It often happens that one spouse becomes the gatekeeper of sex in a marriage.
I think a lot of the time, they don’t even realize they are. Sometimes it’s because they’re selfish. Sometimes it’s because they have misunderstandings about sex. Sometimes it’s because they have some bad theology regarding sex. So, I thought I’d write a post to help you figure out if you are the gatekeeper in your marriage.
I sent out to our mailing list asking for their thoughts on what a gatekeeper is, or rather, how to tell if you’re a gatekeeper. I got a bit of feedback from people worried that this post might turn into mocking gatekeepers. That’s not what I intend. I think there are a lot of honest, good-intentioned spouses who don’t realize their gatekeeping. I hope this post will help.
So, here’s You might be a gatekeeper if…
1. You feel like your spouse nags you about sex
You might be a gatekeeper if your spouse has to ask you multiple nights to have sex before you give in. If you keep pushing them off so often that they have to ask more than one night in a row, you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read Is Sex A Need Or A Want
2. Sex only happens on your terms
If your spouse wants to try new things, but you only ever have sex in the way you choose. Regardless of the reason, whether it’s because that’s what’s comfortable for you, or because that’s what works best for your orgasm, or because it’s what makes sex end the quickest, you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read Who should initiate sex, husband, or wife?
3. If you get upset when your spouse initiates sex
If, when your spouse expresses that they want to be intimate with you physically, you react in a hostile manner, either by getting upset, mad or irritated, you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read Are you missing out on your spouse’s bids?
4. If you only think about sex in terms of a reward
If your spouse only gets sex as a result of “good behaviour”, or because it’s a special event, like a birthday, anniversary, or Valentine’s Day, then you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read Why Do Men Think Sex Is A Reward?
5. If you have rules about when sex can happen
If you will only have sex when it’s dark out, or when the kids are asleep, or when there isn’t church in the morning, and it’s not a school night. If your spouse describes sex as happening “when the stars align”, you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read How To Spice Up Your Sex Life
6. If you use sex as a means to get what you want
If after sex you say something like “well, now you owe me one” or “we’re even now”. Or, if when your spouse initiates you ask “Well, what are you going to give me in return” or “what are you going to do for me”? You might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read You cannot make a refuser generous
7. If you hide your body
If you sleep in head-to-toe pajamas year round. If you don’t get undressed unless all the lights are off and the curtains are shut and it’s night. If your spouse hasn’t seen you naked recently and/or can’t even remember what you look like naked, you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read Don’t say yuck about food (Don’t say “I hate my body”)
8. If you rarely go to bed at the same time
If you always manage to find some housework that needs to be done, or a level that needs to be finished in a game, or a chapter that you want to complete, another row of stitching, one more blog post, a few more minutes on Facebook, or one more episode of T.V.. If you always manage to get to bed after your spouse is asleep, you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read Dealing with passive rejection
9. If you have accused your spouse of wanting sex too often
If, when your spouse expresses their desire for sex, you accuse them of being a sex addict, or having a problem with lust, you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read All you want is sex
10. If you use sex as a punishment
If you refuse to have sex because your spouse said something you didn’t like or didn’t take out the trash, or help with cleaning up the dishes. If you won’t have sex because they didn’t buy you the gift you wanted, didn’t do enough of the things you want them to do, you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read Is feeling disrespected an excuse to refuse sex?
11. If you get in an argument almost every night
If conflicts seem to arise near bed time most nights which always put you out of the mood to have sex, you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read Active Listening
12. If you roll your eyes when your spouse initiates sex
Or laugh, or say “really?!” or “seriously?” or “do you really think tonight is a good time?” or anything else that is condescending towards their bid for intimacy, you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read Is it all just about sex?
13. If you always have time for your hobbies but never have time for sex
If you have no problems finishing books, tv shows, crochet projects, puzzles, or whatever your hobby is, but there is never time to have sex, you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read You don’t have time for sex?
14. If you preemptively reject your spouse’s advances
If you regularly start telling your spouse why it’s a bad idea to have sex that night before they even initiate sex, you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read Reasons Not To Have Sex – Survey Results
15. If you often say “maybe tomorrow”
If you constantly defer sex to another day more often than you actually have sex you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read Does your spouse have permission to arouse you?
16. If you are only “in the mood” when sex is impossible
If you only ever express desire when it’s inappropriate to have sex, like out in public, or during a “no sex” time, like during your (or your wife’s) period, then you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read Don’t tease unless you’re willing to follow through soon
17. If you will only have sex when you’re in the mood
If you are required to spontaneously be “in the mood” for sex before your spouse even initiates, you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read Responsive vs spontaneous desire
18. If you only want sex when you are trying to conceive
If when you’re trying to get pregnant, you’re suddenly having sex all the time, but before and once you conceive your frequently drops dramatically again, you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read Having kids does not mean a healthy sex life
19. If you won’t have sex with your spouse because of the kids
If you won’t have sex because you’re spending too much time with your children, then you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read Putting the kids first will destroy your marriage
20. If you spend more time in bed on your phone than having sex
If you’re ignoring your spouse’s advances because your social media or gaming addiction is interfering you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read Do you have time to explore?
21. If your automatic response to any questions about sex is “no”
If you don’t even think of the response anymore, it just comes out as “no” as soon as your spouse brings up sex, you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read How do I deal with temptation if my spouse is a sexual refuser?
22. If your spouse keeps a calendar of when you last had sex
If they feel they need to track it, because you have arguments about how long it’s been since you last had sex, you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read Is scheduled sex helpful for a marriage?
23. If all discussions about sex turn into arguments
If you and your spouse cannot discuss sex calmly without it turning into a fight, you might be a gatekeeper.
You might want to read How to resolve conflict more effectively
There you go, 23 reasons you might be a gatekeeper. Now, if you answered “yes, but…” to any of these, there’s one more test you should check
24. If you ask your spouse “Am I a sexual gatekeeper?”, and they don’t say “no”
… you might be a gatekeeper.
Note: I will be heavily moderating comments on this post, because I don’t want it to turn into complaining about gatekeeping spouses.
P.S. If you’re a wife and you’ve realized you’re a gatekeeper and you feel convicted to change but don’t know how to start, or . this course might help you out. Read the reviews and ask if that’s what you’re looking for in your marriage. If it is, use the coupon code NoMoreGatekeeping during checkout to get 50% off.
If you’re husband and you’ve felt the same conviction, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I don’t have a course yet for you, but I may be able to help you work through it.
37 Questions for spouses to ask each other about sex
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