The Sexual Sin No One Will Talk About

Posted on Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

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barren dry ground 246x219 The Sexual Sin No One Will Talk About photoI once heard someone say that when a married couple mutually values and nurtures sexual intimacy, then sex is really not an "issue" in the marriage.

In other words, healthy sexual intimacy is so woven into the fabric of how they do life that they barely notice it as a separate entity.

The positive effects of all that great sex seem to show up throughout the marriage, yet a couple wouldn't necessarily be able to pinpoint such benefits.   The marriage is simply characterized by a shared sense of  being on the "same page" and the "same team," often with a fair amount of joy and grace.

On the other hand, if sex is rarely or never happening, it usually is a big issue. A very big issue.

The lack of sex permeates every aspect of the marriage, tarnishing even the simplest of interactions with disdain and resentment.

"I don't really want to take out the garbage or do anything for you.  I am so tired of being your roommate. I am so tired of feeling rejected."

The rejected spouse doesn't necessarily speak out loud those sentiments (or any resemblance of them), yet the marriage is characterized by the weight of disillusionment and disappointment.  The lack of sex affects everything.

What does this have to do with sin?

More often than not, when we think of sexual sin, particularly in the context of marriage, what comes to mind?  Pornography and adultery, right?

If we lined up 100 people and asked each to name a sexual sin that gravely impacts marriage, I would bet my last dollar that the majority would say either pornography or adultery (or both).

Would anyone mention the sin of ongoing sexual refusal?

We are incredibly quick to identify pornography and adultery as sexual sins that damage and, in some cases, destroy marriages.

We are painfully slow, though, to identify sexual refusal as a sin. Yet we know... we know... that this sin too damages and, in some cases, destroys marriages.

We need look no further than our own marriages (if sex is not mutually valued) or those of people we know.  We need to look no further than the advice column that shows up in our local newspaper, or in the conclusions and research that spill forth from the counseling industry (Christian and secular).

When sex is rarely or never happening in a marriage, it causes division, discouragement and, in some cases, divorce.  It's a serious issue, to say the least.

And more than being an issue, ongoing sexual refusal is a sin.

God clearly tells (and reminds) married couples to have sex... and not just to have it, but to have it often.   He gives no other biblical options for a married person to seek sex except with their spouse.

"Have it often with your spouse and don't have it with other people" is a mantra that permeates all corners of the Bible.

Is it more or less serious than pornography or adultery?  In God's book, sin is sin is sin.

I definitely think sexual refusal is more subtle than pornography or adultery.  But its subtlety does not make it any less severe.  And it doesn't make it any less painful.

Ironically, though, this sin of sexual refusal -- rather than grieving our Christian hearts -- commonly is fodder for comedy.  Girlfriends gather for wine night or Bunco and laugh at each other's sarcastic remarks about their husbands always wanting it.

Or we flip on nightly sitcoms, where marital sex inevitably is pigeonholed into a predictable scene of a goof-ball panting husband wanting sex and his oh-so-much-more-mature wife rolling her eyes, annoyed with what she sees as nothing more than his animalistic and unrefined desires.

Now, far be it from me to say that this sin of sexual refusal is an easy one to acknowledge, repent of and correct.  It's not easy.  Maybe not any easier than repenting of pornography or infidelity.

And I'm not one to throw stones.

In my first marriage, I was the one carelessly not nurturing our sexual intimacy, and I have no doubt such carelessness is what compelled my then husband to march us into divorce court.  Sure, it would have been nice if he would have found it in his heart to stop at a counselor's office long before that, but he didn't.  And at that point, my pleading fell on deaf ears.

The damage was done.

So, suffice to say, I am intimately aware of some of the costs of sexual refusal.

I learned a lot from that pain and regret, which is probably why sex in my current marriage is happening often and enjoyed immensely by both of us.  (In case you were wondering, I still did repent of my careless ways and apologized to my ex-husband, even though I was already remarried).

If you are married and the sin of sexual refusal is laying claim to your marriage, why not humbly and courageously give repentance a shot before you're facing regrets?  There are countless couples who have been where you are, and have found that on the other side of repentance is tenacious and God-filled hope.

pursuit of passion 164x246 The Sexual Sin No One Will Talk About photo

God is about healing brokenness and making all things new.

But He won't do it for us.  We have to partner with Him in that.

For the sake of marriages, Christians have a tremendous opportunity (and responsibility) to stop ignoring (collectively and individually) this sin of sexual refusal.

We have nothing to lose and much to gain through honest dialogue about sex -- and what it means to protect it, savor it, nurture it and pursue it in our marriages.

For more great reading on sexual refusal, check out Paul Byerly's post The Sin the Church Ignores.

Copyright 2013, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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77 Responses to
“The Sexual Sin No One Will Talk About”

  • Buddy Knight says: August 28th, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Sex/sexual intimacy is so important that God says that married couples are not to go for long period of time without sex, even for the "good causes" of prayer and fasting! (I Corinthians 7).

    Paul then writes that they must resume relations lest Satan tempt them!

    If things aren't that great:

    1. Consider that it is your Christian obligation to ensure your mate is sexually attended to.
    2. Note that God designed us to become emotionally closer when we "make love". This is a scientific fact. So any refusal eliminates what God designed as a regular "booster shot" to your emotional connection.

    GREAT ARTICLE!

  • Robin says: August 28th, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Great article!!

  • AJ Collins says: August 28th, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Great point... all of it! I agree! I have been pained by conversations with women who act like sex is a "privilege" that a man must "earn"... especially since I have been the "higher drive" person in our marriage... hard to hear!

  • Jean says: August 28th, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    I only have a climax during oral sex, but my partner does not want to have oral sex with me. I go out of my way to make sure he is satisfied in every way, this leave me feeling rejected and sexual frustrated.

  • Paul H. Byerly says: August 29th, 2013 at 12:05 am

    If you asked 100 marriage bloggers, or marriage minsters, or marriage counsellors, I bet it would be in the top three!

  • JulieSibert says: August 29th, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Definitely @Paul H Byerly... so true.

  • J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) says: August 29th, 2013 at 5:53 am

    I don't want to equate the three. Yet, in a way, sexual refusal communicates a similar message to pornography and adultery--that something or someone else is more important than your spouse, that you're giving away your sexual energy somewhere else with little regard for the damage done to the marriage.

    I think the hard sell for those refusing is that they simply continue with the "I don't wanna" mantra, because it requires extra energy or they don't have a strong drive. But you are so right here, Julie. Ongoing sexual refusal is sin, and God doesn't just leave us with "do it" but wisdom from His Word on how to create enjoyable sexual intimacy with your mate. For those willing to seek it, it can happen.

    Thanks for this excellent post!

  • Mrs. EVB says: August 29th, 2013 at 6:03 am

    Thank you so much for this!

