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Why is it not enough to have my own sexual desires satisfied? Why can't I just accept her gift and be thankful? Why is it important to me that she has desire?
Because sex is not just a physical act with physical pleasure. It is an emotional act with emotional impact too, but all she is giving you is the physical side. No matter how many times she 'does it for you' you are left emotional starved. It's like junk food, all calories and no nutrition. OK to have a little of that now and then, but you can't live on it. Sex can only be physically and emotionally satisfying when a couple both want each other, not when one of them is just tolerating the event, giving their body but not their heart.
Also because you are not a selfish person, you want her to enjoy it and get as much out of it as you do. You don't want her deprived of the joy and when there is a big imbalance like that it rightly bothers you. It probably leads you to worry about the state of the relationship, or worry about there being something blocking her from being able to sexually respond in a normal way. A medical issue or past trauma or something. It is very normal and IMHO healthy for a man to desire his wife find sexual satisfaction through him. You certainly don't want her finding it some other way.
Ever wanted to climb into the mind of a refusing wife and ask her "Why do you do that? What's in it for you, considering all the anguish it causes in our marriage!"
A new member (first post) asked this question. Here's a conversation that ensued.
C Brown wrote:Ask her, not as an accusation but for understanding, what it is she gets out of refusing you that makes it worth the hurt to you, the damage to the relationship, the risk of the marriage failing etc. and press for a real answer.
A woman name "Seeking Perspective," a long-time former sexual refuser explained in crystal clear terms EXACTLY what benefits she got from refusing sex to her husband in the past. This information is like gold. Awesome post!
Seeking Perspective wrote:I wouldn't have been able to answer this honestly until after my heart had already committed to making changes.
Here's what I got out of refusing:
...control. I had major trust issues, and refusing to participate in an act intended to foster intimacy felt risky to me.
...predictability. I knew what to expect.
...attention. My husband paid plenty of attention to me when it came to household stuff (schedules, laundry, meals, bills, etc.), but he rarely paid attention to me as a person. The exception was when he wanted sex. When he got sex, he seemed to pull away from me even more.
...safety. Emotional safety, safety from having to deal with difficult stuff, safety from facing my body image issues, etc.
...less fear. I was afraid of what would happen if I truly unleashed my sexuality.
Ask her what would be so bad about having sex more often?
...I would have had to deal with my body more.
...I would have risked losing part of myself.
...Why go through the effort of getting aroused, only to return to the state I started in? Why go through the effort of getting aroused, only to not get the release?
...It wasn't that sex was bad as much as that it would just confirm that my husband didn't value me for anything other than sex and taking care of the kids and house.
...If sex actually improved things, that would mean that my husband was right and I was (gulp) wrong.
Press for real answers, but be aware that your wife might not be fully aware of what those real answers are.
From the thread "Dutiful sex?"
by wyseguy » Mon Feb 06, 2017 5:40 pm
Leah wrote:Duty sex is not bad or wrong. If it is freely offered, then it should be graciously received.
wyseguy wrote: I agree and in the situation of the LD spouse looking to be obedient, it should be commended. However, duty alone can't be it. Yes, we as believers are people who are justified before God WRT our sins and eternal destination, but that does not mean that we aren't also placed on a path of sanctification wherein we are expected to grow closer to Christ. Duty sex may get the believer into the realm of obedience, but that shouldn't be the end.
I've been mulling this one over for a while. While the LD but generous spouse is doing the right thing, for the HD spouse they are married to, this can often leave them in a situation where they know something is missing. What I'm starting to think is missing in my marriage bed is not a willing partner, nor a woman who is actually being generous with her body and allowing me to satisfy my needs with her. What is missing is the woman my bride is.
See, my bride has plenty of energy for ministry, PTA, Bible study, kids, extended family, friends, etc. I see her creativity set ablaze when she is presented a new challenge. I see her leadership as she makes big events happen. I see her excitement and enthusiasm sparkle when she makes a plan for something fun and then executes that plan. I see her eagerness to please when it comes to her extended family. I see her able to talk at length on pretty much every subject. I love the bubbly charming woman who can draw me into a half hour conversation about a ten word Facebook post. I see her caring affection with those who are hurting. I cherish her generosity to help those in need.
I love this woman more than any words in any language can adequately express.
