SWM 089 – February 2022 Anonymous Questions

Welcome to another roundup of questions from our anonymous Have A Question page.  If this is your first time here, these questions are all submitted anonymously, typically with no contact info, and only with whatever context we’re given.  We discuss them in our supporter’s forum and once a month I gather up all the questions and answer them.  These ones are from February 2022.  

Question 1

Jay,

I have been married for fifteen years and have five children. It has been a blast but it seems like my wife has continued to become more and more interested in her role as “mom” and less as “wife”. Sex has decreased from 12x per month to 4-6x per month and seems like a “tick the box” exercise when it actually happens. I have regularly communicated my frustration/disappointment with little  accomplished but causing marital conflict. My attempts at burying my issue in alcohol abuse have only caused additional issues…I am very unsure how to move forward! I am a devout and practicing Christian but I am confused how to move forward in a God pleasing way…

I appreciate any suggestions/feedback you can provide.

I think the first thing to address here is the alcohol.  I completely agree that it’s likely causing additional issues, and while your complaint starts with sex, I think the alcohol abuse needs to be fixed first before anything else because far more than your sex life is at risk.

And it’s completely understandable. Somehow Christianity got seduced by alcohol and forgot a lot of the Bible’s warnings to stay away from strong drinks, and I think it makes it really easy for Christians to slip into the danger of alcoholism.  

Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

Proverbs 20:1

While many Christians will still agree that getting drunk is wrong, they’re less strong about using alcohol as an escape, or to “drown their sorrows in”.  

My wife and I once hosted Thanksgiving at our house for my wife’s family (who all grew up Christian and many are still in the church) and we told them we didn’t want alcohol in our house – they almost refused to come.  When my brother got told by his doctor that he needed to cut back on alcohol, he was incredulous saying “I only have a few drinks a night”.  It’s not surprising, because we grew up seeing our parents have a drink every night.  

Now, I don’t think they’re all alcoholics, but what is clear to me is that they can’t stand the idea of life without alcohol.  I would say that’s more than a little bit of a dependency, which, as Christians, I think we should be wary of, to say the least, a warning the Bible repeats often.

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:13

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

1 Peter 4:7

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8

Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.

Titus 2:2

So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.

1 Thessalonians 5:6

And lastly, the one I think pertains most to your situation:

As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

2 Timothy 4:5

So, while I do think there is plenty to address in the marriage, I would focus first on the alcohol abuse, and that’s likely to need some professional help beyond my abilities.  Get some help with that.  They can help you with healthy ways to cope with life, you’ll be more clear-headed to deal with the struggles in your marriage, your wife is more likely to trust you and want to work with you to solve the other problems, and you’ll be a better role model for your five children.  Plus, the money you save on alcohol could help pay for some marriage counselling.

Once you’ve started on that path, come back, and I’ll be more than happy to help.  But I think trying to fix the sexual frequency issue before the alcoholism is counterproductive.

Question 2

Hello,

I think I have a lot more to understand that perhaps I’ll ask more on later, but to try and make this a short question. My wife has mood swings not the monthly kind…the hourly kind. She will tell me I am the best man in the world and I am so amazing. A few hours later I am a sissy, germ freak, or stupid for not knowing what a flake of hay is. I suspect she is just dishing out what she grew up with.

Anyways these constant unpredictable swings make it hard for me. I cool off during a bad time then when she wants to swing back to good it takes me longer than her to get used to happy amazing. Other times she says she tries really hard which still can seem like she’s having a horrible day but apparently is restraining a few actions. She expects me to just take the bad stuff without a word then when she wants to be happy I should instantly be happy for and with her.

A minor example from last night. We got home from church and dealt with our two boys ages 2.75 and 1.25. Then I remembered that we were supposed to check on a cow that was doing poorly. I could have just let it go and maybe she’d be dead in the morning so I decided to be on the cows side and reminded me wife we need to check on her cow. She wasn’t happy and almost decided to not go, but I went with her to go help take care of the cow (thankfully she was doing better).

We went back in I got ready for bed and she comes into the bedroom and starts whining about how some of the other people in our church do not go to the evening service but I think we should always go. This has been a developing theme in her that flickers on and off over the past year…..

