Dealing With Anger Over Sex

This post is a follow up to yesterday’s post Sexual temptation and female friends, and is also a response to comments on both the blog and facebook that came from me tweeting and facebooking Angry about sex?, a two year old post. I have tacked the old post onto the bottom of this, and you may want to skim it first.

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What if you’ve tried talking, and nothing changes? Sex is far, far less often that you want and need, and she refuses to do anything about it. Alternatively, she says she will do better, but she never does or only does better for a short time then falls back into her old habits. She knows you want more, and if she is listening to you, she understands the situation is hurting you and making you feel unloved. And still, she says no more often than yes.

Does this hurt? Absolutely. Can you do anything to stop the pain? I think you can manage it, but I doubt you can stop it. However, I think you do have the choice about being angry. It is not easy, but you can do it. Being hurt is not a choice, but responding in anger is a choice.

First, you must decide if you are going to fight or accept. Are you going to push for change, and be ready to get counselling and do whatever it takes to bring about change? Are you willing to beg her to get help with you, and keep asking even when she reacts badly to your suggestion? 

– OR – 

Are you going to accept she is not going to change, or accept that you are unwilling to apply the pressure it would take to bring about change?

As far as I can tell, these are your only two options. If you do neither you are de facto accepting the situation, while robbing yourself of the peace real acceptance can bring. The only third option I see is to plan when to make a push for change – temporary acceptance while you wait for the best circumstances to work for healing.

I think the worst anger of sexual refusal comes for those who neither confront nor accept. Maybe they have never really confronted (meaning a good discussion, not being upset), or maybe they have in the past and but stopped. Either way, they are not fighting, and they have not accepted. This is a place of powerlessness, and feeling powerless makes us scared, and vulnerable, and ANGRY! The only solution I know to this anger is to move out of the powerless place by confronting or accepting.

Accepting is a process; it takes time and practice.

First I think you need to decide what you can and cannot accept, and make this clear to your wife. If you flat-out will not accept sex once a year (or whatever), then she needs to know that, and she needs to know what will happen if she goes there. If you are going to accept she will never give you the sex you want (and need, and probably deserve) then figure out the least you can accept, and hold to it.

To me, acceptance means you stop nagging her about it. I’m not saying you stop asking for sex, but you stop fighting about it. You know she will say yes one time in six, and you accept it. You accept it not because it is “okay” but because you love her enough to accept her failings and sin. Or, you accept it because you feel God would have you accept it. You must find a reason for accepting the situation that acknowledges the the situation is wrong. Maybe you say that to her, maybe you do not, but you must know it in your heart and mind. You are choosing to live with her and love her despite her unwillingness or inability to be the wife she should be sexually.

What about the sexual frustration? Sexual frustration is physical, emotional, mental, emotional, and I think spiritual as well. You have to find a way to deal with all of those things. Prayer is certainly a good starting place. Finding other outlets with creativity or physical activity may help. If you can find ways to be intimate with your wife that do not add to your sexual frustration, go for it. Work to build the best marriage possible within the limitations your wife has given you.

What about “the M word”? I find nothing in the Bible about masturbation, and I cannot imagine God failing to identify something so common as sin if it were, in fact sin. (If you disagree, please try to explain to me why God would fail to tell us it was wrong as clearly as He told us to avoid sex with animals, relatives, and those with the same genitals we have.) The issue is not what you do with your body, but what happens in your mind. Sexual thoughts about anyone other than your wife are sin regardless of what you are doing when you have those thoughts. If you cannot masturbate without sinful thoughts, then you should not masturbate.

The other issue is how masturbation makes you feel about your wife and her failure to take care of your sexual needs. If masturbating makes you angry with her, that’s a problem. If it helps curb your anger, that’s a good thing. If it sometimes results in anger, and other times does not, figure out why so you can only do it when it will not make you angry. For most men masturbating after being told “no” is a bad idea. Doing it a day or two after sex, when you know there is no way she is going to be ready again might be a good idea. Alternatively, make it a part of your morning shower, doing it when you feel the need is reaching critical.

The bottom line is there are no good answers here. God’s plan A is for you and your spouse to have a good, healthy, regular, and mutually enjoyed sex life. If that’s not happening, everything else is a far cry from what God intended.

Angry about sex?
(Originally posted JANUARY 22, 2011)

Are you angry about sex? The frequent “no’s”, the avoiding, the “mercy sex”, the begging – it hurts, and you feel betrayed. If she loved you as she said she does, why would she cause you so much pain? How can she keep hurting you and say, “it’s not personal?” I get it, I’ve been there, and I’ve screamed to the heavens, begging God to change or fix my bride.

Anger is perfectly understandable, and probably normal – but it’s not helping. Anger can only get what it wants by scaring people to do things, and what you want sexually is not something that can be had by fear. Your anger is making it worse, or at the very least getting in the way of improvements. So, what to do?

First, decide if your perceptions are right. Your anguish is real – I am not suggesting it is not. However, your thoughts about why your bride does what she does may be less than accurate – in fact, odds are high you do not understand what is going on in her head.

