Women Deserve Orgasm, Too: It’s Not Selfish for a Woman to Want to Orgasm During Intercourse

by | Nov 5, 2019 | Uncategorized | 149 comments

Women Deserve Orgasm, Too
Merchandise is Here!

Do women deserve to orgasm when making love to their husbands?

Is it reasonable to expect that when a couple is making love, both of them should receive pleasure?

I normally do a top 10 post on Tuesdays, and I had something all ready to go, but there was a discussion in the comments section over the weekend that, quite frankly, shocked me, and I thought it was worth addressing. I generally assume that people want good marriages and that people want good sex lives and that people care about each other, but every now and then people say things  in the comments that makes me realize that we have a long way to go before we’re going to reach healthy sexuality.

So, let me paint the picture of what happened (and by the way, this was hard to follow because it was spanning several posts, but I’ll try to summarize)

First, a man comments that he wants sex no strings attached, and he’s tired of having his wife have so many needs before she’ll want to have sex.

He’s referring to our first Start Your Engines podcast, (though he’s commenting on another post), where we explained that a woman needed three things from sex: intimacy, safety and pleasure.

He said:

I’m sorry to be so blunt, but no woman in the world is worth the aggravation you guys described. It seems to me that, before marriage, women are usually “hot to trot,” but once they get control of your life and (mostly) your wallet, they turn off the spiggot, and make everything into a thankless chore. After listening carefully to the whole podcast, I admit to being a little like Aquaman. What I heard was “somethin’, somethin’, somethin’, no sex for you.”

Even men who take their “shepherding” role seriously, get to the point of desperation. We usually have ONE item on our list of Requirements-for-a-good-marriage. Women seem to have 100 or more.

And if we don’t fulfill all 100 to perfection on a daily basis, they feel justified in becoming serial refusers. It seems to me that the problem your ministry you need to work hardest to defeat with is women and their OUTRAGEOUSLY UNREALISTIC expectations. It is those unmeetable expectations that are destroying marriages today; not porn, not affairs, and certainly not “evil white men” and their “evil penises.” It’s women and their insurmountable “Prince Charming Complex.”

Bill

In return, Jess replied that sex is more than just about release; and that they should be aiming for intimacy at all levels.

Are you saying that sex is seriously your only requirement for a good marriage? You don’t care about trust, loyalty, compassion, emotional intimacy, relationship, serving one another, having fun together? None of that matters at all? That exact viewpoint is why so many women have a non-existent libido and feel like sex objects rather than people who matter.

You don’t want a wife to “control your life” or “your wallet”, it sounds like you don’t want a marriage, you just want free sex. Marriage is not about control, manipulation, or a list of requirements one spouse must fulfill before the other spouse gives something in return. Marriage in God’s design is about mutuality, self-sacrifice, love, respect, and service. It’s about putting your spouse’s needs and desires above your own. It’s a perfect picture of how Jesus laid down is life for us. He didn’t wait for us to measure up before he gave himself for us, just like a husband and wife should not wait for the other to measure up before giving of themselves.

I’m so sorry if you’ve been hurt by a woman who used you for your money or withheld sex for ridiculous reasons. That is also not right. But if my husband told me the only requirement he had for a good marriage was for me to give him sex whenever he wanted, I’d probably come up with a ridiculous list of requirements for him too, just to protect myself from feeling used and cheap and dirty and like the only thing I’m good for is his physical pleasure and release. No woman wants to feel like that.

Just for background, I am married, my husband and I are both very happy and fulfilled, and we have a wonderful sex life. You could ask him and he would say the same thing. And it’s because we strive for the marriage I outlined above, one built on mutuality, self-sacrifice, love, respect, and service. If more husbands AND wives put effort into that kind of marriage, I think sex in marriage would fall into place much easier and would be much more fulfilling for both spouses.

Jess

Those two comments launched the much longer discussion, which ended up spreading two threads. On a thread from our Start Your Engines podcast,  libl piped up and said that she could only orgasm if she lay still and was able to concentrate, but her husband didn’t like that. (He’d been insisting for years that they have sex in such a way that gets her no pleasure–“I went 3 years without an orgasm from him because he wanted sex his way. I gave up oral sex because he wanted sex his way.”). One of the men participating in the first thread started commenting there, too. He said that the solution was that they do what her husband wanted half the time, and then they do what libl wanted half the time.

Can anyone see what’s wrong with that?

Her husband is ABLE to orgasm whatever they have sex; he just gets greater pleasure if she moves around a lot and puts on a bit of a show. But if she does that, she’s no longer able to orgasm. 

Now, let’s say that libl were to do what the commenter wanted, and have sex the way her husband wanted half the time, and the way that she wanted half the time. What would be the result?

The husband would orgasm 100% of the time, and she would only orgasm 50% of the time.

That’s not right, because women deserve orgasm, too. But he kept pushing back at me and told me it was fair for them to do what the guy wanted half the time and what the wife wanted half the time. I’d like to elaborate today on why that’s off.

Sex is supposed to be the ultimate “knowing” of one another. It’s supposed to be a mutual experience.

For a husband to say: I want no strings attached sex; I want to be able to have sex with you whenever I want to, no matter what’s going on in the relationship, and to insist on anything else means that you’re depriving me–well, quite frankly, what he’s interested in, then, is not a wife but a sex doll or a prostitute.

Sex is not only about a husband’s physical release, no matter what books like Love & Respect might say. I understand that this is the teaching that is often given in Christian circles, but it is not biblical. The biblical word for sex in the Old Testament is “knowing”, which is a deep intimacy that encompasses so much more than just the physical. Making love is supposed to be truly making love. Also, sex is not supposed to be about using someone. In 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, where we see Paul’s admonition to “do not deprive each other”, the instructions given are completely mutual. In fact, her needs are considered first!

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1 Corinthians 7:3-5

If a husband is only interested in his own orgasm, regardless of whether his wife feels pleasure (and especially if he prefers sex in a way that she won’t feel pleasure), then he is not abiding by what the Bible says.

Women deserve orgasm; to ask for their pleasure to be considered too is not unreasonable.

I completely understand that many women have difficulty reaching orgasm, which is why I’ve tried to write so many posts on it, and why I’m hoping to complete a course on orgasm sometime in 2020. Here are just a few of the posts:

Sometimes women can’t orgasm because of sexual pain; sometimes it’s shame and baggage about sex; sometimes it’s body image issues, or not knowing how her body works. But sometimes it’s also that he just doesn’t spend any time helping her get there.

Women are not broken because they require more stimulation to reach orgasm. That’s part of the design.

God wants sex to be mutual; God expects women to receive pleasure, too. So if those two things are true, then the fact that it takes women longer to reach orgasm, and that they need more attention, also means that that’s part of the design. This does not mean she’s broken, or that she’s flawed, or that she needs to become more like him. As I explained in my articles on the theology of the clitoris and the theology of the penis, God intended for husbands to have to spend some attention on their wives during sex. For a husband to resent that, and to think it’s an imposition, and to think that we should just forego that when we’re making love or else she’s demanding too much, is him not understanding what a sexual relationship is.

It’s supposed to be a sexual relationship; it’s not supposed to be about sexual release.

It’s a two-person thing. It’s something that you share. And that’s why my commenter’s suggestion where one night it’s about the husband and one night it’s about the wife is so off. I am a big proponent of having “his” nights and “her” nights occasionally, where you do special things that one of you likes (whether it’s something sexual or starting with a super long massage, or whatever. In fact, I even created 24 Sexy Dares that couples can share together, thinking that these would last about a year, on average. I am certainly NOT against spicing things up or having fun or trying new things.

But in general, sex should be about both of you, together. It’s a shared experience. He’s receiving pleasure; she’s receiving pleasure. They’re touching each other and loving each other. It’s about them, together.

The problem to me here is that these men assume that it’s okay to prefer sex in a way that brings your wife no pleasure.

They see her particular need for orgasm as a turn off, if what she wants doesn’t line up exactly with what he feels is exciting. They must honestly think it’s okay for men to orgasm all the time, while women don’t deserve orgasm necessarily, if it might interfere with his experience.

Some of the comments that never saw the light of day this weekend, because they were just so terrible and I couldn’t let them through. But they were all accusing her of being selfish by denying him what he wants–despite the fact that all that she was asking for was some pleasure. And they were using “Christian” arguments like “do not deprive” to do it. 

It’s like they have an idea of what “hot” sex is, and if it’s not what she needs, then she becomes the problem, because she’s denying him what is rightfully his.

I’m going to be frank–I think the pornographic culture, combined with some toxic Christian teaching, has created men who are terrible, selfish lovers.

Pornography teaches the viewer: sex is all about power. Sex is self-focused. It is using another to get what you want. The very act of watching porn, and the masturbation that accompanies it, means that you are making sexual release about your own particular desires, and nothing at all to do with a relationship.

Then we get the best-selling Christian marriage book like Love & Respect, which never once says that sex should feel good for a woman, too, but instead says that sex is all about the husband’s physical release. And it tells women that they don’t have a right to say no, no matter how they’re feeling, because he needs sex in a way that they will never understand. So it tells women: What you’re feeling doesn’t matter. Only his physical release matters. You don’t deserve anything sexually.

Do you see how this is just the same as pornography?

The pornographic culture, combined with some toxic Christian teaching, has created men who are terrible, selfish lovers.

This idea paints a woman as selfish if she speaks up and says that she needs something more from sex than he’s giving. Now she’s being demanding, and men need no strings attached sex (as the men were saying in the comments). She’s selfish for wanting to have an orgasm or receive pleasure, even though most men assume they’re going to orgasm when they have sex. As I said earlier this year, the gender that is most deprived of orgasm is not men; it’s actually women.

And to address that issue, I have created an entire course to teach you and your husband how to get you there and make you more orgasmic overall!

The Orgasm Course is Here to Help You Experience Real Passion!

Figure out what’s holding you back. Open the floodgates to orgasm.

But you know what? I bet a lot of those women would have more sex if there were fewer attitudes like the ones these men were demonstrating.

Most of the men commenting on this blog totally disagree with these men, by the way. So many men have commented that they don’t understand why a man would want to have sex with a woman who wasn’t in the mood or who wasn’t receiving pleasure. In fact, they say that the hottest thing in bed is not the particular sex act that they’re doing, but instead her responsiveness and her orgasm! So many men have even expressed grief that their wives don’t want to work on orgasm, because these men would desperately like to give their wives pleasure. ​

But when husbands don’t care about pleasure–is it any wonder that some women have trouble reaching orgasm?

I truly fear that we have raised a generation of women who feel guilty if they have to ask for foreplay; who never orgasm because they’re afraid to speak up and say, “I’m not actually enjoying this as much as you are.”. And if she needs a long time to orgasm, she feels so nervous that he’s impatient or that he’s upset that she can’t get out of her head and let go. I really think that’s one of the reasons (not the only one) that so many women need vibrators to reach orgasm–they’re afraid to speak up about what they really need from their husbands (I know for some women they’re a lifesaver, after trying everything. But for some couples, they’re a short circuit that avoids him having to figure out how her body works).

Do not deprive EACH OTHER. She matters, too. Sex is about BOTH of you.

Sex is about BOTH of you. If a man doesn’t care that his wife can’t orgasm, as long as he gets what he wants, then that is not making love.

That is using her. And we need to call this out, more and more, and bring back what the Bible actually says. Do not deprive EACH OTHER. She matters, too. And maybe if these men took more time to become better lovers, and to figure out how their wives’ bodies work, then their wives would want sex more, too.

(although I’m aware that there are some women who just won’t let their husbands try to give them pleasure. That’s a separate issue than the one being talked about in the comments, though it’s just as frustrating). 

Women Deserve Orgasm: It's not selfish for a woman to want sex to pleasure her as well. It is selfish if a man finds that a turn off.

What do you think? How do we stop this attitude from flourishing in the church? And where did we go wrong? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

Is Someone Stepping on Your Air Hose?

So many women--and many men as well--honestly feel like the church is hurting them. I do not believe that it is Jesus that is hurting them, but the things that the church teaches, especially around sex and marriage, do cause harm. Our surveys have shown that...

Can Sex Be Hot and Holy at the Same Time?

