Wifey Wednesday: Why You Should Reconsider If You’re Not in the Mood


As my frequent readers know, I write a lot about sex. It’s not because this is an easy subject for me; on the contrary, it was one of the biggest stumbling blocks in our marriage early on. Eventually I got tired of fighting about it, and decided I was going to figure out how to get in the mood more often. I even wrote a book about it (my husband likes to say that he liked the research), and it really did change my perspective.

So today, I thought I’d give you some insight into a man’s perspective on it. Perhaps you’re in a relationship where you want it more than he does; I’ll write about that again soon. But today I want to address the women who are beginning to find sex a chore. Dennis Prager, a columnist who mostly writes on political topics, last year penned a series on marriage. Here’s an excerpt from his essay, “When A Woman Isn’t In The Mood, Part I”:

It is an axiom of contemporary marital life that if a wife is not in the mood, she need not have sex with her husband. Here are some arguments why a woman who loves her husband might want to rethink this axiom.

First, women need to recognize how a man understands a wife’s refusal to have sex with him: A husband knows that his wife loves him first and foremost by her willingness to give her body to him. This is rarely the case for women. Few women know their husband loves them because he gives her his body (the idea sounds almost funny). This is, therefore, usually a revelation to a woman. Many women think men’s natures are similar to theirs, and this is so different from a woman’s nature, that few women know this about men unless told about it.

This is a major reason many husbands clam up. A man whose wife frequently denies him sex will first be hurt, then sad, then angry, then quiet. And most men will never tell their wives why they have become quiet and distant. They are afraid to tell their wives. They are often made to feel ashamed of their male sexual nature, and they are humiliated (indeed emasculated) by feeling that they are reduced to having to beg for sex.

And here’s Prager’s Part II:

1. If most women wait until they are in the mood before making love with their husband, many women will be waiting a month or more until they next have sex. When most women are young, and for some older women, spontaneously getting in the mood to have sex with the man they love can easily occur. But for most women, for myriad reasons — female nature, childhood trauma, not feeling sexy, being preoccupied with some problem, fatigue after a day with the children and/or other work, just not being interested — there is little comparable to a man’s “out of nowhere,” and seemingly constant, desire for sex.

2. Why would a loving, wise woman allow mood to determine whether or not she will give her husband one of the most important expressions of love she can show him? What else in life, of such significance, do we allow to be governed by mood?

What if your husband woke up one day and announced that he was not in the mood to go to work? If this happened a few times a year, any wife would have sympathy for her hardworking husband. But what if this happened as often as many wives announce that they are not in the mood to have sex? Most women would gradually stop respecting and therefore eventually stop loving such a man.

It’s harsh, I know. But we need to understand how men feel.

Part of the problem that we women have is that we have over-sexualized sex.

Let me explain what I mean. We have bought into the world’s idea that sex is all about physical pleasure. In order for it to be “pure, honest” sex, it has to be mind-blowing. It has to be stupendous. You have to want it.

If we don’t want it, and we do it anyway, we’re cheapening it. We feel like we’re being used. We’re deceiving him. So it’s better to not have sex at all until we can throw ourselves into it.

Why?

We’ve taken sex down to its lowest common denominator: physical pleasure.

Why is it purer to have sex when you both want to and you both are going to get tremendous physical release from it? Isn’t that turning sex into mainly a physical activity?

Sex is so much more than that. It’s also emotional and spiritual, and when we make love because we want to show him how much we love him–regardless of how we currently feel about the exercise–then we’re actually being more loving. It’s more sacred, almost. Can you see that? Also, sex cements you in a way that nothing else does. It is a spiritual union. To dismiss that potential because we’re not “in the mood” isn’t operating on a higher or most honest sexual plane; it’s actually being baser. We’re the ones who are making sex only about physical pleasure, not our husbands. They want to make love not just to feel great, but also to feel loved. We, on the other hand, don’t want to make love unless we can feel great. We’re the ones who have debased it, not them.

When we turn around and make love for them, we imbue it with a bit more of the sacredness that I think God intended. But much of that depends upon how we define “giving our bodies to him”. If we just lie there, counting the minutes until he’s done (sorry to be so graphic, but you’ve all been there), we’re not really giving ourselves. We need to throw ourselves into it, and see if we can give him (and ourselves) pleasure. And often when we do commit our minds and bodies to the exercise, our own pleasure does follow.

It’s not wrong to simply give your body as a gift to him.