Is she the kind of woman who would hurt someone for no reason? I know it sometimes seems she could not hurt you more if she were trying, but is she really that kind of a woman? If she is, you have problems beyond anything I (and probably anyone else) can say. If she is NOT the kind of person who would intentionally hurt someone she loves, then something else going on.

If you think she does not understand you, and you can believe you do not understand her, then clearly some communication is needed. Admit to her you do not understand what she is thinking and feeling, but you would like to. Let her know you do not think she understands you, and you would like to discuss that as well, but you want to hear from her first. Then listen to her – not just to her words, but also to the feelings behind the words. Is she worried, afraid, ashamed, scared, or hopeless? Don’t argue with her, but do ask questions to help you understand what she really feels. Don’t try to get her to agree with what you hear in what she says; rather work to hear what she really means. Then thank her and tell her you want to take some time to think and pray on what she has said.

If you can understand what she thinks and feels, you can understand why she does what she does. If you can do things to change how she thinks and feels, then what she does might change.

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57 Comments on “Dealing With Anger Over Sex

  1. Hurts are the tool that the enemy of our soul uses to open the door of our lives to allow him to build strongholds, especially in our thinking. What we do with those hurts is the difference between victory and allowing those strongholds to be built. If we refuse to continually think about the hurt, and we forgive the person that hurt us, then we see victory. But if we continually think about the hurt, then the enemy stirs ups all kinds of emotions which will ultimately control us. It is not easy, but it is necessary to learn to shut the door on hurts, truly forgive and refuse to think about them again. Unforgiveness regardless of how many times or how much we have been hurt, will definitely hinder our communication with God. – Jesus said that.

  2. Really? You’re going here, now? Masturbation isn’t a sin- and the only countering that you will accept is for someone to tell you why God did something? That’s not intellectually honest- can you tell me why God created mankind foreknowing the fall would happen? No? God’s motivations and reasons are beyond us; assuming that we can fathom much less requiring them as a standard of others is not entirely fair.

    Gads… I’m probably coming off as your personal troll. I really do enjoy and appreciate this blog 363 days out of the year- this is just two questionable teachings that happen to be in a row for me.

    I think that, firstly, there are many ‘sexual immoralities’ that the Bible does not define in the blanket command to avoid them- rather, God tells us what his standard of sexuality *is*, and everything else is excluded. I think that there are many things that the Bible does not specifically address- either because they are simply assumed to be so obvious that no one would ever question them, or because the principles God has given us enable us to deduce the rightness or wrongness of the act. I certainly believe that this is one of them.

    Secondly, I see masturbation as profoundly disrespectful to one’s bride, fantasy regardless. You are, in essence, stealing pleasure for yourself and usurping the role that has been given to her within your covenant. It is a wholly selfish act- and one all-but-impossible to divorce from fantasy or thought. Even if it is, it is an act that only serves to isolate one from his bride, to make himself separate from her, and to steal from the intimacy that both are supposed to have together.

    • Andrew Gilbertson – Given the discussion I felt I had to address masturbation.

      Before I address that, I do not see you as troll. I appreciate your comments, and the way you have made them. The last thing I want is a bunch of “attaboy” comments – while nice, they accomplish nothing! So please, continue.

      I am open to any and all arguments, but I’ve taken this stand on-line for fifteen years, so I’ve heard just about all of them. The Bible says nothing directly about masturbation, and the mishmash of scriptures offered to prove it is sin are usually an abomination against the integrity of God’s Word, not to mention being hermeneutic obscenities! The best “proofs” against masturbation I have seen are open to interpretation and far from conclusive.

      Here is my issue: The Bible does not say it, so if you want to say it you are adding to what God said. If you want to add to what God said, I think you need to be able to give a good reason God did not say it in the first place. For example, Jesus said nothing about cocaine because it was unknown to those to whom He spoke. The same for birth control, there were no effective contraceptives at the time and place of Christ, so I would not expect to see it mentioned. However, masturbation did exist. We know it is how most men and many women have their first waking climax, and that is it is very, very common, even when it is drastically forbidden. We even know the Israelites were exposed to dildos, as they were very common in Egypt! To me things like “don’t have sex with a goat, or your sister, or another man” are beyond obvious, and yet God gave us clear rules to forbid those things. Yet He is silent on masturbation. WHY???

      Am I saying God has to explain Himself? No, I am not. However, I see that God wants us to know right and wrong. God does not hide His rules, forcing us to extract hints to find what we should avoid doing. When we find ourselves doing just that to support a rule, I think we need to ask ourselves why we are doing it, and if there is any biblically sound reason to do it. Why are we adding to God’s Word, and by what right do we do that? To me it is a very serious thing to add to His rules, and I refuse to do it without some very, very good reason.

      The original prohibition against masturbation was based on the (non-biblical) idea that is was sin to ejaculate outside a vagina. Most of us who are not RCC have long since rejected that teaching, and accept many of the other things it prohibited – but we still hang onto the idea that masturbation is wrong, without any Bible truth to hang that on.

      As to disrespectful to our bride, I do not disagree in most situations. I have said I don’t think anyone who is married should masturbate unless their spouse knows about it, and has been given a chance to be sexual with them. I know some men enjoy masturbation even when they have an active sex life, but I’ve never understood that. To me it is a very, very poor substitute that takes care of most of the physical while doing nothing for the rest of the needs I mentioned. I see it as acceptable only when a couple is separated or when one spouse refuses sex.

