Would You Be Fine With Your Husband Having Sex With Someone Else?

So I’m talking one day to a woman who obviously was very indifferent to nurturing sexual intimacy with her husband. I try to convince her that maybe such intimacy does deserve some of her effort.

Trust me. I always overestimate my degree of influence in situations like these. I am such a renegade.

So, in a last ditch effort, I say, “Well, what if he wanted to have sex with someone else? Would that be okay?”

You can imagine her reaction to that. There was no way it was okay for him to have sex with someone else. In that moment, from where she was standing, I was certifiably out of my mind.

What would you say to such a question?  Would you be fine if your husband wanted to have sex with someone else?

It’s one thing if he wants to have an occasional beer with his buddies or go on a fishing weekend with his brother, right?  No problem. But sex with the neighbor woman down the road or the hot fitness instructor at the gym or the colleague he’s worked with for years, well… you draw the line, right?

That I’m even posing the question is a bit ludicrous, isn’t it?  Some circles want to sing the glories of “progressive” lifestyles like “open marriage” and “swinging,” but the truth is that the prevailing standard most people expect within their marriage is fidelity.

Common sense is really all we need to confirm this. Ask the average everyday wife, and more often than not, we’re all going to say we are not okay with our husbands having sex with someone else.

So, why is it then, that so many wives are just fine with not having sex within their own marriages… with the men they married?  The two trains of thought just don’t mesh.

Him desiring sex with you: No big deal. No reason to pay attention.

Him desiring sex with someone else: Very big deal. Very big reason to pay attention.

I have spoken with wives and listened as they rationalize their decision to withhold sex from their husbands, as if such a decision were no different than refusing to iron his shirts or refusing to get the kind of ketchup he likes.

“He just needs to get over it.  I don’t like sex. He doesn’t need it. He’s such an animal. Good Lord, can’t he control his urges? Is that all he ever thinks about? I’m sick of it. He needs to grow up.”

And so the story plays itself out. Husbands who want the one thing that they could never justify ethically getting from someone other than their wife.  And wives who push such desire aside, as if they’ve done nothing more than deny to wash his car or deny to fold his socks. And even if they do succumb to his pleas every now and then, their motivation is mere obligation rather than a genuine hunger to be sexual with their husband.

These are tough things to shed light on, because if long-established patterns exist within a marriage of one partner denying the other partner sex, such patterns begin to seem “normal.”

(More often than not, it is wives who are denying sex, but the reverse happens too… husbands who refuse to be sexually available to their wives, which is equally devastating and painful).

It should not surprise us that adultery is considered by most people to be the ultimate betrayal in a marriage.  Even the Lord Himself uses the word “adulterous” to describe the behavior of His people when they have turned from Him.

Do we really think God just pulled that term out of the air? Or would wiser discernment tell us that He uses such a word so that we can understand the depth of betrayal He is describing when His people turn from Him?

Just to be clear here, I am in no way suggesting that spouses who are denied sexual intimacy from their partners would be justified in adultery. Absolutely not. And in situations where adultery has already occurred, I’m in no way saying that restoration of sexual intimacy within the marriage bed wouldn’t first take an enormous amount of healing and restoration of trust outside the bed.

What I am suggesting is that in marriages where sex has just fallen by the wayside or is a source of contention between one spouse who wants it and one who couldn’t care less about it, there is room for growth.

The simple fact that adultery is so incredibly painful and destructive should reveal to us that the flip side is true as well — nurtured and savored sexual intimacy within a marriage is unbelievably bonding and powerful.

Marriage is a complex creature, I know. But when we agree to embark into such complexity, one aspect to which we are agreeing is that we won’t withhold our body from our spouse.  Even better is when we actually enjoy giving our body to our spouse — and receiving their body.

God gave sex to married couples for many reasons.  Some of these are pretty obvious, like the creation of children. Other reasons, though, are more subtle but equally valid — like to protect us from temptation, to remind us of our marriage covenant, and to lessen the likelihood that the foundation of our marriage will succumb to pressures that are otherwise fairly minor.

And when both spouses truly value sex and nurture it with fearless abandon, the benefits exceed far beyond protection from temptation. The one flesh mystery is exactly that — a mystery that begs us to never stop trying to discover its depths and its pleasures.

I hear from plenty of spouses who would never cheat on their partner, but they are dying a bit on the inside each day.  They would never waver from their marital commitment, but they couldn’t have fathomed such a commitment would be void of sexual oneness.

If you find yourself as the one who is denying sex, there is no better time than now to set a new course in your marriage. Do your part today to entertain the idea that sex with your spouse is worth heartfelt effort.

For more on refinding intimacy, consider this series Sarah Baron is doing over at www.Anonymous8.com (she interviewed me for one of the posts, but there are other posts in the series too, so check those out).

And I recently did a post on “How Much Time Does It Take, Anyway?”, where I share how great sex really can happen in 15 minutes.  Also in that post, I talk about this super 15-Minute Marriage Makeover eBook that Engaged Marriage is offering.

So, you tell me… would you be fine with your husband having sex with someone else? I’m just curious.