Can sex be hot and holy at the same time? One of my big picture passions that I want people to understand is that sex is more than just physical--it's supposed to be deeply intimate too. And maybe to understand that, we need to take a step back to see what God thinks...

Comments

We welcome your comments and want this to be a place for healthy discussion. Comments that are rude, profane, or abusive will not be allowed. Comments that are unrelated to the current post may be deleted. Comments above 300 words in length are let through at the moderator’s discretion and may be shortened to the first 300 words or deleted. By commenting you are agreeing to the terms outlined in our comment and privacy policy, which you can read in full here!

149 Comments

  1. Nathan

    Paul’s charge of “do not deprive” has sometimes been misinterpreted to mean “my wife should have sex with me whenever I want, no matter what she feels or what (if anything) she gets out of it”.

    And oddly enough, that kind of toxic Christian teaching does indeed link up with the porn culture in that they both teach that sex is about nothing except the man’s pleasure, and that the woman exists only to serve the man.

    I have to admit that I sometimes fall into this trap myself. I try very hard to be good to Mrs. Nathan and make her happy, and I think I succeed most of the time, but I could do better and do more for her.

    I believe that the biggest first step for all of us is to learn that sex is truly about the fulfillment and pleasure (physical, emotion, spiritual) of BOTH people and that each of us needs to work towards the happiness of the other. That would actually make things better for everybody.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Well said, Nathan!

      Reply
  2. Cara

    As I responded to your recent research survey, I realized just how little I was taught in regards to sex as I was growing up. So many of the questions…I thought back and realized that I really had no preconception of from what I was taught growing up.
    Honestly, I think that was for the best with what I read now.
    There was some purity culture but in a healthy, positive way (don’t give part of yourself to someone you might not spend forever with; Gods plan for sex is best and that’s marriage is what I remember as my takeaway).

    So, in answer to your question, the church isn’t teaching much about this either way. Our recent church that we left due to moving did have a message on Sunday morning that was obviously not super specific sexually but basically gave the right message that both spouses are to love each other-he mentioned sex multiple times as part of a good, healthy marriage I believe. Honestly I was so intent on seeing if my 9 year old was catching it that I missed it. Lol

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I don’t think churches teach about sex well–but I’m also not sure that sermons are the right place to do it, anyway. I do think that’s the drawback of seeing “church” as a Sunday morning service, where we all listen to a pastor, instead of “church” as a community that does life together and mentors each other, which is what the New Testament showed church to be. It’s all highly complicated! I think sex tends to be talked about more in men’s groups and women’s groups, but even then, the focus is often on porn and how to prevent it rather than what real intimacy looks like.

      Reply
      • Cara

        Sheila-I said something very similar to this on one of your Facebook posts and got flamed!
        I didn’t think sermons (where you have your grandma and mom one row in front of you and your 4 year old on one side of you and your 9 year old on the other) were the appropriate place to talk about sexual pleasure. But boy did I get taken to task!!
        And the funny thing is I’m more open with my kids about sex than most anyone I know!!

        In my comment above I’m actually talking about in youth group. Maybe it’s because I got married so young ? The good thing about not being taught much at all was that I didn’t get WRONG teaching? For me, it seems the more I’ve learned about how I’m supposed to feel and not feel, want and not want, do and not do, etc, has coincided with LESS pleasure and more overthinking and pressure. Add in hormones of peri menopause and a few other life factors and I’m at about a 2/10 whereas in the early years I was at a 11/10!

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Totally don’t think we should be talking about that in a sermon. And I give talks on sex for churches! Totally inappropriate. But in youth group–sure!

          Reply
  3. Rich Poupard

    So tragic that this post needs to be written. Any man who cares little about the pleasure his wife is experiencing is simply doing it wrong. He is missing out on so much, not to mention his wife.

    This is why marital sex is portrayed as being routine and boring in today’s culture, while youthful trysts are seen as so exciting. This is a lie. The best sex happens the more you know your partner in a committed relationship, and the more vulnerability you are able to share. Once again, if this is not the case you are doing it wrong.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Absolutely! Vulnerability brings out more passion, especially in women, which is why the glory years of sex are rarely the honeymoon years, but instead over a decade into marriage when you really know each other well. We’re really trading the truth for a lie.

      Reply
      • Dennis B.

        I totally agree with Rich P. My wife and I married 42 years, children gone, have more and better sex now than when we first started out on this journey together. I have always held on to the belief that if she is satisfied and happy with our life together outside the bedroom, she will inside the bedroom. But, I always make sure that she is satisfied(orgasms), sometimes multiple, if I can make that happen, before I think about myself finishing. We are filled with passion and love as our bodies touch each other. We also mix it up with a game we play using our Wii game console. Sex toys are in our bedroom, though not used every time we have sex. Always, mutual satisfaction is the goal by both of us in our sex life, as well as our life outside the bedroom. Marriage is 50/50, and I really don’t “work” at my marriage, but do the things that I feel are good for our relationship.

        Reply
  4. Sheila Wray Gregoire

    Commenter Lindsey left a great comment over the weekend in reply to this furor on another thread, but it pertained just to this, and so I’d like to run it here, too:

    Honestly, Shiela, some the the comments from the boys (because I would not consider those comments to be congruent with actual manhood) have reminded me of a scene in a movie I used to watch as a child, “Babe”.

    In the movie, the grandfather presents his granddaughter with a handmade dollhouse on Christmas morning. This dollhouse is filled with beautiful, handmade furnishings. The entire thing is a work of art that represents countless hours of labor. It’s a gift that is screams “I love you so much!”. It is a unique treasure.

    After ripping the wrapping paper off, the spoiled child give it the most fleeting glance, scrunches up her face and whines “it’s the wrong one! I want the one I saw on the television!”.

    That’s what the pornographic culture in which we are steeped has done to sex. These comments make it seem that the commenters don’t appear to be satisfied pursuing a meaningful, emotionally deep relationship with their wife. That beautiful, unique thing that they share together. Instead, they want the flashy, heavily marketed sex that they’ve been fantasizing about. The mutually satisfying experience that could be crafted with their wife barely warrants a fleeting glance before they’re off and whining about the cheap, plastic imitation that could NEVER measure up to real, mutual intimacy, both in and out of the bedroom.

    On a side not, it must get so discouraging in your ministry to constantly come up against this type of attitude.

    PS – just in case anyone who is reading thinks that I’m saying wives get a pass to demand perfection before consenting to sex – I am not. Both spouses should be showing love and grace in and out of the marriage bed. But the attitudes in the comments above are MUCH more likely to produce less sex of any type, than they are to produce more sex.

    Reply
    • CharitySolvesMostProblems

      Wow! I love that visual (and that movie)! That’s a really good description. I think she’s right – boys who won’t see women as whole human beings with needs and desires are too often treated as men (it’s actually sometimes a goal of “manhood” to act that way, especially in this culture). The church would do better if it presented the true picture of manhood – sex and all – without sweeping this MAJOR childish issue of porn and dehumanizing behavior under the rug (or tacitly justifying it).
      Imagine how attractive Christianity would be to this broken culture, if true men and true women were routinely rising up out of it – people who knew what sex is and could laugh at the ridiculous picture the world presents instead of being confused by the church teachings that seem to be quietly agreeing with it.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I know! That’s really my goal. To show Christian men and women what real passion is–that it’s all about love & vulnerability & intimacy along with everything else. It isn’t emptiness or selfishness. And it’s ultimately very fulfilling.

        Reply
  5. T

    You know for the life of me I don’t understand how this is so hard for people. Our sex Life could be better. But my husband and I both orgasm when we do have sex (most of the time). Generallyit starts with me and it is time consuming but usually get multiple. After I’m done then it’s his turn. (So to speak). It works for us.

    And ya know you can switch positions part way through sex. *Newsflash*. Each sexual encounter doesn’t have to start and end in the same way. For myself I tend to feel pleasure in a specific way so that’s oftenthe way we start and then I switch it up for the second half. This is all so bizarre to be writing down.

    So for the life of me I don’t understand why people (men) think they should always be visually stimulated as well. You can be part of the time. But it’s not very fulfilling for me so start off with something else.

    As a rule though our culture is extremely selfish. This is just more evidence of that in my opinion.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly, T! If there’s something you need to climax, then do that part of the time, and something else part of the time. But for the husband to say to the commenter (libl in this case) that he couldn’t be bothered because he didn’t like sex that way was ultimately extremely selfish. I would hope people can see that.

      Reply
      • T

        Yes extremely selfish. Like in addition to being an object to… how do I say this without being crude…. in addition to effectively being a sex doll you also have to be a pole dancer and stripper so they are effectively watching and experiencing at the same time. Why not just put porn on the TV and then have sex.

        I dunno. I imagine there are positions that might be more enjoyable for men. I’ve asked my husband in the past whether he prefers to watch in addition and he just said it depends. So sometimes I sit up 🤷‍♀️ Again so odd to write this down. But again if we are trying to be selfless we would all have these conversations with our partners. What works for YOU? Then adapt some of the time to that .

        Reply
  6. Doug

    Honestly, I can see some good coming out of the every other night arrangement, if the intent is moving towards more pleasure for each. I would caveat that to say that it would have to be an agreed upon arrangement, with each entering into it with good will.

    The problem I have with your arguement against is that you categorically equate the mans level of pleasure with his orgasm, and I don’t find that to be true. My orgasms are great, but in a very real way, they are something of a disapointment, because they generally mean the end of the love making session. I would say that if anything the individual differences between my wife and I, and the way we approach sex is a reflection of the differences in the way we approach the others orgasm.

    As a rule, when we have sex, i generally try to deny myself at least until she has made it clear that she doesn’t want one, which is usually the case. Early in our marriage, she was much more direct, and never left any doubt, but now I am left to figure it out for myself.

    The thing is I think you do men in general an injustice when you equate their ability to orgasm with their overall satisfaction.

    You say the goal is mutual satisfaction, so take the orgasm out of the equation, unless that is a stated benchmark to satisfaction. When you do that then the every other night thing starts to make more sense.

    Reply
    • Lindsey

      I think orgasm is a “bare minimum” benchmark, in my opinion.

      I am able to take some mental shortcuts in order to orgasm, and I frequently do, in order to speed things up and make things less strenuous for my husband because he is often very tired from work by the time we get our kids to sleep. He doesn’t ask me to do this, I just…do. I think it may tie in to what Sheila said in this article about feeling guilty.

      However, these short cuts have a dramatic effect on my overall pleasure, as they reduce emotional intimacy. At times this can leave me feeling a tiny bit sad after the fact. Other times it doesn’t bother me, I just chalk it up to a “fun” time that didn’t have a lot of emotional meaning.

      However, the one constant is that bare minimum – we both orgasm. If that wasn’t the case, and I also didn’t feel emotionally fulfilled by the encounter it would dramatically reduce our sex life.

      I think that’s the point Sheila is making. Not that all men care about is orgasm, but that they pretty well always get that bare minimum, and they should be certain that they provide that for their spouse. Because I’m certain if the man was told that he only got to orgasm half the time, and also didn’t get any other sort of joy or fulfillment from the encounter, he’d been very unlikely to enter in to such an agreement. And, just like I did for the man, I’d question the heart of any women that really enjoyed a sexual encounter knowing her husband did not.

      This isn’t to say that I don’t ever give my husband the “gift” of a little Non-intercourse pampering and release and expect nothing in return, and on other occasions he may do the same for me. But if there is penetrative intercourse happening, we both orgasm – that’s the bare minimum standard.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Totally agree with this. I really could have run this as the whole post:

        Because I’m certain if the man was told that he only got to orgasm half the time, and also didn’t get any other sort of joy or fulfillment from the encounter, he’d been very unlikely to enter in to such an agreement. And, just like I did for the man, I’d question the heart of any women that really enjoyed a sexual encounter knowing her husband did not.

        Reply
        • Matt

          Suggest pumping the brakes just a tad with that take. What you dismiss pretty much sums up my sex life with my wife, except at this point it’s pretty much 100% in her favor in terms of achieving orgasm.

          When she’s in the mood and expresses her desire, I do what I do to satisfy her…and thats it. My orgasm is neither a focus or concern for me, so I don’t pursue it. I’ve learned what she likes and prefers and lean on those. I’m “involved” to the degree that I want to be, but in the last 5 years of my 16-year marriage, I’ve not experienced an orgasm of my own.

