This concept presents itself in two ways generally:
- One spouse has a checklist of things that must occur before sex. See this comment.
- Life is just too busy and there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day.
The answer to both is pretty much the same, though the push-back might vary. The solution really is quite simple, though the implementation will probably take some resolve.
Ready for it?
Here we go.
Do fewer things!
Seriously, that’s it.
If your life is too busy to be married, time to clear some space before you get divorced. Here are just some things that are less important than your marriage. If you don’t have time for sex, then you don’t have time for much else. Go to work, go to church. Cut the rest until things normalize. Because your marriage should be a fairly large priority in your life. It should be God, then marriage, then the rest.
A lot of people get bogged down with kids activities. Guess what. They are not a necessity (unlike sex in a marriage). They are a bonus, an extra, something you do if you have the time and money. Sacrificing your marriage so your kids can kick a soccer ball is a bad trade. Cut sports, gymnastics, music lessons, etc..
Kids need a loving home with affectionate parents above everything else (excluding food and shelter). It is more important than birthday parties, dances and movies. I’d even argue that it’s more important than their education, since the stats show that kids with divorced parents:
- Have less of a chance going to post-secondary school
- Will likely earn less money
So, it’s not really worth helping them with their homework if they’re never going to get a decent education or job. Focus on the marriage first.
Cut out church activities. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely in favor of going to church. But there is often a lot of extra stuff going on that is extremely helpful, but if it’s interfering with your marriage, it is counterproductive for you. So, quit the board/committee/council. Step down as deacon/elder/lay pastor/coordinator/children’s ministry/nursery/small group leader/youth group leader/singer/pianist/etc..
If you don’t have time to have sex, you don’t have time to visit family. You don’t have time for vacations. You don’t have time for camping, or Disney, or cruises.
TV. Computer. Phone. Get rid of them. Simple. Unless you NEED it for work (and then only use it for work), it needs to go. Sorry, you can’t handle having them, so you won’t handle having them.
So, what’s left?
OK, so cut all that out. What’s taking your time? If it’s not
- Work that you need to survive (that doesn’t mean pay for the boat, or the second car you wouldn’t need without the second job)
- Scripture (and too much scripture can be a sin, don’t think it can’t)
- Prayer (too much prayer can be a sin too)
- Raising your children (which again, needs to be reasonable)
then you need to get rid of it.
Cut everything. Then, once sex is back on the table regularly, start adding them in, by ones and twos (not everything all at once). As soon as your marriage starts suffering: STOP! That’s where you hold for a while. Because you can’t handle more.
Where’s the sacrifice?
As mentioned in another comment, most advice in the Christian community revolves around being more loving and more sacrificial in order to bring sex back into a marriage. Believe me, all these changes aren’t going to work if you do it with the wrong spirit. This isn’t about punishing. This isn’t a punitive “Not enough time? Fine, we’ll see how much time you have when I take everything away!” This has to be done in love.
You have to look at your spouse, realize they are overburdened and can’t seem to stick to priorities. So, you need to help them simplify, and you can’t do that if you aren’t willing to simply your life as well, and so you need to do it because you want the marriage, as a whole, to improve, for both of you. Not because you want sex, because, the fact is, the lack of sex is a symptom, not a cause. The cause (in this case) is not enough time. Or, it’s possible that you do all this, and there still isn’t any sex happening. Then, to use medical terminology, the lack of time isn’t the cause either, but “referred pain”, and you have to start looking for the real reason.
But, this all takes a loving spirit. Of wanting to connect with your spouse in a more meaningful way. And it will take sacrifice, don’t think it won’t. It’s going to be hard to tell your kids “sorry, we have to pull you out of football, we have too much to do around the house, and we need your help.” It’s going to be hard to say “I know we go camping every year, but we can’t, we just don’t have the time.” And it’s going to be hard to tell your pastor “I know I signed up to be an elder for 2 years, but my marriage is in crisis, and I believe God’s requirements for an elder is to have his house in check first, and I don’t qualify for this position.” That is going to take sacrifice. Because someone is going to have to stand firm while the other spouse, children, church, friends, family are all mad at you and think you are insane and unreasonable.
To me, marriage is worth enduring that ridicule.
What do you think? How would you react to “we don’t have enough time for sex”? Let us know in the comments below.
76 thoughts on “You don’t have time for sex?”
This was a brave post JD, good on ya! Lots of truth here. It’s like people have forgotten that marriage is a foundation for the family, that is a real living entity. You can’t take all the strength that is to come from the foundation and put it on top and expect the upper structure of the building (family, in this case) to hold it together. The weight of the structure will crush the foundation.
Thanks Robyn. I had a feeling you’d approve. My wife said much the same “It’s good, but you’re going to upset some people.”
I think most of us need a bit of a kick now and again, to take a step back and see what’s important, because so often we just go through life without matching our priorities to our calendar.
You know me too well JD! 🙂
When you share truth that people don’t want to hear, there’s an adage that comes to mind: The first one through the wall gets the bloodiest.
So far, no blood. I think those that disagree just close the browser…which is too bad. I’d much rather have the discussion.
Yeah, I hear that. I like debates/discussions – as long as they are free of the negative emotions.
I’m OK with negative emotions. They happen, and sometimes when people are working through stuff, it takes a while to get to the positive. So long as they are working on it, and not just being rude, I’m OK with them being real.
yes, better said. I think perhaps that’s the word I could have reached for, ‘rude’.
FYI. I getting closer to going through that wall myself. I probably need a healthier respect for blood than I have though. I don’t mind the sight of my own blood, but I don’t want to needlessly wound others in the process. I guess all you can do is wade into the fray and start splashing about. Mistakes will be made and life will go on.
Good one: “wade into the fray and start splashing about” !