Copyright 2011, Julie Sibert, Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

95 thoughts on “Would You Be Fine With Your Husband Having Sex With Someone Else?

  1. Debi Walter - The Romantic Vineyard says:

    Julie, I love this post! Having counseled many couples, we have witnessed first hand that this trend is quite prevalent. What is worse is the fact that our marriages were created to glorify God. The way a wife responds to her husband’s initiative is to mirror the church’s response to Christ. Genuine believers would never withhold affection to Christ. So why do we give ourselves an out in this regard? It’s simply selfish and unloving. If God created sexual intimacy to be expressed solely through the marriage covenant, then for either partner to refuse, is to disobey God. I know there are many complicating factors in this argument…but the overall conviction should be to glorify God in all things – including the marriage bed!
    Thank you for upholding the high calling we have as a wife to love our husband as we love our self. I pray your post will make many wives consider this question our pastor has challenged us with for years, “Why do you do the things you do (or don’t do), and who do you do them (or don’t do them) for?
    Blessings to you,

  2. Tony says:

    I can give you an even worse scenario. Your allegedly Christian wife withholds sex, isn’t enthusiastic about it, won’t even discuss it, but then she decides that she needs to have an affair, that you were the wrong man, and takes your child with her and gets the divorce she sought.

    All the while, your church blames you, asks you what you did to force her to have an affair, etc.

    So refusing is bad, giving it away to another is a whole other level of hurtful behavior.

    I doubt my ex-wife is the only one who is doing that, so if any of your readers are not only denying their husbands but lusting after some other man, even if only in their minds, then they are further adding to the pain they create in their own marriages.

  3. Kliphton says:

    Wow, as usual Julie is keeping it real! I thank GOD that I have a wife that chases me on a daily basis, if I had to guess, I know she wants sex more than me. Not because she’s not sexy, but sometimes I like when she shows me that she still desires me. I get more than enough! and trust me, I’m not complaining! Julie, keep up the good work!

  4. Robert says:

    When you marry, you make a promise to be sexually faithful. There are two sides to that coin: 1 – to be sexually faithful, and not to stray, and 2 – to meet your spouse’s need for sexual intimacy, within reason. I cannot fathom the thinking that says it is OK for a couple to have little to no sexual intimacy. How can this be a good thing, under any circumstance?

    I wonder whether the spouse who withholds sexual intimacy would think it completely OK for the sexually denied spouse to withhold other kinds of intimacy? I decide I won’t touch you. No hand-holding, no hugs. I won’t be conversationally intimate. I won’t talk to you, or listen to your problems.

    I wonder too, whether those spouses who withhold sexual intimacy saying “what’s the big deal” really understand that sex is only in part about physical release, and far, far more about deep intimacy. Being sexual with my bride is the most deeply intimate thing I can imagine. It is that heart to heart, soul to soul intimacy that truly satisfies, far more than the (very nice) physical pleasures.

  5. Evan says:

    Very good, Julie. But I think there is one more step in there between the pain and betrayal of adultery and total intimacy. If adultery is betrayal then not far behind that is the denial of sex to our spouse. Yes, it will cause tremendous pain too.
    “Marriage is a complex creature, I know. But when we agree to embark into such complexity, one aspect to which we are agreeing is that we won’t withhold our body from our spouse. ” These words of yours are very true; and as such, it makes denial of sex an act of unfaithfulness and infidelity.

  6. virginett says:

    Thanks for this eye opening post. We are blessed that our husbands desire us. We should be thrilled by his attraction to us. I also feel that we should never consider sex with our husband as a chore. We should do our best to enjoy it.

  7. John says:

    Hi Julie.
    You ask if refusing wives would care if their husband had sex with someone else and the response is generally that it would be devastating.
    I find this rather curious. If sex within the marriage is insignificant to her, then why would it matter if he was getting it somewhere else? He is not giving away something that she wants.
    It seems that her hurt feelings are more likely based on culture’s message that infidelity is an offence rather than any true offence: namely, that something that belonged to her was given to someone else.


  8. JulieSibert says:

    Hi John… thanks for the comment.

    In a way, what you have shared further elaborates on the point I’m trying to make. The wife says sex is of no value to her or her marriage (she says this in her actions); yet the reality is that deep down, she holds to a value of fidelity. Most people go in to marriage with the expectation that fidelity is a foundational tenet to the covenant.

    So what I’m trying to point out is how incongruent the rationale is when a spouse expects fidelity but in the same regard refuses to nurture sex within the marriage.

    My message, though, isn’t that either spouse should loosen their stand on fidelity, but rather they should strengthen their stand on nurtured sex.

    And really, nurtured marital sex is better for everyone involved (the married couple, their family, the community, the institution of marriage, etc). Infidelity on the other hand is destructive to all of those things.

    So, in that regard, I disagree with you that infidelity doesn’t involve any true offense. It does, even in situations where a spouse has been neglecting sexual intimacy in the marriage.

    I love dialogue like this! Thanks again for the comment! I really appreciate it!

