It’s been too long since I posted here! I do have things to say about sex, but maintaining my blog has been a distant second to regaining my health lately. I need that health to keep both myself and my ministry on track. So today, I’m going to do something I never, ever do: just write a post and publish it without editing much, if at all.
I’ll cover a few things that have been on my mind lately, talk about them a bit unfiltered, and let the chips fall where they may, so to speak.
Oh, for the love, Bill Gates too?
The news of Bill and Melinda Gates splitting was sad. We all like the idea of long-term couples, and it’s particularly hopeful to see a couple work together on charitable causes. But then, more information came out.
Now, it appears that Bill Gates regularly pursued women and had affairs during his marriage (pick your source: Bill Gates Had Reputation for Questionable Behavior Before Divorce – The New York Times, Bill Gates ‘pursued’ several women in his office during marriage to Melinda: report | Fox Business).
In wake of this discovery, I texted some friends:
Can we PLEASE have just one guy with real power who turns out to be a good, faithful husband and doesn’t use the workplace as his own personal pick-up bar?!!!!
I’m not anti-Bill Gates. But I am sick and tired of hearing about men with power abusing their status to sate their sexual fantasies. This isn’t about men’s sexual “needs.” It’s about being a jerk and using other people for your own gain.
And it begs the question of why sex is the avenue that So Very Many Men in power choose to flex their muscle? I could do a whole breakdown of the psychology, but it comes down to selfishness and seeing others as your way to fill the empty holes of yourself rather than treating them as people. PEOPLE. Not women I can bang. People that God created as complex humans in their own right.
If you can’t get your psyche right, then I’ll make it easy for you: don’t do anything in the workplace that leads to one of you taking off your pants.
And for the rest of us, if anyone in the workplace acts that way, I don’t care who they are. They don’t deserve a job working with others. Trust me, if there was no Bill Gates, we would still have word processing software.
Hellfire & damnation sermons don’t work in the long run—even for sex.
I grew up in the Church of Christ, which is to say a denomination that had both theologically evangelical congregations and fundamentalist ones. The fundamentalists among us were given to a lot of hellfire and damnation sermons back in the day, and they scared a fair number of people into becoming Christians … to avoid eternal damnation.
Now, Jesus was certainly concerned about our eternal status, but the vast majority of Scripture is about God pursuing an intimate relationship with His people. The reason we want to go to Heaven and not Hell (however you perceive that) shouldn’t be because one has mansions and gold streets and the other has gnashing of teeth. Rather, one is where we can be close to God our Father, and the other is distant from Him. (An excellent treatment of this is C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce.)
So to all you men writing me to say that I’m insufficiently concerned about your lack of sex because I won’t tell your wife she’s a horrible sinner for denying you what you need, well, I have said that long-term sexual refusal is a sin. But so is badmouthing your wife at every turn, especially publicly on my blog or social media. (I tend not to approve spouse-bashing comments.) And the ratio of me saying, “Hey, wife, this is missing the mark—aka sin,” to the times I say, “Sex is an important part of overall marital intimacy, so let’s figure out how to help you have a healthy and holy sex life,” is going to lean heavily on the latter.
I will not “hellfire and damnation” your wife into having sex with you. Even if it worked—and it rarely does—she’d be there for all the wrong reasons! You, husband, are supposed to be like God, pursuing an intimate relationship with your wife.
For your Maker is your husband—
the Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth.
The Lord will call you back
as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—
a wife who married young,
only to be rejected,” says your God.
“For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
In a surge of anger
I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
I will have compassion on you,”
says the Lord your Redeemer.
That includes sex, but it’s about a lot more than sex. Yes, I know it’s difficult and emotionally painful and you want to give up or scream or something. But I am here, and will be here, doing everything I know to help you figure out why she isn’t interested in sex and what you can do to help her get there. Because I do care, and I care enough to suggest things that actually work and don’t make you into the jerk you sometimes seem to be.
So yes, I want you get to laid, but I won’t pressure your spouse to have sex with you.
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Sex is more important than many believe and less important than some believe.
In that same vein, I must reiterate that sex matters in a marriage. It really, genuinely, deeply matters. The physical act of sex, done in a way that honors one another and the Creator of it, can bring a couple together in ways that nothing else quite can. It’s revealing, vulnerable, powerful, and intimate. It’s exciting, reassuring, calming, and sweet.
If I didn’t believe sex was important, I wouldn’t have focused my attention on it for over 10 years of ministry. I wouldn’t think I still have a lot more to say on the subject. I wouldn’t be eager to share excellent resources from myself and others to help couples navigate sexual intimacy.
But I also haven’t had sex in a while. It’s been over a week and less than a month in my marriage. We both miss it. But we also both know that I just can’t right now. I had nose surgery last week, and the first set of painkillers didn’t take. The doctor had to call in a second prescription—oddly, a weaker opiod—that finally took the edge off enough for me to sleep more than an hour at a time. I’ve been sleeping with ice packs (when I can sleep) and had a cast on my nose until a couple of days ago. Now I have a very bruised nose and am being very careful not to get close enough to anyone that they could accidentally bump my nose. I might just faint and die. (Okay, I exaggerate a little for effect! Lol.)
