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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Image Credit: © Monkey Business Images |

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I have heard pastors "joke" about going to have to sleep on the sofa or that they will be locked out of the bedroom and I have wanted to say....if that happens, your wife is committing a sin. 

I have heard feminist scream. ITS MY BODY...and if I do not want to give my husband sex, I do not have to. IS it "your" body?

Husband can do the same thing. but is it "his" body? Now mind you, the world will say yes. I have seen feminist abuse sites which declare if a woman does not want to have sex and her husband coerce her to, it is rape. But then some feminist will even say any sex any woman has with any man it rape. 

I have seen these same sites say that if the woman wants sex and he does not. that is abuse too since it is using sex to control Umm why is it abuse when he want it and she does not and it is still abusing her if he does not and she does? (I can find many sites that say this)  DOUBLE standards are NOT Gods way for HE has the same standard for all... ALL have sinned and come short of the Glory of God....

Now listen good.. WHO are we listening (or woman) or GODS WORD?

Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. 

Lets see what God says about this topic,

1 Corinthians 7

1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

note verse 4....husbands. your body is not is your wife's. 
wife's your body is not your body. it is your husbands. Now this being said REMEMBER that we are to treat our husband or our wife with the utmost respect. God forbids us to defile the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16-17)

Folks satan is trying to break up our homes. he will use ANY means possible to do this. SEX is a very powerful means for God to show HIS love to a husband and wife. for HE invented sex. Or it can be a powerful tool for evil. 

Sex is not the only thing that can drive a man or a woman into the arms of another person. But it is right up there on top the list. I will cover some of the other things later. 

Note 1 Cor 7:2 tells us to get married to avoid sexual sin...this shows marriage should come BEFORE SEX

Verse 4:  "The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife."

Again this does NOT give an excuse to mistreat your husband or wife.,  We are to do EVERYTHING IN LOVE.   (1 Cor. . 13) and also  remember JESUS CHRIST is our example,  WE and women are to model our life after HIM.  JESUS NEVER FORCES ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING. AND HE STILL DOES NOT.   Personally, I would not WANT to have sex with someone that did not WANT me.   Ladies... is your husband impotent?  Does he have problems getting and maintaining an erection?   Have you been cold and distant?    Could this be a possible reason why he is having those problems?   MEN...does you wife just lay there ... wanting you to get it over?    Does she feel you just "want to get off"?   

PLEASE  listen... SEX was intended to be wonderful  and beautiful and not just a mechanical act.  It was intended to be emotional and Spiritual at the same time.    If a person feels they are being used as a sex object. the enjoyment will not be there... most likely they will not be able to respond as you need him or her to  respond.   

SEX can be postponed but lets look at the only Biblical reason to say NO...

Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

UMM Prayer and FASTING... guess there would not be an overweight problem in many of our homes would there? 

Again LISTEN GOOD... this does NOT give a man or a woman a right to DEMAND Sex.    Romans tells us to forfeit our yield them to others..

A child of God is to die to self  BUT should our spouse expect us to do ALL they dying?  Should WE expect our husband or wife to do all the dying?  

ONE MORE TIME... the ONLY way we can have a right relationship with our husband or to have a right relationship with GOD FIRST.

Broken green eyed lady
Broken green eyed lady

I was not able to freely give to my ex husband. He had been all about his own needs and wants. He put me through hell for ten and a half years and even though we were able to get through it, I cannot just turn things back on. So much pain and suffering was part of my life and my childrens lives too. I tried but can't do it. There is no communication from him about anything other than sex and TV. I don't know what I was expected to do. After you are abandoned out of the blue, yet still in the same house for so much time after, can anyone really recover? My kids were denied a father. They will never get that time back. How could I ever find a way back to intimacy at that point!?!


I've been married for six years now and sadly our relationship is definitely classified as a sexless one. As I write this it's currently been four months since I last had sex with my wife. From day one I've been reduced to begging or pleading for it, not because I'm some crazed addict but simply because I require it in order to feel desired or appreciated. When we do have sex on the rare occasion its always hurry up and get it over with. She ensures her own satisfaction with next to no regard for my own. Being a Christian in a Christ centered marriage is leaving me feeling guilty as I struggle with temptation and occasional porn use because once a week is too much for my wife. 