  9. Keya says:

    This is a great post, but sex aside, if there’s something else missing in the relationship (i.e. non-sexual affection, affirmation, etc.) that could cause any woman to not have that sexual desire because her basic need’s aren’t being met. It’s easy to point out the big issue of a woman not giving her husband any, but the effort he should put forth is like a gateway to that. The same goes for wives towards their husband, but they are definitely less likely to withhold sex. Just to be clear, I am happily married woman that has sex with my husband, this is just my female perspective on why women would possibly hold out or whatever. lol

  10. Lori says:

    This happened to me. After the birth of our first child, I withheld sex from my husband most of the time. I was just never “in the mood”. He didn’t understand my needs and my responsibilities as a new mom. I worked and still work full-time, had a baby to take care of, and had a home to clean and take care of. He always wanted sex, but wasn’t much help with the housework. When he did offer to help, I felt like he was doing it just because he wanted sex. So eventually he ended up having sex with another woman, twice. Since the birth of our second child, I want to have sex more. Now he tells me that I can have sex with someone else because he did. He says he thinks it would actually turn him on if I did and told him all about it. I wonder…is this normal? Has this sort of thing happened to other women? How did they handle this? How should I handle this? Sometimes I think that maybe I would like to have sex with someone else. If the husband is okay with his wife having sex with someone else, especially if he has, should she if the opportunity presents itself?

  11. JulieSibert says:

    Thank you for your comment Lori and for sharing so openly.

    Even when spouses “give permission” for infidelity, I still do not believe this is God’s design for intimacy within a marriage. Just think back to your wedding day… if infidelity was a valid idea to enrich a marriage, we would hear this expressed in marriage vows. But we don’t ever hear that… if anything, we always hear the opposite… verses, vows, etc., that speak of the sacredness of marriage, of being faithful with one’s heart and body, etc. There is a reason “open marriage” is not mainstream by any stretch of the imagination… it’s because the prevailing expectation is that marriage be a place of fidelity, not infidelity.

    I’m not judging you or your husband… I just think you are off track a bit as far as what authentic intimacy looks like. And even in situations where spouses say they are okay with their spouse having sex with someone else, deep down I question if this is really true.

    My heartfelt encouragement to you is that you do not take your husband up on his offer… that you do not have sex with someone else. While you can’t control your husband’s actions, I do think you should express to him that instead of either of you having sex with other people, you both try to nurture sex exclusively within your marriage. And possibly look at Christian counseling (together and individually), because professional counselors are usually well versed in helping couples work through even the most challenging of issues… sexual issues, infidelity issues, etc.

    I know from where you are standing right now, considering all that has transpired over your marriage, that it is probably hard to fathom that sex exclusively within your marriage can be fantastic. It’s not that it doesn’t take effort, but it is well worth it…. incredible, endearing, bonding, enriching sex is possible.

    Thank you again Lori for your comment… I hope this is at least a little encouraging…. my heart and prayers go out to you…

  12. Dana says:

    Proverbs 12:4 (The Message)

    A hearty wife invigorates her husband,
    but a frigid woman is cancer in the bones.

  13. Chase says:

    This is the best post I’ve ever seen; I wish my wife could read this but she would read it begrudgingly if I recommend it. I’ve been through all of this and I did cheat on my wife. Cheating was horrible and I would cry afterwards and feel horrible but I was trying to balance being a man created by God with strong sexual desire and my desire to be faithful to my wife. My wife still doesn’t understand the concept that it should be okay for a man to desire his wife. She makes me feel like an animal because I want to have sex with her and tells me that our love should be the same with or without the sex. I’ve told her that her comments make me feel completely undesired and worthless, but it makes no difference.

    John said it well when he stated, “If sex within the marriage is insignificant to her, then why would it matter if he was getting it somewhere else? He is not giving away something that she wants.” Don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree with cheating in order to receive sexual fulfillment but people need to understand that if they don’t show interest in their spouse it is infinitely more difficult for them to be faithful. Be glad that your spouse is expressing his/her desire for you rather than for someone else!

    Accept advances as signs of love and help your spouse understand what other things can be done to help you feel wonderful. Don’t turn one problem into another. You can give sex and still tell your spouse you need something else for you to feel fulfilled. Don’t hold love ransom.

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  15. eric says:

    hi julie:

    i wonder what you will make of this. my wife and i married 16 yrs, 3 kids – i have always adored her. even though shes been trying to be more available for intimate time together, shes usually too tired at night and too busy during the day. she doesnt like for me to wake her before her alarm goes off and god forbid if i even touch her when shes sleeping! she recently told me – and has before also – to get a girlfriend. i asked her if she was dead serious and she said yes. i asked her why she wld rather just farm me out putting the stability of our family at risk? her reply was because she doesnt want to do it as much as me. im fair – 7 days in a week – ill go for 3.5. i wld never cheat or take a girlfriend – ever. my wife is my one and only. shes a beautiful sexy 38 btw and im a virile fit italian 44. i might add that she never really pleasured herself until a year ago and didnt know what an orgasm was until same time. theres a lot more factors and things to discuss but the bottom line: she wld rather i get a gf then fix her problem. shameful IMHO

  16. JulieSibert says:

    Eric… I’m sad to hear about your wife’s suggestion that you get a girlfriend. My recommendation is that you definitely NOT get a girlfriend. You are wise to recognize that this would put your family’s stability at risk, would be a sin and would greatly compromise your marriage.

