Are You Thinking Sexy Thoughts About Someone Other Than Your Spouse?

I received an email from a young husband who was struggling with his thought life that was wandering to a woman who was not his wife.

It all started with a dream he had (obviously dreams are beyond our control), but then he found himself while he was awake occasionally drifting back to the images in the dream.

He felt horrible.  Didn’t know what to do.

Admittedly, he loves his wife tremendously, so he wondered why his thought life was such a struggle.

Before we tag this sort of problem as just being a male tendency, let’s be honest.

We all are prone to our hearts and thoughts wandering, even if we wouldn’t act upon such thoughts.  Wandering thoughts are a human issue, not just a guy issue.

Have you ever thought sexy thoughts about someone other than your spouse?  I don’t think it’s uncommon, whether it be someone we actually know or someone in the media and entertainment.

That being said, I don’t think thoughts are automatically cause for alarm. We have to be wise to hold them up to God’s truths and promises.

And that means we have to be disciplined to actually seek God’s truths and promises — always, but especially when we feel confused or overwhelmed.

The Lord will not disappoint.  He is faithful to reveal to us, teach us and grow us beyond thoughts that are less than honorable.

Here are 3 things to remember:

1. Don’t stay stuck.

If you find yourself thinking romantic or elicit thoughts about someone other than your spouse, don’t dwell on those thoughts. Easier said than done? Well sure, but not as hard as you think if you look for strength in the right place.

Immediately, find a scripture verse that holds God’s promise AND ask God for help and wisdom.

Some verses that are extremely helpful and clear:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

See what I’m talking about? God is for you. Satan is against you. Make sure you are aligning yourself with the One who is for you.

Another wise decision is to put some accountability in place. At the minimum, find a mature Christian who you trust to keep things in confidence and tell them about your struggle with your thought life.

Ask this person to hold you accountable, both in direct questions to you, as well as you having the freedom to call them when you are struggling.

Men should have male accountability partners and women should have female accountability partners. (This should be obvious, but sadly too many people don’t follow this wisdom and just end up worse off than they were with their original struggle, if you know what I mean).

Should you share your struggle with your spouse?

Well, I think this is ideal, but you will have to discern if and when this is appropriate.  As scary as it may seem to admit to your spouse your area of struggle, I think many couples, if they are mature and have a heart for God, will find the battle easier to fight if they are fighting it together.

God works in the light; Satan works in the dark.

When you and your spouse get to a point where you can share vulnerably about your deepest struggles, you’re better able to pray for each other and strengthen your marriage against temptation.

2. Don’t put yourself in a position where temptation is more likely to progress to sin.

Temptation is not a sin.  Even Jesus was tempted.

But simply knowing we won’t act on thoughts is sometimes not enough to guard our hearts.

We need to be proactive to not put ourselves in situations where it is more likely we could sin or even stir up more thoughts about the person who is not our spouse.

So you might have to make some tough choices.

If the person you have had sexy thoughts about is someone you see regularly (such at work, at church or in your circle of friends), strive to limit those times you will see them and/or make sure there are plenty of other people around.

I recognize that we can’t always cut off all contact with the person.  Sometimes this is reasonable, but life often is messier than that.

For example, if you work with the person, it probably isn’t realistic that you quit your job or ask your boss to make accommodations and put you on a different project, etc.  (Although, I have heard of situations where indeed someone did find a different job rather than face what felt like unbearable temptation, so for some people, quitting is the best choice).

Regardless of the circumstances, I do think we can at least limit our time with the person. Be a grown up and figure out what you need to do.

3. Be intentional about nurturing your marriage.

A good defense is a strong offense.  Be proactive about nurturing your marriage.  Spend the time and sometimes the money to enjoy each other.

Go on those walks you say you’re going to take, but never do.

Schedule the weekend getaway.

Find a mutual hobby.

Talk.

Pray together specifically for your relationship.

Make love more often and with greater passion.

Read a marriage book together.

Get involved in a small group with other married couples.

Find an older, more mature Christian couple, who can mentor you and your spouse.

Send each other sexy love notes and texts.

Exercise together. Join a gym.

Address the hard issues that have taken a toll on your marriage. Learn how to heal and grow.

Back each other up.

Hold hands more.

Touch each other more affectionately, particularly in public (while shopping, at church, etc.)

Make a list of reasons you fell in love with each other.

Do something spontaneous with each other.

Make your marriage a priority over the kids.

Believe in your vows enough to live them.

When it comes right down to it, the more we pour our hearts, thoughts, and actions into loving the person we married, the less room we have in our hearts, thoughts, and actions for someone else.