I no longer feel a desire for her due to the many years of badgering her for any form of intimacy and her constant putting it off. 'Not tonight, I'm tired, I'm sick, my periods coming, how about tomorrow night?"

I've expressed to her many times how I feel, how it affects me. I've come clean about the occasional use of porn and she seems okay with it if it means I'm leaving her alone. I've threatened separation or divorce, I've cried and pleaded too many times to count. Now I'm doing the good guy approach yet again, not that I'm not good other times but now I'm over the top with hugs and positive reinforcement, taking care of her every wish or desire in hopes of getting her to wake up. God forbid I have a hard day or I'm just not in the best of moods as that may give her reason to tell me I wasn't deserving because I need to be more kind and happier. So many say that a man needs to lavish attention or affection on his wife in order for her to feel desired and to reciprocate desire. Well, I'm certainly doing that. My flesh wants to hate her and walk away bitter and despondent. My will to make things work pushes me to continue to look for a solution. I've proposed counselling or a sexologist to help her figure this out but its a no go. 

My wife is young with no children. She doesn't work so has the energy and the time to prepare and consider this side of our relationship. There's no history of abuse or anything damaging that could cause her shutting off. I'm a hard working man with a good physique and a handsome chap if i do say so myself. So, where's the beef. I've scrutinized myself under a microscope. I've prayed hard to be all that I can be for her to ensure I'm not falling short. I'm at a loss. 

themarriagebed moderator

@rushgreen73  Some people are just selfish and will never change. Others keep being selfish because they keep getting away with it. The only way to know which is to make a hard choice and stick to it. The outcome could be good, or it could be the end.

Unless there is more to your situation than what you have said here, I think you are at that point. I'd say it's time for a lot of prayer.

Flying Kiwi
Flying Kiwi

@rushgreen73 Your situation is so like mine. And i am absolutely now gone crazy with loneliness and desire for a Godly , loving and fulfilling marriage.

Woman.. (and women everywhere) WAKE UP, we are not sex maniacs, It is about affection, love, appreciation, sharing, AND YOUR VOWS... we guys stood at the alter and gave ALL to you, but you won't give ALL (including sexual time and activity) back to your husband, we feel cheated, used and abused.


I am in a sexless marriage.  I have prayed, gone to counseling on 3 separate occasions, prayed some more, spoken with other women, taken medications and I continue to live a numb life.   I have offered to just have sex with my husband for his release but he wants me to be actively engaged with him.  At rare times when I am actively intimate with him it happens so fast that I am left feeling frustrated.  I live with the guilt of this every day and do not know how to break free. 

TheGenerousHusband moderator

@Bluejay56 Plenty of men would say no most of all of the time to one sided sex. I don't think it's the best choice, but if a man wants a sexual relationship accepting something less can be difficult and painful.

His excitement on those rare occasions is such he can't possibly last.. If it happened often he would last longer.

The question is why you struggle. It could be mental. emotional, or physiological. Figuring out which takes someone with a lot of skill and experaince.

I have not great wisdom, but you have my prayers.


I have been married for 35 years and the last 10 years my husband and I have had a sexless marriage. Not my decision, my husbands. No discussion, no legitimate reason. He just didn't want to do it anymore. For the 25 years prior sex was not a common event, even though we have 5 children. Much prayer and forgivness have helped, but obviously the pain is very much still there. In the past year or so we have gotten closer in some ways but not physically. We may never have sex again but God help me as He has the past 10 years. Thank for addressing this issue. It truly does need attention as much as other sexual sins in or outside of marriage.

TheGenerousHusband moderator

@mhall1979 If we can get to where we discuss these things in the chruch it can only make things better.

Praying the Lord continues to work in you, your husband, and your marriage.


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.

TheGenerousHusband moderator

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

When HE Says no to Sex - . 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.


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?"

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.


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!


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.


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


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.


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.)

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.


  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. […]

  5. […] The Sex Sin the Church Ignores […]

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