This blog exists for the support of Christian wives who have restricted the sexual activity in their marriages and want to change that. I write to help these women seek fulfilling intimacy in their marriages–for their own sake as much as for the sake of their husbands.

Non-Christian women, unmarried women, and Christian wives married to men in unrepentant sin against them may find some useful information on this blog and in this post–but most of what I say is not going to apply in their situations. Moreover, some of what I say may be very difficult to read as people process my words through the filter of their own hurt.

While I understand that this post has triggered strong reactions, it was never intended as an invitation to a debate. This blog exists for support and encouragement, not for confrontation.

I have allowed far too many comments here that I would not approve on any other post. I appreciate the strong feelings, and I know that while some women have come away from this feeling angry or oppressed, others have come away with new compassion.

If this is your first time seeing this post, I urge you to read the clarifications in blue, most of which were added to help new readers understand the context of a blog they may not have visited before. This is not, after all, a stand-alone post. It is part of a body of work that sometimes asks readers to consider their husbands’ views and quite often encourages them to grow in their own sexuality.

Every time the post is picked up and shared by a new site, it brings a new wave of comments, both positive and negative. I don’t mind people disagreeing with me, but I’ve seen far too many personal attacks on me and on those who have different views.

I want to make a flippant “my blog, my rules” reminder and be done with it, but that doesn’t sit well with me.

I believe that the lack of sexual intimacy hurts marriages. It is important that people have conversations about sex, consent, rights, and promises in marriage. Despite my frustrations with the comment section on this post (and on other blogs that have written about this post), I have seen such conversations happen.

I know that this post has helped spur conversations in real marriages. It has given husbands words to use in describing their emotional pain. It has given wives an understanding of why masturbation just doesn’t cut it for their husbands. Marriages have begun to heal, and for that I am grateful.

Frankly, though, managing the moderation on this post has made me weary. Waking up this morning to a comment that begins by calling me an idiot was the last straw.

Therefore, I have decided to close the comments.

If you need to share with me how this post has affected you, you are welcome to email me. If you want to engage in genuine dialogue, I will likely respond to your email. If all you want to do is attack me, I likely won’t.

June 3, 2015



Due to the comments on this post, I have attempted to clarify a few things. I have done so in blue font in order to be transparent about what I have added to the post. If you have not been to this blog before, you may not be aware of what this blog is about. The mission statement is available on the left side of the home page. For the convenience of anyone reading on a mobile device, here it is:

The mission of The Forgiven Wife is to encourage Christian wives as they break away from sexual refusing and gate-keeping. After 20 years of being a sexual gatekeeper and refuser, I have learned to dance with desire and enjoy the full intimacy that comes with passionate and joyful sex with my husband.

Please be kind in your comments. We can all respect the depth of feeling surrounding some of the issues discussed here. However, comments which are accusatory and disrespectful will not be approved. It is mean to heap hurt onto an already hurting person.

(There has been a question about when the clarifications in blue were added. This was done on September 11, 2014, to address issues raised in the comments. This note in red is being added on November 18, 2014, in response to an erroneous assumption about when and why the clarification was added.)

My refusing and gate-keeping developed over a period of years—but at no point during that time did I truly understand it was wrong.

My husband shared his hurt with me, and I thought he was trying to manipulate my emotions so he could get sex. Sometimes, I could see that he was hurting—but to me, the solution was in his control. I thought he should do the things that I asked to help me feel emotionally connected. I thought he should stop wanting sex so much. I had no clue I was wrong, and I didn’t truly believe my husband was hurting from my actions.

I’d like to share six things I’ve learned about how men experience sexual refusal. While these are generalizations (and in some marriages, it is the wife who is the recipient of sexual refusal), they do apply to quite a few men. Is your husband one of them?

Please note: As I originally stated in the paragraph above, these are generalizations. This post is about marriages in which both spouses are generally good-willed toward each other.  I am writing about how husbands feel, not about what wives should do.

Know, too, that this post addresses marriages with a long-term pattern of a wife saying “no” to a generally good-willed husband. No husband should expect his wife to be available 24/7. Likewise, a husband should expect to be able to have sex. Husbands who go for weeks, months, years, even decades without sex or with only sex in which she is disengaged hurt. Do not read into this that a wife can never say “no” and that she has to do whatever her husband requests in bed.


There are generalizations here. These six items are the common threads I have seen in messages from refused husbands. The boldfaced language is quoted directly from these messages.

  1. Sexuality is inherent to a man’s sense of self. Therefore, he experiences a sexual rejection as a rejection of him. A man who has to accomplish tasks (whether those are household chores or giving his wife a foot rub in order to get her relaxed enough to even think about sex) in order to have sex is being told he isn’t good enough. (Let me try to clarify this:  I am not talking about a foot rub that is part of foreplay. I am talking about a man whose wife won’t even entertain the possibility of sex until her husband goes through a checklist of tasks before she lets herself think about whether or not she will agree to sex. I would sometimes think that my husband had to earn the right for me to even consider whether or not to have sex with him. I was being selfish. Replace “footrub” with “a cup of tea.” and you’ll have a better idea what I was getting at. I occasionally would ask my husband to perform personal tasks for me, and until they were done, I wouldn’t even think about whether I might be interested in having sex.)
  1. Men are designed to want sex frequently, and they are designed to seek adventure. This mean that they are designed to want new and exciting versions of sex with their wives. This is not a result of animalistic urges, nor is it a reflection of the world we live in or any other sexual experience or images your husband may have encountered. God made your husband this way. It is not wrong. It is not perverted. Your husband’s sexuality is godly. Sexual desire in general is godly. That doesn’t mean that specific sexual desires are all godly.
  1. Men best receive love through sex. Sex is the one big thing that releases the bonding hormone oxytocin. (Read more in Why Sex? at Pearl’s OysterBed.) What does this mean?
    • Without the activity that communicates loves to him, the words “I love you” are empty to him. You can tell him you love him every hour of every day—but if you aren’t being sexual with him, he won’t believe your words.
    • NOTHING matches sex. You can love your husband in every other way possible. You can cook his meals, pack his lunch, mend his shirts, clean his house, and entertain his friends and colleagues. You can do everything else he wants or needs. Added all together, this still doesn’t match what sex can do. Sexual love trumps everything else combined.
  1. Depriving him of your sexual pleasure can be as damaging as depriving him of sex altogether. That doesn’t mean you should pursue orgasms for his sake alone. It does mean, however, that duty sex is a downer.  It means that you can work at getting yourself to want sex more. You are missing out on intimacy as much as he is. And your marital relationship is missing out tremendously.
  1. Both the pattern and the specific instances of refusal and gate-keeping hurt your husband. It is a pattern if your husband expects you to say “no” most of the time. It is a pattern if your husband expects you to specify the conditions, activities, or positions in which sex can take place most of the time. The pattern invades the very fabric of his life. The most precious thing he has to offer you isn’t even desirable to you. The pattern of rejection is there, all the time. Each specific instance of rejection is a reminder of his lack of worth to you.
  1. Whether your pattern tends toward refusing (outright “no” or other ways of avoiding sex) or gate-keeping (restricting the time, location, and nature of sexual activity), it is likely the worst thing in your husband’s life. It is the worst thing in his life. Shortly after I began this blog, I received a message from a husband that said, “My wife won’t have sex with me. It is the worst thing in my life.” Just for a moment, think about that. Instead of assuming that all men are sex-crazed horndogs, think about that statement as a reflection of the role that sexual connection plays in a man’s life.

Sexual refusing and gate-keeping don’t develop in a vacuum. Childhood sexual abuse, premarital sexual sin, physical difficulty with sex, relationship problems, and a belief that sex is dirty or unspiritual can make healthy and joyful sexuality difficult. They can make us believe that our “no” and our “not that way” are justified. They can make us believe that we are in the right.

No matter how right or righteous we believe ourselves to be, that does not erase the reality of how our husbands experience refusal and gate-keeping.

A husband who is growly because he’s had a bad day at work, steps on Legos as he walks down the hallway, and has a difficult meeting the next day experiences will feel just as rejected by a refusal as a husband who has been a model husband. (In fact, the growly man will especially be in need of his wife’s love.)

As wives, our needs are real, too. We can decide to work on the things that interfere with our sexual desire, whether that means seeking pastoral or professional counseling, pursuing medical treatment, or studying what God’s Word says about sexuality in marriage.

We should work to understand what interferes with our desire to be sexual with our husbands. We should work to address those areas.

But know, dear sisters, that even when our difficulty in being sexual is understandable, it doesn’t lessen a refused husband’s hurt. The most understanding, loving husband will still hurt when he is deprived of the sexual/emotional connection God designed him to need in his marriage.

I encourage you to read the contributions in Understanding Your Husband’s Hurt. Men have opened their hearts and shared their heartache and pain with us. You will see echoes of the six things above woven throughout their words.

Open your heart to your husband. If you frequently say “no” or “not like that,” please seek the courage to ask your husband if he has experienced these six things in your marriage.

You can turn things around. I know women who have made a dramatic transformation overnight, and I know others who are making a slow crawl. Both ways are progress.

You can change how you approach sex and sexuality—and the first step is knowing that you have to do so.

Image courtesy of gubgib at

280 Thoughts on “Six Things to Know About Sexual Refusal

  1. Matthew on August 31, 2014 at 8:39 pm said:

    Excellent post!

  2. don't wanna say on September 4, 2014 at 2:47 pm said:

    This. Makes. Me. Feel. Horrible.

    So nothing I do, and nothing about me, matters to my hubby if he doesn’t get sex? Really? I am nothing to him unless that prerequisite is met first? Wow, I seriously, seriously, hope my man would disagree with you on this.

    I try to do things his way, be available, even eager when I can be. He SAYS that he is satisfied with how I try, and it makes him feel loved. He SAYS he doesn’t expect or want me to be a porn star. But, honestly, yes … he knows there are things I need him to do to help me be ready and involved. He SAYS it is his pleasure to do these things, and make me feel as loved by him as he feels loved by me. And, yes, he also knows there are boundaries in bed that I don’t feel comfortable crossing. He SAYS that this is fine, and we experience mutual respect when I respect his desire for variety and he respects my need for security and safety. This article seriously makes me wonder if he is lying, and if sex is the only thing that matters. More than everything else combined???? I am feeling so hurt and so much not trusting my man right now … is this really how all men think? If this is true, then those who hate Christianity and the Old Testament are completely right … God just made women for the sexual satisfaction of men, apparently – they need to be ready to go however and whenever the man orders, and their needs and desires don’t matter one bit. Sex is my primary purpose. Do I really have no other purpose or value? Is nothing I need, no other type of love I have to offer worth anything? Oh my gosh … I am shaking as I type this I am so upset …

    • Oh, dear. I am so sorry to have upset you.

      My purpose in writing this was to help women understand how deeply sexual refusal hurts a husband. This is not a post about us. It is not a post about how our husbands view us. It is a post about how our sexual rejection damages our husbands’ hearts.

      It isn’t that we are nothing to our husbands without sex as much as that sex is the means by which they experience love and connection with us the most. Sex is much more integral to a man’s sense of who he is as a man than I think many women can understand. I try to understand this by thinking about how I feel when my husband is hurting from something physically or emotionally. My inner womanly self wants to reach out and nurture him. I want to care for him–and in part, doing that is because I am a woman and it’s a powerful way that women connect with those they love. If my husband were to deprive me of the opportunity to nurture him, I would feel deeply hurt.

      Why would you doubt what your husband says about his satisfaction and expectations? What in this post would lead you to question that? Sex matters to our husbands as much as it does because we matter to them. If your husband says all is good, then why not choose to trust him in this?

      Nothing here says that women need to be ready whenever and wherever. Nothing here says that our needs and desires are unimportant and shouldn’t be met. Nothing says that sex is the only valuable thing about us. Nothing says you have no value other than sex.

      Perhaps some husbands will comment to offer some insight and correct me where I am wrong in this post.

      Take this to God in prayer. This post has upset you and your sense of your value in your marriage. If your equilibrium has been shaken (as it clearly has), then use that to invite God to show you what He wants you to do with that. When I have a strong, visceral reaction to something, it is usually the case that God is pointing me to something I need to pay attention to in myself or in my life.

      I am just one woman. I write about my own experiences in my marriage, and I sometimes write about the heart hurt I hear from other wives and from sexually refused husbands. I don’t know nearly as much as I like to think I do. I certainly don’t like my words to hurt or upset people.

      Believe your husband’s words, and take comfort in the fact that I am wrong in this post and that it doesn’t apply to your husband (which is most likely the case since it doesn’t sound like you sexually refuse him). Or, find courage to share this post with your husband. Show him your comment and what it says about your feelings. Ask him to help you understand the state of his heart in regards to your sex life. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what anyone else says about the way husbands are. What matters is your husband and your marriage.

      • don't wanna say on September 5, 2014 at 8:14 am said:

        I want to start by apologizing for my harsh words. If someone had spoken to me the way I spoke to you, it would have made me cry. I am honestly very sorry. Please forgive me.

        My reaction is really cumulative. It seems like all the Christian church can talk about these days is sex and how great it is and how wives are in sin and need to have it more and better. Sermons, books, blogs, all multiplying to “fix” wives, with little or no corresponding emphasis on what a husband ought to be doing. What I think began as good teaching and a valuable and needed course correction within the church is beginning to spiral out of control. Just my opinion – and I’m not saying necessarily that your blog is a part of this (what I view as a) problem.

        This post rubbed me the wrong way because you mentioned 2 things that I hear thrown around a LOT out there. First is that a husband should get sex and good sex at that, regardless of his overall conduct in the marriage. Now in a sense, this is true … a man should not be asked to “earn” sex or complete a to-do list each day to get laid. But to me, telling wives that they are wrong to ask for something as simple as a foot-rub to help them get in the mood – that is completely unreasonable. Wives should desire to be sexual with their husbands, and seek to overcome obstacles to that. Husbands should do EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER to help that happen, in love and tenderness, not with an attitude of “geez, how much more crap do I have to go through before you’ll put out?” To suggest that asking a husband to do something with or for you to help you be better prepared for a good sexual encounter is the same as rejecting him as a man or saying he’s not good enough – to me, well, that’s just taking it way to far. A man who is not willing to help you in any way should expect to reap what he’s sown … a wife who struggles with sexuality.

        The second thing that upset me is that I FELT LIKE (I acknowledge that this may be a wrong perception) you are saying that if a wife places any restrictions whatsoever on the timing or specific activity of a sexual encounter, you are labeling her as a gatekeeper. Again, to me, this is taking a good thing just way off the rails. A husband will want certain things, and a loving wife should go as far as she can to accommodate him. Even if it’s a bit outside her comfort zone, she really should try. But you are calling a wife who has certain “restrictions” against things that genuinely hurt or degrade her a “gatekeeper” (what an ugly word) – this does not sound at all reasonable to me. His are not the only preferences that count in the marriage bed. Requiring wives to fulfill every whim of their husbands without regard to their own feelings does in fact reduce her to an object who has no value outside her sexuality.

        This is too long already – just to wrap up, I did talk to my husband about this. He asked me to promise him that I will stay off sex related blogs or articles for the foreseeable future – for me personally, it is unhelpful, and leads to a crushing feeling that I will never measure up. My husband loves me and is very tender towards me, including caring for my needs and preferences in bed. I am learning more and more to joyfully and sacrificially serve him in this area of our life, and he says his needs are fully met in this way. But also, he is joyfully and sacrificially willing to lay aside a few preferences to honor my needs and feelings. This is mutual giving and mutual respect, and fosters love and safety for both of us. When I read these sorts of things online, I start to wonder if he’s just gritting his teeth and doing what I’m “forcing” him to do in laying aside a few things … if underneath it, he’s really angry and hurt and dissatisfied like all these other men seem to be. If that were the case, then I would feel like mutuality in the marriage bed would be impossible, and that the only recourse a “good” wife has to keep a man satisfied is to lay aside everything she is and feels, and become basically a porn star, always pushing the envelope in a frantic search for more-harder-better-hotter-crazier sex. It is deeply upsetting to me when I feel that’s the paradigm being put out there for a CHRISTIAN marriage. I would hope that ALL Christians, husbands and wives alike, would hand-in-hand seek to love one another better, setting aside preferences to meet one another’s needs, outdoing one another in showing honor, and being content with what we have.

        Again, sorry for writing a novel here. I respect your ministry and heart to help women become better wives.

        • Hi don’t wanna say – I really appreciate your words here, and I think you are absolutely right. I think the article is talking about partial truths. Truths such as: we shouldn’t use sex as a power-play, sex has a different meaning for men than women (and varies woman to woman, for that matter), patterns can point to underlying problems/issues, and that we should be respectful and empathetic in our dealings with our spouse. While these ideas are certainly true, using only part of them, and then taking the ideas to an extreme, and highly problematic level, is very misleading and potentially dangerous. A tip-off is the article’s use of bold print extremes; statements like “It is the worst thing in his life,” and “sexual love trumps everything else combined,” which reveal the sensationalism. I work as a professional counselor, and to be diplomatic, the clinical term is complete baloney. It sounds like you (and your husband) have a good understanding of the concepts within this discussion that ARE true, noble, right, lovely.

      • I do not have the words that would describe accurately how much I appreciate what you are trying to do. Every word of it is true and I think it will help women to better understand the male point of view. Hundreds of books have been written to help men see through the eyes of our wives and I have read a number of them. I have implemented everything I read to some degree and my wife claims that she is happy and that she loves me but none of what I have done has changed my situation. I have tried every way I know of to communicate the points that you have made in your blog to my wife and always at a price. The previous post could have been written by her. The hate and disdain exhibited by “don’t wanna say’s” post is as painful for me to read, as it is to hear the very same words coming from my wife’s mouth. I have come to a place in my life that I no longer hope that my needs will be met. I am broken to the point that I no longer value my own life in any meaningful way. This has been a burden on me because I am a believer in Christ and I want to do the right thing for not only my wife but for my children as well. The sadness I feel is relentless but I can not show any of it without enduring another round of punishment for being the wretched person I am. I am sorry that this woman has verbally assaulted you for telling the truth and I admire the compassion you have shown in your response. God has given you a very clear understanding of our needs and your words have helped me through a particularly difficult afternoon. Thank You

        • I am so sorry you are having a rough afternoon–and a marriage full of sorrow for you. What are you doing to heal yourself? There is nothing you can do to change your wife. However, you can seek pastoral or professional counseling to help you in having healthy responses to your wife’s words and actions.

          Your wife says she is happy. What do her actions say? I know so many women who told their husbands they were happy just to get them off their back. Meanwhile, they were absolutely miserable themselves. Do you think she really is happy?

          I am praying for your marriage today.

      • Russell on January 9, 2015 at 4:31 pm said:

        Well said. Thank you for considering us men, how we are designed by God towards intimacy through sexual expression in marriage, and how frustrating it is for all who keep God out of the equation give HIS authorship as our Creator. We are sexual and want it to express and cultivate intimacy in marriage. Out of marriage is another conversation riddled with mines because it is sinful and destined fod problems. This shouldn’t be the case amongst believers who by our very calling are called to compassion, empathy, and intimacy within our general fellowship. Shouldn’t be such a loaded topic within marriage where our devotion to our spouse should be paramount. A given. Alas it is my opinion that where one must walk egg shells to communicate something controlling and diabolical is at play and corruption of ideas and proper attitudes and botching of communication or claiming to be misunderstood follows. Selfish Christian woman are entitled. Point blank. Repent. Seek God’s face. Humble yourselves and tune out Hollywood Disney concoctions designed by the world – we are called to hate and not love -to destroy our relationship with God. Sad but women defending themselves on this issue seldom acknowledge the Truth. It’s a sin. It’s willful. It’s mean and controlling. And when it’s controlled by performance it even reduces the controlling wife to a prostitute in that she sees sex in marriage as a transaction. Also missed is the MOST BEAUTIFUL illustration of intimacy given in God’s word that marriage -and sex that DEFINES IT from All other relationships – Is a picture of Jesus relationship to His bride, the Church. We are called to be one. Sex does this. Nothing else. Bible says its a mystery. But it can be solved with exercise. I hope I didn’t offend by stating Truth. Sometimes salt stings. But it cleanses. Blessings and thanks for being courageous. Takes guts to defend men who are so often vilified by the culture under the influence of Satan. But if women don’t start speaking up soon all is lost bc women corroborate and manifest. So please Godly women be humble and turn from sin, love your husbands. Cold hard women are masculine to us men. Soften and magnify femininity by submitting and embracing mens loving expression towards intimacy. When I explained to my wife what you’ve said here about sex and intimacy she didn’t believe me. Yet it only takes imagining a man neglecting his desirous wifes needs to see the double standard is clearly at play in our culture regarding this topic. But honestly this is is a no-brainer when led by the spirit. Which we must do to stay on path.

        Thanks again immensely.
        Brother Russell

    • @Don’t Wanna Say,

      I understand your outrage and I used to feel that way too. It helped when I heard somebody compare how men feel about sex to how most women feel about conversation. My husband can provide for our family, lead in prayer and bible study, serve in church, maintain our vehicles and lawns, but if he stopped spending time talking with me all those other things would seem empty. I wouldn’t feel loved. That’s how men feel about sex with their wives from what I understand.

      It sounds like you’ve got some hurt in the sexual area that would cause you to react so strongly. I sure did. Bad teaching, past sexual sin and misunderstanding made it difficult for me to connect with my husband through sex. We’ve both done some growing and sex is now the gift that God designed it to be.

      I once sat down and wrote a really long email to the author of Love and Respect because I was so outraged that he said men need sex to feel respected by their wives. (I didn’t send it, but it made me feel better) so I really do empathize with you. I hope you’ll accept your husband’s words as truth. Your husband is the only yardstick you need regarding his satisfaction with your sex life.


    • I absolutely agree with you. Either she didn’t say it properly or she has totally given in to patriarchy and the hatred of women that says we are nothing except what Mark Driscoll calls a home for a penis. Nothing. Worthless. Only when a penis is invading us are we valuable. It’s a lie from where all lies come from. Don’t believe her. She is wrong. You are valuable, you have rights. You cannot take him to your bed unless it is your bed. You cannot offer him your body unless it is truly yours. There are limits. You do not have to do filthy disgusting things. You do not. She is wrong.

      • The principles of sexuality are complex and manifold. Moreover, they have been in the past, been shrouded in secrecy and steeped in propaganda. Chris’s blog cannot address every variable and exception. Her intent was to share her perspective and her experience as a way of helping others. She has done so in a spirit of love and Godly conviction, whether you think she is right or wrong. I can say without hesitation that what she said is true for me.
        My wife and I have been married for 35 years. She is a wonderful person and I love her very much. I would do anything to make her happy. She enjoys going to plays and musical shows. She loves public displays of affection and she spends an hour every afternoon telling me all about her day. She enjoys waterfalls and botanical gardens and she on occasion spends hours taking pictures of just one flower. I don’t like secrets but there are a few that she will never know about. I can’t stand musicals, I feel a little embarrassed when we kiss in public, I listen to her day but I don’t understand what she does and I have allergies and hate sweating. I do everything I can to be part of the things she likes because I love her and I would guess that most men do that for their wives. The question is; would she feel loved if I didn’t do all of those things? Would she be happy? The fact is that I have never asked her to do anything she didn’t want to do. I wouldn’t allow her to do anything just to please me. Am I wrong for making her think that I enjoyed a visit with her mother just to make her feel good? Should I have to beg my wife to do something that pleases me when it brings her pleasure as well?

    • Please don’t be upset. You are right in the way you feel. You are NOT just an sex object. NO WAY. It sounds like to me that your H does love and respect you for who you ARE, not just what you can do for him. There is a huge difference between love and sex. Animals have sex. People should make love. And making love is TWO people becoming one. Not ONE with selfish, constant ‘needs’. Children have ‘needs’ – adults have desires. Most men need to grow up and realize that their self-worth is NOT about sex, nor is it tied to sex. Likewise, most women need to grow up and stop thinking their self-worth is tied to their physical appearance. True love is about wanting and doing the best for the OTHER person. True love making is doing for the OTHER person. You should NEVER have to tolerate something being done to your body that you don’t want done. That’s not being loved. That’s being used.

    • librarian on September 10, 2014 at 4:42 pm said:

      You mixing up two different topics, the generosity of sex and the importance of sex.

      Your husband is generous, and you, hopefully, are generous in return. Yes, as a husband, my greatest turn-on is turning my wife on. Knowing that I have rocked her world and curled her toes makes me feel ten feet tall. And the work to do that? It’s not work, it’s part of the pleasure.

      However, what you aren’t getting, from this post, is the importance of sex, versus all the other “stuff” that women see as love. My wife said it best when she told me that she thought that the meals, the house, the kids, etc., were all proofs of love. But not having sex? Sorry, I didn’t feel loved.