Have you struggled thinking sexy thoughts about someone else? Then do more that will give you reason to think sexy thoughts about your spouse.

Baby steps count. Take them. Today.

Never want to miss one of my posts?  Subscribe via email on this page.  And be sure to join my more than 7,000 followers on my Facebook page and 9,000 followers on Twitter.

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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35 thoughts on “Are You Thinking Sexy Thoughts About Someone Other Than Your Spouse?

  1. AnonymousThisTime says:

    This is my greatest fear. I no longer enjoy sex with my husband. Ever since that “Christian” author who thought she was being helpful told us wives that our husbands minds are constantly filled with thoughts and images of other women. Why should he want to make love to me then? I am no better than a rubber doll if he’s only using me to imagine better women. I’m sad for my husband, because I was fine until this author decided to “open my eyes.” I don’t know why men even get married if this is how they think. I have a hard time even believing in love anymore. It’s hurting our marriage. I wish I could tell that author “hey lady, if you were looking to damage marriages, you did it! You win!”

    And I’m sorry, although I think it’s brave of the man who asked the original question to admit this is wrong, the fact is he still does it. Therefore I do NOT believe “admittedly, he loves his wife tremendously…” I don’t think he loves his wife, and I am struggling to believe my husband loves me. If men loved their wives the way they claim to do, why would they need to replace them with images and thoughts of other women that they think are so much better than their wives?

  2. AnonymousThisTimeToo says:

    AnonymousThisTime..
    I’m the husband referred to in this post. I didn’t know a blog would be written about my question when I submitted it, and I am not upset that there was.. However, there is more to the story than you are aware of, and when I read your comment it was hard not to let it get to me. I really do love my wife tremendously as Julie put it. And when we are intimate, my wife is not a rubber doll I use to imagine other woman with. I don’t replace my wife in my mind with other woman, and I certainly don’t think other woman are better than her. I engage with her, not my imagination. On the contrary, the woman in the dream is nowhere near as stunning as my wife. I think Satan desires to see my marriage fail, and will try and plant thoughts in my mind. Julie’s advice helps. I don’t know what your situation is, or what is going on in your husbands heart and mind. You don’t know my heart, mind or situation either. So please consider that you might end up hurting someone you don’t even know, next time you think about making a comment about them like you did about me online.

  3. AnonymousThisTime says:

    AnonymousThisTimeToo,

    My sincere apology. I am sorry if I hurt your feelings. My comment was born out of my own pain. I’ll admit it was selfish of me not to consider how this would make you feel.
    My husband tells me all of the time that he loves me and does not think of other women when we are together. However, I have a tremendously hard time believing him. That may be my issue. However, he has a lower sex drive than I do, and I have seen him check out women who do not look like me when he thinks I’m not looking. I have low self esteem to begin with, so it’s kind of like a perfect storm that all combines to make me feel repulsive, inadequate, and unloveable. I too believe Satan wants to destroy our marriage – and while I don’t struggle with the same type of thoughts you may struggle with, I certainly struggle with negative thoughts which may be even more damaging.
    You may very well love your wife tremendously. That is awesome for her, be sure to tell her often. Don’t assume she just “knows”. If you think she’s beautiful, tell her.
    My thoughts have turned quite negative since I began reading about men, women, and marriages online. I began to feel like our marriage wasn’t normal, and that I would never be good enough for my husband. A lot of authors write in absolutes “all men think” this… Or “all women respond” this way… I should probably just stop reading certain places.
    Admittedly, I’m not a man and don’t understand how their minds work. I think it’s admirable that you’ve recognized the problem and are trying to understand and deal with it. Quite frankly, the fact that you see it as a problem shows love for your wife.
    I have a hard time believing in love, and I especially have a hard time believing in my husband’s love. I guess part of me feels that if I was enough for him, and truly loved by him, there wouldn’t be room in his thoughts for all those better women. He gets frustrated that I feel that way, as I said, he claims he loves me so much. But so much of what I read indicates no wife is enough, and that’s painful. I don’t know. Perhaps I should stop reading certain authors.
    Believe it or not, I very recently started praying about this and things are improving slightly. I have learned my lack of self worth is a huge issue, and I need to find my value in Christ, not in other humans.
    I apologize again for hurting your feelings. Your question sparked such pain in me and dredged up such feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. My comment was more about how I feel when my own husband says he loves me than about you personally. It was written in anger and it was thoughtless of me. Again, I apologize.
    On a positive note, right or wrong, your adamant statements about the way you love your wife, give some weight to my own husbands statements.
    I will say a prayer for you and your situation and your marriage.
    Thank you for understanding and again, I apologize.

