Sexual submission

Woman trying to seduce husband © Robert Kneschke |

Submitting in the bedroom – now we’re talkin’, right? I’ve got good news and bad news on this; the good news is yes, she is supposed to take care of you sexually, the bad news is you are supposed to take care of her sexually.

Maybe that still sounds like a great deal, but taking care of her sexually does not mean having all the sex you want, how you want it, and when you want it. In fact, sex is the one place in marriage where husband and wife have identical responsibilities, authority, and rights. First Cor 7:3-4 clearly says you are not allowed to say no to her sexually. 

Are you thinking, “I’ve never said no to sex, and I never will?” Okay, but have you ever said no to what your bride needs to want and enjoy sex? She needs to feel loved and connected in order to be sexual. Without that, it is for her an empty physical act which is boring at best, and often feels like being used. There are times when half an hour of talk and a back rub are the difference between her servicing you and the two of you making love in a deep way that you both enjoy. Some will argue with me, but in that situation, I think refusing to give her the half hour is actually refusing her sex. 

This idea goes well beyond the bedroom and the end of the day. If a man argues with his wife all day, or ignores her all evening, she probably does not want and almost certainly can’t enjoy sex. Again, I would say these things amount to sexual refusal because they make it impossible for her to be sexual as God intended. The man who fails to give his wife what she needs to want sex and to enjoy sex is failing to do what Paul commands in 1 Cor. 

A third way this plays out is what you do sexually. If all your wife ever wanted was to hug and kiss, fully clothed, while you each masturbated, would you find that acceptable? In the same way, if what you want is unacceptable to her, you are failing to take care of her sexually. You each need to be reasonable, and there may need to be a good deal of give and take. If either of you is unhappy about what is done a majority of the time, things need to change.

If you would like to read more on this, my bride and I have a couple of lengthy articles on the subject:
1 Cor 7 – Sexual Responsibility
Sexual Stewardship  

What if she does not want sex? I am well aware there are plenty of women who have said “I could live the rest of my life without sex and be perfectly happy.” I know the women who say this believe it, and I know in many cases there is nothing their husband could change that would make any different to her in terms of wanting sex. However, I do not believe these women are without sexual needs. I believe they don’t feel those needs because sex has been too hurtful for them for way too long. The bad has consistently outweighed the good, and it’s understandable such a woman would stop feeling any desire to have sex. 

While a woman may feel no desire or need for sex, I do not believe that means she had no need. God made her to be a sexual being, to want and enjoy sex. The world has beating her to where she no longer feels a need does not mean it’s gone. If this describes your wife, odds are most of the damage done to her happened before you met her. You may have contributed to that before you married, and almost certainly to some degree after marriage, but you did not create the problem and that means you can’t solve it by changing things. Solutions to this are beyond the scope of this post, but I will address it over the next weeks and months. 

This is a seven part series: 

Headship? Me? Maybe not … Why men shy away from being the head.
Submit to each other? Wait, how does that work? Does it work?
Submit! But only if you want to? It’s a choice?
Who submits to whom, and why? God has a plan here, really.
Being the head What it means, and how it’s to be done.
Sexual submission New we’re talking … or not.
How we do headship and submission How it works in our message.

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10 Comments on “Sexual submission

  1. This is so true! I struggle with this it is my sin and selfishness that gets in the way. I need Gods help to love and serve outside the bedroom. Thanks for your post I never saw it this way.

  2. Well said. Not too hot and not too cold. Just right. It needs to be read about once a quarter in every church or men’s group just to remind us all.

  3. Paul, this is such a good post! And so true. I actually have a post scheduled for Tuesday about this very thing. Sex should bind us together spiritually as well as physically; if it’s not, it’s usually because of selfishness–selfishness because we’re either demanding something the other feels uncomfortable giving, or selfishness because we’re withholding something the other genuinely needs. That’s why we need to realize that it’s not SEX that is the primary issue, but INTIMACY. If you don’t have true giving, you’ll never experience real intimacy, even if you do have sex. And sex+intimacy is absolutely stupendous!

    Now, can I ask all you men a big favour?. I’m having a debate on my blog today about bringing the kids in bed with you. I’m saying that this is usually a woman’s choice, usually makes people’s sex lives worse, and often makes the husband uncomfortable. Many women are disagreeing. If some guys could chime in, I’d love to hear your perspective! The post is here. Thanks!