  • Connor says: August 29th, 2013 at 7:54 am

    I honestly wish my wife would read this. I always feel I'm down on the list behind our daughter and her job. Even sometimes behind her family. We always have to have sex on a weekend because she says she's too tired from her job. But honestly, if I could get sex twice a month that would be a huge improvement.

    What's worse is that she doesn't think it's a problem. She says she plans to get better but she never does. She even bought two books about Christian marriage but she hasn't opened them once. Every time I ask her to do something her response is always, "Are you serious?" with an annoyed look on her face. I always feel hurt when she says that.

    But I know if I show her this post, she would get mad at me and give a myriad of excuses of why she doesn't have sex. It's the same story.

  • Angie Grigaliunas says: August 29th, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Thank you for this. Just thank you. You don't even know how validating it is to me.

  • Steve says: August 29th, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Nice post again, Julie. And once again, one that will most likely only be heard by the "choir".

    I'd just like to reinforce what J said: "sexual refusal communicates...that something or someone else is more important than your spouse..." Unfortunately this attitude will be passed on to the next generation as they adopt their parents' lack of healthy sexuality.

    Our church, amazingly, has been preaching through I Corinthians, and though they haven't hit the sexual refusal issue hard enough, imho, I am impressed that we are putting those verses in their correct context--that of giving up our rights to be "right". E.g. we may be "right" about eating meat, but we give up that right for the sake of our brother. We may be justified in refusing our spouse, but we give up that right to serve and bless them, etc. Just hoping that if I surrender my "right" to regular sex, and seek to kill my own selfishness, she might eventually come around?

  • Struggling Wife says: August 29th, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I always read these articles but I never see articles that address things from the side of the refuser. What if you're refusing because sex is rarely satisfying? What if you're refusing because you're tired of being treated poorly until he's in the mood?

    Most of the time that I have sex with my husband it is out of obligation. Over time, resentment builds up because of me feeling like I always have to go out of the way to please him while my needs remain unmet.

  • Chris says: August 29th, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    This is wonderful. Keep on preaching it.

    As a wife who spent a lot of years refusing, I will say that these kinds of posts do have an impact.

    My husband would send me articles and information about the effects of refusal on men and about men's sexual needs. I refused to talk with him about them or even acknowledge having gotten them--but I did read them.

    And I hated them. The surface of my mind dismissed them because they were all trying to convince me that I was wrong. Still, I read them in hopes of finding some way of pointing out why my husband didn't deserve what he wanted. I tried to forget what I'd read. Over time, though, I think these kinds of posts were what softened my heart enough to be able to change.

  • Earl says: August 30th, 2013 at 2:23 am

    Please will you respond to the struggling wife?? We need to also help those of us that are really struggling in marriages and doing our best to support our families yet remain trampled upon.

  • KH says: August 30th, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Julie, this is very well-written. My wife and I have both been guilty of refusing each other. Contrary to what pop-culture portrays (only men wanting intimacy regularly), it hurt my wife just as much, or more, than it hurt me when she was on the receiving end of the refusal. In our fallen, human minds, we have the tendency to downgrade certain sins and make them become "respectable" sins. You're right on target: the affects of refusal pours out into all the other aspects of the marriage relationship and if it's not confronted it will only deteriorate the marriage.

  • JulieSibert says: August 30th, 2013 at 11:49 am

    @Struggling Wife... I have at times addressed the issues you are referring to. In fact, just the other day I wrote a post titled "5 Things Husbands Do to Turn Their Wives Off Sexually." (http://intimacyinmarriage.com/2013/08/25/5-things-husbands-do-that-turn-their-wives-off-sexually/)

    You mention some of the struggles in your marriage... have you talked about these specific things with your husband? Is he aware of the things he could improve upon in order to make sex more pleasurable for you? If not, I encourage you to talk to him and/or write a heartfelt letter, expressing that you do indeed want things to improve, and you want the two of you to work on those things together.

    Overall, I definitely think that when sexual intimacy is a difficult aspect of a marriage, in order for things to significantly improve, it takes the effort of both people.

    It's easy to get stuck in negative patterns. Doing the hard work of setting healthier patterns is indeed hard work, but the pay offs are huge.

  • PA says: August 30th, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Thank you for this blog. Without going into detail, in our marriage we only have sex about 2 or 3 times a year. It's due to a combination of things but not acceptable, and though my wife and I talk about doing better -- we just don't and have just come to accept this version of marriage. This blog is inspirational to try to change things in the future.

  • Greg says: August 30th, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    So very well articulated--thank you for sharing this!

  • Janna says: August 31st, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    It hasn't been until recently that I really realized, my eyes open and repentance occurred, of the sin I was committing by refusing my husband. The majority of the times I felt justified in my "no's", much of what the Struggling Wife was alluding to. There have been different levels of awareness of my "sin" throughout my marriage, from times where I saw what Scripture said and I just didn't care because my husbands actions didn't "deserve" my action in the bedroom, to truly feeling exhausted and feeling like I had nothing to give, to times where I wouldn't say no for such a long stretch, so I felt like I was "giving enough".

    As someone else mentioned, you may be "preaching to the choir", but there may be just the right person, at the right time, "stumble across" your message (directed by a Divine hand), and their life and marriage, will forever be changed by the truth of your words.

  • LL says: August 31st, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    I believe the refusal can lead to the other sins mentioned, pornography and adultery.

  • Cecilia says: August 31st, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    How is not wanting to have sex a sin?

  • Jed says: September 1st, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Wow, another great post and an interesting angle. You are right, this is something that we would not hear talked about as a sexual sin. We have all heard about the sin of adultery, We occasionally have heard about the sin of pornography, we hear about the sin of lust, but I heard about the sin of withholding the sex from your spouse only once and then it was over coffee with my preacher, not in Sunday School or church.

    It can and does destroy marriages, it needs to be talked about, it needs to be shown that it is wrong.

    Keep writing Julie, you are a big help to us all!

  • JulieSibert says: September 2nd, 2013 at 7:08 am

    @Cecilia... I don't think occasionally saying no to sex in a marriage is a sin, but I think that needs to be the rare exception, not the rule. When there is consistent ongoing refusal, and there is no reasonable reason as to why (sickness, injury, etc), then I do think that is a sin. God clearly tells married couples to have sex and have it often. Sex is part of marriage, so if someone chooses marriage, they are agreeing with God's design of it, and that includes having sex.

    I'm not saying that sexual struggles and marriage struggles are easy to resolve. Far from it. But a solution isn't to stop having sex.

  • Scott says: September 2nd, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Great, great post. One that should get much more play. While we commonly tell people looking/lusting for others is adultery, we rarely identify refusal as sin or another form of adultery. A looking to something else for what should be satisfied relationally in the marriage. One spouse closing themselves off and being off limits is so common in the couples I talk too, but the spouse (male or female) doing the refusing rarely identifies this as a problem.

    Bottom line, the refusing spouse needs to get to the heart of the refusal, it is just a symptom of an inner emotional/spiritual issue.