      Alison Armstrong said it best: “Women think that they can do other things that will add up to what sex provides. Like, if I cook for you enough, if I acknowledge you enough, if I cuddle you enough, if I give you enough affection and respect, if I take care of the house and the children, it could add up to what sex provides, but nothing adds up to what sex provides.”

      Read that last line – nothing that you can do or say adds up to sex. If you are a cordon bleu chef, and a Martha Stewart in the house, but constantly tell the boy, “No”, you are telling him that you don’t love him.

    • Seems ur missing the blog’s entire purpose, which is, to share how one wife came to a Godly revelation about her “own husband and later how other Christian husbands feel” after experiencing >>>weeks, months, even years of sexual depravation<<< from the ONE and only woman that he vowed to, can and should be expressing this "covenant" intimacy with, that being "his wife". And that as Christian or nonChristian wives, since we view sexual intimacy so differently, that we're not understanding that it is more than just sex to these devoted husbands, its the core of his showing his love and vulnerability to his wife. That wives are not understanding that "constant refusal/gate-keeping, deprives him of the one way that God made him to give, receive and understand as being the deepest form of emotional connection to him….and yet, IS OFTEN being deprived and starved of this emotional connection….by the only woman he has pledged his life and love too…that he will eventually stop asking or trying and just suffers in silence, while his wife has no Godly idea of what her "constant rejection" does to her husband. And that no matter how much you put into running the him……his "personal love"—his being consistently neglected.

      I'm not sure, why or even how—-you managed to take a few phrases….so personally to mean that there's a flaw in YOU or your husband's thinking, or how you came to believe that this very informative blog is now, causing you to second-guess your husband and your sexual generosity or lack there of. So, I will lovingly inform you that you're completely off-base with how you sliced and diced the purpose of this highly valuable information for Christian wives to seriously take a look at….into something negative and a very personal reflection of you. It's not….ok? (warmest regards, EyPGyrl)

    • Bryan on March 1, 2015 at 6:17 am said:

      Women are by no means made simply to satisfy men’s sexual desires. I think that the author is talking specifically about the hurt it can cause men when they are being constantly or routinely refused by their wives. I know that kind of hurt personally as my wife seems to never want sex and always has a new reason as to why she’s refusing every time I confront her about it. Some of those reasons are very valid however and like the way you described your husband, I understand I can’t expect my wife to always be there. There’s a balance each couple has to find that suits them and their sexual drive. The one point I disagree with the author on is that sex to men is the greatest love they can receive. If you study the five love languages, you’ll find that everyone is a little different and that sex (which is common in acts of service or physical touch) may not be very high in a persons preferred love language. But the biggest thing I would say to encourage you is that your marriage is meant to reflect the union of Christ and His Church. The Church is meant to support, please, and serve Christ while also enjoying His presence and succeeding themselves by following His perfect leadership. Now in an earthly scope, we all know men aren’t even in the same league as Christ in the realm of leadership, selflessness, wisdom, or any other traits we are called to have, but that doesn’t change the relationship we are supposed to reflect. A woman’s role is to follow her godly husband and correct her ungodly husband. When her husband is walking with God she is to follow, be successful, enjoy his companionship, serve him as he serves her, support him, and emulate the perfect relationship Christ and His Church (are supposed to) have. Bringing this argument full circle back to sex and sexual refusal, I once heard a point made that sex was designed to allow the man and woman physically, emotionally, and spiritually be the closest they can possibly be. The two literally become, as the Bible depicts, one flesh during intercourse. The way God designed marriage to be, the husband and wife are the only people who can provide this closeness to one another. This is how we (the Church) should long to feel for God whenever we dive into His Word or go to a retreat. When we allow ourselves to be most vulnerable and closest to God we are, in a sense, achieving what sex was designed for in marriage, with God. We feel close, connected, vulnerable, and loved in these moments. Just as we long for that close vulnerable connection to God, men and women both should long for the same connection to their spouses. The only difference is that intimacy with God involves studying His word while intimacy with each other involves sex.

    • Wow, you are reading entirely too much into this article. Like, I really have no words for this.

    • Confused... on April 6, 2015 at 7:19 pm said:

      I think you took this the wrong way. If you are trying to be faithful in your intimate life, and fulfill each other’s needs, then I am very happy for you. As a man in this situation, I agree 100% with the article. I’ve been married almost five years, and in that time we’ve only been intimate a handful of times, maybe 3-4 times a year, if that. I love my wife very, VERY much, and because I love her I want to be intimate with her. So far she has refused to seek any help with the emotional and physical issues, and generally seems not to care. I cannot begin to express the emotional trauma I’ve been through, to the point I can’t even sleep in the same bed without breaking down in tears.

      It has wreaked havoc with our marriage as well, creating distance and emptiness between us. I love my wife SO much, but how can I trust her when I’m in so much pain? How can I be spiritually and emotionally intimate with someone who has hurt me so deeply, even though it was unintentional? If she continues to refuse to seek help, I feel that she must not care about me, if she is willing to let me suffer. I end up feeling abandoned, undesirable, inadequate, and unloved, even though I know she really does love me, her actions and attitudes over time have convinced me that she can’t. I’ve even found myself thinking divorce would be easier, at least I could eventually heal, and that scares me, it’s tle last thing I would EVER want.

      I love so many things about my wife, and yes, they all matter to me. She is smart, fun, talented, we share many interests, and enjoy being together. It’s not that sex is a prerequisite for me to love her, but when it’s not happening, when I feel rejected and hurt, it’s very hard to feel loved as well.

      Again, if this isn’t an issue for you, that’s wonderful, but some of us are coming from somewhere far different.

    • Nathaniel West on May 11, 2015 at 1:06 pm said:

      You seem very angry and limiting in your views. You took the entire context of this article and ignored it. Sex is number one to men, it is the driving force behind all that we accomplish. When we have sex we feel the love as well and puts the other acts into focus and perspective. Please follow my analogy here; the movie Lord of the Rings based on the book is about the intimate pulls on our moral fiber from center. It’s character development with adventure to a final end. The journey and all the experiences, accomplishments and even failures along the way makes us who we are and creates a legacy. It is not about Mordor/ casting in the ring, that was always the end goal but the smallest part of the story.
      That is sex to us, the journey filled with adventure, not just the ending. Again, sex is the motivation for deeds, it drives us forward and is the comfort at the end in which we succeed or fail. I often have agreed with my wife the way your husband agrees with you because she would alter my words and place them in devalued boxes out of context. In that context I was a monster, in my original context I was a man.

      • so sex is your ideal

      • Faith on May 11, 2015 at 2:55 pm said:

        Just going to throw this out there Nathan West. Shouldn’t Christ be your number one motivation behind everything you do and accomplish in life ? Just my opinion but seems like if sex is your number one driving force then it has the potential to be an idol even if you are married.

      • Faith on May 11, 2015 at 6:23 pm said:

        Lord of the Rings equals a bad analogy. I wouldn’t want my sexual life to be like Lord of the Rings. They went through so much suffering. It wasn’t an Indiana Jones type adventure. The story is entertaining from our point of view but not if you were actually going through the journey as Frodo. A lot of the suffering and terror the group went through they could have stood to do without . All I get from your analogy is that sex is your “ring” or ” precious” . The ring was number 1 in Smeagles life and look what happened to him. Lol

        • Maybe the Lord of the Rings is a bad analogy, but frequent sex with your husband is a great hobbit to be in. 😉

    • penny on May 26, 2015 at 12:55 pm said:

      I completely agree with you…it seems all we are good for is sex. I’m over it
      I’m way more than a sex toy. I have brains and emotions too. This is a complete caveman mentality. Maybe men need to grow up and stop being little boys
      My husband s treed up and had the nerve to ail this blog to me…just makes his screwup even worse and more hurtfull.

      • Being worth only sex and being viewed as a sex toy certainly are not what God wants for us in our marriages. This post is intended to capture some of the emotional effects on men when they are habitually deprived of sexual intimacy. That doesn’t mean that they are cavemen, and it certainly doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be stepping up to the plate to work on their contributions to marriage problems. Even when they have contributed to the problems, they can still feel hurt.

        As for your husband sending you this post, well, that generally isn’t a good idea–which I explain in the For Husbands section of the blog. Not all husbands in a situation of sexual deprivation are going to feel all these things–but some do, and it is worth asking your husband. All it does is offer some possible insight. If your husband feels all the things described here, then I would encourage you to use it as a starting point for some conversations about sex. If your husband has screwed up in your marriage, then that is something he should be actively working, just as sexual deprivation might be something for you to address. I am sorry you saw the post in that context. That would have infuriated and hurt me deeply.

        • penny on May 26, 2015 at 1:20 pm said:

          How about the hurt that leads to the whole mess ??? Or is that just not important? ?? Women matter. .big time!!!!

        • In no way did I say that your hurt doesn’t matter, or that women don’t matter. Your hurt matters. Women matter. You matter.

          Many marriages have two hurting spouses. I can recognize my husband’s hurt even while I am experiencing my own.

          Whatever your husband’s screw-up was, you are clearly hurting from it. He does have a responsibility to work through his issues and try to restore the part of your marriage that he hurt.

    • James Banksson on June 2, 2015 at 10:00 am said:

      Sorry, he is lying to you..Yes we mean want sex more than most things in life. I know you will come back and say “no my husband says…blah blah blah” sorry you are wrong. Men want sex….period. it makes us feel closer to you as our wife. I hope you listen to this article, because as a married guy, there is so much truth to this. I dont care what your husband says, this article is spot on! Maybe he is just telling you that..and yes you will say back “no he is serious” NO, he is just telling you that to satisfy your emotions!

      • There is nothing wrong with a husband wanting to satisfy his wife’s emotions. I wouldn’t think that he is lying. Her husband may truly be fine in that he accepts the boundaries they have in their bedroom even if he would sometimes like those boundaries to be elsewhere. She is not describing a marriage with sexual refusal, which is what this post addresses. It sounds to me like he is already getting that sexual connection with her.

      • Faith on June 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm said:

        You don’t know that he is lying. It sounds like to me they’re not just married but best friends. That’s one thing I don’t see people talking about too much. Being best friends. I’ve found all the times me and my husband remember that we are best friends and try to make time to hang out and goof off and do things we both enjoy , a lot of times it leads to sex. No one here talks about being buddies with your spouse or any romance. Sometimes the other stuff is lacking and people use sex as a bandaid. I’ve joked at my husband before about all he cares about is sex but he says no that’s not all there is to him and he does love me. I believe him. We have our problems right now but I do know he loves me and that’s not the only way we can or do relate to each other. If I insisted that it was all about that for him he would probably be offended at me.

      • Faith on June 2, 2015 at 12:25 pm said:

        It’s not like mores sex automatically fixes everything . I think a lot of people grow apart in the busyness of life and sometimes they need to take a step back and work on getting to know each other all over again. If people start relationships based on the Bible, then the rule is they have no sex before marriage. So how is it that they decide who is the right person to be married and have sex in the first place? How do they find the right person for them ? It’s because they relate and bond with each other in so many other ways and most of all love each other way before they get married . Getting married involves becoming one with someone you already related to before you had sex. I think some people need to go back to that place and then make time for each other and work on being friends again before they can move forward . And just think if both spouses are Christian they also have a bond as brothers and sisters in Christ , which I would like have in my own relationship but don’t at this time.

  3. I feel this article is very biased. What if it’s the husband who is refusal or doesn’t see sex as a means if love. As a wife ( one who LOVE sex). I have yet to ever deny my husband, regardless if how I felt. My husband doesn’t tell me know, but he doesn’t always put forth the effort to have regular sex. I am a mother of 2 children under 5, I feel I work just as hard & long as he does and still willing to make time. What about how rejected a wife can feel or how it speaks to my sense of self. What about a woman’s sexuality. We as women (gasping) have just as high of a need & want for sex like men if not more. I could go on on, however this just struck a cord with me because I felt as if it’s j just one sided.

    • @Marie,
      The one-sideness of this post, is because it’s not an educational article. This entire blog is devoted to helping women that struggle with wanting to have sex with their husbands. It doesn’t resonate with you because that’s not where you’re at.

      You might find some help at forums. There is a special section for people who’s spouses either refuse or gatekeep the couples sex life.

      This blog is awesome for it’s intended audience. It just isn’t for everyone.

      Good luck and God bless,

      Chris, I hope you don’t mind me stepping in here to answer this. 🙂

    • Yes, this article is biased–for a reason. The primary audience for this blog is wives who have sexually refused their husbands. These wives often don’t understand the ways their refusal hurts their husbands.

      I have seen figures that in at least 25% of marriages, it is the wife who is higher drive. What I’ve said about the hurt of refused husbands takes nothing away from the hurt refused wives feel. In fact, learning about the hurt of refused wives–in the language of a woman’s emotions–had a big impact on my own understanding of how my husband was being hurt by my actions.

      You may want to take a look at the Spice & Love blog, which is written by a Christian wife with a higher drive than her husband. She has been on hiatus since last summer but has recently resumed writing. Explore her blog a bit, starting with the First Time Here? section. You may find just the encouragement you need there.


      • Sometimes there’s a good reason for avoiding sex. A lot of women want to make love to their husbands but not if their husband wants to force them into doing something that makes them feel used . I’ve had my husband get me to turn around on my hands and knees while he did me from behind and I felt dirty and used afterwards. I want to make love not be used. It lead me to avoid sex because I was afraid of being coerced into doing something that made me feel worthless and awful. Feeling you like you have to do a specific worldly act just so your husband won’t sulk or be angry with you is not right. Then when you give in to just to make them happy you feel even more used . I think men need to ask their. Wives the reason. There might be a valid reason. Also I think the fact that a lot of men have watched porn at sometime in their life has an affect on how they treat their wives sexually. Good Godly women want to have fulfilling sex but they don’t want to be treated like a porn star. I think a lot of guys , even christian ones, are basing their view of sex on worldly ideals. The world makes sex out to be a purely lustful physical act that’s all about getting off , and effects how men are treating their wives . Sex is supposed to be a loving and also spiritual act. Sexual problems in a marriage aren’t going to be solved simply but a woman giving the man everything he wants . Maybe the husband needs to try to find out why she is having trouble ? Maybe she’s traumatized by something he did or someone else did to her. Men sent the only ones who need healing.

        • I agree that one of the things that can lead to a wife’s struggle with sex is how her husband has treated her (in and out of the bedroom). When we’ve felt used rather than loved in the marriage bed, it can begin to repel us rather than invite us.

          Please read through some of the other posts here. The majority of this blog is about women’s healing.

          This post and a few others are here to help women develop empathy for their husbands. For some of us, understanding a husband’s pain is what it takes to convince us that we need to work on our own healing. Sometimes, that healing means that we learn to talk with our husbands about how we have felt used.

          In many marriages, both spouses hurt and are in need of healing.

        • dana on March 4, 2015 at 6:08 am said:

          A different sexual position is hardly “porn star”.
          [Edit]There’s more than missionary. Against popular belief, they’re not designed to make you feel used! They’re for different sensations!
          if you predetermined that any sex besides vanilla missionary is bad, it will be bad in your eyes.
          if you’re going to put out for your husband, you might as well have a glass of wine and loosen up a little. Nobody enjoys themselves when they’re uptight.

        • Although you’re right that a non-missionary position doesn’t necessarily equate to porn star sex, how a husband introduces the position can go a long way in establishing it as loving or not. Some women do find that a glass of wine helps them relax for sex, although it can be a problem if a woman requires wine in order to be sexual with her husband. Balance goes a long way.

  4. Nicole Wimmer on September 7, 2014 at 1:16 am said:

    Thank you so much for such an important post. I really appreciate it….thank you.

  5. Wow.

  6. I’m a man, and I have to say I’m not sure this presents an accurate picture of either what it means for me to be loved by my wife or for me to love her. There’s some elements that ring partially true, but this sounds much too much like wives existing for the purpose of pleasing their husbands’ sexual desires first and foremost and that doesn’t seem like what God created either men or women to be.

    • I’m with you, Steve. The no limits rule was written by abusive men and I can’t believe there are so many women who subscribe to it. My husband never asks me to do anything that I think is disgusting. I know many Christian wives who hate sex because it has to be disgusting or painful for their husbands to be satisfied. God. Loves us just as much as he loves you. The woman who writes this either has a kind husband or has no self respect. She may not know what goes on in many bedrooms. It is horrible and I don’t believe that God is pleased

      • Becky,

        Could you point out where she’s telling wives to do “disgusting things”? Just what exactly qualifies as disgusting?

        Did you check out the posts of the husbands that are refused sex by their wives? Do they sound abusive to you?

        Your post sounds like a knee-jerk reaction similar to the ones i used to have. Anybody trying to tell me that I was being unloving by telling my husband that he was was just wanting to use me for his gratification would be the enemy.

        I think you’re reading things in this post that are your fears, rather than what’s actually being suggested.

        There is so much joy in a mutually fulfilling marriage bed. I’m so glad there was someone to help lead the way. I never would have known what I was missing without brave women like Chris who are willing to share their stories.

        In Christ,

        • Sandi,

          Chris says, “Each specific instance of rejection is a reminder of his lack of worth to you.” “They can make us believe that our “no” and our “not that way” are justified.” She implies that “no” and “not that way” are never justified, that we have no right to say those words to our husbands.

          She says “It is not perverted. Your husband’s sexuality is godly.” Here’s the thing: anal sex is perverted. It hurts. It is filthy. It puts people in the hospital. But Chris says that anything a husband wants is Godly because God made men sexual. Do you not see the illogic?

          We scold children for using the toilet without washing their hands and then we tell wives to put the thing that their husband urinates with in their mouths. Do you not see that illogic? If a woman chooses to stifle her gag reflex and disgust instinct then that is her choice, but to tell her that she must do it or she is sinning… That’s just abusive.

          If men want their wives to engage in sexual activity that they do not enjoy just so that the men can be satisfied, that is abusive. If she doesn’t want to do it then they need counselling to figure out why. She does not need to be told that her feelings are sinful.

          If we don’t have the right to say “no” or “not that way” then we are slaves, not wives.

          Chris does note that there are many reasons for women to avoid sex and she does advise people to seek counseling. Where she goes wrong is to say that it is a sin to say “no” or “not that way.”

        • If men want their wives to engage in sexual activity that they do not enjoy just so that the men can be satisfied, that is abusive.

          If men want their wives to engage in sexual activity that they do not enjoy just so that the men can be satisfied, that is not abusive. It is, however, abusive to force her to do so. It is sinful for him to withhold love and affection from her as a punishment for not doing what he wants.

          I have written elsewhere that when a wife doesn’t want to do something sexually, she has a responsibility to understand why and attempt to work on it. That does not mean she has to do it–but if it is something she isn’t ready to do, a genuine effort to understand and work on the issue is in order. There is a difference between saying “ick, no way” and “you know, I have learned about it and understand why some women might like it, but I just can’t stop having an anxiety attack when I think about it. Could we revisit this in a few years?” Likewise, a loving husband should honor his wife’s effort and should not push on something she has tried to do but cannot follow through with.

        • I do want to respond to a couple things here. Your views on anal sex and oral sex, while shared by many, are not biblical.

          The Bible does not address anal sex specifically. Anal sex can put people in the hospital, but many couples who engage in it find great pleasure in it and experience no negative side effects. Much of the research that has been done on anal sex has been on homosexual male couples or those in the sex industry. It is unclear how much of that can reasonably apply to anal sex with a monogamous heterosexual couple. (You can read about Christians and anal sex here and here.)

          Many people believe that oral sex is mentioned in the Bible (SoS 2:3 and SoS 4:16).

      • librarian on September 10, 2014 at 8:40 pm said:

        I can’t believe the misandry that is being poured out here, by supposed Christians.

    • Thank you for being the voice of reason.

    • Amen, brother. I’m a man also and I agree with you. When my wife says no to sex, the first thing I think is ‘wow, she’s had a hard day, what can I do to help her more’. I don’t feel ‘rejected’. It doesn’t make my self-worth go into a tail spin. And I hate to say it – but most men get their
      sex-education from pornography. And THAT is the root of most problems for men in the bed room. They have unrealistic expectations of what making love with a SPOUSE is suppose to be like. There’s a huge difference between making love and having sex.

      • Yes, Dan! I love how my husband puts it. He tells me that I should never feel guilty or ashamed to say no because he wouldn’t want to have sex with me when I’m not feeling it 100%. Does that give me carte blanche to use sex to manipulate my husband (i.e. you didn’t do the dishes, so no sex for you, mister)? Absolutely not. It also means that he doesn’t get to manipulate me into having sex (and he doesn’t… he’s awesome). Frankly, most of the time I don’t want to have sex, it has nothing to do with my husband. I’m exhausted or stressed or worried about getting up in the morning.

        It also bothers me that this article ignores the one in four (conservative) estimate of women who have been sexually assaulted. The problem isn’t confined to being outside the church, and while every woman reacts differently, it’s not uncommon for a woman to find intimacy difficult years after the assault.

        It is not okay, EVER, to use a woman’s desire to love her husband and to glorify God through her marriage to manipulate her into performing a sex act that she is either uncomfortable with or just not in the mood or ready to do.

        Consent is about respecting your partner and making sure s/he is fully on board with the act of having sex. Consent is about making sure your partner knows that the bed is a safe place. Consent is about making sure your partner is COMFORTABLE saying no to anything at any time because if you manipulate him or her into not being able to say no, you reduce his or her ability to truly consent.

        Consent is engaging in sex with your partner willingly and joyfully and without reservation.

        Once you start manipulating your partner, you start reducing his or her ability to truly consent, and that’s something you should really be not okay with doing to someone who you profess to love, regardless of whether it is marital love or spiritual, Christlike love.

        Let’s not manipulate our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s not strip them of their consent. Let’s respect one another and respect ourselves and treat each other with love.

        • It also bothers me that this article ignores the one in four (conservative) estimate of women who have been sexually assaulted. The problem isn’t confined to being outside the church, and while every woman reacts differently, it’s not uncommon for a woman to find intimacy difficult years after the assault.

          I have been sexually assaulted. It can take years for a woman to work through much of the trauma. There is still one thing we cannot do in our marriage bed because it is too much of a trigger. My husband understands that. He loves me enough that he never does that thing. That doesn’t mean his heart hasn’t ached at times over the years for what I haven’t been able to give him.

          We have a responsibility to work on our issues–not just for our husbands’ sake but for our own. Consent is a part of a loving marriage bed. A wife who is never able to consent to something because she refuses to work on her trauma is causing trouble–not because she is not consenting but because she isn’t trying to work on herself. Working on herself is no guarantee of success–but a genuine effort for the sake of the marriage speaks love to her husband.

        • Chris, I’m really sorry that happened to you, and I commend your husband for treating you with love and compassion. I also have been assaulted, and it definitely affects my sex life with my wonderful husband.

          I was commenting on what your article said, though. I agree that sex is an important part of marriage, but I don’t agree that I should have to be manipulated into it by you or any other Christian who implies that, if I turn down my husband’s sexual overtures (frequently or infrequently), I’m not being a Christlike wife.

          Please be aware that I absolutely think that you had the purest intentions by writing this piece. However, please also recognize that manipulating your spouse by withholding sex is certainly a problem like you said. Withholding sex because you’re not ready or able to have it for any reason is NOT a problem, and indicating that it is actually shows a pretty big failure to understand what true consent is. Part of why I enjoy sex with my husband as much as I do is because I know if I turn him down, for any reason or for no stated reason, he doesn’t pressure me or question my decision, so I only have sex when I’m ready to enjoy it (which in turn increases his enjoyment in the act). He knows that when I say, “yes,” I am truly consenting because I truly have a real option to say “no” without being hassled, made to feel guilty, or manipulated. I don’t owe my husband sex. I engage in sex with him because it’s something I want to do because I love him. I love him, so I enjoy giving him pleasure and expressing my love for him in that way, but that doesn’t mean that I am in any way obligated to have sex with him at any time.

          I think your post ignores the multitude of men who don’t want to engage in sex with a woman who has reservations. Not all men are experimental in bed; not all men have a higher libido than their spouses; not all men see sex as the most important act of love. You can’t reduce men into these sexual creatures because doing so ignores all the men who are just fantastic and understand that their spouses don’t “owe” them anything.

        • I thought I had made it clear that I was generalizing based on comments husbands have made. Of course this doesn’t apply to all men. Maybe it doesn’t even apply to most men. It does, however, apply to heartbroken husbands who have written to me for insight into their wives.

          This sentence that you said is, I think, important:

          Withholding sex because you’re not ready or able to have it for any reason is NOT a problem, and indicating that it is actually shows a pretty big failure to understand what true consent is.

