Tag Archives: Sexuality

“Stop pressuring me!”

pressure

(Let me preface this post, and stress as strongly as I can, this one caveat. If the cause of sexual gatekeeping/refusal in your marriage is due to legitimate issues of the past, such as seriously bad teaching or the result of past abuse, then sexual reluctance is understandable. Understandable, yes, but not necessarily permanent. If it comes to light that there has been past physical or spiritual abuse, then it is incumbent upon both, and I stress, BOTH, spouses to be understanding of each other and to work on healing, so that the marriage can be put on right footing.)

I realize that I haven’t written a post for this blog in a while, and I guess I apologize for that,… er, sort of. Unlike many of the other marriage and sexuality bloggers (whom I truly enjoy and honor), I don’t see myself as a writer. Instead, I’m more like that old guy that you know of who gets himself in a state and then proceeds to grace the world with his wisdom, whether wanted or not.

One of my aids for writing is my idea folder on my laptop, which contains word processing files with snippets of ideas or quotes that I’ve culled over time that I thought, somewhere in the past, might be a good topic to think on and to write about. This is a post that is triggered by one of those older snippets.

Apparently some time ago, I had come across a comment by someone who said that she felt “pressured to have sex” and I made a note of it in my Future Post Files. This is something that I had seen before a few times, as a pushback by a gatekeeping/refusing spouse against sexual initiation. In rediscovering that note and thinking about what might lie behind that sort of statement, I found that it triggered three questions that I want to take time to flush out.

Didn’t You Think That Sex Was Part Of “The Deal”?

You did know that sex was is part of the expectation of married life when you said “I do”, when you signed the marriage certificate, didn’t you? If not, I have a thought experiment for you: if you can, please name any culture, any society, down through the ages in which sex was NOT a part of a marriage relationship. What makes you think that your “I do” was so special that it set your marriage apart from all the rest of the marriages in history? And if you, by your “I do”, promised your spouse that you willingly enter into a sexual relationship, why is it transformed into “pressure?”

One word I’m hearing bandied about these days is “privilege,” and I’m wondering if some people come into marriage with a “privilege” mindset. One thought is that someone marries thinking “It’s my privilege to NOT have sex; my spouse doesn’t have a right to expect sex in our marriage.” Another tack might be, “Sex is a privilege, and by Billy Bedamned Hangtree, s/he is gonna have to earn the privilege!” Believe it or not, I’ve seen both mindsets expressed.

I always marvel at the statement, “I feel pressure to have sex.” When you say “I do”, you are entering into a sexual relationship, and you promised to “do” your spouse. Where does this so-called “pressure” come from other than believing that you are entitled to carve out a right to celibacy?

Other Pressures?

In discussing this topic with Wife, she made an interesting comment. Shaking her head, she rhetorically asked, “Do you feed pressure to feed your children? Do you feel pressure to go to work and earn money?”

And she is onto something, isn’t she? We DO face responsibilities for ourselves and others, whether it be going to work to provide, to clothe, feed and care for our children, to pay bills, etc. Imagine if someone were to tell their employer, “You’re pressuring me to perform my job!” Or to tell your kids, “Don’t tell me you are hungry, it puts pressure on me to feed you!” Try telling the bank, “Don’t send me letters asking me to pay my mortgage, it stresses me out when you ask for money!”

We have a word for someone who doesn’t perform their work: bad employee
We have a word for someone who doesn’t try to provide for their kids: bad parent.
We have a word for someone who doesn’t try to keep up their their bills: bad financial risk.

So, what should we say of someone who does not accept the obligation/responsibility (for that it what one assumes with an “I do”, responsibility) of their promise to enter into a sexual relationship? A bad spouse? (Too much pressure!)

Hmmm……. Maybe I’ve stepped over a line, and made some people feel ….

Or Something Else?

Make people feel… what? Could it be that it isn’t so much pressure, but  something more like… guilt?

After all, I can’t bring myself to believe that, in this day and age, someone would actually go into a marriage with the idea that sex isn’t part of the arrangement, so the “too much pressure” is really bogus, isn’t it? But it has to come from somewhere, right?

And I’m thinking that it does, that it comes from our desire to protect our self-image, our belief that we have integrity as a person, if you will. All too often, we feel that we have to be perfect, and if something is wrong or off, it has to be the other person’s fault, it can’t be ours. And so we lash out in an effort to push the blame onto the other.