With that thought, she next announces with anger that she hates sex when she is tired.  I point out that we don’t have sex planned. Last night she started oral sex on me and then was going to give me a handjob to finish me but was tired so I said that was OK and mentioned the risk that we might be too tired Sunday night. I pointed out I had weighed the risk of her being tired last night and she was not obligated to give a handjob. (I hate it when she does duty sex and unless I really really need release I’d rather not have it because it just means I’m another thing for her to focus negative feelings on).

That led to me pointing out that she is a gatekeeper for our sex. She’s like “what’s wrong with that? You get it 3 times a week which is more than most.” (Personally I think 3 times a week is the max per week but meh). I point out I have tried to be less “pesky” for her as in I don’t ask for special sexual favours such as oral sex and I watch movies with her that she likes because that’s often when she does oral sex as a trade for watching movies.

I pretty much am at her whim and don’t mostly ask for sex unless I’m really bad. I can mostly deal with that because she has good sex with me pretty often. The duty she feels though to have sex instead of having a friend-to-friend conversation about how we both feel is an issue between us though. Deeper I think is that cycle of the worst person in the world versus the best person in the world. That applies to our house, kids, family situation…… and so on.

Thank you for reading my long question. 

Alright, now this is going to be a bit of a guess based on only seven paragraphs, but it reads as though you’re a pretty passive guy.  When there’s a problem in your marriage, rather than deal with it head-on, you prefer to sweep it under the rug and hope it goes away, shift the blame to someone else if it doesn’t, and generally avoid dealing with it if possible.

So, while your wife may be dishing out what she grew up with – you’re allowing it to happen.  After years of that, my guess is that she’s lost respect for you, and women tend to not be interested in having sex with a man they don’t respect.  You’ve made her the head of the household, and in my experience, most women hate being the head of the household.  In fact, in my surveys, I found that in homes where the wife runs the show, the men generally have sexless marriages.

If I’m right, then the next step would be to learn to stand up for yourself, take some responsibility and stop letting her treat you like this.  Don’t let her talk to you that way.  If she starts, tell her it’s not acceptable.  If she continues, leave the room.  Don’t accept being part of a conversation where she’s disrespectful.  Now, if she has a genuine complaint – that’s different.  As an adult, you should be able to accept criticism with grace and then work towards mitigating weaknesses so that they’re no longer detrimental, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept an insulting delivery of that criticism or criticisms that aren’t valid.

If you want to go to church twice a day, and she doesn’t, then go without her.  She’s an adult and can make her own decisions. There’s no rule saying you both have to go.  For me, I’d probably not go if our church had two services on Sabbath – that’s just too much work for me on the day of rest, but then we have 5 kids and I do a lot of volunteering at church.  I’m not interested in building a life where I don’t look forward to church.  

In short – take responsibility for your actions and focus less on your wife’s decisions.  Set some boundaries, then hold them.  Will it fix everything right away?  Absolutely not.  In fact, I’d almost guarantee that it will get worse at first.  That 3 times a week of sex might drop, it might even disappear for a bit when she realizes she can’t push you around anymore.  But, I think in the long run, if you can learn some personal responsibility in your life, and gain some respect from your wife, you’ll likely find that both the quantity and quality of your sex life will improve.

When you’ve gained back some respect, then start working on communication between the both of you.

Question 3

We have been married for eight years. My wife (37) has given me (37) something sexual (intercourse, hand job, and some oral) more than I expected I would get. I am grateful. Although, it is done out of obligation, not enjoyment. This makes it hard for me to feel satisfied like this.

My wife doesn’t want pleasure for herself most times. I enjoy giving her whatever she wants. Usually, she wants a back massage and that is it, no drive for orgasm. My question is as follows: Can I help her have a genuine interest in sexual pleasure for herself? She will let me touch her in intimate areas but typically leans away from my offerings. So I feel like I am not able to explore and learn her body. I have asked her to masturbate so I can watch and learn. That request has gone unfulfilled for years. She does have one very specific method of masturbating that she has been doing since she was a young teenager.  To do this she pulls herself up on a rail or countertop to put pressure on her pubic bone. She tightens her abs and within seconds she is moving with the orgasmic pleasure. I enjoy watching it a lot! The only path she wants me to pleasure her is similar. With her on her back while I put pressure on her pubic bone and play with her nipples. She tightens her abs before her climax. I would like to give her pleasure in other ways and I would like her to have a genuine interest in sex in general. I have asked her what’s holding her back. She gave me a few reasons and I have tried to address them. But my experience is still mostly the same. Could you please advise? Thanks 

When I read this question, it frustrated me a bit, because he went into all this detail, but then absolutely left out what she thought was holding her back and what he tried to do to address them.  He defined the problem and then left out the most valuable diagnostic information.