Actually I backed of from the original which was “slashing” about. In the last two days something happened on a facebook page that affected out pastor and his wife and a member said she felt because of it she felt she and her husband were going to have to leave the church. It left me a) wondering who has the authority in her marriage, b) irritated that she felt it was any of her business, c) dismayed that my pastor and his wife gave her power by responding the way they did, and d) her chastising the pastor’s wife for having glamour shots made by a relative in the business. No nudity or anything like that, just beauty shots on the beach and one of them in a slit dress. Haven’t seen them yet so I am shooting in the dark. They were posted on the relative’s page, not the pastor’s, his wife’s or the churches. It’s bad enough that there are Christian’s in denial about their sexuality and sensual side as given them by God, but do we have to abuse one another for it, especially or pastors and their wives. Now the whole church will likely be pulled into it for no good reason than what if feel is a dumpy dressing, no make-up wearing prude who feels they should be the arbiter of what is permissible in church marriages. Yeah, I’m pi$$ed and ready to slash. My pastor and his wife do not deserve this and my church does not deserve to be subjected to it either. GRRRR!
That’s a pet peeve of mine: people not letting Pastors and their wives be normal people. I mean, what happened? Where did we get the idea that there is anything special about a pastor or his wife? Frankly it’s disgusting, because it leads to them not being able to be real, or have any real friends.
As such, it impedes their ability to lead their church, so it only serves to hurt those who impose this mindset. Frankly, if I was that pastor, I’d say, “Yeah, she did that for me, it was hot, and my wife is awesome. If you have a problem with that, well, I have a book in a Bible you may want to start tearing up, because it’s a lot more explicit and has many naughtier things in it.”
Remind me not to cross swords with you. 🙂 Of all things, tomorrow is Pastor Appreciation at our church. I called him to let him know my wife and I are behind him and that his wife and marriage should have priority before any church busybody. He needs to shield his wife first and foremost. They are such great people. He deserves so much better than he often gets in terms of support. We aren’t a bad church, but there are a lot of worn old horses and not a lot of younger ones who are willing to step up. The story of most contemporary churches I suppose.
And that there book … our children are reading!!! *gasp*
@BD – it seems to me the “arbiters” bring with them the oh so heavy yoke of legalism.
Your angry fervor echoes Paul’s in Galatians when those with the religious spirit were trying convince others they were right, Paul responded, (and I quote from the NT – “I wish those who unsettle and confuse you would [go all the way and] cut themselves off!”
Paul was frustrated with them for trying to put their own religious hang ups on others.
I can tell when people do this now, I didn’t used to be able to. But to be sure, I was guilty of it too when I was first Born to the Spirit. And that’s the key that helps me have pity for them now. They are just immature, they don’t know any better.
@ Robyn – How annoyed am I? I just finished composing my “About” page for the blog. Next I have to do a statement of purpose page. I will likely pull a lot of the about stuff back into it and shorten it. I need to start working up the maiden post and turn a lot of my archived comments into posts so I don’t fall behind. I have been looking at the way monogabliss handles her’s with scheduling during the week and no posts on weekends. It may make it easier or OTOH it may be more demanding and limiting committing to topical days. I do feel that keeping a consistent publishing schedule, no matter the frequency or style, is key to sustaining a following. Thank you again for the anniversary post. It helped make the day all the more special for us.
Would love to know the address when its up.
It will happen this way. Some day someone you know will send you a link to a blog they have found that they know will be of interest to you. The author will likely be someone you know, or they may remain anonymous though the blog will open to the public.
So reminds me of 3 Days of the Condor(1975):
Joe Turner: I’d like to go back to New York.
Joubert: You have not much future there. It will happen this way. You may be walking. Maybe the first sunny day of the spring. And a car will slow beside you, and a door will open, and someone you know, maybe even trust, will get out of the car. And he will smile, a becoming smile. But he will leave open the door of the car and offer to give you a lift.
Max von Sydow underplays those lines so superbly well. One minute of great cinema.
For someone how really dislikes reality shows, I have such a flair for the dramatic.
BD – sounds like you are making progress in getting it up and running, looking forward to it!! Your welcome for the anniversary post, I’m glad you guys enjoyed it.
@ Robyn – I finished a draft of the about page a couple of hours ago. TADA!
This is so so good and so so true! Our marriage should come first… period. If your marriage is suffering because of little league, worship team practice, or Wednesday night Bible Study, it’s time to clear the schedule and focus on your relationship.
I really like that you talked about this being a marriage issue, and not a sex issue. “Hey, we’re not having enough sex so it’s time to clear the calendar.” would certainly not fly very well. A wife who is purposefully avoiding sex is going to feel that this is yet another tactic to try to get her to give in. I am a very sex positive wife, and very much a home-body, so I’d have no issue with my husband declaring that we’re going to clear our schedules for more sex, but a sex-resistant extrovert is going to feel that she’s being sentenced to jail time if her husband takes this approach.
“Hey sweetie, I’m really feeling disconnected in our marriage and I’d like us to look at what we can cut out of our lives so that we can have a weekly date night and time to take walks in the evening together (or sit on the porch sipping wine…)” Would be the approach to take. Take the time to romance and woo your wife back into a friendship first. Cuz honestly, if you’re not having sex, you’re most likely not enjoying a friendship either. Start there and see if she doesn’t start to respond more positively to bedroom advances.
Thank you for such a honest and bold article.
You’re very welcome.
I agree, it has to come from a place of love and a desire to invest in the relationship, otherwise, it’s just you enslaving your spouse and trading freedom for sex. Intent is everything.
I enjoy reading your posts. This one caught my eye, but then I questioned. What happens when there is time, but one has said not to ask for it and tends to reject any advances?
Thanks Heather. Yeah, that is a much harder topic, I’m working on that one, but it’s a lot more complex and involved.
EXCELLENT…I would write more but it would take too much time away from the subject at hand. 🙂
THANKS for a great post…
Feel free to come back and write more later!
