Today’s question is a frustrating one. Yet another example of the terrible effects pornography can have on how we view sex and our ability to enjoy it in marriage the way God intended. Please say a prayer for this wife today. Here’s her question:
I get incredibly shy in bed with my husband. When I am on top, unless I have had like a bottle of wine, I get so much anxiety. I forget how to even be on top and it feels awkward.
I know I don’t have to feel embarrassed to tell you this. My husband has had a past with porn and we are still in the process of dealing with it. Because of the porn, he can’t stay hard sometimes, and I can see him closing his eyes and going into his ‘spank bank’ to try and get hard again. This is traumatizing to me and makes getting on top even more anxiety ridden. Do you have any advice for me?
I see four issues in this short question.
1. Anxiety about being on top. I don’t know exactly why this wife feels shy about the on-top position. Maybe it’s the full view her husband’s getting of her, and she struggles with body issues. Maybe it’s the feeling that she’s in the dominant sexual position, and she feels uncomfortable being “in charge.” Maybe it’s a lack of experience and not feeling like she knows what she’s doing. Maybe it’s just physically hard to make things happen (it can wear on a gal’s knees).
Whatever the issue, some things are awkward when you first do them in the marriage bed. The first time, the second time . . . even the fifth time. But if you continue doing something with positive results, it gets easier and easier. Your comfort level increases.
To relax about any position, just pay attention to your breathing, making sure it’s steady and soothing. Lean into the pleasure you feel in that moment. Ask for feedback from your husband about what he enjoys of what he’s seeing and experiencing.
Remember that all sex is a little awkward. You never just suddenly find yourself in that position with your legs apart and hiked up or sprawling over your husband’s lap. You’re aiming for the pleasure that you get from pushing a little outside that comfort zone and connecting with one another in a way you don’t with anyone else, ever. But over time, that intimacy can become the most comfortable thing in the world.
2. Dealing with anxiety by grabbing the wine. I’m personally not opposed to a glass of wine. But I have concerns about dealing with anxiety in the marital bedroom by grabbing alcohol. Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage had an excellent post about this topic called Need a Few Drinks to Get in the Mood for Sex?
By using wine to deal with the anxiety, you’re likely evading the process of getting comfortable with being on top. You’re priming your brain and body to feel okay about it only when alcohol is involved. Remove the alcohol, and the anxiety is back.
Rather, trust that you can find ways to enjoy the experience without relying on alcohol or any other crutch.
3. Her husband’s porn past. Once again, porn rears its ugly head. You can also label this Satan, because he is all too happy to steal healthy intimacy in marriage by tempting people with a twisted version of sexuality. Remember who your real enemy is.
I’m so glad that you’re dealing with this porn past. That should include taking tangible steps to keep the temptation out of your home and off his phone and him getting support from others through accountability partners or ministry groups. Very few people who used porn much in the past simply say, “Not using porn anymore,” and stop altogether. You need a more involved strategy to conquer this evil.
However, it has obviously affected his ability to get aroused. Unfortunately, more young men now struggle with maintaining an erection because of the prevalence of porn. Viewing those images distorts how our brains register arousal and satisfaction. Sex becomes a two-dimensional, self-serving act, rather than the face-to-face, we-focused intimacy God intended.
The way to overcome this challenge is to unlearn bad habits and learn good ones instead. Not only does he need to throw off the porn, but you should both accept that he needs to awaken the arousal that comes from being with a real person — you. It may take some time for his body to change how it views stimulation, but with time and patience you can figure it out. God created his body to respond that way.
4. He’s going into his ‘spank bank.’ For those who don’t know what a “spank bank” is, that’s a colloquialism for a collection of mental images you can access to become sexually stimulated or to heighten arousal. In this case, it’s stored memories of pornographic pictures.
First off, that’s sin. Just to be clear here: There’s no justification for lusting after other people while making love to your spouse. Or at any other time. (See Matthew 5:28, Hebrews 13:4, Job 31:1, Proverbs 6:25.) Your sexual energy should be focused entirely on your covenant mate. It matters what happens not only with our bodies, but in our minds and in our hearts. (See Jeremiah 17:10.) Part of getting over this porn past is your husband retraining his mind. And you can help.
Explain to your husband that those images are another obstacle to your sexual intimacy — that they are prolonging the problems by maintaining that brain connection of two-dimensional images and sexual arousal. I get that it’s frustrating for him to have erection difficulties (not that I know what that’s like, but I can imagine); however, the long-term answer is to establish your one-on-one connection.
Be willing to set some boundaries. You can tell him, “If I see you going into your ‘spank bank,’ I cannot continue making love. It just doesn’t feel like you’re making love to me, but to those images. So if you go there, I’m going to ask you to stop and refocus on me. If you don’t stop, I’ll have to discontinue our sexual encounter until you can pay attention to me.” Reiterate that you’re not trying to punish him, but rather help him. You are on his side. But you also aren’t going to settle when you know that God has loving sexual intimacy awaiting you both for your marriage. You want your husband to be fully involved with you, and you want to be fully involved with him.
You may need to reassure him many times of your support and your love, because this is a difficult struggle. Yet you have every right to expect his respect in the bedroom — meaning he doesn’t get to bring other women in there. In reality or mentally.
[I wanted to add a great point that commenters have called me on. Rightly so. I’m not infallible, and I missed the very real possibility that this husband isn’t recalling past porn images at all. When he closes his eyes and concentrates, he could be regaining his focus on the moment with his wife. Rather than assuming you know what’s going on in your husband’s mind, ask. We should extend grace and believe the best about our spouses, rather than choosing the worst possible assumption. Anyway, I apologize if I got this one wrong. If he accessing past images, my advice stands. But, if not,…]
Your issues aren’t likely going to be settled in a week or even a month. But step-by-step, with intentionality and love, I am confident you two can move toward far more fulfilling sexual experiences. One or two years down the road, you might be amazed by the beauty and pleasure you’ve discovered in the marriage bed.