We know she can orgasm, so that leaves out anorgasmia – some wives simply get frustrated that they have never had an orgasm and give up on trying to achieve one.  Not the case here.  Now, it could be that she has only ever managed to orgasm through that one method and feels that sex will never provide that one method, and so isn’t interested.

We also know that at some point she had a sex drive – because she learned to masturbate.  So, that leaves out some sort of sexual development issue.

That still leaves a fairly large area to explore, which I wish we had those “what’s holding you back” reasons to navigate through.  In general, I’d say you can split them up into 4 facets to explore though: Physical, mental, relational and spiritual.

Physical – get her hormones checked
Mental – depression, anxiety, stress and others can all interfere with sexual desire
Relational – what’s the marriage like?
Spiritual – what are her beliefs about sex?

But ultimately, unless she wants to improve it, you’re going to have a hard time convincing her to invest in improving it without understanding what’s holding her back and addressing that underlying issue.  

If you want to dig into those and come back with some answers, we can take another look at it, or you can email me directly at [email protected].

Question 4

Hi Jay Dee, I think I have a question for you that has never been asked before. (Correct me if I’m wrong.)

When a man or woman has an orgasm, oxytocin is released throughout the body. To my understanding it is a bonding chemical that makes you feel close to the person that you have had sex with.

Knowing this, how detrimental and damaging is it when someone achieves an orgasm to porn or solo masturbation?

Does the mind try to “connect” with what is going on in a porn scene or with a fantasy while they are masturbating?

Thank you very much and look forward to hearing your thoughts?

I may have touched on it in passing, but I don’t believe I have a blog post or anything like that about it in particular.  So, with orgasm, yes, oxytocin is released as well as a bunch of other chemicals – dopamine, norepinephrine, vasopressin, endorphins, adrenaline and more.

Oxytocin is generally considered responsible for making it easier to bond emotionally to someone.  However, I did find a study that shows that oxytocin changes your emotional response to inanimate objects as well.  

There is also the problem that people who tend to orgasm in a very particular way, or with a particular object tend to develop a fetish for those objects.  Now, that’s likely due to more than just oxytocin, however, oxytocin is in laying down long-term memory as well, so it’s likely a factor.  Similarly, those who watch porn and later struggle to get the images out of their head – that’s thanks to oxytocin.

As well, the mix of dopamine and oxytocin can train your brain to look for porn and/or masturbation when you’re feeling lonely.  Ideally, what you want is for your brain to direct you to your spouse (or to find a spouse) when you’re feeling the need for that sort of connection, but if you train it to look elsewhere, such as porn and/or masturbation, your spouse (current or future) will start to be categorized as a backup or alternative, rather than the primary source.

Then, from a psychological point of view, as humans, we tend to try to place ourselves in narratives.  If we read a story, our brains tend to try to connect us to them.  We try to place ourselves in it, either as a primary actor or as an observer within the same context.  This is why we love to see movies in dark big-screen theatres with big speakers.  They block out everything else and allow us to feel like we’re there.  So, in that same sense, yes, the mind does try to connect with what’s going on in the porn scene, or fantasy – because that’s how we process things.

As for how detrimental it is.  I’d say very.  Everything about our neurochemistry as well as the Bible tells me that God designed sex to bond two people together.  If you train your brain to sidestep that intent, or otherwise mitigate it – I don’t see any possible good outcome.  I want to need my wife for that.  I think it’s a good thing to look to my wife for that sort of connection, comfort, and, recreation as well.

See also Question 9 of this post.

