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Christian Sexless Marriage

1 Corinthians 7:3-
3Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
4The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

Ok, this will be a hard one to write. I spend a lot of time researching things that the Church needs to address and I find that this one is growing. In the above text we find one important fact. Husbands and wives are not to deny each other sexually unless by mutual agreement. Now some will take offense and quote the world; "This is MY body and you don't have a right to it." Well that is not what the scripture says. The main reason we are not to deny each other is so that we will not be tempted to have affairs or generally seek other outlets such as *********** or prostitutes.

Initially I thought this was a problem where wives denied their husbands, but a greater number of husbands are denying their wives sex. Does that surprise you? There is no real commonality concerning why either sex denies the other. The usual suspects are medical problems, one spouse has gained weight, one is not so good in bed, the list goes on. BUt the realilty is no married person should deny their spouse, shall we say true intimacy.

In many of the stories I have read and conducted interviews, I am finding that it really is not about the lack of sex. It is more about the neglected one being made to feel unattractive, undesired, ugly, unlovable, etc. The results can be devastating. Depression, suicidal thoughts, and divorce. Just to name a few.

Denied husbands generally feel they have been a victim of bait and switch. The fiancee promised tons of married sex and then changed that thought as soon as the ring was on her finger. They are frustrated because many of them work full time jobs to support the family, do chores around the home, are romantic and all they want is to be ackowledged with affection and sex. And to not get it can be devastating. Again it is more the affection. Even sex with no affection is hurtful because if sex is seen as a chore, the husbands assume they are not desired.

Now wives feel as if they are no longer attractive when they are denied. Have they gained too much weight? Are they out of shape due to childbirth? Are they not as pretty as certain glamourous actresses? Many neglected wives share the idea that they work full time jobs, take care of the home, cook, clean etc. And they want that affection and sex that they cannot get anywhere else.

This neglect can destroy the self esteem of a person. In men it can cause bitterness toward their wife, anger at people who they encounter in the marketplace hatred of God and of marriage, the enemy can use the opportunity to tempt husbands to cheat or watch ***********. Some husbands turn to ************ for release which frustrates them more because what they want is closeness with their spouse.

In wives this neglect can cause her to feel ugly and unlovable by the one person who once thought she was the most beautiful person on earth. Depression can set in and again, thoughts of strating are prevalent. In fact, when women are neglected, they are much more likely to seek out an affair than men.

The entire mesage of Jesus was to love your neighbor as yourself. I can understand how the world gets to this position, but Christians should have the monopoly on fabulous marriages and gratifying sex lives. But instead the world shuns marriage and practice fornication which while sinful still produces the results sex intended, namely happier couples. And it does not help when couples in sexless marriages see these people in the marketplace. Jealousy develops which causes more bitterness toward the offending spouse. So what do we do about this dilemma?

First of all repentance is needed because whether you are a husband or a wife, you are practicing sin if you deny your spouse the sex and affection due to them. The world says your body is yours, but it is not. It belongs to your spouse whether you be a husband or a wife. Secondly, forgiveness is key, especially in the case of the neglected because they are harboring hatred, bitterness which are also sins. They too have to repent.

Now I want to touch on a few shall we say, exceptions to the rule. Fasting.
Paul's instruction says that except for fasting (and only by mutual consent) are we to deny each other, so this must be considered. But considering that this is llikely to not be a constant act, it should not cause either spouse distress.

Medical problems. some women's stories I have read deny sex because it is painful due to vaginismus or other maladies. In those cases, medical treatment should be pursued. TO the husbands of women suffering this I would say be patient, and loving. It is the selfish husband who knows his wife is hurting and still only cares about himself. This is a fine line and should always be handled with prayer.

Rape and sexual abuse. Some spouses, whether husbands or wives have undergone traumatic assaults in their youth or by abusive exes. Their outlook on sex changes and if the spouse is a little aggressive, for instance, the neglecting spouse may have memories of the assault surface and unconsciously attribute the actions of his/her spouse as similar to their attacker/abuser. This can cause a shutdown emotionally. I have found that more often than not, those who have been abused genuinely love their spouse, but cannot separate the memories from what should be a beautiful thing, a God given gift. Again, this should be handled with prayer.

Assuming we must as Believers, handle these issues the same way the world does causes us to be disobedient to God. Be patient with each other. Be loving, and be forgiving. To those who are refusing their spouses, ask yourselves why you do it and then repent. Like I said, it is sin according to scripture. never mind what the world teaches. God's Word is the final authority.