“We don’t have enough time for sex.” Hmm. My reaction to that would be the same as my reaction to “I love you but there aren’t enough hours in my day to spend time with you every day.” Like I heard a pastor recently say, if you say you believe in doing something but you don’t do it (tithe, pray, etc.) then you don’t really believe in it, you’re just giving lip service and perhaps not being honest with yourself. Same with sex in marriage or spending time in general with your spouse. You can say “it’s a good/needed thing” but if you don’t actually make time for it your lack of priority makes a huge statement to the contrary. Barring extenuating circumstances, we all ‘have time’ for the things in life we deem important.
Your heart is where your treasure is.
And your calendar reflects your true priorities.
It’s easy to SAY something is important to you. It’s a lot harder to actually LIVE it.
I posted this comment on another site addressing this same topic very recently where it is in moderation still. I have edited and revised it somewhat and am posting here as it may be deemed unsuitable for the aforementioned “women’s” site.
I have heard arguments both for and against scheduling sex into your life.
Certainly for the men, and hopefully for at least some of the women, it serves a very important function. It says, “Yes, you are going to have sex.” As self-serving as that may sound, having sex is a BIG deal in most men’s lives. Wondering if, let alone when, you are going to have sex creates a good deal of stress in the male life and the stress gives birth to irritability and frustration. Cranky husband syndrome, if you will. Whether as a woman you can empathize with this has no more bearing on the truth or acceptance of it than your husband empathizing with PMS or perimenopause. Truly understanding will not likely to happen for either side. We are then left with accommodating our partner’s needs as the only option short of no sex.
Scheduling sex takes all the spontaneity out of the act is the common complaint. It creates what some call “duty sex” is one argument. I would present this argument in rebuttal. Christian based though this site may be, not all Christians waited until marriage to have sex. Those that did saved themselves until the wedding night. Either way, both eventually anticipated and planned a future sexual encounter.
Those that didn’t wait spent the preceding days in anticipation of the date and the ensuing sex. I am sure the same could be said of the wedding night for those who chose to wait, though the actual moment may have been fraught with some tentativeness, especially on the part of the bride. Sex being thus “scheduled” seemed to not ruin the ardor of either party due to any lack of “spontaneity.” The point is, the sex certainly wasn’t ruined or diminished by being “scheduled,” as it were.
It possible that part of the problem with scheduling is it creates a commitment this is difficult to dodge, and then only by mutual consent. Scheduling also forces us to acknowledge our attitudes about our sexuality and talk about them. The degree to which sex is a priority in our individual and shared lives becomes all too apparent to our partner when it comes time to choose a date and time. Now we must talk about frequency, when, how, what and even where. Any hesitance here may be seen as a lack of interest in resolution and potential rejection. “We have to put effort into the sex part of our relationship: Really? Can’t we just do it when we feel like it like we always have?” AS IF. As if you both felt like it at the same time for the same amount of time and to be done in the same way. As my least favorite pop psychologist says, “How’s that working for you?” Giving it more time is not likely to solve anything.
I would encourage you to consider scheduling sex a part of the routine of your life, especially if one of the partners is already concerned about frequency. Making it part of the routine does not mean having to make it “routine.” You are free to schedule any type of sexual encounter that feeds your soul. You are able to create a high level of anticipation with pre-planning during the days leading up to the sexual encounter. You have days of mental foreplay with a perhaps a bit of physical foreplay and teasing mixed in too. Think Christmas, birthday, anniversary, and Valentine day. Consider how “foreplay” is a big part of the enjoyment of those moments. There is a build up before each one of them as we plan the date, find a gift, and search out a card. The anticipation can create suspense and emotional tension that will enhance the moment.
We can do the same with sex if we stop denying our inner sexual being and acknowledge it instead. Sex was a gift created for our enjoyment. We need to learn to accept our enjoyment and desire for it and quit thinking we must be overcome with passion and emotion to before we can engage our partner in a satisfying sex act, which may or may not be intercourse, and may even be for the primary benefit of only one of you. One only may give; one only may receive; one only may be done; one only may do; one only may watch, but both will be present.
In time, you will likely find you continue to honor the schedule while also creating more frequent opportunities that are indeed spontaneous. If you stop honoring the schedule, I can assure you the sex will drop in frequency and quality without fail. This is to say, if you go back to catch-as-catch-can sex, the low desire partner will be forced into the position of controlling the sex whether it is their intent or pleasure to do so and you will be back at square one. Vladimir Horowitz is credited with saying, “If I don’t practice for a day, I know it. If I don’t practice for two days, my wife knows it…” Don’t get out of practice with your spouse.
The only time we “scheduled” sex was when we were having sex daily. It was exhausting and ultimately unsustainable at that time (3 kids who didn’t all sleep through the night yet), but my wife commented that it was so much easier to be prepared for, not worry about it or initiating, because it was just an automatic thing.
Thanks for the post-in-a-comment. I was going to post on this myself in the near future, and still might since I agree, it’s a great way to solve a lot of specific issues.
Sorry if I stole you thunder for the future post. I don’t mean to hijack but when I start writing it isn’t done until it’s done. All the more reason to get my own blog up and running. This particular “post-in-a-comment” was better than it’s predecessor at FW where I linked to here. Interestingly, I did read your post prior to her’s and I guess it planted a seed that ended up budding on her site but is still has yet to bloom as it languishes in moderation. Perhaps too long for her too.
I remember trying to “make a baby” in the summer so my wife would be pregnant in the cooler months. Who would have thought sex would have seemed like work? You have that very narrow window each month and “being in the mood” is secondary to just getting it done. Pleasure under duress. I look forward to your thoughts on scheduling. I think the word itself is the biggest turn-off: like “diet”, “budget” and “death.” Planning sex would probably be more agreeable to most people, but I think they still want to believe in the mythology of being swept away by uncontrollable passion, especially American Christian women. It allows them to engage in and enjoy sex while not giving the appearance of being lustful with their desire. Sad situation. I can’t promise my comments will be shorter in the future, but I’ll try to be more concise since it seems to be problematic.
No need to be sorry, it’s a free space. I welcome all discussion. It was well done. Like-wise, the length didn’t bother me at all. Some of my posts are close to being book chapters.