          I absolutely agree–except that I don’t consider that to be withholding sex. As I see it, the problem in this situation is not the “no.” The problem is when there is a lack of willingness and effort to work on an issue that interferes with sexual interaction. Working on it is no guarantee that things will ever get to a good place–but they can at least get to a better place.

          This is such an important issue and I’ve added it to my list of topics to address in future posts.

          Thanks for coming back to add to your earlier comment. I will revisit this post at some point, and this comment will help me read with an additional set of lenses, so to speak.

        • Christopher on April 12, 2015 at 6:37 am said:

          I’m limited here as I am on a mobile phone, but I will say you folks here who think you’re right misconstruing Chris’ words are justifiers, bothered that your outer layer of that shell is being peeled away and exposing the refusers you really are. You are controllers and you are only defending that to make sure you’re not possibly exposed as such. I’ve lived this 27 years. Torture. Bait and switch- even for those with real issues who please their man to get married or for a short while early on but stop and blame the abuse, etc.without ever working on it. But you don’t care enough now that you’re married, he’s nice enough and “my pride” will not be trampled upon. If he said I’m leaving, suddenly you might recall all the things you were once capable and enjoyed doing. But with that ring as your pension plan, how hard do you really need to work at it? Being refused so regularly is the worst thing in my life. No amount of income I earn or experience I take in compares to a welcoming, supportive wife who wants her man.

      • librarian on September 10, 2014 at 8:45 pm said:

        Dan, when your wife says “no”, it’s not her default, is it? Just because your wife is generous to you doesn’t mean that all GCW™ are. Go up to the top, look under the New Here tab, and read the posts on the Understanding Your Husband’s Heart page.

        • “No” as default??????? My wife is not computer. When she says ‘no’ it comes from her heart. And when I say ‘no’ it comes from my heart.

          Quite a few people have come here and jumped on the ‘just do it’ band wagon to some of the posters that are anger and hurting. Yes, this article was about how sex can make a man feel loved. But it also is very biased that sex is the only way a man can feel loved. That’s an insult to men – not women.

          And NO ONE is commanded to do ANYTHING in bed that goes against their conscious. Paul 2Cor1:12 and Romans 1:18-19. If a woman deeply feels that what her husband wants her to do in bed is wrong – then she is right. When a person is told something is wrong – then that person needs to step back and think why is this wrong – not ‘she’s wrong’. Look to yourself first.

        • But it also is very biased that sex is the only way a man can feel loved. That’s an insult to men – not women.

          Perhaps it is biased. It is based on what I have heard from men. I didn’t say it is the only way men feel loved, just that it’s the best way–and I acknowledged that I was making generalizations.

          If I had said sex was the only way a man can feel loved, why would you see that as an insult?

      • Chris, I appreciate you taking the time to respond to me.

        I think we have several basic premises in common, and I’m really not trying to straw-man you (because that’s just rude).

        We both agree that sex is an important part of marriage.
        We both agree that wives should not use sex as a weapon against their husbands (i.e. intentionally withhold for the purposes of hurting him).
        We both agree that many men place a great deal of emphasis on the importance of sex as a means of showing love.
        We both agree that, as Christians in a committed marriage, we should do whatever we have to to make the marriage work because love is an action (and a frequent, never ending set of actions at that).
        We both agree that consent is important.
        We both understand that a past assault can make consent difficult, but part of being in a loving committed relationship is doing what needs to be done to move the relationship forward.

        So we agree on many things.

        I think we disagree on two main issues. First, I think our understanding of consent (not just saying “yes,” but saying “yes” with no reservations) is different. To me, anything that reduces someone’s ability to say “no” reduces consent. That can include something as overt as force or something as subtle as manipulation. For instance, that’s why, as a college professor, I would get fired if I had sex with one of my students because his ability to say no is compromised by my exercise of power over his grades.

        I find it a bit disturbing that there is this Christian attitude of “saying no makes you a less loving and Christlike wife” (not just from you (especially since you’re mainly focusing on saying no habitually in order to hurt the husband)) that pervades discourse about Christian relationships. While I think your intentions are pure and good, continuing this falsehood in any way causes Christian women who love their husbands and love their Savior to feel guilty when they say “no” for whatever the reason is.

        Those feelings of guilt make it harder for those women to say “no”. Anything that reduces her ability to say “no” reduces her ability to consent. In fact, for many men (including my husband), when I say “no, not this time,” he is not hurt; instead, he gains confidence from my ability to say “no” since when I say “let’s do this,” he knows I am completely consenting.

        I think the other issues where we disagree is that, in my opinion, the act of withholding is only a symptom of a deeper problem. If a woman is consistently withholding sex from her husband, there’s usually a reason, so just telling her not to say “no” doesn’t really address the deeper issues that are plaguing the marriage. I have friends who have a difficult time with sex and certain sex acts because they were raised “Sex is dirty! Sex is bad! Sex is a sin! Oh, you’re married now? Go do the sex!” There are women who withhold because they need a way to exercise power over their husbands. There are women who withhold because they want to hurt their spouse. There are women who withhold because they’re not attracted to their spouse, or they feel less attractive and don’t want to be reminded of that fact. All of those are serious underlying issues, and just changing the “no” to a “yes” doesn’t actually fix the problem, just the symptom.

        Does that make sense?

        • @HOSBO002
          “All of those are serious underlying issues, and just changing the “no” to a “yes” doesn’t actually fix the problem, just the symptom.”

          Agreeing to say “yes” when you really feel like “no” can act as good incentive for women to explore what the problem is and solve the underlying problem.

          That’s what prompted me to change. If I hadn’t been convicted that habitually refusing was wrong because it was hurtful to my husband, I would never have done the self exploration that lead to my freedom in the marriage bed.

          Nobody here is saying a woman has to say yes every time. But if the answer is no the majority of the time she is being selfish unless she gets to the root of why her answer is no so often.

        • Unfortunately, if you read the original post, it is stated that any “specific instance” of rejection is unjustified. A few of the male commenters have also stated that wives must give up their rights, which were forfeited when they said their marriage vows. One commenter did say that as a loving husband, he may demand that his wife forfeit her rights. Of course Chris does not share their views, but her original post makes it sound as if she does. Also, Chris did say that a wife cannot ask for her husband to give her a massage that would help her to relax enough to want sex. She later commented that to her a massage is not foreplay so she was not saying that women should refrain from making sexual requests. Her repeated statements that we should not say :no” or “not that way” MEAN, whether she intended them to or not, that wives must submit to ANY demand our husbands make, no matter what their reason for refusal might be. Again, she is telling us that we are required to consent, which is not true consent. What if the husband is asking for something that is painful or disgusting to us? Chris does not allow us to refuse. She tries to our ability to truly consent, which I think is not what she intended. A lot of the negative reaction has been between women and men who read what was written and those who understood what was actually meant but was not stated clearly.

        • You say, “Unfortunately, if you read the original post, it is stated that any “specific instance” of rejection is unjustified.”

          Wrong. I say that specific instances of refusal hurt. That does not say they are unjustified:

          Both the pattern and the specific instances of refusal and gate-keeping hurt your husband. It is a pattern if your husband expects you to say “no” most of the time. It is a pattern if your husband expects you to specify the conditions, activities, or positions in which sex can take place most of the time. The pattern invades the very fabric of his life. The most precious thing he has to offer you isn’t even desirable to you. The pattern of rejection is there, all the time. Each specific instance of rejection is a reminder of his lack of worth to you.

          Here is where I say “justified”:

          Sexual refusing and gate-keeping don’t develop in a vacuum. Childhood sexual abuse, premarital sexual sin, physical difficulty with sex, relationship problems, and a belief that sex is dirty or unspiritual can make healthy and joyful sexuality difficult. They can make us believe that our “no” and our “not that way” are justified. They can make us believe that we are in the right.

          That doesn’t mean that “no” and restrictions are never justified. Maybe they are–but women sometimes use that past experience as a justifiable reason to not even work on sexual intimacy problems in their marriages. I believe that we all have a responsibility–to ourselves, our spouses, and God–to continue to grow.

        • @Becky

          You must stop making false statements like this.

          “Also, Chris did say that a wife cannot ask for her husband to give her a massage that would help her to relax enough to want sex.”

          She said nothing about cannot ask for a massage to help relax her enough to want sex.

          Perhaps it would be helpful if you copy and paste the “offensive” statement when you are going to comment on them. That way we can see what was written versus what you read into them.

        • “or giving his wife a foot rub in order to get her relaxed enough to even think about sex”

        • As I tried to clarify, this wasn’t about a footrub. It was about having to complete personal chores for his wife before she even is willing to spend time thinking about whether she’s interested in sex. That is not about helping her relax so she can want sex. It isn’t about him helping her at all, as a loving husband should want to do. It’s like this. There’s a difference between paying the admission price and being able to see the movie on one hand, and on the other hand paying the admission price just to be allowed to even ask if the movie is playing.

        • Yes, you clarified. But what you said in the beginning, which is what people were reacting against, was that a wife may not ask her husband for affectionate touch that prepares her for sex. So Trixie’s accusation against me is groundless. Dan and Hosbo and I have tried to mitigate some of the damage done by the overstatement of your case. It has helped; you have clarified many of your points. But you allow librarian to insult people and this is clearly not a healing environment so I will not ask for notification of new comments.

        • I have allowed through some comments that are not as healing as I would like when I think they contain an important question or issue for us to consider. There certainly are comments–and from more than one person–that have not been let through because the only intent I see is to hurt.

        • librarian on September 13, 2014 at 7:56 pm said:

          @Becky – “But you allow librarian to insult people and this is clearly not a healing environment so I will not ask for notification of new comments.”

          The hypocrisy of some people is quite amusing. They love whacking the piñata, but they don’t like it if the piñata whacks back. I’m kind of struck by the idea that slapping Chris around is supposed to be therapeutic. I guess my question is, ‘therapeutic for who’?

        • Trixie, I think that it can occasionally be a good start at fixing the problem, but frequently, it can be a like putting a bandaid on a bullet hole, you know? I am glad that it helped your marriage, but for many other women, it can focus on sex as being the problem when the real problem is a lack of understanding how joyful sex within marriage can be or a lack of respect for the spouse or whatever the issue is.

        • @HOSBO002

          I’m not sure why my last comment came up as Trixie1466. I used to have that name on my Gravatar account, so I hope this doesn’t confuse you.

          i disagree with your bandaid on a bullet hole. Continuing to refuse certainly won’t stop the hemorrhaging.

          Marriages die every day from blood loss related to sexual refusal. What would you propose the solution be?

        • Hosbo, I think we agree on a great deal, actually. There are many reasons women say no. My view is that it is usually the symptom of a deeper problem. I have said many times in this blog that refusal does not develop in a vacuum. If we are saying “no,” it’s because there is something we need to address.

          Because of the importance of sex in marriage, I believe wives have a responsibility to work on these problems. Now, I also think husbands have this same responsibility. If a wife is saying “no,” he needs to work on being the best husband to her he can be and support her in her efforts to grow and heal–for her sake and for the benefit of their marriage, not so he can have sex. This is a blog addressed to women, though. We can never make anyone else change, so if there’s a problem in our marriages, we need to look first to ourselves to take a step.

          My experience was that working on sex first did actually lead to healing in those underlying problem areas. I know that isn’t going to work for everyone or for every kind of underlying problem. However, in my case, simply changing the “no” to a “yes” changed our marriage just enough that I began to feel safe enough to look at the real problems. When someone has a fever and we give fever-reducing medication, that medicine doesn’t cure the illness. It does, however, make the body more comfortable so it can focus on the healing instead of responding to the discomfort of the fever.

          The key is to do something. I think there are far too many women who won’t look at what their underlying problems are–and I’m at the front of the line on that one. For me, sex was all tangled up with other issues.

          I will think about what you say about guilt. The purpose of this post was not to evoke feelings of guilt; it was to evoke feelings of empathy. When I have done something that hurts my husband, I am better able to be a good wife to him when I can recognize that he is feeling that way. That doesn’t necessarily mean I should have done something different, but it does mean that I can be more understanding of his ensuing mood and I can seek ways to help him heal.

          Our husbands hurt when we withhold sex–even when we do so for very good reasons. During my last pregnancy, I spent 3 1/2 months on pregnancy bedrest due to preterm labor. Any sexual arousal in me triggered contractions and I would end up in the hospital. That meant that I couldn’t even provide manual or oral stimulation for my husband during that time without putting our babies at risk. We had to go for several months with absolutely no sexual contact between the two of us. My husband knew very well why we needed to do this, he knew it was temporary, and he knew that it was not a personal rejection from me. Still, he hurt–because he missed having that connection with me. The way he felt closest to me was strictly off limits. I felt sad for him about this, but I felt absolutely not guilt–nor should I have.

          Sex is important, and I think many women underestimate the depth of its meaning to husbands. Our sexual choices affect our husbands’ hearts. So do our sexual necessities and preferences. My hope is not that women will automatically feel guilty; rather, it is that women will examine themselves and be willing to explore whether there is something they need to work on.

      • It’s good to hear that from a guy. I have no problems with sleeping with my husband but my issues are. When he wants me to do something that feels sinful .i also feel like his requests are an effect if the porn he used to watch in the past whether he knows it or not .

        • Feeling something is sinful is not the same as it actually being sinful. If you feel something is sinful, that feeling is an invitation to look more closely at what the bible actually says. The Marriage Bed has an article that helped me a lot: What’s Okay? What’s Not? Many women have also found the book Intimacy Ignited (affiliate link) to be helpful. Couples can read it together, and it focuses on Song of Solomon in developing an understanding of the freedoms we have in the marriage bed.

          As for a husband wanting something he’s seen in porn, that is difficult. Although my husband didn’t watch much porn, he did watch some during the years we had so little sexual activity. There were a couple things he picked up there. I hurt a great deal when I realized the source of these desires–but I made a decision to focus on the fact that I was the one he wanted to do those things with. His initial curiosity came from porn, but the actual desire to do those things with me came from me. For me, reframing my thinking made the difference. I know that doesn’t work in all marriages, though.

      • True. men should master their wives’ love language, and everything will just flow. men should benchmark from their own actions during the time they met ( honey moon stage). women can also look into how they groomed themselves and all during the time they first met.
        Take everything to God in prayer.

    • librarian on September 11, 2014 at 10:52 am said:

      Perish forbid that either husbands or wives should try to please their spouses!! What was Chris thinking, trying to say wives should care about their husbands? She should be like these enlightened critics, who advocate complete selfishness.

      “I can refuse to have sex any time I want, no questions asked! My husband? Who does he think he is, wanting sex with me?”

      Yeah, that doesn’t communicate entitlement at all!!!

  7. Uh…no one is ever obligated to have sex with anyone at anytime for any reason. If someone is telling you otherwise that’s abuse. Here’s a good resource:

    • librarian on September 10, 2014 at 8:48 pm said:

      Uh… then don’t get married. Just because you’re screwed up, that doesn’t give you the right to screw someone else up.

      • People are NOT screwed up because they don’t want to sign away their right to say no. If that’s what you think marriage is, then you shouldn’t get married.

        • librarian on September 11, 2014 at 11:55 am said:

          Hi, Brianna,

          That “screwing up another” was not directed at you but someone else.

          However, if one person goes into a marriage not wanting sex, and doesn’t tell the other, then s/he is “screwing up another”, pure and simple. It’s mean, vicious and cruel to do that to someone who marries, and who has a ‘normal’ sex drive.

          To impose celibacy one another person is cruel and sinful.

        • Why would a wife who loves her husband and generally enjoys sex want to say no?

          She has to get up early the next morning for work.
          She had a busy day at the house or at work and is exhausted.
          She isn’t in the mood (it happens).
          She isn’t in a mental state where she can because of a previous assault (it hits me in waves; I’ll be fine for months and then can’t for a week.)
          She is ill.
          Her husband hasn’t showered and is a wee bit ripe.
          She’s menstruating and doesn’t want to deal with that mess.
          She has a different priority (grading papers or dealing with a little one or finishing a project).
          It’s a setting or an act that she’s not comfortable with.

          That’s just a few. There are plenty of valid reasons why a woman might want to refuse sex with her husband. No spouse should manipulate the other. The wife shouldn’t manipulate her husband by intentionally withholding, and the husband shouldn’t manipulate his wife by guilting her into doing something she doesn’t want to do.

        • librarian on September 12, 2014 at 5:17 pm said:

          Hosbo, is that all you’ve got? That list you came up with makes you look like an amateur. Here’s a list of excuses that refused spouses collected, and were assembled on a discussion board:

          I don’t feel well.
          I’m tired.
          I’m stressed.
          The baby’s still awake.
          I don’t feel like being touched.
          The baby will be waking soon.
          Give me some space.
          Is that all you think about?
          I have to wash the dinner dishes.
          You only want me for sex.
          You’re a pervert.
          We just did it a couple of weeks ago. Why are you so needy?
          Can’t you take care of yourself, and do it in another room? I don’t want to watch.
          I’ll have to shower again when we’re done.
          I’m not into sex anymore.
          I work tomorrow
          I have to get up early tomorrow
          The kids are still awake
          We have company staying overnight
          I rather watch a movie
          I rather play a video game
          I rather watch my favorite TV show
          Someone could hear us
          I am upset
          You are upset
          I don’t want because you get so frustrated when we don’t
          I just had a baby (six months ago and still used)
          My knitting went badly.
          I’m wiped out from washing the dishes because you don’t clean up after yourself when you’re cooking.
          If you’d asked me an hour ago, I would’ve thought about it.
          I’m tired because I stayed up watching your TV show just to be with you.
          I’ve been on the phone for a whole hour with your mother.
          I might have been interested and was headed in that direction, but since you brought up [uncomfortable conversational topic] I’m not now.
          Its too early in the morning
          Its too late at night
          Its too hot
          Its too cold (followed 15 min by the previous)
          Im too tired
          My mind is too tied up in other things
          Is that all you care about?
          You don’t understand what I feel inside
          You don’t care
          Sex is disgusting…

        • Librarian, it’s a little frustrating that you feel the need to resort to being so rude to not just me, but everyone you’ve disagreed with on this post. Disagreements can be extremely productive, but if you insist insulting those with whom you disagree rather than logically pointing out the flaws in my logic or my interpretation of Scripture, I can’t imagine how that will happen.

          The point that I was trying to make is that there are obviously many, many reasons why a woman would say no to her husband, and virtually none of them have to do with him. Neither spouse should use sex as a weapon against the other, and neither spouse should feel as though he or she HAS to have sex when he or she is not up for the task.

          Sex should be an act of love and giving. While I absolutely agree that sex is an important part of marriage (and frankly, one that I enjoy), it is not the most important part. There will be seasons in our relationship where sex is not an option because of pregnancy or illness or … whatever, but that won’t make our marriage any less sacred and valuable.

        • librarian on September 13, 2014 at 3:32 pm said:

          Hosbo, why would you think that my list is insulting? You offered up excuses for wives to say “No.” I just tripled the number of your acceptable excuses. You should be thrilled with more justification for refusal. And the great thing is that these are actual excuses, collected from refused husbands and reformed wives, so you know that they are “valid”.

          My personal favorite is “My knitting went badly,” although I will have to admit that “I’ll have to shower again when we’re done” is biblical. After all, it was used in Song of Solomon for refusal (5:3). (And we know that you want things to be Biblical, now, don’t we?)

          You want to talk about rudeness? How about people coming on here and accusing Chris of supporting rape? Or how about your first post, in which you make the accusation that Chris conflates refusal and assault? That’s pretty dog-goned rude.

          Chris writes about refusal; long-term, soul-crushing refusal that is cruel. And you start clutching your pearls at what you view as a sleight to your personal vision of married sex, and proceeded to lecture Chris and the rest of us benighted souls about proper Christian sexual etiquette.

          As to trying to discuss something logically from the Scriptures with you? You wrote that possibility off when you okayed a wife’s flautting of Paul’s admonition with your pass to refusers for frequent refusal. “…if I turn down my husband’s sexual overtures (FREQUENTLY or infrequently)…” When you wrote that, you gave up any authority to appeal to Scripture.

          After all, if you are going to excise 1 Cor. 7:1-5 out of your Bible, why should I believe that you won’t excise any others that are upsetting to you? I’m sorry, but for you to have any cachet, you are going to have to explain how you can reconcile Paul’s statement of sexual duty (yes, i said that word!!!) with your justifying a Christian defrauding their spouse in the marriage bed.

  8. This is just one reason (but a good one) why I will never marry again. Thank you for saying it for me.

    Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I am free at last.

    • librarian on September 10, 2014 at 8:51 pm said:

      “Marry again.” In other words, you have the gift of celibacy, and you messed up another person’s sex life?

      • Nothing in their comment suggests that they “messed up” anything. Sounds like you just have a problem with women thinking we can say no.

        • librarian on September 11, 2014 at 12:14 pm said:

          “Free from marriage” “Never again”. Divorced, saying she’s free from marriage and railing about men wanting sex.

          No idea where I could have gotten the idea that her husband suffered. People with the gift of celibacy should not get married; it’s that simple.

          I can’t get you. You aren’t married, yet you post like you think you know, oh so much. And you are so concerned with the right to not have sex, that you don’t give a fig for the other partner in the marriage.

          Get that word? “Partner”? It’s not “his sex life” or “her sex life”. It’s “their sex life.” The time to claim your right to no sex is before you get married, not after. It’s pure selfishness and cruelty to do otherwise.

  9. I am puzzled by some comments on this post. Some comments are responses to words that I have not said and to views that I don’t hold.

    Marriage is a sexual relationship. I do believe that a wife who is choosing not to have sex with her husband should work to understand why not and then to address those issues. That does not mean that a wife owes her husband sex whenever he want or in whatever way he wants.

    I am writing here about sexual refusal over a long period of time, not about an occasional “no.” This blog is not for wives who are being emotionally or physically abused by their husbands. I am a rape survivor. I would never expect another woman to go through that, especially in the bed where she should feel the most loved and safe of any place in her world.

    This post does not say that women have no value other than between their legs or that we exist for the purpose of sexually pleasing their husbands. It does not say there are no limits or that we must do filthy and disgusting things simply because our husbands want us to.

    In fact, this post isn’t about women at all. It is about men. Specifically, it is about what happens to men’s hearts when they experience refusal over a period of time. The items on this list are things that have shown up in heart-wrenching comments and emails from husbands who feel deeply lonely and unloved because of the lack of sex in their marriages. (These are the same things that have shown up in messages from refused wives whose husbands don’t have sex with them, by the way.)

    The sexual connection in marriage is an amazing gift from God. Sex unites us emotionally and physically. It points us to the oneness in our relationship with Christ.

    When sex is broken in a marriage, the marriage hurts. When we don’t work to repair our broken sex lives, we reject one of God’s greatest gifts and invite temptation to take hold.

    A spouse who has been deprived of sex time and time again isn’t being deprived of orgasms; he or she is being deprived of the most deeply emotional connection possible with another person.

    A marriage has two people. There are two points of view, two sets of life experiences that come together. When we look at any aspect of marriage as nothing more than what is owed to the other, we are doing something wrong.

    Refusal does not develop in a vacuum. When a marriage needs healing, sex is not the only thing that is a problem. Both spouses should work to address the ways they hurt the other.

    We can’t do the work that is needed if we don’t even realize that we are hurting the other person.

    Working to fix the problem of refusal in a marriage does not involve throwing our own needs and desires out the window. It does, however, mean that we should be looking at our husbands’ needs as well as our own.

    The intention behind this post is to help wives understand how their husbands experience an on-going expectation of “no.” That is all. Please do not read what is not here.

  10. Chris, you said that we can’t say no and we can’t say not like that. You are wrong. We can. We have rights. We are not slaves. You said that husbands’ sexual desires are Godly. That is not always true. Many husbands have sexual desires that are disgusting and painful and unGodly. You present a life where the wife does not even have the right to ask for foreplay so that she can get lubricated. Your women have no rights.they are not equal partners. Your men are animals, full of,lust and with no compassion or patience or self control. Sexual,desire defines and controls them. It is a caricature of a man with a limited character.

    • Although there are men (and women) with desires that are hurtful or sinful, this blog is for women in marriages where both spouses are generally well intentioned. A man’s sexual desire–in a general sense, as a sexual being with desire–is godly. That does not mean that every single desire is from God.

      I do not say that we cannot say “no” or “not like that.” Of course we can. I did so for many years. What I am saying is that when we say those things to the extent that it is a pattern, our husbands will feel hurt.

      Exercising our rights does not guarantee that no one will be hurt.

      I am going to exercise my right to close off comments along this line, and I apologize if that causes hurt to anyone who wants to discuss this further.

      These points do need further conversation. However, I would prefer that it happen in a post of its own.