    Thanks for the great article. Going to link it to my Facebook page.

  • q.banks says: September 2nd, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    Its a terrible thing

  • psc says: September 3rd, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Scott, I believe you are right in saying,"Bottom line, the refusing spouse needs to get to the heart of the refusal, it is just a symptom of an inner emotional/spiritual issue."
    While inner issues may vary from couple to couple, I believe that many of us good hearted spouses have conformed our picture of martial bliss to the world's system. The only way to find contentment in our marriages is being in a right relationship with Jesus Christ and allow Him transform our view of marriage, our spouse, ourselves and the source of true joy and happiness.

  • Seeker says: September 3rd, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Sometimes the issue the refuser acknowledging the problem as refusing. When the refuser only allows sex 3 times a month and the refused wants it at least 3 times a week, it is a problem of refusing. In this situation, the refuser denies that she is refusing although the refused person is sexually starved!

  • Apophia says: September 5th, 2013 at 12:12 am

    Wow! That is a revelation to me! Thank you for sharing

  • Still Working says: September 5th, 2013 at 9:41 am

    @Cecelia... Not desiring sex is not, in itself, sinful. There are too many factors involved to lay that burden on you. However, when not *wanting* sex leads to not *having* sex in marriage, then I believe the Bible is clear that such is not God's design.

    If we define sin by what the Bible says, at some point in time, we have to do business with 1 Corinthians 7, where God, through Paul, very clearly tells *both* husbands and wives to not refuse one another sexually.

    When it comes to sex in marriage, there can be four scenarios.

    a. Both husband and wife want sex.
    b. Husband wants sex, but wife doesn't
    c. Wife wants sex, but husband doesn't
    d. Neither wants sex.

    In the typical marriage, sex only takes place in the first scenario, leaving one of the spouses feeling unloved, undesirable, and even hormonally frustrated. But according to 1 Corinthians 7, sex should take place in the first three scenarios. It should only be withheld in the fourth, when neither wants it, and even then, God warns that the absence of sex should be for a limited time. Frequent sex in marriage is God's design, which is what Julie has been faithfully encouraging.

    If sex isn't happening because *either* the husband or the wife doesn't desire it, then I think the Bible is clear that such is not God's design, and therefore, "missing the mark," which is what "sin" really means.

    I applaud Julie's courage in this blog to remind us all that the *refusal* of marital sex may not only reflect a nonsinful lack of desire, but is also contrary to God's design, and therefore, as much a sexual sin as pursuing sex outside of marriage. A lack of sexual desire is not something to simply accept as "the way it is." We must see it as a marital problem that needs to be addressed.

    God designed sex for marriage and defined marriage in sexual terms ("one flesh"). To have sex outside of marriage is not God's design; to *not* have sex inside of marriage is equally not God's design.

  • Richard says: September 5th, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Julie - This is a great article. Now, do you think refusal could be considered passive adultery and thereby has a biblical basis as grounds for divorce?

  • JulieSibert says: September 5th, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    @Richard... That is a valid question and one that is not easily answered. I have thought about it a lot... I mean A LOT!! Because it is a question that often comes up for those of us who blog about sex.

    First of all, one would have to determine what constitutes a sexless marriage. Some people say that if a couple is having sex less than 10 times a year, that's sexless. Whereas other people believe it has to be defined in years, not months... like that sex hasn't happened in years. Obviously, it's an arbitrary judgment as to what constitutes sexless, whereas physical adultery (someone having an affair) is not arbitrary... either they had sex with another person or they didn't. The "sexless" definition is difficult to determine. I will say that what I think some people consider "sexless" is really not sexless. I've had people email me and say that sex 2 times a month is sexless. I wouldn't agree with that sentiment.

    Second, is the person doing the refusing making any effort to acknowledge the sin and repent of it and fix the problem. If we compare this to physical adultery (someone having an affair), there obviously is a difference between someone who is committing adultery and has no intention to "turn away from this sin," compared to someone who has committed adultery, yet is now repenting and striving to heal the marriage. "Technically" from a biblical standpoint, the second scenario would still be grounds for divorce, some would say. Adultery has been committed, so the person who remains would have grounds for divorce. BUT, most people recognize that the second scenario is entirely different than the first scenario. The second scenario obviously has greater chance of a reconciled marriage, so divorce wouldn't be a good option.

    That's my long winded way of saying that we have to consider if the refusing spouse is doing anything to repent and try to improve the situation. If so, then there is still hope.

    Also, have we ruled out any physical or mental issues (hormonal problems, depression, mental illness, etc). Lots of factors going on that have to be considered before just bailing out of the marriage.

    And then of course we have to hold everything up against 1 Corinthians 7:12-16. One interpretation of this would argue that if someone claims to be a believer, yet is clearly ignoring God's command about sex in marriage, then are they really a believer? If we arrive at a conclusion that they are not AND they want out of the marriage, then the believing spouse would not be bound. Clearly, though, the non-believing spouse would need to be the one who would say they want out.

    Now one interpretation that goes further with that scripture is that the spouse doing the refusing can't possibly be a believer AND has already "left" the marriage, even if they are still technically living in the marriage. Some would say that the remaining spouse (the believing spouse) is no longer bound and could grant a divorce. (This is the same argument made when there is domestic abuse happening in a marriage... the abuser has essentially "left" the marriage by being so abusive within it.)

    I know this is all more than you were looking for. As you can tell, I don't feel it's an easy issue. My gut wants to say if someone has endured long-standing and constant sexual refusal, then they are no longer bound in the marriage and could get the heck out. BUT, my heart and soul recognize that it is a more complicated issue, compounded by the fact that each marriage is a unique set of factors, circumstances, etc.

    I'm not even sure if someone can answer this for another person, despite the fact that many people suffering in sex-starved marriages are desperate for a definitive answer.

  • Still Working says: September 6th, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Julie, I wonder if your last response is an attempt to use the Bible as a law-book, interpreting words and phrases as a lawyer would. However, the Bible is a love story, a Divine Romance (with aplogies to Gene Edwards), not a book of statutes. As a husband whose sex life isn't what I would prefer, it would never occur to me that sexual refusal would be grounds for divorce in God's kingdom. Why? Because God has given me my wife as one to love as he loves the Church. For better or for worse, remember? My love for her is not only for her benefit, but also for mine as it helps conform me into the image of Jesus. Rather than trying to discern whether my wife has crossed some legislative line between not enough sex and "sexless," I would prefer to spend my energies trying to make her feel like the most loved person on the planet, whether or not she responds sexually.

  • JulieSibert says: September 6th, 2013 at 7:46 am

    @Still Working... thank you for your comment. In my previous I comment, I was simply trying to respond to a question that those of us who blog about sex often get.... is on-going sexual refusal grounds for divorce?