It’s not that I don’t want sex, it’s that you are always pressuring me.
It’s not that I don’t like sex, it’s that you haven’t wooed me.
It’s not that I don’t desire you, it’s that I get tired of your nagging about it.

But we know that the failure is inside of us, and so, to protect our self-esteem, we strike out in order to avoid dealing with our failure to make fulfilling our promise a priority. Yes, we actually meant it when we said “love, honor and cherish,” but so much of life has gotten in the way. And now your asking is a reminder of my failure to keep my promise to you.

What if it comes down to this, that “your pressuring me to have sex” is simply shorthand for “You’re making me feel guilty and I don’t like it”?

You know, as a card-carrying curmudgeon, I’m willing to bet that guilt triggers much of the “Stop putting pressure on me” pushback from a refusing spouse.

I think that unless there was an intent to deceive right at the “I do’s”, a gatekeeper or mored/moredet** actually accepted the fact, at the beginning, that marriage was a sexual relationship. Somehow however, other things choked out the intention of the original promise.

We know of the Parable of the Four Soils that Jesus told, and how he applied it to the hearts of those who hear his word. I’m thinking that the parable can also be applied (not interpreted, mind you!) to marriage. Just as weeds choked out the new growth, everyday living can choke out our good intentions.

If so, it’s time to do some weeding.

(more to come, maybe.)

CSL

** Rabbinic term for a spouse who refuses sex.

Disclaimer: I am not a counselor, doctor, or pastor. For that matter, Wife says I don’t play well with others. My advice and comments come from my concern for hurting Christian husbands and wives. Someone once said to me, “Church shouldn’t hurt”, and I believe the same thing goes for marriage. I’m going to call ‘em as I see ‘em, but please, don’t take my word as gospel. Yes, read what I say, pray about what I say, but do your own “due diligence.”

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Are You Married to a Sex Skeptic?

skiptic

Many years ago, I made the following observation: Sermonizing is the sin of the deadly earnest, no matter what theological colors you may be wearing. As I have aged, all that I’ve observed of the world around me convinces me that I was wonderfully prescient back then.

For example, if your theology is Global Warming, then you come at the debate with the fervor of an Al Gore, demanding that anyone who disagrees with you be locked up or sent to re-education camps. And if your theology is abortion, then “By Billy Bedamned Hangtree, keep your laws off my body! Sorry, Kiddo, it sucks to be you ‘cause Mama wants to shake her groove thang!” Continue reading

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What Is Better, Anyway? pt. 2

better

In my last post, I commented on how refused husbands could relate to and apply the wisdom and knowledge that Chris Taylor, of Forgiven Wife, poured into her blogpost, “I Promise, I’ll Do Better.”

The first part of her post dealt with questions she recommended that a recovering refuser think about asking her husband in order to be intentional in rebuilding their marriage. She told how after discussions or fights about intimacy, she would say to her husband, “I promise, I’ll do better,” but not know what ‘Better’ looked like. I suggested that when refused spouses are given that amorphous promise, they start thinking about what ‘Better’ would actually look like. So, in this episode I want to present a couple of thoughts on her further suggestions about planning and communicating with your wife after your discussion.

Continue reading

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Hard Things to Hear #6: Lady, It’s Not About You!

(This is the sixth of a seven-part series; here are the links to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, and part 7.)

In John 6:60, some objected to what Jesus was saying: “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”. While I’m not Jesus, there are some who will attest that I provoke the same reaction. Might be what I’m saying, but it’s possible it might be my manner. Be that as it may, I’m going to pull rank and lay some things on the line in the next few posts. I’m going to present some things that might be hard to hear, but trust me; forty-three years of marriage is coming at ya!

Last week, I laid into clueless, selfish husbands who refused to learn how to be lovers to their wives. I have read so many anti-testimonies from wives whose husbands have been clueless gits and treated sex as if it was simply a guy thing. You don’t know how good it felt to say some of the things I said in my last post. Unfortunately, too many guys get their ideas about sex from other bell-ends like themselves, and so know nothing about their obligations in marriage. Continue reading

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Hard Things To Hear, #5: It’s Not About You, Dude!

(This is the fifth of a seven-part series; here are the links to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 6 and part 7.)