However, when we get into bed all of that fades. Creativity is replaced by an almost rote approach handled with an almost mechanical execution. The woman has a creative idea to improve nearly every situation, but in bed can't seem to muster more than "I don't know". She can spend all day scouring the internet for a new recipe to try, but seems like she wouldn't request something new in bed if her life depended on it. Leadership fades way past something like submission and well into lackadaisical responsiveness. Excitement and enthusiasm is replaced with meh. My charming conversationalist turns into someone so reluctant to speak that every word has to be dragged out kicking and screaming. Her warmth and affection turns into something lukewarm at best. Her emotional generosity fades. The woman who drove fire trucks when we first were married is barely engaged enough to call her passive in bed. Put simply, the woman inside is pushed down, or muted like a photograph so faded you can barely make out what the image is supposed to be.
Yes, she's being generous with her body and considering what some men (and women) on this board go through, I am blessed. For that I rejoice. What bothers me is that my bride can bring these amazing attributes of hers for everyone else, but when I need this woman I am so attracted to most is when she's most noticeably absent. When we're at what should be the pinnacle of our intimacy, that moment where we should both be fully present, she refuses me the very essence of who she is. No, she doesn't refuse me physically. She refuses a part of her that I'm every bit as powerfully attracted to as I am attracted to her body.
Sure, I can approach sex as a form of mutual masturbation and if that was truly all that mattered, then duty sex would be wholly sufficient from now until the day I die. However, I'm not looking for a living breathing marital aid, I want my bride...all of her. I want the body I'm attracted to, the personality I'm attracted to, the intellect I'm attracted to, the creativity I'm attracted to, and the enthusiasm for life that I'm drawn to.
MyWifesMan wrote:Few thoughts:
NO - temptation does not equal sinful lust. Even Jesus was tempted - and "in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin" (Hebrews 4:15).
It is our RESPONSE to temptation that can be sinful lust. All manner of things and situations present themselves - things that we don't necessarily seek out - that pose temptation to us, that lead to sin.
In this discussion, while I do see merit in understanding ourselves, our histories, and our triggers to whatever sin - be it porn or anything else, I also see a huge post-modernist compulsion that is complete psychobabble, that makes us think we have to comprehensively understand the intricate dynamics of our behavior in response to our temptations, or how our we might dissect the minutia of what part is sin, what isn't, where one begins and the other ends, and to accurately parse all of our complex motivations and causes. The reality is, God has shown and instructed us as to what sin is. Craving and desiring something that is not rightfully ours and that is forbidden to us is sin. Period! And any Christian (and only a Christian) who has experienced and/or studied the horrific impact of porn and it's long legacy of horrific devastation to marriages and families, who also has studied Scripture to understand it is a sin that is highly addictive, deceptive, and a very difficult habit to break, should realize they already know ALL they need to. We don't need to perfectly understand ourselves, our motivations and triggers - while all those can certainly be beneficial - ultimately, we simply need to FLEE the temptation and sin - and at first awareness of it. And for all aspects we feel it might be useful or fulfilling - which are lies we buy into - we should instead turn to God to take away desires not healthy for us, and to fulfill us in HIS ways, to spiritually fill us and our true needs, as opposed to our dependency upon things we might seek out that are sinful, that we often convince ourselves we need. And, if we're not careful, if we don't allow God to do the fulfilling of the desires of our hearts and minds, we'll simply go from one sin to other ones, or back again, seeking to fill our voids that only God can truly fill.
So, maybe the only time and place to talk about it, is when she seems to be in a good emotional state, and in advance of the need. IOW, next time you plan a vacation have the discussion with her about sex on vacation. Don't bring up the past, just the future. "Honey, we'll be gone for two weeks. To me "vacation" means that we indulge ourselves, special meals, special drinks, special scenery, special sex. I want to get the kids an adjoining hotel room for these three nights, and I want to have sex on each of those nights. Would you agree to that? It will mean so much to me!"
This is not calling her bad, or defective. It's presenting a want, with plenty of notice, and asking her. That's respectful and (I think) not pushy.
But it's fair to negotiate it ahead of time isn't it? Let the discussion, and any "conflict" be before the vacation, not on the vacation.
If she says "I don't know. We'll just have to wait and see." Then if you bring it up far enough in advance you could consider countering with "No honey. I'd really like to settle this now please. It would mean a lot to me. I can never enjoy our vacations because sex is a wild-card in my mind and I get so disappointed that I don't have good memories of our vacations together. All I can remember is the disappointment. I'm respectfully asking you for this discussion now. IMO it is no more difficult to agree to schedule 3 nights of sex on vacation than it is to agree ahead of time to schedule to see Aunt Martha in Little Rock."