  4. I think this is perhaps the best explanation you’ve given yet! An looking forward to the “solutions … beyond the scope of this post”. In the meantime, I got my wife flowers and will be more intentional with my own responsibilities…

  5. I read your article about sexual submission. I have to be blunt… To say that a man is not the reason for his wife’s lack of desire for sex may be a little too much for me to take.

    Personally, and for other women I know, not all women. Have had sexual beat downs before meeting their husbands. In fact, most of the beat downs have happened during the marriage.

    Example: a friend of mine loved her spouse and did most everything to make him happy, he ruined her desire for him due to his constant cheating, despite the fact he washed dishes and rubbed her back.

    Another friend, just as loving to her husband, never withholding sex, and her husband had frequent affairs and made her not want to have any physical contact with her spouse.

    There are many more stories I can share with you, but let us skip to my personal story. I have been with my husband for almost 25 years. From the very beginning sex was just about every day, even multiple times a day for the first years. Later, after a few years he had numerous affairs. He confessed. Cried. Apologized. Told me to forget, forgive and get over it since he had been washed in the blood. I agreed. Afterall, we left that old sinful nature and began to follow Christ and start our new life together.

    Afterward we still had the same intimacy factors. Never a headache. Never a no. Never a wait a minute. Always right now. Then a few years pass and he decided that prostitutes were his cup of tea, as well as other women. Again. He said since God had forgiven him I should just move on and forget since he didn’t want to be reminded about his sins. Afterall, he felt really bad.

    Later, a few years pass and he did the same thing. He has done this numnrous times over the course of these years. Even recently havibg gone and lived with another woman who was youunger than myself. Just looking at him now disgust me sometimes. And his attitUde regarding my serving him because he isn’t cheating today seriously disturbs me.

    So, to make an extremely long story short, it isn’t always that a woman has been beaten up before the marriage. It could very well be that she was beaten up during the marriage.

    • @Debbie Bliss – I am well aware of all the things men do to mess up sex for themselves and their brides. The article above talks about that – about failing to be the husband a woman needs to want sex. Sexual sins are another layer of that.

      But that acknowledged, the vast majority of women are sexually messed up before they even meet the man they marry. Even if she has avoided all sex, she has been exposed to the perverted, repressed, oversexed society around her, and that leaves a stain.

      Most women (and men too) come into marriage with a lot of sexual baggage – even if the enter as virgins. That baggage causes problems that are in no way the fault of their spouse. The problems that come from the baggage cause new problems, and most men have no idea how to deal with those things. At best they are unable to react, and usually they react in a wrong or bad way that just makes things worse.

      I would say all women in our society enter into marriage with sexual baggage. Some a little, some a lot. All husbands add to that, some a little, some a lot. If she enters with very little and he adds very little, problems will work out easily. If the combination of what she brings in and what he adds gets past a certain point, there will be problems. Some women bring in enough that there would be problems if he were perfect, and some men add enough to destroy a wife with no baggage.

  6. Bringing the kids into the bedroom has been a tactic by my wife when she didn’t want to have sex.  She would bring them in, she would fall asleep and they would fall asleep around or on her, leaving me to be the bad guy to have to wake them up and send them to bed. I like to snuggle with my kids as much as anyone, but letting them stay until after you fall asleep can be frustrating to a husband.

  7. BS4 Such avoidance is a problem in and of it self – it shows an unwillingness to talk about problems. Avoidance of sex is another issue all together. I’d start by working on communication, as I would expect that is a problem in other areas as well.

  8. Ha, you have it all wrong as usual.  The Lord intended man and wife to have a great sexual relationship, and for BOTH to be sexually fulfilled.  But 1 Cor 7 clearly says this is for both, not just for the wife to be the “sex kitten” , of the husband.

    To illustrate, lets say husband and wife have a great sexual relationship.  Husband rates it 7 out of 10 in satisfaction and wife 9 out of 10.  Wife wants sex twice a week, and husband 3 times..

    If they had sex 3 times, husbands satisfaction would rise to 9 out of 10, but wifes would drop to 7 out of 10, because she is having sex when she really doesn’t want to, or for whatever reason.   

    So who is not obeying 1 C 7, husband, or wife? The satisfaction of one leads to the disatisfaction of the other.

    You are too lawyerly in your clinging to 1 C 7.

    It is not a matter of smacking your wife on the head with 1 C 7, hoping she will become a sex kitten.  (how is that working out for you, those who have tried it?)

    Do you think this is what Jesus would have done??

    It is a matter of love, and loving communication and yes – compromise between husband and wife.

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