      As to thoughts, I see no problem with thinking about having sex with your spouse. We all do that from time to time without masturbation, so why would it be wrong to have the same thoughts while masturbating?

      For the record, I have neither desire nor need to take care of myself, so this is in no way about me. Convincing me it’s sin would not change what I do in any way.

      When our sex life was a mess, I did do it occasionally. My bride was not only aware of this, but in favour of it. On occasion, she even suggested it. I actually did it very infrequently, primarily because of the anger issue I mentioned in my post. If I felt doing it would increase my anger or frustration, I choose the physical discomfort instead. Of course I never felt I was in danger of looking at porn or cheating on my wife, so walking around “hard up” was not a problem in those ways. Had I feared I might be lead to sin, I think I might have masturbated more often.

      • But again, the Bible DOES say to refrain from sexual immorality- an exhaustive list of which is not compiled. If, therefore, sexual immorality is a variance from what is defined as ‘permissable’ sexuality, and inferred from its opposite, then this is in no way adding to God’s word. I could give a long list of specific sins that are not named, but fall easily under the banner of more general commands. The Bible does not specifically command us away from little white lies, or lies of ommission (that I can recall) but simply ‘thou shalt not lie,’ under which the others cannot be labeled. From my perspective, there is nothing ‘hidden’ about this- it is simply so blindingly obvious that it does not warrant mention, and covered in inverse fashion by exclusion from what permitted sexuality *is.*

        And I’m sorry, but I cannot agree with any request or response that begins with “Tell me why God…” Any answer in that vein would be arrogant human presumption, and the same sort of adding-to-his-word that you decry. I do not hold that as a valid reasoning.

        The thing of the matter is, if it is disrespectful to one’s bride in most situation, then how does ‘their spouse knowing about it, and having been given a chance to be sexual with them’ change that disrespect? “If you don’t have sex with me, then this disrespectful thing is okay because you aren’t meeting my needs?” That’s rather a two-wrongs-make-a-right mentality, isn’t it?

        • Andrew, it would be one thing if what Generous is talking about is mb’ing every urge you get. That’s excess. However if you aren’t having sex, because your wife refuses to for whatever reason for long periods of time, mb’ing while purposefully daydreaming about her (maybe even with some sexy pics she has shared with you when she was in the mood) might be a great alternative to adultery? What has bugged me lately is the whole “don’t even touch yourself” and “do more dishes and she’ll give you more than 1x a week” advice crowd. They have sex at least 1x a week and complain that it’s not enough, then they judge and criticize those who haven’t had sex in months for relieving themselves. For me, the guilt is gone. It’s between me, God and my wife. Yes, she knows. We have terrible issues in our marriage we are working on. However the judgmentalism between us is not happening over this subject any more.

          • @doingmybest – I’m sorry, but that still strikes me as ‘two wrongs make a right.’ At the least, ‘the lesser of two evils’. But I think that’s a false choice (“It’s either doing that, or adultery!”).

            And in the end, whether it’s a ‘better alternative’, even if that choice is legitimate, has no bearing on whether it is right or wrong. And that is not a matter of judgementalism on anyone- it’s a standard, equally applicable to all. It’s either right, or wrong. I happen to believe it’s wrong- that’s not a passing of judgement on anyone who practices it, nor is any intended.

            • Andrew Gilbertson – I am certainly not a lesser of two evils person.

              Let us not downplay the intensity of our sex drives, and what they can drag us into.

              ► Paul also warns those married to abstain to long lest we give Satan an opportunity.
              ► Paul tells the unmarried who feel a strong sexual desire to marry, lest they fall into sin.
              ► Paul talks to Timothy about the “younger widows” – by which he means those under 60. He forbids them from being put on the list, because he says they will feel sexual desires and they will seek a man as spouse. He does not say if, he does not say likely, he states as fact that they will feel those desires and that the desires will draw them away from the prayer and service they promised to do when put on the list.

              If Paul thinks a 55 year old woman will fail to control herself sexually if she “gets nothing” then why would we think anyone, male or female, and younger than that, is going to be able avoid the same fall into sin? Are there some who can? I think there are, but I think they are a minority. God did not give us the gift of celibacy for a season.

              Over and over Paul shows us that our sex drive is a very powerful force, and he is clear that most of us do not have the ability to control that force if we are not having sex (and by sex I mean a full sexual relationship). Sexual infrequently is not just a bad idea, it is a sin, and Paul seems sure that it will lead to sin more often than not.

              For some, not all, masturbation can release enough of the physical tension to help them have better control. If it does that, I see it as a good thing.

              Please not I am not saying masturbation is okay because it may help some avoid sin. Because I can’t find any way to call it sin to start with, I can look at how it may help or hurt in different situations.

        • Andrew Gilbertson – Yes, the Bible tells us to avoid sexual immorality, but using that to make masturbation wrong is circular logic. The Bible lists many things, clearly, as sexually immoral. By what right or reason can we add to that list?

          Your example of white lies as a form of lies is perfectly valid, but the same is not true of masturbation as a clear subset of sexual immorality. There is a leap of logic there, as I see it.

