Why are so many otherwise decent, loving, Christian women unwilling to be sexually generous with their husband? Seriously, it’s like an epidemic! What’s causing this? Sure, there are all kind of things we can blame, but is there one major cause? I think there is. (If you blog about marriage, don’t miss my challenge at the bottom!)
I once heard a woman say something to the effect of “If he wanted it less, I would do it more.” Why would a woman feel that way? I think many women would identify at least somewhat with the following:
- “He doesn’t desire me; he just wants to use parts of me for his pleasure.”
- “He wants an orgasm, and I’m the only place he’s allowed to put it.”
- “If my vagina fell out, he’d leave me.”
Can we start by agreeing feeling those things wouldn’t make one feel good about sex? If your wife feels any of those, even a bit, it’s reducing her interest in sex. Can you understand why a woman who felt those things would see her husband wanting less sex as a good sign, as an indication he really loved her?
Are you yelling at the screen you’re not that guy? I get it! However, what affects your wife is not how you are, but how she thinks/fears you are.
Okay, but if you are not that way, why does she think you are sexually selfish? The sad reality is the world around us is full of examples of sexually selfish men. Most porn is just about his pleasure, often at the expense of the woman. The stereotypical frat boy or man at a bar is there to “get lucky” or “score” and he doesn’t care who he hooks up with as long as it ends in sex. Common sayings such as “Your standards go down at closing time” and “Doesn’t matter, had sex” give the impression men are all about sex with any halfway willing woman.
Some men are sexually selfish, and part of our society glorifies such behaviour. I don’t think it is the norm, but it’s real and it’s not rare. Caring parents rightly warn their daughters about this to protect them, and by marriage most women have a couple of first hand experiences with and many second-hand examples of men who only care about “getting some”. She enters marriage fearful men are controlled by their penises, and human nature is to see what we fear even when it is not there. Then there’s a husband’s very normal, and God-given, excitement about having sex with his wife till neither of them can walk; a woman can easily misread this as selfishness. He says something that can be taken more than one way, and she takes it wrong, and so it starts. It becomes a vicious cycle she’s afraid to rethink, and a catch 22 he can’t escape.
So how do we change this? I don’t just mean how do you change it in your marriage, how do we as the church change this?
We need to teach the truth about male sexuality as God designed it and married sex as God intended it to be. We need to stand up and say men have extremely strong drives (compared to the average woman) and it’s God’s doing. The horrible things that happen because of misusing the male sex drive are the result of sin, and sin never makes what God created bad or wrong. The male sex drive is God’s creation, and we need to learn how to use it as God intended. We need to teach everyone downplaying the drive is just as wrong as using it outside of God’s boundaries. Denying a man a healthy married sex life isn’t just doing him wrong; it is saying God is wrong.
We need to proclaim proudly that God gave men a strong drive to encourage couples to have regular, healthy sex lives. We need to communicate that a good sex life is not just a bonus in marriage; a healthy sex life is necessary to have the kind of marriage God calls us to have.
I’m not trying to beat up on anyone here, because both men and women are victims in this. It’s not just women, we’ve all believed lies about the male sex drive. Most men think they’re “oversexed” or “want more sex than I should expect my wife to have”. As long as these lies live in the church, couple’s sex lives will be a mess, which hurts marriages, which hurts families, which hurts churches and communities. This is not just a marriage issue – it goes far beyond that.
My challenge: Here’s my challenge to everyone, but especially to bloggers, pastors, and teachers: Make it a point to celebrate the male sex drive anywhere you have influence. Stop allowing sex to be treated as shameful or evil. Proclaim that God gave men a strong sex drive for a reason, and teach we must embrace that fact if we want to have healthy marriages, families, and communities. Challenge those who express lies about sex being dirty or shameful and those who say sex should never be discussed.
We don’t have to change the minds of those who are convinced sex is bad, we just have to speak the truth enough to drown out their voices. If they learn they’ll be lovingly challenged with the truth, many will stop speaking the lies they believe. We need to make calling sex bad like being openly racist is (in most places) – some will still feel it, knowing it’s not culturally acceptable to speak those lies they will remain silent. I want the church to be a culture that openly proclaims sex is good!