  4. AnonymousThisTime says:

    The silence here is deafening. I guess I was hoping that some men would comment that not all men think this way. But alas, it appears that is not the case. I am left to wonder why men even get married if their wives can never come close to being good enough. I wish I could understand. Why do men get married if they cannot help but to continually long for the next best thing?

  5. El Fury says:

    ATT: I’m not sure what kind of reassurance you want. Sex is a powerful biological force that God designed into us, and it shouldn’t be surprising that both men and women are susceptible to temptation in this area. Being married doesn’t magically remove our sin nature. And yet, fallen as we are, we strive towards sanctification and holiness by the power of the Holy Spirit. That power is the reassurance that God gives us.

  6. AnonymousThisTime says:

    El Fury, I’m not sure I understand. I understand that being married doesn’t magically remove sin nature, but I guess what I’m asking is, do men even care? Are there any men who actually love their wives and/or find them good enough? If men want to indulge in the beauty of other women, and fantasize about them, why bother getting married? Why do they make a vow to forsake all others? Why don’t they just stay single, instead of misleading a woman into believing she is special to him and loved by him? I just don’t understand. I am married, and my husband says he loves me, but I don’t know how that can be possible. I must be missing something. If men are thinking sexy thoughts about other women so often, are they really striving towards sanctification? It’s just so complicated.

  7. Brad says:

    I am so excited that I get to be a part of this discussion!

    AnonymousThisTime, I am a law student in my mid twenties and I have been married for almost a year. Before I began dating the woman who is now my wife (my first and only girlfriend and sexual partner), I was a ravenous consumer of porn. I had allowed myself to surrender to the temptation that my naturally high sex drive so amplified. When I began dating this young lady, she was not a Christian and within three months was asking, even occasionally begging for sex. My sex drive became a curse, a constant temptation. I held out for two years, one month, three weeks, and four days before I took her virginity (and mine).

    During that period I gave up porn at her request with occasional relapses in the beginning. By the time we finally had sex, she was my one and only pornstar. Every sexual thought I had was of her. My sexuality was a malestrom of animal lust for that one woman. Every kiss and caress of her hand on my neck was a contact high that made every nerve scream for her. I still sometimes feel that way, at least a few times a week.

    One day a few months before our marriage I noticed something that I had never noticed before. Before I knew my wife, when I would see a beautiful woman I would often become aroused by the sight of her. My body would react as God hard-wired it to and I would imagine what it would be like to have sex with her. Now, when I see a particularly attractive woman, my body still reacts as God designed it to but my mind has changed. I think “oh the things I’m going to do to my wife tonight…”

    Somehow my love for my wife has so profoundly changed my heart that my mind goes to her automatically in response to arousal. I think this was a response to my prayers for relief from my high sex drive. Your husband, like myself and most men, has to struggle with the ever-lurking temptations of living in a body that is hard-wired by God to want certain things. One of those things is sex.

    The dismal societal views of sex are evidence that most people misunderstand the role that sexual desire is supposed to play in our lives. Most men surender to the lust that we share with the animal kingdom. Even worse, our God-given desire for a purpose in life often drives humanity to twisted sexual practices outside the bounds of natural lust when God’s will is not our purpose in life.

    Your husband, like me, is probably not able to avoid noticing a fit young lady in a tank top and skin-tight workout pants if she runs by. Women are marvelous to behold and God knows that, he designed them specifically to meet man’s needs. What should be happening with him is what now happens with me. My mind turns to my wife because I now subconsciously and consciously associate sexual desire with her. I see a good looking lady and think “sex”. For me that means “sex with (wife’s name here)”.

    I don’t doubt that your husband loves you. Marriage can be really freakin’ hard and we wouldn’t do it if you weren’t worth every tear and heartache. Your husband is very lucky that you have a high sex drive, my wife doesn’t and I know how you feel, it SUCKS when you want to make love and your spouse just isn’t feeling it. I would suggest that you do what my wife does to me after I explained to her that all of my arousal triggers now link exclusively to her. When she and I both see an attractive young woman at the same time, she takes my hand in hers, or kisses me, or whispers in my ear. Don’t encourage him to check out random strangers, he should know better than to stare and should always tell you that you are all he wants (and he should honestly believe it! I do!), but rather than fighting against his reaction to a situation, make it a reaction to you. Assert your role as the sole object of his desire. He wants YOU above all others and he meant it when he said it on your wedding day.