          Sex and sexual release are just not important to me the way they are to her. That doesn’t mean that she should be denied, and it doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t experience the maximum amount of personal satisfaction that she can in the moment.

          It took her some time to adjust, but she’s come to accept that I’m truly not “denied” or playing the role of a passive-aggressive husband out to settle a score.

          If I’m not hungry, I don’t eat. That doesn’t mean I won’t sit with you while you eat if you’re hungry. If I’m not short of air, I don’t gasp for it. Doesn’t mean I won’t help you catch your breath after you just ran a race. And if I’m not aroused or in need of a specific form of connection with my wife, then I don’t initiate. Doesn’t mean I’ll deny her that kind of connection; it’s just gonna be “all about her.”

          Reply
          • May Saari

            Sorry if this gets super personal, real fast Matt, but why on earth hasn’t having an orgasm been a “focus or concern” for you? It’s super important for both parties, regardless of how much it seems to be being downplayed so far in other comments. I totally agree that you can find “enjoyment” in ‘just participating’ in sex, but enjoyment isn’t enough! Orgasms are important, people! They aren’t a low bar; they are what both parties should be working towards TOGETHER (sorry for the all-caps, but I’m revved up)! Too many people have bought into the lie that sex is at best, “just ok,” and that it doesn’t matter whether we orgasm or not. It does matter and here’s why. God created us with a particular sexual response cycle which involves 4 phases: Excitement, Plateau, Orgasm and Resolution. Simply put, God literally built us to have orgasms. If they weren’t important to sex he wouldn’t have built them into our basic physical responses. They are a gift (a really fun gift) and we’re pretending like they don’t matter. Matt, I’m not picking on you, I hope you know that. I hear this from tons of other people too, you just happened to be brave enough to share it here. Unfortunately, this common point of view, gets in the way of true sexual fulfillment as well as a truly mutual sexual experience with one’s spouse. I know this, because at one point I shared that point of view too.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Thank you, May. I think that’s a really important point.

            I think if people are not getting a rush or a physical high from orgasm, it’s worth seeing the doctor. Some women, especially, can have the “post-sex blues” (or post-coital dysphoria), where they get all weepy and sad after orgasm. Some men may get this, too. And some people have no drive whatsoever. If you feel like you don’t mind helping your spouse out, but you have no desire yourself, it really is worth getting your hormones checked. That isn’t normal. And it isn’t the best for your life.

            Also, you may be being generous, but most people would rather that someone enjoy something with them, not just be a bystander. It’s should be an experience together. So I’d just ask, Matt, is it that you don’t desire sex at all?

        • Matt

          I can’t really provide much more of an answer than, “it just isn’t a huge motivator for me the way it is for others.”

          There is no porn usage or affairs. I’m not gay. I’ve already had a vasectomy, so no fear of pregnancy. All of my blood tests have come back with normal testosterone levels (which my doctor credits in part to my workout). I’m not 18 anymore, but ED hasn’t been much of an issue thus far.

          I agree with May that orgasms are important…for a lot of us. I know it’s not a comfortable reality, but simply put…they’re important for a lot of us, but definitely not to all of us. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy that time spent bonding with my wife, and from what I can tell, she enjoys it tremendously!

          I’m certainly not inexperienced; I’ve had orgasms when I was younger (I’m 46), and yeah – they were fun at the time. But so we’re a lot of things that I don’t do or experience anymore for one reason or another. I used to like traveling, but really don’t anymore. My wife loves to travel. That doesn’t mean I won’t accompany her. And while I may not get the same pleasure from it that she does, I won’t dampen it for her or cap her enjoyment. I want to be…and feel I am…an enthusiastic partner.

          I know the Dr. angle is a tried and true go-to; my wife insists that I get my testosterone levels checked at least once a year. Always well within normal. There’s no fear of pregnancy; I had a vasectomy several years back.

          At the end of the day, I don’t feel denied, and I’ve assured my wife if this. I fail to see how – in light of everything – this is a problem.

          Reply
      • Doug

        “I think orgasm is a “bare minimum” benchmark, in my opinion.”

        I tend to disagree. I don’t believe it is a benchmark at all. Fulfilling your spouses needs and desires is the benchmark. If that includes orgasm, then orgasm should be the minimum benchmark for whoever wants it.

        There seems to be a real disconnect on where pleasure is derived. For some, it is the orgasm. For others, it can certainly be something different. My wife is very generous in her own way, but in other measures, she is quite selfish. If I was to come to her and say I really wanted an orgasm, I really don’t think she would refuse, or at least not very often. If I was to say that I wanted to turn the TV off early, and spend a good bit of quality time for both of us, with no other distractions, then things get a little bit more unlikely. You could say that it is unlikely in the extreme, unless she is already thinking the same thing. 4 out of 5 times she will refuse any attention to herself(I have struggled to be OK with that. I’m not sure if I have made any headway, but it is what it is)

        In short, I could probably have an orgasm anytime I asked for one within reason, but I can honestly only remember one time in the last 20 years that I have asked.

        Again, don’t get me wrong, or think this is a complaint. It isn’t. As I said, she can be incredibly generous in providing me the orgasm that she thinks I want or should have, and the physical aspects of that are great. I won’t deny that it is pleasureful(I might have just made up a word). The pleasure comes from the physical, and from knowing that she is being generous, and not necessarily because my desires are being met, or even addressed. I can be grateful for what I receive, while still acknowledging it isn’t what I really wanted.

        I will be the first to say that is not the same as never having anyone care about your pleasure at all. That is absolutely wrong. But when you make the determination of what is pleasureful for your spouse, and ignore everything else, as long as you provided an orgasm, then you really haven’t done much more.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I do understand how difficult that must be to feel an emotional disconnect with your wife, Doug. That is really hard. Have you tried looking at our emotional needs inventory together? And doing that exercise? I wonder if that could start some much needed conversations, because I do get that it’s really lonely.

          I just want to point out, though, that while orgasm isn’t the end all and be all, for a spouse to say: “I don’t care whether you orgasm or not, I just want things my way” is extremely selfish. It’s not really the same scenario as you’re painting. Again, there are so many different issues, it’s hard to cover them all in one post. In your case, it really sounds like emotional connection is what is lacking.

          Reply
  7. Tory

    I am actually happy to have sex with my husband in the “no strings attached” “his way” manner that the original comment describes, even if I know I will not get anything from it, or orgasm, and it’s just for him. But the difference is, I know that afterwards if I want to climax (I almost always do) he will take care of me and not leave me hanging. That means he will completely change gears to give me what I need after he’s had his fun. It takes the pressure off me and makes me feel more generous and enthusiastic towards him. He never ever makes me feel bad or that it’s a bother.

    Reply
    • Lindsey

      By the standards of the guy who was commenting in the other three, this isn’t no strings attached. Because you still expect him to change gears and meet your needs the same night, rather than wait for “your night”. Lol. This is what he derogatorily refers to as “three-legged race sex” (which my husband and I though was a beautiful analogy of what a good marriage is: tied together like one body, trying to reach the same goal, and baring each other up and compensating for each other.)

      But it sounds like you and your husband have a good thing going, keep it up!

      Reply
    • Mike

      Yea Tory! Bingo. You get it!

      I told my wife last night how much I appreciate her unique temperament and attitude because of some of the comments. It’s heartening that she’s not a unicorn and Christianity has wives like you.

      I couldn’t imagine what us keeping score would be like. In the bedroom or elsewhere.

      Last night was date night. Monday specials are the best! My wife’s vegan-ey though and I’m carnivore. So we Take turns.

      When it’s her turn to pick a restaurant I know I’ll be eating a bean burger and not having desert. When I pick she has a much easier time with entrees and desert as a typical restaurant accommodates all diets better than a vegetarian one.

      But I LOVE date night.

      Reply
      • Lindsey

        Lol – literally the only one suggesting score keeping over the weekend was you. The rest of us were supporting mutuality.

        Sheila attempted to explain how your idea of 50:50 wasn’t mutual if the man was actually able to enjoy the encounter and “finish”, it just wasn’t as sexy as he’d like, on his wife’s night. But she wasn’t able to orgasm on his night at all. So it wasn’t “equal”.

        I’m glad you and your wife are happy in your situation (according to your comments), but the way you described how sex should be was not what Tory described – Because after her husband finishes he changes gears immediately to take care of her needs, not at a different time. That’s just a variation on your “three-legged-race” idea.

        Reply
        • Tory

          Yeah, in my comment I was describing a “his turn, her turn” scenario — not “his night, her night” (but not really because he comes both times and she doesn’t). I’m not saying at all that a woman should feel pressured to have an orgasm every time. But if she wants one, a living partner will make sure that happens for her, and that means giving her what she needs in order to climax. It could be that he holds her and kisses her while she uses a vibrator. I can’t speak for all women, but it sucks when I’m aroused but don’t get to come. Men would never stand for it if women told them, “you don’t get to come tonight, just enjoy the closeness!”

          Reply
        • Mike

          Except my wife and I aren’t the spouses counting marital releases to avoid feeling “used”. That’s what you do.

          And just so you know, a 3 legged race is synonymous with cumbersome and tripping, but you do you.

          Tory’s example would best be described as a relay. And she’s even happy with her husband going first. Oh the horror!

          Reply
          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            There’s nothing wrong with a husband going first, Mike. We’ve never said that. What we were talking about was this scenario:

            Woman says: “I need X to be able to orgasm.” And X is something where the husband can still orgasm.

            Man says: “I don’t care. I don’t like sex that way.”

            And YOU said: She should do what the man wants on one night, and what she wants on another night.

            The fact that you can’t understand how off this is is highly concerning.

          • Mike

            Sheila, Sheila..

            You just wrote that husband X should have intimacy that he doesn’t like EVERYTIME.

            In the example, Husband X hates his wife being still, but rather than split the week like I suggest you advise “her way or the highway”

            Is this a Christian site or not?

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Mike, you’re still missing my point. Sex is supposed to be MUTUAL. That means that we should take pleasure in the other person’s pleasure. WHY would he enjoy sex if she’s not getting pleasure? Why would he prefer that she not have pleasure so that he can get something “hotter”?

            Do you think his excitement matters more than her orgasm? (remember that he orgasms both ways either way)? Do you think that it’s right for a man to say, “you need to do what I want in bed the way that I want it EVEN IF you get no pleasure from it at least half the time”? Do you think that’s even remotely loving?

            How about doing special things in special times, and then making the MARRIAGE BED about the actual marriage? Seriously–can you not take pleasure in the fact that you’re giving her pleasure? If she takes longer to orgasm, or if she needs a certain position, there is nothing wrong with that if he is still achieving orgasm. And we’re not just talking about taking turns–you specifically said that she should be happy only orgasming 50% of the time. That is selfish and the antithesis of mutuality, and I believe that the root of it is a pornographic view of sex, where what is “hot” is specific sexual acts or specific visual stimulation, rather than intimacy. That is not biblical, and it needs to change.

          • Mike

            Sheila,

            Husband X just having intimacy that he hates is neither mutual, nor more importantly Christian.

            You accuse me of being pornographic, but your view is the one full of domination and demands.

            When couple X only had intimacy the “his way” the wife was justifiably upset. Changing to just “her way” as you suggest is as wrong. I don’t know why you can’t understand that both are equally selfish and unfair.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Mike, this has gone on long enough. I’m going to close off this discussion with you. The fact that “his” way means that she can’t orgasm is the problem. The fact that he does not find her pleasure part of his arousal is a problem. The fact that he sees no problem in denying his wife orgasm so that he can feel more excited is the problem. He needs to get back to what real intimacy is, and what real marriage is, and not a pornographic version of it. And now, I’m going to close down this conversation, because it’s been going on long enough and you’re not hearing what I (and pretty much every other commenter here) is saying.

          • Mike

            Yes. We really need to agree to disagree. We both have different perspectives.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Tory, yes, that’s a great man there! But at least he’s tending to you. That’s not what these guys were saying.