I have another surgery scheduled in June. (Oh yes, J’s Health Quest has been quite the journey!) I will need weeks to recover from that one. No idea how soon sex can happen then, though I’m hoping we can squeeze in some lovemaking between this recovery and that one.
But you know what? I don’t feel less connected or loved by my husband. He feels disappointed that we can’t, but not rejected or unloved. It does make me believe that if tomorrow, God forbid, we couldn’t have sex anymore, I would grieve. But I wouldn’t leave.
Now I KNOW that not being able to make love and refusing to make love are two entirely different things! I’m not equating them, and if you’re in the Being Refused group, that is wrong and sucks and see all points above. But I also believe that, whatever the reason, you can still pursue intimacy in other areas that strengthen the marriage as a whole.
In fact, sometimes when you have to find other ways to connect, you and your spouse become more interested in connecting physically overall. I really do want to make love to my husband soon, in no small part because of how he has prioritized our sex life. He believes it matters, and even when I was all casted up and had some, um, nasal discharge, he was helping me put on clothes one day and managed to feel me up a little—demonstrating that he still finds me attractive, even now, go figure. But he believes that I matter more than sex.
By placing the proper emphasis on sex, I’m more interested not less. And I feel more connected to him.
We’re doing better discussing higher desire wives, but we still have a ways to go.
I read an article recently about men who desire sex less than their wives and why that might be. I won’t share the author because that’s not the point and I don’t like the tactic of attacking colleagues who are giving it their best. Rather, I want y’all to learn how to discern for yourself which resources are worthwhile and which should get a full pass.
But this Christian author did a good job on some aspects of addressing the subject and a rather poor job in other areas. Reading it with the lens of a higher drive wife, I could see how plenty of such wives would come away feeling even more discouraged and upset, rather than heard and empowered. Not that it’s about us all feeling heard and empowered; of course, I’m all for reporting biblical truth and giving practical yes-this-works advice.
However, if a wife comes away from reading about their higher desire with the feeling that “Yes, I am undesirable,” then the next logical step isn’t working the issue but sitting down with box of chocolates and a screw-top bottle of wine and watching reality TV until you’re finally convinced others’ lives are worse than yours, meaning you can stomach at least one more day of sexual rejection.
Here are just a few things I know about higher desire wives, based on my own experience, engaging with many HD wives, and extensive research:
- HD wives/LD husbands constitute about 15-20% of marriages.
- Some marriages are always HD wife/LD husband, and some shift to that over time.
- LD husbands run the gamut from ongoing sexual refusal (sexless marriage) to just not initiating as much.
- Reasons for lower drive include physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual areas, and most husbands have more than one reason for their lower drive.
- For HD wives, emotional support can be as important as practical advice.
And here are a few things I hear about higher desire wives that make me want to scream:
- If a husband doesn’t want his wife, it’s because she’s unattractive or not doing enough to sexually attract him.
- All LD husbands should get on testosterone boosters—problem solved.
- Porn is the reason men don’t want their wives.
- HD wives should just read all the advice about HD husbands and apply it to themselves.
It’s not that there aren’t some things about the second list that have some truth to them. (For instance, porn is evil, and it plays a role.) However, we have umpteen resources nowadays that presume the scenario that he wants sex more than she does. With all that’s out there, you can have a lot of ideas and tips and theological deep-dives and relational ideas and whatever to help such couples. There’s room for complexity.
With higher-desire wives, they are still mainly the one-off article from people who otherwise don’t talk about it much. Or maybe the one-off paragraph in various articles. Without more coverage of the topic, we miss stuff. I’ve missed stuff in the past, and I’ve been the higher desire spouse!
What can I do? How can I make a difference? Well, I’d been working on a book for higher desire wives for a while when my current illness took over. I’ve become even more determined to make that a primary focus of my ministry when I regain my health! I’d love for y’all to pray that I can make that happen.
Also, I’m starting to reach out to colleagues about higher desire wives, letting them know who I am, why I have special interest in this topic, and sharing what I know so that they can address the topic with greater effectiveness. Again, prayers please! I need wisdom to communicate with respect and kindness and convince prominent authors and speakers to consider their words more carefully.
Not out of things to say, but spent.
Wow, 2000+ words spit out in a single sitting. And it’s not all that I have to say, but it’s all I could do today. And all you people want to read from me in a day anyway!
How shall I wrap it all up? Well, basically, my thoughts these days about sex run along various lines. Some involve how seriously screwed up sex is in the world and even in the Christian church. Some involve how individuals have such deep hurts in the area of sex that seem insurmountable at times. Some involve how a lot of couples just need biblical truths, encouragement, and practical tips to keep prioritizing sex in their marriage! Some involve how marriage can be both fabulous and challenging. Some involve how good my husband looks when he wears those Wranglers and the boots and he… Oh, wait, that’s not something y’all need to hear about! ~wink~
All of my thoughts come down to this:
- Sex as God designed it to be –> Powerful and Intimate.
- Sex any other way –> Nope. Keep trying until you have #1.