    Finally, it is critical that you realize that we are all being mislead by common “wisdom” about sex. The other marriage sites you mentioned reading are probably secular and therefore inherently misunderstand marriage in general and sex in particular. Our society is so sickeningly WRONG about sex, for both men and women. You are not a conquest or a rubber doll. He is not a player trying to sleep with as many women as possible. Your bodies belong to each other. You each have an undivided 100% ownership interest in your two bodies and the heart and mind will follow what you do with those bodies.

    Sex with the woman you love enough to marry, to die for, and to live for is far more emotional for men than people like to admit. We don’t just want to have sex with our wives, we want to make LOVE to them. When my wife lets me drop all my cares and stresses and responsibilities that weigh my mind and heart down all day by opening her heart and body to make love to me, that care is in my mind. When that intersects with the blissful pleasure of a powerful orgasm, I almost want to cry because I am so grateful that God brought this woman into my life.

    You are the single most important person in his life. Your affection is his lifeblood. He needs you and you need him. This whole site is about how real the love part of “making love” is and in my humble opinion you need to snap him into how much he really needs you. He probably doesn’t realize how badly you are hurting by all this. Tell him that you need him to show you by his actions how much he loves you, both in and out of the bedroom. I love talking about this so please share your thoughts if you want.

    Also, I want to say that I applaud you on being able and willing to apologize to the original asker of the question. That is extremely mature of you and I respect you a lot for that.

  8. Pingback: Best Christian Sex Links of the Week | Married Christian Sex

  9. AnonymousThisTime says:

    Brad, thanks for your thoughtful reply. Your wife is blessed to be so loved and desired by you.

    When I see an attractive woman and I’m with my husband, I do the exact opposite of your wife. I pull away, walk away, move away, slide my seat away from my husband. He says he doesn’t like when I do this, but in these situations I feel like I’m the one who doesn’t belong, and so I do my best to give him space.

  10. e2 says:

    AnonymousThisTime

    You are hurt when your husband notices another woman. You think he prefers other women who don’t look like you. While your pain is understandable, let me try to ease it.

    Seeing doesn’t mean noticing
    Noticing doesn’t mean looking
    Looking doesn’t mean desiring
    Desiring doesn’t mean lusting
    Lusting doesn’t mean preferring
    Preferring doesn’t mean loving.

    There’s a huge gap between a man seeing a nice pair of legs and wanting to hop into bed with them or marry them.

    A man doesn’t stop loving his wife just because he sees another attractive woman, just as a woman doesn’t stop respecting her husband just because she sees another man with admirable qualities.

  11. e2 says:

    To AnonymousThisTime or any other women,

    I am curious. You seem to be very much aware when you sense your husband noticing another woman.

    Are you equally aware when you sense another man noticing you? I have to believe it happens. I wonder how a woman feels when she senses that another man is noticing her? Or when you’re talking to a man and he keeps glancing at your cleavage? Or when another man compliments your appearance? Does it make you feel attractive? Does it make you feel flattered? Does it make you feel good?

    Or do you feel bad that you may be drawing the attention of another woman’s husband? Do you feel bad for the other man’s wife? Do you feel as if another man who may be noticing you actually prefers you to his wife?

    When another man notices you, do you feel about that man the same feelings you have toward your husband when he notices another woman?

    I often hear the phrase used of “turning heads” as if that is something women want to do? Is that true of the women on this forum? Do you enjoy turning heads? Does it give you a boost of confidence? Do you dress and put on your makeup with that hope in mind?

    I’m just curious as to how you ladies feel when you’re on the receiving end of a man’s eyes.

  12. e2 says:

    ATT,

    You wonder if there are men out there who don’t think sexy thoughts about other women. I confess I have thought such thoughts, usually during times of sexual frustration. But, I would point out that Julie’s original post wasn’t limited to men who think about women, but also included women who think about men. If romance novels or chick flicks are any indication, you ladies have vivid imaginations of the ideal man, and he probably isn’t the one waking up next to you every morning. Your thoughts may not be as graphically sexual as ours are, but they are every bit as lustful in terms of dreaming of a better man than your husband.

    I think it is human nature to dream about what we don’t have. For me, that includes a new car, a new home, the dream job, a new toy. How many of us have worn out catalogs lusting after that one toy or pair of shoes we know will make us happy, only to be disappointed a week after we get it?

    Unfortunately, this desire for a better life spills over to our marriages. When our spouse disappoints us, we may daydream about a person who wouldn’t be so disappointing. It may be a fictitious spouse who is more considerate than the one we have, more or less talkative than the one we have, a better provider than the one we have, or more sexually interested than the one we have.