    It sounds like you have tried to generate conversation with her, which is good. If she is not responsive to nurturing sexual intimacy, I know this is hard to hear… but I don’t believe you have any alternative but to stay the course and stay committed to your marriage vows.

    I would suggest, though, that you on your own get good support… whether that be visiting a counselor so you have a safe place to process out loud or finding a safe male confidante who will listen to you share your frustrations.

    Certainly, continue to pray for your marriage and ask for the Lord’s wisdom on how to navigate day-to-day.

    Also, I often tell people who have a spouse who is unwilling to change… ultimately we all must give an account to God for how we have lived. You can’t control how your wife acts, but you can control your own actions. Seek to pattern your actions as God would have you live. You will be able to stand before God and know that you did all you can to nurture your marriage and to be loving toward your wife. She too will have to give an account to God for how she has treated you.

    My prayer is she realizes that her marriage is worth the effort now… instead of experiencing regrets later.


  17. Kentucky Colonel says:

    When I read posts like this I cannot help but think about about 1 John 4:20. God gives us a spouse that we can see to love, if we choose not to show our love to them, what does that say about our love for God?

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  19. Anonymous says:

    What women don’t realize is that their withholding is a form of infidelity. If given a choice between a wife who is sexual with me and cheats or a wife who is never sexual with me, I would choose the former.

    Now add another wrinkle–the wife who tries to explain how non-sexual intimacy is a form of love-making and should really be enough.

  20. Dave says:

    My wife is the one having the affairs.
    I haven’t been able to satisfy my wife for years, I have had E/D for years and my hormones are really low. I’ve been to doctors and specialists but nothing seemed to work. In the mean time my wife has been upset and started seeing other men. I still love my wife, maybe love is blind but I do still love her. Every one says I’m to liberal and thats probably true, I should have gotten a divorce years ago.I’ve gotten use to my wife having sex with other guys!
    She even brings them home on occassion and has sex with them in our bed. I end up sleeping on the couch. I told her at first I didn’t want to hear about her sexual affairs,but that didn’t work ,when she came home one day and said she was pregnant. And she decided that she would keep the baby. She has been pregnant 3 other times and now we have 4 kids and the dads are unknown.

  21. JulieSibert says:

    I’m saddened Dave by your situation. Obviously, only you can decide what is best in how to handle your marriage, but it grieves my heart greatly that your wife is being so careless. I’m not sure I could hang around if my spouse were doing this to me.

    I encourage you to at the minimum seek counseling and support so that you can figure out how to navigate.

  22. Richard says:

    Hi Julie,

    Jesus said that divorce was unacceptable – except in cases of adultery (Matthew 19:7-9)..

    Of course this applies to someone who’s spouse has actively committed adultery. But do you think there is such a thing as ‘passive adultery’? I mean that when a spouse denies to meet their spouses need (eg. denies sexual enagement) this could be deemed to be ‘passive adultery’. If this went on beyond a reasonable period of time this could be legitimate grounds for divorce.

  23. JulieSibert says:

    Thanks Richard for the comment… I’ve been meaning to write a post for some time titled “Is Sexual Refusal Grounds for Divorce?”

    In cases where the sexually refused spouse has made several attempts to lovingly bring solution to the situation, yet the spouse doing the refusing still makes no attempts to resolve the situation, I could see where it could be argued that the one doing the refusing has in essence “left the marriage.” So one could presume then that the sexually refused spouse would be free to divorce.

    All that being said, I add lots of cautionary insight to this line of thinking. For one thing, I don’t think such a decision could be entered into lightly and the spouse wanting to divorce would really need to prayerfully feel a peace from God on such decision. Also, I would strongly suggest a time of separation to see if such step would be a wake up call for the spouse doing the sexual refusing.

    Divorce is a painful experience (and yes, I know, being in a sexually empty marriage is painful as well).

    It’s a difficult topic, that’s for sure.

  24. Amy says:

    I don’t have to worry about my husband having sex with someone else because he won’t give me sex or and intimacy. Been married 40 plus years and we had sex once on our wedding night. Since then nothing no kissing hugging, cuddling no love.
    He moved all his things down stairs where he eats and sleeps, he wants nothing to do with me. He only loves me as a friend. I’ve been lonely, made to feel ugly, rejected, depressed. I think he is a lonely person he goes no where, no phone, computer, Tv, no car he may have a radio. I would bet he has no idea who the president of the US is.