          I am not so much asking for someone to explain why God did not say something, but for them to tell me why they think they have a right to speak for God. If they can give me a good reason why God did not say it, then I can accept they *may* have a right to say it. If they cannot, then it seems to me they are making it up as they go. Or, as is more often the case (and is the situation with this) they are repeating something that was long ago made up by someone making it up as they went.

          The traditions of men are condemned more than once in the Bible, so how do you defend this rule which is very much a tradition of man? I am not saying being a tradition of man makes something wrong, but it makes it something very different from biblical truth, and it makes it suspect until proven. Bottom line in my mind, if you want to add to God’s Word, the burden of proof is on you. (BTW, I have applied this to many things, including some I did not want to let go of!)

          I am not suggesting two wrongs make a right, but rather that one person’s sin sometimes allows or even requires us to do something we otherwise would not do. Adultery allows for divorce, murder allows for the death penalty, beating your children allows for them to be taken from you.

          • Ummmm… however, all of those things are, as you put it, ‘traditions of man!’ It is human law which takes away children, human allowance for divorce (which Christ commands we are not to do)… I’ll give you the death penalty, but I’m sorry- if something is disrespectful or wrong to begin with, wrongdoing by the spouse does not enable it- that is exactly ‘two wrongs make a right’ in mentality.

            • Andrew Gilbertson – I would say Jesus specifically allowed for divorce following adultery. But that, if we disagree, is a discussion for another time. I could give other examples, but I don’t think it is necessary – sometimes the sin of one does change what is allowed or proper for another.

              Beyond that, what is disrespectful in one situation is not in another. When my mother fell getting out of the shower, my sister could not get her up. My helping her up, with as much cover and dignity as possible, was not disrespectful or wrong, even though she was exposed. An imperfect example perhaps, but I think it shows what I am getting at.

              To the point, I find it wrong to lessen my sexual desires myself when my wife is willing to have sex with me. I am cheating her of something that is hers to have. OTOH, if she is refusing me, then I am cheating her of nothing, as she does not want it. Yes, it should be hers, but she won’t take it, and forcing it on her is clearly wrong.

              • If she is refusing you, right or wrong, it is not yours to have in the first place; that is the fallacy. Your sexuality is not an individually-managed attribute that you wife can opt into when she feels like it and leave to you to manage when she doesn’t- it is not *YOURS* It is something between the two of you, or not at all.

                It is not right for her to deprive you of it- but neither is it right for you to take it by force. If you are being denied and things are building up- well, God instituted a systems of dreams for that, didn’t he?

                In terms of your shower analogy, I’m sorry, no- you are seeking very hard for a two-wrongs-make-a-right justification, but that remains all that it is, no matter what language you want to dress it up with.

                • Andrew – That sound good, but where is the biblical support?

                  In 1 Cor 7:4 Paul uses a language construct, a figure of speech, called an Ellipsis in which some of the words are left out. We do this all the time in English “I’m going to the store, you are not.” We all understand this means you are not going, but “He is not what?” would be a fair question – especially from someone who is not a native speaker.

                  If we filled in the missing words, we would have “the wife does not only have power over her own body, but the husband also has power; and likewise, the husband does not only have power over his own body, but the wife also has power.” This says the opposite of what you have suggested above.

                  Beyond that, the order of the words matters in this type of ellipsis. Paul is giving the spouse the primary power, so our spouse has more power of our sexuality than we do, but that does not mean we have no power. Or as I said, they have first refusal.

                  More on the ellipsis at http://bit.ly/11xphoO

  3. What if a husband (or wife) who is being refused sex were to view that as no different that being cheated on? Cuz, really, isn’t sexual refusal a type of unfaithfulness? A person who finds out that his/her spouse is having an affair, would (hopefully) confront and hopefully insist on marriage counselling. Unrepented affairs are seen as grounds for divorce. Why is sexual refusal not seen the same? I’m not talking he wants sex every day vs. she is good with once a week. But really… lets call it what it is…. unfaithfulness, and proceed accordingly. Get yourselves to a counselor, be willing to listen to her, and do whatever is in your power to bring healing to your marriage. How is accepting a sexless marriage much different that accepting a continually cheating spouse?

    • That’s the million dollar question.

      I have struggled with this thought process lately (not because I am really dealing with it per se, just want a better understanding). From what I have studied, it comes down to the Greek word porneia which is used in both Matt. 5 and 19. How deep does it go? Does it relate ONLY to sexual intercourse? Or is it broader in meaning? The best I can tell so far, it seems to only refer to sexual activity involving two parties. However, I am not fully convinced of this just yet.

      Secondarily to this, and really this is the gist of your question, Paul expands in I Corinthians 7 on the thought of not refusing sex. How does this fit into Jesus’ teachings?

      I ask these questions really not knowing the answers yet.

      • John – That is a very interesting topic. I would argue that it is not limited to multi-person events. Porn, wrong fantasies, and lust all fit in my mind. (And yes, if it is sin, masturbation would fit too.)

        In Jewish civil law a woman could not divorce her husband, but if he failed to give her enough sex she could go to court and he would be forced to divorce her so she could marry a man who would have sex with her. That is extra-biblical, but it was the thinking of the time and Jesus, Paul, and any Jewish believers, would have had that fact as part of thinking about what Paul and Jesus said.