The Church needs to address these issues because they are more rampant in the Church than one would imagine, and we have not even imagined the number of people who do not know Christ who are suffering in this. I will end with this. If you are neglecting your spouse and feel you can get up in front of people and minister to them, you are out of order. If you are having an affair as a result of being neglected, but feel you can put ona robe and preach to your congregation every week, you are in error. If you are forcing sex on your wive when you know of her pain, and have not helped her to seek treatment, you are out of order and all of this is sin. It is time for us to stop wearing masks in the Body of Christ concerning this. Certainly it is a hard topic, but people need healing, both in the Church and in the world. And if we cannot function because of the poisons of hatred, bitterness and unforgiveness, how can we help the word?

I hope this causes a dialogue. It is very disheartening to know the number of people suffering from this. Don't believe me? Google Christian Sexless marriage and get out your kleenex. God bless.
NMBtruth1 NMBtruth1 41-45, M 26 Responses Jun 15, 2011

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Well my cure was to get divorced and become a sissy. Much happier now.

I have tried reading through all of the responses here and there is one issue that has not been addressed and that is "adultery". The sexless marriage is sin number 1, but if someone divorces their spouse except for reasons of adultery then having sex with another person after the divorce become "adultery". So the sexless spouse is left in a sinful marriage because if they divorce they will end up sinning as well. How can you win here?? Even resorting to ************ is a sin in many christian eyes as sexual immorality. Does God really want us this miserable?

Stop believing in religious dogma that somehow stipulates your suffering is deserved. She has broken her vow, and as such you are in the right to leave her and not lose one bit of sleep over it.

Some thoughts: A refuser's reasons for refusing are WAAAAY more powerful than the influence of the bible. a serious chrisitian refuser already knows the word, and made their choices anyway. All you can do with bible verses is help the next generation not repeat the same sins. It will not change someone's actions. All it will do is make you feel better about not being in the wrong.

While the whole time suffering in misery. I forget what verse it is, but I do remember that it says somewhere that "it is better to marry than it is to burn". But to both marry and burn should be the biggest sin of all. It's within your right to end the marriage, for fraud if nothing else.

Thanks for this post. It is very thought provoking.<br />
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My "husband" is the refuser in our marriage. I was very surprised to even be in the situation I am in. Never thought I would be longing for sex and intimacy from my husband. His medical issues are not the only issue. There's also his lack of interest in getting help and lack of interest in intimacy. <br />
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As a woman in a sexless marriage I can truly attest to the devastation that we feel. Unattractive, depressed, and all the things listed above. After years of trying I have finally given up and have decided to move on. I refer to him as my roommate, no longer my "husband".<br />
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Growing up in a Christian family, I agree with redzcar. Some member of my family act like I will forever burn in hell if I divorce. The Bible is very much open to interpretation. Many will read the same passage and give it a totally different meaning than another. I have no choice but to follow my heart and hope I will be able to pull myself up, dust myself off and start a new.

I am impressed with your words, and knowledge of the Bible. <br />
good job, sorry about your situationm because you seem to be a loving lover.

My wife and I haven't had sex for 3 years. It's frustrating when I'm wanting intimacy and she doesn't. I don't understand her anymore and don't know why she doesn't want intimacy with me anymore. When we talk, all she wants to talk about are the kids. The bible says you are to put God first in your life and if you are married put your spouse second, then everyone else after that. I feel like I'm last on the totem pole anymore. She sleeps in another bedroom with our 3 year old rather be with me in our bedroom. I'm frustrated, lonely, depressed most of the time, hurt, and feel like I'm repulsive to her anymore. I'm the type of man that needs intimacy and to be touched. When I look at her, I want her sexually so bad but it never happens. I wake up early in the just thinking about her and wanting to make love to her but she isn't in my bedroom anymore.

If it's still the same way now as it was a year ago, send her the link to this page. It may just open her eyes to your suffering. If she acts with any hostility, that's your cue to walk and not look back.

what would you say to those who choose a life of celibacy?

You didn't ask me, but I will answer anyway. Stay out of relationships with those who are anything other than completely asexual. If you try to form a relationship with someone who has a desire for sexual intimacy you will make both of your lives miserable.