    No, I don’t recall pornographic images from a mental Rolodex of women. No, I don’t want to have sex with the many attractive women I see every day of my life, either in person or in media. (And, no, I don’t think that, if I truly loved my wife, no one else would be attractive; that’s just unrealistic thinking.) When I feel disappointed or frustrated in my marriage, I may, indeed, think of an old girlfriend or an imaginary Stepford wife who would fulfill my every selfish desire.

    While I don’t condone these thoughts, I also won’t live in perpetual guilt for them. And, I’ve learned that the harder I try *not* to think about something, the harder it becomes. So, when my mind drifts, I catch myself, and return to reality without unproductive self-flagellation.

  13. AnonymousThisTime says:

    @e2, I’ll answer your question from my point of view, but keep in mind I have pretty low self esteem. (I’m trying to learn to understand my worth is in Christ and nothing else matters, but I’m a work in progress.)

    Other men do not check me out. Ever. My husband says this is 100% not true, that it happens way more than I realize. But, as astute as I am seeing him notice another woman, don’t you think I’d notice? So, I can’t really say how’d I’d feel, because it’s never happened.

    Once, at a dinner party, a coworker complimented my husband and said, “you have a beautiful wife.” My husband just looked at the guy and said nothing until I whispered “you could say thank you.” I believe this is because my husband was horribly embarrassed to be there with me and couldn’t believe anyone would find me attractive. Why else would you just stand there silently? He probably wanted to say, “yeah right”, but didn’t want to hurt my feelings.

    No, I do NOT want another woman’s husband to notice me and I never want to be the cause of any issues or bad thoughts between a husband and a wife. That is just wrong and I don’t understand why more women don’t understand that. Some women seem to thrive on attracting attention and hurting other wives. In fact, I used to be a lifeguard and I always wore a one piece bathing suit, often with shorts. Today, I wear a one piece as well, but I usually wear an even more modest suit with a little skirt and full coverage. This is for several reasons. One, because I have had children and do not have the perfect body required to wear a two piece, and two, because I have no desire to attract attention, good or bad. I do not like my body. I run, and some years I do something like P90 where I shape up a lot, but I’m also too old to ever look good enough to pull something like that off in public, let alone in private. Yes, I know, there are plenty of women in skimpy clothes who can’t pull it off well, but I don’t need to be one of them.

    When I was a teenager, I had a creepy guidance counselor who would look at my chest while talking to me, and I dressed modestly. I did NOT like it. It felt dirty and weird. I wasn’t hot or anything, he was just creepy.

    I long for the good old, old, old days, where most men only saw their wives in that way. When knees and shoulders were considered scandalous and a man found his wife’s body a thing of mystery and sweet beauty, the way it was intended to be. I am actually sad for men and boys today that they will never have that sweetness. There is so much sexiness and nudity thrust in their faces daily, even against their will. It is so very sad.

    So to answer your question, no, I have no desire to be the woman drawing attention from another man’s wife. But as I said, this never happens, so I dont know how it would make me feel if it did, but I’m guessing not too good.

  14. Reba says:

    @e2 Great questions! Before I read “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn, I enjoyed turning heads. I did not dress each day with that goal in mind, but I felt flattered and powerful when it happened.

    A couple of years ago, I realized that I longed to turn my husband’s head and felt hurt that I did not. I longed to hear him tell me I am beautiful and I hurt that he did not.

    Lately, as I’ve become more aware of and concerned about women the world over with body image struggles, being objectified and mistreated, I’m certainly not interested in turning another man’s head. I AM interested in the contributions I can make to make our world more like the world God intends for us.

    When the men in my office make comments about the Victoria Secret fashion show and what great masturbation material they’ll see, I am offended. And I feel for their wives.

    I remember a time when my husband noticed other men looking at me and upon arriving home he “took” me. It was not a pleasant experience for me.

    It seems that feeling empowered by other men’s looks and comments is mutually exclusive with standing up for women’s rights.

    Thanks, e2, for the thought provoking question.

  15. Sarah says:

    @e2 Annoyed, embarrassed, and worried that I have done something to make him think I would be open to his attentions. At times, I will simply say “I’m married. Excuse me.” And walk away.

    My husband laughs, good-naturedly points it out, and offers to watch the kids while enjoying my blushing and pleas to not talk about it.

  16. e2 says:

    AnonThisTime,

    If a coworker has told your husband that you’re beautiful, I feel very confident saying that other men feel the same way and are checking you out. Not to lust after you, not to want to hop into bed with you, not to want to marry you, just to appreciate your beauty. Men enjoy looking at beautiful things or people, whether it is a Ferrari, a majestic eagle, or a woman. Shoot, in a totally non-sexual way, I even appreciate George Clooney’s good looks.