I agree, I think people in general think that planned things aren’t exciting, but you know what, I get excited about seeing my Net Worth grow little by little every month. I get excited when it’s time to have sex, even if I know it was coming for and entire year (like birthday sex), I get excited when I see my kids reading well (even though it’s taken months to get to this point). Slow and steady can still be exciting, you just need to change your mindset I think. Stop wanting everything to be like a movie.
To take from Star Trek: Enterprise:
Crewman Elizabeth Cutler: They don’t have movies where you come from, do they?
Dr. Phlox: Well, we had something similar a few hundred years ago, but they lost their appeal when people discovered their real lives were more interesting.
Sadly, most of us haven’t figured that out yet.
I don’t think mainly American Christian women believe in the mythology of being swept away by uncontrollable passion. Part of it comes from watching romantic movies or reading steamy novels which women world-wide do and, yes, we can set ourselves up for a lot a disappointment if we believe this is always reality. However, apart from that, I believe a lot of this is just the way God made women. We have a desire and need to be romanced, wooed but it doesn’t have to be ‘uncontrollable passion’ and maybe it shouldn’t be a myth. Our sexual needs and desires are just different from a man’s and being wooed for ourselves, not just our body, often fuels the sexual desire. Also, historically women who have lusty desires have been treated with disdain, called less than nice names, or much worse, but men of all ages are not only expected to be sexual they are encouraged to be so, a double standard that still exists and continues to be an inner battle for a lot of us women long after we are married. As to scheduling sex, I’m all for it now as opposed to earlier in our marriage when I thought this would, as you said, not be romantic, but also left me feeling used and sexually unsatisfied. Having a husband who shows very little affection or intimate attention to me apart from sex fuels a fear I have of being used solely for his pleasure. I doubt I am alone in this. Scheduling sex is great but I think that works well only when the marriage relationship is on solid ground outside the bedroom. And there needs to be ongoing conversation about what’s working, what’s not, etc.
Yes, scheduling sex is not always the answer. Like I said, it solves a lot of specific issues, but certainly not all of them.
If there is an underlying issue of lacking selfless love in a marriage, this is not going to help much.
Of course, I agree, more communication is always good.
I believe completely in being swept up in uncontrolled and passion which is every bit as primal as my husband’s. At 48 years old I’ve read 1 steamy novel, and much prefer movies of action, war and adventure to chick flicks.
What I found to be true in our marriage was that the mythology was in thinking that ‘wooing’ and ‘romance’ is part of the sex act.
@Robyn. A romantic that prefers alpha male movies over chic flicks. So many pieces to the puzzle of you. My collection is building. You feel, that in some way though not completely, sex within a mature marriage is more about emotion expressed through physicality than wooing and romance? Or do I not properly understand “What I found to be true in our marriage was that the mythology was in thinking that ‘wooing’ and ‘romance’ is part of the sex act. Have I exceeded that comfort level too much?
No, you’ve not exceeded my comfort level 🙂 and yes you understand correctly. Female proponents of the, “Must have wooing and romance in order to be ‘ready’ for sex or to ‘want’ sex,” more commonly known as ‘foreplay’ have tried to divide the age old question, “What came first the chicken or the egg?” The intimacy they crave with their husbands comes as the result of sex, rather than a preface for it to happen.
Romance becomes the temperature of the marriage rather than an isolated part of sex.
@Robyn. I just need another corner piece and I can start on collecting all the edges then I just wait and fill in the middle. Or die of old age first.
@L. My advocacy of consideration to schedule sex is only when both couples agree there is a problem and both want to do something about it. In no way would I schedule sex against another partners will.
As to “solid ground,” I feel if both agree to the existence of a problem and want to solve it, that is solid ground enough to begin to schedule sex on. I say this because I feel lack of adequate sex can create its own version of shaky ground and you need to treat the sexual side of the problem to stabilize the ground and further heal the marriage.
I love how you have challenged all the extra activities we fill our lives with. We live in a culture where we feel like we have to be doing. I would like to see a bit more being – being available to ourselves, God, our loved ones…
Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
Mel from Essential Thing Devotions
Thanks Mel, glad you enjoyed it. I agree, this isn’t a problem solely for marriage, but for Christianity in general.
“Our calendars should reflect our priorities” I once heard. But so often, they don’t.
I agree with you that many couples/families are doing entirely too much, and therefore sex and intimacy take a back seat – which is terrible for marriages. It seemed that you were saying, though, (and correct me if I’m wrong) that one spouse (presumably the husband) could solve this problem by simply making a unilateral decision to cut out every extra thing the family is doing. It’s hard for me to imagine that approach working out well. This seems like something a couple has to work together on, although one spouse could certainly initiate it by talking it up and making changes in his or her own schedule and commitments. Ultimately, if the couple isn’t working together on it (although it may take a while for both to get on board), I think it will end up coming across as “I’m ending all of these things you like to do so you will have sex with me more often.”
Not necessarily the husband, I did my best to be gender neutral. But, basically, yes. I think either spouse should have the power to step in and say “this is critical to our marriage, it needs to change”. If the husband is having an affair and gets caught, we’d think it completely rational and expected for the wife to say, unilaterally, “No more contact with the other woman!” If the wife spends tens of thousands of dollars on a hidden credit card, everyone would expect and support the husband who says “You cannot have a credit card!”
In both cases, these are deemed acceptable, because one of the spouses has a problem they cannot control, and it is damaging the marriage which they swore to uphold.
I see no difference in this case. One spouse has a problem managing time, or over committing, or prioritizing, to the critical detriment of the marriage they vowed to uphold. Yes, by all means, I would expect the other spouse to say “You are not being faithful to me, and this needs to stop!” Because they are harming the marriage as a whole. Like I said, it’s not primarily about the sex, it’s about priorities and commitment and where they put their marriage in the hierarchy of things.
I hope that clarifies my viewpoint. Thanks for the chance to discuss.