In John 6:60, some objected to what Jesus was saying: “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”. While I’m not Jesus, there are some who will attest that I provoke the same reaction. Might be what I’m saying, but it’s possible it might be my manner. Be that as it may, I’m going to pull rank and lay some things on the line in the next few posts. I’m going to present some things that might be hard to hear, but trust me; forty-three years of marriage is coming at ya!

This week, we are going to get down and dirty; we are going to talk about where the rubber meets the, uh, uh …  (sorry ’bout that). Guys, just because you have a dick doesn’t mean you have to be one, got it? (Wife will ream me for that line.) Guys, now that the women have all fainted, let’s talk. There is a famous line that says that a woman needs romance for sex, whereas all a man needs is friction. So, guys, you need to realize that just because you can have sex with a greased knothole, that doesn’t mean your wife can get turned on at the drop of your drawers. Continue reading

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The Why and How of My Now, part 5

(This is the fifth of a five-part series; here are the links to part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.)

The Original Question

From the first post in the series:

“So you don’t believe in the institution of Marriage, do you?”

“No, not the Institution of Marriage that the Church teaches. What changed my perspective? Believe it or not, the beginning of the improvement of my marriage was the trigger.”

This must seem to be a real conundrum. Four years ago, I was a miserable old coot, praying to die, but holding the idea that “God hates divorce.” Now, I am an extremely happy man, ecstatic in his marriage, who believes that the Church is making people miserable by its rigid worship of Marriage. That just seems so incongruous. Doesn’t it seem like it would be the other way around, that the miserable man would have the “low view” of marriage and not the other way round? Continue reading

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The Why and How of My Now, part 4

(This is the fourth of a five-part series; here are the links to part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 5.)

So, New Year’s Eve, we had The Talk™, and as a result said talk, decided on our actions steps:

  •  me, prepare for the night and not the day.
  •  me, come to the bedroom with her while she goes to sleep.
  • us, schedule, ‘ahem’…. intimacy.

So, after The Talk™, we put everything into motion. Usually we have some TV time at dinner, with our daughters, until about 8:30-9:00. I moved my shower/shave portion of my day to after we finish our TV time. Continue reading

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The Why and How of My Now, part 3

(This is the third of a five-part series; here are the links to part 1, part 2, part 4 and part 5.)

So, there I was: old (61), retired, disabled, depressed. Who was I to think that I should still be able to enjoy intimacy with my wife, right? After all, that stuff is for the kids, randy little buggers that they are. I should have been telling myself, “CSL, you’re a Good Christian Husband™, and need to learn to suck it up and suffer for the Kingdom and Marriage, like GCHs™ have done down through the centuries.”

Yeah, well, I wasn’t dead yet, and I didn’t feel like being buried before my time. I told Wife that I felt we needed to talk, and so one night between Christmas and New Year’s, we went to our bedroom and talked. And talked. And talked. Continue reading

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The Why and How of My Now, part 2

(This is the second of a five-part series; here are the links to part 1, part 3, part 4, and part 5.)

So, there we were, in 2010. A Good Christian Couple (GCM™ and GCW™), not unhappy. But not happy, at all.

Me

Due to arthritis, sleeping downstairs, in a recliner. Because of her responses to harmless banter, I “knew” that she didn’t really like sex, and basically put up with it. So I stuffed down my wants to just once a month, so as not to “inflict myself upon her any further” (a line from Cat Ballou – I speak fluent Cinema.) December of 2010, I didn’t even bother, so we officially arrived at Sexless Marriage status – less than once a month. Continue reading

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The Why and How of My Now, part 1

(This is the first of a five-part series; here are the links to part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5.)

A Kinda, Sorta Attempt at an Explanation.

“Curmudgeon, you don’t much believe in marriage, do you? After all, in your last three articles, you compare the Church’s teachings on Marriage to idolatry. In your series on Happy vs. Holy, you condemn the idea that God made marriage to help us be better Christians. In your last post, you say, with its teachings on marriage, that the Church “constructs a prison.” So you don’t believe in the institution of Marriage, do you?

The short answer is, “If I don’t believe in Marriage, I am one of the biggest hypocrites in the Church, as I’ve been married to the same wonderful Christian woman for 43 years, and the “till death do us part” is a given for us. It’s our mindset. Continue reading

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