I sinned, I expect you to pay for that.

Yesterday I wrote, “If you have expectations created by sinful sex, you really need to repent of the sex and see the expectations created by that sex as fruit of the poisoned tree. Expecting your wife to meet those expectations is asking her to pay for your sins.”

Added for clarity: By expectations I am talking about specific sex acts, not frequency.

The sinful sex I was discussing yesterday was any premarital sex, but there is another very common sinful source of sexual expectations – pornography.

Internet porn © Danilo Rizzuti | freedigitalphotos.net


I have had women tell me they have a right to say no to fill-in-the-blank because their husband would not want it if he had not seen it in porn. I have had men argue they would want fill-in-the-blank even if they had not seen it in porn. While both want to be convinced they are right, neither can know, much less prove, they are correct.

My opinions on this:

  • Some of what men see in porn they would have come to want even if they never saw porn.
  • Seeing something in porn makes the desire to do it greater than if the man had never seen it in porn.
  • Some things men see in porn they would never have desired had they not seen them in porn, but having seen them in porn, they develop a desire for it.
  • No one can prove any particular desire would or would not have happened had the man never seen it in porn.
  • Regardless of what he would have wanted had he never looked at porn, viewing porn changes a man’s desires.

The last part of the last point is critical; it means when a man chooses to use porn, he is choosing to change his sexuality. He probably has no idea he is doing this, and he may deny for the rest of his life his sexuality was changed, but numerous studies on how what we see affects us leave no doubt exposure to porn changes a man’s sexuality.

So, who should bear the consequences of sexuality changed by wilful sin? Be it premarital sex, porn, or adultery, your sin changes your sexual desires. If those changes cause a conflict with your spouse, who should bend? It seems wrong and selfish to expect your wife to do anything to accommodate the consequences of your sin. Perhaps this is not controversial, maybe this is why we have a debate about whether or not certain desires come from sinful exposure – he claims they are not so she will “have to” do what he wants, and she claims they are so she feels free to say no.

My take on it is your choice to sin means you gave up the right to expect or claim anything. You created the possibility what you want, or how strongly you want it, is the result of sin, and one of the consequences of that is setting down the desire. Does that bother you because you feel I am giving all the power to your wife? As I see it, you gave her the power when you chose to sin. Sin has consequences, and some consequences are things we must live with the rest of our lives.

In short, if you have sin in your sexual past, I think you need to be willing to accept a “vanilla” sex life. I realise this is a very difficult thing to say, and I realise no man is going to like hearing it. However, it seems to me anything else is asking your wife to bear the consequences of your sin. I find that and deeply wrong, the epitome of selfish, and not at all loving.

Please know I say all this as someone who has been down this road. I saw a lot of porn as a kid. I stopped (completely, 100%) around my 15th birthday, but I know what I had seen had a profound effect on my sexuality. When Lori and I were first together I tried to get her to be the woman of my porn fuelled dreams, and I did a good deal of harm to her. I finally decided I could not stomach what I was doing to her, and piece by piece, I gave up all but the most basic, simple sex acts. I prayed it would change, but I was determined to set those things aside and learn to have a great sex life without them. Those things were off the table for years. Eventually, as Lori got more healing, she started to think and talk about some of those things. Some we tried, both liked, and kept. Some we tried, we did not both like, and we set them back down. I lost interest in a few, and some just did not seem to fit our lives, or I came to realise they were not right or reasonable.

I cannot promise you that if you lay things down you will one day get to pick any of them back up. However, I can promise laying them down is the only way to have a healthy sex life your in which your wife enthusiastically involves herself. I can promise you laying these things down gives your wife her best chance at learning to want and enjoy sex and I know the longer you hold onto these things the less chance there is she will ever get there. I can also tell you a regular “simple” sex life is far more enjoyable than doing more because you push and beg and occasionally guilt her into doing something she really does not want to do.

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Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:


Assume Love

Two Thoughts about Love ◄ I suspect Patty is right – which of these two do you need to work on?

Battle for a Great Marriage

I Started Caring For My Wife and She Got Mad ◄ Yes, this is a fairly common reaction after a prolonged time of not caring.