73 thoughts on “Q&A with J: “He’s Going Into His ‘Spank Bank’ “”
She probably feels so bad being on top because he can see her and she has been comparing herself to pornstars and feels like crap compared to them…she probably feels embarrassed for not looking good enough and not being good enough for her husband, she thinks he wouldnt have been looking at other naked women of she were beautiful enough. Having to drink to be able to have sex is just so heartbreaking. I would rather have no sex at all. Especially if he has to think about another womans body to get aroused again. I mean thats like spitting his wife in her face. I know how she feels. Before I became a christian all my boyfriends loved porn and never even tried to hide it. I was in permanent competition with these women, watching what they did so that I could act like them. Because of childhood abuse I have always thought I wasnt good enough, not worthy of love. And the boyfriends I was turning to in search of love just showed me that I was right. They needed to look at other women. More beautiful women. Women who did things that still make me sick to my stomach. And I did them too. I remember one time were one of the men was so brutal that the sheets were full of blood when he was finished with me. He said he liked to punish me with his d***. But I was trying to be good enough. Hoping to be loved. And then I became a christian and my husband used to watch porn too while we were dating. He doesnt watch it anymore but I have such a hate for men inside of me, its hard for me not to hate him too. We dont have sex because my past is such a hopeless mess and I’m in therapy for depression, anxiety and ptsd and I basicslly hat men even though I love my husband. So stories like this upset me so much. I have to learn to see men as victims too, but its hard because I blame them for being such primitive perverts.
Oh my goodness, Amanda! I’m so sorry. I pray that God can hold you in His strong arms and comfort you. What those men did is abominable.
I don’t think every man who sees porn is like that. Some are victims themselves and understand how important it is to get out from that oppression and find true intimacy as God desires. I pray that’s what happens with you and your husband.
Believe me that I hear from husbands, who have no reason to lie to me, that are truly good men. They want something better for themselves and their wives. So I know this isn’t all men. It’s a few “primitive perverts” who really should be stopped. May God deal with them according to their deeds.
I always try to tell myself that not all men are like that. My brain knows they are not…but I have never experienced healthy sexuality. Just abuse and porn sex. And porn sex is so degrading. I have been called the worst names you can imagine and have been treated pretty badly. But women in porn are treated this way. And men like it. They like to dominate and degrade. My heart breaks for all the young girls out there being treated this way because young boys grow up with porn. There are 12 year olds in hospital because their insides are torn from the brutal sex that these boys try to copy from the porn they have seen. Satan has done a perfect job of perverting sex to such an extent that the original design ist even recognisable anymore. I have no idea what sex is supposed to be like. But I try not to give up hope.
In a similar fashion, would you counsel a husband to not continue making love to his wife if his wife likes to watch movies like “50 Shades of Grey” and “Magic Mike” and frequently reads erotica and seems pre-occupied during lovemaking?
Yes. If she’s using those to get yourself aroused, I think it’s completely reasonable for him to say, “No, I’m not just here to finish you off. I want all of your attention.”
“If” she’s using those to get herself aroused?
I guess what you’re implying is that it’s possible to look at erotica movies or read erotica stories for reasons other than the express purpose of getting aroused.
By the same logic, would it also be possible to look at porn for purposes other than mere arousal?
I didn’t mean that “if” in that way. I meant that if someone is using outside materials to get aroused, that’s a problem. So clarifying this: third parties in the bedroom — real or imagined — is not okay in any circumstance. For either spouse. Is that clear enough?
J, are you proposing that husbands and wives probe each frequently other during their lovemaking to find out what the other is thinking about? That would really be the only way that one would know for sure…
No, of course not. We certainly can’t read each other’s minds, nor should we with be paranoid. I’ve often said on my blog to extend grace and give your spouse the benefit of the doubt — assume the best option. But sometimes spouses do see a pattern, and I think that’s a real concern, a red flag.
That’s a relief to hear — because I definitely don’t want to know everything that’s going on in my wife’s mind when we’re being sexually intimate. Eventually, I might hear something from her that I wish I had never found out about.
You know, after further reflection on this issue — I’m not sure there is a grace-filled way to ask your partner what is going on in his or her mind while you’re being sexual with them. To even ask the question, would most likely feel insulting and negative to your spouse and detract from the experience of lovemaking that you’re engaging in with them.
Then, there’s the conundrum of what if the spouse answers honestly that there are no other persons in their mind and the other spouse still doesn’t believe them?
If there is a way to ask this question without making your partner, feeling icky and accused, I’d like to hear about a real life example (not theoretical one).
To me, this does not sound like building the foundations of an emotionally healthy relationship but rather destroying it.
“Are you struggling with old images? What can I do to help?” Why is that bad?
“What’s happening when you close your eyes?” I’ve asked my husband what’s happening when he makes a face or something. I’m curious, he answers.
I don’t see this as destructive. Of course, interrogating your spouse is. But I don’t think anyone would suggest that.
“To even ask the question, would most likely feel insulting and negative to your spouse and detract from the experience of lovemaking that you’re engaging in with them.”
You know, I know you’re mostly referring to asking questions during sex, but this stuck out to me. Feeling responsible for someone else’s emotions and responses is something I definitely struggle with too, but it has been really important for my relationship with my husband for me to be willing to address things frankly without feeling like his response is somehow my responsibility. It’s a lot like when I was a kid and felt bad asking people to buy school-fundraiser magazines/wrapping paper/cookies and my mother would say, “Let people be responsible for their own wallets; you don’t need to protect them.” I think honest, open communication requires us to let other adults manage their own emotions and responses, without us stage-managing them.
I know ALL my husband’s weaknesses and fears, so it’s especially difficult to navigate this kind of stuff if what I need to say plays into those fears, but stage-managing his emotions, or holding back because I think he’ll react poorly is not only assuming the worst about him, it’s robbing him of the opportunity to be open with me and know me better. And it’s robbing US of the opportunity to grow in understanding each other. I want to be more willing to speak up, even if it means we have to take a break from our “activities” for an hour (or a day!) to talk through things.