  25. Bob says:

    Thanks Julie. I didn’t realize how wide spread this was. I thought I was the only one who had a wife, actually two wives, who “didn’t need it!” Can’t believe I been down this road twice. I’m now in a 30 year second marriage and have had sexual intimacy with my wife, maybe, maybe once a year in the last 10-15+ years maybe. I, like others on the blog, get the you’re a beast, is that all that’s on your mind, blah, blah, blah. So I have to admit I have gone somewhere else. I was going to just reside to the fact that this will just be the way it will be until I just met my best friend and lover. I consider myself a Christian and know adultery is wrong, but I still feel that God has sent me someone to love and cherish and now I am considering a second divorce. We enjoy sex and take advantage of every minute together and explore and satisfy. We now have very deep feelings for each other that’s more than sex, but we both understand that is part of a successful relationship. Her husband has held sex from her as well for years and she is considering divorce soon as well too. In fact, they’ve slept in separate bedrooms for years. My big deal is that my wife never initiated any sex. It was always me. I thought she was doing it out of obligation and then the response wasn’t necessarily explosive. I feel like I have lost so much all these years but now, this new person makes me feel like a teenager and I want to be with her all the time. I have truly fallen in love. Problem now, how do I untangle a 30+ year marriage? I’ve been here before and someone will be hurt. I feel like just leaving a note and walking away and face the music “after” the intial emotion has past. I’m not sure what to do, but I do want to be with my new lover and friend. Does this make sense? I know I am rambling. Just trying to figure out how to go forward. Staying in the marriage would only have her responding due to obligation and guilt. I don’t want that, I want true feelings.

  26. JulieSibert says:

    Hello Bob… thank you for your comment. I am sorry for the pain you have experienced in your marriage. I don’t at all take that pain lightly, as I hear from many people journeying similar pain. Even so, though, I don’t believe adultery is the best solution. Have you addressed your pain with your wife? Tried counseling? I recognize that the woman you are having an affair with is someone you are attracted to (physically and emotionally), but it is a stretch to say God has sent you this person. God’s heart and word are clear — he hates adultery. He certainly loves you, your girlfriend, your wife and your girlfriend’s husband. You are exactly right that in ending two marriages, someone will be hurt… probably a lot of someones.

    I can understand your confusion on what to do, but my heartfelt encouragement is that you seek God’s Word and heart on what He would have you do. It also may be wise to see the counsel of a pastor. These are just suggestions, of course, because ultimately you have to take accountability for your choices.

    I think your wife certainly has been horribly careless with her vow by not nurturing sexual intimacy in her marriage — and my hope would be that when you share with her about your pain, she would begin to take seriously God’s word when it comes to sex, and that your marriage would not only be restored, but would be better than you can ever imagine.

    I hope too that you not minimize your sins or justify them, but rather go to God and seek His heart on what you should do. He’s a faithful God and He gives good guidance always.

  27. Bob says:

    Thanks Julie. Believe me, I ask God every day to help me and guide me and show/tell me what to do. It takes me 20 minutes to get to work each day and that time I devote to me and the Lord. I use this time for silent prayer. But one concern, after such a long time of not having a sexual relationship with a spouse, if you bring it up or go to counseling, from then on out, you will both be walking on egg shells not knowing if what is taking place is because it was “brought up” or because there is true feelings there. I went to counseling before my first divorce and I couldn’t go back after she just tore me apart at the session and then make like everything is okay. Sorry, I have a good memory. Thanks for listening. I have been seeking pastoral help but I believe I know what the discussion will be and I am not close enough to my current pastors to divulge. I have a Senior Pastor from the past I have contacted but not sure if that will work or not. Any way, thanks again. I’m sure it will work out one way or the other. Just a lot of confusing sleepless nights currently. Life is too short not to love and share every minute and when you have a companion marriage, it’s tough. Have a blessed day.

  28. Bob says:

    Forgot to ask, what if you have a spouse that just does not like to have sex? All the talking in the world wouldn’t fix that, right? We have never talked about it and that again would lead to performing, even minimally at best, just due to feeling obligated. I don’t want sex if we aren’t both feeling like it is the best. One wants and one doesn’t. How does that work?

  29. JulieSibert says:

    I can tell Bob that you are wrestling with this.

    As for going to counseling or addressing the pain and difficulties in your marriage, you are right that this would likely be heart-wrenching conversations. But the reality is that you have nothing to lose by at least trying. I’m curious as to why you and your current wife did marry? When you look back on that time in your life, what is it that drew you together? The state of your marriage right now did not happen overnight and it can’t be repaired overnight.

    As for a wife who just does not like to have sex, this certainly is an issue that someone (you with the help of a counselor?) needs to confront her on. It is not okay that she is careless with sex.

    At any rate, I think it would be wise if you distance yourself from your girlfriend, cut off contact with her, and focus on doing all you can to not only do your part in trying to restore your marriage, but also in being clear to your wife about the pain she has caused you. Yes, those are painful and awkward conversations, but they are the truth. And they could be the conversations that begin you both on a path toward healing and strengthening your marriage.

    I’m not a counselor or a doctor… I’m simply a wife who has a passion for encouraging others in their marriage, particularly when it comes to sex.

    As I mentioned in my first response to you, I don’t in any way want to imply that there are quick and easy fixes to the struggles in your marriage. But I think adultery definitely clouds the situation… makes it difficult to think clearly about how to navigate.