I guess we agree on the problem, but maybe not on the solution. Or maybe it’s that I see the problem more as the family’s schedule has gradually gotten out of hand/husband and wife haven’t worked together to set priorities effectively/now they are stretched so thin they don’t have time for sex, rather than one person has a huge time management/commitment problem and the other person needs to come down on it like a rock. The latter is definitely possible, but it seems like the former is more common. Anyway, thanks for the interesting post and discussion. I actually wrote a guest post on a similar topic today, so this is timely for me to consider.
Yes, The Forgiven Wife’s post on “sex is a rock” is awesome!
I was curious about this, so I did a survey to find a out. Over 100 people responded between when I went to bed and got up in the morning. Apparently this is a topic people want to share about.
When sex is off the table, is it generally mutual or one sided? Particularly when sleep/tiredness/it’s late is the stated reason, when the husband is high drive and the wife is low drive:
80% of the wives in that situation said it was a mutual decision to go to sleep.
However, 71% of the husbands said it was unilaterally the wife’s decision.
So, something is not adding up here. Here’s my guess:
The high-drive husbands generally want sex and will make it a priority, but the wife won’t, so they see it as “SHE didn’t make it a priority, so WE’RE not going to have sex.” (unilateral)
The low-drive wives are more likely to not want sex and will put it at the bottom of the pile, and so when it doesn’t happen, she sees it as “well, WE didn’t have time, so WE’RE not going to have sex.” (mutual)
So, with respect, I disagree with your conclusion about which is more common. The data doesn’t seem to support it, though it appears many wives are convincing themselves it is true.
P.S. To the high drive wives out there and low drive husbands, and any other that doesn’t fit into the trend. I know, you exist, but we’re talking about which is “more common”, thus the generalities, please don’t be offended.
Check out ForgivenWife.com’s take on the same topic at: http://forgivenwife.com/2013/10/02/sex-is-a-rock
I take serious issue with this post. I have young children, ageing parents, a job (which we need to keep our home), and we attend church regularly. None of these things can be removed from our lives. We don’t go out with friends, take vacations or have our children in any after school activities. There is laundry that needs to be folded, mail that hasn’t been opened, and dishes that need to be done. When exactly are we going to fit sex into our lives and why would we want to? Who has the energy for sex? I fear that too many Christians have started buying into our oversexed culture and have started putting worldly standards on Christian marriages.
If you and your spouse are happy with your current situation and your marriage is strong, then by all means, don’t fix what ain’t broken. In many marriages though, while one spouse might be perfectly fine with infrequent (or no) sex, the other spouse is quite unhappy with the arrangement. In these cases, a couple should communicate and be willing to make an effort to include sex for the good of their marriage.
I can’t figure out though how making intimacy a priority in a marriage and striving to make sex happen a couple times a week is being worldly. My husband and I enjoy regular lovemaking and make it a priority in our marriage. I didn’t realize we were being worldly in this attitude. It sure doesn’t feel like worldliness… the result of our regular lovemaking is less conflict in our marriage, lots of laughter, and a strong bond of love between us. We are more patient and kind with one another and rarely critical and selfish. hmm, that doesn’t seem like worldliness to me.
In contrast, when we let our sexual intimacy slide, we start to get grumpy and less patient and loving with one another (and our kids). My non-scientific observation is that our less than stellar moments (ie, big ugly fights) in our marriage occur after about a week of no intimacy. hmmm…
I have to agree with happywife. I do not see how sex within marriage is being worldly. It is God’s design for marriage. We are to become ‘one flesh’ with our spouse and it is within marriage that we can freely enjoy each other sexually.
It would be ‘worldly’ if one spouse were seeking sexual satisfaction outside of marriage or through the use of porn or private masturbation.
Yes, life gets busy, sometimes too hectic especially when there are children still at home. But keeping that sexual connection should take priority so spouses stay connected.
My husband and I are much more connected with each other when we are able to make love often, unfortunately, his long work hours (up at 1:30am and in bed by 6:30pm) make it extremely hard right now to have sex more than once a week. And I definitely notice a difference in my emotional state when it’s been so long since we’ve connected sexually. It’s not that you cannot still love one another and be playful and kind, but sex is the deepest connection with our spouses and it provides so many benefits for us.
“…and why would we want to?” Wow, I think the question should be, “why would be not want to fit sex into our lives!”
I agree, too many Christians have started buying into our oversexed culture. The stats on porn use are through the roof within our churches. This is a massive problem. However, the answer isn’t to ignore sex within our own marriages, but rather to redeem them to be as God intended, which I read to be both frequent and passionate. I think if more spouses put the focus on sex in marriage that the bible gives (which is to say, a lot), then we wouldn’t have as large a problem with Christians buying into the oversexed culture and worldly standards.
Let me clarify, I don’t think sex in marriage is being worldly but I do feel that many Christians have started treating sex like the “main event” in marriage. I believe this is because sex is so prevalent in our culture. I’m new to reading Christian marriage blogs but I am shocked to see so much about sex. It bothers me a great deal to hear women get advice like “Do it even if you don’t want to because it will make him happy” or “be as adventurous and available as your husband wants so he won’t leave you”. Honestly, do people not have any self control? All too often sex basically boils down to a sense of obligation which breeds contempt and resentment or even shame at letting our bodies be used. (I should also say I have never been abused or molested, I have had no other sexual partners and my family was always open and honest about sex.) I just fear that too many women on these type of blogs get the message that being a Christian wife is equivalent to being a doormat and I would never want my own daughter to feel that way. It’s okay to say “No” and say it often. Sex should be about both partners’ desire and satisfaction.
I can certainly understand where you would get the message that women are just to “do it” whether they truly want to or not, because it is our ‘duty’ as a Christian wife. I too see this sometimes and it really rubs me wrong.
Sex was designed for both men AND women to enjoy within the realm of marriage. And I think that IF women are truly getting satisfaction from their sexual relationship with their husbands, THEN they want to make it a priority.