Black and Married with Kids

Am I The Only Husband Who Missed Sweetest Day…Again! ◄ Raising my hand …
Stop the Madness! 3 Ways that Facebook is Ruining Marriages ◄ Any tool can be used for good of harm!

The Generous Wife

One Small Step ◄ How would you respond to a request like this?
Where is That Charger? ◄ Are you staying charged up?
Living Out Kindness ◄ Following on my recent kindness post very nicely.
Getaway Zone ◄ How can you help this happen?
Tired ◄ Notice what I posted the day before this. Yes, I got a great woman!
Use Your “PAUSE” Button ◄ I could sure use one of these!
Are You Prepared? ◄ A major sanity saver.

Hot, Holy and Humorous

Does Sexy Lingerie Promote a Perverted View of Beauty? ◄ A great read, comments and all. If you’ve not had this talk with your bride, I suggest you do so.
How Often Should You Have Sex? ◄ Join the debate!

Intimacy in Marriage

3 Reasons Sex is GREAT When You are Old(er) ◄ Yes, it can get better and better.

Joe Beam’s Blog

May a Christian masturbate? May a Christian use porn? Questions from a divorcee… ◄ Joe covers this very well.

Journey to Surrender

Do You Assume Love? ◄ I pointed to this as the reason for my recent post on Assuming love. If you missed it, check it out.
Unloving or Unloved ◄ Great follow up to the above.

Marriage Missions International

Weaknesses: A Doorway to Growth ◄ Great way to look at weaknesses, both your weaknesses and her weaknesses.

One Flesh Marriage

Your Secret Sexual Fantasy ◄ Sharing is scary, but it can end very well.

refine us

Strip Me of My Titles ◄ “The titles we give ourselves are often better than the titles we deserve” so, so true.
A Few Months from Now ◄ There is great wisdom here for those who will hear it.

Romantic Act of the Day

When Your Love Tank Runs Dry ◄ It happens to all of us sooner or later …
When Your Love Tank Runs Dry – Part 2 ◄ The wrong way to refill!
When Your Love Tank Runs Dry – part 3 ◄ Don’t let loose lips sink your marriage!
Have You Washed Her Feet Lately? ◄ Learn what servant leadership looks like.

Stupendous Marriage

Feeling Pressure to Get Married! ◄ Good discussion on a couple of difficult issues.

…to Love Honor and Vacuum

Shelia did a great, very scriptural and very well balances series on the issue of “refusing”
What Does 1 Corinthians 7:5–Do Not Deprive Each Other–Really Mean?
Do Not Deprive Each Other Part II: What is Regular Sex?
“Do Not Deprive” Roundup

15 Comments on “I sinned, I expect you to pay for that.

  1. This is a hard post to hear but hard to argue with. I have been influenced by porn significantly and though it is out in the open with my wife now it is hard to set aside what I do not believe is sinful but was still brought to my attention through porn. I don’t “like” what you wrote but cannot argue it’s validity. Pray for me and those like me who need to lay down those “non-sinful” things we learned to desire through porn that are now corrupted unless God chooses to redeem them.

  2. [quote]In short, if you have sin in your sexual past, I think you need to be willing to accept a “vanilla” sex life. I realise this is a very difficult thing to say, and I realise no man is going to like hearing it. However, it seems to me that anything else is asking your wife to bear the consequences of your sin, and I find that deeply wrong, the epitome of selfish, and not at all loving.[/quote]

    Paul, I love your ministry. I am SO thankful for it. And I have very high respect for you, but I really disagree with you on this one.

    I believe there are reasonable ranges within married sexuality. I’m sure porn can help push people to extremes that can be unreasonable. A woman who was promiscuous, may upon marriage want to have nothing to do with sex at all. Following the logic of your post, she should have no claim to ever say NO since her lack of desire stems from her sin.

    If your conclusion is correct, then we should tell women that they should never expect any romance from their husbands, because they might have longed for what they saw in “Gone with the wind” just a bit too much.

    Where does it stop?