      I also understand that when we put the pressure to orgasm too much on the woman during intercourse, it can make encounters where that doesn’t happen feel like a failure and be very demoralizing, so that’s not always a good idea, either. It’s good to practice and to learn how to orgasm, but during those years (months? weeks?) when you’re figuring things out, don’t make it a pass/fail thing.

      Reply
      • Natalie

        But not making it a”pass/fail” when you’ve been trying for literally years is extremely difficult and, in my experience, I’d say near impossible. There’s no way to escape at least some feeling of defeat and like your body or maybe even your relationship/marriage is broken when everything you try never results in orgasm.

        I don’t blame the church for this or even the culture at large. I just think these feelings are natural, inescapable, and probably all relate back to the fall of mankind.

        Reply
  8. Nathan

    Not sure what role the church has in teaching about sex itself, but my church says that they’re pro-sex because the bible is pro-sex (within marriage, of course).

    They’re pretty good about some things. For example, our pastors often mention how the “wives submit to your husbands” phrase is part of a larger paragraph that says we should submit to each other. On the other hand, they cling to some things that we should move beyond. Things like “Women, dress conservatively, or men will lust and it’s YOUR FAULT if they do”.

    A bit off topic, but a question for Sheila. You once mentioned a children’s bible that shorthanded the story of Adam and Eve so that it appeared that Eve was only one who ate from the tree, or else Eve picked it and gave it to Adam or something like that. Do you remember what that was?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Actually, we’re thinking of running a post on it soon. Joanna looked at all of her children’s Bibles, and all the ones at the church library, and 95% of them were like that.

      Reply
  9. Sarah O

    There was a great related post over at flyingfreenow.com this week on how porn and abuse are aligned.

    It makes me so sad to see this attitude of not caring about your wife sexually, especially as it is usually coupled with a demand that she prioritize the husband’s sexuality. I wish it were rare. I also wish it was not so prevalent among Christians. How does that show the relationship between Christ and the church? Why do we have so much less focus on husbands behaving like Christ than on wives responding correctly? Oh, probably because we take physical and financial risk when we confront men, not as much when confronting women. Bold.

    I think guys are kidding themselves when they say sex is their only measure of a good marriage. Really? That’s what you felt when you were dating and proposed? That’s what you felt on your wedding day? “Hooray, I’ve acquired a vagina”? If sex is your only goal in this day and age there was no reason for you to marry. None. And certain out no reason for you to stay married.

    If you still maintain that sex was the whole caboodle, please share your definition of marriage bluntly with your kids. I’m sure they will moved by your vision and agree that their mother was an excellent vagina choice.

    Ultimately it’s misogyny. Women and wives are not as real, not as important, not as human, and not as valuable as men and husbands. Unfortunately misogynists cannot hear female voices, so for women our defense is to set good and loving boundaries. Men are going to have to confront other men. Thank you to the men on this blog who have already done so.

    As a side note, I love my husband. I adore him. We struggle with small kids in the house but we manage 1-2 times a week, and we both enjoy our time together. We both work full time. We both do chores and take care of the kids. He is happy and feels pride in every aspect of our family life because he’s helped to build it. He is my other half. I listen to him about electronics and DnD, he listens to me about music and sociology. We are not without challenges, but I’m telling you guys to whom this post is addressed, your attitude toward your wives is not doing you any favors. You are hurting yourself along with everyone else.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Well said, Sarah! And I feel the same way about Keith. He is my other half. And he took great pride in everything in our family because he was involved, too.

      I also want to pick up on what you said about the other men on this blog. I completely echo you. We have some wonderful male readers (the majority, really) and I’m glad they’re here. They give me hope.

      Reply
    • wifeofasexaddict

      “I think guys are kidding themselves when they say sex is their only measure of a good marriage. Really? That’s what you felt when you were dating and proposed? That’s what you felt on your wedding day? “Hooray, I’ve acquired a vagina”? If sex is your only goal in this day and age there was no reason for you to marry. None. And certain out no reason for you to stay married.

      If you still maintain that sex was the whole caboodle, please share your definition of marriage bluntly with your kids. I’m sure they will moved by your vision and agree that their mother was an excellent vagina choice.”

      Yes! This is so good and gets right to the heart of it.

      Reply
  10. Justin

    I think the main misunderstanding is that the advice of caring for her needs is misheard as being responsible for her orgasm.

    So when that does not happen, through chance or choice, it feels like failure.

    It isn’t a failure; I’d love for my wife to orgasm 100% of the time, but she lets me know when the attention and intention is not working. Plus that’s just a 100%-of-the-timer’s biased perspective.

    It is much easier to approximate 100% for both parties when the goal is connection. The mile markers may or may not be orgasms, but the journey is Knowing.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s a really good point, Justin. You can aim for orgasm and not achieve it, but that doesn’t mean that you did anything wrong. And, in fact, when a woman has difficulty reaching orgasm, always aiming for it and “failing” can make it even harder. That’s often why I suggest that some nights you don’t even make it your goal–just make pleasure your goal, and that’s it.

      But that’s a far cry from a woman who CAN orgasm in a certain way, but the husband says that’s not hot enough.

      Reply
  11. Belle Grace

    Mrs. Sheila, when someone shows you who they are…believe them.

    Those 2 commenters over the weekend…UNDERSTOOD everything you said…they just didn’t like it. That’s not ignorance of sex fueling their denial of women deserving equal pleasure…that’s them fearing losing the control, control which pleasures them. Control is their pleasure…that’s why they don’t care if their wife enjoys the sex or orgasms.

    Everyone responding to your blog isn’t looking to better themselves…some are coming to dissuade, distract & attack healthy messages that teach equality. Equality threatens Bill & the other guy. One showed it over & over in his comments. He left no room to offer him the benefit of the doubt that he was just ignorant about sex & therefore just didn’t know any better. They didn’t come to your blog to get help or to help others. Their opinions let you know he did not care & just wanted you to bow down to them. You explained yourself perfectly well…but they did not want to receive it. They wanted you to change it…to suit them.

    There’s a huge difference between the types of men/husbands who comment on your topics. One set of men are looking for help & perspectives because they actually care about their wives happiness. The other set revealed the ugly truth in their comments that they don’t care about mutual sex…because it’s only about what they want as men.

    Mrs. Sheila, if you had titled your podcast “Ladies Submit To You Husbands Always Even If it Hurts or Kills You”…those two commenters would’ve been screaming Amen in the comments.

    Reply
  12. Jane Eyre

    Here’s an analogy:

    I’ve been a vegetarian for about 20 years. During that time, I noticed a weirdly direct correlation between how accommodating a man is of my diet and how he treated me in other areas of life. I once dated someone who thought that I should just eat a hamburger bun so we could go to a burger joint, and that I was being a jerk for wanting more than bread as my meal. (He was a world-class (expletive) in other areas, too.)

    But then there’s men who might like the steak at Restaurant A a bit better than the steak at Restaurant B, but choose the latter because that place has ravioli for me and A only has a terrible side salad. We both get at least a “good” meal, even if it’s not 100% the best everything we could want.

    By analogy….

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Actually a really good analogy, Jane!

      Reply
  13. wifeofasexaddict

    “I’m going to be frank–I think the pornographic culture, combined with some toxic Christian teaching, has created men who are terrible, selfish lovers.”

    AMEN!!!!! A little louder for the people in the back!!

    To Bill: I agree with you. Marriage is too hard for you. You shouldn’t get married.

    Reply
  14. It's more complicated

    Women deserve orgasm! Yes. But if the wife doesn’t want it, or thinks it’s too much effort, or, or, or, then it doesn’t matter how much the husband is willing. Husband can do all the things that are on the wife’s list of “want from her husband”, but that isn’t the point. It’s like some women need to decide to make sex important to them, just like some men need to make their wife’s interests important to them.
    I’m a very willing husband, do all I can think of, support my wife in every area I can, but my desire for my wife’s sexual pleasure has totally backfired.
    If the wife really doesn’t want to go there, then the “God intended intimacy” isn’t there either, and where does that leave us? One sided sex, when sex is made available.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I completely agree that this is the case for many, many couples. Many women don’t value pleasure; don’t want to feel pleasure necessarily; and try to turn off the sexual part of themselves. That’s tragic in its own way, and if that’s what you’re facing (or others who are reading this), then I’d point you to my post from last week, where there’s something to show your wife to explain how you’re feeling. What we’re talking about here, though, is that the woman CAN orgasm and wants to orgasm, but the husband is saying, “I don’t like sex that way, so you should do it my way” (even though he can orgasm both ways). So that’s really a problem, though a different problem.

      Reply
  15. AJ

    As a man I can’t imagine NOT prioritizing my wife’s pleasure. I get as much pleasure from bringing her to orgasm as I do from my own orgasm. It is always my intent to help my wife have as many orgasms as she wants EVERY time we have sex. I have always felt this way since day one of our marriage. However, I wasn’t always able to fullfil this. She never had an orgasm until we had been married for 8 years. Then from year 8 until year 16 she would typically orgasm 2 out of 3 encounters. For many years she only wanted piv intercourse and was uncomfortable with me touching her genital area with anything other than my penis. I was very dissatisfied with this and I began to resent her. Even though we had sex 2 or 3 times per week I still felt rejected because she wouldn’t fully give herself over to me and let me touch her. She said she was happy with our sex life. I finally convinced her there might be more than what she had previously experienced. I read a book on giving women oral sex. I finally convinced her to try it. After some practice I was able to bring her to orgasm with oral sex sometimes and she began enjoying it. Then I tried to convince her she could have and orgasm every time we had sex. She was skeptical and didn’t believe it was possible. Eventually we ended up buying a wand type vibrator that became her orgasm “training wheels”. Within a couple of weeks of buying the vibrator she began having multiple orgasms. We then soon discovered she could have multiples every time just as easily using my fingers. We through the vibrator in the garbage and have never missed it. Now she has as many orgasms as she wants every time we have sex. These events took place within a 6 month time frame. After some discussion my wife believes that previously she was never fully focused on her own pleasure. She was always at least a little subconsciously focused on my pleasure and how I was feeling. This caused a mental block that prevented her from always having an orgasm. Using a vibrator helped her break through the mental block and think only about her own body and how she was feeling. Now that she can orgasm easily she wants sex all the time and I love it! After 18 years of marriage we have never been closer emotionally, physically and spiritually. My wife has never been so beautiful! I have shared things with her in the past few months I’ve never told anyone before. We now have sex almost every day and we usually spend about 3o minutes every day just cuddling and talking about us and life. I am so thankful my wife became convinced that she deserved and was capable of receiving sexual pleasure. It has truly blessed our marriage.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s awesome, AJ! I love that so much. (And by the way–it’s actually quite common to reach the sexual height around year 18, and not really enjoy things for the first 8 years. It usually happens for just the reasons you said–women aren’t focused enough on their own pleasure, and so they don’t let themselves truly “let go” until later in marriage, when they feel really safe and confident).

      Reply
  16. Doug

    I just have one question. Why is Bill and his comment central to this post.

    Am I seriously the only person whe read that, and saw the pain behind it. Am I the only person who read his comment and saw something completely different than what is being described here. Yes, his words were harsh, but if you read the whole comment I don’t konw how you could come to any other conclussion than he had been consistently, maybe perpetually refused, and that he was frustrated and hurt.

    I didn’t read everything that was said afterwards, but I saw his comment as soon as he posted, and I didn’t have any question at all what he was saying.

    I don’t know what all he has tried to do to improve their marriage and their sex life, but from what I read, he had made some efforts, with no change. Is it surprising that he is frustrated.

    For those of you who keyed in on his “one thing” comment, without reading the whole, I can tell you from experience that “one thing” takes on an overwhelming part of your emotional life, when it is absent.

    I agree with every word of this thread, with the singular exception of using him as an example. I have read plenty of posts like his in the past, and they always resonated with me. I wouldn’t have posted what he did, but I have certainly felt like it

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Doug, I understand the hurt. I really do. I shared both comments because that’s what started the whole discussion, and everything kind of built on Bill’s comment, and that’s where the “No strings attached sex” direction started from (though it was not Bill who said it originally).

      I think what people were reacting to in Bill’s comment was that last bit: “It is those unmeetable expectations that are destroying marriages today; not porn, not affairs, and certainly not “evil white men” and their “evil penises.” It’s women and their insurmountable “Prince Charming Complex.”