Discernment of the Holy Spirit is needful here. We cannot act on paranoia, but nor should we ignore our intuition.
There is also taking him at his word and letting the Holy Spirit do the convicting.
Also, not everything has to be “Grace filled.” That is the Christian-ese way of saying “avoid it, beat around the bush, or ignore it because it might hurt him or put him on the defensive.”
How about TRUTH FILLED, instead!
I can relate to all of this. Since my husbands porn addiction , he had addmitted he is no longer attracted to me. I have changed nothing so the attraction issue is the result of the pornogragphy. I have tried to be intimate but i can no longer do it. Trying to help to keep an erection when he’s not attracted to me and wont apologize for saying it and won’t see how hurtful it is to me and how hurtful his past actions have been is exhausing. I still desire sex but I am tired of putting in all the work for someone who trashed our sex life anyway. I have tried talking about it but he doesnt want to hear me. What should I do?
I don’t think there’s much more you can do, since he won’t talk to you about it and admits he’s not attracted to you. (Which — by the way, guys — is incredibly hurtful to any wife.) I think your best bet is to do three things: (1) Pray for something to change, asking wisdom specifically on what you can change to influence him for a better outcome; (2) See a quality Christian counselor on your own to sort through what might be going on; and (3) Be a loving, attractive person — which God calls us to do anyway — and maybe he’ll realize what he’s missing. Saying a prayer for your situation myself. Blessings!
Thank you for your response. I have been praying that his heart would be softened and turned towards the Lord and I havs been seeing a biblical counselor through my church who’s helping me to seek joy and happiness in the Lord through all of this. I hope that as a result my characer would be that which us mors attractive than what he’s come to desire through porn. Ive never been prude and I haven’t “let myself go”. I’ll keep doing those things.
J, I just wanted to add like 100 exclamation points to your words “first off, that’s sin.” Having dealt with this exact same porn issue, one of the problems we found was him masturbating. This is one of those serious offenders to real intimacy. And it has to stop. Completely. Dr Doug Weiss talked about this exact subject in one of our counseling sessions with him and he was very frank and told me to say Eyes Open or Get Off! Yep. Eyes open and engaging with me. That’s one of the ways the brain gets retrained.
You are not alone in this! If you don’t have one yet, find a support group for wives of sex addicts. Myself & another lady started one in Boise where we live. If you cannot find one in your neighborhood, most all of the groups are willing to let you call in.
My last comment is also to myself : know who your real enemy is. Hint: J mentioned it above & it’s not your husband. ♡♡
“I can see him closing his eyes and going into his ‘spank bank’ to try and get hard again. ”
Be wary of attempting to read your husband’s mind. Has he admitted that that is what he is doing when he closes his eyes?
My wife has accused me of that same motive when I want to use a position where I can’t see her face – that I’m trying to picture other women. Which couldn’t be further from the truth – I just want to use another position!
While you *may* be right, If he has ED problems, closing his eyes may simply be his way of trying to cope with the issue in the moment, to focus on the sensations, or something else entirely.
Bottom line – I am not trying to downplay the porn issue; only that there are other possible explanations.
This is a really good point. I suppose I simply accepted her explanation without questioning it further, and you could well be right. Thanks!
If he is closing his eyes and it helps him get hard, he is likely going into his “spank bank.”
It could take a LONG time and failed sexual encounters to retrain his mind…and only he can retrain it. All you can do is own your sexuality and hold firm your boundaries. If he loses his erection or can’t orgasm, he is still responsible for satisfying you….and in doing so it can help him reestablish sexuality with you.
You may have to get creative with sex and sexual play to help him stay engaged and relearn to stay erect with you.
Remember, this has nothing to do with you and how you look. You are real. You are the gift, the beauty, the Shulamite. He poisoned and ruined himself with the lie, the fake, the trap.
Kool-aid looks better to some people than plain water. They see the bright colors and taste the sweet flavor and find it better than water. Ultimately, it is poison. Sugar, fake flavor, fake colorings all slowly poison the body and train you to dislike plain, fresh water. Now that I am hooked on plain water, the sight of Kool Ade actually churns my stomach. I see the bright colors as gross. I can’t even get past that fake smell. Plain water is SO much more beautiful.
I second the warning to not assume that he is going back to past images. Perhaps he’s just focusing on the feeling because he has lost some sensitivity in his penis and closing off one sense (eyes) allows him to focus better on another (touch). Perhaps he goes back to a memory when she wasn’t shy and awkward but rather confident and engaged. Without him having confirmed that he’s going back to porn memories, she’s making a huge leap by assuming the worst.
Thank you for reiterating. I really feel like I missed it on this one. Y’all are right in saying that she could be wrong with her assumptions, and I — not being infallible — just went with it. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. Thanks!
Just to let commenters know — I’ve added a note to the post incorporating the excellent wisdom that the husband might not be accessing past porn images at all. I appreciate you graciously calling me on this assumption. What can I say? I’m human, and I failed to see that this time. Thankfully, I have a great readership who piped in with sage advice.
These comments are confusing. They make me hopeful and depressed all at the same time. To my knowledge, my husband doesn’t have a porn issue. But let’s face it, there are plenty of women in real life who let it “all hang out” and they gladly provide plenty of mental imagery for men, even men who’d like to stay faithful.
I don’t refuse my husband on the rare occasions he wants sex. But I have resigned myself to the fact that I am no more to him than a human “rubber doll.” This is because my husband closes his eyes all the time. It never really bothered me until that infamous book was published, where the “Christian” author claims (and explains in detail) that all men think of other women during sex all the time, even if they don’t want to. I used to enjoy giving oral to my husband until the author of that book made me understand that his closed eyes means he is imagining everyone and anyone BUT me. That is really hurtful and destroys any feelings of intimacy I once had. I’d even understand if this happened to him once in a while, I mean, he is human. But every time? Why am I even there? I have lost any sexual confidence I ever had. I feel worthless. I just kind of lay there, act like I’m enjoying it, and wonder who I’m a “stand-in” for this time. I hate it so much. And then when he says he loves me, it feels empty and meaningless.
