Once again, Focus on the Family is promoting an article that places the blame on you if your spouse cheats.
They’re advertising an older article on their Facebook page right now where it encourages you to look for “vulnerabilities” in your marriage to see if it’s vulnerable to adultery.
There’s no problem writing an article on signs your spouse may be cheating, or how and why to never consider cheating even if you’re unhappy. AND there’s no problem writing an article about how to prevent drift in marriage (and if that’s what this article was about, the points would have been almost okay). But to frame it as, “If you drift your spouse may have an affair so don’t drift” is problematic. I’ve done this in the past, too, and I’m trying to undo it.
Focus has a history of blaming people for their spouse’s affairs. This does need to stop.
Okay, with that preamble, here’s what I really want to talk about:
Mentioning frequency of sex without EVER mentioning the orgasm gap means you’re prioritizing his experience and ignoring hers.
On Tuesdays I don’t write in depth posts, because it’s my day to get some serious work done. But I do want to just use this as an example of something important.
In the post on preventing affairs, they say this:
When physical intimacy diminishes in a marriage, couples are at a higher risk for affairs.
If you find yourselves arguing about sex or the frequency of sex, take this as a warning sign and find out what is going on. Is the culprit fatigue, stress, a medical condition, a mental health issue, loss of emotional connection or something else? Whatever the reason, address the issue before it makes your marriage vulnerable.
To protect your marriage’s physical intimacy, have honest conversations with your spouse about expectations and frequency. Some couples don’t understand that sexual desires can change over the course of a marriage. Different seasons of life and circumstances influence sexual intimacy. Consider, for example, the differences in physical intimacy when comparing a young newlywed couple with no children to a couple with several children, or compare empty nesters in their 50s to couples in their 70s or 80s.
Many couples experiencing difficulty with physical intimacy avoid talking about the problem. God created us to be sexual beings, and staying healthy in this area means we need to regularly tune in to our spouse’s physical needs no matter what season we’re in.
I talked about this problem a while ago with a Dave Willis article on XO Marriage, but here we see it again in action.
So let’s lay this out.
What is the main problem? Lack of frequency.
What are you supposed to do about it? Talk about it, communicate, and then make sure you meet your spouse’s physical needs no matter what season you are in.
What might be the things holding you back? “fatigue, stress, a medical condition, a mental health issue, loss of emotional connection…”
Okay, people, and I know I have you super primed right now, but do you notice anything that is missing?
That’s right! No mention of the orgasm gap!
In chapter 3 of The Great Sex Rescue, we showed how we have a 47 point orgasm gap in the evangelical world (and other peer-reviewed research would suggest that’s a larger gap than the general population, likely because, as we found, certain evangelical teachings artificially lower women’s orgasm rates). 95% of men almost always/always orgasm during a sexual encounter, compared to roughly 48% of women.
To not even mention the orgasm gap as a problem is, quite frankly, major negligence.
And it reveals much about how they frame sex, which leads me to Sheila’s Law:
When all someone talks about is the importance of the frequency of sex, and they do not mention the orgasm gap, her pleasure, or intimacy, they show that they believe that sex is really only about a husband’s ejaculation.
Frequency ensures that he climaxes, not that she does. And it tells us nothing about their emotional connection.
Stressing frequency is a sign that they do not understand sexuality and have chosen to see sex as a male entitlement rather than as something MUTUAL, INTIMATE, and PLEASURABLE FOR BOTH as God intended.
This simply needs to stop. It should no longer be acceptable to tell women to have more sex without FIRST telling couples that sex should feel good for her too.
Frequency is usually a sign that there is something else wrong with the person or with the marriage; it is rarely the problem, in and of itself. To treat it as the problem is to elevate his needs while ignoring hers.
Talk like this is what is CAUSING the orgasm gap as well. We need to ditch our whole mindset when it comes to sex, and start over, and The Great Sex Rescue is a wonderful way to do that.
In the meantime, I take comfort from this: at the time that I’m writing this post, my comment on Focus on the Family’s post has more positive reactions than their whole post!
What if you're NOT the problem with your sex life?
What if the messages that you've been taught have messed things up--and what if there's a way to escape these toxic teachings?
It's time for a Great Sex Rescue.
So that’s at least a little comforting! On Facebook, many are taking issue with this post and pushing back. If we all started doing this, imagine how things could change!
What do you think? How do we normalize talking about the orgasm gap? Let’s talk in the comments!
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
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