Saturday, June 16, 2007

What about sexual asynchronicity?

So she wants to do it and he'd rather watch football and eat chips. Or he wants to do it and she'd like a bath and a soothing backrub that is not linked to sexual expectations. Or she wants to do it but not with him because he hasn't been emotionally available. Or he wants to do it, but not with her because he doesn't feel respected. So I'm stereotyping a bit. But what are your thoughts, ladies, on a Christian approach to sexual asynchronicity? How does one love another as oneself in such cases? In Christian circles I have heard so much about "the wife's body belongs to the husband and the husband's to his wife," implying that the person who wants to have sex is always right. It seems to me though, that rape is worse than sexual deprivation, although neither is desirable, and feeling forced to have sex because someone else wants to, even you don't strikes me as sexually exploitive and possible a form of rape.

In my marriage, our rule is, "no pressure, just love," meaning that while naturally one person may feel frustrated or disappointed if the other partner isn't up for lovemaking, that it is of the utmost importance to honor that person by not imposing oneself sexually upon them, or asking them to willingly submit to sex when they don't want to. This has worked pretty well for us. I certainly find myself more attracted to someone who doesn't expect me to "put out" just because he wants some, every time he wants some - so the end result is I want to do it more than if I felt I "had to" to be a good wife.

How do you understand sexual giving in your relationship and what do you make of Paul's thoughts on the matter?

What are your views and experiences?


Becky said...

Not everyone would agree:

"By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don't think you can call it rape"

Makes my blood boil again to think of Phyllis Schlafly saying that married women cannot be sexually assaulted by their husbands.

I don't see how that belief can be remotely healthy or enjoyable.


Lydia said...

Jemila, you have no idea how applicable this is to my marriage.

The traditional roles are flipped in my house: I'm the one who is more interested in doing it; most days, Drew would rather cuddle. :)

We have a similar arrangement to your "no pressure" rule. Which can be highly frustrating for me during those times in which his interest is even lower than normal (i.e. when his Seasonal Affective Disorder kicks in each winter), but I have no interest in sex that comes from guilt or coercion.

I have no good answers here. But this is one of the big struggles in our relationship. It's really tough to be the one that pursues only to be rejected over and over again.

Jemila Monroe said...

becky, I couldn't get the link to work, but the story sounds familiar, yet profoundly disturbing.

It's upsetting to hear about the sanctity of marriage being used as a cover for power-play and exploitation.

Lydia, I hear you girl. I have been there in a some seasons of life. I have also been at points where I loved my husband, but felt either too tired or just not interested in sex. So I've felt both sides of it.

I think the key is to be able really sense that it's not anything wrong with you if the other person is not in a sexual mood, and then feel free to take care of yourself.

Nancy said...

I think the sexual aspect of my marriage is greatly valued by my husband and I as one way of maintaining the integrity of our bondedness as a couple. We each accept responsibility for monitoring the quality and quanity of this connection...because we enjoy it immensely and because we believe it is important to maintain the vitality of this part of our relationship as well as we can given our ages and the demands on our energies. While it is not the only way we keep a sense of connection alive between us, our sexual activity is given a high priority in this regard and I believe that both my husband and I work on maintaining an awareness about our long has it been?, what might the other appreciate or enjoy?, what new thing might we try to keep interest alive?, allowing fantasy to inspire our connection and our desire for it. I think we approach it less as "duty" and more as a creative outlet that has wonderful benefits on every level in our relationship and for each of us individually.

Michael Kiely said...

Excuse me for intruding, but my wife and I have a 'no pressure' rule that works. Especially hard after I give her a full massage, but it's character-building. Our situation is complicated by menopause. But I think the problem comes down to a lack of seduction in marriage, from both sides, but mainly from the male side. Marriage is not a licence to have sex whenever you want it. WE males forget to pursue our lovers after marriage as if we coralled them when we married them. You shouldnever stop pursuing (courting) your wife. (My wife taught me that.) Men have got to work hard at it. By seduction I mean "making love" in the sense of making the partner feel loved and lovable and attractive and relaxed... If my wife feels like she is "falling in love", she becomes more sexually interested. Fantasy games, like pretending we are going on a first date, can make the whole evening magical. Sex then takes care of itself. I apologise for blundering into your conversation, but I couldn't help myself. I learned these lessons the hard way - I lost my wife twice and won her back both times, the second time through Divine intervention. I wrote about what I learned in a short book called Man Overboard: A Self Defense Course for Men In Marriage. It's available on, but I have posted the manuscript on so you can have access to it with my compliments. It might be useful for husbands. I hope to halve the divorce rate, with God's help. The greatest thing that a man can do for his children is to love his wife. Once again, my apologies for intruding.

Sensuous Wife said...

This is a touchy subject and each couple has to find their own equilibrium. There's so much I'd like to say but due to time limits I'll just say this. It's not always just about "getting some". Taking care of yourself can often bring faster physical release. It's also about wanting to share the spiritual experience of surrendering control in orgasm in the loving presence of your spouse. I've been married long enough that we have each taken turns at being the higher desire spouse. I see that longing for each other as good and yet living in a state of longing can be very costly, even difficult, even painful. I don't have a neatly packaged answer to offer. -SW

Imitrex said...

you know something about strange sexual disorders