I have asked my husband about this once or twice and he gets upset and says it’s always me he is with. But of course he’s going to say that, he’s not stupid. I just don’t know who to believe.
The other day I told my husband, “just once in my lifetime, I’d like to know what it’s like to be made love to as me. For the real me to be the object of his desire. Just once.” And he acted very sad that I felt that way. But what am I supposed to think? And he’s not into porn, I cannot fathom how awful it must feel to have a husband who is.
Sex wasn’t supposed to be this emotionally painful. I often wonder why men even get married if they cannot be happy (including sexually) with the woman they chose.
Then I read these comments, presumably by men, who say that may not be what the closed eyes mean. So who is tellng the truth? It’s just exhausting to try to figure it all out.
“But what am I supposed to think?” Why would you place so much significance on something you read from a single author and ignore what your husband repeatedly tells you? I would be very unhappy if my husband trusted someone else’s opinion about what I was thinking far more than trusting what I said about it.
And I think I know which Christian author you’re talking about. If so, I don’t think that’s what she said at all. It’s more like pop-up windows that a guy can struggle with, but why wouldn’t we be on our husband’s side in this battle? He‘s not the enemy, and God isn’t the enemy for making him that way. In fact, we are “more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). Just as these insecurities may be your battle, the visual thing can be a man’s battle. Rather than accusing each other, maybe we should help one another out in conquering these obstacles and achieving true intimacy.
I also have men tell me constantly, who have no reason to lie to me, that they are wholly engaged with their wives during sex. That they are not comparing when they are physically intimate with the gal they chose and love.
I want to believe him. And yes, my insecurities are a struggle. But I guess it seems like the visual thing for guys isn’t so much a struggle as an indulgence. It brings them pleasure. Whereas, insecurities bring misery. So it’s not really an apples for apples type thing.
I’m not sure what the author was thinking. Perhaps she thought she was doing good, but I’ve read countless instances of hurt wives and ruined sex lives due to wives reading that book. Maybe I’m the one with the problem, but I wish she’d never put those ideas in my head.
I guess I’d trust my husband more if he hadn’t lied in the past. He has lied to spare my feelings, but that’s a bad idea, because then I don’t know what’s true and what’s a lie. For instance, he had told me he’d never had a lap dance. It’s a very long story, but I eventually found out that he HAD. thankfully it was before we were married, and before we were saved. But if it was “no big deal” why did you lie about it? So when he claims he didn’t really enjoy it, and the guys from work bought it, and he never thinks about her, and that he loves me and wants me, do I believe him? NOPE. Cause he lied. So he could very well still be lying.
I also made the awful mistake of asking him once what his favorite position was. I was honestly trying to improve our time together. He said, “oh I guess the one where you…” The trouble is – WE never did that. He never asked me to, never tried it with me. He claims he really thought we did. Nope. That was an ex-girlfriend and I know that because he mentioned it once while we were dating. So he can’t remember the sex he’s had with me, but he remembers the sex he had with her more clearly AND has the nerve to tell me that was his favorite???? And then he wonders why I have no confidence and don’t believe him when he says he loves me? He didn’t forget. He’s not that old. And he tries to cover it up with another LIE saying he thought we did it? Bologna. So no, I don’t believe him.
Plus that authors book got rave reviews so most people think she’s telling the truth about all men and for whatever reason they are just a lot more okay with it than I am.
Sorry for going on so long, but this kind of stuff just hurts a lot and makes me have no real belief in true love anymore. I wish I could believe him, and you, and be more confident, but it feels like I’d be deluding myself to even try.
Try anyway. Because your reasons for believing he’s lying don’t seem to add up. By the way, guys mis-remember stuff all the time. TO THIS DAY, my husband thinks I was wearing a white dress when we met. I didn’t own a white dress, hadn’t owned a white dress since junior high, and there’s no evidence of any white dress. He also forgets where we first kissed (if he’s reading this, it was my couch, honey. MY COUCH). Do I think any of this is proof that he doesn’t love me? No, of course not! It’s not personal. He doesn’t remember where he put his last twelve umbrellas either.
Look, this is about GRACE. God has given us grace, and we should extend it to others — especially our husbands. I don’t want my husband nitpicking every stupid or even bad thing I’ve done in our time together (that could go on forever), and I wouldn’t do that to him. I know you’re hurt. I get that. But don’t you think your attitude is hurting him too?
You are so right about the memory. Some thirty years ago, my favorite baseball team won the world series. I have a vivid memory of lying in bed in my upstairs bedroom listening to the game on the radio. I have replayed that memory over and over and over, so it is cemented in my brain. But, one day I was thinking and realized that, at the time of that world series, I was no longer sleeping in an upstairs bedroom, but had moved into a downstairs bedroom. And, there is no way I would have listened to the game on the radio when it was on TV. In short, my memory of that game is an utter impossibility, and yet it is so real. I think I conjured it up from a series of other memories of listening to untelevised games earlier in my life.
Then there were the many times I called my high school sweetheart by the wrong name, the name of a prior crush. To this day, I can’t believe the grace she showed me during those early months of dating. Somehow, despite my lapses, she trusted my love for her, which only made me love her more (and learn to remember her name).
Interesting about the baseball memory. Research has shown that our memories are not always as perfect as we believe. We can mesh together various aspects (as it seems you did), but we can also be influenced by others suggesting things that weren’t there originally. For instance, in one study when people viewed a video of a car accident, then were asked leading questions later about what they’d seen, many reported seeing things that weren’t in the video at all. We’d like to think our minds are steel traps, right? Well, they’re not perfect, although still pretty amazing. After all, I can still recall lyrics from songs in the 1980s. And I remember exactly how I felt when I stood at the altar and said I do to my fabulous husband.