LOL, I am not going to do that mddleagedguy. Lessons learned the hard way tend to make me much more focused on decision making. I think she feels my withdrawal is not good. I do all that is expected of me as a husband, but now I do not pursue sex and she may be wondering if I am getting it elsewhere, but she does not ask. I have challenged her before to find one person I have slept with as all her exes did that to her eventually. So I ignored the warning signs. She was a great listener and communicator, LOL

I don't know your wife, so I can't comment whether using the Bible as a 2x4 will work. (I do believe that there are situations where that is called for.) But like most things, a person will not change until they feel the need or desire to change. At this point, if your wife is comfortable with things as is, why should she change? I encourage you to tell her exactly as you have stated above, that unless there is an improvement in this area, you may very well end up in a divorce just like before. This is not a threat, it is simply stating a fact.<br />
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But before that talk, you have to be ready for whichever answer she gives. I am not encouraging you to get a divorce. But it sounds to me you have been on a similar road before, and I just hope that you don't have to wait 15 years to make a decision. Assuming your wife not wanting to change, you only really have two choices: 1--accept her the way she is, either reduce your sexual desire or find other releases; or 2--do not accept her way, and since she won't change, you change the situation by ending this marriage.<br />
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I know I am "pushing" the issue, and hate me if you must. I am just hoping you will not waste another 15 years of your life waiting for an empty hope.

@middleageguy : Yes, selfishness is the problem. But pointing out that a person is in direct defiance of sc<x>ripture can ***** the conscience and at least get started the perhaps long process of change. It can help a person see her selfishness, which can easily be ignored. And there are refusers who have repented and returned to being lovers. One such woman runs a blog at passionwithinmarriage.blogspot.com<br />
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Actually, the church is constantly changing, both for better and for worse. The broader culture hugely affects the church. The broader culture is extremely unsympathetic to men. Sexual refusal is seen as a problem of men. And men's problems are not seen as real problems, because men deserve to suffer. If church leaders become aware that significant numbers of both sexes are victimized by refusal, maybe they will begin to grapple with it.

Well Middleageguy, some of us in the Church want to change, but as you stated, getting the majority of the institutionalized Church to reform is a daunting task. I still believe the Bible to be the final authority on all human affairs. Having said that, you are right again that the issue is really about selfishness, at least in the case of the refusers. How they got that way is a mystery, as many neglected spouses would declare, the sex was great at first. So what happened? And husbands and wives are affected so it is not an issue with one sex or the other. To be honest, until I got to EP I thought only wives were refusers. Silly me. Finally, to address my "love" of sexless marriages, the first one ended becuase of a lack of physical intimacy and in my current one, the sex used to be great, but like many husbands here, the wife got what she wanted i.e. security and commitment, and decided to shut off the sex flow becaus ethe trap had been a success so it was time to put away the bait. Sad state of affairs. I do not know the outcome of my current marriage, but I can admit to loving my wife and she is otherwise good to me. I am not going to promise this will last though becuase I still have mucho energy and I do love to screw, LOL

I agree with you that it is a biblical issue, and that the church (as a whole) has not dealt with this much. Unfortunately, the church will not change, and unless a person/couple has already place a high regard on biblical teaching, quoting sc<x>ripture ain't going to accomplish a thing either.<br />
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Playuinkey, I am afraid the weakest part of your argument is not biblical interpretation. It is you. You stated that you have lived in 15 years of sexless marriage (first), and now living in another one. So, you don't really have a problem with sexless marriage.<br />
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Besides, no one has ever changed their beliefs and behaviors because they lost an argument. While every sexless marriage has its uniqueness, the common ground is that the refuser believes the best way and only way to love another person is their own way!<br />
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He/she may think and say they have "given enough" to the relationship. IE: I've done X, Y, Z... what more do you want? And if the refused response that he/she prefer M over all else, and willing to give up on X, Y, & Z, the refuser still will not change! So, it has nothing to do with "given/done enough." It has to do with one's belief of what loving the other person means.<br />
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If we are to buy a gift for someone, what's more important? How much the giver loves the gift, or how much the receiver loves the gift? If I am a vegetarian, and you send me a box of steak for Christmas, can you DEMAND that I love the gift? No, you can't. A gift is as valued as how much the receiver believes it is. To demand the receiver to love a gift they don't love is foolish.<br />
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It is the same in a marriage. Now, this cuts across all thing, but since this forum is about sex, let's stay with sex. Spouse A believes sex to be a high priority, while Spouse B doesn't. So, it is foolish for Spouse B to give everything in the world to A, except sex. And when Spouse A complains, Spouse B would do everything to change Spouse A (ie: name calling, threats, etc...)<br />
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It's really simple. It comes down to selfishness. Unless a person is willing to deal with that, no biblical passage will help.

@ Whenif: I do live in a sexless marriage. But I am unwilling to give up on my marriage or cheat as many here are. I just have a hopeful outlook. And this is actually my SECOND sexless marriage. Things started out great in both. My ex wife actually admitted that she stopped having sex with me because she did not feel like it, not because of any medical issue or my wanting it all the time, but simply because she was lazy. I stayed married to her for 17 years and the sex stopped after two. So I do have a lot of experience with this issue. I just choose not to give up so easily. My new wife is a good friend and our marriage is otherwise great. So I figure we canget through this too

Great post conceptualclarity. I have had angry rants from people concerning this very thing. So I will have to address it in a future story, It is amazing how deep this topic can get.....