    I’m so sorry for your pain Bob.

  30. m.g. says:

    i have struggled with issues of intimacy the biggest part of my marriage (this is my second one).i never had problems in the past the problems started when i began dealing with past sexual abuse.i want to be able to have a healthy srxual relationship with my husband like we had when we first got married but i just haven’t been able to let the LORD in enough to heal the pain.i still have sex wirh my husband but not often enough and unfortunately i found out recently that he has cheated on me at least on one occasion.one of the reasons that i’m posting or shall i say the main reason i wanted to post in the first place is because most men and women don’t realize that the reason their spouse has trouble with intimacy is because of undisclosed past sexual abuse.i wanna suggest a good book for both the victim and their spouses to read that really touches on this subject and will really bring understanding to the spouses of the victims on why they suffer the way they do.the book is called “wounded heart” and it is by dan b. allender.i hope this helps and pray that i’ll be willing and able to fully forgive my spouse for cheating and most of all my abuser and let the LORD heal my wounded heart.

  31. m.g. says:

    p.s this book will definitely help the victims to see all the things they struggle with because of the abuse and bring at least some degree of healing,the more open we are to the LORD the more healing we can receive.

  32. JulieSibert says:

    Thank you Meagon for your comments and being so willing to share out of your own story.

    I agree totally about Dan Allender… I heard him speak at a conference in Seattle more than 10 years ago and was moved by his heart for helping people heal from the devastation of past abuse.

  33. BOK says:

    I’m in agony & pain in my marriage because my wife witholds sex from me. We have talked about it, even gone for counseling and she admits she hasn’t played her role in that area. When we have talked about it she has come with every excuse from, “is that all you can think off?” To “you don’t help around the house, or take me out or buy me things” to “I don’t like the way you talk to me” , “we argue too much” . In all the areas she has raised, I have gone over and above to make things right, I take her out regularly, buy her things, help out around the house, but nothing has changed. I have begged her and told her I’m not trying to be difficult but that I need her, I need to feel her but it has fallen on deaf ears. When I ask her for sex she tells me she’s tired, or has an headache or she needs to sleep. She would then ask me for sex probably a month later , probably out of guilt. When I told her an ex colleague wanted me to go and have sex with her in an hotel, she was upset & said do I think I’m the only one who goes through temptation from outside & that why am I telling her. When we have sex I ensure she reaches orgasim 1st and make sure I satisfy her, the experience doesn’t last long enough for me to be satsfied. Unfortunately, I fell into temptation with two women and I have wept and wept before God to forgive me because I never meant it to happen as I truely do love my wife and tried to tell her there was a lot of danger around me. I have not been able to tell her but I’m still starved of sex, when it gets so bad, I have to masturbate to releave the pressure and urge because I feel so so stressed, but after doing this I go back to God in tears asking for forgiveness. I’m angry at my wife because all these experieces could be avoided if only she played her path..Lord pls HELP me!!!!!

  34. landschooner says:

    Just a note to Julie. Would it be ok for me or you to recommend http://boards.themarriagebed.com/ Sexual Refusal forum? I mean, I love your blog and I’m not at all trying to recommend anyone away from here at all, but it sounds like this brother could use some ongoing discussion to help him work through this. That’s what the TMB forums are really good at. Anyway, I want to be respectful to you so I wanted to ask. (No need to post this at all. I can repost a recommendation if you are ok with it.)

    Thanks either way Julie!


  35. JulieSibert says:

    Always appreciate you stopping by the blog landschooner!

    I think the marriage bed forum is a wonderful recommendation. I’m glad you remembered it! I have tremendous respect for Paul and Lori Byerly, who blog at http://www.themarriagebed.com, as well as their individual blogs http://www.the-generous-husband.com and http://www.the-generous-wife.com. Such a great couple committed to this endeavor of speaking authentically about sexual intimacy in marriage.

    Blessings to you!

  36. Kaehu says:

    My wife has withheld sex from since the birth of our second son. He’s now 20. In the early years it was pure hell for me. I would get so angry and upset and would just shut down. I put up with it assuming it had to do with the stress of raising our kids, and that I also had a duty to raise our kids and be faithful to my wife. Which I did, I have never strayed and have always been a good provider and have cared for my children and my wife. But I naively thought that once the kids were raised we could go back to how we were before.

    So when my younger son left for college I tried to restart things–not asking for sex but just trying to reestablish a romantic relationship like we had when we were courting and in the early years of our marriage, before kids. Absolutely nothing.

    Eventually my pastor recommended I write her a formal letter about how I felt, which I did. So then she told me everything was in my head, that we had a perfectly fine marriage as far as she was concerned, but she would try to be better. Since then, absolutely nothing.

    So at this point I’ve had it. My wife has I think always assumed that since a I was a “good man” and a “good Christian,” she’s perfectly safe and I won’t stray. But it is harder for me now than ever, and I know that one of these days I am going to fall off the wagon with some other woman.

    And you know what the sad thing is? If I do cheat and it comes out, I know I will then be the one vilified and ostracized for not being faithful to my wife.