Question 5

Hi Jay I listen to the podcast and my wife is wanting me to get a vasectomy.  She said she is done with kids. We have a 6-year-old and a newborn.  I am still on the fence if something would happen. I would still like to maybe have one in the future but we are both 36.  Do you have any pros or cons? I am a little concerned about what the family will think.  Our sex life is maybe once a month I would like it once a week but she is against it should I use the vasectomy as a way to get it once a week?  My wife will only let me see her naked when it is totally dark no sex in daylight hours.  Anything I can do to get her more open I love her body but she hates her body. Any help appreciate thanks

Greg

Personally, I think if you’re on the fence about it – don’t do it until you’re sure.  Because if you feel pressured to and something goes wrong, which is unlikely, but it does happen, that can cause a lot of resentment in a marriage.

As for your family – don’t tell them if you’re worried about it.  I mean, how often does your choice of birth control come up in conversation?  I can’t think of a single time where I’d been put on the spot and forced to disclose that I had a vasectomy.  

The pros and cons are pretty simple.  On the con side, you can’t have kids anymore if you change your mind – I mean there are reversals, but I considered my vasectomy permanent.  Reversals have a higher risk and cost.  There are some small risks, but they’re very small.  I suggest you look them up.  Doing the research helped me.

On the pro side – you can’t have kids anymore.  No birth control worries.  For some, that’s a huge pro, for others, it’s minor.  Now, some people will tell you that this will result in more sex – that’s not a guarantee.  Unless the reason you’re not having sex is because of the birth control, I wouldn’t count on it.  

I also don’t think you should use that as a reason to have a vasectomy even if she agrees to it.  For one, that’s pretty coercive, which I wouldn’t advise.  But, even if you’re successful, you might get more sex, but let’s say she backs out on her end – are you going to get it reversed?  There’s no recourse other than resentment, which is bad for everyone involved.

But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying “I’m not feeling comfortable with the idea of getting a vasectomy at the moment.  Can we revisit this in a year?”  That doesn’t mean she won’t get upset, I just don’t think you’d be in the wrong to say that.

So, I say hold off, do some more research, get comfortable with the idea, and focus on improving the marriage in the meantime.

Question 6

My wife and I use vibrators regularly. We currently don’t have any dildos. We don’t like how realistic ones are based on someone else’s penis. Not sure if you have mentioned anything about that before. My wife really likes the way I feel during penetration.  So here’s my question: there are make your own dildo kits like Clone a Willy and Mr. Pecker. Would it be alright to use a realistic dildo if it is a replica of my own penis?

I don’t see why not.  I agree with you – realistic toys are a no-go for us as well.  I would say that it’s unlikely that a replica of your penis is going to feel the same though.  I mean, it won’t have the same physical properties – only the shape.  So, just be cognizant of that. Also, see this post.

Those are all the questions I had for February.  I know, I’m a bit behind because we’re in the middle of packing up our house and moving, but I’m hoping to catch up on questions for March soon.  If you don’t want to wait – check out our supporters’ forum where we discuss all the anonymous questions as they come in.  They also get sneak peeks at all the blog posts before I publish them.

If you have a question you’d like answered, you can email me at [email protected], or ask it anonymously on our Have A Question page.  

2 thoughts on “SWM 089 – February 2022 Anonymous Questions”

  1. Raphael Tisserand says:

    I agree that the asker of Question 1 should deal with his marital issues instead of abusing alcohol to forget them. But your answer shows that you think that alcohol use at any level equates to alcohol abuse. This isn’t surprising since you’re a Seventh Day Adventist which like, many other Second Great Awakening movements, was strongly entwined with the Temperance Movement of the day. Alcohol abuse was a serious social problem at that time but unfortunately this lead many churches to develop some very poor biblical exegesis to justify their anti-alcohol stance. (No, they weren’t all drinking fresh grape juice. If you store unpasteurized grape juice for any length of time it turns to wine all by itself).

    And wine to gladden the heart of man,
    oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart- Psalm 104:15

    What is this referring to if not alcohol’s “social lubricant” effects and the feeling of being pleasantly buzzed? Go beyond mild levels and you wont feel very glad anymore, I can say that from experience.

    “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”- John 2:10

    In other words, they served the good wine at the beginning of the party and they brought out the cheap stuff once everyone was too drunk to tell difference. What kind of party was Christ at?

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I’d say alcohol abuse is a serious social problem at any time. I pulled a few verses (7 if I recall) showing direct warnings against alcohol use in very clear, unmistakable terms. Let’s take a look at your two.