You wrote, “it seems like the visual thing for guys isn’t so much a struggle as an indulgence”
Oh, trust me, it’s a struggle. My wife and I are walking through the mall. We walk past Victoria’s Secret. On the walls are 2x life size posters of women in their underwear (which looks nothing like my wife’s underwear). I’m tempted to look, not to lust, nor to desire the women on the poster, nor because I prefer those models to my wife; just because they’re attractive. If any one of them stood before me in their underwear and offered to let me have my way with them, I’d very easily say, “No, thank you. I’m happily married.” And, I would mean it.
That said, they remain attractive, and my eyes are drawn to attractive things. After buying a new car, I still enjoy looking at other cool cars, not because I want one or am dissatisfied with the one I bought, but because it looks nice. But, I know that if my wife senses me looking, she’ll think as you do, that she’s repulsive and that I prefer a V.S. model to her, which is so far from the truth it pains me to have to say it.
I once read that men considering it cheating when they sleep with another woman, whereas women considering it cheating when a man so much as looks at another woman. I wish that wasn’t the case because I can honestly say I do not think about having sex with attractive women I happened to see. But, I accept that is the way you ladies feel when we men see other women. So, I then do all I can to deliberately *not* look.
Yes it is a struggle. A big-time struggle.
“This is because my husband closes his eyes all the time. It never really bothered me until that infamous book was published, where the “Christian” author claims (and explains in detail) that all men think of other women during sex all the time, even if they don’t want to. I used to enjoy giving oral to my husband until the author of that book made me understand that his closed eyes means he is imagining everyone and anyone BUT me. ”
I don’t know what book you are referring to, but I wouldn’t take such a sweeping assumption at face value.
I only know what’s really going on in one man’s mind – mine. But let me posit another explanation for guys closing their eyes during sex… Men are primarily visually stimulated. While I love watching my wife’s body during sex, it can also be too much, too fast. In order to keep from reaching the finish line way ahead of her, I need to close my eyes, focus on deep breathing, etc.
During those times I’m *rarely* thinking of anything else. Yes, I’ve had a stray mental image flash by of someone else, but I can – without exaggeration – count the number of times it’s happened during 10 years of marriage on one hand and have a few fingers left over.
Again, as I commented yesterday – trying to mind read your spouse typically won’t end well.
Tom is indeed correct. Trying to read your spouse’s mind is dangerous. First off, who is the one who will be putting those negative assumptions in YOUR mind about what your spouse is thinking: Satan, of course. And will he have anything good to say, or even anything truthful to say? You already know he won’t!
Tom raises another good point about the husband in question perhaps attempting to delay his climax until his wife arrives there. I can recall reading in several places that it was a good idea for the man to think about multiplication tables while having intercourse as a means of delaying. Can’t do that while watching a sexy wife!
I heard baseball, not multiplication tables. I’d feel better about baseball, since I love that sport too! 🙂
I don’t think you missed the mark on this, your assumption could very well be true, is true with some men. the place I am at is my wife getting into menopause, way to focused on the kids and she has become a sack of potatoes. this works on my self esteem, am I not attractive to her, does she love me, am I good enough etc. When I close my eyes it’s in an effort to stay focused so I can get this over with
Have you talked to her about this?
Perhaps his issue isn’t porn but low-T. Common for men, simple diagnosis and simple fix. Most men don’t think of it as the issue and don’t want to admit it. Or perhaps he doesn’t think his wife enjoys him because she’s so anxious and not into it. Making previous porn use the scapegoat for actual issues that can be fixed easily is a terrible mistake. Are there porn addictions? Yes. Is everyone that has ever viewed porn addicted? No. Just as one can drink a glass of wine (or a bottle as she says) doesn’t make them an alcoholic, porn viewing doesn’t equal addiction…unless you are discussing in most Christian circles.
Get him to the doctor and get her to counseling for her self esteem.
Actually, I agree that viewing porn doesn’t automatically create addiction. I actually tend to think more in terms of a continuum: There are those who have been exposed to porn (not of their choosing–it’s just out there), those who have looked at images now and then, those who make it a more regular diet, those who have a porn habit, and those who deal with addiction. Unfortunately, I also think porn escalates. It’s far too easy to slide to the habit / addiction end.
I’m replying to Mel, since she’s one of several who’ve suggested that this husband’s problem might not be related to his past use of porn–and I do agree with her. I don’t think J has given us enough information about this wife’s hubs to make any solid conclusions (age? health, etc.?)
Re the testosterone issue: a simple blood test will tell if he’s low, but a general practitioner may not be able to give him an answer. He may need to see a urologist, or another specialist. I use testosterone patches (married nearly 53 years), which cost about $1,000 for a three-month supply–paid for by my retirement insurance, thank the Lord.
Men past slow down after age 40, and if past 55 he may simply be unable to stay hard enough for intercourse without medical help. But there are possible ways to improve. If he’s got a round belly of more than 42 inches, according to several sources, he WILL find it hard to function. I’ve been there. Losing weight might help; walking half a mile four or five times a week will definitely help. That diamond-shaped blue pill will also probably help. These are expensive, but the manufacturer, Pfizer, will supply them free for low-income seniors whose insurance won’t pay (Medicare will no longer pay for them). They’re also available via Canadian pharmacies.
Many wives find sex with the lights on a challenge, and I suspect that being on top and fully exposed will exacerbate this problem. He can install a light dimmer on the bedside lamp, or use romantic candles. Or she can stay one the bottom. He also needs to learn to tell her often that she has the prettiest backside in the world, which will go a long ways toward helping her overcome embarrassment.
I often close my eyes during love making.. Many times it is to focus and concentrate on the feelings and sensation.. Sometimes it is to concentrate on holding back so I last longer. And if I am kissing or it is fairly dark then it can be distracting for me if my eyes are struggling to focus on something very close or very dimly lit
Thanks for adding your own experience to this post! That helps to hear it from the man’s perspective.