    With my response, I was trying to point out that it would be quite the stretch to try to argue divorce as justifiable. However, though the Bible is a love story, it also is chock full of commands and statutes as well. It is both a book of unabashed love AND a book of clear instructions. God clearly tells married couples to have sex. If there is no reasonable reason why they couldn't be having sex (illness, injury, etc.) then God wants married couples having sex. It's understandable that someone whose spouse is totally unwilling to have sex would begin to wonder if what they have is truly a marriage.

    I do agree with you too that as spouses we are to be sacrificial and seek to serve our spouse. What if one person does that and the other person is consistently looking at porn and/or having affairs? Do we still tell them, "oh, just keep serving and overlook the adultery." Well, no (at least I don't think most people would do that). I think in that situation, most people would advise the faithful spouse that they need to really consider if their spouse has already "left" the marriage.

    We have to stop minimizing the sin of ongoing sexual refusal... we need to look closely at it and stop pretending like it is not destroying marriages.

    Anyway, as all this dialogue points out, these are not easy issues at all.

    I appreciate your comments! Thank you so much for stopping by!

  • Happy Hour | The Romantic Vineyard says: September 6th, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    [...] The Sexual Sin No One Will Talk About – What sins come to mind when you think of sexual sin? You may not have considered this one, and you may practice it from time to time. [...]

  • Susan says: September 7th, 2013 at 6:33 am

    I just want to encourage you to keep saying what needs to be said about sexual intimacy in marriage. I stand here as (former) one of those wives that you are writing about today. If it hadn't been for people like you, Julie, declaring the truth, I would still be denying my husband and myself of the closeness we now share. We had been married almost 25 years before I realized my sin.

    My husband used to tell me what my denial did to him. I didn't believe him. I don't know why. He never lied to me about anything before. It wasn't until I started reading Sheila's, J's, and Julie's blogs and saw that these were women saying the same things my husband always said that I finally was broken.

    Keep telling the truth, Julie, even if you feel like you're "preaching to the choir." You never know the lives you may change.

  • JulieSibert says: September 7th, 2013 at 7:06 am

    @Susan... Thank you for your encouragement Susan! You made my day!

  • Brian Owens says: September 7th, 2013 at 9:56 am

    It's a great article, and the comments just add so much more to the topic. There is an aspect that I wanted to add, a slightly different angle to view this issue from. Husband and wife, married 23 years and going, 4 kids, one kid is out of the house, kid #2 is about to leave, so we are entering the soon to be empty nest phase. And we are still young. I am 49, my wife is 42. The problem is that there is little sex, yes. The biggest problem, in my opinion is the reason for the lack of it. And it is indifference. I will explain. Recently I have entered the "stay at home dad" stage. She went back to work, good salary, but very, extremely busy career, with one week out of 4 out of the country. When at home, it's work 12-14 hours a day. She does try to be as present as she can with the family, especially the kids, and I get help in the house, and all is working out smoothly in that area. It's when we enter the bedroom that the words "indifferent" and "lack of concern" or "uninterested" enter the bed with us. There is just nothing there. I could be sleeping with my old buddy from college, as far as I know. There is no hint, no desire, nothing. At times we talk about this, and she says she has no feelings, as in no emotions, no desire. And I am left empty ended. Yes, few times we had sex, and I always wonder if she only goes through the motion out of compassion, pity or feeling guilty. Trouble is, that is no way to make love to your spouse. Having to beg for something that is reasonably expected isn't going to improve the relationship either. Right now, all July and August have passed, and more than 5 minutes of cuddling nothing else happened. I was hoping (and so was she, I guess) to have a no-kids date and evening at home, and the expectations were high. Then the call came from work, new assignments, flight out tomorrow ( Sunday) and all evening yesterday and all day today, work work work. What troubles me is the fact that our romantic night was cancelled, and that she did not even say one word of "Oh, I am so sorry, honey, I will make it out to you" or something like that. Not a single word. She is in there, working, and it will go that way until she boards the plane on Sunday. So I am left wondering .. is her work so much MORE important than our relationship and our healthy intimate life ? Possible that she cannot find 1 hour for us ? The message is clear and loud, and it is that everything else is more important than "me and her". And this leaves me in a sad spot, and very difficult to handle. Indifference, lack of concern, can be just as difficult as a refusal.

  • Robyn Gibson says: September 8th, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    "And more than being an issue, ongoing sexual refusal is a sin."

    This was great GREAT stuff Julie!

  • Anonymous says: September 10th, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    I think the world of you admitting that sexual refusal was a key factor in the demise of your first marriage. You are truly one in a million women, as females are taught by society and the clergy that sexual desire is the man's problem, so they can ignore it in marriage with impunity.
    Having said that, please understand my next statement - the only thing that made you pay attention to sex was a divorce. The "stay forever" plan of most Christian couples works against them. I would argue, not to hurt your feelings but to make a point, that you deserved your divorce. No amount of reading articles or pleading on the part of your first husband made you change your mind. It took a crisis to force change. I guess what I'm telling you is that your first husband was well within his rights to initiate a divorce since his view of your marriage ahead was without the sex he needed to be faithful...he did you BOTH a favor. Again, I admire your candor with this subject but I can only question any advice in this area that removes the possibility of divorce as a final option.

  • cme4brain says: September 10th, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    @struggling wife: sorry that sex is an obligation for you, but I bet your husband going to work to earn a paycheck is an obligation you benefit from! Too bad you two are so mismatched in your sex drives, but your wifely obligation is clear. This is the best article I have ever seen, I suggest heeding it. How wife put sex on the back burner while they enjoy a home and companion from their husbands! 20 minutes of your time and you get all you dreamed of! All your husband asks is what you promised at the alter! If he can't cheat, you shouldn't say no!

  • cme4brain says: September 10th, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    @ Cecelia- not wanting to have sex is not a sin! Not satisfying your husband when you obligated him to one woman for sex- you- is! Supposed he stopped going to work? Would you like that? If you don't want sex and don't want to live up to your marital obligation (providing sex is as much an obligation for you as not cheating on you is for him) then let him out of the crummy marriage you are creating so he can find someone who wants him! With that risk in mind of your being along (without alimony), I'll bet you could find some time for him.

  • Jim says: September 11th, 2013 at 1:47 am

    Would any former refuser care to tell us all the reason(s) for refusing your spouse ? And if you had children at home during that time, were they aware of what was happening between their parents ?