I say all that, because I lived in a 20 year abusive marriage where my satisfaction was my ‘problem’…my ex had NO desire to please me or learn how to please me nor did he even really LIKE me. Hence, I am no longer in that marriage.
I have been remarried for almost two years to a wonderful man that truly loves and likes me, and there is mutual sexual satisfaction.
Having been in two completely different marriages, I can say that a regular sex life within a loving, healthy marriage, is wanted and made a priority. There are so many benefits from having an active sex life, both physical and emotional, and it truly does bond together a husband and a wife in a way nothing else can.
Should it be the first and last thing you think about? Not necessarily and probably won’t happen! Should it be thought about? Yes!
Truly enjoying sex with your husband is not about being a doormat. And saying ‘no’ should always be an option for both people, but to say it often could mean both partners are not mutually satisfied and feeling desired.
Just my humble thoughts. 🙂
To be fair, this is a blog about sex within marriage. To come and say there is “so much about sex” is a little like showing up to a worship leaders conference and saying “they’re too concerned about music”, or a seminar on preaching and saying they are “too focused on sermons, there are other aspects of church”.
Now, I agree, there is a lot of discussion about sex in the marriage blogger circles, but we all write in order to fulfill a need we see in the community. Most of the comments I get, emails, survey answers all shout out to me that we need more talk about sex, not less. There is so much hurt and pain in this aspect of marriage and there are so few resources for Christians. Every other aspect of marriage is socially acceptable material for sermons, small groups, conversation, etc., but sex is still this taboo subject that half the pastors don’t want to touch, and the other half are dealing with their own issues in this area.
Now, I agree, it is deplorable to tell a wife “just have sex because he wants it” without regard for her feelings. Besides, if it isn’t done out of love, he’ll know and it will be wasted anyways. Most husbands don’t want sex, they want intimacy, and that is a huge difference. By the same token though, I find many wives, once they find out how much sex means to their husband (not just physically, but emotionally), their hearts tend to melt a bit and they realize that what we’re talking about isn’t the physical act as much as the attitude, the passion, the intimacy that should be inherent in all sex acts between spouses and this in turn elicits a response in them to be better lovers.
Since you are new to the blog and seem to have questions surrounding sex and what it means, I would humbly suggest you check out these blog posts:
Is sex a need or a want?
All you want is sex!
I’m curious to see what your perspective is.
“I just fear that too many women on these type of blogs get the message that being a Christian wife is equivalent to being a doormat”
I can’t speak for others, but personally, these type of blogs encourage me to embrace my sexuality and enjoy intimacy with my husband. I never feel obligated to have sex with him.. I feel privileged. Celebrating with my husband this most intimate form of connecting is truly a beautiful experience.
“It’s okay to say “No” and say it often.”
I do believe it’s okay to say “no”, but I wouldn’t say often. I want my husband to trust that I desire him sexually and to know that he is my best friend and lover. To say “no” *often* would send a different message don’t you think?
If you’ve been perusing marriage blogs that are addressing sex, I would encourage you to read through comments posted by men who are devastated by their wives’ sexual refusal. It isn’t about the sex for most of these men, it’s about being rejected in this area of his manhood and not feeling loved and desired by his wife. Most men want so much to make love *with* their wives and to know that she is fulfilled sexually… it isn’t just about him getting a release. He wants to know that as a man, he is able to please his wife.
I really think that women who refuse to participate in a sexual union with their husbands are telling their men that they are not needed or valuable or manly.
I would encourage you to ask your husband what your “no” does to him. It might surprise you to hear what he has to say.
one more thing… and then I’ll shut up.
Not only do I think it’s not good to say “no” very often, I think we should take that a step further and *initiate* often. Talk about letting your husband know that you are hot for him! Don’t make him always be the one initiating. Pursue him!
One thing you ladies must understand about doing the initiating is this: You can be too subtle. Think about the ways most women complain about how their husbands act when they are interested in sex. Groping” is high on the list. Saying coarse things too. “He comes up behind me and grabs my boobs, butt, etc.” We men tend to get very touchy-feely because that physical connection is what we are seeking to help bond with you. (Not going to get into the emotional side here and now, thank you.) Touching you helps to ramp up our desire and gets our physiology preparing. I do also recognize the desire of women for non-sexual touch which helps in bonding for them. This is a source of much dismay and even hurt for many women. I do understand that. He only touches me when he wants sex. In our defense, sometimes touching you gets us thinking about sex, not only the other way around. READ that “I touched you and then wanted sex,” as opposed to “I wanted sex so I touched you.” I got off topic there because this is a pet issue of mine.
On topic again: The above was to illustrate that you may have to use a more aggressive style of initiating that is foreign and possibly clumsy or even off-putting when done to you. You may have to be more “hands on” in initiating style; more direct in your language and not so romantically subtle. Both men and women often do things, especially in foreplay, to the other as they would have it done to themselves. Those things you find not quite on the mark for you may be exactly what he finds pleasing if done to him or said to him. As crude and upsetting as it may sound, there is little subtle about strippers and porn. What is done there is done because it serves the purpose. I AM NOT saying wive have to behave like strippers or porn stars. (Read that one more time.) I AM saying that it is the directness exhibited there that appeals to men: The tease with an implied promise of more. It doesn’t have to be a raunchy, kinky, immoral or physically/emotionally damaging more. It just has to be an implied more that is delivered on. It may take you briefly outside your current comfort zone talking and doing like that, but in time you will likely find you relax into it with repetition. Like anything new, the discomfort often is really in the “newness”, not the action itself. Please do initiate more and don’t be discouraged if we don’t respond on cue or as you would like. Quite frankly, we are not used to having women initiate in much any way so when it happens we can find ourselves literally caught with our pants down but sputtering away wondering how to react. Amusingly tragic isn’t it? Who say God doesn’t have a sense of humor?
Gah! You scooped my post idea again! (which is OK).
But, I am going to tackle it from the other side as well. So often, we husbands say “my wife never initiates” while completely failing to watch out for their initiations.