  11. Saying no to sex is not wrong. Not EVER. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about one time or a habitual pattern. It doesn’t matter how frequently it happens, that still does not make it wrong, and it doesn’t make it okay for you to shame women for it!

    It also isn’t wrong just because it makes the other person feel bad. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t. If it’s causing problems in the marriage, then that’s something that should be addressed, but do not tell women that it means they’re sinning by habitually refusing sex. Not only is that wrong, it’s emotionally manipulative. It’s a common control tactic used by abusers – they tell their victims that it hurts them when the victim acts a certain way so the victim will be guilted into doing what they want. Even if it were true – which it isn’t, because you used some ridiculous and dehumanizing generalizations about men – even if it were, that would not make it acceptable to use it as a weapon the way you did.

    And that brings me to another major problem. Not only did you use horrible tactics to guilt women into saying yes when they might not want to, but you demeaned men terribly. “Sexuality is inherent to a man’s sense of self. Therefore, he experiences a sexual rejection as a rejection of him. . . . Men best receive love through sex. . . . [You saying no] is the worst thing in his life.” These are SICK ways to think of men. You paint them as sex-obsessed animals! My god, if I thought all men were like that, I would never want to get married! That level of obsession is pathological, not normal or healthy. The reality is that men on average don’t even have higher sex drives than women do, let alone the kind of crazed addiction you describe.

    I’m sorry if this was harsh, but it needed to be said. I hope some of it gets through.

    • Amen, sister!!!! And you’re right, if it were not for pornography and society’s attitude that sex should be the end-all/be-all – I believe both male and female would having normal, healthy, and matching sex drives. Men are told countless times in the Bible to have SELF-CONTROL. Men lose their self-control by succumbing to society’s standards, and not God’s. God created humans FIRST as RELATIONAL beings, not sexual beings.

      • Excellent point, Dan.

        • librarian on September 11, 2014 at 8:28 am said:

          Sorry, but it is a witless point, Dan. Unless you were there, at God’s right hand, when He was creating man and woman, you’re talking out your wazoo. There is no way that you can make a pronouncement that we were relational before being sexual from the Biblical text, without it being merely your own pretext.

          Sex and relationship are the same part of the deal. Yes, God did create woman when He said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” But when He created Eve, He said that they would be “one flesh”; sex! First thing? Sex.

          Sorry, but you’re part of the problem that marriages are having in our society, when you okay the imposition of celibacy, “just because.”

        • Librarian,

          Thanks for making this point. That’s exactly what I thought when I read that comment yesterday. This reminds me of the wrong teaching that I used to believe about sex being a “fleshly” desire that would resolve itself if we were spiritual enough. It smacks of Gnosticism.

      • Thank you, Dan. It’s so refreshing to hear someone else saying this, especially a man. I’m so exhausted by all the false dichotomies I’ve heard my whole life, and still hear all the time.

      • Amen. I believe that worlds ideas of sexuality are having an influence on Christians .

    • Actually, withholding sex from your spouse IS wrong, unless it’s only by mutual consent for a short time for each spouse to dedicate themselves to prayer.

      1 Corinthians 7:2-5 (NIV)

      2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

    • librarian on September 10, 2014 at 8:55 pm said:

      I take it you have excised Paul’s writing from your Bible? And Proverbs, as well? And that pesky, filthy Song of Solomon?

      What you said was harsh, but such ignorance didn’t need to be spread.

    • @ Brianna Most men really do feel the statement to be true:
      “Sexuality is inherent to a man’s sense of self. Therefore, he experiences a sexual rejection as a rejection of him. Men best receive love through sex.” We men do not need to analyze this; it is our reality. God created us with an ongoing sexual desire and the physical need. When Apostle Paul stated “It is better for a man to marry than to burn with desire”, he did not say that men should control and suppress that desire. He intended the man should rejoice in frequent and mutually satisfying lovemaking with one wife in an exclusive marital relationship.
      How would you describe a mutually satisfying marriage ? If you are married, we would like to know his viewpoint, too ?
      But if you are single, any potential boyfriend should know of your views on marriage before tying the knot. Do you want men to take on the characteristics of a woman ? I can only wonder what kind of a marriage that would be.

  12. P.D. Quirk on September 9, 2014 at 7:07 am said:

    If this post is meant to reflect that *you* have, in the past, used sex as a tool of punishment or power against your husband, MAKE IT ABOUT THAT. Making it about how the poor baby men, in light of recent happenings, makes you sound like an apologist for force.

    • Librarian on September 10, 2014 at 10:21 pm said:

      Quirk – so that which is written in the Bible is so much ballast to be thrown overboard when worldly winds blow? Houses. Sand. Look it up.

  13. As a man who has been writing about marriage and sex on-line for 17 years I thought this post was excellent. It is hard truth, but it is done in love – for both men and women.
    When I tell men they need to care about their wife, meet her needs, provide good foreplay, and so on, I get attacked for “giving women permission to deny sex”. When Chris tells women it is wrong to deny sex, she is accused of giving men permission to not care about their wife, meet her needs, or provide good foreplay. Anyone see a problem here?
    Chris and I are asking BOTH men and women to do what is right. I focus on what men do wrong, or what they can change, because I write to men. She writes to women, so I would expect her to focus on what women do wrong, or could change.

    To address one question, no sex is not all men care about. HOWEVER, if a wife fails to show concern for her husband’s God given sexuality, she is telling him she does not really care about him. It is the same as when a husband refuses to acknowledge much less provide for any of his wife’s deep needs. She feels unloved, and rightly so. His words become hollow because his actions fall short. Why should men be different? Why should sex be excluded?

    I realise this issue is not black and white. No man being refused sex is perfect. No women being neglected by her husband is perfect. Neither of these facts excuses anyone from being as giving and loving as possible.

    • Chris DOES say that women should not ask for foreplay: “A man who has to accomplish tasks (whether those are household chores or giving his wife A FOOT RUB IN ORDER TO GET HER RELAXED enough to even think about sex) in order to have sex is being told he isn’t good enough.” A husband who is unwilling to help his wife relax before sex is an abuser. He wants what he wants, when he wants it and is unwilling to spend a few minutes helping her. That’s abuse.

      • I should have been clearer with this, and I’ve added to the post. Footrubs have never been part of foreplay for us, so this interpretation didn’t occur to me. Of course a woman should have foreplay if she wants it–not just to get her physically ready so sex isn’t painful but to help enhance her sexual pleasure. I do apologize for not being clearer about this. A loving husband should absolutely be willing to help his wife relax. That isn’t a problem. It is a problem if she insists on him helping her relax and when she’s relaxed she turns him down for sex more often than not.

        That sentence had nothing to do with foreplay in my mind, but I can see how a different example would have been more appropriate.

    • Amen! It is sad to see how many people commenting on this post just do not understand.

  14. Refused Man on September 9, 2014 at 3:08 pm said:

    I am a man refused by his wife. I am a good father, a good provider, I’m not hunkered down in a bar every night. I get up early and make the lunch for my kids and wife to take with them. I go to work, I run errands, I come home and cook dinner. (my wife only works 2 days a week) I help with the chores, clean the bathrooms, help with laundry. I take care of all the outdoor items of a home that need tended to, mow the grass, I repair and maintain our vehicles. I tell my wife how much I lover her and what she means to me. I AM the man in this post. I have felt every one of these feelings to the Nth degree. I am NOT a freak in bed, I do not ask my wife for things out of the ordinary or things I KNOW she has specific issues with like oral. I gave up that fight long ago. I am simply refused for whatever reason she decides. There are a MILLION great reasons she comes up with. Unfortunately she cannot find one GOOD reason to actually be with me in the capacity I most desire. When time does happen it is only in one position. I’m fine with that, I will take whatever time I can and be thankful for it. There are always stipulations. Hurry up. I only have two Min. “THIS” is all I have time for. If we do this now you need to get this X chore done afterwords, Don’t kiss me I don’t have time for that, don’t touch here don’t do this don’t do that……. blah blah blah. I never get feedback on what she Wants me to do, she gets the no gun out and just starts firing…….. All I want is a connection with my wife. For all of you above that think what Chris said was to just do as you husband pleases without regard for you what you are comfortable with it makes me wonder what kind of Monster you think your married to and how they made you feel that unsafe. I believe what the author is trying to get across is that in an otherwise well intended marriage where both partners are “trying” to be on the same page and live in peace and harmony, when the “nice guy” is refused for no other apparent reason than to be refused (no abuse or major sin on his part) and when ask WHY things are the way they are to have NO feedback, and NO answer as to why or how to make things better. THIS IS how the man will feel. I am that man and I feel every one of these 6 feelings. I am on the verge of walking away from a 14 year marriage because my wife doesn’t know WHY and doesn’t care to figure out what the cause of the problem is. She thinks I should just DEAL with it. I don’t expect much, but I do expect to feel Loved and appreciated. I do expect to be able to make love to the woman that stood on the altar with me in front of God and everyone and told me that she would “have my back” for the rest of our lives together in sickness and in health. She promised to LOVE me. ALL OF ME. I feel abandon, lonely, worthless, and left to fend for myself. THAT IS what refusal does to an otherwise good man.

    • Irked individual on September 9, 2014 at 11:26 pm said:

      Though I don’t pretend to understand your situation personally, and I don’t know you, I have to say ‘Refused Man’, that your outpouring of frustration on this site perhaps demonstrates that your first issue with your wife is communication. Instead of blaming it all on her, and her inability to explain why things are the way they are, why don’t you come together and figure out what it is between the two of you that has changed? Marriage isn’t all one sided. Maybe there’s an issue with you that she wants addressed?
      This point is the key issue I have with this article: as the writer says, it’s ‘about men’. Why is it a female problem that she doesn’t want to have sex? Why is a lack of sex in a marriage the female’s problem to solve? The writer has missed the point of marriage as being a partnership.

      • When it’s the female habitually saying no or giving a list of restrictions when she does say yes then it is CLEARLY the females problem to fix. I can guarantee you that any hoop Refused Man’s wife asked him to jump through he’s done it and done it with a smile. Just as I will guarantee you his completion of that particular hoop was met with another list of hoops to jump through.

        A partnership goes BOTH ways. Why is it okay for Refused Man to be the only one doing the work? You can’t cry that marriage is a partnership and only expect one person in the marriage to have to do any of the work.

        ~Robin – Happily and healthily married for 25 years. With a fantastic sex life.

  15. Not Okay on September 9, 2014 at 5:14 pm said:

    Nope. Even in a “sexual relationship” (which can be marriage, but doesn’t have to be), both partners have the right to say no any time they feel like it. Do you know what it’s called when one person wants to say no but feels they can’t or is overruled? It’s called rape. Husbands can rape wives. Wives can rape husbands. As someone whose sister was raped by her (thankfully now ex-) husband, I take this VERY SERIOUSLY.

    A wife can say no to her husband any time she wants. If she does not want sex or does not feel like having sex, TELLING HER SHE CANNOT REFUSE IS TELLING HER SHE HAS TO ALLOW HERSELF TO BE RAPED. Sex without consent is rape.

    • I gladly do things with and for my wife even though I personally have no desire to do those things at that moment. I do not do them because of force or coercion, I do them because I love her.
      The original article is not about consent, it is about giving in love.

    • Nowhere did Chris say that a wife cannot refuse! So get your facts straight before you post please.

      She said if your habit is to refuse or hold the keys to the gates firmly clenched in your fists with a list of rules of how sex is going to happen then chances are this is how your husband MIGHT be feeling about it.

    • librarian on September 10, 2014 at 9:01 pm said:

      Wow, Not Okay. I see that where Paul wrote, “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement FOR A LIMITED TIME….”, that you erased the Apostle’s words and penciled in, “ANY TIME THEY FEEL LIKE IT.”

      Did Paul’s mantle fall on you, so that you could rewrite the Bible according to your own whim?

    • Not Okay. You clearly need to read Chris’s post again. She is not saying that a wife or husband can never say no. She is speaking to a very DIRECT AUDIENCE of WIVES for whom “No” or “Only if it’s done like this” has become habit and informing them of what their husbands MIGHT BE feeling in terms of feeling unloved or not valued.

      Please don’t throw words like rape around if you aren’t clear the author is speaking DIRECTLY about rape. As a rape survivor this offends me greatly. If you only have second hand experience on the subject of rape please don’t make assumptions as to what rape is and isn’t. Chris is a rape survivor as well and WOULD NEVER EVER tell a woman she should consent to being raped.

      Absolutely a wife can tell her husband no any time she wants. A husband can also get fed up with being refused and decide it’s time to get out of the marriage. For those that want to SAVE their marriage instead of destroy it Chris’s words about how refusal CAN MAKE a husband feel and what they need to do to correct their thinking and behavior considering their husbands feelings and wishes in the marriage is a good starting point.

      If none of this applies to kindly move on to another blog.

      • What do you mean by rape “survivor?” Did the one who assaulted you threaten to kill you, or brandish a weapon at you?
        I see this term frequently and in almost every case why the person thinks she is a “survivor” nothing is mentioned about what was survived.
        I’ve been shot a couple of times and shot at another two times. People have pointed guns at me, threatened me with knives and beatings.
        This is what I think of when the word “survive” is used.
        I have been assaulted by homosexuals several times but it never went past being grabbed, as I put up immediate resistance each time. No homosexual has ever threatened or offered violence to me. I don’t think of myself as a homosexual (attempted) rape “survivor.” I do think of myself as an attempted murder survivor.

        • Mac,
          A rape survivor is just that. Someone who has survived being raped. Being raped can be violent, coercive, threatening, and above all – against the survivor will and out of their control. You say you have suffered a gun shot wound. Do you think a women having her internal organs assaulted, cut, abased, bleeding, ripped, and torn is any different or any less painful? And rape is not just about the physical pain, but the emotional and spiritual pain as well. Did you ask to be shot? I think not. I did ask to raped, either. Did your attacker shot you and then flee? Mine did not. He stayed and held me down while two of his buddies raped me also. The internal damage was so bad that I will never be able to have any more children. Why were you shot? Do you know? Was it in the line of duty? I will NEVER know why three strangers that I had never exchanged a single word with chose to alter my entire future, both mentally and physically. I SURVIVED the rape. I am a ‘rape survivor’. Perhaps the gay man that ‘grabbed’ you became afraid of you when you resisted. Men hesitate to fight with other men because the outcome is unknown. But most all men can easily overpower a woman, so they don’t hesitate to use brutal force. Think about someone shoving a baseball bat up your anus. That’s what rape feels like to a woman. And there are many women that don’t survive. Please don’t think I’m being critical of you, I’m certainly not. I only ask that you understand the term ‘rape survivor’. Many women develop PTSD from rape. Many women spend years in therapy and years in fear. Not all men are rapist, but all women fear being raped.

          In Christ,


        • Thank you for sharing this, Dee. My rape, which wasn’t nearly as severe as most are, shaped my life for years. I am a survivor because I am still alive. I didn’t let the experience kill my heart and soul, although it was a hard thing to get through at times.

  16. Chris (a different one) on September 9, 2014 at 9:06 pm said:

    What Chris said in this article was spot on when it comes to how most refused men feel. I was also that man. My wife would tell me that she loved me all of the time and by all other accounts, she was a fantastic wife. But when she said no most of the time, how could I not feel unloved? I am thankful that my wife finally figured it all out like Chris did. Now when she says “I love you”, I have no doubts.

    Whenever I hear someone, in a supposedly Christian marriage, start to claim to have “rights”, I immediately suspect that they are the selfish ones in the marriage and are not overly generous with their spouse. What other reason could there be? Christ calls us to be selfless and to think of others before our selves. How can we claim to love our spouse if we are claiming to have “rights” for ourselves?

    The Bible says in 1 Cor 7:4 (ESV) “For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.”

    No authority = no “rights”. Which means that we should be generous with each other.

    Why should we be generous sexually and how often, you might ask? In verse 5, the Bible gives an answer: “Do not deprive one another, except for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

    For a limited time, so Satan won’t be able to tempt you. Sounds pretty clear to me. It doesn’t say “every day” or “any time he/she asks” so please don’t take my words out of context like some who have commented here.

    “Limited” means just that: the exception rather than the rule. If you so no a majority of the time, you are not, in my opinion, fulfilling this command. And yes, it is a command! Read it again. “Do not deprive one another” is most certainly a command, and based on the context, it is most certainly talking about sex. The reason is simple. If the high drive person is refused the vast majority of the time, it is much harder to resist temptation and much easier to fall into sexual sin, be it pornography or an affair.

    Thank you, Chris, for writing this article. I hope that it will be helpful for those who are open to being generous with their spouses and not overly concerned about their “right” to be selfish.

    • Chris (the other one)

      Please take historical context into interpretation. The ‘does not have authority’ was because men were going to temple prostitutes for sex. The Corinthians had the idea that celibacy (even in marriage) was the right way. They were keeping their marriages celibate but using prostitutes. So now a wife could say to her husband “you CANNOT go to prostitutes”. And the correct interpretation is “do not defraud” which (imho) means to completely and totally refuse; thinking that celibacy is better than being sexual. This scripture also says NOTHING about frequency/high drive/low drive or anything else. It simply says that marriage is the place for sex and that BOTH partners are EQUAL in the marriage bed. It is a warning against celibacy if that was not your gift from God. And verse 6 states that the proceeding is NOT a command from God, but a concession from Paul. IMHO, that means that a person who is married cannot claim to ALWAYS be in prayer, but again, no mention of anyone’s rights.

      • librarian on September 11, 2014 at 11:02 am said:

        Dan, you do seem to posthole the witless, don’t you? To try to make Paul’s teaching about sex and marriage into a cautionary tale about prostitutes?

        Paul was not talking to just the men, but to both men and women. As in, “don’t defraud EACH OTHER”. And, “the husband is not the master of his body, nor the wife master of her body.” This was mutuality.

        And you try to make this passage of no effect by trying to push its application into antiquity,… why? To authorize unbiblical practices and/or positions?

  17. I am going to cautiously allow through some of the comments that have piled up during the past day. It is important to have a conversation about the issues that have been identified in the comments. While I don’t appreciate the assumptions about my motive and intent, I want to honor the depth of passion and compassion that is behind so many comments.

    Remember that behind each comment is a person with a heart. Sometimes it is a heart that has been battered and bruised. We all bring our own lives to the reading experience. We will all see some things a bit differently, and that should be okay.

    I reserve the right to edit or withhold comments that are hateful and hurtful.
    I’ve edited the comment to add this.

    I’d like to point your attention to some items in the site Guidelines:

    • Commenting Please be kind in how you speak to and about others, most especially of your spouse. This blog exists to uplift marriage. We all need to vent at times, but it can be done without dragging someone else down. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ here. I reserve the right to edit or remove comments that I believe are unkind or inappropriate. Remember that behind each post and comment is a person. Accusations and hateful comments hurt people and don’t belong here. Comments are moderated.
    • Who I am not I am not a counselor, doctor, Biblical scholar, or pastor. I am a woman, with a heart that calls to the lives of other women. I respond to as many emails and comments as I can. Please seek professional support if you are in need.
    • You are a child of God When I talk about marriage and sexual refusal, I am speaking about marriages in which both spouses are generally well-intentioned. I speak from my own experience. If you are being abused, then get yourself safe first. Then, with plenty of real-life support, figure out what to do about your marriage.
    • Refusal is . . . When I talk about sexual refusal, I am referring to a chronic expectation of “no.” In a healthy marriage, an occasional “no” should not be an issue. One woman commented on a blog post that marriage doesn’t give a man free pass to use his wife selfishly. I agree. When I refer to gate-keeping, I mean having specific expectations of conditions in which sex might occur, such as requiring certain chores to always be completed prior to sex or allowing only one or two positions. One person should not be in control of the marriage bed.
  18. 2packages on September 10, 2014 at 8:45 am said:

    A couple of things from a married mans perspective…

    Brianna said…
    “Sexuality is inherent to a man’s sense of self. Therefore, he experiences a sexual rejection as a rejection of him. . . . Men best receive love through sex. . . . [You saying no] is the worst thing in his life.” These are SICK ways to think of men.

    I am sorry Brianna, but by and large, this is true. I will also tell you that a year ago my wife thought the same thing that you are thinking.

    Irked Individual said…

    Marriage isn’t all one sided. Maybe there’s an issue with you that she wants addressed?

    Why is it a female problem that she doesn’t want to have sex? Why is a lack of sex in a marriage the female’s problem to solve? The writer has missed the point of marriage as being a partnership.

    In our case these “partnership” issues COULD NOT be addressed because my wife simply did not understand my (and many men’s) sexual wiring and make up. She did not understand my sexuality and that the lack of sex and restrictions were experienced on my part as a rejection of me. She was only seeing things through her lens – not mine. She defended her thoughts and feelings. But our marriage was stalling and we were not getting closer.

    Chris is right on in this post – I have experienced every single one of those feelings. She understands men and how many of us are wired. I am not abusive, controlling, manipulative, obsessed with sex, a wife rapist or any of these things that Chris did not allude to. I am a man who loves my wife dearly and would do anything for her. I am a man who experiences my deepest connection with her through physical interaction.

    As far as my wife goes, it was only after she intentionally laid her “rights” and self aside and read and asked and listened and learned about me did our marriage begin to change. What was inside of me and how I was wired. She now relishes in the fact that I have a high desire for HER. For sex with HER. She feels safe, loved and cared for. She understands ME.

    Marriage IS a partnership – I feel loved and connected now like I never did before and it compels me to want to give generously to my wife whatever her heart desires, I want to compliment her to be the best person she can be.

  19. 2packages, I believe that you honestly believe all men think that way. Men who think that way generally like to think all other men do, too. But it’s not true.

    Love does not put rights in scare quotes. Your wife HAS rights. She is a person.

    Love does not ask a partner to lay aside their self or their rights. Abuse does that.

    Love does not say “she defended her thoughts and feelings” as if that was a problem. Abuse does that.

    Your words are horrifying. Your way of thinking is NOT OKAY.

    • The original post stated very clearly that there would be generalizations here. Of course not all men are good-willed. No one here has claimed that they are.

      Do you truly believe that a man who is heartsick at the lack of sexual intimacy in his marriage is being abusive simply because he has feelings and he doesn’t understand why his wife is withholding what she promised to him? He is not forcing her to do anything. He is feeling sad about it.

      How does that horrify you?

    • librarian on September 11, 2014 at 11:05 am said:

      Brianna, your words are horrifying. You proclaim “I have rights!!!” You sound so selfish, so entitled. “I don’t want sex, so I don’t have to have sex. And my husband can just go to blazes, ’cause I don’t have to have sex with him.”

      Selfish, abusive and cruel.

      • Don’t you DARE call me selfish for claiming my rights to MY body. I do not, and never will, belong to anyone else. Nobody EVER has to have sex if they don’t want to. Saying no is never selfish, abusive, or cruel. You, however, are being all of those things by telling women we cannot say no.

        • librarian on September 11, 2014 at 8:11 pm said:

          Um,…. I dare.

          Your posts are all about MY RIGHTS. You sound like you are singing another chorus of “I, Me, Mine” (by the Beatles, btw).

          As well, you demonstrate the truth of Prov. 18:2 by sharing with all these married people your vast knowledge of marriage. As well, you give “facts” without a basis in reality (“men and women are not wired differently”) and quote shibboleths without knowing anything about underlying truth (“Men and women like porn because they like sex.”

  20. 2packages on September 10, 2014 at 10:57 am said:


    In all fairness, I know many men. I am in my 40’s and I am an extrovert. I did not say “all”, I said “by and large.” And that is true. Why do so many men struggle with sexual sin and pornography? Why is this a multimillion dollar industry? Is it because most are NOT created inherently sexual?

    I CAN put “rights” in square quotes. I don’t demand my “rights” out of my wife either. That is selfish. You are right, she IS a person – with immeasurable value outside of our bedroom. I want to know what brings the greatest amount of happiness to her and provide it. But I can’t define what makes her feel loved and connected to me, I don’t have that “right”. She tells me what makes her tick, how she is wired, what makes her feel loved and I strive to understand her and meet those needs. I don’t have the “right” to tell her she is wrong to be wired the way she is and need what she needs!

    True love DOES ask a partner to lay aside rights and self, it most certainly does. The opposite of this would be two selfish people demanding their rights. That wouldn’t make for a great marriage.

    Lastly “defending her thoughts and feelings” was a problem in that rather than asking me questions and honestly learning what was going on inside of me, she discounted my thoughts and feelings. No one will grow thinking they are always right and defending their positions. You grow by taking the time to learn others perspective. This couldn’t be any truer in marriage!

    I can’t imagine a better marriage scenario other than two coming together, being a student of the other and serving each other out of generosity.

    My words are hardly horrifying.