      Had he left that out, we could have had a more fruitful discussion. But downplaying porn when it is destroying marriages, and turning it into a “poor men are being attacked” is just unnecessarily confrontational, even if you’re hurt.

      As I say all the time on this blog, men are not the problem and women are not the problem. SIN is the problem, and both genders sin, though often in different ways. To blame one gender is counterproductive and wrong, and when people do this, they’re already losing the argument and will make everything worse. Even if he is hurting in his marriage, this is not a productive way to deal with it.

      Also, the attitude that he showed, while it may be very much how he feels, is guaranteed to make his wife reject him more, as Jess said. It’s just incredibly hurtful, to tell a woman that “I only want you for sex.” It may be what you’re feeling; but if you communicate that, you’re guaranteed to not get the sex you really want, because you will hurt her. We simply have to find a better way of talking about this, and that starts with finding a better way to think about it. People have legitimate needs, yes. People can feel rejected, yes. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that intimacy is the aim. That Jesus is our focus. That love is the command that supersedes all.

      Reply
      • Doug

        I mostly agree, but not entirely. Yes he was confrontational, and said some things he should not have, but aside from Jess, I really didn’t see anyone come close to showing him the love of Jesus.

        As I said, I don’t know what he has done to try to make things better. It may not have been anything, and he may have tried to move the world. I suspect he tried all the usual recommendations that you read about. I did the same thing.

        I don’t doubt that his wife knows he is unhappy, but that doesn’t mean he has ever told her she was only good for one thing, thi it is possible. If so, it would definitely hurt his cause.

        The thing is I have actually said something very similar to my wife, tho I hope I was a bit more sensitive than that. I pointed out all the ways I knew she was showing her love, and then said I would gladly forfeit them all for the sex. I work on the road a lot and before that I was in the military. I am quite accustomed to doing my own cooking and cleaning, and when I didn’t feel like it, I could always pay someone to do it, but the other needs could only be met by her.

        I really don’t think Inwas wrong to point that out and barring his tone, I think he would be correct also.

        My sole objection to using his comment, is that you probably added unnecessarily to his hurt to make the point. You could have easily left his comment out and focused on the woman who posted about her husbands refusal to meet her needs. They have the same complaint, but you validated her pain and dismissed his entirely.

        Reply
        • Elsie

          Hello Doug, I understand your point and agree that Bill may have experienced a painful situation in his life. However, his comment displayed a lot of hatred and anger towards women in general and I personally found it distressing and discouraging as I’m sure many other female readers did. It reminded me of other misogynistic things I have heard where men assume that women only exist to give them what they want. I’m glad Sheila addressed it because women are constantly being taught that their feelings do not matter as much as men’s feelings. I see your concern for this man’s feelings but what about the feelings of the women who felt discouraged and unsafe by his comment? That should matter too! These types of attitudes where men feel entitled to get what they want from women and then get angry at all women when life doesn’t work out for them – this makes the world a much more dangerous place for women. These attitudes lead to violence against women. This man’s feelings are not more important than women’s safety. I hope he finds peace and healing but he also can’t direct his anger at his situation towards all women – that’s not ok

          Reply
          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Elsie, well said.

          • Doug

            I get tired of this line of thought. What he said was WORDS. Words are not dangerous unless they are inciting violence. Angry words are not dangerous, and do not make the world less safe for anyone.

            I absolutely know that words can hurt, but I can assure you that they don’t hurt worse than constant rejection.

            I know a little bit about anger. Actually, you could say I am a subject matter expert. lived in a cloud of rage for 20 years. I don’t deny that I did a lot of damage along the way, mostly to myself, but I never physically hurt a soul. It is a baseless argument. Yes, big voices and angry words can be scary. That doesn’t make them dangerous, especially when they are on the opposite end of an anonymous keyboard rant.

            For the record, he didn’t direct his anger towards all women. He directed it at a podcast, that he found to be totally dismissing of his feelings and his own experience. It is somewhat ironic, since you made this point.

            “women are constantly being taught that their feelings do not matter as much as men’s feelings.”

            What message do you suppose he took away from this. I would venture to guess it was that his feelings didn’t matter as much as women’s.

            In any case, about the only thing this entire episode is likely to do, if he followed it beyond his initial post, is to further convince him that his words were true and justified.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Actually, Doug, words can really hurt. I invite you to read this post about what we deal with as Christian female bloggers, and specifically look at all the hatred that was thrown at my 21-year-old daughter by middle-aged men. Yes, words matter.

            And by spreading these ideas and making it normal, some men are going to take these words to incite them to violence. Ask any abuser or anyone who has ever hurt a woman, and they’ll spout those same words back to you. They matter.

        • CharitySolvesMostProblems

          Doug, I agree with you about Bill’s original post. I didn’t follow the whole conversation (apparently he went into more detail in other posts), but I can definitely see the pain there. Unfortunately, the anonymity that comes with posting something in the comments section makes it impossible for any of us to know what would be the right thing to say to him. He could be honestly hurting from a manipulative wife, or he could be saying things that are guaranteed to cause an argument for the sake of attention (YouTube comments section variety). If my husband, brother, etc . . . talked this way to me, my first instinct would definitely be to look past the words and see that they’re lashing out in pain, but on the internet it’s hard to do that unless the commenter is specific and non-combative.
          Now that Bill put his comments out in public, they are open to interpretation. If he weren’t combative, then answering him gently over the internet would be easy, but so much gets lost in writing vs. speaking that it’s hard to look past combativeness in a comments section. I’m not saying that his specific situation shouldn’t be treated kindly. I think Sheila tried to do that as much as she could. However, because of the nature of a public comments section, their conversation couldn’t be private. There are some women on here who are in impossible situations and who have heard horrible things said to them that were actual threats – backed up by action. Since women like this are arguably the largest audience for the blog, responses to Bill would have to take their reactions into account. Again, things get lost in writing vs. speaking, so Bill’s comment, though maybe not intentional, would have sounded very different to women coming from abusive backgrounds. Everything is public. In private, definitely some gentleness in dealing with Bill might be warranted, but in public, there’s no way to talk to him individually. Everything that he or Sheila says is said to everyone on the blog, it’s not a private conversation.
          Hope this helps smooth things over. I can definitely see where you’re coming from on this. My brother went through very much the same emotional struggle before he left home.
          I hope I’m putting this comment in the right thread; it’s a little hard to tell.

          Reply
        • Blessed Wife

          I wonder, Doug, if you have ever read comments on incel chat rooms? I have, and they sound very much like Bill’s remarks. These men grinch and complain about the manipulations, using, money-grubbing, and especially the sexual withholding and rejection they experience at the hands of women, and they gin one another up on how evil, manipulative, demanding and selfish women are. They equate their desire for sex with an entitlement to the sexual services of women in general, and if any woman refuses for any reason, she’s a (expletive), a Stacy, or whatever. And then Doug, some of these men go out and stalk women in parks, harass teenage girls at the library, and sexually assault women on public transit systems, then go back online and boast about these actions from the safe anonymity of their computer screen. Each of the examples I listed were drawn from accounts I’ve read that these creeps boasted of having done to actual women.

          So I would disagree with you, Doug, that comments like Bill’s are just words that never hurt anyone. Those words and attitudes foster and excuse actual violence against actual women, and they are terrible for the marriages where either spouse harbors contempt and anger for the other spouse’s gender. I’m sorry for Bill’s pain, too, but when he attributes the behavior that hurt him to all women, and not the specific woman at fault, then yes, he does promote violence toward all women with those words.

          Reply
          • Maria

            Amen. (In response to Blessed Wife’s response to Doug).

    • Angela

      Because his wife is saying – “Honey this is what I want from you please.” And his response is “Too bad – I don’t care.”
      But worse because his response is actually “Too bad, that isn’t what I want. Now spread ’em and act sexy.”

      He’s demanding she act sexy for his behalf without caring whether she is feeling sexy in and of herself as well. Even though she was very honest and vulnerable in sharing what helps her.

      Reply
  17. Trucker Dave

    I just can’t believe how some of these guys are towards their wives. My wife’s pleasure matters a lot to me-to us! I’m a firm believer in “ladies first”! Almost every time she has one before, one during, and if she’s close, one after. Sure it takes more work and you actually have to pay attention but it’s really worth it! The only problem is, that’s it for the next month and a half. I’m confused and quite frustrated.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Dave, I’m sorry. I can imagine. I do talk in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex that frequency does matter. I know that can be really difficult.

      Reply
      • Trucker Dave

        What page, please? She has that book. Thanks

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          There’s a whole chapter on it, chapter 10. I hope that helps!

          Reply
  18. Active Mom

    This whole topic drives me batty. Every woman has the right to orgasm just like her husband does if they choose to during sexual encounters period. For those that still don’t seem to get it I would say point out a blog etc where a man is complaining that he gives his wife oral to the point of orgasm and then She rolls over and falls asleep every time……..
    It doesn’t happen. However, it does happen for a good many wives especially those in Christian circles. The church as a community has failed to learn and teach about female sexuality. This is the result.
    Bless you Sheila, I can’t imagine the comments that you have to read and filter out. For all of the men who are skeptical that this is a problem I almost wish you posted them so they could really read the mindset of their fellow men.

    Reply
    • Anonymous this time

      Active mom, what you just described is my sex life exactly! My wife and i have not had intercourse in years, but 2 to 3 times a year she gets an itch she needs scratched and she comes and gets me to scratch it with oral until she orgasms. She does not touch me and my clothes don’t come off, one time my shoes didn’t even come off. She refuses to touch me at all, so uh, ya that does happen. I think she just wants the orgasm to put her to sleep I don’t know. But ya, it happens.

      Reply
      • Lindsey

        That’s not okay, and you have the right as her husband to insist on counseling. She shouldn’t be refusing you, especially when she wants you to meet her sexual needs. That’s using you and not loving you. I’m so sorry that your marriage is in this position. Just remember that sometimes to love someone we have to be tough with them. You have the right to draw healthy boundaries.

        Reply
      • Blessed Wife

        That’s awful! That, in my opinion, is cruelly using and depriving you. Obviously, it’s your marriage, and I’m not trying to condemn you for what you choose to tolerate in it, but I think you would be totally right to say, “No, honey, that isn’t how this is going to work anymore. We both deserve a mutually loving and fulfilling sex life, and if we’re going to be husband and wife, then let’s be a real couple and do it right. If you don’t want me as a husband, to be a wife to all of me and let me be a husband to all of you, then let’s end the sham.”

        God calls us to fidelity. He calls us to mutually love, cherish and submit to one another. He does not call us to tolerate years of abuse, deprivation, and subordination to mental cruelty in the name of not burying a dead marriage. I also believe that God can bring dead marriages back to life! I pray that happens for you! But I believe it requires confronting the abuse and sickness that has brought your marriage to this point.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Well said! I do think this needs to be confronted. I understand people deciding to stay in a “sham” of a marriage regardless, especially when children are involved. And I understand dedicating yourself to prayer and waiting. But what I also don’t think gets talked about enough is that the withholding spouse is not only hurting the other; their hurting themselves. If a wife refuses any sort of sexual relationship (when there is not emotional abuse or any other kind of abuse present), it usually stems from some wounds. She has a problem with intimacy, or she has a problem with vulnerability, or she has a hyper need to be in control. All of that is hurting her. And by not dealing with it, you allow her to go further into dysfunction. By saying, “This is wrong, you need to get help”, you aren’t being selfish. You’re actually helping her to address her own deep seated issues. That’s important, too.

          Reply
          • Anonymous this time

            Lindsey, Blessed Wife, and Sheila. Thank you for the kind words. Yes, there are children, one with some special needs, so i am not going anywhere. And dealing with the sexlessness gets easier the older I get. But things like Sheilas post “why your husband wants you to read this blog” are the one thing guaranteed to make my situation worse. I also think there are A LOT more husbands in my situation than we may want to admit. But in any event, i will focus on loving her, praying, and focusing on parenting and hobbies. Its just not her thing.