  • 2into1 says: September 11th, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    @Anonymous. And the two shall become one flesh. What God has joined together let no man put asunder. It's nice to look for loopholes in the Bible to justify what we want to do, but I don't know of anywhere where either the letter *or* the spirit of scripture authorizes divorce due to lack of sex...or lack of money...or lack of meaningful communication...or lack of romance, etc. Marriage is the Earthly image of God's union with his Bride. If we check out because we don't get what we want in bed, what does that say about the God/Church oneness? We are all fallen sinners, and marriage is about forgiveness, forebearance, and love, which always hopes, always perseveres. Marriage should be the one place where we are forgiven for our sins, even the sin of withholding sex. I feel loved when my wife desires me sexually, but her low libido makes that hormonally difficult. She, on the other hand, feels loved when I rub her feet. Now, I can complain that she doesn't want an explosive orgasm or I can love her where she is...by rubbing her feet. David said, "The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing." In Christ, our needs *are* met, even when our spouses don't do their part. By abiding in Christ, with gratitude for what we have, we can continue to love each other until death us do part, even if we don't get lucky when we want. I don't believe in God's kingdom, lack of sex is ever justification for divorce.

  • Martha says: September 13th, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    It's more of a question then a comment. We have been married for 30+ years; we only have sex maybe 2-3 times a year; we are both ok with that as we both lack sexual drive; I think it's because of the medications we both are on. We kiss, touch and cuddle, but is it wrong that we are not having sex?

  • Are You Uncomfortable? | The Forgiven Wife says: September 15th, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    […] that their sexual refusal and gate-keeping are sinful. (Julie Sibert has a great piece on this at Intimacy in Marriage.) Carefully read 1 Corinthians 7:1 – 7 (and then read Paul and Lori Byerly’s “Sexual […]

  • JulieSibert says: September 16th, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    @Martha... thanks for the comment and question. It sounds like you still do have intimate contact and you mention that you are still having sex 2-3 times a year. You are right that there are some medications that affect sex drive, as does age for some people, etc.. While you would not want to suddenly alter any medications, you might want to talk to your health care providers to see if there are ways to boost sex drive either by changing medications, supplementing other ones, etc.

    I interpret 1 Corinthians 7 to mean that as long as a married couple is physically able to have sex, they should strive to have sex. That being said, I think what is encouraging about your situation is that it does not sound like there is discord between the two of you with the drop in sexual activity.

    That being said, I encourage you to seek God and ask Him to show you if this is an area where your marriage could benefit from more intimate sexual and sensuous contact, even if not actually having intercourse. Ultimately, you and your husband, with God's guidance, will arrive at understanding what sexual intimacy looks like for your particular marriage.

    Thank you again for commenting! I really appreciate it.

  • dad says: September 19th, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    I am a bit nervous, for I have just finally got the nerve up to ask you some questions. I have a beautiful, gorgeous wife of 20+ years who I am absolutely head over heals in love with. We have 3 beautiful children who all are school age with the oldest in high school. We have never been unfaithful to each other, and have high christian values. When I read your bio, my wife and I have very similar traits and values as your family.

    I would like some suggestions on how to break the ice to my bride on how to communicate with each other about our sexual relationship, and yes about spicing things up our household. We both come from conservative families who don't mention the sex word, and I feel we are stuck in a rut, a BIG RUT. We enjoy each others company averaging ounce a week, but it is lets get it over and done with in 30 minutes. We pretty much stick with the same routine, over and over, with not much foreplay, and never any follow up afterward.
    We both work full time, and try to keep up with 3 busy children. My wife is by far my better half, and like I said before I absolutely adore her. I just want our relationship to grow both spiritiaully, romantically, and sexually with the women I cherish and love. In a few years our children will be going of to college, and I want to have a intimate relationship with the women that I love.
    The last thing I want is to appear as an ungrateful husband and or father, because I am not. I thank the Lord each and every day for all of my blessings. I just want to be intimate with my wife, and seriously I don't know how to approach the situation. I need to bring up the subject some how with out making her feel demeaned, or unappreciated, or even undervalued in any way. I want our marriage to blossoom, prosper, and yes become VERY intimate in every way possible.
    I would appreciate all the advise you can give.

    Sincerely,
    Dad

    Dad

  • JulieSibert says: September 19th, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    @dad... thanks for your comment. I encourage you to write your wife a letter, with the goal of it being a springboard into more verbal conversation. Tone would be drenched in love, of course, which doesn't sound like it would be difficult because you obviously love your wife tremendously. Yet, it is a reasonable expectation that you want more intimacy. Key would be to frame it that your desire isn't just about sex... it's about wanting to connect on all levels with the woman you love. So, it's about all forms of intimacy... emotional, physical, spiritual.

    Express to her also that you want the two of you to spend more time going on occasional dates and nurturing your friendship. Reassure her that it is because how much you appreciate her and love her that you want the two of you to continue to strengthen your relationship.

    As for sexual intimacy, I am wondering if she is experiencing pleasure as much as she could be. In other words, maybe try more foreplay. She may resist this at first, but it may go a long way to help her relax and really enjoy sex (thus looking forward to it more). So, more caressing, more backrubs, more light touches all over her body, etc. You may have to be proactive in carving out this time together.

    I know it can be difficult to change patterns and routines, but if those patterns aren't really building a closer bond, it's perfectly understandable why you want them to change. In other words, you could keep doing what you're doing, not rock the boat, not bring the matter up, but then you will keep getting what you're getting.

    If on the other hand you courageously start to get vulnerable with her about your desires and needs... and that it's not just about sex, but about genuinely connecting with her because of your deep love for her... that might be the wake up call she needs.

    Anyway, I would start with the above, stay the course, pray for your marriage, ask your wife how you can better pray for her and love her, etc.

    If after all that she still shows no interest in fostering deeper intimacy, I encourage you to suggest counseling. If she won't go, then go on your own. Might be what is needed to help her see that you will do whatever you can to not just have an "okay" marriage, but to genuinely have a great marriage that will outlast the parenting years.

    Hope this is helpful! Thanks for reaching out!

  • WH says: September 21st, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    What a marvelous reply to "Dad", Julie. I hope he takes it to heart.

    What I might add is that Dad most certainly is entitled to the relationship he's desiring. He looks down the road and just sees dwindling desire on the part of his wife, perhaps leaving him vulnerable to temptations. What he needs to stress to his wife is that she cannot continue this way, she may be placing too much emphasis on things other than her husband (read: children, work). If she's not responsive to his requests, she really can't expect him to be the father, provider, companion and everything SHE wants if she's not doing what HE wants. What I'm saying is that it's been 20 years of an investment by him in the marriage, it's time he saw some return on his good behavior. If counseling doesn't work soon, he shouldn't wait another 20 years to expect what he needs as a good husband. A lot of Christian wives think they can demand that their husbands kill themselves providing a near-perfect home for them, yet let the ONE THING a man needs from his wife alone will go unattended. "Dad" sounds like a great guy that needs to speak up about the importance of his wife's investment in their marriage, and speak up with a deadline.

  • WH says: September 23rd, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    @2into1: I know what I'd tell you...if a sexless marriage is OK for you, enjoy yourself. I, however, believe both partners in a marriage are entitled to sex. Sex is what makes a relationship a marriage, nothing else has that effect. If you think one copulation is all that's required for a wife to meet her physical obligation to her husband, I wish you the best. I just hope that you're not thinking about an affair or watching porn a few years from now, because that's where many men in your position end up. I, however, feel my physical relationship with my wife is utterly important and I don't give it up.