  37. BOK says:

    My brother, I feel you because I’m currently still going through what u are also going through, the only difference is unfortunately I fell into sin and I regret every moment of it because it was a sin against God which could have been avoided. So please, please, please I beg you not to even consider it bcos d pain & hurt u experience after is unbearable!!. The only thing I can suggest you to do is to keep praying that God will convict her and make her see that she is sinning against God when she withholds sex from u. Also maybe if you know of any more mature Chirstian woman who could talk to your wife & open her eyes to see the damage she is causing to your marriage & d pain she is inflicting on u. God design sex not just for pro creation but to be enjoyed in a marriage relationship. It is really sad that Christian women can’t see how much the devil is using them in this area to attack their husbands. I feel if this area is not seriously dealth wit by the pulpit a lot of “good wifes” will get the greatest shocker when they stand before God in judgement.

  38. landschooner says:

    Kaehu. I’m so sorry brother. I urge you not to put up with it. Tell her things need to change. She is defrauding you and while you have been faithful, SHE has not been faithful TO you. I’m not saying divorce, though some would say that this qualifies as marital abandonment (let your church authorities weigh in on this) I’m saying consequences. This can not be tolerated in a marriage. You need to seek marriage counseling for you guys or at least for yourself if she wont go. You should go to your pastor and/or elders to help you deal with this. 20 years of no sex need not be tolerated. Matthew 18 applies here. (read 1cor 7, Matthew 18 etc)

    Restoration of your marriage is the goal, but sometimes people, (all of us really from time to time), need to be shaken out of our blindness.

    As I recommended to BOK, if you want to talk to a lot of Christian folks about this who will support you in prayer and advice with respect to your marriage, have a look at http://boards.themarriagebed.com. Look for the Sexual Sin forum on Sexual Refusal. LOTS of great folks willing to pray with you and support you as you walk this road.

    Anyway, Blessings to you guys. (Thanks for allowing that recommendation Julie)


  39. mike says:

    Everyone that is talking about getting another girl friend or the wives suggested that just for sex are forgetting one thing. The feelings of that other person. Is it fair to them to stay with your wife and have sex with them and then go back to your wife for the commitment? Unless you are paying to go to a prostitute you are reducing your other sex partner to that level (only without at least giving them financial compensation)
    Listen to the words to Sugerland’s song Stay and understand the other woman has feelings too and it is not fair. You may meet your needs for sex and your wife may even be fine with it as long as it was only sex, but IS IT??? Sex without intimacy you might as well just take matters into your own hand so to speak. But once you include another person, you have to consider their feelings as well. It is not fair to them EVEN IF your wife is fine with it.

  40. Ken says:

    I haven’t seen this topic discussed but just for a little background, prolapse is when the femal organs drop down and essentially block the entrance to paradise. There is just no room at the “in”. It is idfficult, if not impossible for sexual intercourse to be achieved under this condition. Therefore, alternatives need to be considered unless the husband has little or no interest in sex.

    For many of us having sex with another woman is not an option although the temptation to do so is strong and easily justified in the mind of the husband who has done without for a long time. For me the solution for a long time was simple masturbation. Eventually I got my wife to provide the “service” which was actually quite exciting for awhile. Deep down inside she seemed to feel that somehow it was “dirty” and I usually had to beg for relief.

    After a long time she discovered with some help from me that I could effectively bring pleasure to her as well and so we developed mutual masturbation of each other for sexual relief. It is not as good as intercourse but it is far better than nothing. I am wondering how other couples with this problem deal with it.

  41. JulieSibert says:

    Thank you Ken for your comment and pointing out this physical reality for some women. I definitely need to address this in a blog post some time.

    I’m glad that you and your wife didn’t “give up” and were able to reach a point where you can enjoy mutual pleasure. Even if it is not ideal, as you say, it still is better than nothing and it still is nurturing intimacy.

    Thank you again for taking the time to offer your insights.

  42. open42 says:

    I actually have a very oppositional opinion about this subject. I am not half as much in the mood to have sex than my hubby. So I am ok when he goes out to find sex in a safe and protected environment. My problem is more when he becomes friends with the person he has sex with….and this happened only once and is not acceptable.
    I think there is a difference between sex and making love. All parties must be aware and ok with it and one cannot be insecure in the relationship.

  43. JulieSibert says:

    @open42 — Thank you for your honesty, but don’t you think there is a high risk that if your husband shares his body with another woman, the likelihood that emotions will become a factor is fairly high?

    I’ve long believed that the heart is always involved.. on some level, the heart is always involved. Sex is more than sex… it is the blending of two souls on a very deep level. It’s why God desires that it be held in high esteem and kept within the exclusivity of the marriage bed between a husband and a wife.

  44. Will says:

    Very interesting article. Hits close to home.

    I find it funny that my wife thinks I am SELFISH for wanting sex more than once a month. She in no way shape, form or fashion, considers her withholding sex as SELFISH.

    I thought of having a glass a water. I have plenty, but I don’t want it right now. Am I selfish for not giving you the water, or are you the selfish one for asking me for my water?