Even if a wife's vagina spasms, what excuse does she have for not using her hands until it's fixed? None. Same for the husband who is ashamed that he doesn't get the erections he used to.

I am sure that Play had the best of intentions in writing his post. From what I read, and I admit past the first few paragraphs I just skimmed, he seems to have a somewhat limited understanding of SM. I do not say that he has to live in one to understand it but I would say that more time spent reading here would help him understand what a complex issue this is when you try to get down to reasons and explanations. Quoting sc<x>ripture doesn't help his case in my book. As said, he's preaching to the choir here - sexless marriage is bad, hurtful, damaging. Saying that the church needs to address these issues is as helpful to me as saying my husband needs to address these issues. Both are excellent ideas. I have little faith in either happening in my lifetime.

Well written, thanks for sharing.

For myself, I find myself becoming ill at the thought of walking into my church anymore and will not do it. Why does man think he can decide the thoughts of God? A sexless marriage is the opposite of being loving. I think you have brought out some good points. I think every couple should be counseled on what a sexless marriage is and what it does to people before marriage.

Layne PCP would probably welcome this traffic on his Christian ILIASM group.<br />
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Tread your own path.

I wonder, when all is said and done, how many polygamous marriages suffer from this? I think is is a monogamy issue. Monogamy is unnatural. Societies and cultures where polygamy is accepted does not suffer all the perversions, crime and molestations that so engulf us monogamous creatures.

Where did you get monogamy is unnatural from? Monogamy is one of several popular successful (or not) strategies in a very complex situation where you have people cooperating (or not) in raising kids. I'd agree the form of monogamy that appears to be assumed in the US at least, where cheating is 100% reprehensible even when sexless - it utterly bizarre. Other places have a somewhat more enlightened attitude.

It just "feels" unnatural.
*shiver*
Ick

I am not an atheist nor a theologian, but I do know that Biblical sc<x>riptures can be interpreted, manipulated and construed to mean whatever they want to whoever. While you quote certain sc<x>riptures, I am sure others can find sc<x>riptures celebrating celibacy as a high art form. To each his own.

In the Bible abstinence is a virtue for the unmarried but a vice for the married. No contradiction.

Well thought out and presented. Sadly, here, you're preaching to the choir.<br />
I agree 100% that the church needs to get off its behind and start addressing these issues. I'm tired of hearing about forgiveness. <br />
I want to know what the church says about divorce. No one wants to go into these areas. It's easier to give a blanket...it's wrong. Really? Life is so black and white?<br />
Unless the church can start talking about all this, they're going to continue losing people.

I found a funny article in the National Post a couple weeks back. In a nutshell it was examining the true meaning of the word "love" as used in the bible, and the implications to the christian theology. <br />
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/nude+testament/4893059/story.html<br />
That said, I think religion can be good for some people, but I found it did not hold up to any honest scrutiny in my life. <br />
@playuinkey: Please don't take my "anti-religious" comments as a detraction from your contribution here. On the contrary, I appreciate the amount of effort you put into this. I think you've made a reasonable assessment, and this type of balanced view is exactly what might have meaningful impact on less open minded christians. I applaud you on your effort and thoughtfulness. All the best,<br />
TW

This seemd like quite a balanced view of things as I see it, but often if I speak to people in my Church then answers can be the same, like yours but with very different practical or spitritual interpretations. <br />
Would it be a bit naughty of me to ask which denomination of Church & which country you are expressing these views from?<br />
Probably not, but yes sex without love is a chore which I have had occasionally & no sex is sometimes better. <br />
I'd prefer her to join in, though, but year in year out it's no sex for me, really.<br />
*sigh*

I don't know what to say to this other then my husband is denying me. I am glad you had a bible verse to use on this topic. I think about this every day and every night. I pray about it just as much if not more. I am beening tempted by Satan about this. Still I have taken no action and pray I do not fall into temptation. I cry where no one can hear me. It has been will over 200 days and it is very hurtful. I don't even talk about it with him. It gets me so mad and sad at the same time. Thank you for story.

I grew up in a fundamentalist christian family and attended a christian college. I am actually no longer a believer. I must say that this is a real breath of fresh air in a group of people that habitually hide sex in the deep dark recesses of their minds. I wish you well, I have no confidence that this will change any minds, but i applaud your effort.