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Recently, I wrote about sexually selfish husbands, and it's only fair I give equal voice to the reality there are some sexually selfish wives too.
This can show up in a variety of ways.
Maybe you subconsciously tell yourself, "If he does such-and-such, then I'll give him sex." Or maybe you come right out and say something along those lines to him.
Sex becomes a bartering tool, a scorecard of "you do this" and "I'll do that."
In particularly malicious scenarios, you may manipulate the game the opposite way. You punish him by withholding sex.
Painful damage comes from reducing sex in a marriage to mere commodity, where one person is always in the position of having to "earn" it. There's nothing in God's Word that would support this kind of arrangement.
If anything, 1 Corinthians 7 gives us a selfless picture of a husband and a wife offering their bodies to each other freely, rather than turning it all into a transaction. We could even go so far as to say that when you make sex something your husband has to "earn," you have prostituted yourself. In your own marriage.
And God has pa-lenty to say about prostitution.
God gives a husband and wife tremendous freedom in the marriage bed to exclusively enjoy one another. Go God! This is one of the sweet privileges of marriage -- you can enjoy 31 flavors of sex, so to speak.
Sadly, too many wives are steadfast on having only vanilla on the menu.
Hey, I'm not saying vanilla is bad (every marriage needs a bit of vanilla sex). But vanilla every time?
It is no wonder that many husbands want some sexual variety. Variety that is exclusive, mutually valued and acceptable in God's eyes is not only possible, it is what some married couples pursue with passion and love.
This is actually a big complaint I hear from husbands. Their wives either tease sexually or promise sex "soon" -- but then rarely follow through.
Some guys even describe this as a mild form of torture, like setting an ice cold glass of water in front of a man who has been crawling around in the desert. But he never actually gets the water.
He just has to stare at it. Wonder what it would be like to enjoy it.
(I had one man email me this lengthy analogy that sex deprivation in his marriage was like being a starving man chained to a bed in a bakery, but he never gets any bread. He is forced to constantly see the baker baking the bread and smell the bread. But he never gets even a morsel.)
Anyway, I think you get the picture.
The other problem with making sexual promises that you don't keep is that it fuels distrust in the very relationship where you need trust the most.
It causes division, not unity. If your husband doubts your sincerity in sexual availability, he likely doubts your sincerity in other aspects of love -- even if he would never speak those reservations out loud.
So many women assume that sex is just sex for a man -- it's just a release and intense sexual pleasure, but it doesn't have much to do with an emotional or spiritual connection.
Wrong. Especially for the majority of husbands I hear from. Sex isn't just sex. Some husbands are so pained by their wives not understanding the significance of sex that they have asked God to take their sex drive away (interesting post on that here).
If you have used wide brush strokes to paint your husband into a corner, stereotyping him as nothing more than an animal bent on simply responding to his sexual urges, you have not been fair to the man you love.
Before you think I don't recognize that porn has caused huge devastation to marriages, please remember that I do blog about sex. I hear about and read about many circumstances where porn has in some cases destroyed marriages.
We have to be careful in thinking that particular sex acts or positions are inherently wrong simply because they also appear in pornography. Yes, you need to search God's Word and your hearts. No, it's not okay for one spouse to force another spouse to do something or to hurt their spouse, all in the name of sexual pleasure.
But there are a lot of married couples enjoying different positions, oral sex, sex toys, etc. In those situations, pornography is not at the root of that enjoyment.
If I had a buck every time I hear from a husband who says that he doesn't just want her body, he wants her, I'd be a rich woman.
If your husband is like most, when you offer him obligatory sex or you just treat it all like a big chore to check off your list, he is dying a bit on the inside. (I wrote a popular post about that here).
Some wives may say, "Well, what's it really matter any way? He can't tell whether I'm into it or not. I fake it." Regardless of whether he is on to your ruse, faking orgasm is not good for you or your marriage.
In looking back over the above examples of selfishness, do you see any where you can begin to be a little less selfish?
Baby steps count. Take enough baby steps toward nurtured sexual intimacy and you'll be astonished at what it does for your marriage.
Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.