I dont think the issue is if her husband is actually going into his spank bank or not. The issue is, that because of him watching porn, her trust towards him is now broken. And also her self esteem. Even if he gets his medical issues fixed, that doesnt fix the problem. She will be left with that gnawing sense of insecurity, asking herself if he would rather have one of those other women sitting on top of him if he could. In her mind she as been stamped “not good enough” (which is basically what her husband has silently communicated to her by choosing to look at other naked women). So the issue here is: what can they do to rebuild trust. Not his erection.
I’ve written about rebuilding trust. https://hotholyhumorous.com/2012/07/rebuilding-trust-in-the-bedroom/ Maybe something in that post would help.
Wow, Amanda, sorry to read of your travails. I’m new here (not that I’ll trouble you good folks often, heh). I found the J’s site completely by accident (God and Google have interesting will, no?) and read your tale. Ye Gods, Amanda, hard to believe, but yours is a scratch on the surface and that hurts to say, I know. The damage from the on-line porn hubs and whatnot, society-wide is incalculable. Nowadays, from the onset of puberty, the boys have full access to all of it, free. And of course, after a decade to fifteen years or twenty years of masturbating to ever-escalating scenes and levels of pornography (no need to get graphic), their minds are ruined for sex with a normal (and in any other era sans porn) and beautiful/attractive woman.
I’d say the entire generation of boys say now-aged 10 on up to 25 or 30 is on the road to ruin or already ruined with few exceptions, likely those with Christian parents that simply will not allow it. I’m not sure what young women, Christian or otherwise, are to do now and going forward because the entire age-range is now “polluted”, if I may use the term. Further, women are also, to a degree, been drawn in with 50-Shades of their own now and yes, there are women following and fantasizing THAT, too. But the problem is mostly men.
Now, as a younger man, (I’m 58) I knew men that were ruined for sex with their wives and women in general by frequenting strip clubs/bars. Same-same as porn, it erases a man’s original libido and and expectations and replaces those with an escalating degree of freak or looks that are then unattainable in real life with a real woman. A terrible situation. I’m not terribly holy in spite of my last name (I post in my real name) but I’ve resisted the porn and have never participated in the parties men-to-be-married tend to have as a rite of passage to marriage. A terrible beginning for sure.
This does not end well. It has not in many cases and Amanda is but one of millions, maybe tens of millions. Tragic that so many men, likely two generations of American men, cannot or will not take their woman to the bedroom, close the door and make good and righteous love with her because their sexual mind is so polluted and other-trained by pornography. And a Christian woman is in a real fix in that SHE does the righteous act of marrying only to have this land mine to deal with.
Anywho, this has become a thesis fit for a doctorate, but it IS a complex and tragic situation for which I see no fix. Sexual reprobates are the least likely to ever heal. And, for Christian women that forego sex until their marriage to a man have no idea what is in that man’s head until they are married and (attempt to) consummate their new marriage. If that man is what so many men are, I’d suggest a woman find it out quickly and divorce, annul or otherwise get a release from the marriage quickly and quietly while she has her health and beauty in order to try again. This is not something that gets fixed. It doesn’t. A good woman cannot have a family and good life with a man that is “polluted” in this way. To J and Amanda and all you gals that are struggling with this, God Bless. Good men reading this are rooting for you wishing you well.
I understand what you’re saying. Porn is far too accessible and prevalent. However, I disagree that so many men are permanently polluted, because I know plenty of guys who don’t look at this stuff or threw it aside, and even some who still struggle but want better, and they deeply desire true intimacy with their wives. Also, I simply believe with all my heart that God can redeem situations we feel are hopeless. (Hey, that’s my testimony.)
Sure, some guys don’t get it and never will, but I think a lot of men are hurting too. Thanks for coming to the site! Glad you’re reading and commenting.
I know WE know many men not “taken” by porn, we’re the Christian community. But the greater United States is so secular and especially sexualized, so to speak, I just don’t have a lot of hope for that greater, “outer” world. And it is terribly disheartening for a woman to marry into this, worse for it to overtake a marriage of ten and twenty years. There really is something to the old refrain, “I gave you the best years of my life” especially for a woman. Ah well, I’m a chivalrous old cuss so maybe my instincts are wrong, but I wonder at all this. Be well, J, you’re a good and loving soul. Folks would do well to take after you!
Thanks! Maybe I’m too much of an optimist. Not that I’ve ever been accused of that, since I’m naturally a pessimist, but maybe… 🙂
Takes a man to understand men, J. At least, the seedier aspects of some men, I believe most men. I’m telling you, outside the Christian community, the percentages of seedy go way up. Plus, gals aren’t around to hear what men say, what they talk about at a bar, the golf course, motorcycle rallies, out fishing on a charter. I keep my trap shut, these are grown men, 30/40/50 and the stuff they say, the way they think of and talk about women in general makes me shake my head. And face it, women in their teens and twenties and thirties, rinsed through the secular, morally bankrupt sewers of “higher education” come out the other end at war with Christianity, full-on feminist, tattooed, pieced and many, deliberately obese and repulsive. God’s temple means nothing to women of this sort. The promiscuity I won’t go into, but taking my daughter to school in a Virginia State University was appalling. Fliers and posters for a “wrap the most bananas in condoms race” all over the place, constant reminders as to “safe sex” and all the rest. An ongoing effort to get those girls sexually active. My girl resisted all of it and married her college sweetheart after they graduated. Thanks be.
But in these regards, J, it is an ugly, ugly world out there. As for you, stay optimistic, hang in there for better times. We Christians aren’t going to change them. I know we’re supposed to minister and fight back, but I think best we all in the Christian Community take care of our own, build the best love for ourselves we can with our women and kids and men and watch from afar. You run a kindly and healthy little forum here. I enjoy reading folks’ posts. May any and all have use for MY humble thoughts. Good Day to all! Be of good cheer!