      Psalm 104:15 – You’re assuming the word translated here as “wine” equates to fermented grape juice simply because it makes people happy. But, I think that’s owing to the abundance of sweet drinks we have in our world today. In our house, we don’t often buy sweet drinks. Mostly due to the cost – we have 5 kids on a single income and the price of orange juice could decimate our finances at the pace we go through it. As a result, we drink mostly water. The other day we were at an end-of-year party for one of the kid’s programs. They had cookies, cakes, donuts and all sorts of things. To drink, they had lemonade and some purple juice. I had assumed it was Koolaid or something and went for the lemonade, but my daughter took a cup, drank from it, and you should have seen the smile on her face when she exclaimed “it’s grape juice!”. It was astonishing how much it gladdened her heart. I took a cup as well and, yeah, it was delicious. I’d say the grape juice (“yayin”, which doesn’t differentiate between fermented grape juice or not) certainly gladdens the hearts of those who don’t regularly indulge in sweet drinks, whether due to a lack of abundance, as in the case of the Israelites, or personal choices.

      So, in order to make the verse support your view, you have to use your current cultural context to say “well, what else could it be”. My understanding is that’s bad exegesis. So, I’d say that’s not a clear-cut verse and is too ambiguous to support your stance.

      On to John 2:10 – the wedding at Cana. So, again, you have to use contemporary sources to judge the passage. Our culture is far removed, but Pliny the Elder, Plutarch, Aristotle and Athaneus all lived in that era, and they both attest that what constitutes a “good wine” is one that does not intoxicate and that unfermented wine was preferred. Pliny’s “Natural History” even lists preferred wines – all of which were unfermented. Athenaeus recommends a particular wine because “it does not make the head heavy”. He also mentions another wine called effoeminatum because the intoxicating effects of the wine are removed. Plutarch says strong drink “inflames the brain” and “infests the mind and passions”, but notes that wines that have been heavily filtered to lesson or remove the alcohol content are “much more pleasant to drink”.

      I could go on, there are more references, but the point is – at the time of the Wedding at Cana, but best wine was considered that which did not intoxicate, didn’t make your head heavy, didn’t inflame the passions, infest the mind. Going by the standards of the day in which it was written, if Jesus has made strong, alcoholic wine, He would have been making “old wine” which was not considered nearly as pleasant to drink.

      As for their ability to keep new wine unfermented – they did actually have a process, actually many processes. One was to separate out the parts that aided in fermentation (albumen, which is in the skin lining of the grapes) – they would gently press the wine in order to keep the skins more intact and easier to remove.

      Another was to use cold water to store the juice in. The wine that resulted from this process they called “semper mustum” (permanent grape juice). It’s one of the nonalcoholic wines that Pliny mentions. He even described the making of this wine, how they’d put it in casks, then submerge them in water to keep the temperature down so that it couldn’t ferment. This was a well-known method that had been around for hundreds of years – Cato mentioned it 2 centuries before the event at Cana.

      They also sealed grape juice with olive oil, which prevented oxidization and thus fermentation. They also used sulphur to remove oxidizers – Cato also mentions this practice. There’s a song that mentions wine made using this method and one of the stanzas say that you could drink 100 cups of it without causing “brawls and anger”. Seems to suggest it was nonalcoholic.

      The point is, they had quite a few methods to keep grape juice unfermented which required a lot of care without today’s technology. This would increase the cost dramatically over those that you simply had to let ferment, which is a relatively simple process. This again would lead to the idea that what Jesus produces was “good wine” befitting a wedding if it was unfermented.

      If you have more questions, I can go into this more, but it’s not poor exegesis that leads to the idea that alcoholic drinks are warned against in the Bible, but unfermented grape juice is considered a blessing. It’s looking at the culture in which it was written, researching the history, reading the old philosophers and historians, and then a little thought and understanding of what life would be like without soft drinks and fruit juices readily available, without refrigeration, and all the other comforts of life that we take for granted.

      Because the alternative is that Jesus made a bunch of strong alcohol (120 to 160 gallons!) knowing He was going to get a ton of people drunk – in clear violation of the scriptures He had grown up with. Is that the kind of party you see Jesus attending? That doesn’t fit the Jesus I see in the Bible.

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