Say No to Marital Sex

FAIR WARNING: there will be so many things in this article you could choose to take out of context and get riled up about.  If you disagree, I’d love to hear from you.  Just remember that there is so much I didn’t cover and can’t cover about Christian and non-Christian marital and pre-marital sex, each gender’s differences and sex drives, and every person’s specific sexual make-up and past.  I chose to speak specifically to practicing engaged Christians who have tried to stay loyal sexually in their faith.  There are a million other categories you may fit into, but maybe this is still for you.  Don’t check out when you see who I’ve dedicated this to…

To engaged Christian women,

I was flirting with my wife the other night and we stumbled onto the topic of sex advice.  She was stumbling more than I was because it’s really fun to get your wife drunk, and I wanted to have fun.  I convinced her to go on an impromptu date to “Mug Night” at a local bar, where they fill up your pre-purchased monstrous mug with beer on the cheap.  My wife is an aspiring environmentalist and loves the idea of bringing drink vessels anywhere, so I had that going for me.  She acquiesced and surprisingly drank her magnum mug all on her own.  Towards the denouement of her beer, she finally felt comfortable answering my question, as well as talking about a lot of things.  She was about to attend a bachelorette party and I warned her that she would be a target for a lot of sex questions because she was only a half year past our wedding night.  We both had waited to have sex with our spouses, mostly because we like torturing ourselves. 

reluctantcountess“You should push through,” she told me at the bar, her eyes seemingly made of glass, a sign she he was having a fit of clairvoyance. 

“Like if you don’t feel like it?” 

“Yeah.  I mean, not all the time.  You shouldn’t have sex if you really don’t want to.  But sometimes, you should because you probably won’t regret it afterwards and it’s a way you can love your husband.”

I had never been happier I had married my wife than that moment, except for maybe during the times she was describing.

“You are a beacon,” I told her, “Every woman should talk to you.”

Here’s the thing: men and women are different.  Curb Your Enthusiasm covered this difference well when Larry explained to his wife that all he ever needed was a tap on the shoulder and he’s ready.  Girls, however, need much more than a tap on the shoulder to tap their husbands, but their allegiance to their bodies’ whims often leads them to say no their husbands a lot more than they should.  Saying yes or no to marital sex is much bigger than, “do I feel like it right now?”  Let me continue to explain with two life snapshots. 


My boss and I wandered through the aisles of Costco looking for Gatorade.  He was talking; I was pushing the cart.  I had only been working for Vince for a couple of months, but I had known him for a while.  I had lived with his family for several months when I moved to DC and we had kept in touch ever since.  Vince, a father of five and husband to one, knew a thing or two about life and love, and I sought his wisdom whenever I could.  As we slurped up a few samples that had been sneezed on by old ladies, he was teaching me about romance.  His language was poetic.

“Jon, God gave us penises to make us commit.”

I responded by mentioning that this Gatorade was hard to find. 

Cut to, about a year later, and my problems with women got so complicated on me that I sought professional spiritual wisdom to the tune of $160/hr.  I was sitting in front of my Christian counselor pouring out my heart.  I was sure that I had a pattern of romantic sabotage in my life and that I was doomed to anxiety and an existence of almosts.  He listened in his armchair, fondling his reddish leprechaun beard, right leg tucked under butt.  He didn’t flinch or guffaw during my chronicles, maybe the most important thing he ever did in our sessions.  Our expensive conversations eventually became more future-focused and he started to coach me on how to do it right the next time.  I even managed to get his professional help in wooing my first wife (still with that one).  One particular question I had was how much stock to put in physical attraction. 

“25%,” he told me.  Not 24 or 26.  25.  “Sexual attraction and a good sex life is a quarter of what makes a marriage happy and healthy.”

I paid hundreds of dollars for that nugget of wisdom and I just gave it to you for free.  All I ask is that you lend me your ear from here on out.  For the sake of ease, for the rest of this article I will refer to you as “Megan” and to your fiancé as “Cody.” 