    • AJ

      I believe for every one woman who has a husband who doesn’t try to please her there are many woman who won’t allow there husbands to even attempt to give them sexual pleasure. They don’t even know the capability of their own body to receive sexual pleasure and the aren’t interested in learning. Sex for woman is mostly in their thoughts and mind. If their mind is not in right place the physical side of things doesn’t matter. If a woman is not in the right place in her mind no physical stimulation will bring her pleasure For many years my wife never received the sexual pleasure she deserved because she would not allow me the opportunity to please her . She believed the only proper way to have sex was piv. She didn’t believe anything other than piv could be pleasurable. Her idea of sex was sometimes I orgasm and sometimes I don’t and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. It wasn’t until she finally changed her mind about sex and sexual pleasure that she finally experienced it to it’s fullest. It took many years before she finally let go to the idea of being the center of attention and allowing me to pamper and pleasure her. She now wants sex a lot more than ever (almost every day). Now that she lets me properly please her, she gets several orgasms before I ever enter her. I then usually hold off as long as I can so she can have as many orgasms as she wants before I have mine.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        Wow. What a lucky woman. I have an amazing husband who has always since day one (14yrs ago!) put my pleasure first but it’s getting to a point where I have more drive than him & want to try even more & exciting.
        The number one being multiple orgasms in an encounter. We’ve talked about it, yes. But still the effort to continue after one is not put in and I continue to feel discouraged by that.
        He says logistically he can’t thrust longer than he is, so no chance of a vaginal o, and even though I get oral every time it’s only one never more. How can I get it to more? Usual is, penetration, maybe oral for him, then down on me, then penetrate to finish again. If he stops, it’s because he has already penetrated to point of needing to stop or he’ll come, then it’s down on me for one & then him back in to finish. I just feel like there is not enough action to get to multiples even though many times I’m aroused enough, I wish it could keep going.
        How are couples doing this, keeping his stamina up and being able to go long enough for her to have a chance? I’m just getting so frustrated with it all not ever happening.
        Please advise, I’d love to hear from you all how’ve you’ve worked around this!

        Reply
        • Tory

          I’m curious too! I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but when my husband and I make love, we both have an orgasm and it’s awesome… but I usually need to come more than once… so i take care of things after he is asleep. I feel too selfish asking him to keep going for just me. So uh yeah that’s how we handle it… not perfect but it is what it is

          Reply
  19. Arwen

    It seems like Bill has more issues going on than just selfishness. The fact that he brought up “evil white men” when you have never mentioned white men on this blog, and you’re married to a white man as are the MAJORITY of the women commenting here, is sending big red flags to me about him. Whatever is going on his hearts he needs to quickly fix it before it destroys him and those like him.

    Reply
    • Doug

      Where is the red flag in that statement. The entire culture outside of Christianity has drifted towards an attitude of white men, especially old white men should have to apologize for just being who they are.

      He definitely has some heart issues, probably anger, resentment, and bitterness. It isn’t right, but that is how most men deal with pain. Maybe if the world ever cared enough about mens feelings, there would be fewer angry men out there.

      Everyone is so quick to point out that men and women are different when it comes to sex. Well, there are a lot of other differences too, but as long as we can point to a man and say he is sinning, then we really don’t have to talk about his hurt. News flash. Men, as a rule don’t cry. Men do, however, lash out when hurt. Takeaway…..If you see someone lashing out, he is almost certainly hurting. I actually took the leap of faith it required to denounce my anger about 5 years ago. You know what, my marriage got better, because my wife felt emotionally safer. On the other hand, I am in counseling because I literally don’t know how to handle my feelings any more.

      My life was easier(not better) when I could lash out at the world. it was an emotional outlet that is no longer available. None of my hurts or bad memories went away. Just my way of dealing with them. And you want to know the fun part. My wife, who caused a lot of them absolutely can not empathize. When I grieve, it is always alone.

      Reply
      • Arwen

        I’m really sorry for what you’re going through, Doug, i really am. All i’m saying is that if he had read Sheila’s blog she never talks about men and their ethnicity when it comes to sex or relationships because men are men whether they are Aboriginal Australians or First Nation Canadians. Her tips and advice are applicable whether the men are Inuits who live in Alaska or the Maasai who live in Kenya. Lashing out at her and accusing her of doing something she hasn’t done gives me a red flag because if he can make up lies about Sheila then he’s probably making up lies about his marriage too. that’s all i’m saying. I send my condolence to you, sounds like you’re going though a lot.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Arwen, I just want to explain something, too. I have a LOT of readers from the African subcontinent, and I’m actually in touch with a lot of readers from Nigeria and Kenya. I try very hard to include graphics on my posts that are not all of “white” people, because the Christian world is far more than “white” people, and I want people to feel welcome and safe here. I also have people in my own family who are not white. I know I have my own biases, but I do hope that people from all ethnicities and countries feel safe here, and I do try to be as welcoming as possible. I don’t want to be thought of as a “white” blog.

          In fact, in the huge sex & marriage survey that we’re doing right now, we’re making sure that it is not all Caucasians who answer, because people of different ethnicities may have different things to say. It’s important that we not think of the church as something white, but that together we worship the same God.

          Reply
          • Doug

            You missed the whole point of what he wrote. It wasn’t racist, it was sarcastic. You might not know it, but there is a genuine attack on white males in the U.S. As an example, whenever one does something wrong, the entire white male group gets lumped in with them. Any white male who opposes any piece of the feminist movement gets lumped in. I am an angry/evil white male because I am against abortion. When my child was murdered behind my back, I was powerless to do anything about it, and if I say anything I am an evil white male trying to force my will on women.

            It wasn’t a racist or a sexist remark, and I am a little bit baffled that it was interpreted as such. It was him lashing out about a stereotype that we men often encounter. It says our words or motives are automatically suspect because of our gender and race.

          • Lindsey

            Doug isn’t wrong about the state of the US right now. White, heterosexual men have become a scapegoat of sorts. It stems from a belief system called intersectionality, which is essentially where you get more points the more “oppressed” groups you can identify with. It is an extremely toxic ideology.

            However, there was no need for Bill to say why was said at the end of his post, because all it did was detract from the message he was trying to get across.

            I did post at the bottom of that thread that I could see the hurt behind his anger and my ire was not with him. I think his post was very poorly written, and offensive, but I believed that it came from a place of deep hurt, which was sad to me.

  20. Jess

    I couldn’t reply to everyone’s comments because there were just too many I wanted to address, but I wanted to sum up a few things…

    Doug, I get where you’re coming from. I actually (sort of) get where a lot of these men are coming from. There are portions of comments that I could absolutely never condone or agree with but I try my best to look at things from a broad range of perspectives and to maybe see why people are saying the seemingly hurtful things they are.

    I agree that a lot of these perspectives may be coming from a place of hurt that men may not know how to communicate or express which is why in my original comment I tried to emphasize how BOTH spouses should want the best for the other and both should be focusing on the other’s needs and desires. If this was the case in marriage, there would be very little problems with sex (aside from things outside of our control like physical separation, physiological hindrances, etc.).

    The problem lies with people who have past hurt and then they generalize an entire segment of the population to state that their personal experience is true across the board. Both men and women do this and it’s dangerous and faulty.

    Because sex is such a sensitive and personal topic, it’s hard not to nnm let personal experience and pain cloud your judgement. We are all.colored by what we have experienced and I think we would do well to remember that when hearing other people. I am not directing this toward any one person. Even Shiela, all the other commenters and I are guilty of doing this. It’s impossible not to do.

    We would do well to offer grace, give the benefit of the doubt, and remember that each person has experienced hurt that changes their perspective.

    That being said, it is right to stand against someone who tries to hurt others with comments because they personally have been hurt. This is not showing the love of Jesus to anyone. I actually don’t comment that often, but when I do it’s because I see something that I think will hurt others and I want to try to offer some more.perspective to people on both sides of the issue to show as much love and grace as possible.

    I hope that comes across.

    Reply
    • Doug

      “That being said, it is right to stand against someone who tries to hurt others with comments because they personally have been hurt. ”

      No Jess, it isn’t.

      You don’t stand against. You stand between, so you can reach out both directions.

      I haven’t gone back and looked, but I believe he only posted that one comment. He reached out, poorly to be sure, and he was told his hurt didn’t matter. Only what he did wrong. My guess is that is the only message he has ever heard. For the record, I did make note that you were the only one who acknowledged his hurt. Thank you for doing so.

      Reply
      • Jess

        Yes, I believe I said I try to understand both perspectives and acknowledge people’s hurt. I stand between, but I also stand against.

        I stand with Bill and anyone else who has been hurt and wants to express that hurt and share their personal experience to enlighten others to what they have gone through and what contributed to that hurt.

        I will stand between those who are having trouble expressing things in a healthy way and try to advocate for both sides and be a peacemaker.

        But I will also 100% stand against Bill and anyone else saying that women’s unrealistic expectations are to blame for marriage problems and porn and affairs are not. Surely unrealistic and impossible expectations by wives are to blame for issues in a marriage. Surely porn and affairs are to blame for issues in a marriage. Surely hundreds of things are to blame for issues that arise in a marriage. But when someone tries to lay the blame at one gender’s feet across the board and make general statements based on their personal experience, that needs to be stood against and corrected because it hurts the body of Christ. I would never tell Bill that his pain didn’t matter. I would also never tell a woman who has been hurt by her husband’s porn use or affair that her pain didn’t matter or that it was her unrealistic expectations that led him to it. And that is what Bill did with his comment that porn and affairs are not to blame for marriage problems, but women and their “prince charming complex” is.

        It would be one thing for him to say IN MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, I was hurt by a woman who used sex (or withholding sex) to manipulate. Porn was never an issue and she held such unreasonable expectations that I could never measure up. It’s a totally different thing for him to say that women are always to blame.

        So yes, I will stand beside, I will stand between, and when need be, you best be sure I will stand against.

        Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Doug, I agree with the spirit of what you’re saying. But there is also a point where certain attitudes do feed an unsafe environment. A lot abused women are on this site, and abuse is a big problem in the Christian community. That’s why comments like that need to be unacceptable. Like I said, I just wish he had left out the last two sentences.

        Reply
        • Doug

          “Like I said, I just wish he had left out the last two sentences.”

          No argument from me there.

          Curious if you would agree to this statement.

          “Women and their using any excuse to deny intimacy are every bit as damaging as porn and affairs.”

          Reply
          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            No, I think porn is far more damaging, because porn is actual people being abused. The majority of porn is women being hurt, and child porn is increasing exponentially. Most people don’t start with child porn; they start with “regular, vanilla” porn, and then they need something else to make it exciting, so they look for more extreme stuff, until they’re looking at violence and child porn. And real people (and real children) are being hurt. And porn fuels sex trafficking. It is not a victimless crime. You are watching women and children being raped. That is worse.

          • April

            Doug, that is a very, very loaded question. Porn and affairs are devastating to a marriage and devastating to a spouse, often causing drama wounds that take a long time to heal and to restore trust, and sometimes it never is restored. I will not in any way deny that a woman denying intimacy to her husband is very damaging, both to her husband and to her marriage. However, my guess is that the vast majority of women that deny their husbands intimacy aren’t just “using any excuse.” There is more than likely some underlying issue and hurt (often from the husband – BTW, a husband putting a great, unrelenting emphasis on sex can be very damaging and kill intimacy) that needs to be dealt with. She may be looking for “any excuse” but I would argue that’s a way to deflect the real issue. What would happen if husbands who feel denied would lovingly pray for and approach their wives in a way that builds trust, safety and intimacy.
            What you don’t seem to get, Doug, is that for most women sex isn’t just about sex. It’s about safety and vulnerability. We want to be naked and unashamed with our husbands. If we can’t be emotionally safe, vulnerable and unashamed outside the context of sex – then many women are probably going to try to avoid being put in a precarious position.

          • Doug

            Sheila,

            This will probably not come out as I expect it to, so I ask for a little leeway. You make a lot of good points in your statement.

            First, let me clarify one thing. I was speaking about damage to an individual marriage, not in a general sense. I know that probably will not change your answer, but that is OK. We don’t have to be in agreement.

