Your husband is not an “animal” for wanting to have sex.
He is not being unreasonably demanding.
And he is not a selfish pig.
He is a normal guy who has an appropriate expectation that his desire and need for sexual intimacy be met with the woman he married and loves.
Yes, I know that some marriages are in the midst of incredibly painful circumstances, wrought with betrayal, horrendous miscommunication and deep unresolved woundedness. The lack of sex is not an insurmountable matter, but I get that it is complicated.
I also know there are many marriages that don’t fit that bill. Many.
For the most part, they are relationships that move along just fine, with the exception of this discord in sexual intimacy.
Enter stage right.
If you have been regularly denying your husband (and yourself) sex — if this is the “norm” in your marriage — then I humbly encourage you to stop lying to yourself.
Stop telling yourself “it is no big deal” that you and your husband rarely or never have sex.
It is a big deal.
Now, I could tell you to “just have more sex.”
But that advice would be drenched in short-sightedness and surfacey platitudes.
If ever there was a place for short-sightedness and surfacey platitudes, I guarantee it is not marriage. When have quick fixes or token efforts ever led to any kind of authentic and long-lasting depth in a marriage? Don’t answer that. We all know the answer.
What I would compassionately tell you is to figure out why you have allowed and/or purposely chosen that sex become non-existent in your bed.
Here are some possibilities (and some solutions):
Are you punishing him for a past hurt that the two of you haven’t worked through?
Do the courageous thing. Bring the issue out in the light and commit to reaching a place of forgiveness, healing and strengthened resolve to treat one another better.
If you need help from a counselor, get it.
I don’t know your situation and I certainly would never minimize how badly he hurt you, but give yourself permission to stand back and take an objective look.
Is it worth it — is it really worth it — to withhold sex from him as a way to punish him? My guess is the feeling of victory is not quite as prevalent as the quicksand of bitterness.
Have you not sought healing for past sexual pain, such as sexual abuse, sexual promiscuity, rape, abortion, so forth?
If you were violated sexually in the past — or if your own sexual promiscuity has left you wrestling in isolation with shame and pain — then I implore you to seek help.
For the sake of yourself and for your marriage, please do not deny yourself the healing you need. That healing will help you embrace a right and good and holy perspective on sex with the man you married.
Are you not experiencing pleasure?
Learn about your body and educate your husband. Talk during foreplay and sex to specifically tell him what feels good.
Spend more time making love.
Allow yourself to embrace sexual pleasure, which was designed by God. I know this is obvious, but God designed your entire body, including your clitoris. Yes! The clitoris was God’s idea. Kudos to Him on that one. Seriously, that little part of your anatomy serves no other purpose but intense sexual pleasure.
Like I always say, orgasm isn’t everything. But it is a very strong something.
Are you still believing lies that sex is dirty, wrong, gross, only for procreation?
Enough already, okay. Enough.
God designed sex to endear a husband and wife to each other, to protect them from temptation, and to give them a glimpse of His intense love. (Sure, He designed it to make babies too, but the vast majority of sex in marriage isn’t for procreation).
Whatever you’ve been told (maybe even by Christians) that paints marital sex in a bad or “obligatory-only” light is a bold-faced slam against the Word of God. Stop trivializing the truth of what God says about sex. Think I’m looney for saying any of this? Seek His Word and then let’s have a friendly heart-to-heart chat.
God is such a sexy God. I’m just saying.
Do your own struggles with body image inhibit you to the point that you have convinced yourself “there’s no way he would want to have sex with me”?
How I wish that this body image issue didn’t wreak such havoc on marriage beds.
This might be a shocker to you, but the standards doled out in media and entertainment on what constitutes “beautiful” and “sexy” are completely inaccurate. (Creating counterfeit images is kind of their gig. It’s called “make believe” for a reason. We are “made” to “believe” something that isn’t quite what they portray it to be).
If you want to get physically healthier, by all means, please do.
But if you are holding your marriage hostage until you lose the baby fat or get back to your age-20 body, pa-leaseeee — stop it. Express to your husband your struggles and ask him to be more affirming. Then do your part by growing in your sexual confidence and enjoying sex with the man you married.
(By the way, if you want to read a couple of fabulous posts on body image, I particularly like this recent one by Lori Byerly, as well as this one by Mrs. Hot Holy Humorous.)
Is his hygiene (or lack thereof) offensive to you?
I know this can be a sensitive issue, but if your husband paying closer attention to his hygiene would help improve your sexual intimacy, then by all means, you have to tell him. Speak with a tone of love, but speak it.
And for you husbands reading this, trust me — most women like a guy who smells clean. Better yet, a guy who is clean. Shower before you head to bed. (Wives, why not suggest you and your husband shower together before sex? Just an idea. Hmmm. Wonder how I came up with that one?!)
I could go on and on, but my point is that a long-term solution is not simply “going through the motions” when it comes to sex (or, sadly, not going through any motions).
Do you want to know what some of the sex-starved husbands who contact me say?
Some say they wish they weren’t Christians so that it would be easier to “just leave.”
Some say they feel rejected to the point that they think their wives don’t even love them.
Some say they are tempted to look at porn, but they resist. It is extremely difficult though.
Some say they do look at porn, but would rather be having sex with their wives.
Some say they completely understand the appeal of having an affair.
Some say they stay in the marriage because of the kids.
Some say they are angry at their wives for being so careless with their marriage vows.
Some say they feel worse after receiving “obligation” sex.
Do you want to know what all of them say?
All of them say they hunger for sex that is characterized by deep love and oneness with the woman they married.
Call me crazy, but I just don’t think a selfish pig would say something like that.
Copyright 2011, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.