  • Dad says: September 25th, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Julie,
    Thank-you for you comments, and it so refreshing to hear from somebody who is so completely honest. I have taken your advise and have written a Love Note to my bride, expressing all of the gratitude, love, and respect that I share with her. I am finally starting to open my heart and soul to my wife, although I am scared to death of the possibility of rejection.

    I would like to start educating myself on how to build a Strong and Intimate Christian marriage based on True Love. There are so many Christian books out there, I wouldn't know where to start. Based on your wealth of knowledge can you or someone else give me some direction. I am slowly trying to open my eyes to the endless possibilities and like you said "if we keep doing what we are doing, we will get what we have gotten". I am praying that we can change, and I am willing to take a chance.

    Dad

  • Carla says: September 27th, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Thanks for your article. I want to share a new concept I started In my own marriage. It is what I call The Policy. The Policy, which we always grin while talking about, is that I will say Yes to sex, and if at all possible whenever he wants it. If there is a day where I am obviously tired or sick or something schedule-wise is going on, my husband is always very sweet and patient in waiting for a better time, because he is so well-satisfied that waiting is easy.
    So Yes is the rule, and Wait is the exception. I am so happy that he is happy and satisfied, and I was surprised how MUCH sex a normal middle aged man would want! I was even more surprised how much I like this new routine too! The more we have, the more we want, and we have gotten more creative too. We are closer on many levels too, and that is so neat.
    I do believe that as a Christian wife, it is my responsibility to BE THERE for him, to satisfy him, to not defraud him, to make him my priority. I love him more and more, and he feels loved and accepted by me. We have been married almost 30 years and the last couple years have been the best. We are blessed. I used to say No so much, and I had no idea how it was hurting my husband and our marriage. He loves me so much and would do anything for me, and I feel the same about him.

  • Love Links | One Flesh Marriage says: September 29th, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    […] The Sexual Sin No One Will Talk About – I am a little late to the game on this one, but what an amazing post by our friend Julie at Intimacy In Marriage. Ongoing sexual refusal is something we talk a lot about here at OFM as do many of our marriage blogger friends. It is also something we hear from many readers who are hurting deeply! […]

  • Kevin says: September 30th, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I wish people would see this in the same light as porn and adultery
    AND I WISH GOD WOULD CONVICT JUST AS MUCH AS HE DOES WITH PORN AND ADULTERY HE NEEDS TO RIDE THOSE PEOPLE'S CONSCIENCE LIKE HE DOES THE ONES THAT COMMIT ADULTERYand watch porn.
    Then things would change

  • WH says: October 7th, 2013 at 6:19 am

    @Carla: you have found God's answer for a happy marriage, please share it with your friends and most importantly, any children you have.

    @Kevin: you're absolutely right. All we can do as individuals is to treat both sins (neglect and affairs/porn) as the same in our personal lives.

  • Daniel says: October 18th, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Unfortunately I believe the only way to change a refusing wife is to leave her. Long talks, honest letters, prayer, communication, etc... all good, and all have been tried, but unfortunately these do not change a refusing wife. A wife who refuses gets away with it until her husband leaves her -- first emotionally and then physically. That is a sad fact of life.

    Julie's life experience is a common one, sad to say. Should a good Christian husband in his 40's have to give up sexual satisfaction for the rest of his life just because his wife is through with sex?

    One spouse, the refusing wife can "win" while her husband loses, or both can lose in a destroyed marriage. Take your pick.

  • Mohamed says: October 27th, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Nice article. There are the same principles in Islam as the ones you mentioned in christianity regarding sexuality. For example, a saying of the prophet says that whenever a man (or woman) makes sex with his partner, he (she) gets a reward. Also, it is considered as sin if a partner refuses sex with his (her) spouse without reason, etc.
    I live in a similar situation (sex-starved marriage) with a wife who is not interested in sex and considers it as a very secondary issue. She refuses any discussion about it. She refused all books I bought about the subject, including two excellent books written by Michele Davis "Sex-starved marriage" and "sex-starved women" I really advise every one to read them, even "healthy" couples... I bought the "sex-starved women" book just to show her that women also may suffer from this problem and that "I do not exaggerate" as she always claims. The books propose many solutions, however, it stresses on communication...

  • AnonymousOne says: November 3rd, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    No sex is better than lousy sex. I'm not doing all the work in bed with someone who would obviously be doing something else. I've given up and accepted that this is the kind of marriage she wants. At least I'm not beating my head against the wall that apparently I've been communicating with. I think I liked my wife better when she was lying to me about who she was. I've given up on trying to romance her and whatnot after having done so only to be disappointed in the end by her lack of interest and unwillingness to do nothing beyond lying on her back. I love my wife endlessly, and because I do I feel if I don't accept this pathetic sexual relationship it will be the end of our marriage. And I probably wouldn't feel this way if her grand idea wasn't to destroy our sexual relationship efforts by wanting to have another child and putting more strain on us both a sexually and financially. But what she wants is obviously vastly more important than what I need.

  • Sean says: November 12th, 2013 at 12:23 am

    Sexual refusal IS adultery.

  • JulieSibert says: November 12th, 2013 at 7:54 am

    @Sean… I don't think it's apples-to-apples comparison to a spouse having an affair (few couples would throw them into the same category), BUT I hear what you are saying. Ongoing sexual refusal, especially with no willingness on the refusing spouse to address the issue and move toward healthier choices, is certainly sinning against God and destroying the marriage covenant.

  • WyoCowboy says: November 23rd, 2013 at 10:55 am

    The one thing that I don't see in all of these comments & article is what is tearing me apart in my marriage right now. My wife takes the biblical passage that she should offer her body to me on occasion but dreads it & wants it over fast. Then she is off the hook biblically. I want my wife to actually desire me like I desire her. My desire for her equalls my love for her. When she doesn't desire me, I feel no love from her. I haven't felt it for so long that I can't remember when I did! I've been dealing with this for 20 yrs & I'm ready for it all to be over! We've talked, cried, argued, etc about it for yrs. And I've prayed a lot about it!!! We have done some secular counseling as well. I've always come away from it all with her saying,"This is who I am, I am me & I wouldn't be me if I had to change all of these things!" One example, she has never even considered oral sex for me in 20 yrs. I have asked if just trying once would be an option but I'm looked at as immoral for even considering. We went through a spell of me performing oral for her & I know she really enjoyed it. She refuses me to do it anymore because I feel she thinks that it should be reciprocated. I enjoy doing it for her. As well, I let all with life pile up about 3 yrs ago with this marriage bed problem being the largest. I considered suicide but in turn contacted a counselor. My wife's response to my consideration of suicide was far from loving. She seemed angry that I would leave all our financial woes on her & the raising of our boys up to her. That opened my eyes to question her true love for me. I still question it. Presently, I'm truly contemplating divorce! Any advice would be appreciated!