        Another way to look at it is that both the old and new testaments liken our relationship to God/Jesus with the relationship of a man and his wife, and liken worship to sex. Both worship of other gods and refusing to worship the true God are wrong, and both are punished. Would we not then expect both sex with another and sexual refusal with one’s spouse to be wrong?

          • Andrew Gilbertson – Humour aside, that’s a great question. Or course then we must decide what a wet dream would be …

            Part of the difficulty is how we package anything that related to our genitals as “sex”. We call masturbation “self sex”. But is that what it is? One biblical word for what we call “sex” is about knowing another person. How can we fit that into masturbation?

            My thought is that we have elevated masturbation way to far. To in any way make it like sex with another person is to make it far more than it is. As I said before, I find it poor and incomplete. Suggesting it can be a substitute for sex is like saying grass is a substitute for food. Dirt can fill your stomach and take away the hunger, but it won’t give you the nutrients and calories you need.

            I often worry that some folks find masturbation so good that they will willingly choose it over sex with their spouse (which is a growing trend). I can’t figure out how anyone could feel this way, and I think it must take some deep injury. My guess is that anyone who sees the two as even close to the same thing has never expedience loving sex as God intended.

            In short, I don’t see masturbation as “sex” any more than I see getting an erection from washing “sex” (something most of us don’t experience now, but did as teens). Someone will say “but washing does not result in orgasm”. This is true, and it seems to indicate that sex is being defined primarily in terms of the physical, in terms of climax or ejaculation. I am saying that orgasm is one part of sex, but not the only part and not the best or most important part. Orgasm is no more “sex” than a cup of flour is “bread”.

            All of that said, I do understand that our society is deeply focused on the physical aspects of sex, and that men who don’t get enough feel a great physical need that makes it difficult to be aware of the other needs. This explains why we see things as we do, but it does not make it right.

            To me, masturbating would be like stopping on the way to a banquet to pick and eat some grass. WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THAT? I would never consider eating grass unless I was so hungry it hurt!

            (Be interesting to see where this goes ….)

            • Masturbation is an intentional action to give yourself a climax- in essence, substituting your own actions to recieve the end result (physically) of sexuality. It is not sex- not what it is meant to be, and it is indeed a poor substitute… but I don’t think that makes it unrelated. After all, the prohibited relations with a goat also do not create that emotional bond (I should hope…!) and is likewise a pale substitute… but it is still considered sexual immorality- perhaps best defined as ‘a category that seeks to misuse the physical aspects of sexuality outside of the bonds of true sex between a husband and a wife,’ or something to that effect.

              So, no, masturbation isn’t sex, but it does potentially fall into the same category (if indeed it is wrong) of sexual immorality- which by it’s nature is a category for cheap and empty knock-offs that aren’t true sex.

              If that makes any sense…

              In terms of the why, I think it comes down to the same thing from our discussion on female friends… sometimes, temptation strikes and is acted upon not because it is a better alternaitve, a need is not being met, or the subject of the temptation is superior… but simply because the object of temptation is THERE and available. Sometimes, that’s really all the sin nature needs in order to get a foot in the door, sadly.

              • Andrew Gilbertson – All this, and still no suggestion of why God is silent on masturbation.

                I realise how annoying that is, but I honestly don’t see it as a minor issue. If it is sin, then God set us up to sin by giving us the body parts and the urges that would lead us to self discover it, and failing to tell us it was sin. I don’t think God does that.

                I am not trying to be difficult, I really, really think this is a big deal. This is, to me, about the character and righteousness of God. If a parent spanked their child for something natural that they had never told them not to do, what would you think of such a parent? Jesus tells us a good parent will not give his child a scorpion if they ask for an egg. Jesus uses human parents to show us how God is. The human parental analogies of maturation being wrong while we are never told it is wrong are things we would call cruel and mean, not good and loving.

              • Sir, it is only your opinion that he IS silent about it, as opposed to addressing it under sexual immorality- and only your position that specifically mention sexual sins are sins, as opposed to by-omission broad categorization in terms of the opposite of guidelines for what sex SHOULD be.

                So, no, no answer. I am not trying to answer that point; I am denying it’s validity AS a point. I do not agree with you that we have not been given such instruction.

                • Andrew – If you, or anyone, can claim something is covered even though it’s not mentioned, then what is to stop others from adding what they like? This in fact has been done. It is why at one time it was “common knowledge” that is was sin to have sex in any position other than man on top, or to do so with the lights on, or for a woman to have an orgasm.

                  In the Victorian era some women had their clitoris burned away with acid as a cure for having an orgasm when they had sex with their husband. Some women sought this out themselves, others had it forced on them. The verses where Jesus talks about cutting of your hand, and verses about sexual immorality were all that was used to justify this barbaric “solution” to a sin that is not to be found in the Bible. And closer to the issue at hand, both boys and girls were mutated and put into chastity devised to prevent them from masturbating.

                  When we start adding to God’s Word, things get ugly. While the above are fairly extreme examples, they are true and valid. “Better safe than sorry” sounds good, but it has a bad habit of ending up hurting people.