We interpret it as wrong because we think of ourselves on a higher plane in relationships–we value the relationship, he values the sex, so he’s the one who’s debased and needs to learn to become better, like us. But he isn’t worse, and we aren’t better, we’re just different. And God made us different to encourage both of us to step out of our comfort zones and give to one another.

I’m not suggesting that if he’s asking you to act out pornography that you should do it, or that you should make love if you have physical issues, or that you should do so if you’re having flashbacks of childhood trauma. If you need counselling, get it. If you’re having relationship problems, tackle those. Sex shouldn’t be something that hurts you.

But normally, the problem is not something huge; it’s just that we can’t be bothered, and we think there’s something a little bit pathetic about men that they want it so much. And why should we have to use our bodies to give him that?

We do lots of things with our bodies that aren’t always pleasant, though. I remember breastfeeding through blocked milk ducts and infections. I drag myself out of bed to tend to sick children. I get less sleep than I need because my kids need me. I don’t mind using my body to love my kids; the problem seems to come when we need to use it to love our husbands. They should be able to cope!

Nope.

God didn’t put you in a marriage so that you could both cope.

He put you in a marriage so that you could both lean on each other, give to each other, and love to each other. You may think it’s pathetic that he needs love to be expressed in this way when you’re tired, and cranky, and bloated. But he does, and he’s not wrong. So challenge yourself this week to see sex as something less base than something purely physical. See it as the emotional and spiritual building bond that it can be. Love your husband in the way that he needs it, and you just may find that your marriage gets ever so much better!

Sheila is the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex.

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Comments

  1. Teri Lynne Underwood says:

    >Great post, Sheila. I wrote on this topic earlier this year. Shared that link. Thank you for addressing this VERY important topic … and now I'm off for some confession and prayer about my own attitude toward my husband the past few days. :)

  2. Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama says:

    >That really hit a nerve with me..needed to hear this. Thank you!

  3. Courtney K. says:

    >Great post!! I really needed to hear this today. This is something I have struggled with before and I appreciate your open mind and honesty :)

  4. Gail Crust says:

    >Several years ago during martial trials I had read a book by Dr. Laura Schlessinger entitled "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands." In the chapter about sex, Dr. Laura draws a great parallel about a man's need for sex and a woman's need for communication.

    Women create intimacy with their husbands primary through meaningful communication. We feel a connection to our man when he has attentively listened and engaged us in conversation. We need this from him. How would you feel if your husband simply was not in the mood to sit and listen to your heart and your thoughts for days or weeks (or, yes, even months) on end? Give a long moment to think about this. Now, apply your conclusions to how your husband may feel if you deny him his need for creating intimacy with you in the way he was designed.

    I proclaim myself guilty here! Giving of ourselves to our husbands sexually is not always easy for the very reasons outlined in Sheila's post. Yes, there are days when I have to pray "Lord, I know it has been too long since my husband and I were intimate. I ask You to please create a desire in me to show my love to him in a way that he appreciates. Remove the distractions (KIDS!) and let me focus on my husband."

    Thank you, Sheila, for posting a difficult topic.

    Gail Crust
    http://gailcrust.blogspot.com
    Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Gail-Crust-Christian-Speaker/306000936546?ref=ts

  5. >Great post Sheila!

  6. >Well you already know how I feel about this. Just say YES! It's so worth it. I dare anyone to go for 100 days in a row and pay attention to how your feelings for one another grow!

  7. >My favorite part of this:
    "And God made us different to encourage both of us to step out of our comfort zones and give to one another."
    I have NEVER heard or thought of it this way and it is a real revelation to me. And a challenge.
    Thank you for tackling hard topics in loving, encouraging ways.

  8. >Thank you for posting this. I have struggled with this issue for a while now and you have made me stop and think of my hubby's feelings. Thank You :)

  9. Tiffany says:

    >This is something that I have struggled with throughout our marriage. Thank you for being so open and honest about it. Your posts have definitely been a blessing to me! Hopefully, they will in turn be a blessing for my marriage!

  10. THANK YOU for this post please don’t let your site go down so me and I’m sure many others can come back again and again to remind ourselves. I’ve having this very issue, I’m not sure what’s behind it but I want to less and less. He seems to want more and more! I do love him, I just don’t think that it’s important, esp. with 2 under 5 y.o. running around. But it is, and it’s a command from the Lord that my body is his.