  • Topper says: December 2nd, 2013 at 1:13 am

    This just happened to me a few months back. I agreed to counseling with a hireling shepherd (licensed 501c3 pastor) and his wife. They were counseling my frozen wife and me. Not only did they not defend me against my wife's slippery evasion of their weekly intimacy advice, but there came a point where I was practically begging him to tell my wife that her chronic refusal of sex with me was a scriptural sin. Reluctantly and tepidly, the cowardly man acknowledged this, but then, instead of holding her feet to the fire, he quickly dropped this line of conversation and moved onto more safe grounds for him, like what sins males in marriages typically commit, instead of the usual female ones. I am sure this man would insist he is not a "feminist" but I am sure for myself that his actions most certainly are in accord with feminism. He's an American evangelical castrotto-- in other words, he's your typical modern American "pastor."

  • SEX: Marriage's Biggest Lie? | Intimacy in Marriage says: December 2nd, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    […] refusing our spouse.  Nope.  All that is in the mix for sure.  I even wrote a post about the sexual sin no one will talk about (sadly, the post was wildly […]

  • Benjamin Robinson says: December 5th, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Word! Thank you for writing this, and thank you for your transparency and willingness to be vulnerable. I believe this post is going to change lives! :-)

  • Topper says: December 23rd, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    @2into1:
    A) I am not talking about a marriage where a wife devalues an "explosive orgasm," as you put it. I am talking about a marriage where a wife refuses to her husband any and all access to her body, virtually always, despite the vows she took to never do such a thing.
    B) The New Testament declares that if you have enough faith, you ought to be able to handle poisonous snakes without any fear. Being the New Testament Absolute Literalist you profess to be, I ask you: Would you be afraid to pick up a rattlesnake? If so, you can excuse yourself however you want, but I am seeing an obvious inconsistency here. The passage about the poisonous snake handling is actually even more direct in the New Testament than anything the NT says about divorce. Go check it out.
    C) oh, and one last thing: if I should fall into a wretched porn addiction in large part as a result of my wife's sin of sexual neglect, but I still want her to rub my feet, are you going to come to my defense, or are you going to fire both barrels if castigation at me and tell my wife that she doesn't owe me anything until I stop the porn?

    I'm just looking for some consistency here, bro. Are you going to show me some?

  • Rowena says: February 17th, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    I am now a refuser. Why? The effects of unconfessed porn (and God only knows what else) has finally taken it's toll on me. Denial and minimizing is all I got when I would catch him. After 8 years of giving him nearly everything he wanted (except anal sex...sorry, just can't do that one)...I have nothing left to offer. The shame that I never could measure up meant that I dressed in the closet, showered with the door locked, and over time, cringed when he threw the "it's time" look my way. His libido was always sparked by lust for others...I never got a look from him "that way" no matter how hard I tried. There is no intimacy and never has been. It is nothing but "popular mechanics"...how many times he can get me to the big "O" is an ego boost for him.

    I must say that if married sex was intended to prevent temptation, well, it is been of no effect...the devil has enjoyed a real heyday in our bedroom. Done. Garden CLOSED....and now I do not have to concern myself with what he chooses to do further...or what a failure I must be to him each time he critiques our performance. Let the chips fall where they may.

    We are early sixties...apparently, this plagued his last marriage as well. Maybe a drought will remind him of the gentle rain of Grace he once had...God help us both.

  • 5 Reasons the Church Won't Talk Authentically About Sex | Intimacy in Marriage says: February 20th, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    […] the sin of sexual refusal (which, ironically, is often on the scene before pornography use, making the temptation of […]

  • Journey into the Looking Glass, Part 2: To Have and to Withhold, from This Day Forward | The Forgiven Wife says: March 10th, 2014 at 3:00 am

    […] of being the sinners regarding sex—yet if we are refusing, we are sinning. (Julie Sibert has a wonderful piece at Intimacy in Marriage about refusal as sin and another about the church not doing a good job of […]

  • Seth says: March 11th, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    I am in so much pain right now. My wife and I have not had sex for 7 months and it does not seem to effect her at all. However, I am devastated, constantly trying to avoid temptation, and struggling severely with my self esteem. We have been having marital issues and we feel that we have "fallen out of love". We both know what each others needs are. Hers is gifts, quality time, and words of affirmation. Mine is physical touch and that includes of course, sex. She says she has no desire to touch me at all and we have not touched in 7 months either. This hurt my feelings. She admitted that even when we were first married, sex sometimes was out of obligation and that hurt too. For the past while, I have been trying so very hard to meet her needs and give her a reason to love me, but she has never tried to meet mine. I have not asked her to hold my hand or touch me because she said she does not feel the desire to do so at all. I recently had trouble with pornography because I was feeling so very rejected, unwanted, and unloved. I told her about it. She was not happy obviously and I am not happy with my choice. She and church leaders I have confessed to throw this on me so hard saying that everything that has been going on is my fault. No body understands what I go through. What I have went through. They have not been in my shoes. I have been trying and trying to resist temptation while at the same time, not bothering my wife with sex because I know she doesn't want it. I have never felt so low in my life. I don't know what to do. Don't get me wrong, I take full account that what I did was not right, but am I completely to blame? I feel like I am. Again, no one could understand how difficult it is avoid temptation unless you are in my shoes. Feelings of being unloved with feelings of being unwanted, with feelings of an unhappy marriage, with feelings of knowing that your wife does not want to have sex with you, along with natural sexual desire feelings, makes things so hard. I don't even want to look at pornography. All I want is to have a healthy sexual relationship with my wife where BOTH of us want it and are happy with it. That is all I desire. However, I feel like I'm a selfish, pig that has sinned and that I am unloved by everyone and god. I wish I could rewind my life and start over sometimes. I feel so much anguish from sinning and I feel like I am the only reason my family is in Jeopardy.

  • TGSantini says: March 26th, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    This is a really difficult area for me to understand.

    Clearly refusal, where one spouse is saying no most of the time for no reason is a sin - but in my experience, there is almost always some reason for near or complete refusal. So whether refusal is a sin or not hinges on the validity of that reason.

    The danger is extending it to situations where one spouse is not providing sex that is hot enough or frequent enough for the (lets call them) the sex hungry spouse.

    For example, lets say your spouse is a wonderful lover who takes you to mind blowing places, but only wants have sex once a week, doesn't want to perform oral sex because they think its disgusting, and doesn't want to do certain positions because they think the positions focus too much on gratifying the body and not on loving the whole person. You are "unsatisfied" because you want more and hotter sex. I don't think in this situation your "less adventurous" spouse is sinning.

    Not in your article, but elsewhere, I have read where the "sex hungry" spouse accuses the "less adventurous" spouse I describe above of sinning. I don't think the "less adventurous" spouse is sinning. I think this is a misinterpretation of Corinthians.