    I can’t think of ONE area in my life that doesn’t have some sin in it. Not ONE. I think the truth is, what you’re really getting at is that EVERY expectation should be laid down ALWAYS no matter what. Expect nothing ever.

    I submit that there are ranges of reasonableness that CAN be expected. Your website TMB, highlighted 1 Cor 7 to me. I’ve even read posts by you telling someone what you thought they should do in response to a refusing wife. But what if that person had looked at porn at some point? Forget it? All bets are off? No reasonable frequency can be expected for him?

    And then the concept of making a wife PAY for your sins? Sex is a bad thing now? So instead of twice a week, if she HAS TO HAVE SEX three times a week this somehow an undue burden on a woman, and this is her “paying for your sins?”

    We are wretched sinful people. We were BORN into sin. Sin pervades our lives. If you’ve read Jerry Bridges “Respectable Sins”(and frankly I think his brush is too wide) he points out sinful attitudes everywhere. So if you say the presence of SIN requires you to EXPECT nothing because its unfair to others, it HAS to apply to everything. So if I watched “Leave it to Beaver” and wished I had a better mother then the one God gave me, I shouldn’t expect my Mom to treat me well because at one time, I wanted June Cleaver to be my Mom, and that was the sin of ingratitude.

    I do believe that sin can lead us to expect the unreasonable. I do. I just think you are applying too broad a brush. You’re throwing out reasonable expectations with the unreasonable.

    I love you guys and your ministry. I just disagree here.


  3. LS – I’ve been waiting for someone to point this out!

    First, I said nothing about frequency. I was talking about specific acts, not sex in general. The classic is the couple who have sex more days than not, but he is upset because she won’t do oral. I do not see that as refusing him sex.

    Where do we draw that line? It’s a very difficult call. I would tell the one who sinned to limit themselves, and tell their spouse to offer as much grace as humanly possible.

    Your romance example is not actually bad. If her reading has created wrong expectations and desires, she needs to abandon those, and she needs to do so fairly strictly. This does not mean he is free to ignore something that is important, but it does mean she has less room than other women to complain about how he chooses to do romance.

    • Thanks Paul. Perhaps I read too much into your article with respect to frequency (of course freq. has been the main issue in my marriage) When you said that porn, which I read as sexual sin in general, could increase the desire for something you already desired, I took that to mean sex in general. I mean, even missionary is a specific act so sexual sin in my past would cause me to desire it more………

      I thought I had remembered reading one of your articles or posts that suggested that a man’s desired frequency might be tinkered with by sexual sin (or was it the addition of sexual stimuli?) where without this, he might be ok with ,pick a number per month, but now, he had an increased desire etc.

      I think perhaps that post, and my own sensitivity to frequency may have lead me to read into this article more than was there. I apologize for that.

      I can’t say I agree with the “settling for vanilla” conclusion….we’re having a big debate about it on the TMB boards right now : )

      Paul, sometimes we may not completely agree, but thank you for doing the Lord’s work to help marriages.

      Blessings to you brother,


      • LS – Ah, I see. Yes, I could have clarified that far better. I will go back and edit it.

        I am not convinced that porn significantly changes a man’s desired frequency. I would think it might make him less gracious about low frequency, which might look like an increase in frequency.

        As I see it, porn reshapes desire far more than increasing it. Back when there were guys who got married without seeing porn, you had guys with no experience get married and want sex three times a day. It seems that is built into us.

  4. I don’t think I agree with this Paul. It seems to me that what you’re saying is that if you have sexual sin you have no right to expect anything other than a wife who would do her duty with passionless missionary intercourse as often as is necessary.

    How about if we make this about a wife’s promiscuity instead of a husband’s porn use? What if a wife was very promiscuous prior to marriage and new what sex acts she liked. When she marries does her husband have the right to not perform the sex acts she likes because she did them with men before him? What if one of those is oral sex and what if that is the only way she can orgasm, is that still OK? Her husband is “creeped out” that other men have had their mouth on her vulva and refuses, should she have accept this because she knows of oral sex because of her sin?