    She has told me point blank….If I am SELFISH enough to go elsewhere pack MY bags…….Her logic escapes me. She does NOT want me, but doesn’t want anyone else to have me. That seems to be the textbook definition of selfishness to me.

    I find it strange that there is a crime for forced sex. It’s called rape, but there is NOT a crime for forced abstinence in a marriage.

    I pledged MONOGAMY with my marriage vows, not virtual celibacy.

    I am tired of being demonized and treated like a pervert, because I’d like to have relations with my wife(at least once a week).

    She is never in the mood, always tired, has a headache, has to go to work early, etc…..I take the kids to school, pick them up, do 95% of the household chores…etc…never complain….I work the same amount of hours she does……..and she complains I don’t do enough, and make enough at work. She makes about 10K a year more than me…..really…..

  45. landschooner says:

    You are NOT being selfish. By definition a marriage is a sexual relationship and regular sex is supposed to be normative.

    I dont know if you guys are Christians or not, but if you are, we even believe her stance is a sin and in direct contradiction to the teachings of 1 Corinthians 7 which makes it VERY clear that to withhold sex in marriage is to defraud your partner.

    From a biblical perspective, abstinence in marriage should only be for a short time of prayer and fasting and only if mutually agreed upon.

    The bible talks about being celibate as a single person, but that if one can not accept a celibate life, then one should get married so that you can have sex with your spouse. There is no room for being married and STILL living a more or less celibate life.

    If talking this out doesn’t work, then marriage counseling and/or pastoral counseling would be in order. eventually, as a christian, one can even go to the elders of your church and present your case to them as this is actually a discipline issue (once one is instructed in the biblical teaching of course)

    I’m sorry you are going through this. Just to reiterate; It is NOT selfish to desire and even expect, regular and frequent sexual relations with your wife. In my humble opinion, once a week is a bare minimum baseline. Not THE goal, but the minimum. The bible doesn’t cite numbers, but God created people, sex, and sex drives, and for marriage to WORK as a sexual outlet, which it was designed to do (not its entire rationale but a major component) then sex, especially for males, but also for females, needs to be regular and frequent. Once a month is NOT, may be regular, but its not reasonable, and it certainly isn’t frequent.


  46. Will says:

    Thanks LS.

    Once a month to six weeks. Half past October and the count is at 9 for the year.

    The painful part of this is the apathy on her part. She doesn’t care…Why would she …she is happy with the current situation….

    The only thing that I have not done is to try to change the situation…where she would not be happy with the current situation. Sadly both of them go against my morals….adultery or divorce….

  47. Anonymous43 says:

    Will–let me say that I have been a “refuser” during the majority of my 23 year marriage to my husband. I didn’t realize it was an issue (okay, sometimes I did) and I felt that providing sex on special occasions (birthday, anniversary) should be sufficient enough. I now know it’s not. I can only say that my husband has been so patient and forgiving of me, even though I in no way, shape or form deserve it. We finally had a blow out this past summer and he told me that he would not continue to live in a “sexless marriage” (we have 3 kids) – I didn’t even know there was such a term. I was beyond mad! How dare he make ME feel bad because HE wanted sex and I didn’t!! Well, after two nights of me being unable to sleep and basically sitting and having an ongoing conversation with God about how to handle my marriage falling apart, He revealed to me many things (guess I just hadn’t listened before). First and most important was the realization that I love my husband dearly and I didn’t want to lose him. My husband told me how the lack of sex can cause physical problems due to lack of physical release, but also the lack of emotional intimacy causes emotional problems (depression, anger). He also told me he had been struggling with pornography and masturbation (duh!) due to our lack of sex. By the way, I told him I hate the word “sex”. Anybody can have “sex”, I want to be intimate with my husband. Another thing I realized was that I had seriously missed being intimate with my husband. To start with, I asked him to just “have sex” with me (I was providing him what he needed I thought). Well, let me tell you, he was not the only one missing the physical release and emotional intimacy. I had no idea how angry and depressed I had become due to the fact that we hadn’t been intimate. And I also did not realize how much I actually craved being intimate with my husband. There have been struggles because at times I feel myself falling back into the learned behavior of withholding – at those times I almost have to force myself to be intimate. But once I do, I wonder why I was considering not being intimate. To say that we women are hard to understand is an understatement – half the time I don’t even understand myself. But to say that there is hope and healing with the power of God is an unbelievable truth. I will be praying for your wife to be convicted of the fact that she is in a marriage that God provided and sexual and emotional intimacy is part of that covenant. I will also be praying for God to provide you the words to speak so your wife can hear how the lack of sex affects you in more ways that physically. God will bless your fidelity and love for your wife.

  48. dex ironwood says:

    If your wife wants to withhold sexual intimacy and call you childish do what I have. Withhold/deny affection. As bad as not having sex with your wife may be, deny her any affection and it will swverly affect her much more then a husband’s need for sex. A wife breathes affection. For her not to receive it on a daily basis is truly devestating. It’s the only true way she can relate to the needs of a man. Just ask my so called wife. No sex for over three years and I only find the thought of it with her repulsive.

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