This can be such a raw place for a husband and wife. One spouse desires sex and the other is indifferent or callous, maybe even to the point of shaming their spouse for their sexual desire.
Just to clarify, I’m not talking about instances where the spouse who wants sex is demanding it in a belittling or manipulative way. That too is counter-productive and damaging to the relationship.
I am talking about the reasonable expectation a spouse may have to make love, and when they express this, their spouse responds by shaming them—lashing out in anger, making fun of them, calling them names like “pervert” or saying they are obsessed with sex and “it’s all they ever think about!”
Just as oneness and healthy vulnerability can be cultivated, so too can resentment, division and animosity. It’s a sad consequence from repeated unhealthy behavior.
This is particularly true where sex is concerned, because it is a need and desire that from a moral and biblical perspective, we can enjoy only with our spouse. If a husband desires to make love to his wife and she shames him for such desire, he can’t ethically go find consolation in the arms of another woman. If a wife desires to draw close to her husband sexually and he shames her for that desire, she can’t simply hook up with one of her guy friends.
Shaming your spouse for wanting sex is devastating in ways you may not initially see.
And certainly I know that each marriage has its own sexual history, tendencies and patterns. I know that sexual refusal can come on the heels of complicated relationship dynamics. But I’m not so sure there’s a need for shame within all of that. It’s not productive. It just alienates a husband and wife from each other, compelling one or both of them to retreat to their corners even more. It certainly doesn’t strengthen their marriage, but rather chips away at their intimacy and connectedness.
There is a lot of irony at play as well.
Let’s say a husband and wife make love one night. It is, after all, an integral part of marriage (or at least it should be). And two or three nights later, he subtly or not-so-subtly expresses he wants to have sex again. Now one would think this is a sign of something healthy, right? He enjoyed sex with his wife. She is the only one with whom he can have this experience. He has been naked with the woman he loves and experienced intense pleasure because of her, and this made him feel close to her. It’s even boosted his overall outlook on life.
As a wife, she has given him this sexual expression that is foundational in marital love. He has felt safe with her.
No wonder he wants to experience it again. (Remember, he can’t go get it someplace else. It’s not like a workout at the gym or a beer with his friend. This is something only his wife can fulfill).
So when he expresses he wants to be sexually close to her again and she shames him for that, what message does that send? Her harsh response causes confusion and pain, because he simply wanted what a few days earlier was a positive experience.
Another irony at play is that if one spouse is shamed enough, they may shut down completely and stop seeking sex. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this scenario. And then, to carry the irony even further, the spouse who has been doing the shaming begins to get defensive and nervous that their spouse has sexually shut down. Assumptions and accusations start to fly. “Well, you’re probably getting it someplace else now, right?!” More shame. More division.
Just so you know, I’m an equal-opportunity advocate. The scenario I painted above had the wife shaming the husband, but it just as likely could be the other way. I hear from wives who aren’t just refused by their husbands sexually, but led to believe there is something odd or wrong about a wife desiring her husband sexually. He too may lob accusations at her, such as “it’s all you ever think about” and “what type of woman could possibly want this much sex?!!”
Shame. Shame. Shame.
So the next time your spouse express sexual desire with you, the person they married—even if the two of you just had sex a day or two previously—think about how crucial to the marriage your response is in that moment.
Certainly, the more often that yes can be the rule rather than the exception to sexual pursuit, the better. But even when it’s not reasonable to have sex right then, can you reframe your no to a heart attitude of not now, but later? Key, of course, is the two of you need to navigate in a healthy way what later means. Later can’t mean a perpetual delayed no.
Later means that you find a sexual frequency that honors both of you. It’s likely going to mean compromise from both of you, which is what all married couples have to figure out. Rarely do two people agree 100% on how often they should have sex. But sex is part of marriage. We absolutely can’t lose sight of that.
And nothing good can come from shaming your spouse for wanting it.
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8 thoughts on “Do You Shame Your Spouse for Wanting Sex?”
Thanks for this, it really hits home for me as I’ve been the shamed one.
Mmmmmm…my wife has told me that sex is my idol a few times. And I believed her. I never thought she was shaming me until I read your thoughts today. Now I have something to think about…
I’ve reached the point where I have stopped pursuing my wife entirely. I’ve been on the receiving end of all those comments. “Sex is all you ever think about. It’s all you really want me for. I don’t want to and if you expect me to do something I don’t want to do, you must not really love me or care about me…” It never ends, so I quit trying. She can’t reject me if I don’t initiate. A few times a year she feels guilty about it and allows it to happen, but it’s never because she desires me and most of the time I end up feeling worse about myself afterwards.
“I end up feeling worse afterwards…”
I hear ya buddy; nothing like pity sex to make you feel desirable. Or knowing she’d rather have a root canal than have sex with you.
But what about if the sex is over with when he orgasms? No foreplay, no spending time discovering what she needs. And. He. Just. Won’t. Listen! This is why many wives shut down and won’t have sex. I wonder how many of the men who complain that they are not getting sex in the comments from their wives are like this?
Never in a million years thought I was going to post a comment about how rejection has been the factor in me loosing my worth. My husband had a very promiscuous life before me, we just entered our 40s and he told me that sex with age decreases. Whenever he feels like having sex, is about once a month,
I feel unwanted, ugly, inadequate, and insignificant. He shames me if I ever show any sexual interest. I have come to resent him because he was able to freely give the most intimate parts of himself to random women and Keep his wife silent suffering from his lack of willingness.
I’m truly sorry you have to endure that form of abuse… withholding is abuse and withholding the thing you can only get from your spouse is cruel and unacceptable… idk how long you two have been married but I’m 33 now and stayed in my sexless loveless marriage for 11 years… Upon her discarding me i have come to the conclusion that she is a narcissistic psychopath who had been cheating on me since we got married… NOW i know why she never wanted to be intimate with me
also if your husband loves you and wants to make you happy tell that excuse making SOB to go to a TRT clinic and get his testosterone levels checked a shot of testosterone once a week will clear up any desire issues 😉