    My sense is that you are not aware of being looked at because of your low self-esteem, and one reason you may be more attuned to your husband looking is because of your insecurities. I’d be willing to bet that you are being looked at as much as you believe your husband is looking elsewhere, but because of your insecurities, you are more aware of your husband looking than you are of others looking at you. I won’t say it’s a figment of your imagination, but I do believe you may be magnifying both the quantity and significance of his glances elsewhere.

  17. e2 says:

    Sarah,

    I would probably react like your husband. He obviously appreciates your beauty and, like many husbands, enjoys showing you off in a way in which he can say, “she’s mine.” It is a reflection of his romantic success as a man to know that other men think you’re attractive.

  18. e2 says:

    Reba,

    Thank you for your candid response. I’m wondering why being taken in that situation wasn’t pleasant for you. I can fully understand how your husband would have been aroused by other men appreciating your beauty. In that situation, if he sensed you enjoying being looked at by others, he might have wanted to remind you that you are *his* wife, perhaps in the same way Brad’s wife reaches out to him when another attractive woman comes into view. I can also imagine that it might have been a confidence boost for you to be appreciated by so many others, so it’s easy for me to believe that a situation like that might turn to lovemaking.

    I just don’t understand women when it comes to being taken. Some seem to crave it while others are repulsed by it. I had a girlfriend once tell me that, deep down, women often secretly wanted to be raped. I’m sure she wasn’t referring to the act of violence we associate with the word, but rather the passionate act of a man who deeply loved her. That girlfriend sometimes complained that my kisses were too gentle; she wanted me to be more assertive. I also had a female coworker once tell me that she wouldn’t mind being raped so long as she got to choose the rapist.

    Sometimes I wonder as I lay in bed sending obvious sexual signals to to my passive and unresponsive wife if she is just waiting for me to take her. Of course, if she is, she can’t tell me as that would defeat the whole purpose of being taken. And, I’m to afraid to ask for fear that she will find the question repulsive. When I have been more assertive in the past, she has not responded in a manner that makes me think she’s enjoying it.

    *sigh*, the confusion continues.

  19. Reba says:

    @e2 “Romantic success?” Really? So the man with the best looking wife wins the competition. Isn’t that rather shallow? Isn’t that supportive of our culture and the media who teach that our physical appearance is the only valuable contribution we make to this world?

  20. IntimacySeeker says:

    @e2 Being “taken” was not an act of love, but an assertion of power, control and ownership.

    As far as choosing one’s rapist, “choose” is the operative word there. When one is raped, she has no choice, she is forced. It is against her will. She is violated. She is told she has no worth. She is devalued. I know this from personal experience.

  21. Julie Sibert says:

    @IntimacySeeker and @e2 — I think some of this has to do with semantics and word meanings, etc. I do know some women (myself included) who occasionally like the experience of being pursued (aka, desired, taken, wanted, etc.)

    So, in that light, it doesn’t feel like a possession or control angle; but rather, a desire angle. Just my two cents worth.

  22. e2 says:

    Reba,

    It might be shallow if you begin with the presumption that the only beauty a man cares about is that physical beauty bestowed by the whims of nature.

    Beauty takes many forms, all of which can be on display in a social setting. My wife is nearly 60 years old. Yes, time has taken its toll and she wouldn’t be a finalist at Miss America. But she is beautiful, inside and out, and I am proud of her. As a competitive male, I enjoy putting her beauty on display. It is a reflection of her character, and a reflection of my good fortune to have been chosen by her. If all that makes me shallow, it is a shallowness I gladly own and embrace.

  23. e2 says:

    Julie and Intimacy Seeker,

    The semantic issue was part of my point, although Julie said more directly and clearly.

    We often associate “rape” with a certain type of sex — assertive, strong, forceful, even full of selfish desire and lustful passion. What my girlfriend and co-worker were telling me is that they were not offended by that type of sex; they were only offended when it was imposed upon them against their will. Yes, by legal definition, *welcome* forceful sex isn’t rape; Lori says she enjoys being “pounded.” It’s just that my old girlfriend and co-worker chose to use the “rape” word to describe sex that, for them, would have been more than welcome. I was surprised that they chose that word.

  24. IntimacySeeker says:

    @e2 “As a competitive male, I enjoy putting her beauty on display. It is a reflection of her character, and a reflection of my good fortune to have been chosen by her.”