                  So yes, I will stand firm on my position that God does not play games and hide the truth from us – He tells us what is wrong clearly and in ways we can’t miss. If this is not true, then we will add all manner of things to His truth, and we will declare it to be His truth, and we will punish those who violate OUR VERSION of truth as if they were God’s truth.

    • workinprogress – I did call it sin in my post. I have said before that I think sexual refusal is sexual sin and grounds for divorce when it is absolute or near absolute.

      The issue here is the man who is not in a marriage with sufficient refusal to allow for divorce, or the man who has chosen to live with his wife despite her sin and refusal to deal with it.

  4. @Andrew-I am again compelled to disagree with you on several points in your response. First, considering that God did go into extensive detail about the various kinds of sexual immorality, explicating them on an individual basis (even the ones that seem intuitively true and needless of mentioning), I think Paul is very reasonable in this regard to expect a reason why God would have excluded masturbation (espescially since it would undoubtedly have been common practice even in those times).

    Also, it seemed to escape your notice that this post was about wives who say no to sex and are rejecting the pleasure of it themselves. So there is nothing for the husband to rob his wife of in this circumstance. It would in fact be the husband being robbed of the much greater desire and pleasure of intimacy with his wife, which masturbation would allow him to endure with reduced emotional/physical tension to some small extent at least.

    Lastly, not as many things concerning God and His will are as mysterious as they’re often exagerated to be, at least in a general sense in a majority of cases. God created us with the capacity to reason, learn and generally develop intellectually. Simply because you or someone else does not personally know the answer to a question does not mean you should make an argument from ignorance and hastily conclude it is beyond our understanding. And yes, I can tell you why God created us foreknowing the occurence of the fall. When God created the universe, He had an infinite number of options in how it would be created down to the most meticulous detail. From these infinite options, God’s goal in creating the universe would be to create the one which would produce the greatest potential good. This conclusion can be simply inferred from what we know about God’s nature: that He is omnibenevolent, omniscient and omnipotent. Because He is omnibenevolent, He would desire to create the universe which would produce the greatest potential good. Because He is omniscient, He would know which universe would produce the greatest potential good. Because He is omnipotent, He would be able to create the universe which would produce the greatest potential good. Therefore the universe in which we exist, despite the appearance of the contrary, is that which would produce the greatest potential good.

    I could elaborate on this further but it would go way off-topic. Point being, not everything is as mysterious as it may initially seem (some things not even remotely so).

  5. Reading your article and the comments here, Paul, make me think about all of the verses in the Bible in which we are commanded to WAIT. “Wait upon the Lord” is a very common statement.

    I tend to look to Biblical principles when specific commands are not given. And what I often see in sexless, or near sexless, marriages is that we don’t want to wait. We are hurt, frustrated, pent up, angry, ready to take care of ourselves, or ready to leave RIGHT NOW. But thankfully, I also hear about marriages in which one spouse was denying physical intimacy to the other, and patience and the pursuit of a better relationship brought about long-term change. Anger doesn’t get you there, but waiting upon the Lord and reaching out to your spouse might.

    • J – All very true.

      In my case my bride had a “good reason” for saying no so often. She was working through a lot of sexual junk and abuse in her past. Knowing this did not lessen the pain, but it made it a lot easier to not be angry. What she needed was time, along with my love, patience, and as much understanding as possible. The results were spectacular and so worth the wait.

      When there is no “good reason” (which is so subjective) or no clear sign that she is working on it (which is also subjective), I fully understand the anger – but that does not make it helpful in any way!

  6. I have enjoyed the blog for some time – but i gotta be honest, it is getting 86’d from my bookmarks. The last three days have been bizarre in my eyes – have more women friends, and masturbate more. Maybe those things aren’t sin, but having more women friends and masturbating more certainly won’t improve my marriage. I wish you the best of luck, and hope you get back to the point soon… How to be a generous husband. Thats what i read it for.

        • Andrew Gilbertson – Not by reading what I have actually said. Maybe by believing what some comments have accused me of, but not based on my actual words.

          To start with, I have suggested rather strict limits on masturbation – far more so than most who think it is not sin. If I were to talk to 100 married men who masturbate, I would probably think the vast majority should do less or none at all!

          • Paul, you have also pointed out that you aren’t a fan of ‘one size fits all’ answers. I’ll still choose to not develop deep relationships with women other than my wife, I’ll masturbate occasionally – I live and work away from home – and I will continue to read your daily missive even if I disagree with what you have to say.

            • neil – I would likewise not make a “deep relationship” with any woman other than my wife. If I anyone has read me as saying I would, I am sorry for the confusion.

          • Sir, no offense- but wake up and look around you. This thread and the one before are FILLED with people who got that impression from reading you email posts. Whether that was your intent or not, that IS what people are getting from your writings; that is beyond your control. :-)

        • “What most of us are getting…”??? Please speak for yourself. That is definitely NOT what I was getting from the posts. I’m not sure about ANY other readers.

  7. Great comments!

    I am loving all the comments the last few days. I apologise that many get held for moderation. This blog receives 3000 – 4000 spam comments a week, and the automated system catches only about 95% of these. The rules that are causing a lot of valid comments to be held are what keep the remaining 150 to 200 weekly spam from making it to the list.