I don’t think I’m naive. Some men can be incredibly crass. And as for what women think and say, I also write fiction and find myself in rooms with romance writers at times — including erotic romance — and, well, women can be crass too. I just believe that we almost all deeply desire something better, specifically the intimacy God’s design for sex provides.
Thank you Jim. I agree with you 100%. You just have to look at ministries that deal with ex sex workers on a day to day basis. Its not a small minority of men who enjoy the degrading of women to worthless sex objects. The porn industry wouldnt be the most lucrative business in the world if it were so. And it is getting worse, not better. And maybe within christian circles one is sheltered from this a little more (because even if christian men are turned on by it they might feel more conviction about actually acting it out). But the standard porn sex pictures women being hurt by men. There are multiple articles of pornstars talking about the physical and emotional pain they go through because it is so violent towards them. And if you look at the titles of porn videos and what is searched for on google you will often find the term “destroyed”. Barely legal teen destroyed by…and so on. I dont want to be any more graphic but the reality is worse. And men act this out. My story is not minority. Many girls and women dont speak about it because they are ashamend. They believe the lie that this is normal and that THEY are wrong for not enjoying it. So they grit their teeth in order to be good enough for the men they are with until they one day cant bear it any longer. I have slept with a lot of men. So many that it shames me to my core. And they were all like that. Some worse than others. Obviously I am pessimistic due to my past but this is a real problem. A growing problem. Fast growing.
From the studies I’ve seen, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between porn use among professing Christian believers vs. nonbelievers.
I don’t say this to be discouraging. On the contrary, I’m learning to not think in terms of what “most men” or “most women” do. When we do that, we tend to draw general conclusions about men and women in general and then unfairly project those generalities onto our spouses, as in “Most men are hooked on porn; therefore my husband must be thinking about a porn star when he closes his eyes during sex,” or “Most women hate oral sex; therefore, I dare not ask my wife for it.”
I pray that each of us reading these posts will learn to get to know our individual spouses without unnecessarily projecting upon them the “seedier” aspects of our respective genders based on what we perceive the majority does. Each one of us has our own sin to deal with, which is hard enough without being saddled with the sins of an entire gender.
I’d like to see those studies, because my own — albeit unscientific — experience has been that Christians and non-Christians have equal exposure to porn, but not equal use. Does that make sense? I’m simply curious where the statistics are. Thanks, e2!
Again, however, I emphasize that I don’t let myself get overly distraught about statistics about what this or that percentage of people are doing. When it comes to my sexuality, I’m concerned with two people, myself and my wife and we are not bound by statistics and surveys.
Whether or not he is bringing up those images, he has caused a lot of hurt, and it is still affecting their marriage. Porn warps a person’s view of sexuality. It makes a person selfish. After I caught my husband using porn and we got help and filters, he stopped. But I found out months later he was still masturbating regularly. So just stopping the actual porn use doesn’t mean other unhealthy habits stop too.
Ultimately, one spouse cannot help control what their spouse is thinking in their mind. If we seek try to control or manage our spouse in that way, then we are open to be controlled and manipulated ourselves by them in the very same way.
We are only responsible for own thoughts — not our spouses. Thought management is an inside job between Christ and man — not between spouse and spouse.
If you are honestly curious about what your spouse is thinking about during sexual relations, dusting the furniture or eating a ham sandwich, then go ahead and ask them. But please do not labor under the illusion that you are going to help them direct their thought life — that’s behavior modification and it’s not going to turn out well.
But the wife does have a right to have a fully engaged in her husband during sex. Here are some sexual boundaries a wife can lay:
If you are willfully thinking about anyone beside me during sex, do me a favor and don’t have sex with me. I am not sharing you.
If you are watching porn or smut TV, do me a favor and don’t have sex with me. I am not sharing you.
If you are cheating on me, have enough respect for my well being to not have sex with me. I will not share you or any disease you might pick up.
If you need help, if you are struggling, if you want to overcome, come to me and we will work together to fight this enemy.
We BOTH deserve a healthy, God-designed sex life together.
LIBL, nothing that you’ve said here is in disagreement to what I’ve said about thoughts:
My only point is that trying to manage a spouse’s thoughts is futility and a double-edged sword that cuts both ways.
You’re responsible for your thoughts and he’s responsible for his. Anything else is relationship insanity.
We should remember that viewing porn and/or revisiting mental images of anyone other than our spouse harms others in addition to ourselves and our spouses. As a society, we continue to see the objectification of women, often the first step to violence and abuse. The damage is prevalent and far-reaching.
Ok. Jim Christian I could not agree more with your comments, I don’t agree society is right but your dipiction is very accurate. Sad but true
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I’m wondering if I’m the only male follower of this blog that had a visceral reaction to the very title of this blog post, “He’s Going Into His Spank Bank”.
I have to admit, I had never of heard of the term “spank bank” until it was described here. After googling around a little, it’s obvious to me that the word ‘spank’ refers to the slang phrase “spanking the money” — a crude reference to male masturbation. It is not only a crude reference — it is downright insulting and demeaning to men.
Is there a female version of “Spank Bank”? Yes, there is. It is sometimes called “Finger Vaulting” or “Jill Tilling” (at least according to The Urban Dictionary). These are obviously crude references as well and would be insulting to the female members of the audience.
However, can you imagine a Christian marriage blog with a blog post titled: “She’s Going Into Her Finger Vault” or “She’s Going Into Her Jill Till”? I’d predict that there would be outrage from the ladies (and maybe even from some gentlemen). Realistically though, you are not going to see titles like that in Christian marriage blogs because it doesn’t fit the Christian cultural filter about male and female sexuality.
So, what’s the Christian cultural filter about male and female sexuality? Here it is: It is primarily men (including Christian men) who struggle with lust, porn, erotica and sexual fantasy — not women.
You wouldn’t think that women in general (let alone Christian women) ever masturbated or had emotional and sexual fantasies about other people, let alone affairs. The pathologies of sexual lust are almost always routinely cast on the male side. Just survey the many relevant posts on Christian marriage blogs and you’ll see the tilted focus on men and their “out-of-control” sexuality.