    If a husband enjoys putting his wife on display to impress his peers, what does that say about his character? When she receives accolades and admiration, why is he thinking about how good this makes HIM look? Why is he not happy for her solely for HER sake?

  25. Brad says:

    This may be a bit of a necro-post here but I like this conversation and I feel that it is important.

    Any time one uses the word “rape” one treads on very thin ice. My wife and I are both in our early twenties and have grown up exposed to all the vices and decidedly un-biblical doctrines of sex that dominate today’s world. She enjoys what is occasionally referred to as “rape-play” where I try to have sex with her and she resists. The first time that we tried this I kept stopping and asking if she was alright. She would look at me with a straight face and say “why did you stop?”

    “I thought I may be hurting you” I’d say.

    “If you are hurting me I’ll let you know” she said. We would end up wrestling with one another until she was too exhausted to keep fighting and then she would surrender to me completely. We have yet to find anything that gets her more aroused, it is her favorite foreplay.

    That may be messed up, and I’m pretty sure it is, but we both find it arousing. As Julie has said time and again, the Bible gives a husband and wife incredible latitude to explore their sexual desires with one another provided that it is done privately and exclusively with each other. We happen to share the same kind of mental screwed up-edness that we enjoy that kind of play.

    We have discussed it before and tried to figure out why. She told me that she likes it because she gets an intimate demonstration of how strong my body really is, and that turns her on. You would be amazed at how hard it is to subdue a woman without actually hurting her. It requires a great deal of strength and stamina and she knows that and enjoys that kind of wrestling in the same way many enjoy dancing. We are both terrible dancers so we prefer to wrestle each other.

    She also enjoys being pursued as Julie mentioned. I have got to REALLY want her if I am going to keep trying for twenty minutes before we make love. Believe me we make love after that. Once I “win” (and I don’t always) there is no longer even an imaginary lack of consent, she is VERY into it. It shows her that I am willing to actually fight to show her how badly I want her and she likes that.

    I like it because I get to demonstrate to my wife that I am, on a deeply engrained level, physically fit enough to be her mate. As I mentioned earlier, humans are bound in part by the limitations of being human. Our bodies were designed by God to reproduce using many of the same mechanics as other living creatures. I liken it to deer. The doe runs from the buck until he catches her, making him prove his fitness to be her mate before she submits as his mate. That’s not how God intended marriages to work, but physical competition is a part of our biology.

    It makes me feel secure about my masculinity in a world where I don’t often get to show her those physical qualities that make her father and grandfather seem “manly” to her (they swing hammers for a living, I wear a suit to work). She and I both know that being a man is about A LOT more than your physical prowess, but it is still important to both of us.

    My apologies for the tangent there but what e2’s coworkers were referring to is the kind of play that I’m familiar with, and it is NOT rape. Many people have a hard time articulating the difference, thus the thin ice.

    This is a difficult discussion. The difficulty of separating worldly, incorrect notions of what sex should be is evidenced by the existence of this blog. I think that the trap of showing off one’s spouse is a dangerous pitfall related to our biology. Men have varying degrees of natural sexual competitiveness and that can lead to situations like the terribly awkward situation that Anonymousthistime had with her husband’s coworker. It is difficult to find the line between being weirdly silent and being a jerk by saying something like “yes she is, back off”.

    About a year ago my then fiance came to see my at the part-time job I was working at the time. One of my coworkers, in his late 50s and having just lost his wife of more than 20 years, jokingly asked me after she left what size bra my fiance wore (she’s well endowed). He’s your archetypical dirty old man. I gave him a half smile back and said “that’s for me to know and you to wonder”. When he and my other coworkers quit laughing he said “fair enough” and that was the end of it.

    I told her about it later and she laughed and said that I handled it well. I find it difficult sometimes to handle pride in the beauty of my wife and jealously in guarding her to myself. She is a treasure, and she and I both enjoy when others respectfully acknowledge that. I especially appreciate that I am not the only one telling her that she looks good because she always tells me that I’m wrong when I tell her that she is sexy.

    I compliment her daily on her appearance and her character and sometimes I think it is good for her self esteem to hear it from others so long as they don’t get weird.

  26. Reba says:

    I gave him a half smile back and said “that’s for me to know and you to wonder”.

    WRONG. Her bra size is not for ANYONE to wonder. She is to be treated as a mother/sister/daughter by other men (Matthew 5:28). If our own husbands won’t set others straight, we’re in deeper trouble than I realized.

  27. e2 says:

    @Reba, you know I have the deepest respect for your thoughts, but I wonder if perhaps in this situation you might be a tad too hard on Brad.