Job29Man wrote:Can you and your wife talk? For an hour on the couch without yelling, sarcasm, bitterness? Just getting issues on the table, finding compromise, etc.
This is a great question. This "sit on the couch together and talk without yelling, sarcasm, or bitterness" is what I call "normal" behavior. Then I'm always contradicted by people who say "It's not common." And I respond "I never said 'normal' is the same as common." In fact "normal" means functional, not broken, customary. And then people retort, "but not in THIS society today!" To which I say "Stop watching Daytime TV and stop watching Reality TV, YouTube, and Social Media. And stop thinking that the society you grew up in is the sum total of human civilization. The fact that the past 30 years has produced a generation of dysfunctionality does not mean that "Disfunctional is the New Normal."
"Normal" IMO means what was normal over the past 500 - 1000 years or so, not what is common practice by the most recent one half of one percent of humanity.
What is "normal" is for people to talk to each other in a civilized way; internet SJW tantrums, and Talk Radio rudeness notwithstanding.
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A wonderful testimony by happilymarriedkate about how counseling can and should work:
happilymarriedkate wrote:I have read through this thread and have read a lot of your threads over the last few years. When I originally saw this post I almost answered your question with "Do not accept it. Period." Then, I saw that Job posted and thought his advice was really worth considering. However, based on your previous threads, I pretty much knew you would respond with "that won't work" to any suggestion made. So now, I will comment.
I think you are afraid of your wife and desperate for her approval and affection. The combination of these things makes it almost impossible for you to draw a line or throw down a gauntlet.
In Oct 2016, my DH and I were at a crossroads. A situation occurred where he became very passive aggressive, sarcastic and the whole non- productive bit that opened my eyes wider to his behavior than I had ever experienced before. And suddenly, I was able to say- "this is enough. We will go to marital therapy by someone of my choosing within a week and we will work on this issue and this behavior will change or I am moving out of the bedroom and will become your house- mate while our youngest is finishing high school." He was shocked. And he agreed to anything I asked.
My DH grew up in a poor and dysfunctional home with a alcoholic father and codependent mother. He became a Christian as a teenager and became very active in church. He left home to go to college and found his escape in academia. He is a highly educated, intelligent and introverted man. He is well respected in his field. He has always worked mostly with females in his profession and has never had much male accountability. When I was praying about which therapist to choose - I believe that God provided me with a lot of insight and I chose a Christian man, very large in stature (I found a bio with pics) man (6'5" 280) with more degrees, and a much larger frame than my DH. Because I am a therapist, I went in willing to talk about anything and willing to admit to any and all parts of the issue that was mine.
Our first session was the most eye opening experience I have ever had when it comes to my husband. In a matter of 10 minutes, the psychologist had broken him down to the bawling, scared little boy that was reacting so childishly to me. That man saw right through his behavior and called him out on it very first thing! It was an answer to prayer. We stayed in therapy for 1 year. He has since been in individual therapy and has done a lot of work on his own to process through childhood baggage and trauma. He is a different man. We have a different marriage- a better one. And I can honestly tell you that the last time he responded to me in passive aggressiveness or sarcasm was before that first therapy session.
So here I am back to my original response to your question- DON'T accept it. Throw down the gauntlet. Get help first if you need to as it seems you may have a few childhood issues to overcome to become an effective gauntlet throwing husband. Then, find the right, Christian professional to assist you both.
From a reply to a former refuser:
Job29Man wrote:My wife is a "farm-wife" (not a housewife). She's earthy, tough, tenacious, and wise, and she's been married to a healthy, vigorous man over 30 years. Here's what my Sarah would say to you...
"You treat your husband with respect. Praise him when he does right. NEVER NAG OR CRITICIZE!
Keep his belly full, and keep his balls empty.
Make dinner his second favorite time of day, and bedtime his favorite.