@ Jay Dee,
I think it is a two-way street. If men are able to understand how women typically initiate, then maybe they will start be more in-tuned to their wives and see that they ARE initiating more than they thought. 😉
“So often, we husbands say “my wife never initiates” while completely failing to watch out for their initiations.”
Great idea. I’ll get to work on that post right away. First to post wins. HA Hurry up. I’m already waiting to comment. *as I sit at the light blipping my throttle* It is easy to miss the signs isn’t it, Jay Dee? Please tell us more in a future post, won’t you? That’s as gracious as it gets. 🙂
Haha, I just posted over at FW without first reading your what you wrote here! I ended up saying pretty what you did…and yep, I’m a woman too!
But I do know that men need less subtle and more direct forms of initiating from their wives. I often find myself falling into the typical female way of thinking, “why doesn’t he just know how I feel or what I want? Why can’t he just see it?”
I try really hard not to do that and to openly share with my husband what I’m thinking so he doesn’t have to guess. Sometimes I’ll jokingly say to him, “can’t you read my mind?!” LOL
@Aimee. And then you got the mail with this link to boot.
@Aimee. I’ll be replying to your post on FW tomorrow. Made some notes tonight. Good job on the post.
I really think that women who refuse to participate in a sexual union with their husbands don’t love their husbands.
They’ll say they love them, but it’s akin to the way they love their iPod.
@ JayDee, your statement about refusal to participate in a sexual union is so true. You have read various comments from me these past weeks, so you know it is hard for me to believe that my wife really loves me as a husband, or rather only as a roommate or neighbor.
@happywife, your description about what husbands really want, feel, and need is accurate and complete, wow ! Our sexuality is at the core of who we men are. Saying no should be kept to truly serious reasons. Just saying “not in the mood” is not valid, because you can jump into the sexual union with a good attitude, and your spouse can oftentimes bring out the desire in you.
If all of PIV, manual or oral sex are truly not feasible, then say “Honey, let’s get it on as soon as we can, the next day.”
@Ireland, these marriage blogs truly fill a void that is not being covered by most churches.
A truly Biblical marriage would have joyful and frequent sexual connections. The sexual union is what sets a marriage apart from all other relationships. The worldly standard often pulls spouses apart, so there is less sexual connection inside marriage and more outside of it.
It would be interesting to read your husband’s comments. I imagine you could find 30 minutes of free time daily, if others could help with the dishes, clothes, mail, etc. What is most important to you (and to hubby) ? Everyone can always make time for his/her priorities in life. Sex is the glue to keep spouses together on several levels; what else could be the main event in a marriage ?
Now, to be fair, I think this cuts both ways (the selfish love issue). I think we need a serious redefinition of love in our culture. Away from the definition Plato wrote in The Symposium, and towards Paul’s definition is 1 Corinthians 13.
First, Aimee, I am truly sorry for the abuse you endured and so thankful that you have now found a loving relationship. Secondly, if you enjoy sex with your spouse then keep right on doing it. But if sex is not fulfilling or pleasurable, for any reason, then there should not be an obligation. Try to find a balance but you don’t violate yourself just to please someone else. That is not healthy physically, emotionally or spiritually. I see a lot of blogs like this telling people they are evil sinners because they aren’t providing a sexual outlet for their spouse and I simply don’t believe that is true. Sex and love are not the same thing, they exist independently of one another.
The author says that if you don’t have time for sex, you don’t have time to visit family. I would like to point out that one of the Ten Commandments is to honor your parents and there doesn’t seem to be one about having regular intercourse with your spouse. My children developing a relationship and creating memories with their grandparents and great grandparents is far more important than an orgasm.
I began seeking out Christian marriage blogs to help me reconnect with my husband after a few very stress filled years. I never dreamed I would get lessons on sex. If a couple has drifted from one another emotionally, it is very difficult to jump in bed together and not really the healthiest way to reconnect. Our sex life is not about me as I have no libido. It is completely about my husband’s pleasure. So when we engage in sex, it is a great gift to him because there is no benefit to me. It took me a long time and lots of counseling, prayer and medical tests to realize I just have no libido. It’s the way I was made. Sex has always been a struggle for me; am I letting myself be used for his pleasure? Am I undoing years of women’s liberation every time we have sex? This isn’t because I think sex is bad when both people enjoy and desire it, but when you’re doing it just to please your spouse, it seems really degrading, even if you love your partner. My husband and I are open about our sexual desires. Admittedly, we don’t have sex as often as he would like but when we do, it’s because I am at a place where I can be engaged with him and be in the moment.
I saw this with all love, because I truly want your marriage to improve and I’m fearful of it’s status based on the answers you are giving. I’m finding that your statements radically contradict the Bible.
First, you say there should not be any obligation if you don’t find sex pleasurable.
1 Corinthians 7:4 says that it is your husbands choice whether or not your body is available. Thus, you are obligated if he chooses (likewise he is obligated if you desire sex). In practical terms, I’ve heard from many marriages, and have seen in my own that love grows by an amazing extent when this is followed.
1 Corinthians 7:5 goes on to say you are not to deprive one another. In other words, you are obligated to fulfill your spouses sexual needs.
You say the Bible says to honor your mother and father. That is so, but to say that you must visit them more often than have sex is far outside the bounds of commandment. You also say there is no commandment requiring sex. I disagree. While it is not in the ten commandments, it is the first commandment God ever spoke “Be fruitful and multiply”, which requires sex. Again in Genesis 2:24 he tells them that husband and wife should “become one flesh”, a euphemism for sex. And while it is true that sex and love are not the same thing, the Bible is pretty clear that marriage is to include sex and that the way you live your love should be selfless.
Add to this an entire book on sex in the Bible (Song of Solomon) and we can get the picture that sex is pretty important to God.
I see nothing in the Bible saying you are required to be “in the mood”, but I see many references to serving others for their good and not your own.
