The sex sin the church ignores

December 10, 2011

in Aff Link, Links to good stuff, Marriage Killer, Seeing Clearly, Sexuality

Woman with "no" sign © Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime.comThis is big rant, addressed primarily at pastors and other Christian leaders. Feel free to point such individuals to this if you like. There are a couple of unrelated resources at the bottom, so skip down if you have no interest in the rant.

The reason for this rant is that I just finished replying to yet another an individual in a sexless marriage, who is being attacked by his church for what he has supposedly done wrong, while his wife has never been confronted about her sin. Her sin is sexual refusal. I don’t mean she says no sometimes, I don’t mean she won’t have sex more than twice a week, I mean sex is less than once a month. In this case, it’s a man being refused by his wife, but it happens the other way too. Sometimes it’s total refusal, sometimes it’s sex once a month, or almost once a week, but with refusal the vast majority of the time. Sometimes the lack of sex is because of ongoing emotional, mental or physical issues, but the person with the problem won’t get any help. This is still refusal, as it is refusing to do what would make it possible to have sex.

I’ve heard from plenty of men and more than a few women who sought help from their church for sexual refusal. It is exceptionally rare that any help is provided. As my title suggests, this is the sex sin the church ignores. While it’s not always the case, it is not uncommon for these situations to progress to where the refused spouse is in sin like porn or adultery. This should not be surprising, in 1 Cor 7 where Paul makes it clear that refusing sex in marriage is wrong, he also warns that a lack of married sex will result in temptation. I am not excusing the man or woman who does these things, but these sins are biblically predicted results of sexual refusal. In other cases the refused spouse decides they can’t live like that, and they seek a divorce. When the church refuses to deal with the sin of refusal, they have contributed to the sins that may result, and to any divorce that comes from the situation. Additionally, the church is enabling the sexual refuser, and that’s a very bad thing for a church to do.

So here is the bottom line for Christian leaders: Sexual refusal is a common and growing issue. Ignoring it does not mean it does not exist in your church, and being embarrassed about it does not get you off the hook with God. If you don’t think it qualifies as sin, I encourage you to do a detailed study of 1 Cor 7:3-7. Can you honestly say Paul did not see sexual refusal as sin? If you want some background, look at what the Old Testament and Jewish rabbinical teachings have to say about the issue.

A couple of new resources:

Lori Lowe, author of Marriage Gems blog which I link to often, has written a book titled First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage (aff link). I have not had the time to even request, much less read a review copy, but based on what I have seen, and Lori’s track record, I can recommend the book.
From the press release: “The book tells the in-depth stories of a dozen couples who experienced many challenges from child loss to infidelity, drug abuse to military separation and MUCH more. Find out how to prepare your marriage for almost any challenge, and learn the 12 lessons that will help your marriage not just survive, but thrive.”

Matthew of the Adventure-Some blog (which you will be seeing me mention in the future) has a free e-book titled Ready-to-go Dates – The cure for Dinner & a Movie. This is great resource for the date challenged, or if you have just run out of good ideas for something different. Registration is required, and a link to the book will be sent when you confirm your e-mail address.

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11 comments
vegangelist
vegangelist

Where can I point my husband to a rant about the sin of MEN depriving their wives of sex (currently, we are past the two month mark; weeks or even more than a month have been the norm for the duration of our marriage)?

I know many (all?) of the physical, spiritual and emotional issues behind the problem, but that doesn't help because the biggest problem is that he won't face this problem WITH me as a team - he may be the one with the "issues" but it is very much MY PROBLEM too, whether i like it or not! - and he won't DO ANYTHING to solve the problem.  He simply tells me that he knew he would let me down in our marriage and this just proves it. 

The the more i beg and plead for sex, the more he pulls away.  The more I tell him how critical this is to our marriage, the more he "sympathizes" with me about having "such a disappointment for a husband." But, even when I STOP begging and pleading, he STILL doesn't do anything.

I've tried everything that I know to do and everything that has been suggested to me.  I've reasoned, implored, prayed, been quiet, been angry - a full spectrum of emotions and actions.  Nothing has changed.  Not even a glimmer of hope and, since it has been since mid-September, the prospects seem dimmer by the day.

TonyB
TonyB

Frankly, given my experience with bringing my ex-wife's affair to the church, I can't see much hope that churches would handle this sort of sin any better.


If a church is willing to do nothing when a member was obviously sinning, then what hope is there for churches to address something that may not even be viewed as a sin?

I got the same sort of attack as the man mentioned in this article, the accusation, veiled as a question, "What did you do to force  your wife to have an affair?"

hispresence
hispresence

truly it is a sad situation. but the church contribute to this by not being generous in the way they handle sexuality and sex issues and providing imformations on this, an important issue, without which i wonder if a man will marry?