Give him all the sex he can handle, and he will move mountains for you, protect you, provide for you, work himself to death for you. He will kill for you, or die for you. Husbands, they are simple creatures! Treat him well, don't cage or hobble him, and he will work very hard to make your life very good. It is tragic that so many wives resist this simple truth." (Sarah Job29Man, January 2018)
Husbands view refusal and gatekeeping VERY negatively, generally as a personal attack, showing an attitude of taking him for granted, unappreciative, unloving, disrespectful, did I mention unloving? And after all that the husband loses the ability to trust his wife any longer. Turning on the sex faucet again is necessary, but of little value without a long term commitment. Rebuilding trust takes a long time to rebuild, years even.
This explanation by Seeking Perspective teaches what might be going on in the formerly refused/gatekept husband's mind that prevents him from quickly returning to his formerly enthusiastic self.
Seeking Perspective wrote:Re: Venting...and seeking advice
Postby seeking perspective » Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:53 pm
At around this same time after my awakening, I saw some changes in my husband's behavior. He was grumpy in situations where he normally wouldn't be. He sometimes pushed me away when I initiated. He withheld himself from me in a lot of ways.
I would think, But I'm finally doing what you've been begging me to do for years. Why doesn't this make you happy?
Here's what we later realized had been happening. During the first six months or so after my changes began, my husband wasn't sure it was real or that it would stick. He was still grateful to get whatever I offered, certain that it was just a phase and we would soon be back to our normal routine of little sex.
After six months of me consistently saying yes and fully engaging in sex, he got angry. In some respects, this was a good sign. Before, he had suppressed as much negativity as he could because he knew it would hurt his chances at sex. The only reason he allowed me to start to see these feelings was that he was starting to feel safe with me. He was beginning to believe that I wasn't going to withhold sex. He had spent years unable to trust me with his emotions or with his sexuality. It takes time to rebuild trust. This anger phase was a sign that he was trying out this shaky trust.
At the same time, he was testing me a bit to see if I really loved him or if my sexual attention was still contingent on his "good behavior."
He had legitimate anger, too. For a long time, he had believed that he was undesirable or that I just had a low libido. As he began to believe that the changes would stick, he realized that at any point during the past, I could have decided to turn things around and I just chose not to. I remember him shouting at me once, "You could have been doing this all along! Why didn't you? Why did you make me suffer?"
Also, I think my husband was sad about the fact that his body couldn't do what it had been able to early in our marriage. I began to make changes when he was in his mid-40s and was having some health challenges that affected erection quality. After all those years of being desperate for sexual connection with me, now his body wouldn't do what he had wanted to much for it to do.
My husband is not a particularly self-aware man. He recognized that he was grumpy, but he had absolutely no idea why. That added to his frustration.
I've often said that the second six months of my change were harder than the first six months. During the first six months, I was getting used to new ways of thinking and acting. During the second six months, I was dealing with my husband's delayed anger at me.
My advice is this:
...Pray for your husband's heart to heal from the pain your refusal caused.
...Continue to express desire for him.
...Don't let your past refusal make you think you don't deserve sexual happiness or let your husband off the hook. It was wrong for you to restrict your sex life then, and it's wrong for your husband to do so now.
...Be patient. Once we got past that second six months, our marriage improved in every way. This is likely just part of your husband's healing process.
OldMarriedLady wrote:Yes, I will be exposed throughout my life to things other than my DH which I will find arousing. However, most of that will not be just dropped in my lap as I go about my day. It won't pop up in the newspaper or a regular magazine, or on the local TV channels. That kind of erotica has to be sought out, which is another indication that it's not "acceptable" to society. It's hidden away. That makes me have to question WHY I would be seeking it.
I don't WANT to be aroused by other things. I want to be aroused by my DH's clumsy, misguided, unskilled attempts at giving me pleasure. I want to be aroused by the thought (and sight) of his ordinary, average, probably less-than-ideal physical attributes and abilities. I want to be aroused by what he says and does during sexual activity. Getting "ideas" from erotic stories will only lead to discontent with my reality, and become a mental crutch for me to use when my real-life arousal process doesn't seem to be working. I don't want those thoughts intruding into my experiences with DH. I want him to be all the inspiration I need.
The reason why i love this quote is not because of the discussion of Christian Erotica, but her response to it, especially given the sex-charged world we live in. I too, want my mind, thoughts, emotions, and will to be in the "real world" when it comes to sex and arousal. My husband and i do not have the air brushed bodies we see in entertainment or media nor do we have the mind-bending sex that one reads in Christian Erotica (yes, i have read those) and i for one, want to be content with what i have and i want to stay that way. I'll never forget this post.