Megan, congratulations on getting married to the love of your life.  You are marrying your best friend.  He’s so wise and sweet.  And he makes you laugh!  Ha ha!  He’ll be such a great father someday.  #blessed

Don’t be fooled by that adorable smile you’ve come to love so much you just want to squeeze it:  His penis made him do this.  If he didn’t have one, he wouldn’t be marrying you.  This is sweeter than it sounds, and hopefully by the end of this, you’ll respect him more than you did before.  Cody, keep your mouth shut and let me do the talking.  Don’t even nod in agreement.  This is only something she can hear from a third party.  Vince was right, Megan; Cody’s penis is making him commit to you. 

Megan, your fiancé is tired of a few things and he’s hoping you’ll help him with them.

First, he’s tired of trying to stay pure with women when he has a schlong that keeps telling him to do otherwise.  Hopefully, out of respect, he overcame his schlong in dating you, but either way, you’ve watched him wriggle and writhe battling it.  But holy cow, is that battle exhausting and it’s been going on since thirteen when his penis declared war on him and reinforcements dropped in.  Half of his life has been spent trying to honor God despite it.  He’s tired.

Second,  he’s tired of trying to stay pure with fake women online.  This may be the most important thing you hear today.  Megan, please don’t think less of Cody when I tell you that he has looked at porn, and more than once.  Again, he’s been fighting it, but porn is almost impossible to avoid when you’re a single Christian guy trying to stay pure.  It’s quick, dirty, and it appeals to men’s visual sex drive, as well as his sinful selfish side that tells him sex is all about him.  Most of all, it’s in secret.  We can keep it to ourselves.  Christian guys have a weird short term memory loss when it comes to pornography.  We intentionally forget what we’ve done, convincing ourselves we didn’t hurt anyone else and if we just don’t think about it we can live on.  Then the next time we’ve given in to it, we have to spend about five minutes trying to remember what we like to look at.  What was her name again?  It’s disgusting, I know, which is why Cody needs your help. 

Most Christian guys know that marriage isn’t a sexual cure-all and that their bride isn’t perfect, but in a way, it’s like being let out of prison.  All of a sudden, Christian guys have a positive outlet for their sex drive, and there is a truce between a man and his dong.  Before that, the Christian man’s sex drive feels like a burden, an appendage that has a mind of its own, and a dirty one at that.  But really, without it, guys wouldn’t get married in the first place.  Procreation aside, God knew that in order for a man to commit to a life-long relationship of being disciplined and matured, He’d need to entice us with fun sex with the woman we’re committing to (25%).  Of course, while a quarter is only a quarter, it is the clincher for men, the thing that piques their interest and brings them to marriage.  Think of a man’s penis like a metal detector and women are metal.  It’ll get excited when one’s near, then it’s up to Cody to examine it and see if it’s worth his time.  Enter the seventy five percent which you possess.  Nice job, Megan.

So, what do you do with all this information?  It’s touchy, but I recommend a commitment to each other where porn is a conversation.  Cody should commit to never looking at porn again, and Megan should commit to giving him a positive outlet for his sex drive.  If this turns into guilt on her end, or manipulation and selfishness on his end, then you’ve perverted it.  In this way, healthy marital sex is similar to the gospel.  You cannot manipulate or abuse grace, not from God or from your spouse.  When your marriage is consummated on your wedding night in that steamy, sweaty, epicly long first act of sex, your bodies will belong to each other.  If Cody masturbates to porn, he has sinned against you, Megan, and he needs to confess it to you.  On your end, you need to help him by remembering his battle.  Being tired or not in the mood or gassy are often good reasons not to, depending on the severity of the gas, but sometimes they are just a wife being lazy.  Sometimes you need to push through.

Sex is so much more complicated than this, and it deserves its own full-length books and movies.  I’m not sure if there are any out there, but I’m sure you can just google to see if there are.  This article is dedicated to one small facet that you can work on.  Megan, know that you are helping him with these battles, and that he loves you enough to work on his own selfishness and only have sex with you, in his mind and with his real schlong.  Together, you can figure out how to beat it. 

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