    What do you think?

    And does anyone have any links to a good quality bible analysis of this issue - is it a sin to decline certain requests for frequency and sex acts, even though that leaves your spouse unsatisfied, though both spouses would agree that in general the sex is crazy good ?

    Less adventurous spouse is 10 out of 10 satisfied with the sex and sex hungry is maybe 7 or 8 out of 10. If less adventurous does the things sex hungry wants, LESS ADVENTUROUS will drop to 7 or 8 out of 10 and SEX HUNGRY might get to 9 or 10 out of 10.

    Who is sinning if anyone, "sex hungry" for pushing too hard or "less adventurous" for declining.

    Thanks so much for the great blog post and the opportunity to comment!!

  • JulieSibert says: March 27th, 2014 at 9:39 am

    @TGSantini… thank you for your comments.

    One thing I always come back to is that the foundation has to be love. It's not loving to force certain acts and it's not loving to refuse sex completely.

    I think God implores married couples to not take this matter of sex lightly. If a couple is capable, they should be having sexual intercourse on a regular basis (they would have to mutually arrive at what "regular basis" means).

    As for sexual acts outside of sexual intercourse, I certainly look at it on a spectrum of what would be considered reasonable to unreasonable. While I certainly think oral sex is reasonable, I don't think a situation where one person is forcing another person or belittling them for not doing it is really an approach based in love. In the same regard, if the spouse who doesn't want to do it doesn't really have reasonable reasons beyond "I just don't like it," then I would encourage them to see if that approach is based in love.

    Other acts like anal sex, etc., I think it's completely understandable that this is not an apples to apples comparison to something like oral sex. All sexual acts are not the same, and as such, I think it's more reasonable why a spouse would not want to engage in anal sex (there are more risks, it's usually just pleasurable for the man performing it on the woman, etc., etc.)

    So, that's my longwinded way of saying I don't think it's a sin to decline certain requests.

    I think couples need really good ongoing communication about their sexual intimacy, need to base their approaches in love, and need dig into God's Word for a complete picture of what godly marital love looks like, including sexual love.

    Hope this is helpful.

  • landschooner says: March 27th, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    @TGSantini - Holding sex to no more than once a week can be selfishly sinful. I believe in general that once a week sex is a starvation diet for most people and most reasons given for not providing more are not reasonable. If you can't have sex with your spouse 2x a week, your priorities are out of line. Certainly If you can't have sex AT LEAST once a week, you are a refuser. Frequent and regular sex in marriage is one of the major reasons FOR marriage. If that isn't happening, under most circumstances, your marriage is not healthy.

    The Apostle Paul's recommendation for dealing with sexual temptation is marriage so that each can have their own spouse to have sex with. (I'm being blunt in my language for the sake of brevity) It makes ZERO sense that a marriage should then have sex on such a sparing schedule that "burning"is increased, not decreased. in fact, if you don't have a need for sex, his personal recommendation is to stay single. That puts sex, with the implication of a sufficient frequency to help deal with sexual temptation, at a high premium in marriage.

    LS

  • landschooner says: March 27th, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    corollary: Crazy good sex only once a week, is NOT crazy good sex.

    LS
    (it could be for some people. For most men I know, that simply isn't enough. They will still be starving and the marriage isn't meeting one of it MAJOR goals.)

  • TGSantini says: March 27th, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Thanks so much for your great insight, especially the last paragraph.!

    Yes, I think Less Adventurous and Sex Hungry, while blessed a great deal, need to forget about who is sinning and work on loving communication and living out God's plan for them in marriage!

  • Chuck says: April 18th, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Yep all written above resonates so true to my soul and 6 yrs is too long, now. My children are the glue really, I couldn't leave them, but my spouse?...she is good in so many ways, but 6yrs is way too long without sexual intimacy. Do I feel trapped? Yes. Do I want my children to suffer like I did when my parents divorced? No, thus I will be sexual martyr until my children are older or things change for the good.

  • Big Junior says: May 20th, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    I have come to the point where I have had enough. I love my wife and want my wife, but she doesn't want me. I finally asked "If we never had sex again would you miss it?" and her answer was "No". I am devastated.
    We have both put on weight in the 20+ years of marriage, but my desire for her is just as strong as the first day. I tell her how beautiful she is and get dismissive looks. I tell her how sexy she is and get snide remarks or laughter.
    She won't kiss me (germs...eeewww). She won't touch my private area ("that's gross"). She will consent to sex on valentines or my birthday, but I have to do everything.
    Everything else in our life is...comfortable if not good. I don't know what to do other than lose the weight and give her the opportunity to be the couple we can be or flush it away.

  • William RS says: May 29th, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    I agree with the concept that Marriage Legitimizes Sex, based on several observations. In fact, I came to this same conclusion already a year ago.
    1 Corinthians 7:7-9 Paul states he would prefer all to remain single and celibate like himself, but if they cannot contain and resist sexual desire, they should marry and by implication enjoy a fulfilling sex life with their spouses to resist sinful temptations. This second part of the sexual purity verses (in Chap 6 and 7) is too often a taboo topic of discussion in too many churches.
    Take a look at all the non-sexual intimacies shared by dating couples, which are typically ok with most church leadership: Walking and dancing together, holding hands, hugging, smiling at each other, talking for hours about their dreams and daily life, taking care of children of others, writing cards of affection, participating in a wide variety of other social activities together, companionship in public areas, dining together, mutual support, etc. All these can be considered forms of emotional intimacy, and can be done without even the appearance of sinning. Attending Christian events together and praying together would be their common spiritual intimacy. Sometimes I have read a reason for marriage is to be a more effective Christian witness and to advance the Kingdom of God together. However, this contradicts what Paul said about remaining single in the above verses and the often touted “gift of singleness.” In these Christian Marriage blogs we often read that ministering sexually to your spouse is just as holy and God-pleasing as any other activity in the church. 1 Corinthians 7:34 states a single woman cares for the things of the Lord, but a married woman cares for the things of the world and how she can please her husband.
    Some will hold that a nurturing marriage is very good to raise childen. I agree. But that in itself is a function of marriage, not a reason for marriage. Even though Genesis 1:28 states for the man and woman to be fruitful and multiply (via sexual intimacy), neither the church nor the state will dissolve your marriage if you do not produce any child from the marital union.
    Genesis 2:24 The man shall leave his parents and be joined to his wife and they shall be one flesh. Can anyone really say this does not refer to the sexual union, both figuratively and literally ?
    If you can find a specific Bible verse stating any non-sexual reason for marriage, please leave a comment here.
    Interesting article here on Biblical reasons to get married:
    http://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/13772/what-are-the-biblical-reasons-for-getting-married

    The Danger of Sexual Refusal:
    http://thebiblicalfamily.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/the-danger-of-sexual-refusal/

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