Sheila Gregoire
Sheila Gregoire

GREAT, GREAT post! So true. I think one of the reasons that churches have difficulty dealing with it is that it's very hard to tell someone "go have sex", especially if that person is a woman. A woman can easily just "lie there and let him", and that's hardly fun for the guy (though he may be desperate enough to take the opportunity). What you really want is someone who is enthusiastic about sex and who is willingly giving it, and if a person doesn't want to willingly give it, it's hard to talk them into it. It's much easier to talk to the other spouse about how to love their wife, or how to be nice to their husband, or how to be patient, or how to rely on God. But you're right; we need to start addressing this as selfishness and sin, because that is what it is. Thank you! Sheila from To Love, Honor and Vacuum!

witness9
witness9

Great post! 1Cor7:2-5 is inside information from the Creator concerning our ability to resist sexual temptation. He also gives His prescription for victory. If the Church ignores it, She will reap accordingly.

james
james

WOW....this is a great subject and i could not agree more on all that has been said... thanks paul for all you are doing for marriages

rb
rb

I could not agree more!! I dealt with a porn addiction for the first 15 years of my marriage. My actions were certainly my own, but a lack of sex did not make it any easier to resist the temptations. Fast fwd to year 15 and I've got my wife viewing porn with me. This nearly led to the destruction of our marriage. On the day it came to a head, I called a Pastor friend I knew that had actually written a book on pornography addiction. I asked him simply, "Where do we go from here? How do we mend our marriage?" His advice was simple: "Have sex, and LOTS OF IT!" He reiterated Paul's command and said if either one of you need sex, then the other is obligated to provide. Denial should only come in times of prayer and fasting, but then again, if one is praying and fasting, shouldn't both be? Never have I heard such strong words from a Pastor. In my opinion, sex is like a glue that binds us together. When my wife and I are going through a dry spell, I notice my temptation levels start to go up. When this happens, we have a candid conversation where I tell her I'm being tempted. I wish I could counsel all Christians wishing to marry to take Paul's advice seriously. Sex is one of the single most important things you can do to keep your relationship alive and stay together. Women, so many of you have NO IDEA how important it is to a man and how much it alleviates his temptation level. He is certainly responsible for his own actions, but you have the power within you to be the companion Christ has called you to be to help him.

John Delcamp
John Delcamp

As a pastor, I agree 100%. There are some factors that we need to understand when dealign with this sin. If the spouse is an unbeliever, they are already rebelling against God and pointing out another sin does not help in bringing them into a relationship with Christ. Therefore, if a person is married to an unbeliever, this sin is the same as all other sins. You can't clean up the unbeliever from the outside, it must come by God's grace changing the inside. Therefore, in the case of an unequally yoke marriage, the believer must respond to the unbeliever the same way Christ responds to them when they sin. Very difficult and very tough, but unless we show God's love to the unbeliever, the unbeliever will only be drive from Christ and not to Him. In a marriage where both are professing believers, then this sin must be dealt with just as any other sin, (i.e.: adultery, failing to tithe, using God's name in vain, stealing, gossiping, backbitting, rebellion, etc.) because sin is sin. I have found it must be done in a very loving manner since sex is not usually dealt with in the church expect in negative ways. Sometimes, I must deal with the spouse that wants sex, because of their actions, they have created this repulsion for sex in their spouse - happens more often than what we want to believer. However, both parties must again, react to their spouse the way Jesus acts towards us when we hurt Him or sin. This is not the only sin the church needs to deal with, but within the marriage structure, it is important that we do deal appropriately with it.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@vegangelist  I wrote about that earlier this year over on The XY Code in 

When HE Says no to Sex - http://bit.ly/1lm2tzS . From time to time I mention it to the men here.

From what you say it sounds like it is far more than a sexual problem, although that may be where it is most evident or most painful for you.

If he will not get help, get help for yourself. Learn how to deal with his games and how to build a healthy life regardless of what he does or does not do.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@TonyB  Blame the victim does seem to be a common fall back. Be it abuse, adultery, a sexless marriage, or divorce, we seem to start by asking what you did to bring it on.

I am all for looking at both sides, and starting with the spouse willing to talk to you is more likely to get results. But we must start by acknowledging the wrong done to the person, and that nothing justifies it.

V
V

I cannot agree with you more rb. But when you say "Women, so many of you have NO IDEA how important it is to a man and how much it alleviates his temptation level. He is certainly responsible for his own actions, but you have the power within you to be the companion Christ has called you to be to help him", please remember that some of us wives deal with this too... Sometimes the temptation is so strong, it is ALL I can do to turn off my computer, phone, tv, everything I have and just pray and go to sleep so I don't get myself into trouble.... Its soooo hard being alone in this situation (And by that I mean being a woman that is constantly being refused. There seem to be many many resources for men that are refused, but not for us women.)

Trackbacks

  1. […] 22. So here is the bottom line for Christian leaders: Sexual refusal is a common and growing issue. Ignoring it does not mean it does not exist in your church, and being embarrassed about it does not get you off the hook with God. Generous Husband, The Sex Sin the Church Ignores […]

  2. […] For more reading on sexual refusal, check out Paul Byerly's post The Sex Sin the Church Ignores. […]

  3. […] Byerley, of The Generous Husband, wrote an important post back in December about how the church doesn’t think of withholding sex as a sin–even […]

  4. […] For more great reading on sexual refusal, check out Paul Byerly’s post The Sin the Church Ignores. […]

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