            Second, I am going to address some of your claims about porn. Please, DO NOT take this as me defending porn. It is all bad. I am going to caveat that with this statement. Some, particularly what you mentioned, is so much worse than the rest that they can not be compared or even included in the same commentary. Whatever you may think you know is incomplete. While I will agree that all porn is exploitive, the vast majority of the women who are in it are exploiting themselves for monetary gain. I was a consumer for a long time. I know what is out there better than you can possibly imagine. The same applies to strip clubs etc. Go to a major city with gentlemans clubs, and the more exclusive venues have mostly 20 something young ladies. These women were not drug in off the streets. Most of them chose that line of work. There are many single mothers, college students, etc.

            I do not deny that there is a human trafficking problem, or that there are some underground cultures that traffic in child porn. It is a disgusting thing and it should absolutely be erradicated. But it isn’t where you think it is. It isn’t in Porn Hub or any of a number of highly commercialized sites.

            While I won’t go so far as to say that there are no Christian men who het sucked into it, I will say that it is a very, very small part of the group of men who seek out porn.

            Like I said I know what is out there. Even so called “Teen” porn features women in their 20’s and 30’d made up to appear much younger. You see the same “actress” for 10 years still producing commercial porn it is a safe assumption that she is not a teen.

            Again, I an not saying that to defend pornography, but to correct some mistaken ideas. I have seen a few people reference internet searches that describe the most popular genre’s, and then the poster gets outraged at what was revealed. It is totally misrepresentative, because you jist can not find child porn or teen porn or any number of other genres on a commercial site. As a rule, it doesn’t exist. It doesn’t work that way. When you find a site advertising underage girls, you can be reasonably assured it is a fake. Pedophiles and human trafficers do not advertise.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Doug, have you ever read any of the testimonies of women who have come out of the porn industry? Or read about the very common medical/physical trauma they experience, including torn rectums, punctured bowels, and more? You are trying to make porn sound empowering for women, like they are doing it out of choice.

            The vast, vast majority of women in porn have been sexually abused. The vast majority are using drugs. Most porn today is violent.

            Don’t normalize it. And read what these “performers” go through afterwards.

            Picture an 18-year-old or 19-year-old young woman, who has left a home where she has been sexually abused by a stepfather or by a series of a mother’s boyfriends. She finds a man who befriends her and offers her a lot of money to do things on camera. She’s plied with drugs. Now, has she “consented”? Is she voluntarily “exploiting herself for monetary gain”? Or is she an extremely vulnerable, abused person who is being used by others, and whom upstanding family men are now masturbating to as they watch her go through unspeakably degrading acts?

            Perhaps if more Christian men knew about that, they would stop making porn sound “not that bad”, and would start recognizing the huge toll it takes on everybody in the business, even those who look like they “consented.”

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            One more thing–if you look at the typical things depicted in porn, there’s a similarity to them. Women get absolutely no sexual pleasure from them. They are almost entirely men’s fantasies, not women’s fantasies. These things HURT. They are DEGRADING. Women may think that they get more status by doing them, because then they earn men’s favour. But here’s a news flash: women don’t do these things because they themselves want to. They really don’t. So please don’t talk about porn like it’s something women want to do to make money, like they’re enjoying it. They’re not. And they have the medical bills to prove it.

          • Sarah O

            What was the purpose of this comment, if not to defend certain types of porn?

          • April

            I agree about what you are saying about porn, Sheila. I would add that as someone who has been forced to watch porn- the industry makes it seem like it’s the women’s choice when in reality there is all kinds of overt and covert coercion going on. Not to mention they are overworked. Also (I think this is really important) the story line is such while the acts are violent and degrading the women act as if they are turned on by it all and instantly go into multiple orgasms. This is pertinent to the original point of the discussion. Porn depicts effortless hot sex for a man, so if your wife wants something different, either you got deceived or she’s just broken. Very, very sad.

          • Doug

            It is not to defend anything. It is to correct what I believe is an oft repeated misrepresentation, that every porn user is one step away from pedophelia, and directly supporting human trafficking. I don’t understand the mindset that takes something bad and clearly sinful, and then feels the need to amplify it and make it seem worse than it is.

            It is no different than the way Bill was treated. He did something bad and sinful, and immediately got accused of inciting violence and abuse against women.

            For the record, that is exactly what Bill did in his remarks that caused such a stir. He took his hirt and his fear and lashed out angrily, and magnified it beyind proportion. Everyone called him out on it but could not see it in their own behavior.

            Actually I am defending something but it isn’t porn, it is people. It is Bill and others who are hurting, and who feel they have no voice. You want to think that is only a womans issue, because you are blind to anything outside your own experience.

          • Rebecca Lindenbach

            Sheila and other commenters: “People are literally being raped, Doug. Children and women are literally being raped. And Bill said that wasn’t a problem.”

            Doug: “But those people aren’t the issue here–Bill’s feelings may have been hurt!”

            Doug, Bill’s feelings do not discredit the harmful message he has said–if I was angry and said something bad in anger, I deserve to be called out on that. That is what is happening here, because we care about the women and children being RAPED that Bill said wasn’t a big deal.

            Frankly, Doug, your comments seem to lack a lot of perspective or compassion for victims of sex trafficking because you’re worried about protecting the feelings of a man who didn’t seem to care that much about the sexual violence they were suffering. It is possible to have compassion for both–but you are only extending compassion to Bill with your comments and are actively arguing AGAINST people who are trying to call out porn use in marriages. Whether it has been your intent or not to support the person who doesn’t think porn is a big deal over the victims of sex trafficking, that is what you are doing with your comments. It is not wrong to call out someone for hurtful, hateful speech. That is actually a loving thing to do–otherwise it would have been wrong for Jesus to have been so harsh with the pharisees.

            I’m not sure this conversation is going in a fruitful direction, I think that everything that needs to be said has been said on both sides, and as the moderator of the comments I will not be letting through more comments on this conversation.

            (Also, as a quick add, no one said every porn user is a step away from watching child porn. But porn use IS what leads to watching child porn. And watching pornography IS supporting human trafficking, especially when you consider that many “consenting” porn actors and actresses began working in the sex trade as young as 13. It’s despicable, and we need to understand that sex trafficking doesn’t always look like it does on scary TV shows. Sometimes it looks like glamorous pornography sets with smiling women. And the scary thing is that the viewer really has no way of knowing if the actresses really want to be there or not.)

  21. Nathan

    Very beautiful post, Jess. I think that’s a key for many things. People get hurt, and I feel for them, but it sometimes happens that they generalize and assume that ALL people in a group are like that, or just lash out in general.

    We all need to work on things like try not to hurt others, communicate when we ARE hurt and work through it, and understand that because one person hurt us, that all people of whatever demographic group aren’t like that.

    Reply
  22. Georgina

    One thing that hasn’t been raised here is what we are all taught glimpses about how sex ‘works’ in a lot of movies that show relationships, and I don’t mean porn. This ‘teaching’ reaches the churched and unchurched alike, and often misrepresents a woman’s experience of good sex. (I suppose there are time restrictions on a movie!) The exceptions might be the discreet movies where a wife and husband say something where they connect, and perhaps laugh, and the lights dim on the scene. But my point is that this is a vast amount of input that somehow needs a counter message. People’s, including men’s(!) perceptions would be so shaped by this it may add a barrier to learning, or even accepting that we need to learn how sex ‘works’ well from scratch.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Very true, Georgina! I think in movies/TV it’s assumed that women take about 3 minutes to have great sex, when really it’s a lot longer, and there is a much longer warming up period often, too.

      Reply
  23. Sarah O

    a couple thoughts here:

    1) Words don’t hurt – Bill used words, Sheila responded with words, so then nobody should be hurt at all.

    Proverbs 25:18 “Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.”

    Proverbs 11:9 “Evil words destroy one’s friends; wise discernment rescues the godly.”

    2) People are not accountable for their words or actions when they are hurting – doesn’t this suggest we are ok to sin if we are really tempted to?

    James 4: 1-3 “ 1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. ”

    CS Lewis on Forgiveness Vs Excuse: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevin-wax/forgive-me-or-excuse-me/

    Accountability and conviction are not enemies of grace and compassion. Telling Bill that he’s totally right and all women have unreasonable expectations and he should always have access to sex and that porn and adultery are non-issues is not loving – it’s not going to encourage him to be better and it’s not going to improve his marriage. Iron sharpens iron.

    Reply
    • Doug

      I never claimed that anyone should have told him he was right. His remarks should have been challenged with truth and love. That is not what happened. What I saw was a lot of folks circling the wagins telling him hiw wrong he was. Nobody tried to get to the root of his comments. Only one person responded with anything that can be remotely Christlike.

      Reply
      • Sarah O

        Is this the same Christ that toppled tables, used whips, and called sinners hypocrites and white-washed tombs? The one who took religious leaders to task for divorcing their wives for any reason whatsoever?

        Christ was sometimes harsh, Christ was also love, harshness and love are therefore not mutually exclusive.

        Reply
        • Doug

          Christ knew peoples hearts and acted accordingly. You are not him.

          Reply
          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Doug, what’s that supposed to mean? None of us is Jesus. Does that mean that nobody can ever reprimand someone for doing something wrong? 1 Corinthians 5:12: “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” We’re allowed to call people out when they are being hurtful/wrong/unChristlike.

            You’re not Jesus, either. So how about we just go back to the things that Jesus got upset about, and believe me–porn and calling women the source of all evil in marriage would fall into that category.

            And, yes, Jesus is also upset when we cut our spouse off from intimacy. But all the comments addressing Bill acknowledged that this was inappropriate. They just also called out where he was wrong. And he was wrong.

        • Doug

          No, Shelia.

          It doesn’t mean we can’t confront sin. What it does mean is that we should see the whole person, not just the sin.

          I want to be clear. What Bill did was wrong. I don’t think it was as bad as it was made out to be. I didn’t see controlling or dangerous behavior. I saw grief and hopelessness, and someone who in his own mind had tried the steps you laid out in your podcast, and gave a very spirited review of how well they worked for him. Yes, he said some things, tjat obviously we interpreted differently. I saw a lot of irony and sarcasm in what he wrote.

          In short, I didn’t see someone who was a threat to anybody. Now, we can agree to disagree on that point, but I will leave you with this little truth. 5 years ago, what he wrote could have come from my own keyboard. Actually, that isn’t quite true. If it had been me, I would have been much more harsh, much more accusing, and my language probably would not have got thru censorship. You would have to take my word for this, but I was not a threat to anyone, unless they threatened those close to me.

          Bill is hurt and was lashing out. I have been there.

          Reply
          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Doug, I’m not saying he was a threat. But the fact that opinions like that–that women are the root of all problems in marriage, and are the downfall of men–run rampant DOES fuel abuse. That’s why they have to be called out. Does that mean that Bill is dangerous? I have no way of knowing. But every abuser spouts the same stuff that Bill does. The more that stuff is spouted, the more that people who are violent will pick up on it. It fuels them. It justifies them. So it just is not okay. It isn’t.

            Would you think it was okay to say that all Jews were the problem with the world’s finances? Would you think that it was okay to say that blacks are the problem with society today? I sure would hope not. (Please, I sure hope not). So why is it okay to say it about women? Why is it wrong to call it out when it’s about women?

          • Doug

            Shelia. I’m pretty sure you can guess where I stand on all of those things.

            I think one area we differ greatly, is in how much we believe statements like those influence others. There are evil people in the world. No denying that. On the other hand I don’t believe those who are not evil are so easily swayed as you seem to believe, and the evil ones do not need permission to be evil.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            So you would allow people to make terribly racist statements in your presence and you would not call them out, then? You think making racist and misogynistic statements are okay, as long as the person is hurting? And that the hurt that they are feeling justifies that kind of attitude?

            Why do you think the Holocaust happened, Doug? Because people had been taught that it was okay to hate Jews. Why did slavery happen? Because people had been taught that it’s okay to dehumanize people who aren’t white. People don’t just get up and kill 6,000,000 Jews. They do it because they’ve been seeped in a culture where you’ve been taught that it’s okay to blame Jews for things. You don’t just suddenly take a whole group of people into slavery unless you’ve grown up thinking it’s okay to think of your race as superior.

            So why is there so much violence against women? Because men aren’t held accountable when they say terrible things like that. And that makes those who tolerate it–like you–part of the problem.