    At the outset, I fully agree that Brad’s coworker’s comment was rude, uncalled for, disgusting, inappropriate, and every other negative thing that can be said about it. Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world of fallen people, and how we deal with each other can have far reaching effects on bringing people to grace and mercy.

    In this situation, Brad didn’t *invite* the coworker to wonder about his fiance’s bra size; he merely acknowledged that the coworker was already wondering. And, by handling the situation with a bit of “fallen world” humor, Brad was able to maintain a positive relationship with the coworker that might keep doors ajar for a future harvest, rather than slamming the doors shut with a holier than thou Christianity that would have most likely erected a wall of judgment and condemnation.

    More importantly, Brad told his fiance about the situation, and she, the direct victim of the coworker’s rudeness, said that Brad handled it well.

    I can understand how you might not have responded as Brad’s fiance did, but in this relationship, Brad answers to her, and she was apparently satisfied.

  28. Reba says:

    “Brad answers to her, and she was apparently satisfied.”

    And THIS is part of the problem, that we accept this kind of talk about women. I would say Brad missed an opportunity to explain why this man “wondering” was inappropriate. By allowing the man’s comment to go unchallenged and by making light of it (he and his co-workers laughed), Brad disrespected his wife, even if she doesn’t yet understand he did so.

  29. Meme says:

    Reba,
    It sounds like you have a chip on your shoulder and that you’re making a mountain out of a molehill. We do not have the power over what other people say and do, only do we have control of ourselves and I think Brad handled the situation very well. Like e2 said, Brad has to work with this man so he was put in a tough and, probably uncomfortable, position but did put the other guy in his place.

  30. e2 says:

    @Reba,

    “Brad disrespected his wife, even if she doesn’t yet understand he did so.”

    While I’m not sure I fully agree with this, I think I’m beginning to understand your point. What I hear you saying is that, in a world of female objectification, there are too many woman who seem not sufficiently offended by being objectified. (Some seem to downright enjoy it, considering the number of them eager to strip down for a camera.) All this encourages the perpetuation of male behavior of objectification.

    Unless I’m mistaken, you seem more upset by Brad’s fiance’s response than by Brad’s and his co-worker’s behavior.

    Fascinating dynamics here.

  31. Reba says:

    I don’t mean to pick on Brad personally, but we have an example here of conversation that we often tolerate when we should recognize and confront some serious issues. I’m not making a mountain out of a molehill. I’m calling a mountain a mountain. And yes, I’m frustrated that others don’t see that mountain.

    We answer not only to our spouses when it comes to these issues, but also to our God. We are called to notice and to speak the truth. That was likely Brad’s intention, but I wonder if we would take the situation so lightly if the roles were reversed.

    What if a husband’s penis size was always visually evident regardless of his attire and his wife laughed along with co-workers after they made jokes about it, giving the impression she doesn’t mind them lusting after him or thinking less of him than of others because of his smaller-than-average body parts?

  32. e2 says:

    @Reba,

    Good question about reversing the roles.

    Perhaps I need to do some soul searching, but my gut reaction is that, IF my member were larger than average and IF it were always visible through my clothing and IF my wife’s co-worker commented on my underwear size and IF my wife responded as did Brad, I would (a) not be offended by my wife’s response and (b) probably feel good that I had something worthy of notice (as you stated earlier that you used to feel in your pre-Feldhahn days). Maybe its because I’m a guy.

  33. B says:

    e2, it’s not just because you’re a guy.

    Brad, Im a woman and I think you handled it well. And if your wife thinks you handled it well, that’s all that matters.

    Yes, the coworker’s comment was rude, but Brad used his judgement. His response effectively ended the situation. Getting upset or defensive may very well have just called more attention to it and escalated the situation.

  34. Brad says:

    It is worth mentioning also that said coworker later apologized to me in private “if I made you uncomfortable putting you on the spot like that.”

    Also, thank you B. I was actually pretty proud of myself for coming up with that response in a couple of seconds. This was to a “good ‘ol boy”, a longtime friend of my father, and a man whose wife had died months earlier leaving him to raise a teenage daughter alone. Had it been one of my younger coworkers, my response would have been less… forgiving.

    And Reba, I appreciate your input but I swim every day deep amidst the filth of a world that has no interest in God’s will and I have to work there daily. You know the struggle too. I was less concerned about trying to change the views of a 50-ish year old man about respect for women than I was about making sure that everyone in that room knew that my wife is my business and that I will not be sharing the details of our sex life for their entertainment. I climb my mountains one at a time.

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