  21. Men watch porn because they like sex. So do women. That doesn’t make it the core of anyone’s identity. I like pizza, too, but that doesn’t mean it’s what defines me.

    Rights mean nothing if they can’t be demanded. And you did imply that your wife does not actually have rights. Her body belongs to her, not you. She does not have to feel guilty for saying no. No matter how you’re “wired.”

    “True love DOES ask a partner to lay aside rights and self” No it certainly does not! That’s the very opposite of what love does! Love puts the other person before oneself. To ask the other person to lay aside their rights and self is SELFISHNESS.

    Your words are horrifying to me, as they would be to anyone else who recognizes selfishness and manipulation for what it is.

  22. Briana, any relationship has responsibilities. Parents are responsible to care for their children and to make sure they learn good manners. Teachers are required to instruct. Husbands are required to love.

    I don’t know if you are a Christian or not, since you don’t mention that. Christianity comes under the authority of Scripture, and (for example) men are required to love their wives; it isn’t optional, and it isn’t something to which he has a right to say “no” routinely. And both partners in a marriage (not just husbands) are instructed to love the spouse sexually.

    Whether or not you are a Christian, it’s hard to see how a person can agree to enter a sexual relationship (marriage is a sexual relationship) and reserve the “right” to say no habitually. It’s like saying a woman can become a mother, but she reserves her right to say no if her child asks for food! (No, I’m not comparing men to children. I’m comparing the basic responsibilities–indeed the privileges–within relationship.)

    A husband wants to connect lovingly with his wife, sexually. Likewise she wants to connect with him through touch, or conversation, or in some other way. If both look at their “right to say no” rather than at what it takes to love the other person, the relationship will not be a healthy one.

  23. “Whether or not you are a Christian, it’s hard to see how a person can agree to enter a sexual relationship (marriage is a sexual relationship) and reserve the “right” to say no habitually. It’s like saying a woman can become a mother, but she reserves her right to say no if her child asks for food!”

    It is absolutely NOTHING like that. No one is ever obligated to have sex. Ever. Being in a sexual relationship does not imply continual consent. No one deserves to be pressured into saying yes or shamed for saying no, regardless of how many times or how often they say no. You do not get to put limits on anyone’s sexual autonomy.

    “A husband wants to connect lovingly with his wife, sexually. Likewise she wants to connect with him through touch, or conversation, or in some other way.”

    I’m so sick of this gendered nonsense. Even the apostle Paul understood that sex is something mutual. It’s not a special need that men in particular have, and it’s not any healthy human being’s primary way of relating to their partner. These ridiculous, dehumanizing stereotypes evangelical culture buys into do not come from anywhere in the Bible.

    • @Brianna Gipp

      Do you understand that marriage is SEXUAL relationship. In a sexual relationship your are signing on for sex on a regular basis.

      You wouldn’t join a book club if you don’t like to read.

      Same principle.

      As to your comments about “disgusting things” you might want to keep in mind a couple of things.

      #1 There is nothing disgusting about a clean penis. Urine doesn’t come out with semen. There is no difference between a clean penis in our mouth then a clean finger, nipple, or tongue. A clean penis is actually cleaner than a human tongue.

      #2 No where is this blog does Chris every say you can’t say no to anal sex. There are many people that agree with your opinion of the ICK factor, but there seem to be plenty that disagree as well. Your opinion that something is icky doesn’t make it abuse.

      It seems that you are reacting like animal backed into a corner. It might be helpful for you to explain your background. If you’ve been forced to participate in acts that make you uncomfortable in the past, I can understand the knee-jerk responses here. If you’re being pressured by your husband then you’re being challenged to grow. That’s hard.

      I can’t remember what you said that made me think you may not even be married, in which case you know not of what you speak.

      Perhaps you’d like to come back and help us understand you better.


      • calling someone an animal while trying to understand is not…. very helpful.

        marriage is not, and has never been about sex.

        the bible does not even say ‘get married, so you can have sex’. marriage was about securing inheritance, and legal matters.

        marriage is a partnership where sex might happen. there are plenty of marriages where sex is not possible. whether it’s through health or physical abilities.

        otherwise, you’d be saying that anyone who is paralyzed does not get to experience the partnership and deep connection of marriage.

        the thing that concerns me throughout all of this is …

        sex != love.

        there has been a serious conflation of sexual interaction with love. love is not sex.
        sex is not love.

        it is one way you can express, together, a joy in being together. marriage is not about sex.

        the risk in thinking this, is that it will cover up more important issues. for example, setting up requirements to be loved.

        sex is not love.

      • I said nothing about disgusting things. You must be thinking of someone else.

        I am not married. But I do understand that consent is ALWAYS necessary. Marriage is not implied consent. If I thought it was, I would never get married. I will never marry someone who thinks that is what it is. No one will ever have the right to demand sex from me.

        • I agree that marriage in itself is not consent, although many people do believe that it is.

          Sadly, in some marriages, men aren’t even able to ask for sex without getting very negative responses from their wives. This post has absolutely nothing to do with demanding sex.

        • “Sadly, in some marriages, men aren’t even able to ask for sex without getting very negative responses from their wives.”

          Then there are underlying issues that should be addressed. The answer is not to just tell the wife she’s in the wrong without trying to understand WHY she has such a negative reaction.

          “This post has absolutely nothing to do with demanding sex.”

          But the entire post has demanded that wives have sex more often, if not necessarily every single time the husband wants it.

        • Brianna,

          I have written many posts about working to understand those underlying issues. A pattern of sexual refusal grows in a context. That context cannot be ignored.

          This post does not demand anything of women. It asks women to consider how their husbands might feel about the expectation of “no” as a response to initating sex. You are reading what was not written.

          The closest I come to telling women what to do is this:

          We should work to understand what interferes with our desire to be sexual with our husbands. We should work to address those areas.

          That is not a demand; it’s common sense.

        • Brianna,
          My mistake. The disgusting comment was from Becky, not you. My apologies.

          If you get married hopefully your husband will never have occasion to demand sex from you because you will be having regular sex with him and there would be no need.

          Love doesn’t demand, I agree. However, love isn’t self seeking either. If a spouse is desiring sex and you have no reason for saying no other than you don’t feel like it, saying yes is the right thing to do.

          Saying “I’m not in the mood says “what I want trumps what you want”. A spouse that is sexually generous doesn’t have a spouse demanding because they’re already fulfilled.

          When I was a refusing wife and my husband said “Can we make love tonight” what I heard was “I demand sex”. That’s not what he said, it was not what he meant, but in my self-protective shell that’s what I heard.

          Now my husband never asks if I’m not feeling well, he’ll ask when he knows I’m tired, but always with “if you’d like to.” He knows I sleep better after sex, so it’s a win-win.

          Again, my apologies for mixing up your comment with someone elses.

          Be blessed,

      • I don’t think that God intended for sexual organs to be put in others mouths . There’s a lot of ideas from the world that are affecting the Christian world . A woman’s and mans body parts were made to fit with each other in a certain way . If a woman feels filthy or sinful being asked to do oral she shouldn’t have to say yes. Romans says if someone is convicted that something is a sin it is a sin for that person. also the fact that Christians have to even debate whether something you urinate with should be put in the mouth or not is really ridiculous. We are too affected by a worldly society and porn is a huge part of the problem.

        • “Faith,” it’s not just your “think.” Deviant sex acts are condemned in the New Testament. Oral- and anal-genital contact are regarded as so (morally in addition to physically) filthy that they are addressed entirely in euphemisms. The Greek had no proper words to refer to such behavior. All references are either in euphemisms or by obscenities. The Bible writer properly used euphemisms.

        • Faith on April 13, 2015 at 8:06 pm said:

          That’s good to know . I get so confused because I hear people are saying that the Bible doesn’t say anything against oral but I have always felt and known in my heart that Christ would not have me act this way. My unsaved husband has asked me to do this and I considered it because I felt pressured but everytime I considered it I always feel something is holding me back and stopping me from it. It’s like an invisible wall that I can not pass. It’s like God’s spirit stopping me from behaving that way and I know of I continue past that wall I will have regrets.

        • Romans also speaks of those who have these “convictions” as “weaker brothers”. Yes, if a wife can’t bring herself to do something, she shouldn’t have to do it. But it would do her well to examine this ‘conviction’ and see if it is valid, or if she is merely the weaker sister.

        • Faith on April 15, 2015 at 2:51 am said:

          I really don’t think that’s a Romans type issue. Whether to celebrate Christmas or not would be, or whether to eat pork or not. Or whether a woman should wear pants or a dress. Or whether to have a tv in the house or not. These are the silly things Christians can find themselves arguing about . I understand Romans well and I’m not weak on the subject matter. Even if I was “weak” as you say that’s ok. The one who eats shouldn’t hold the one who does not eat in contempt and the one who doesn’t eat shouldn’t judge the one who does. I considered oral because I felt so much pressure to but I have felt this wall holding me back because I know in my heart it’s not pure. I think all the porn in our society is affecting the Christian world. And I think it causes Christian men to want and to pressure Christian women to do things that are neither dignified nor honorable.

        • sandi on April 15, 2015 at 6:15 am said:

          Remember washing another’s feet was not dignified or honorable at the time our Lord did it and yet He served that way. Your perception is what makes it seem undignified. Serving my husband that way is most honorable. Creating rules where God’s has not is one of the issues Jesus had with the Pharisees. I used to use scripture to justify my own preferences. I wonder if you might be doing that without realizing it

      • Faith on May 19, 2015 at 10:27 am said:

        Sometimes the one doing all the pressuring needs to grow up. Ever thought of that ?

        • Both spouses always need to continue to grow. If one spouse sits around and waits for the other one to grow up instead of working on himself/herself, the marriage is likely to be stagnant.

  24. I guess the Selfish one on September 10, 2014 at 2:50 pm said:


    As a refused man I see people talking about rights and true love. I have had spells in my 18 year marriage that I have gone without sexual touch for over a year.

    I can say that I have never had sex two consecutive days EVER. Generally, I have the privilege to endure duty sex once every other month or so. I have sacrificed what makes me feel loved for my wife. I have been selfless in a lot of ways. The refusal in my marriage started during the honeymoon on.

    So I wonder when would anyone like yourself would or could look to my wife and say she is the one being completely selfish. Where in the world could you interpret what she has done the last 18years being loving or part of true love. How could you not think maybe she carries some issues that she needs to deal with. Why does she have the right to marry me then condim me to a life of celibacy?

    I am far from perfect and I have made many mistakes and carry some blame to problems in my marriage. But biggest part of our lack of sex life is her problem.It also has nothing to do with pain or inability or me wanting to do detestible things or selfish sex or forcing myself on her because of guilt. And it does have a very clear and damaging effect on the marriage relationship.

    This part is clear about love and laying down self.

    Laying down self for another person in marriage is only selfish if it is one sided. You and others assume the refused are not laying down self and or there is something very wrong with the way the refused treat their spouse. Well you would be very very wrong in my case.

    I am successful in the world and to see my family you would think we have it all from careers, health, vacations, kids, all the way to life in general…… Sadly when it comes to a loving relationship/marriage we have nothing.

    Your words are not just horrifying to me…… they are a reality

  25. Whoa there Brianna. You are WAY, WAY out of line. You need to be very careful about flinging words like abuse and manipulation around when you don’t live in someones marriage and see what is happening first hand with your own eyes. You need to keep in mind that you have no idea what is going on behind closed doors.

    Love and marriage means constantly setting aside your desires and “rights” in favor of your spouse. In a healthy marriage this goes both ways and your spouse is doing the same for you thus ensuring both partners needs are met.

    Remember, love doesn’t insist on it’s own way. This means the wife makes an effort to not refuse her husband sexually (obviously times of illness or exhaustion mean the husband takes a “not tonight please” with good grace. Likewise the husband makes every effort to ensure his wife’s physical and emotional needs are met and both partners work to create an environment where their partners needs are fulfilled.

  26. I am not out of line. The mindsets and behaviors that are being described here are abusive.

    Love does not put rights in scare quotes. Love acknowledges and respects rights.

    Love respects boundaries. Love never wants or asks the other person to ignore their own discomfort, pain, or trauma. Love takes their reasons for saying no seriously.

    Love is not entitled. Love does not pretend to own the other person’s body. Love does not get angry at being told no.

    Love does not insist on its own way, as you said. But the men who are commenting here are angry because they’re not getting their own way. They accuse their wives of being unloving without looking at how unloving their own terrifying attitude of entitlement is. They make no mention of WHY their wives say no so often, and it makes me wonder if that crucial question has even occurred to them. Everything they say is about how wronged THEY feel, and none of it is about what their wives are experiencing. That is not love.

    • The men aren’t angry; they’re hurting. You have no idea how they have communicated their desires to their wives. Why would you think they have never thought to ask their wives why? My husband asked me why countless times. Truthfully, I didn’t understand for myself why I was avoiding sex, so the explanations I gave him made little sense. My husband would have been one of the ones saying he didn’t understand and that the only explanation he could think of was that I really didn’t love him.

      The point of this particular post is to encourage wives to think about how their husbands feel, so those are perfectly appropriate comments for the men to be making here. There are other posts on this blog about what wives experience. On those posts, men’s comments about their feelings are heavily moderated and are approved only when I think their comments will be helpful to women who have made a decision to work on sexual intimacy.

      Husbands have just as much right to their feelings as wives do. Feelings are not abuse. Behavior is. Comments from men that say they don’t understand and that they wish their wives would sexually connect with them are not describing abusive behavior. They are describing feelings of sadness.

    • Yes, you are out of line. You’ve got some big talk going on here flinging words like abuse around when you have NO CLUE how much pain and despair the rejection some of the men mentioned in Chris’s original post is bringing to light.

      You seem to miss how hypocritical you sound when you howl that love acknowledges and respects rights and feelings, and that love is not entitled yet completely miss the point that a wife who is continually refusing her husband sex is in fact insisting that her rights, feelings and desires are more important than that of her husband which is equally unloving.

      Love does not insist on it’s own way… Is that just for the men who are being refused by their wives then? After all you say it’s fine for a woman to continually refuse her husband sex if she doesn’t feel like it. So only women’s feelings and desires matter and men are just there for what?

      Yes, a good majority of people have their own trauma and pain and a spouse should be supportive and in your corner for the season of healing. However if YOUR trauma is having a negative effect on the person you are ONE FLESH with to the point it has become a LIFESTYLE then you have a RESPONSIBILITY to get help and work to get over your trauma. Trauma can be worked through to the point it no longer affects your life.

  27. Feelings of sadness are legitimate. If that were all they were saying, it would be fine. But there’s more to it. There’s entitlement (“Why does she have the right to marry me then condim [sic] me to a life of celibacy?”, putting rights in scare quotes as if they aren’t real). There’s anger, which is another indication of entitlement. And the belief that one is entitled to something from one’s partner is exactly the mindset that leads to abusive words and actions. It’s something to take very seriously.

    You’re right that I don’t know how they’ve communicated with their wives or tried to find out their wives’ reasons. But I think it’s telling that they say nothing about that, and much about their own feelings about it.

    If I had a partner who rarely consented to sex, I would be disappointed, and sad, and probably hurt. All of those would be perfectly valid emotions. But I would NEVER try to make them feel bad about it. I would not accuse them of not loving me. I would not go on angry rants about how long it had been since the last time. I would not exaggerate the importance of it to guilt them into giving in. I would not pressure them to say yes if they didn’t truly want to. Love does not do any of those things.

    • Are you a Christian, Brianna? I am wondering how you view 1 Corinthians 7. I do understand what you are saying about entitlement. What you see as entitlement, though, I see as a fair and reasonable expectation of marriage (having sex, not referring to specific acts that may be desired). I made a promise in my wedding vows to have and to hold. I broke that promise.

      I disagree that anger is an indication of entitlement. I have always seen it as a secondary emotion. When my husband was not able to connect sexually because I was avoiding sex, he was deeply hurt. That hurt often manifested as anger, but that anger was always rooted in hurt. My husband had a reasonable expectation of sex, but I condemned him to a life of celibacy for a time. His hurt and anger seem like logical responses to that.

    • Refused Man on September 10, 2014 at 11:09 pm said:

      We have been to marriage counseling, my wife gave up less than 6 weeks In. Told the counselor she didn’t need anymore help. Counselor told her she has severe depression and needs to see a therapist that can help or a doctor for medical treatment. She refuses to this day to do either. She tells me she doesn’t know what the problem is and that I do a good job of meeting her needs. I have jumped through hoop after hoop, task after task in perfect order trying to help her be less tired. Nothing works. We do communicate but a large part of the problem is her lack of wanting to admit we have a problem, admit she is depressed and admit she needs help. When all the work in the marriage is coming from one person it’s hard to feel valued and loved in the relationship. It’s not JUST the lack of sex for me. It’s the feeling that she doesn’t give a crap about ANYTHING pertaining to me, if I bring up any issue she gets super defensive and tells me I blame her for everything. My conversation two days ago with her I told her to stop saying that I blame here for everything, there must be at least one thing she can tell me that I do that I need to work on I know I’m FAR from perfect. She told me I smother her, I ask what she meant by that. She told me she hates talking about our issues and that I always push the issue and ” make” her talk to me. I can’t just ignore major issues and let them fester and eat away at the marriage so what am I supposed to do with that. Just ignore everything like her until it all blows up out of the blue? I don’t want a pornstar for a wife. I don’t want her to be a sex robot at my beck and call following my every command. I want a wife, I want a deep emotional connection, I want our time together to not feel like a chore to her she wants to get over with so she doesn’t have to deal with it for the next few weeks/months. I want her to be happy, I want her to enjoy herself WITH me not FOR me. I want her to be present and active and evolved, sex IN my wife is not the same as sex WITH my wife. That is why I have given up and feel so alone and sad. I don’t want her to feel forced in to something she don’t want to do. I just want my wife back. Unfortunately if she isn’t willing to take some steps to fix the underlying problem I can’t do it on my own. That is where my feeling of hopelessness comes from. So before anyone tells me I haven’t tried and I haven’t given my all, I say walk a mile in my shoes before Judging me. Chris this is an excellent post and thank you for being brave enough to try and tackle such a hard subject. I know it doesn’t pertain exactly to everyone’s situation but for me you hit the nail squarely on the head about my feelings. I could have written those words myself. Not as a man that wants a sex slave for a wife, but as a man that sees his wife hurting as much as he is, and has not a damn clue what he can do to help her, himself or the marriage.

      • Refused Man, that does sound like a really bad situation. It sounds like there’s a lot more going on there than just sex – more than what Chris’s piece was addressing, really. I’m truly sorry to hear that your wife isn’t making the effort to work through the problems you’re having. I hope something changes and things get better for the two of you.

        • Till We Have Faces on September 15, 2014 at 2:56 pm said:

          Thank you, Brianna. That’s the first time you’ve actually sounded like a human being in this thread rather than someone practicing feminist theory on a captive audience. I am sorry for whatever hurt or abuse you have endured that put you in what sounds like a pretty sensitive place.

      • I am truly so sorry for all of that that you are going through. I saw the exact same thing happen with my parents.except my mother only went to two counseling sessions and then refused to go any more. I hope this doesn’t sound harsh but if she is completely unwilling to admit there is a problem and do something about it then it’s time for you to be done. Walk away. Divorce. Find healing for yourself and then go meet a woman who will truly love you. My dad finally did that after 26 years of marriage and he is truly happy for the first time in his life. I personally wish he had done it a lot sooner.

        • Some Christians do view long-term refusal as an unfaithfulness to the wedding vows and therefore a justifcation for divorce. Not all Christians share this view, however.

        • Chris, neither did nor does Jesus.
          Matthew 5:32
          Mt. 19:3-9
          Mark 10:2-12
          Luke 16:18
          Also see Lk. 16:13
          Romans 7:2, 3
          1 Corinthians 7:39
          A “Christian” wife continuously refused her husband. Her reasoning was that she considered him a sex maniac and that sooner or later he would commit adultery. Then she would have her “Scriptural” divorce. Yet no such justification for divorce is found in the Bible.

      • Faith on May 19, 2015 at 11:44 am said:

        Has refusedman ever looked into his wife maybe having Aspergers which is a high functioning Autistic ? There are a lot of undiagnosed people out there and a normal therapist isn’t going to help. Aspergers people can have problems with sex depression and communication and emotional intimacy

  28. #3 is a total sweeping generalization and totally NOT true for many marriage. A few weeks ago, my husband told me, “Sometimes, I could literally give two sh*(&S about sex.” Direct quote.

    He would much rather I pack his lunch, do his laundry, keep the house clean, and cuddle with him.

    Articles like this perpetuate the myth that all men are the same, when they are not.

    • I did state that there were generalizations, and I acknowledged that there are marriages in which the husband is the one not willing to have sex. Is your husband’s view on sex a problem in your marriage?

      • It has been. Not so much anymore because we are communicating better and I’ve started to understand his feelings and be more accommodating – {which, yes, can be done.}

        While you state there may be generalizations, you don’t write from a place that backs that up. You make incredibly dogmatic statements here about men. Perhaps a better way to write is something like, “Your husband COULD be feeling unloved…he MAY prefer sex over anything else…it MIGHT be the worst thing in the world for him.”

        Anything less than that is unfounded claims you simply can’t back-up.

        Ultimately, the fix for any of these situations isn’t a wife {or husband} giving in, saying yes, etc. The fix is open and honest communication in which both parties try to get to the root of their problems {which could be anything from sexual abuse or molestation, stress, personality types, physical fatigue, and so many more things}. These situations are so much more multifaceted than this one post would leave me believing.

        I understand, though, that I haven’t read anything else on here, so this comment might not be entirely fair. I just wanted to leave my perspective on some of your generalizations.

        See also:

        • I write most of my posts from the assumption that readers are somewhat familiar with the overall scope of my blog. I have written posts that address many of the issues you identify. This particular posts builds from other pieces about how husbands have said they experience refusal. Even more posts are about strategies women can use to work on their overall approach to sex within their marriages. I have written in some posts about the contradiction I sometimes feel in writing about how our husbands feel at all when I see the deeper value in sex as a mutual connection that serves a unifying function in the marriage and serves a bigger purpose than meeting either spouse’s individual needs. To me, sex matters more to the marriage than to either spouse. However, I write often about how addressing a husband’s need for sex as a starting point for the larger journey that grows a marriage toward full intimacy that goes beyond sex. It’s step, not a destination.

          This blog has a focused mission with a specific audience. Each post fits into a larger ministry. When people land here and see just one post, they don’t see that larger picture. Some of it is described in the New Here? section of the blog, but that doesn’t show up easily on many mobile devices. I have considered having a disclaimer of sorts at the top of each post, but I’m not sure yet how best to do that in a brief (read, non-overwhelming) way. I want to find a way to do that to help people who happen to land here without getting in the way of the ministry. It’s something I am going to spend some time considering.

          This particular post was written for one reason. Until I saw into the hearts of other men, I couldn’t recognize the deep pain I’d been causing my own husband in my on-going sexual rejection, refusal, and restrictions. I wrote this post with the prayer that just one woman, stubborn and resistant like I was, might have her heart softened toward her husband.

    • librarian on September 11, 2014 at 11:19 am said:

      “#3 is a total sweeping generalization and totally NOT true for many marriage.”

      “Many marriage”? True, but for most marriages? Sorry, but playing with words doesn’t deal with reality. In your article, you whinge about “stereotypical” treatment of gender roles, etc. What you don’t address, either there or here, is statistical actualities. Did you even read the link that Chris put at the end of #3, the one to Pearl’s Oysterbed? The one where she deals with the science behind the statistical statements?

      Chris can’t help it if your husband falls outside the statistical norm. But to come over here and whinge about “many marriages”, when so many MORE marriages do line up with her statements, is disingenuous.

      You and your husband may be among the outliers of a bell curve norm, but that doesn’t invalidate the bell curve.

    • While you are right, it is a minority of marriages. What Chris said is true for the vast majority of marriages/men. Exceptions do not make the norm a myth.

    • landschooner on September 24, 2014 at 12:17 am said:

      In general, men are as Chris described. As in all generalizations, this does not apply to all, but does apply to the majority.

  29. librarian,

    Your reply – what circular reasoning you have my brother. God said ‘it is not good for the human to be alone’. Period. ‘alone’. Next God said leave(sever loyalty) parents, and then CLEAVE, as in ‘stick like glue’ ‘establish loyalty with spouse, and THIRDLY become one flesh. And one flesh means spiritually, emotionally, and physically. But first leave your parents and CLEAVE to your wife. Why do think that trust is so important in a marriage? Trust is the foundation of a marriage. Cleaving (loyalty) is the foundation.

    There have been quite a few comments on here that expressed anger and hurt. But you sir, seemed to want to perpetuate that anger and hurt with your smart-aleck comments to everyone that disagreed with the article. And you dared to ask one poster if she were a Christian? How about you lower your self pride a couple of notches and have some compassion.