    I hope to find a system that will allow repeat commenters to be white-listed.

  8. I would add to all of this: Marriage is a marathon. To those who have run the race for 40+ years, and been through near fatal car wrecks on the wife’s part, hysterectomies, child birth, that time of the month, and double knee replacements, to say that neither of us has ever taken matters into our own hands, because of the other’s unavailability, and that THAT was a sexual sin–I can’t believe that the God I believe in will mind. Because I was never unfaithful to her, and never demanded things she couldn’t give. There are some really sick people in this comments section, […] who need to re-read the Bible carefully. My wife, by giving me permission to help with my own need, but being too shy to help me with it, blessed me. [Mod removed personal comment here]

    • I… see. I didn’t realize that trying to preserve the sanctity of one’s marriage by setting wise boundaries was considered ‘sick.’

      Clearly, I think that both of us are beyond the anger-threshold of discussing this topic without vitriol; my posts today have certainly been far harsher than I would intend.

      I’m sorry, but I cannot see this principle as anything but utter, dangerous, destructive, disrespectful folly- a leading men astray to the degree that I can no longer really trust the judgement behind it.

  9. Well, I agree with most of Andrews points, so congratulations are in order! First time being called sick for my beliefs, must be finally doing something right.

    Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted 2 Tim 3:12

  10. I sometimes wonder if the old adage is true, about women not understanding the male sex drive because they’re not one of us. I think, in some ways, the reverse is probably true about us with women’s issues, like menstrual cycles or temperature flashes. I’m not married, but I think that if I were, the longest I could go without some kind of release would be 3 or 4 days. I know there’s so much more to marriage than sex, but it bugs me when I hear from Christian men and women that it shouldn’t be such a big deal. I sometimes think they’ve just given up.

      • Love and commitment are definitely the top two things in marriage, for both God and each other. I still think many women would be bothered if they knew how often sexual thoughts go through our minds each day. I mentioned to my sister once that when I get married, I don’t want kids. Her reply was of no help: “then don’t have sex”. I just sighed, shook my head, and mumbled under my breath.

        I’ve been free of porn since 2006, and being single at 32 really sucks…but I never want to treat any woman like an object ever again. That said, I want my future marriage bed to one of the most exciting and comforting places in my life.

  11. I apologize. I overreacted. No one should be called sick for their beliefs. I guess my point about it being a marathon is that if you stick it out, and I did, for 41 years, and know that now, the greatest knife stab in the heart is to lose my wife.

    I just noted such judgment in some of these posts, (Not just Andrew’s) about how people get through their lives.

    To say, no fornication, yes–that’s Bible based, to say no adultery or relations with the same sex, or relations with animals–all expressly prohibited.

    But to understand the totality of the commitment of one man to one woman, and to know that this includes illness, car wrecks, debilitating illness, including ED, hormone deficiency… and then to say “No masturbation”. It just seems judgmental to me. But to say sick was wrong. I just mean you might need to seek the help of a kind counselor. But then that’s judging too. I’m sorry for the comment. I didn’t mean it the cruel way it sounded, and you are welcome to your beliefs.

    • Granted, my marriage is new, and we’ve only been through depression, adult ADHD, 4 pregnancies and many deaths in the family, so I guess I have a long way to go before I give up on self-control. Sorry, that’s snarky, but trying to get my point across. God didn’t promise following Him would be easy, just because something is impossible, doesn’t mean God doesn’t want us to try for it.

  12. Thank you and your wife for your wonderful daily marriage strengthening posts!
    Please remember your audience and the fact that some of your subscribers may belong to a faith community where “M” is considered sinful whether you can find the actual word in the bible or not. There were wonderful comments about the isolating selfishness of the act itself and the dangers inherent in justifying it. Respectfully, I am of the opinion it is not helpful to suggest it as an option for any couple attempting to live the sacrificial love of Christ out in their marriage.

  13. [Note from Paul – This comment was held for approval, as all first time comments are. It references the comment above from Edward, which was also held for approval. So how does “Lou” comment on something that was not yet showing on the blog? The answer is in the fact that “Lou” and Edward posted from the same IP number, and used emails that differed only by the number after the name. In other words, this fellow, posted a sockpuppet follow-up to support his original comment. I suppose he feels this deception is okay in an ends justify the means kind of way.

    I am approving this without any further comments, as I have no idea what is and is not true.]

    I agree with Edward and others who see M as a sin against your wife and God. I did it for 25 years of my marriage and it brought nothing but pain, disrespect of my wife and separation from her, selfishness, and destruction of our relationship and intimacy. It opened up doors for many other sins against my family, and marriage. It took the beauty of being one with the wife God blessed me with and turned it into a torrent of pain and heart break. It made me drift further and further away from wife, family, and God. It became one of the important things in my life and it got to the place where I used it like a drug. It consumed my life and brought despair. It will never bring any couple closer together. It is a selfish sin that will never bring you the happiness that you are looking for in your marriage or your own life.