  11. This really is a great post – I totally agree with you and love the way you articulated these ideas!

  12. Mr. Samba says:

    “This is a major reason many husbands clam up. A man whose wife frequently denies him sex will first be hurt, then sad, then angry, then quiet. And most men will never tell their wives why they have become quiet and distant. They are afraid to tell their wives. They are often made to feel ashamed of their male sexual nature, and they are humiliated (indeed emasculated) by feeling that they are reduced to having to beg for sex.”
    As a husband, I can testify that this statement rings so true that it hurts.

    • ButterflyWings says:

      It’s not just men. The more I look into this, the more I come across men being the refusers but women don’t speak up about being refused because they are seen as pervs for wanting sex, for enjoying it “like a man”. If you think men are ashamed of their “male” sexual nature and humiliated for having to beg for sex, imagine what it feels like for a women – mocked by other women, disbelieved by men. I have met men who are hurt and sad and angry, but I am yet to meet one ashamed of their sexual nature. But all the women who love sex and are married to refusers…. you have no idea the pain of refusal is, how humiliating is. The stereotype is that men want sex, that they desire women, that they chase women – so imagine the pain for women who even when they ask for sex, chase sex, beg for sex, to constantly be rejected…. if you think men are emasculated, women have their self esteem shattered a thousand times over when their husbands constantly reject them for sex…. if their man refuses sex even when begged, women end up shattered.

      It is a shattering pain that one cannot even turn to anyone for help because friends and pastors/elders do not understand it and just tell women to be thankful that they don’t have to perform as much for their husbands.
      As a refused wife, Prager’s article rings so false it hurts.

      “: A husband knows that his wife loves him first and foremost by her willingness to give her body to him. This is rarely the case for women. Few women know their husband loves them because he gives her his body (the idea sounds almost funny). ” Rarely the case for women? few women know their husbands love them by giving her his body? WRONG, so very wrong. It may not be as common for women, but rare? NO. Few women? absolutely not. I ache for my husband to give me his body and it hurts every time I read rubbish claiming that women rarely feels this way.

      Sadly a lot of women (and more commonly over time) DO feel exactly this way. But society (and especially the micro society of churches) forces women into silence. Women are terribly ashamed to speak up and admit they feel this way about sex. Women are thousands times more ashamed to speak up about their sexual desire for their husbands and the pain of refusal.

      ” This is rarely the case for women. Few women know their husband loves them because he gives her his body (the idea sounds almost funny). This is, therefore, usually a revelation to a woman. Many women think men’s natures are similar to theirs, and this is so different from a woman’s nature, that few women know this about men unless told about it.” THIS IS UTTER RUBBISH. The article is otherwise great, but didn’t need this rubbish in it. Because the truth is, women’s nature is FAR more like men’s than many want to admit. Women’s sexuality and desire for their husbands is constantly repressed. If women’s sexual nature wasn’t constantly repressed, so many women wouldn’t end up with desire problems. If their desire for their spouse was celebrated and seen as normal, so many women wouldn’t feel so guilty about having desire and try to run so far away from it. It wouldn’t fix all low drive women, but it would certainly fix a lot of women’s sexual problems in marriage if they were encouraged to celebrate desire for sex (within the boundaries of marriage of course) and not feel like pervs and deviants for even enjoying sex with their husbands.

      I love Sheila’s blog for encouraging women to not just have sex with their husbands but to actually enjoy it, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, but I find Prager’s comment (the paragraph I copied above) is actually damaging to this ideal. It just reinforces the stereotype that a woman is a freak if she desires her husband that way and I’m actually really disappointed.

  13. what if its the other way around? Looking forward to that article Sheila.

  14. Oh.

  15. Mmmmh ! I am as guilty as charged! Thanks alot for this article Sheila.

  16. Jennifer says:

    Very good post. I’m a newly-wed of only 2 1/2 months, and have absolutely NO sex drive. :-/ I had a sub-talar joint fusion on my foot 5 weeks ago, an am still not walking, so that’s got me down, but even before the surgery I just didn’t desire sex.

    I went 3 years without it before we were married as I decided to honor God by waiting until marriage. He went 8 years without it. He always says things like “We’re newly-weds, we should be having sex,” but I just don’t feel like it. I’ve been in birth control since I was 12 (I’m 29 now) due to my cramps, and have heard that decreases your sex drive… I’ve thought about getting off but I get a golf ball sized cyst when I do…

    I worry about sexy being an issue so early in our marriage. We currently live with my mom though because he lost his job right after the honeymoon. :-/ I’m sure all of the meds from my accident 4 years ago aren’t helping my mood either. Anyway, I love reading your blogs, and hope that things will change here for me (and my husband) soon. <3

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