By the way, do any of the wives who have commented on their husbands’ real or imagined negative sexual proclivities willing to admit that they have ever or now currently experience the same thoughts and temptations that their husbands have (in one form or another)? — or are they just singularly pure and clean in their thoughts and deeds all the time?
I read about valid hurts being experienced by wives but also interpersed with it, quite frankly, some self-righteousness and apparent denial of their own temptations and flaws.
In any case, it will be interesting (and mortifying) to see what will be the number of tickets sales purchased by women after the next blockbuster “50 Shades Darker” movie comes out — especially given the sold-out, mostly female audiences that were tallied from “50 Shades of Grey” movie in 2015 (not even counting the book sales, of course).
I have spoken very strongly against such phenomena as 50 Shades of Grey. And had the question been from a husband complaining that his wife was “finger vaulting,” I would have addressed that with the terminology he used. Unfortunately, perhaps, “spank bank” is a rather common phrase which I’ve heard even on prime time TV, whereas the other phrases you mentioned were not familiar to me. So I didn’t feel real concern about using it in the title. That does not mean that women don’t have such issues as well, and I’m quite willing to address them when they pop up.
I certainly meant no offense to men generally. I deeply believe in the value of men in our society, in our church, and in our marriages.
“I certainly meant no offense to men generally. I deeply believe in the value of men in our society, in our church, and in our marriages.”
J, J, J, not to send sunshine up your hoopskirts (Ha!), no worries. I am a man who has sat briefly through sermons by MALE pastors raising Hell with men for being lousy fathers and husbands on Father’s Day even as they sat there in church with their children and wives. I can state you’re in the clear. You’re pro-man, pro-woman, marriage and we men have certainly had our say and forum here (in my limited time here). NO apologies necessary, for what my humble opinion is worth. You’re a grand dame.
Nothing visceral about any of this to me, Ed. Not to say yours is invalid. My reaction is one of resignation as the situation with young men came out about how I thought it would ten years back. I didn’t see women getting hooked on crotch-novels and I never in a million years figured the BDSM and borderline rape-scenes in Shades of Gray would come to pass with such popularity with women, this in a feminist society doing everything they can to promote the notion the United States is a rape culture to rival ISIS. Mixed and interesting messages. Even NYT is pushing porn as a sexual-education device. J can post the link I offered earlier today for your perusal should she choose. I think that article deserves a thoughtful read by serious and critical thinkers. I don’t happen to think porn sites offering a veritable buffet of every sex act there is should be advocated as sex education to young children and their dopey parents by a “major” national New York Times. Seriously, who do they think they are? Ah yes, the moral compass of the young. Silly me. Ed, I kid because I care. Visceral reactions to hideous sexual behavior is good. Now whatddya gonna do about it?
Meanwhile, this stuff isn’t why J set up her site, it’s supposed to be about the hot, holy and humorous. So! How was everyone’s Saturday night? Hot, Holy and Humorous, I hope!
Trust me J, I’m totally certain you meant no offense to men and that you strongly value men — that’s not even in question. I admire your blog and the quality of its content in many respects.
However, I’m not holding my breath waiting to see if you or any other Christian marriage blogger will ever write about anything akin to “Female Spank Banking”. I predict that the subject will never “pop up” and the blog post will never be written.
The Christian community has to first be aware that there are substantial issues with female lust and temptation in the first place to have the consciousness to write about it. Until that changes, the focus will continue to remain on men (including Christian men) and their sexual struggles and peccadilloes.
In any case, the mainstream media and secular bloggers have already picked up strongly on the “50 Shades of Grey” female porn/erotica phenomenon and the well-known fact that women struggle frequently with sexual fantasy issues in general. At least alternate views on the subject can be read and analyzed there.
Actually, there are some Christian bloggers writing about women and pornography, such as this one from Unveiled Wife. And how about an entire ministry dedicated to providing women “help, hope and healing from pornography and sexual addiction”? That’s Dirty Girls Ministries. I agree that the Christian community has been slow on many issues involving sexuality, but I’m confident that’s changing. Thanks, Ed!
I think your post is spot on. My first marriage was with a non-believer and at that time, I also was a non-believer. We had a somewhat open relationship. We watched Porn together and now in my second marriage. It Haunts me, the temptation is so high. I think for some men it is an addiction. I mean honestly, what is an addiction. It’s something that you use or do to make yourself feel good. Doesn’t matter what it is. Be it Porn, food, spending money. I knew exactly what you meant when you said “Spank Bank” I used that also with my First wife. Don’t ask me why, but luckily I don’t do that with my Wife now.
I really like reading your blog. It’s very good aspect to see from a woman’s side of things.
Thanks, Edwin. I’m glad that you are in a different situation now. Praying that the temptation wanes for you. Blessings!
An interesting article and the permission and advocacy and encouragement to young men and girls is a NYT piece on, of all day all days, Sunday: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/20/opinion/sunday/when-did-porn-become-sex-ed.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FPornography&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection&_r=0
“When Did Porn Become Sex Ed? Grist for a Blog Post, J. They’re so cavalier about the ruination of their own young. OUR young, one hopes, are having none of it. The span of the secular world are just doomed with the advocacy of this stuff.
Ah well, I had my say. See whatcha think, J. Here to share, always!
I do like this line in the article: “Because the truth is, the more frankly and fully teachers, parents and doctors talk to young people about sexuality, the more likely kids are both to delay sexual activity and to behave responsibly and ethically when they do engage in it.” Of course, I believe in teaching different values from what this author ultimately suggests, but secular sources are also seeing the grave problems we have in society today with cavalier treatment of porn, sexuality, and relationships.
I find that when I am blinfolded with my wife on top my wife loses all her inhibitions. She always makes sure I cannot see and if that is so she goes wild on top. I find it very satisfying.
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