  14. Edward – I do understand this. I choose to speak as I do for two reasons.

    ► I have a serious problem with people twisting the Scriptures to make it say what they think it should say. I also have a huge problem with people adding to God’s laws without giving a very solid reason why they are doing so. While not all who say masturbation is wrong do either of these, most do one or both. If you think it’s wrong for you, that’s fine and biblical. If you share that personal conviction with others, that is also fine and biblical. If you express it as anything other than a personal conviction, I think you put yourself in the same category as the Pharisees.

    ► I teach about marriage and sex, and as such I have a responsibility to share the truth, ALL THE TRUTH as I understand it. And yes, I am fully aware of the warnings that Bible has about those who teach – I do not do this lightly, nor do I do it apart from a lot of study and prayer.

  15. Yes you are correct Paul, Lou did see the comment before he made his. He is my brother and read my comment from my phone. We both had a childhood where porn and M were acceptable and we, and our families both paid for that upbringing. He felt as strongly as I did and thus, his post. We are sincere in our beliefs and wanted to warn others of the dangers.
    I wish you all the best as you work to strengthen marriages. I just cannot see how M will do that. God bless your family and your readers!

  16. As a person who has been so lucky, married 41 years to my high school prom sweetheart, I just think that we all need to read the Bible carefully.

    I can see where masturbation +could+ be wrong, just like I can see where lots of sexual things could be a sin. However, to say one size fits all–that masturbation is always wrong–in every circumstance,, and when the Bible says nothing about it…It seems like people are being a little like the Pharisees. They were all about the law. And yet, wait…the “law” (Bible) says nothing about this specifically. If you read your Bible and decide that for you, masturbation is always wrong, then so be it. But it just doesn’t say it.

    As for me, when I was a kid, not to put too fine a point on it, but I found great comfort and release in masturbation. Then I met the girl who was to be my wife: we were both virgins when we married, after a three year courtship. Our rule was, no undressing. No mutual masturbation. The wedding day was supposed to be, as I laughingly told my wife one day –SEXUAL BLISS!

    I just assumed a lot. That our drives would match. I also didn’t figure in monthly cycles, and also didn’t understand that women’s hormones greatly affect their need for IC.

    I was 20 years old for heaven’s sake. We loved each other, and still do love each other, and we made it through. When I knew sex wasn’t going to happen, I didn’t push, but I also didn’t wait, or not always.

    At one point, it did become a problem, because when she wasn’t available and I didn’t wait, then it would be +time+ and I wouldn’t be ready. I apologized to her just recently for this. She laughed and hugged me. We’re good.

    We’re still married, we still love each other. I’m now on testosterone replacement, because it went so low that my internist said it was a miracle I was walking around, much less having a physical relationship with my wife. I now have to take this hormone each day, and viagra makes a cherished part of my life with my wife possible. No, I don’t masturbate any more. Wouldn’t dare expend the sexual energy that I will need to show my beautiful wife I still love her.

    But I also don’t feel guilty that I didn’t turn to her when she had two broken legs in 1986, both tib and fib fractures and was in a full body cast for six months. I changed her bed pan. And I didn’t expect to make love. Did I “choose masturbation?” Yes. Did I feel guilty? Yes. Did I ask forgiveness? Yes. Do I feel forgiven? Yes! Am I still married to the same lovely woman? YES!

    God will judge me, but I feel loved by God, and feel forgiven. When I wake up, I probably sin in the first five minutes. But I feel forgiven. And I would go to the wall for my wife, and she would go to the wall for me. Next goal: See my grandchildren graduate from high school and be married to my wife for 50 years! Sorry this is so long.

    • HMT – What you say about masturbation in place of sex, and then not being able for sex, is a good point. I was so young and having so little sex that I could have had sex with her half an hour after masturbating. I think it only happened once – I was able, but it was not nearly as good. That is when I decided I would never masturbate if there was any chance of sex in in the next few hours.

      I sounds like you have grown a great deal in both love and wisdom. I hope you have places in your life where you are able to impart that to others.

      Here’s to 50 … and then 75!

  17. Absolutely, at my age, every single day, just being able to hold her hand are precious. I know there are a lot of younger men reading this, and I get how different stages of life make us read things different. Being together. That’s the thing! That’s the blessing!

  18. There are people who have problems with their testosterone levels and lose their appetite for sex. This is usually the problem of few couples but there are supplements which you can use to increase your testosterone but ensure that you are using safe and effective products otherwise it might have negative effects.

    <a href=”http://www.explicitnutrition.com/blogs/articles/6479242-fenugreek-extract-boosts-and-increases-testosterone”>fenugreek testosterone</a>

    • kimchin I removed the URL because I know nothing of the product and it seems to be one of those things that could be anything due to holes in how the FDA is allowed to work.
      T levels can affect sex, but this is not nearly as common as some suggest. Hormones are tricky because changing one can change others, and any change can have a number of side effects, some potentially dangerous. Trying to fix hormone levels needs to be done with a doctor well trained in the topic.

    • kimchin I removed the URL because I know nothing of the product and it seems to be one of those things that could be anything due to holes in how the FDA is allowed to work.
      T levels can affect sex, but this is not nearly as common as some suggest. Hormones are tricky because changing one can change others, and any change can have a number of side effects, some potentially dangerous. Trying to fix hormone levels needs to be done with a doctor well trained in the topic.

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