  30. 2packages on September 11, 2014 at 10:35 am said:

    For Brianna,
    I don’t know if you will be back on here but I wanted to mention a couple of things – from the one who seems to horrify you.

    You said…
    You’re right that I don’t know how they’ve communicated with their wives or tried to find out their wives’ reasons. But I think it’s telling that they say nothing about that, and much about their own feelings about it.

    Believe it or not, I actually agree with everything you have stated here. When you said you think it is telling that the men have not said anything about finding their wives reasons and that it is telling that they say nothing about that – that resonated with me. But just because they didn’t say it, didn’t mean they didn’t try.
    In my marriage – this is where I admittedly dropped the ball. Many of my actions, unintentionally, made her feel many of the things that you are saying. For several years, I did not do a good job in trying to find out what damage I might have done to cause her to shut down sexually.

    This is where you may have a point in many circumstances – the husband not doing a good job in laying themselves and their “rights” aside and trying to find out the damage their actions may be doing. (Yes, scare quotes for the men too.)

    You said…
    If I had a partner who rarely consented to sex, I would be disappointed, and sad, and probably hurt. All of those would be perfectly valid emotions. But I would NEVER try to make them feel bad about it. I would not accuse them of not loving me.

    When we were dealing with stuff, I never TRIED to make her feel bad. I was hurting. I didn’t accuse her of not loving me – I FELT that she was not loving me. That is two different things.

    I would not pressure them to say yes if they didn’t truly want to. Love does not do any of those things.

    You are right and I never did this. I WANTED her to want to be with me. I think most married men WANT to be desired sexually by their wives. We don’t want “pressured” and “duty sex” from our wife. That isn’t fulfilling.

    You also said you would not exaggerate the importance of it. This is where we will part ways. I never exaggerated the importance of it. It is important. Could you imagine me telling my my wife to stop exaggerating the importance of quality time and conversation with me? Oh my gosh. It is that important to many men – maybe not all men, but many.

    Lastly you said,
    These ridiculous, dehumanizing stereotypes evangelical culture buys into do not come from anywhere in the Bible.

    These stereotypes are GENERALLY real, they don’t have to come from the bible. You can’t say that it is not true that women primarily connect emotionally. Some don’t, but most do. Men primarily connect physically. You may not want to believe it, but it is true.

    I don’t know if you are young, married, single, old…anything about you. You seem so bitter about all of this. You don’t have to buy in to any of this if you don’t want to but I will say that a marriage will only go so far if one spouse refuses to become a student of the other and decides to stand their own ground and demand their rights rather than considering the other as more important than yourself. This goes for the husband or the wife.

    • I am bitter. I think I have a right to be. I spent my whole life being told that men primarily connect physically. I was taught that men and women have NOTHING in common. I wondered how I could possibly relate to someone who, if such things were true, could barely even be called human.

      I was lucky, because once I started dating, I quickly learned that I had been taught a pack of lies about men. I learned that they’re just people. That they connect emotionally, though some are more emotional and some less so, just like women. That they enjoy sex, some more and some less, just like women. That they are not inherently different just because they have different parts.

      If I thought all men PRIMARILY connected physically, I would never want to marry one. But my experience, thankfully, has been that that is a vicious lie.

    • That being said, I think I have a better idea of where you’re coming from. I’m glad that you acknowledge the importance of trying to understand your partner’s feelings and work together with them. I’m also glad that you understand that it’s wrong to make your partner feel bad for saying no.

      I do still find the idea that men NEED sex, or that they’re “wired differently,” to be wrong and harmful. I was flooded with those messages when I was a teenager. I remember trying to understand. I knew that I had a fairly strong sex drive, and I believed them when they told me that sex is SO MUCH MORE to men than it is to women. I remember trying to take the way I wanted sex, and trying to multiply it by a hundred, or a thousand, to understand the way the average man must feel about it. I couldn’t even imagine how obsessed they must be. I got the impression they must not care about anything else in life. I wondered how I would ever be able to relate with such a person, if they could even be called a person.

      I do think that idea has the (mostly unintentional) effect of making women feel an obligation they don’t have. It makes them think they’re doing something unspeakably evil to deny their husbands of this ALL-CONSUMING need they have. It makes them think it’s as bad as denying their children food, or affection. It’s a form of coercion, though I think most people don’t intend it to be. I want it to stop.

      • @Brianna
        “I do think that idea has the (mostly unintentional) effect of making women feel an obligation they don’t have.”

        Please explain how you justify this statement. Do you believe that married people are obligated to remain faithful?

        When you get married you are obligated to have sex regularly with your husband or wife. They are obligated to remain faithful.

        Sex within the covenant of marriage is very different in my experience than premarital sex. Premarital sex is about serving one’s self. “It says I want what I want, but I don’t want you enough to commit to you”. Marital sex is a blessing, but it’s also an obligation because you are the only legitimate sexual partner your spouse has.

        You are not obligated to have sex on each and every occasion that your spouse has a desire, but you are obligated to a frequency that keeps your spouse from suffering from emotional and sexual neglect.

        The bible says “Do not deprive”. Would you like to tell 2packages that he was just imagining that feeling of loss, devastation, confusion, frustration, lonliness, etc?

    • I think that’s the problem . You said something about women being emotional and men being physical. The physical act of sex is actually a very emotional experience for a woman , at least it is for me, and I think sometimes men try to just make it be just about the physical. Sex is so intimate. If a woman is angry at you she can’t have sex or if she is worried she can’t. It’s not just a physical act to us . For me I view the physical act of sex as highly emotional and loving becoming one in not just the flesh but becoming one in the spirit as well. It’s so much deeper than being just physical act .

  31. 2packages on September 11, 2014 at 12:15 pm said:

    I was taught that men and women have NOTHING in common. ??

    That’s certainly not true. We have a lot in common.

    That they are not inherently different just because they have different parts.

    We are not inherently different?? On which planet might this be? Men and women are very different. Compatible but different.

    If I thought all men PRIMARILY connected physically, I would never want to marry one. But my experience, thankfully, has been that that is a vicious lie.

    If you are married or dating and this does not apply to your situation, then I wish the very best in your connectedness. I am sorry this topic has left you bitter. Life is not as sweet when bitter.

    • “We are not inherently different?? On which planet might this be? Men and women are very different. Compatible but different.”

      I don’t believe we’re nearly as different as I was taught. I think men as a group and women as a group have much more in common than not. I think the variation between individuals is much greater than the variation between the average man and the average woman, for any given trait. I don’t think we have vastly different experiences of love or sex or relationships. I do not believe that men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti. I do not believe that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. I think we’re all human beings who come from Earth.

      I think bitter is the wrong word. I allowed it at first because you didn’t use it to silence me, the way it’s usually used. But I’m healing. I’m still angry because the things I’m angry about are still just as wrong as they were when they had power over me. I’m trying to use my anger to do good, to fight those wrong teachings. But I’m also happy. I think my life is sweet and I’m doing what I can to make it sweeter.

  32. 2packages on September 11, 2014 at 12:27 pm said:

    …and thank you for the last reply. It helps gain context.

  33. Selfish one on September 11, 2014 at 12:59 pm said:


    I am sorry you are bitter and were taught wrong. But to imply that you can enter into marriage and believe that having basically no sex is OK and the spouse (man or woman) that would like to have sex is wrong/selfish and needs to suck it up well that is also wrong teaching and beliefs.

    I am an emotional being and we are wired differently. But I didn’t get married just to have another friend and pay their bills. I chose to marry to have a emotional and physical bond with a help mate where we could both help each other up in our weakness and to grow closer in Christ.

    I stay because of the love I have for my wife and kids and to be a spiritual leader to them. What she has done to our sexual relationship is WRONG. I can agree to meet in the middle or give her a time of sexlessness. But to live basically the entire marriage sexless because that is what she chooses is SELFISH on her part. It is emotionally ABUSIVE to me and the marriage.

    I burn with desire for her and to make sure she is safe and cherished but am told to keep my distance and thats all I want. NOT TRUE.

    I want to love her unconditionally and feel love in return. I would enjoy a passionate kiss. I would love to have her reach out and just hold my hand in public. I desire to be flirted with. People off the street flirt with me more that my wife. Yet you are saying what she is doing is OK.

    Well your WRONG. I have never force myself on my wife and never will. I will stay with my wife because of the vow I gave to God. She selfishly does not deal with her own problems and troubled past and inflicts emotional daily pain on me with being cold and unloving. She is teaching our children how not to treat their spouses just like her mom did to her…. they will most likely have to deal with the same demons just like you are dealing with in your bitterness.

    Your judgement of men is way way off. I am not like you say. But I did not marry to NOT have sex. Sex is what makes marriage special and different than having another friend. Take sex out of the equasion and your left with a roomate.

    If you do not want to have sex then either DO NOT GET MARRIED or make sure that you marry someone that also does not want to have sex.

    I am a man with many needs emotionally and physically. Because I desire sex I have physical pain if I do not have a release and become aggitated with the pressure it creates now thats a fact (and something you don’t have to believe or understand but its true). I have to deal with that because my spouse chooses not to have sex and also chooses not to even speak about it so its not ever delt with.

    So I have push for counsel (which she always quits). I have loved her unconditionally. I serve her daily. I love my children and provide for my family.

    You project your bitterness on everyone else and for that I am sorry. But your not the only one hurting and the words you speak hurt others like myself.

    Why am I an animal because I want a physical relationship with my wife and desire to be wanted in return?

    Why is it wrong to expect sex in a marrige?

    Why do you think thats the only thing I desire?

    Why do you think there are other things that can replace the physical bond sex creates?

    There are many things you imply yet you could not be farther from the truth. I live in a sexless marriage. Until you wear those shoes and have to deal with daily rejection and desire your words and like leaves in the wind and carry no weight or wisdom.

    I thank you Chris for your experience and the ability to speak so truthfully and boldly. You have said things that have been on my heart for 18 years. Your insight gives me a picture of what my wife might be dealing with as I try and see things from her side and love her the best I can.

    I continue to seek refuge in Christ and try and heal from the emotional wounds that are inflicted on me by physical rejection.

    • Refused Man on September 11, 2014 at 3:57 pm said:

      Selfish one,
      Sounds like you and I could be twins………. Married for 14 years here but have been with her for a total of 18 if you count two years dating, 2 years engaged. 18 years of pain. Physical and emotional.

    • First of all, do not call me bitter. I realize I allowed it once. No more. I will not be accused of “projecting my bitterness on everyone else.” I will not have that word used as a weapon against me. Do not try to invalidate what I’m saying because I am angry.

      “But to imply that you can enter into marriage and believe that having basically no sex is OK and the spouse (man or woman) that would like to have sex is wrong/selfish and needs to suck it up well that is also wrong teaching and beliefs.”

      I did not say that.

      “Why am I an animal because I want a physical relationship with my wife and desire to be wanted in return?
      Why is it wrong to expect sex in a marrige?
      Why do you think thats the only thing I desire?
      Why do you think there are other things that can replace the physical bond sex creates?”

      I did not say any of those things either.

      I’m sorry that you have problems in your marriage. I mean that. You seem to think that I have no sympathy for spouses in sexless marriages, but that is not true. I would very much hate to be in a sexless marriage.

      But I also know that saying no is not wrong or abusive, no matter how frequently it happens.

      I don’t know the details of your marriage. I don’t know why your wife does not want to have sex. I don’t know exactly what else she is doing or not doing in your marriage. I’m sure she is not without fault. If what you are saying is true, then it does sound as if she’s behaving in some very unloving ways. I’m very sorry to hear that.

      But that is a very different situation than the one Chris described. She was talking about sexual refusal, nothing more. And she said nothing about the reasons for it or the necessity of addressing those reasons; she simply condemned it as wrong.

      I will not apologize for speaking the truth that women have the right to say no without being shamed for it. It is no less true because you twist my words, apply them to a totally different situation, and call me bitter.

      One last thing to point out:

      “If you do not want to have sex then either DO NOT GET MARRIED or make sure that you marry someone that also does not want to have sex.”

      How do you imagine anyone is supposed to know whether they want sex, let alone what kinds or how often, when they grow up in a culture that strictly forbids sexual activity before marriage?

  34. 2packages on September 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm said:

    You said…

    But I’m healing. I’m still angry because the things I’m angry about are still just as wrong as they were when they had power over me.

    I’m trying to use my anger to do good.

    If I can ask, healing from what?

    If I can ask again, anger from what? And what is the good are you trying to do?

  35. landschooner on September 12, 2014 at 6:06 am said:


    “But I also know that saying no is not wrong or abusive, no matter how frequently it happens.”

    It sounds to me like you feel there are no obligations in marriage at all Is that correct? or is it just that sex shouldnt be an obligation?

    I know two men whose wives have refused sex completely for close to 20 years.Thats cool? Their wives shouldnt feel bad about that? They are under no obligation to be sexual with their own husbands? Ever?

    Do the husbands have ANY obligation to their wives? They dont have to listen or be friendly or share anything? Some guys shut up for 30 years. Thats cool too? They shouldnt be made to feel bad for emotionally abandoning their wives? Its their choice to let her die on the vine emotionally because they are under no obligation?

    I dont understand why you’re angry. Noone is apparently under any obligation at all for anything ever. Its all good. Do or dont do as they please. No sex. No love. No friendship. Nothing. No obligations. Faithful. Unfaithful. Its all the same really. Noone should feel bad for their choices because in the end, each of us belongs to ourselves and we can decide whatever we want for ourselves regardless of how someone else feels?

    Thats what I take from your posts. if there is no sexual obligation in marriage, then it must follow that there are no obligations in marriage at all. None. So why get married? Ultimately marriage is a covenant or a contract if you prefer. If there are no contractual obligations, then whats the point? Im not being facetious. If your view is “no obligations” then why on Earth would you want to get married? I wouldnt if I were you. It would be agreeing to something you dont believe in. It sounds like marriage, to you, is really just “dating” right?. But more official sounding? ………But not exclusive dating because, if sex isnt implied in marriage, than monogamy would be completely unreasonable by any normal standard, wouldnt it? A spouse isnt obligated to celibacy if the other isnt obligated to sex right? That would be unreasonable. So marriage is really non exclusive dating with an official title?

    I just want to say that Chris was really right on with this post. I completely agree that sex is the primary way that men receive love from their wives. (In general) I dont believe that this is the primary way that women receive love from their husbands (in general. Im sure some do.) Its not that there arent other ways to love a husband, but refusal deafens the ears to all the other things and it should. Its cruelty. Its giving a kiss followed by a slap in the face. Do you remember the kiss or the slap?

    Anyway – Good job Chris! Very good post. Very accurate and in line with Biblical principles.


  36. Janna A. on September 12, 2014 at 5:04 pm said:

    Briana said, “But I also know that saying no is not wrong or abusive, no matter how frequently it happens.”

    The Holy Spirit convicted me otherwise, and my marriage hasn’t been the same since I quit saying “no”. 🙂

    My husband would agree with all 6 points.

  37. FarAboveRubies on September 13, 2014 at 8:57 am said:

    Chris, you did a great job once again.

    One thing to keep in mind for everyone listening is, that I believe that this is from a Christian perspective. I believe that this perspective is from someone who lives in a Christ-centered marriage. If you don’t believe that scriptures have any validity, well then, this blog may not appear to apply to your life. What do you believe?

    When entering into a marriage contract, we are putting a sexual aspect into this contract. Getting married means you will have sex with your spouse, so your spouse won’t have to burn with desire. There is so much more to this than avoiding the burning. If you don’t want to have sex, then don’t get married, period. This is so true.

    I never knew how blessed our marriage was, because my husband and I have the same high drives. I do now. Until recently, I never knew how rare it is to have the same drive. I never knew spouses weren’t having sex until I stumbled upon this blog and the Marriage Bed. I had no clue about refusal. I just assumed everybody had sexual intimacy. It blew my mind that there were sexless marriages. I would rather die than go without that intimacy connection. I hear these men and their pain. I have love and compassion for them. I will pray for their marriages.

    Even with a great marriage, I have learned (through these sites) that even our marriage can have growth. It’s like putting into action your love for your spouse, like Christ and the church. It’s just so good.

  38. Excellent article. Of course, the vast majority of wives who need to hear this will never read it. I have been refused for 5 years now and my wife says she will never have sex again, yet expects me to continue to support her and provide for her every need and most of her wants.

    She had a hysterectomy in 2010, and refuses to go back to the doctor to see if anything can be done. She tells me this is just the way she is and I promised to be married to her. Frankly, I would rather just die than have to live in celibacy the rest of my life.

    I wish refusing wives could understand that when they refuse their husbands for weeks, months or years at a time, they are really saying NO to God and YES to Satan.

    Ok, refusing wives, go ahead and tell me how horrible I am!!

    • It wouldn’t help to point out to your wife that part of her promise to you was to have and to hold–in other words, to have sex.

      What does her hysterectomy have to do with her unwillingness to have sex? I had a hysterectomy about two years before I began to make some changes, and I know that even much hysterectomy-related sexual dysfunction can be addressed with a doctor’s help.

      I am so sorry you have been cornered into a life of celibacy. Sadly, you are not alone in your pain.

      • Well after she had the hysterectomy, she developed some kind of mass in her vagina and sex is now painful .but now she refuses to go back to any doctor at all. Frankly, it is a little bit scary because it could be something very serious.

        I really try to be understanding, but if I ever show any kind of frustration she just screams at me that we should get a divorce.

        • That does sound pretty scary. I wonder if she is trying the ostrich approach (sticking her head in the sand) because she is afraid of what is going on physically.

        • The proper reply is, “Well, that’s your call. Let’s start looking for a new apartment for you in the classifieds ads.”

        • Am I missing something?

          1. Your wife has a medical condition that makes sex painful for her.
          2. You are aware that your wife has a medical condition that makes sex painful for her.
          3. Serious medical conditions are terrifying for everyone involved, and many people (including my father-in-law, mother-in-law, mother, and grandmother) delay seeking treatment because they are afraid of what they will find out or what treatment will entail/cost.
          4. You are framing your wife’s potentially serious medical condition in terms of the fact that it is preventing you from getting sex.
          5. When you express frustration that your wife does not want to engage in an act that is painful to her, she becomes upset.
          6. You took a vow to honor and cherish your wife in times of sickness and health.

          Frankly, I’m nauseated at the thought that people like you are able to get married, that she’s trapped with you because she has no one else in her life, and that you claim to follow the teachings of my Lord and Savior who preached submission, gentleness, love, and compassion, not… getting off no matter how your partner feels.

          I’m appalled that your concern of your wife’s condition is being framed in your access to sex rather than by a concern for her well-being.

          I’m appalled that this is a blog about Christian attitudes, and the writer of the blog hasn’t called you on your unChrist-like attitude.

          I’m appalled that you are being encouraged to divorce your wife because sex is painful for her, and she doesn’t want to do it with you.

        • When people are in their own deep pain, they don’t always see things in quite the way others think they should. It is hard to be compassionate toward the person causing us the most pain–even when that person is not doing so intentionally. Yes, we should be compassionate toward each other, but it is very, very hard. I suspect that this applies to both spouses in this situation.

          This is not a blog about Christian attitudes. This is a blog to encourage Christian wives who have a pattern of controlling the marriage bed and are deciding to address this pattern out of the generosity of their own hearts.

          When husbands comment or email, I quite frequently call them out on selfishness and frustration–when I think they are able to hear what I am saying. My approach does not include calling people out on unChrist-like attitudes when they are hurting. I don’t think that’s the right time.

          He took a vow to honor and cherish his wife in sickness and health. She took a vow to have and to hold him. It isn’t reasonable to expect intercourse from a woman for whom intercourse is painful. However, it is reasonable to expect her to seek medical treatment when a situation is painful.

          There are ways besides intercourse that a couple can connect sexually, and I don’t get the impression that has been pursued–although if it has, good for her for making the effort. Sometimes, even that can be a problem. I had a medical condition for a time where even the slightest bit of my own arousal would lead to several days of severe pain for me. At that time, even being in the same room if my husband took care of himself required me to be on pain medication. During that time, however, I was in the process of seeking treatment and surgery did eventually resolve the problem.

          No one here is advocating for her to just suck up the pain and take one for the team. She needs medical treatment, and in my opinion, that should be the first priority. That doesn’t mean that her husband cannot have his own grief and frustration about the situation. He is allowed to feel frustrated. He should also be allowed to share his feelings with his wife. Married people should be able to tell each other when they are hurting.

          We don’t know anything about the sexual intimacy in their relationship prior to the last five years. Perhaps there is a history that puts her refusal to seek medical treatment in a different context.

          I don’t see anyone advocating for divorce. The suggestion to look at classified ads is not in response to her refusal to have sex; it is in response to her screaming that they should get a divorce. Can you suggest another way of responding to her screaming those words? When a marriage seems broken, a redemptive separation during which both spouses seek healing and work on their own issues contributing to the problem can be a good thing.

          Compassion for the wife does not have to come at the expense of compassion for the husband. The husband is the one who’s here, so at the moment, it is compassion for him that drives the comments that upset you.

          My guess is that fear for her health is not putting either spouse at his or her best.

          What can you recommend for how to encourage a wife to seek medical treatment for something like this? That might be a concrete place we can start to help this marriage.

    • Maybe she needs a new doctor and maybe you should both do some research on the problems a hysterectomy causes. She may also be depressed and feel like less of a woman since the surgery. A lot of people get sad after certain surgeries . Women go through so many bodily and hormonal changes that men don’t undestand and sadly really don’t try to understand . 5 years or not I think she still needs some understanding. I’m former med surg nurse. Her hormones could very messed up since the surgery and ask causing her to be depressed . Depression is hard to dig you’re self out if once it gets so bad. My uncle began to get very depressed after a series of medical issues. It was so bad he couldn’t get himself out of it.

  39. I think that it does sound pretty scary as well. And yes, I do think she is sticking her head in the sand. Unfortunately, that is really not the way to resolve problems. Even though I do get frustrated with her, I am worried that any problems she may have are getting worse. She did to to one gyno in Nov 2012, and he told her to come back in Jan 2013, but she refuses to go back. She had told me three different things he supposedly said on three different occasions, and so I really don’t know what he said.

    Yes, curmudgeonly librarian, I have been tempted many many times to tell her to get out of my house. Unfortunately, she has no one but me. Her parents are dead and none of her surviving family will talk to her.

    • As gently as I can say this…. so?

      She has a medical condition that she refuses to get treatment for, and, CONVENIENTLY, turns the marriage of two people into a roommate partnership, in which she is very happy.

      Luther calls this abandonment of the marriage bed. Her exigency is not necessarily your exigency.

      I see you told Chris that you don’t really know what your wife’s gyno actually said. I am remembering a situation in which a wife told her husband that her marriage counselor had labelled him a sex addict, due to his frequent attempts at initiation. The husband finally met with the counselor who was surprised to hear this, as it was false. This caused the counseling to enter a new phase, with the husband and counselor united.

      It might be incumbent upon you to say to your wife that you are scheduling appointments with the gyno, and that you will be taking time off to go with her, so as to get info straight from the horse’s mouth.

  40. CurmLib, you have an excellent point. However, I want to wait until my youngest is in college before I really push the issue. I do appreciate the feedback here.

  41. FarAboveRubies on October 22, 2014 at 9:11 pm said:

    What kind of marriage relationship are you showing your children? They are smarter than you think.

    • Ruby has it right. I’m reminded of one man who was surprised to hear his teen-aged daughter say to her mom, “Dad is SO divorcing you when we’re gone.” He hadn’t said a thing to anyone, but had decided, in his heart, to do that very thing. He was just shocked to hear it verbalized by his daughter. She knew.

  42. Perhaps they do, however I have spared them from being torn apart Ina divorce. It is only a year before the youngest is gone. Then I can say either go to the doctor or find another place to live.

  43. FarAboveRubies on October 23, 2014 at 1:54 pm said:

    Wise? I just don’t know. Children want to see their parents in a loving relationship. I have been told by a young adult that it was easier for her parents to live apart instead of living in disfunction. No time like the present. All you are asking is what every man wants from their spouse. You’ve got plenty of scriptures backing you up. Use them.

    Have you been a loving spouse all along, Sean? The way God intended you to be? Sometimes refusing doesn’t just pop up out of nowhere. I’m not blaming you at all, just wondering about perspective here.

  44. First of all, I am really using this board to vent. I am not rude or demanding to her at all. Other than the normal arguments we have, we actually get along fairly well.

    Unfortunately, she does have many characteristics of Borderline Personality Disorder. I am not going to go through them because anyone can google them.

