That I can say we have a good marriage after living so many years thinking that if my husband would only find someone else to give him sex, I could be happy. That is what God can do.
And again, I’m just thankful that He saw fit to hold us together, bind us, sometimes totally unwillingly, to each other so that we didn’t do any permanent, irreversible damage to our marriage.
Thanks to sharing this post. I’ve never EVER EVER come across another person who “voiced” this situation out loud. 🙂
God bless the women out there who are living with this now. May they seek Him for answers for He alone can heal!!
Thank you for sharing your story!
Your points are all right on. Wives need to realize how vital sex is to the health of their marriage and to their mutual happiness. Women who know but don’t care are being selfish and shortsighted, and depriving not only their husbands, but themselves, out of myriad benefits and blessings (seven of which are enumerated here: http://lovinglifeathome.com/2012/09/21/7-reasons-to-prioritize-sex-in-marriage/ ). Thank you for this candid post, full of what should be common sense, but unfortunately isn’t.
Great link, Jennifer! Thanks for that.
So sad for that wife! I know it is exhausting sometimes…so exhausting, but like you said no other women is touching my husband! Oh, how hard that would be if this man actually did that. I hope deep down she wasn’t really serious! You made some good points… thank you! Needed to read them!
When I was in high school, I dated the quarterback. He’d been around the block a few time, well, many times, but I was determined to remain a virgin until marriage. He was always after me for sex. I remember thinking that I wish he would go have sex with other girls so he wouldn’t pester me so much!!! Little did I know what I know now…a man’s sex drive is never satisfied. This is one of the main reasons God designed marriage. A woman linked this up to my facebook page and I am glad she did. Great post!
I would have a thing or two to tell her, my husband had an affair with an ex-girlfriend, not because I didn’t make my self available but because he never got over her for 18 yrs. Believe me is the most painful thing I have endured. Some people don’t know what they are asking for.
Wow… this is sad. And I totally agree with most of the commenters below, namely Christy. I knew there were lower-drive wives that went so far as to avoid sex constantly, but this… smh… this is a whole new concept for me. I can only imagine how the husband feels. Obviously he saw the issue and cared enough to seek counsel, and I pray that he finds it. And instead of jumping to condemning the wife, I pray for her revelation and completely reversed mindset concerning intimacy in her marriage. We don’t know why she believes in this concept, but we know it’s not hot, holy or humorous. They’re intimacy can be redeemed, in the name of Jesus.
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