You say your sex life is not about you because you have no libido, but I fail to see the connection. Just because you lack the drive to initiate doesn’t mean you are free from your marriage vows.
Here is the problem. This obligation needs to be an internal drive to love and follow God’s will. And that is the idea I do my best to push. I don’t tell husbands to go make their wives have sex, I tell wives to think about the damage they are doing by not having sex, and about the good they will do by having sex, in the hopes that they will recognize God’s will in their lives. But, if you come to it with the concept that sex is only for men, and that wives gain nothing from it, that it is all about the physical release, that sex is something imposed on wives by their husbands, that sex is a result of sin, or is a sin, or is dirty or gross, or whatever, then it’s going to be seen in the wrong light.
Listen to the other wives here, they have the wisdom of experience.
Sex bonds a marriage.
Sex creates intimacy.
Sex relieves stress.
and so many other things
If you want to repair the intimacy in your marriage, then my counsel to your husband would be to talk more, be open, share, be transparent. My counsel to you would be to have sex. They work together.
Women (generally) need to feel connected to have sex. Men (generally) need sex to feel connected. Neither is right or wrong, it is just how our brains are wired.
So, why have sex? Because without it, I honestly believe you are missing out on what a truly intimate relationship is, I honestly believe you husband is not 100% invested in the relationship without it. That’s not because he’s a pig, or a dog, or whatever animal you might want to call men in general, but because Oxytocin is nearly foreign in our bodies, so it is hard for us to bond and trust and open up. Sex is the only way we get Oxytocin in sufficient quantities to really show up and it is still a fraction of what women have on a regular basis.
There is so much going on here other than the physical release. I hope you understand that. Don’t believe me? Try it. Increase the sexual frequency and see if the emotional intimacy doesn’t follow. As you said, your husband isn’t happy with how things are, what’s the worst that could happen. Who knows, he might even get better at it, and you might learn to enjoy sex.
Oh, and I highly suggest checking out the blog ForgivenWife.com for more on this topic from a woman’s perspective. From the sounds of it, she used to have a very similar viewpoint to what you currently hold.
Thank you for your response, Ireland. I too am grateful to be in a loving, healthy marriage. And yes, I do enjoy making love with my husband. Making love to my husband is a blessing and gift God gave for us to share together.
“…if sex is not fulfilling or pleasurable, for any reason, then there should not be an obligation.”
Actually, Paul tells us in I Cor 7:3-4 that both husband and wife have a mutual responsibility or obligation to be affectionate towards one another and to serve one another with physical affection also. There should be ongoing love and affection outside of the bedroom, otherwise lovemaking will not be emotionally fulfilling. And I believe that if you are not being fulfilled or pleased during sex with your spouse, then you both need to figure out how to make it happen for you.
“…one of the Ten Commandments is to honor your parents…”
Honoring your parents has nothing at all to do with having sex with your spouse. When you get married you are to leave your mother and father, and cleave to your spouse. That does not mean you can never visit your parents or have a relationship with them again, it simply means they are no longer a higher priority than your husband.
“…there doesn’t seem to be one about having regular intercourse with your spouse.”
Hmmm, again we need to look at I Cor 7:3-6 Depriving one another of regular sex in marriage can open the door to temptation and it is our responsibility when we say “I do” to not deprive one another, other than a mutually agreed upon short time.
I’m sorry that you are struggling in your marriage. It sounds like there is little to no emotional connection and that is causing you to feel resentment perhaps towards connecting with your husband sexually, because it begins to feel like it’s all about him and you are left unsatisfied.
Believe me, I know this feeling all to well.
I pray that you are able to reconnect with your husband and see that a loving sexual relationship should not make you feel degraded or used.
Jay Dee, I’m sorry that we seem to be so at odds on this subject. I don’t feel that I am that far off base with my thoughts on marriage, even from a Biblical perspective. I see the Bible’s message as timeless but we have to consider the culture of the writers, which is very different from the culture in which we live. The rules apply, but not exactly the same way. For example, my father didn’t pay a dowry when I got married, nor was my marriage arranged. Women have rights, options, choices, etc. If your wife really feels the same as you about your relationship, then I pray that you cherish every moment with her because she is being completely selfless. As for the Forgiven Wife, I have read her blog as well and I have expressed my concerns to her about this topic as well. I worry that she only sees herself as valuable as long as her husband is sexually satisfied by her. The facts are each person, man or woman, is created with love and purpose by God our Father and we have value independently of our spouse. Sexually satisfying my husband does not define who I am as a child of the King. I will be stepping away from blogs that promote this view point because it doesn’t apply to my current situation. Prayers for you and your wife.
Ireland, I have been valuable my entire life, even when I didn’t recognize that I was. I believe that sex is integral to a marriage. It’s not about sexual satisfaction. It’s about having a sexual relationship with each other, not only for the sake of your marriage but for each of you. As I’ve explained to you, my worth as God’s daughter is far more than my worth as a wife. There is nothing in my blog to indicate that my value is connected to my husband’s sexual satisfaction. My joy is connected to our shared full intimacy–which includes sexual intimacy but doesn’t stop there.
You’ve said that you seek out Christian marriage blogs but keep running into lessons on sex. May I ask why you are looking at these blogs? You say you are looking for help reconnecting with your husband. You see blogs that are giving you the same message. Have you considered the possibility that perhaps there might be something to what we’re saying? Have you thought about doing a three-month experiment, really throwing yourself into trying it? What is the worst that could happen?
Honestly, my changes all began as something of an experiment. I had no idea if it would last as long as a week. I gave it a month the most. You say the viewpoint that sex is important doesn’t apply to your situation. How do you know until you try?
You can have a low libido and still enjoy the opportunity to feel physically close to your husband. If you are interested in learning how to be more connected with your husband despite your low libido, visit Pearl’s OysterBed (http://www.oysterbed7.com/).
If you want your marriage to be different, you are going to need to do something different. I pray that you find what you need in order to grow your marriage into something that brings you and your husband great joy.