    Of course I have not been a perfect husband. I have intentionally omitted my wife’s other shortcomings as well. The main problem is in the sexual area. She refuses to go to the doctor, she refuses to try any other sexual methods, and if I bring it up, she goes into a rage and threatens divorce.

    I really don’t know if I would be able to go through with a divorce. I fully know how hard the process is and I really don’t know if she would be able to handle it. Other than our two daughters and me, she has no other family.

    Even before the surgery, she was never very sexual. She rejected me on the honeymoon after dating for 2.5 years without having sex.. I gave up asking back in 2005 and she never noticed. Before the surgery, she only wanted sex every 8-10 weeks.

    • Thank you for taking time to clarify, Sean. Husbandly venting isn’t okay on all my posts, but it is on this particular one because I think the comments help women better understand how sexual refusal really does affect a man and that’s what I was trying to do here.

      Has your wife been diagnosed and treated by a mental health professional? Perhaps brain chemistry is interfering with her motivation to be in good health. Also, have you considered seeking counseling for yourself simply to have some support in dealing with a wife who isn’t responding well to her own health issues? Having some coping strategies in place might be a good thing for you to do for yourself.

      Given what you say about earlier times in your marriage, it is clear to me that while there is a medical situation that should be addressed, that isn’t the real problem in your marriage.

  45. Chris, we have both been to professionals. We once agreed to submit to psychological tests. I took mine and gave her the results. The test indicated that other than some low grade depression, I am fine. She refused to be tested even after agreeing to be.

  46. FarAboveRubies on October 23, 2014 at 6:06 pm said:

    Sean, In all honesty, I think you’ve dropped the ball on many occasions.

    1. A non-sexual honeymoon? This should have been lovingly address with counseling before years roll by.

    2. You agreed to psychological testing? You should have insisted on having hers completed.

    3. She has medical issues? You should make her appointment and go with her. Period.

    4. You let her scream divorce to you? This should never be allowed, ever! What does that show your daughters? Bring up the issue of her using the “D” word when it’s quiet.

    5. She raises her voice to you? The next time that happens, in return whisper to her. It takes two to have a full blown argument. Ask God to give you the loving words, in response to her screaming, in a whisper. I know it will be hard but not impossible. Do your daughters know how wrong it is to scream?

    You are married to a sexual refuser from your own words. My question is, what are you willing to do for change?

  47. FarAboveRubies, thank you for your reply. I do appreciate the time you have taken to be respectful. I will address each of your points.

    “1. A non-sexual honeymoon? This should have been lovingly address with counseling before years roll by.”
    –I tried to talk about this many times. She just tells me that i should understand and forget about it. Perhaps I could if she had tried to make amends, but she has not and will not.

    “2. You agreed to psychological testing? You should have insisted on having hers completed.”
    –I did insist, and she refused. There is no way to make her be tested if she will not agree to it.

    “3. She has medical issues? You should make her appointment and go with her. Period.”
    –I have gently urged her to go many times. She simply says no. If I tried to make a gyno appointment and take her, she would not go. Unless I was to handcuff her, carry her out to my truck, and lock her inside, I cannot make her.

    “4. You let her scream divorce to you? This should never be allowed, ever! What does that show your daughters? Bring up the issue of her using the “D” word when it’s quiet.”
    –I probably have not explained this correctly. I don’t “let” her scream divorce to me, she just does it when she is angry. If I bring up what she does when she is angry, she just gets angry again.

    “5. She raises her voice to you? The next time that happens, in return whisper to her. It takes two to have a full blown argument. Ask God to give you the loving words, in response to her screaming, in a whisper. I know it will be hard but not impossible. Do your daughters know how wrong it is to scream?”
    –Yes, she does. And most of the time, I don’t scream back, but just try to get away from her until she calms down. Yes, my daughters both know that it is wrong to do this and they know I won’t allow it. However, they are my children and I do have authority over them in my house. But I don’t think you understand what this is like. She will get pissed off and if I try to get away, she will follow me into the bedroom yelling, or screaming complaints and will not stop. If I ask her to please leave me alone, she may leave for a moment, come back and insult me, then walk out, then come back and do it again. This can go on for hours. If a man was doing this, I would beat the crap out of him and throw him out of my house.

    “You are married to a sexual refuser from your own words. My question is, what are you willing to do for change?”
    Yes I am. I am not sure what I am going to do, but right now, I am thinking that after my youngest is out of the house (in a year), I will ask if W wants to go to the doctor or go look for an apartment.

    I hope you realize how hard it is to say these things knowing that there are many women here who are just waiting to criticize me.

    • While there may be women waiting here to criticize you, please know that there are also women who will see your words and reflect on their own marriages. Sharing your struggles makes a difference for others.

      You can’t force someone–even if it’s for her own good. You can, however, talk about how you will respond in the future–and then do so. Let her know now of your plans to leave, and why. Give her a chance to make the right decision with full information about your intentions.

      It is hard to know what it is really like to be in a marriage with certain challenges. The verbal attacks that can go on for hours are not healthy. What would happen if you were to tell her that when she screams at you, it is hurtful to you and a bad example for your daughters and that you will therefore leave the house when it happens in order to remove yourself from the situation and allow her to regain control of herself? It would at least give you a break.

  48. Oh, and you are probably right, I have dropped the ball in many ways. I am not trying to appear perfect.

  49. FarAboveRubies on October 24, 2014 at 3:14 pm said:

    @ Sean

    Chris said, “You can’t force someone–even if it’s for her own good. You can, however, talk about how you will respond in the future–and then do so. Let her know now of your plans to leave, and why. Give her a chance to make the right decision with full information about your intentions.”

    I would listen to this comment from Chris because she has had this hard road to haul. Your wife might be the most stubborn person in the world but if you decide to upset the apple crate, you might see changes happen. Your wife doesn’t see the need to change. She has you to thank for that. Does she serve you well? You have to change, to see changes in her.

    If I told my husband “no” to sex more often than “giving in” he would have flat out asked me to move out of his house. He would be justified in doing so. What right do I have to put my needs before his? Is that how we are taught to live, according to the scriptures? I should say not. You’ve given up asking her for sex. How is she to know you miss it? It’s just some food for thought.

    Your steps count, Sean. You have every right to have sex with your wife. That’s the reason you are not roommates, or supposedly so. You have the right to satisfy your wife’s emotional needs. It’s a two way street. It should go both ways, or there will be problems. But here’s the thing, who goes first?

    One more thing, I doubt that the surgery will fix your wife’s desire for sex. Here’s what happened to me. When I had my first child, I healed shut…completely, making LMing impossible. It was my obligation, as a married woman, to go to the doctor and get it fixed. I did not find out about this until 6 weeks after delivery. Let’s fast forward to after my reconstructive surgery. After we waited another 6 weeks, I found out it was unsuccessful. Argh! I had to go for my second reconstructive surgery. We waited another 6 weeks, then finally it was successful. Add up the months. It was 4 and a half months of no LMing. It was torture on my beloved husband. I did everything to make things right. I am a servant lover, not a selfish lover. It was what needed to be done to make it right. But keep in mind, I’m a sex positive spouse.

    I am praying for both of you to become servant lovers to each other.

  50. , You are exactly right. Her hormones are definitely part of the problem. However since she won’t go to the doctor it really doesn’t matter

  51. Far above Rubies, your post made me want to cry. I applaud you for being willing to have surgery to make sure you would be able to have sex with your husband.

    Unfortunately, my wife has said she has had her last surgery and will NEVER have another one.

    • “She tells me this is just the way she is and I promised to be married to her.
      “Then I can say either go to the doctor or find another place to live.”
      “if I bring it up, she goes into a rage and threatens divorce.”

      Let me see if I have this right – she screams about divorce, but thinks that because you “promised to be married to her”, she’s got you by the testicles?

      regarding statement #2 – put her on the clock. by that I mean tell her that once the youngest child is out the door, you are, too. The ball will be in her court to either consider what (if anything) she will do to save her marriage. It will also let her know that she can be looking for a job, or developing job skills.

  52. FarAboveRubies on October 29, 2014 at 8:02 am said:


    It sounds like you’re at your wits end. I understand that. I’m wondering if you would bring this article to her attention. Print it off, including the comments. Perhaps find a time where she is a captive audience (on the commode, behind the wheel, etc.). It sounds like she forgot that you guys are one flesh ever since you got married. In what way is she showing you that she loves you?

    Do you have a video of your wedding, showing the part about the vows that were said during the ceremony? Does she remember her vows before God? It usually reads. “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.” What does “to have and to hold” mean? That part is about the physical/sexual side of the marriage bond. We are to give freely to our spouses.

    If you show her this article and the comments, what is the worst thing that can happen? She throws a childish fit (very immature)? She might threaten divorce (again)? This time you could challenge her hot air with no substance behind her. Have the “apartments for rent” column near by. She might start screaming at you (again). This time I would record her secretly and play it back to her later. Hey, it might make her think twice about the way she treats you. I cringe every time I hear my own voice after being recorded and even when I am doing nothing but talking. If that would not phase her, then you got much bigger problems.

    • @ Sean, I couldn’t disagree more with this advice!!!!!


      Have you considered that perhaps you aren’t the best resource to be giving advice about something you haven’t actually experienced? If you have a degree in counseling or ministry, I apologize, but it seems you are making some very dangerous suggestions.

      Have you considered how SECRETLY recording someone builds mistrust?

      How shoving posts from this blog in her face will make her resist reading what may be something that is incredibly helpful?

      “what’s the worst thing that could happen?” He might destroy any chance he has of ever reaching her.

      Might I remind you that we have only one side of this particular story and it’s likely that there is much more going on here than what we are hearing.

      While I understand your outrage on Sean’s behalf and I sympathize and empathize with his struggles, I think we should exercise great caution in making such drastic recommendations.

      We don’t know what the Lord may be using to reach this wife and how He may be using these particular struggles to mold these people into His image.

      We are told to expect and even rejoice in suffering:

      Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

      He can certainly decide he’s been patient long enough and choose to leave, but to shove her out the door because he’s done waiting is not right, IMO. Boundaries are for ourselves, not to control other people.

    • As a woman who is very stubborn and who used to be very resistant to the idea that I might be part of the problem, I find that I’m having a negative reaction to some of this advice. Without truly understanding the roots of her refusal, it’s hard to know what would truly make a difference. If she views the root of the problem as something in their relationship, then digging into that might be a better approach.

      Giving me an article when I’m a captive audience would feel like an ambush. Reminding me of what I had vowed would feel like I was being told I was a complete failure. Recording me would have seemed like a betrayal to me. (Since the ability to trust was one of my big struggles, that would have shown me how right I was not to trust my husband and how I was right in my belief that my husband didn’t truly love me.) And it all would have come across as just another ploy to get more sex–and since I didn’t understand yet the emotional and connective value of sex, it was beyond me why my husband couldn’t just take care of it himself.

      I am pretty sure that these specific things would have pushed me further away. At the same time, though, I don’t get the impression that your wife understands how dire the situation is–for her. I suspect that an uncomfortable and difficult confrontation may be what it takes–but it can still be done in a way that comes from love and a desire to save the marriage. Shaking her up and getting her attention might make her realize that she better get on the ball. However, doing so in a way that will add to her difficulties (challenging her sense of trust, pointing out her failure, etc.) could easily get in the way of her actually being able to do the work that is needed.

      At the very least, Sean, I think she needs to be told that there is a timeline, what you are willing to do to work on your marriage, and what she needs to do in order to do her share of work (seek medical treatment, go to counseling of some kind, work on sexual intimacy with you by participating in sexual contact with you at least once a week, etc.). This can be done calmly (on your part, anyway), with a refusal to respond to an emotional reaction unless you are physically threatened. Let her see how sad you are that it has come to this. Let her know that you want to save your marriage.

      Also, let her know what the goal is by the time you reach your deadline: mutual sexual activity twice a week, no refusal that doesn’t also include a rain check that will be taken care of within 48 hours, and the completion of medical treatment as recommended by the doctor. She needs to know what will count so she has time to plan–if she wants to save your marriage.

      I’d like to suggest, too, that you avoiding phrasing it as “when the youngest is out of the house.” Give a month and year instead. Your youngest child might hear this and carry the burden of thinking that she is in the way of your happiness. She might do poorly in school in order to delay leaving home. For your child’s sake, describing the time in a different way might be good. If she graduates in May 2016, for instance, you might say you plan to leave by December 2016 if your marriage has not shown marked improvement.

  53. Well thank you very much for the advice.however, I probably have not explained this adequately. My wife will not even entertain the suggestion that she has never done anything wrong.

    Any implication that she might be at fault in any way is met with violent opposition.if I was to ever suggested that I might leave because of anything she has done, she would have an emotional explosion like you would not believe.

    • Heed the words of Solomon in Prov. 21:

      It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
      than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife. v. 9

      It is wbetter to live in a desert land
      than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman. v. 19

      I stand by my original advice – tell her she is on the clock, and the day that the youngest goes off to college, you walk out the door.

      Notice that I said “Tell”. I didn’t say “Discuss”. When she explodes, pack a suitcase, say “Here’s a preview of what I mean”, and go to a hotel. Let her know that you will return when she scrapes herself off the ceiling.

  54. I’m on the opposite side of that. My husband is the one refusing sex. I have a list of his excuses that’s a mile long. He tells his friends that he is a sex maniac. If he is well it sure isn’t with me.

    • I am sorry you’re experiencing this. Has he always been like this?

    • As to that, the next time you hear him bragging, out the boy. A simple derisive snort, or snark-astic laugh, ought to do it.

      Have you gone to the church leadership for counseling?

      • Librarian,
        I have to respectfully disagree with you about the snort/laugh. I believe that it will most certainly make him stop bragging to his friends, but I doubt it will increase the amount of sex they’re having. Being humiliated in front of one’s friends doesn’t usually engender feelings of goodwill or desire, IMO. I would suggest that the next time he brags that way she call him out privately. No snark or sarcasm needed. That usually leads to defensiveness anyway.

        I agree about the church leadership though.

        Respectfully submitted,
        Young padawan

  55. Great post. Totally how I felt as a wife refused by my husband for intimacy. Really excellent description of that pain. It was the worst thing in my life and the hurt and resentment still remains post-divorce. Rejection by the person you love most is a terrifying place to be, like there is no safe haven in your marriage. It takes away your hope.

    • Terry Emerson on March 7, 2015 at 11:39 pm said:

      My husband and I have been married for 40 years, During that time he has drifted from job to job, He is presently unemployed and spends most of his time napping or playing golf. He is a dreamer whose latest venture was to run for US senator and run up over $22,000 in credit card debt, I, on the other hand work a 40 hr. week and commute 2 hrs. per day. I do all of the cleaning and cooking on my days off. we are now in the process of filing bankruptcy and loosing our house, Am I gatekeeping? You bet I am! would you want to have sex with this person?

  56. Hi im a 21 year old guy, ive been with my wife since we were 16. We moved into our first apartment at 17, and had our first of two children at 18. My son is 4 and my daughter just turned 1. Since our first child was born our sex life has dwindled down to almost never. Maybe once every 2 months. Now i dont go out drinkin with the guys, i bust my ass working a job i hate to pay for the things my family wants, i try my hardest to be a loving and understanding partner just like every husband should be. Its not like im asking fir crazy sex, in fact the only sex weve had in the last year and a half is me proforming orally fir her. And im happy with that. Ive always got much more pleasure from pleasing her than the other way around. Idk why, i guess making her feel good is a pretty awsome feeling for me. It just seems like im never good enough fir her in any other regards of our relationship. Everything is my fault in her eyes. Ive tried talking to her about our almost non existent sex life,which i approach in a kind and respectful way, and ut turns into in just a selfush asshole. Now i cherish my wife, shes a awsome mom and a pretty good friend, but when it comes to sex shes just not present. i thought it was because i let my body go when the kids came. I recently joined a gym, started eating better and lost 20lbs. Still nothing. Its not like i was obese to begin with, Im in pretty goid physical shape now. I just wish sge knew how much it hurts. I think, atleast from the few comments ive read around the internet, that women(of course not all just from the little ive read) get more caught up in the practice then the principle. Its not the fact were having sex. Its the fact you want to have sex. That connection, to be vulnerable, to have that trust. I miss it alot. I would think that a man that has watched two kids be born, and has only been intimate with one girl for almost seven years and im still crazy about her in all regards, is that not love? Anyone that has watched achild being born knows that as beautiful as it is, it can be pretty gruesome. Anyone have any advice? What am i doing wrong?

    • Joseph: I will give you the same answer I got.

      I don’t know.

      She’s your wife. You know her better than anyone in this world.

      My biggest problem was not knowing *how* to get my feelings across. It took me a year to figure that out, and even after knowing, it took eight months of determined effort to see true light at the end of the tunnel.

      In the end, you can only change yourself. Fix the problem, not the blame.

      Humility can work wonders. Even more than respect. When you talk, make sure you do it when kids are asleep, and talk somewhere you never have sex. Make SURE you do chores around the house EVERYDAY, regardless of how tired/stressed out you are. And you BETTER be changing diapers. More than likely she cares less about the 20 pounds on your butt than she does about that stack of dirty dishes in the sink.

      Do not complain about having to do your job as a man, especially to her. Make her your partner. You don’t like your job? Ask HER for ideas on finding a better one. Tell her EVERYDAY how beautiful she looks and put your heart into it. Women deal in emotions, so do not talk about sex. Open your heart to the mother of your children.

      That should get you started. Do NOT forget to read through the rest of this wonderful blog and get the FEMALE perspective.

  57. Some wives think their husband is the obligated to do WHATever SHE wants in bed WHEN SHE wants HOW SHE wants.

    • Sex should be mutual. Sometimes that means that one is serving the other–but doing so out of love and and desire to bless is quite different from having a one-sided marriage bed in one direction or the other.

  58. Paul apostle addresses non-p-i-v sexual acts with the Greek euphemisms for them. Though in the pagan, specifically Greco-Roman, world every perversion ever known was popular, they knew the degenerate behaviors were filthy and treated them as such, speaking of them only nonliterally, in euphemisms or in general, nonspecific terms.
    To find approval of oral sex in Song of Solomon one has to have it in mind beforehand and be looking for it.

    • I disagree. The first time I read Song of Solomon, I was in junior high or high school. I’d never heard of oral sex before, but some of the passages sounded to me like there was kissing of private parts. I was shocked and was definitely not looking for it.

    • Could you please list your scriptures? All I remember Paul mentioning was a list of practices that fall under pornaeia. This was to leave no doubt that ANY IMAGINABLE sexual encounter outside of marriage is sinful. Within the marriage bed, as long as only the husband and wife are involved, no animals, blood or idols, I have not found anything prohibited.
      I mention idols for one reason. You can request anything from your spouse. They can say no. You constantly pressure for it, then it becomes sexual greed, and that is idolatry. That is now sin.

      Ideally, a lower drive spouse should be daily offering full joyous sex with all expectations of delivering and the higher drive spouse should only accept when they know the lower drive spouse is truly ready for it or can comfortably hadle. Both sacrifice for the other. Loving communication ensures each spouse knows the other’s intentions, so no one feels unwanted, rejected or deprived. Less than one wants and more than the other wants. That is placing your spouse’s needs before your own.

  59. “Seek professional counseling.”

    Take care when choosing a psychologist who claims to be a Christian. Is s/he a Christian first and then a psychologist/counselor, or a psychologist with a “Christian” veneer?

    “Psychology: Science or Religion?”

    Many pastors have formal education in psychology and counseling. Does a pastor/counselor know what to avoid in psychology? It’s not that secular counseling is all wrong about everything; it’s that where it’s wrong, it’s spiritually dead wrong.

  60. Trevor on April 17, 2015 at 9:39 am said:

    Thank you…I honestly was starting to hate myself because I kept believing I was the wrong one

    • If you are experiencing problems in this area, it is not your sexual desire that is wrong but your wife’s view of that desire. Check out The Curmudgeonly Librarian. He has some recent posts on addressing the sexlessness in marriage: Part 1 and Part 2.

      • To be honest we don’t know what his wife’s view of sex is. We’re only getting one side of the story.

        • True. In an effort to encourage, I made some assumptions I shouldn’t have made.

        • Faith on April 18, 2015 at 1:37 am said:

          I just said that because I’ve not wanted to have sex for real reasons before and my husband tried to make it come off like I thought he was bad or a prevert for wanting to have sex with me period and that’s not what the problem was. I want him to want me and I want to have sex with him but sometimes guys go about it all the wrong way . I’ve had to tell him look the way you’re coming at me about this makes me feel like a sexual object . You make me feel like a toy. I’m a person . I have feelings. Sometimes husbands can make you feel like a piece of meat or used even. My husband is not Christian and when we were first married he would hang out with my brothers and his other friends all the time and get drunk. He would leave me at home by myself with the baby all the time. He would ignore me and leave me alone all the time and then expected me to just be ready to jump in bed with him after being neglected all the time. I felt used. You give someone your heart and soul when you have sex and then when that person gets what they want and doesn’t give you the time of day it hurts. I got treated like this for a while because I was too afraid to speak up and I finally had to set my foot down and I said I’m not putting up with you leaving me alone with the baby all the time while you get drunk with friends and goof off. I’m worth more than that. I think sex means something to most women too if they’re in love with their husbands. My husband used to be very irresponsible and get fired from jobs a lot . He would play video games all day. He didn’t watch our son. I was the bread winner working twelve hour shifts as a nurse walking all day. I did the cleaning , cooking and child care when I was off. Someone else whatched our kids while I worked. Sometimes I worked three twelves in a row 6:30am to 7pm. When you work twelves there’s not much time for anything. Sometimes he would complain about not having sex when I’d be totally exhausted and drained from being the only one doing anything and he had sat playing video games all day. Thankfully he’s made a lot of changes and Has done some growing up and works hard. But anyway you just never know what the woman is going through and she’s just too afraid speak up.

        • Um, that cuts two ways, doesn’t it? After all, “to be honest,” we don’t know what your husband’s view of sex is, as we’re only getting your side of the story, right?

        • Faith on May 20, 2015 at 1:10 am said:

          My husband has a lot of problems and has put me through a lot since we’ve been married. We’ve been together since our teen years but he was really immature and wanted to party and hang out all the time. I do love him though . It’s the only reason why we are together is because I hung on for dear life. I’m 31 and he’s 29 . We’ll be married ten years this October and together a total of 13 years. We have 4 kids together. I ended up on this site trying to figure out how to fix some issues here trying to examine myself and see if I’m the only one at fault. After much searching I realize I’m not. He’s not a Christian though and that makes it hard. He doesn’t have Christian view of things or treating people. With that said I’ve seen your posts . You’re a total smart alec and that’s putting it in Christian terms. All of your posts are just there to purposely aggravate everybody and argue. I said “we don’t know the wife’s side” because of what I have personally gone through in my life. You never say anything to get along or lift others up. You’re totally arrogant. You’re a troll and you probably troll other blogs and websites too.My husband would even tell you off. I don’t even know why you’re allowed here. You just want to be right all the time and you’re not. You’re just in the “It’s us against them team” I guess. I’m a calm easy going person with pretty much everyone but you are really irritating.

        • Faith, have you ever noticed that Americans, when in foreign countries, invariably resort to talking slower and louder when talking to nationals, somehow thinking that louder and more exaggerated will get their message across? You’ve proved my point. I said that you were an example of your own statement, that we only had your side of the story, and you reply by giving louder version of what you’ve already said. But we still only have one side of the story: yours. My point still stands.

          Ah, you’ve discovered I’m irritating. That did not require discernment, I believe you will have to admit. Years and years ago, when people were claiming all kinds of different anointings (Elijah, Fire, Double Portion, etc.), I realized that I, too, have a special anointing: The Gadfly Anointing. It’s a trial, I can assure you, but I don’t bedew my pillow over it.

          Have no idea why Chris even lets me here? Just an arrogant troll, just here to irritate and aggravate? Well, since your spiritual discernment failed you, and you didn’t ask, I will elucidate.

          Last September, I got an email from an internet friend, someone I had been reading and communicating with for over two years (and who has been helping me create my own blog, btw), telling me that a post that she had written had, somehow, blown up and that she was being trashed by one of the internet’s many bands marauding faux-outrage harpies. (Well, not in exactly those words, Chris is too nice a person to put it that way.)

          When I read my friend’s post and saw that she was being called a ‘rape enabler’ and ‘rape apologist’, I went to town. I know that one of the internet’s favorite activities is to find someone and basically pick their bones, like a school of piranha. Believing in The Golden Rule Corollary, I treated them as they demonstrated that they wanted others to treat them.

          Above, I used the image of a pinata, saying that Whack The Pinata is fun, but not so fun when the pinata whacks back. I am more than willing to whack back. I believe that an unbiased reader would be able to look at the comments that I’ve posted above and discern that I was not trolling Chris’s blog, but doing something about the band of feminists, lesbians and trolls that were attacking her. I realize that this is no explanation as to WHY Chris allows me here, but it does give some background.

