I cannot begin to count how many women I have been in contact with that truly believe their husband’s faithfulness rests solely on their shoulders. I used to be one of them too.
I was told, through various Chrisitan resources, I need to meet the needs of my husband sexually or he will go elsewhere. This was the actual advice given to me when trying to understand my husband’s pornography addiction.
How did we, as a church, get to a place where wives are to blame for their husband’s infidelity?
Let’s begin with some of the literature coming out of the church in the last few years (without specifically calling them out). A lot of the past books that deal with sexual issues, including pornography addiction, tend to lean on a foundational understanding that men NEED sex and will not be able to help themselves if they haven’t had it in awhile.
I don’t know about you, but I have had an incredibly difficult time finding anything in the Bible that states that a man will die if he does not have sex. And I have never personally met anyone that has died due to not having sex.
So let us start debunking what previous church sexualization has driven home. Sex is not a need. Sex is a DESIRE.
Does that mean that sex is not good? No! Sex should be a wonderfully intimate thing that both men and women desire in a marriage. Both people should feel deeply connected and fulfilled!
Now, let’s talk about the other foundational understanding that these texts seem to carry: men cannot control themselves if they go too long without having sex.
Again, it proved difficult to find Jesus teaching that a man cannot help himself when it comes to things like sex.
In fact, quite the opposite is true. The Bible straight up tells us that, with the Holy Spirit, we have love, power, and SELF DISCIPLINE. (2 Timothy 1:7). Therefore, a man does have the ability to go without sex.
Now that we know that sex is a DESIRE and men can have SELF-Discipline in the Spirit, let’s chat about the wives’ side of things. Wait, these texts don’t really touch on that. Oops!
That’s right, these Chrisitan authors have made sex a need for men, turned men into animals, and made women’s sexual wants non-existent.
Could that truly be God’s design for sexual intimacy? Awful sex results in that way of thinking.
A man and wife cannot have sex the way God intended when it is only about the physical release and, for that matter, the physical release for the man only. Listen, before you get angry, orgasms are fantastic and I am not slamming that.
However, feeling obligated to have sex with your spouse because that is what a Christian woman does to keep her husband happy, results in sex becoming a chore, possible trauma for the woman, and very few orgasms. Let’s face it, when both spouses want to have sex with one another, the sex is incredibly better!
Women need to feel safe in their relationship with their husbands. That safety and closeness doesn’t come from having sex when they don’t want to.
Women can not find healing, create healthy boundaries, and begin having really great sex with their husbands when their desires don’t matter. Men can’t find true recovery, real self-efficacy, and a deep relationship with their wives when they have been fed lies about who they are sexually.
This type of weird male-centered sexualization from the church and Christian authors that belittles men and degrades women needs to end.
There needs to be more authors like Sheilla Wray Gregoire that stand up and say, hey this isn’t BIblicial, this is not what God intended for marriage.
On Sheila’s website, discussing her newest book The Great Sex Rescue, it states “Sex should be free of manipulation, obligation, or coercion in your marriage”. Manipulation, obligation, and coercion all result when men and women are told that sex is a need for men and that women have to fulfill that need for their men. Period.
Sexual intimacy in marriage is supposed to be a wonderful gift between a man and his wife. But when the church refuses to talk about sex the way God intended, we come to a place of corrupted sexual intimacy and messed-up sex lives.
If we are to open up about sex, let’s start getting it right. Let’s start realizing the truth: that people are responsible for their own behavior, sex is a desire, and that women’s desires matter too.
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