    What I don’t like about what you propose here is that it leaves out forgiveness, grace, redemption, a renewed mind, freedom from sin, and personal growth for both parties in the marriage.

  5. I understand that these are your OPINIONS.I kind if agree with LS. I grew up in New.Orleans, a city of sin. I made a lot of mistakes growing up. Watching porn and such.
    LS stated. “If your conclusion is correct, then we should tell women that they should never expect any romance from their husbands, because they might have longed for what they saw in “Gone with the wind” just a bit too much.”
    I agree with this part. In your opinion porn relates to different sexual desires. Everyone is different. One doesn’t necessarily relate to the other. That.may be how you handled.your relationship but.many others have went a.different route

  6. Job29Man wrote:
    This is a great discussion.

    In matters of relationships (both with people and God), we are always going to have a fallen human perspective and history of sin (James 8:7, Rom 8:23). I believe all Scripture is written to us by God with that “given” in mind. The apostle Paul put it this way…

    1 Timothy 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.

    He was “the worst” or “chief” among sinners. I.e. his past was drenched in sin. Yet Jesus saved him and used him. God gave him mercy because he did it ignorantly, and without faith.

    And yet the principle which persists is that we are called to holiness despite our corrupt pasts.

    1 Peter 1:13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”[c]

    17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;

    What then should be our “standard” despite our horribly corrupt pasts? Holiness. Conformation to the image of Christ.

    I have difficulty thinking “X-sin is in your past, therefore Y-expectation cannot be in your future.” Of course there are some instances, like addictions (alcoholism, drugs) where it is folly to indulge in some things that others may do with impunity. But in these matters I look to Romans 14…

    Romans 14:19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. 21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.[f] 22 Do you have faith?[g] Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

    Each man and woman must decide for himself/herself what his/her conscience permits.

    Bottom line: Everyone learned about sex from somewhere. Probably some/much of this source was corrupt/unholy. I mean, how many of our parents sat us down as young adults for a holy discussion about the joys of holy doggie style, holy 69ing, or holy rough sex? Probably you’ve had impure thoughts about sex and sexual expectations regardless of the source of your sex education. Your job is to bring these thoughts and expectations into holiness, and to be conformed to the image of Christ. If you can do that with a clear conscience then all things are lawful for you, and you are no more limited in your sexual menu than the man or woman whose only education about sex came from a Sex Instruction Book published by Focus on the Family.

    That’s my $.02

    • Job29man – Great comments.

      I would agree with your bottom line, but the problem is trying to sort through things with a self-perception that is biased. How do I know what I would or would not have wanted, or how strongly I would have wanted those things? My assumptions and guesses are totally worthless, and if I think I can figure out what I would have wanted without porn I am just lying to myself.

      Because of this, it seems to me that the best course of action is to reduce things to the simplest sex, the plain vanilla. Focus on that, do that often, learn to do it well, learn to make it great for both of you. If you do that and never do anything more you have an awesome sex life that most will envy.

      More on that in my next post.

  7. There’s 3 key acts I’ve wanted my wife to do.  She won’t do them. I’ve had to learn to let go. It was dishonoring to her to push for those issues in our marriage. These weren’t dispicable or perverted acts, but she didn’t get on board with them.  Rather than turn to porn or others, I had to learn to deal with that.  Confessing to her that I wasn’t going to push those anymore did a whole lot to give us more intimate sex.

    On a similar note, when I was a teenager the big deal with guys was performing oral sex on a woman. My wife was initially repulsed by this idea simply because she *thought* I was wanting to do it because of pornography. While porn wasn’t the source of this desire, she thought it was, and it caused a problem.  After awhile she realized it was worth an open-minded try. We’ve been doing that act regularly ever since.  And when you’re doing the real thing, watching a video of someone else doing it just doesn’t cut it (for me, anyway). 
     Good word GH!!

  8. FreedomTruthMarriage I think you did a great thing, for your wife and your marriage. It is not easy to let go of things, but we can. As long as a wife is willing to have sex, I have a hard time calling her wrong for excluding a few things. 
    Porn is so big now it hurts us even when we are not involved. Down right evil!

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