          I also realize that I might just be living out my example above, being louder and more exaggerated in trying to communicate to someone not wanting to comprehend what I’m saying, in giving this explanation. C’est la vie.

          But I do wonder what your husband would say if we could ask him for his side of the story.

        • Due to the criticism this post has received elsewhere online, I have let comments fly here that I don’t allow elsewhere on my blog.

          Every marriage that is represented in the comments throughout my blog has another side to the story. We never hear the whole story from one person. Sometimes we gloss over our own contributions to problems. Or we take on too much of the burden for those problems. Or we exaggerate our spouse’s contributions to the problems. Or we don’t say enough about a spouse’s wrong actions.

          I think this last one especially happens when we’ve been worn down by a spouse’s unrepentant sin against us. We wonder if we’re right to be upset. We think of all the things we could try to do differently, desperately hoping that something, anything, would make a difference. After years of fighting an unending and unwinnable battle against a spouse’s sins, we can’t even see up from down or left from right. We don’t remember who or what we are fighting, so we prepare to fight anything. We can begin to question our own sanity.

          We assume too much of the burden for our problems because it is so much easier than trying to face the beast of hurt we’ve been handed. We get defensive because it is required in order to function in our marriages.

          I’ve done this to an extent. Although my husband never intended to hurt me, his way of dealing with certain issues compounded my hurt over a period of years. This absolutely contributed to our problems. I rarely write about this, though, because even within the context of hurt, there is much that I could have done differently–and when I did, my husband’s good intentions were able to rise to the surface and our marriage has been healed.

          I’ve seen it, too, in comments and emails from husbands who are deprived of the sexual relationships they expected in their marriages. They sometimes become defensive, bitter, or sensitive to comments from others.

          And I see it to an extent in Faith’s comments. I have watched friends struggle mightily in the face of a husband’s alcohol use. Behind the statement that her husband drinks every day is, I suspect, a world of hurt and despair that cannot help but create a defensiveness in response to comments that may seem loud and exaggerated, whether those comments come out of good intention or not.

          The purpose of this post was to invite wives to consider how their husbands might feel about not having a healthy and joyful sexual relationship with them. I suspect that many sexually deprived husbands experience most of the things on this list. Whether or not they contributed to the lack of sex in any way, they still suffer as a result of it. So yes, Faith’s husband’s side of the story likely includes much of what is described in this post. But the story of their marriage is just as incomplete if we hear only his side without hers.

          My librarian friend, I know you are not a troll, even though I think it’s hard for hurting people to see behind your words to your good heart.

        • Faith on May 22, 2015 at 2:12 pm said:

          I said something to you because I’ve been seeing all your posts but I felt like if no one was going to say anything then I would. It’s like you have to pick at every comment on this blog that doesn’t agree with yours and the stuff you say just eggs people on and you keep it going. I don’t know what you’re trying to say when you bring up Elijah and anointing. I really hope you’re not trying to compair yourself to one of the Old Testament Prophets because that just comes off as really conceited and so was the bit about my spiritual discernment. The prophets were humble and Jesus was the most humble of all and He was God. If you’re just like the prophets and you really have some special anointing you shouldn’t have to go around bragging and making it known to people. I called you out on your cornment because it was sarcastic. Mine wasn’t sarcastic . Because what I was saying is ,”I’m here and I have a wife’s side”. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t make them some kind of feminist lesbian. If a guy had made the same comment you’d be giving him a virtual hi five and been like ” Yeah”! Not every reason a woman has refusal is wrong and doesn’t make her a low life sinning harpie. I have been literally completely turned off by my husbands tempe at times. Trust me he’ll be the first to tell you he has an Irish temper. He would also be the first to tell you that he did not treat me right. I came from a more protective Christian home. I was homeschooled. I was not allowed to go to public school. He wasn’t a Christian and pretty much did what he pleased . He was street wise I wasn’t. It was a classic bad boy good girl situation. I am not the same girl I was. I was changed by a lot of things to the point it actually felt damaging. My marriage actually is what led me to be closer to God and rely on him instead of looking to my husband. But I never came here to trash him. He apologized for a lot of stuff and finally started working, but the Christian/Nonchristian dynamic still causes problems. Plus I’m the oldest in my family and always had to work hard. He’s the baby of the family and pretty much got whatever he wanted . I love him but there’s still some issues.

        • Faith,
          I do hear you and your struggles with your unbelieving husband. It is hard, very hard. And the bad boy/good girl circumstances are not that uncommon. Many ‘good girls’ and Christian women fall for the ‘bad boy’s ‘bait and switch’ tacit’. It is used by many men. They pretend to be honest, up-right, and respectable while dating. Even to the point of presenting their self as ‘Prince Charming. About a year after they get you to marry them – they turn back into Mr. Toad. But have faith. A husband can be won to Christ through a wife’s kind, consistant, and strong leadership. You said yourself that your husband has already started to make changes. Encourage those changes that are for the good, and discourage the bad. Never let him lead you into sin. Remember that the Holy Spirit resides inside YOU and will lead YOU to lead him. If he ask something sexual, and it doesn’t even have to be sexual, and it feels ‘wrong’ to you – then don’t do it.
          I’m praying for you and your marriage.

  61. Thanks for this post. I was ready to refuse my husband the other night, since we’ve been fighting, and was afraid if we had sex I would be telling him “your behavior is acceptable”. I gained a whole new insight into it. I even had to mention it on my blog! Crazy that we have to be told but it can be scary as it gives you a false sense of control.

    • Thanks for the mention on your blog.

      When we stop letting sex be such a power struggle, it’s easier to accept that it can be an amazing way for a couple to reconnect with each other. It used to be that a fight would block sex for a week or two or more. Now, if we aren’t getting along, we both know that sex can be a means to restore that connection

    • Faith on May 19, 2015 at 9:51 am said:

      I want to know what everyone else think but to me that seems sort of weird and fake to have sex with someone you’re mad at and kind of cheapens the whole thing. And why would someone want to have sex with Someone who is mad ? Then it’s like sex is just so one person can get off despite the other persons feelings. I don’t know about anyone else but I can’t have sex when I’m angry . I have to make up first and have good feelings about my husband . Sex isn’t just physical . Both people need to be there

      • One thing that switched for me was that I started to see that sex was the means to reconciliation rather than the reflection of it. You’re right that sex isn’t just physical–and that’s exactly why it helps restore our connection.

        When my husband and I have been arguing, his desire for sex is usually about reconnecting emotionally with me. The drive for an orgasm is secondary. It isn’t always easy for me to do, but my marriage is now healthy enough that I can say to him, “I’m really upset with you, so this is going to be hard for me at first. I need for you to be patient when I need to take a break or want to talk while we’re making out.” And he is, because he knows that it isn’t an effort to avoid but an effort to do what will bring us both healing.

        When I was looking at his desire for sex as just physical, it felt very weird and fake to think about having sex with him when I was mad at him. As I began to understand that he didn’t see sex as just physical anymore than I did, I was able to step back and see the big picture differently.

        For my husband, sex provided the best means of emotional reconnection after an argument. By requiring him to do things the way I wanted (talking), I was prolonging that process for him. We don’t always do things the way my husband needs. Because our marriage is better and sex isn’t such a difficult issue anymore, it is easier for him to tolerate doing things through talking when I need to.

        I am pretty sure this wouldn’t work so well in the case of sin against me. Fortunately, our arguments are less frequent than they use to be and are more a result of stress and irritation than anything else. In addition to working on sexual intimacy over the past few years, I’ve also worked on letting anger go. I think that has helped in this area, too. Maybe I still can’t have sex when I’m angry, but I don’t remember the last time I felt truly angry so it just isn’t an issue any more for me.

        • Faith on May 19, 2015 at 11:09 am said:

          My biggest problem is that I’m developing resentment and sometimes angry about sex. the problem is not that I don’t want to , the problem is that all he ever wants to do is to do it to me from behind now. It’s gotten to the point that it’s a fetish and he can’t finish unless he does . I’m really depressed over it . Before if I said no it was just because I was really tired . I used to work Three twelve hour shifts in a row sometimes on a busy med surg floor walking all day and moving patients. Those times there was only time to sleep . But now I try to say no because I dread sex and I’m afraid. It just makes me angry and sad. I want to have sex but he drinks every day and it numbs him and he can’t finish unless he does it dog style all the time. It’s uncomfortable and sometimes hurts and it feels degrading. I do have scars from incisions and tearing from having four kids. I just had the fourth baby three months ago . I always feel pressured big time but I never do it that way because I want to. Every time it ends I usually feel a big let down and devastated Whenever I do say no to that position he sulks and makes me feel guilty or like I will lose him if I don’t . I feel forced even though i give in. So I give into that position sometimes to my own detriment. And then I have to deal with that crappy disappointment all over again. I feel like I have no self respect after I give into that . I’ve tried to tell him how bad I hate it but he doesn’t listen to me. My feelings are never validated. The obsessive fetish he has and the drinking is messing up things. We used to be ok before then. I feel the way things are going now is all I have to look forward to now .

        • I’m so sorry. My writing here assumes that both spouses are generally good-willed and that they are not mired down by serious mental illness or addictions. My guess is that the alcohol is a big problem==and you are worn out emotionally (and physically, too, since your body is still recovering from pregnancy and childbirth). Even if this post describes your husband’s feelings, you cannot (and should not) be compensating for him in an area where he has a great deal of work to do on himself. You should not be feeling forced, and you shouldn’t be coming away feeling disappointment and a lack of self respect.

          Have you talked with your pastor or sought counseling? Even if your husband won’t go with you–and even though I imagine it would be very hard to find time to squeeze it in–I think you should get some real life support for yourself. You can’t change your husband–but you can work on maintaining good boundaries for yourself and acquiring tools to help you communicate with your husband in a way that helps you feel like you’ve maintained your integrity. You can use this tool to find a Christian counselor in your area. You might also be able to find someone who will work with you via email or Skype if travel is difficult. You might want to read Boundaries (affiliate link). Many women have said that this books has helped them a great deal when dealing with a husband with an addiction of some kind.

          My heart is heavy for you, Faith. It sounds like there is an unfair burden on your shoulders, and you need some real-life support and help in dealing with this.

      • Faith, I think you are exactly right. Unless the problem is resolved to a MUTUAL understanding, or at least agreed upon to be laid aside, then having sex just sends the wrong message. Sex is the acceptance of your spouse. If you have sex when you’re still angry, it sends the message that whatever they did is okay and accepted by you. That only leads to bitterness and resentment and the feeling of being used. Jewish law prohibits spouses from having sex if they are angry with each other.

        • “Sex is the acceptance of your spouse.” And refusal is the rejection of your spouse. This is the right message?

          “Jewish law prohibits spouses from having sex if they are angry with each other.”

          Source please! This is the first I’ve seen anything like this. Please back this up to show that it’s not bogus.

      • Leelee on June 1, 2015 at 2:56 am said:

        I’m not an expert but personally one of the wonderful aspects of sex is that it can be about so much more then just lust and love. It hasn’t happened often but on a few occasions in my life at the end of a long or particularly brutal argument or just a period when I didn’t like my husband very much- a session of loveless, angry, mad, passionate sex is a means to release a huge amount of anxiety, fear, and resentment and for me can wipe the slate clean and allow us to move past the anger as a couple instead of dealing with it alone.

  62. Nickels on May 19, 2015 at 1:23 pm said:

    Great post. I am divorcing my wife after years of refusal. Ive sent her a million articles and talked about this at length. Getting married and thinking you can be asexual is the cruelest trick anyone can play on their partner. If one is so steeped in feminist hatred to think you can own your body, refuse endlessly, consider monogamy and your husbands wallet up for negotiation as well. You WILL be divorced.

    • I’m sorry for both of you that divorce seemed to be the best option. I don’t think it’s fair to blame feminism for divorce or refusal, though. I have seen sexually healthy Christian marriages in the context of feminism, after all. It isn’t fair to marry with the idea that you can live non-sexually in that marriage. I don’t think most sexual refusal happens like that, anyway.

      Sadly, sending articles an talking about the problem don’t always make a change. I’m sorry it didn’t help your marriage.

      • Faith on May 19, 2015 at 6:26 pm said:

        Sending articles usually isn’t the way to go . It creates the opposite of what you want from a person. They get on the defensive. I’m a nurse and tried to tell my husband what I know about drinking and what it does to your health and he gets worse. People don’t change until they’re ready . Most you can do is pray . I asked this about another man but your situation seems similar : my nine year old has Aspergers which is a high functioning Autism. A lot of times people can’t tell because they learn how to mask their social problems in public but when they get home they are so exhausted from trying to be normal that revert to themselves at home with family. I’ve read there are sometimes problems with some Aspergers being extremely sensitive to touch and bordering on asexual . Their communication skills are bad and they don’t have the same physical needs and emotional needs as neuritypical people do. Maybe it’s not the case but it would be interesting to find out if some of these
        Women had autism or some other disorder. Autistics have a hard time understanding others needs .

  63. Myra on May 25, 2015 at 6:24 pm said:

    I thought the article was good, I love reading through all the comments. My heart is hurting even worse now because I see how much sexual intimacy means for most men and how much it hurts for them when they are refused … so what does that mean when my husband doesn’t want it? We have had no sex in over 3 years. None. He says he is not interested and he is happy without it. So now I’m even more hurt to see how most normal men see this – what does that say about my husband who values it (and me) so little? I am a healthy weight, shape, etc. I’m not looking for affirmation and I know it isn’t about me it’s about him. I think Paul was right, tis better to remain single and avoid all the trouble that relationships bring. I feel trapped and lonely and miserable.

    • Myra, I’m sorry about the lack of sexual intimacy in your marriage. The first things that come to my mind with men who aren’t interested in sex are pornography and low testosterone. Has it always been a change, or is his disinterest something that developed over time? What has he said when you’ve asked him about why he doesn’t want to have sex with you?

      I know it doesn’t ease your pain, but know that for many spouses who are disinterested in sex, it is often more about them and their issues than about the spouse who is feeling rejected.

    • Sean on May 28, 2015 at 3:34 pm said:

      Myra, I am so sorry. I really think a refused wife has it worse because she has to listen to friends say how their husbands want it all the time. I think that sexual refusal is adultery, but it’s the kind that no one really dares talk about.

      • Faith on May 28, 2015 at 6:53 pm said:

        I don’t think that can be counted as adultery unless they are actually cheating on you with someone else. Some sort of cheating has to be involved .

        • Some people consider sexual refusal (as an on-going pattern) as infidelity in that it is a betrayal of the wedding vows to have and to hold. It a violation of omission rather than commission. I don’t consider it adultery, but I do believe that on-going deprivation is being unfaithful to the wedding vows.

        • I have seen many take that position in view of the wording of 1 Cor 7:5 in the King James “Defraud ye not one the other”. Defruad==cheating.
          BTW, Faith, are you holding up OK?

        • Martin Luther believed abandonment of the marriage bed a valid reason for divorce, along with adultery:

          “The third case for divorce is that in which one of the parties deprives and avoids the other, refusing to fulfil the conjugal duty or to live with the other person. For example, one finds many a stubborn wife like that who will not give in, and who cares not a whit whether her husband falls into the sin of unchastity ten times over. Here it is time for the husband to say, “If you will not, another will; the maid will come if the wife will not.” ~ Martin Luther, The Estate of Marriage, 1522.

  64. Sean on May 29, 2015 at 3:12 pm said:

    Faith, I have to respectfully disagree. When you intentionally deprive a spouse of what he/she is entitled to, you have adulterated the marriage by introducing refusal into the marriage. Lying in bed feeling yourself dying for something that your spouse could easily provide is a horrible means of betrayal. After years of refusal, it is very dangerous. The only person who wants spouses to refuse is Satan himself. I am not commenting on your situation specifically.

    • I view both adultery and refusal as forms of infidelity, although there are obviously some substantial differences. One is that refusal is a pattern of no, not just an instance. It is depriving a spouse of the sexual relationship, not just depriving a spouse of sex right this minute. Adultery, however, takes just one instant.

    • Faith on May 29, 2015 at 5:56 pm said:

      I kind of see what you’re trying to say, but the actual definition of adultery is voluntary sex with someone that is not your spouse. Unfaithful is a synonym .

  65. Jess on May 30, 2015 at 1:12 pm said:

    I really found this article to be true and the comments from the others seem as though they are looking to criticize rather than learn about how their husbands may be feeling.

  66. Marine wife on May 31, 2015 at 11:08 am said:

    I am astounded that people think men cant live without sex or that they NEED it frequently. I tried to read all of the articles but I had to skip over all the scripture stuff. I am agnostic and find a lot of people love to hide behind or use religion as an excuse. My husband and I both have PTSD. Mine from being sexually assaulted twice and his from being in the military serving two tours..special forces I might add. We have a wonderful marriage an no sex..we connect on SO many other levels that are so much more rewarding than sex. So if someone is unable to have sex for mental or physical reasons does NOT mean that their marriage wont work. This article makes it sound like they will die if they dont have it. That is untrue as we are both still alive and kicking after years of no sex in our relationship. When you have as mich trauma as we have in our lives sex is the last thing you think about. We know the value of life and what really matters. He was shot and had flatlined for minutes and I was alnost killed in m aassault so we know first hand. Its a shame how it occupies someone’s thoughts to the point of wantinf a divorce if they dont get some. There are so things ..true me on that one. Thank goodness my husband understands. We even sleep in different rooms bc of our unusual sleep patterns and the nightmaresbwe experience. Love that we have our own spaces. When we want to cuddle we just hop over to the other ones room and watch a movie or talk or listen to music just to name a few..then when its lights out we go to our rooms and attempt to get a good nights sleep bc we both know sleeping in the same bed is actually dangerous for us due to our night terrors. I suppose we are the exception…thank goodness we connect in many other ways so we dont let’s occupy and run or ruin our lives. We literally have hundreds of ways we connect without sex..its amazing and we were meant to be with each other.

    • I’m so sorry you’ve gone through so much, and I’m glad you are able to connect in non-sexual ways. It doesn’t hurt for both of you to check in with each other from time to time about the lack of sexual connection, though. If one person’s feelings change, it is worth trying to figure out how to deal with those changes. As you both heal from your own traumas, you may find that feelings shift.

      What I write here is not for marriages with on-going unrepentant sin, abuse, or mental illness. Those things add challenges beyond the scope of what happens on this blog. You have both found someone who can understand you, and that is a blessing.

      This article is about husbands who are dealing with sexual refusal in their marriage, meaning that their wives have a pattern of saying no more often than yes. Because sex is so emotional for many men, this is often experienced as a deep rejection and leads to much pain. What I wrote here is simply a reflection of what I have heard from many husbands who are deprived of a sexual relationship in their marriages.

      I don’t get the impression that your husband wants a sexual relationship (although it might be a good idea to ask him if this has changed) or is asking you for one, so your marriage doesn’t sound like one with sexual refusal at all.

      I understand what you mean about people hiding behind religion. That is not what is happening here. Hiding behind religious is looking for religious justification for what you want to do anyway. Most of my readers have expressed far more interest in understanding God’s design for marriage than in using religious to justify what they want–although that may be a habit that some here are trying to break.

      It sounds to me like this post probably doesn’t apply to your marriage. I encourage you, however, to use this as an occasion to talk with your husband about whether you should explore ways to build a sexual connection as well. You can heal from your past trauma, and you may find that sexual intimacy strengthens your marriage in ways you can’t imagine. Have a conversation with him, and regardless of sex, please be sure you are both working toward healing for your own sake.

      (I saw your other message. No worries about typos. We all know what it’s like typing on tiny keyboards.)

      • Jason on June 1, 2015 at 5:35 am said:

        Marine Wife – What led you to this post? How did you arrive here?

        I ask not because you are unwelcome (I think that Chris made that clear in her response – all are welcome here) but because I am curious as to how so many people who have commented on this post don’t seem like ‘the usual suspects’. Many are non-Christians or don’t appear to have marriages that have been affected by refusal (both of those apply to you). Some are unmarried. So truly I am just curious.

        I hope that Chris’s writings here provide a blessing for you and your marriage. I also applaud the strength that both you and your husband have shown, not only in sacrifially loving each other, but also in service to our country. We appreciate you both.

  67. HurtHusband on June 1, 2015 at 10:38 pm said:

    I want to thank you for this article, it really speaks into what I am going through in my marriage. I would never consider divorce. Looking back at the downward progression in this aspect of my marriage for me it is easy to see the emotional damage that it has caused.

    It is also hard to hear some of the comments that others have left on here. Yes some people do not “require” sex, I do not require sex, but this problem does not settle on just the physical action. It affects a larger portion which many may not even realize.

    Take for instance the act of coming home and giving your spouse a welcome home kiss. When your significant other turns their head because they are to the point that any sort of intimacy causes them to be scared that it will lead to more it really hurts.

    So please consider this, I think that some people might be viewing this while they are hurt or with very narrow eyes. I am 29 and on my 6th year of marriage. Everyone connects with different methods.

    • Faith on June 2, 2015 at 9:34 am said:

      There’s a lot going on there for someone not to even want to give you kiss when you get home in my opinion. It probably goes a lot deeper than just refusing sex for no reason. I’m not trying to be trying to help actually . Have you actually had time to dig deep and ask why and take few days to discuss that ? I’m close to your age. I’m 31 and my husband is 29. We haven’t had years of no sex but we have been having issues since I had the fourth baby lately and it’s not because I don’t want to . I want to have sex but my husband has fetishized a certain position that is repulsive to me and now I have so much anxiety about it that even when I feel like having sex sometimes I will avoid it because I’m afraid. It has nothing to do with me caring or not caring. I feel vulnerable and powerless when it comes to this, and I wouldn’t feel so much pressure and anxiety about sex if I didn’t feel like I’m always pushed into doing something I don’t want to do. I used to not feel afraid , pressured or anxious and I would like to have those times back. In my opinion I think that there’s more to your situation than you think.

      • I am one who avoided even a quick kiss in front of people out of fear it would lead my husband on and make him want sex. I avoided kissing, touching, and letting him see me in anything revealing–simply because I wanted to prevent his sexual interest from developing. I think it is always worth exploring whether there is anything else going on, but I know that sometimes not wanting to give a kiss really is part of general sexual refusal.

        • Faith on June 2, 2015 at 11:10 am said:

          I guess that’s what I’m trying to say …… That there’s not really general sexual refusal. Maybe there is ……..I think there’s always something behind it if it happens a lot. I feel like it comes to deeper issues. I guess if you’re tired or something I guess that’s general refusal, but it’s not really a big deal to me if you skip sex because you need some sleep one night. I think people can should be able to be strong enough to deal with an occasional no because of a rough week, and not get their self worth tied up in it. I’ve had to learn to be cool with my husband not texting me back or not wanting to talk sometimes, or forgetting my birthday without taking it too personal.

        • A healthy marriage should be able to accommodate “no” from time to time. I don’t consider that to be sexual refusal. Sexual refusal is, to me, a pattern of “no.” (See this post.)

    • The comments here are hard for many to read. We all read from our own perspective, and we project that onto our reading.

    • Faith on June 2, 2015 at 10:11 am said:

      I don’t know what other people’s views on birth control is but I have not heard it mentioned. For the younger couples this can be a huge problem. I have been on birth control pills off and on since I got married and they are a huge sex drive killer. Birth control pills don’t just prevent babies they also kill sex drive pretty bad. On birth control pills I could care less from one day to the next whether I have sex or not and I didn’t know why until I researched it and went off of them for a while. Being off birth control pills compared to be on them is like night and day. If you do your research birth control pills cause a lot of marital problems. In addition to low to no sex drive the cause anger and mood swings. I stopped taking them at one point because I realized I was angry all the time and being mean to my kids , which was not like me because in normally calm. At that time I learned the fertility awareness method called FAM for short. It’s scientific and you can pin point your fertile window and ovulation and just abstain . It is not the calendar method. I learned how to do it and as a result I wasn’t angry anymore and I had a sex drive back. My husband could tell a difference and liked me off the pills . Only thing is you have to use some self control and abstain during the fertile window. My husband didn’t want to follow the rules and that’s how I ended up with my fourth baby. He also didn’t want to use condoms but didn’t like me on birth control pills but wanted to keep from having kids. I love my baby and I don’t mind having a larger family but since I have to work and make more of the income I cannot handle being pregnant all the time. Anyway I just wanted to throw that out there because birth control is a huge issue for younger couples and could be at the root of a lot of marital problems especially if it’s making a woman angry , moody or makes her sex drive non existent. Also for women who have had babies no one has discussed post partum depression.

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