(For the purpose of pronoun simplicity, I am writing the posts in this series to refused husbands. Wives, if you are the one who desires more sexual intimacy, please keep reading, because I believe that pretty much everything I am going to say will apply to your situation, as well.)
In my last post, I shared a recent incident that I had read about where a Refuser turned on his spouse and made accusations against his wife (yeah, you read that right, “wife”; it happens) saying that she was “a sex addict”, pestering him all the time. Again, this type of thing really burns my biscuits, folks, because it’s just plain dirty pool. I’m sorry, but more often than not, the problem is the refuser, and this type of response, which is all too common, stinks.
It’s never the refuser’s fault that sex is not happening in the marriage. There is usually a list of myriad reasons for not having sex, at the moment, but when the string starts to get long, and both know that the drought is approaching weeks, months, or even years, excuses get pushed aside for bigger guns: accusations, recriminations and blame-shifting.
“All You Think About Is Sex”
I’m going to say that this is probably true. After all,
you know who thinks about food all the time? A starving man.
you know who thinks about water all the time? A thirsty man.
you know who thinks about oxygen all the time? A man being choked to death.
Basically when you deprive a man or woman of something that they need, it becomes the focal point of their thinking. It’s human nature.
It is true that the refused spouse DOES think about sex a lot. But let’s turn that one on its head; let’s consider this question:
“Who doesn’t think about sex all the time?”
I’ll tell you who doesn’t think about sex all the time; someone who doesn’t have to worry if he’s going to get lucky this year, that’s who. When sex is a regular part of a marriage, it ceases to be the continual tussle that it is in a sexless marriage. There is no more stress of trying and failing, yet again, to initiate sex.
For wives who might be convinced that they do need to change their attitude toward sex and start to become more open to initiation, here is a caveat. Please accept that your husband may not believe that this is real or even permanent. After all, you have taught him that he can’t expect a sex life, and it is reasonable that he may believe that this largesse on your part is only temporary and may be withdrawn at any moment, without warning.
After WWII, aid workers who worked with starved men and women from the prison camps noted that these former prisoners would take some of the food that they were given and hide it in a pocket. The aid workers told them that they didn’t have to do that, that there would be food at the next mealtime, but they had been conditioned to not being able to expect food regularly. So these workers took to giving these people two portions of bread at each meal, one to eat, and one to save. In time, the former prisoners came to realize that they weren’t going to be starved again.
if, by some odd freak of chance a wife who has been a refuser wanders in here, please give your husband time to learn that you want to be his lover, not his keeper. With that in mind, please read these three posts by Chris Taylor, over at Forgiven Wife. She has written very eloquently about this.
“All You Want Me For Is Sex”
There are so many good comebacks to this one, but the best one I’ve ever heard came from a marriage counselor. One woman made that accusation against her husband in couple’s counseling: “All he wants me for is sex. To him, that’s all I’m good for.” The counselor shut that down with a simple question: “If that’s true, why would he even stay married to you, since you don’t have sex?”
This is one accusation that, when you look at it, actually has no force behind it; it’s merely an attempt to push away the spouse who is being refused and make them the guilty party. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have sex with your husband or wife. It’s biblical, it’s natural, and given Paul’s command, in 1 Cor. 7, to not defraud your spouse in the matter of sex, it’s expected. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to have sex with your spouse.
Do you know what is not natural? Not wanting to have sex with your spouse. As I sit here, thinking and writing, it seems that it is only right to return the question: “Just why do you want me? Why do you want to be married to me?”
Father to our kids? Okay, but what about when they’re grown and gone?
You love me? Funny, but I don’t feel loved. I feel ignored, unloved and undesired.
So, just why do you want me? You accuse me of wanting you only for sex, but why do you even want me?
“Well, If You Did More _____, Then Maybe I’d Want Sex More”
This one is easy to answer: “BOVINE EFFLUVIA!” **
This line is the never-ending maze, with the sign over the door saying, “CHOREPLAY”. This excuse invites you to start trying to earn sex by jumping through hoops, the quantity of which are unknown (and quite likely, expanding), with the desired result, sex, still very much in doubt. After all, there is that one word, MAYBE. It’s not a promise of more sex, it is merely a tease for more sex, much like the carrot dangled before the mule.
Before I go any further, let me insert this caveat. If it turns out that you are one of those pseudo-men who come home from work and unwind by playing video games for six hours, or spend all your time fishing, hunting, watching sports, and do nothing around the house, then you don’t get sex, pure and simple. Your contribution to this marriage isn’t just a paycheck, so do your share around the house. And read my post Hard Things to Hear, #5: It’s Not about You, Dude!
Having said that, I categorically state that sexual intimacy in marriage is not a bartering chit. I’m reminded of the old story of a man who meets a beautiful woman at a party and asks her if she would sleep with him for a million dollars. She gives a little consideration, looking him up and down, and answers, “Sure I would.” The man then asks, “Would you sleep with me for $10.00?” She blows up into a huff and demands, “What do you think I am?” To which the man replied, “We’ve established what you are. Now we’re just negotiating.”
Any Christian wife who would even entertain trying to make her husband “earn” sex with “services rendered” is damaging her marriage. Pure and simple.
“You’re An Addict!”
This vicious shot is both the meanest and the most false of the different accusations hurled at a refused spouse. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have sex with your wife. Nothing. To make this accusation against a spouse is simply vile. It’s one thing to not like sex or want sex; if that is the case, admit it and seek help, counseling and/or treatment. But do not make false accusation against your spouse for wanting to engage in something that God has created, has pronounced His blessing upon, and said is right and good.
This accusation is, frankly, just stinkin’ and rotten. But, to my way of thinking, it should actually be one of the easiest diversion tactics to disarm. Let’s look at how this conversation could go:
Husband tries to initiate sex, and wife says, “What? We just had sex a week or so ago. You’re a sex addict!”
Husband: “Oh, do you think so? If that’s the case then we need to have me seen by a doctor or counselor.”
Wife: “No, you don’t have to do that. Just don’t pester me for sex all the time.”
Husband: “No, dear. After all, ‘sexual addiction’ is a serious psychological disorder, and there are treatments for it. If I have a sexual addiction, I need to seek treatment. Let’s schedule an initial appointment with a counselor to see what our options are.”
She’s locked in, isn’t she? She’s made the accusation, and sexual addiction is a serious psychological disorder. She can’t very well be seen as a loving, caring wife and yet deny you treatment, right? So you get her before a counselor, a third party, and when you tell him/her, with your wife right there, that your wife believes you to have a sex addiction for wanting to have sex three times a week, the counselor will laugh her out of the office. Or make her deal with the fact she has made a false accusation against you and that she is a refuser.
Okay, that’s a scenario I’d love to see played out, but I don’t know anyone who’d try it. But the situation comes down to this: your desire for sexual intimacy with your wife is not wrong, but her refusal to allow sex is. You’re not in the wrong, she is. Stand on that fact, and call it what it is: sin.
I’ve presented four of the most common accusations are made by refusers to justify their refusal. Each and every one is merely an attempt to divert blame to the refused, making their feelings of frustrations and neglect their problems and of no concern to the refuser. I hope that, if is the case that you have experienced one or more of these accusations, that you are now able to see them for the smoke screens and diversions that they are and are able to see that what you desire is right and good, and not wrong.
** The story goes that a ladies delegation visited Bess Truman at the White House, and in the course of their visit, one of the women said to Bess, “Can’t you get Harry to stop saying ‘manure’? It sounds so crude.” To which Bess is said to have replied, “It took me 35 years to get Harry to say ‘manure’.” Be grateful for the “bovine effluvia” euphemism.