            “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Okay, this is the last comment that I will let through on this. It is not acceptable to blame all women for marriage problems. It isn’t. It is not acceptable to express hatred towards all women. I feel that by engaging in this argument I’m actually allowing that it may be a valid argument, and it simply isn’t. Misogyny is not valid. And so I’ll end it here.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Sarah! Well said.

      Reply
      • Sarah O

        Thank you Sheila.

        I am perplexed at the priority and empathy extended to Bill’s feelings in light of the responses to the women here.

        Would love to see the rubric on whose feelings matter and under what circumstances.

        Reply
  24. Kristi

    Just want to point out that growing up in a Christian church, so much emphasis is placed on the man & his sexual desires. Girls are taught that we are responsible for not tempting men, etc. & when we get married we’re simply taught not to refuse our husbands sex. The topic of our sexual desires & needs just isn’t mentioned. We’re not taught how to communicate our needs & wants either. In churches, there is open discussion about men & their needs but not the woman’s. I think that is where the misconceptions starts that a man’s orgasm is more important, because so much emphasis is given to a man’s sex drive. Is it so shameful to discuss a woman’s sexuality?

    Reply
    • Mike

      Kristi

      While I think your comments about “don’t tempt” and “be receptive “ are true, I don’t think that your comments about emphasis on male needs and desires is accurate.

      In my circle all the wives had plenty of learning to do.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Mike–that’s what she was saying. Women had a lot to learn because they were never taught that they had sexuality.

        If you mean that women needed to be taught about men’s drives so that they would have sex more–actually, no. Teaching women that they need to have sex more in the absence of discussion of sex as being an intimate, passionate, MUTUAL experience actually kills a woman’s libido. That’s exactly the wrong way to address men’s sexual needs, as I say here. A large part of the reason that so many women have no libido is that they’ve been taught their whole lives that sex is an obligation and a duty or else he’ll stray, and there’s not much that’s more of a libido killer than that message. Pastors really need to get this right.

        Reply
        • Mike

          Sheila

          Kristi explicitly wrote that the church emphasizes male sexual desires. That’s not true.

          Churches deal with intimacy in a cursory, not emphatic way. “Don’t tempt” and “be receptive” as well as the “avoid temptation” and the “be a good husband” that boys are taught is just basic advice, not exhaustive teaching.

          Most of the husbands in my circle relate that their wives needed plenty of ramp up time to figure out what that husband liked. If the Church had truly emphasized male desires, then the brides would have all been bedroom experts. Yet that was decidedly not the case.

          Of course most of the husbands didn’t know what the wives liked either, because intimacy and desire just isn’t a topic featured in Church teachings. Christian newlyweds are really on their own.

          Reply
          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Mike, the best-selling Christian marriage book “Love & Respect” said that sex is all about the husband’s physical needs. The best-selling book His Needs, Her Needs says the same thing. So does Power of a Praying Wife, and even For Women Only to a certain extent. The teaching in Christian circles is that men need sex while women don’t.

          • Mike

            Sheila,

            If the church is putting all this focus on male fulfillment, where are all these skilled and knowledgeable super brides?

            Books like those you listed were never part of any of my church teachings growing up. And when my peer group got married, the typical pattern was that both the young wives and husbands had a lot to learn about themselves and their spouse with regards to intimacy.

            It was on the job training for everyone!

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Mike, I wrote an awesome book for women who are about to get married called The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex.

            You may not believe what I said about the other books, but I encourage you to see for yourselves. They’re all about how men need sex, and women don’t, and they kill women’s sex drive. You may not have read them, but women do. And it’s killing people’s sex lives.

          • Anonymous

            Mike, where are all the super-skilled brides? I can only speak for our marriage, but I was one of those brides. For more than 25 years, I was by far the one in our marriage who was motivated to learn what my spouse wanted and make sure that happened. My husband has never had a reason to complain about our sex life, because he sees that I’ve always put everything I have into pleasing him. He also had no idea that there was anything he was supposed to learn or do to be pleasing to me or bring me pleasure. His sex education was a big blank from Christians other than “you’ll have a better marriage if you’re a virgin when you’re married.” And ignorant ideas from non-Christian culture such as “hot sex is about my woman having a nice enough body to turn me on.” His lustful habits were established for 10 years before we married, and it wasn’t until this year that he confessed that he routinely fantasized about other women’s bodies while having sex with me in order to be turned on enough for it to work.

          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Oh, Anonymous, I’m so sorry. That’s just heartbreaking. I hope that you’re both getting help now!

  25. Maria

    If a man wants to have sex in a way that is really pleasurable for him and brings his wife no pleasure, and a woman wants it to be pleasurable for both of them, who is seeking mutuality?

    How to make it mutual, though? The man could give his wife more attention. Or, maybe another approach would be worth trying.

    Would she be willing to research ways she might bring herself to orgasm during intercourse? Would he let her experiment during love making, as long as it’s nothing that makes him feel degraded or uncomfortable? That might mean that he refrains from seeking his own pleasure and lets her seek hers.

    Sex is commonly understood to mean “man moves in a way that feels really good for him and woman is an afterthought.” Why not a few episodes focused around her doing what feels good for her?

    We’ve been trained to think that the only options are he thrusts if he’s on top or she bounces if she’s on top. If neither of those approaches work well for her, maybe try something else.

    All of this presumes that it is possible for a woman to bring herself to climax during intercourse. If it’s not possible, or at least not feasible, then all those suggestions would be a wild goose chase. They would not effectively lead to mutual pleasure, because they would not be effective at all.

    Reply
    • Maria

      *ideas, not suggestions

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Great thoughts, Maria!

      Reply
  26. Cara

    I have not read all of these comments (goodness there’s some nastiness in what I skimmed) so maybe someone else already brought this up but I have a great idea.
    If there’s a position that allows the wife to have an orgasm, why don’t you just make that a part of the encounter?! Is there a law that says only one position is allowed per encounter?? If you have the energy you could literally use every position in the Kama sutra in one night.
    Give the wife her O, then get your turn!

    Reply
    • Mike

      Cara,

      Those ideas can work for some couples all the time, for some couples sometimes, and for other couples… never. But options are always good to have.

      Reply
      • Cara

        Mike-how could that ever not work? Unless one is asking for something that’s totally degrading or not physically possible. It’s a her night and his night all in one. Voila. Ladies go first generally because…refractory period. Once she has had her turn I’d imagine *most* women who feel loved in that moment would be happy to oblige.

        Sheila-am I the first one to comment this? Lol seems so elementary!

        Reply
        • Mike

          Well it can be unhelpful for variety of reasons, Cara.

          I’ll give you two examples.

          I have a church buddy whose wife takes extra time and attention in the “bedroom”. The “her first” convention put a lot of pressure on both of them. The wife felt like she was being a chore and that made everything worse for her. And my friend felt like an afterthought. Especially since she was getting 50 minutes to his 10. (we didn’t talk exact numbers, but you get the picture).

          Sooo they changed it up. And what worked for them was her taking care of him first. That made him feel loving. And I’m guessing made her feel deserving.

          Now my friend and his wife didn’t have kids then. But in this phase of our marriage my wife and I don’t have a lot of free time, so we subsist on quickies and leftovers. The kama sutra lovin’ and 4 course meals are weekly luxuries, but we need to eat and be intimate more than once a week.

          20/30 minutes is not enough time for what you mentioned. The idea of intimacy in shifts, wife then husband, would be ice on our love life. A couple of random lunches for my wife, or mornings for me during the weekdays is what works for us. And then we get look forward to the weekend.

          Reply
      • KB

        Mike, all men reach the pleasure point. It’s not too much to ask that a wife goes first. This whole confusing her night his night would be a total turn off for me. Like your wife doesn’t have a million other things to schedule and think about.

        My husband is extremely big like the top 3%. He has to make sure everything is romantic and enjoyable otherwise it just isn’t going to happen. Which is exactly how all guys should be. He never sets a time watch with ok 40 minutes starts now dear better get ready. He spends time outside the bedroom to get things going inside the bedroom. Like texts during the day, I love you, flowers, little gifts, hugs, hand holding, arms around me, long conversations, letting me watch what’s on tv that night, enduring my long shopping trips without complaining, back rubs, ect ect.

        You’re missing the art of seduction or your wife definitely is. I don’t think you’re a very nice husband and shame on you! You should pick up roses tonight and thank your wife for putting up with this.

        Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s pretty much how I see it, Cara.

      Reply
  27. Bree

    Thank you for writing this article. I found so much hope in this. After I found your website I have been reading articles every day and listening to podcasts. For the first time in my life I do have hope for the future of our marriage. I realize that I have a lot to work through and I am willing to do that. A lot was taught to me at a young age that I need to undo. I spent a few hours one night reading article after article that you wrote and crying my eyes out. So much truth and practical ways to help deal with issues and move forward. I thank you for that. I have been married to my husband for 3.5 years and I have never experienced orgasm. :,( My goal has been to feel close to him. But I desperately want to experience the big O that everyone seems to talk about and enjoy. My husband is always wanting to switch up positions and try new things even if something is starting to feel good for me. I told him we need to put some time into it and he said maybe in 5 years when the kids get older. I don’t enjoy sex and it is usually just something for me to do because I feel like at least one of us should be happy. I don’t want our marriage to go on forever like this. When do I say enough? If he always experiences pleasure but I never do…

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Bree, I’m so sorry! I’m glad you’ve found me, but I’m sorry it’s this frustrating! Honestly, I would say to your husband something like, “I’m happy to try new things that you enjoy–as soon as we’re able to figure out how to make me orgasm. That should be our first goal. Let’s aim for my pleasure and arousal, and then we’ll look at exploring like that.” And if you haven’t tried it yet, take a look at 31 Days to Great Sex. It may get both of you what you want–you’ll figure out what gives you pleasure, while also trying new things for him!

      Reply
      • Bree

        I have tried to talk to him about this. His comment has been that we need to have sex more frequently so he can be drained, then he can focus on lasting longer and pleasuring me. But this seems so backwards since he gets pleasure every time and I am just looking for the same (pleasure). I have no issues with arousal, lubrication, or being in the moment but when sex lasts less than 5 minutes every time its hard to get anywhere. As soon as we are done he will fall asleep or get up and start working on things. I am trying to remain patient and relax and just learn every time but I am wondering when I will become a priority (how many years?!) I’m sure if I enjoyed it then the frequency of sex for him would increase greatly and we would both be MUTUALLY satisfied. I have ordered 3 of your books ( to love honor and vacuum, 31 days to great sex, and the good girls guide to great sex.) They will be here tomorrow. This subject often makes me depressed so I’m hoping that I can stick it out.

        Reply
        • Lindsey

          I am so sorry, Bree. It sounds like your husband is an extremely immature and selfish lover. I’m not sure if this is a trait that is present in other areas of his life, but this area is WAY too important to allow this sort of selfishness to go on for years.

          I understand that it is sometimes difficult for a man to last very long, but truth be told the easiest way for many women to hit the big “O” is with nonintercourse foreplay. That’s something that he can – and should – be offering you that isn’t dependent upon his longevity. It isn’t wrong for you to enforce healthy boundaries that insist that he prioritize your pleasure as you have done for his for years. Sheila has some articles on boundaries and mutuality in sex that might help you in figuring out how to go about doing that.

          Again, I’m so sorry that you’ve been neglected and treated as unimportant for years.

          Reply
  28. Jeni

    Rebecca,

    I just want to say a huge Thank You for reiterating that porn IS sex trafficking. All porn is sex trafficking. I find it sadly ironic that many of the women who have been front and center in that industry have said publicly several times that they hate sex.

    Reply
  29. Willing to do anything

    What do you suggest if she can only orgasm a certain way (oral or vibrator) but she doesn’t want it that way? As a result she has decided that orgasm isn’t necessary at all.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s a very good question, and I think I’m going to write about that on Friday (or at least touch on it). I do think that a lot of women have devalued this side of them.

      Reply
  30. Sam

    Ironically, I saw this post the morning after my husband and I fought over this topic. He frequently waits until late in the evening and then since he’s tired he requests “blowjob and sleep?” And then if I’m tired too, I have to decide if turning him down is worth the whining and retaliation. If I’m not too tired and I do actually feel like sex, he figures I can just “climb on” with no foreplay needed. Actually he thinks going down on him counts as foreplay. He feels like it’s not fair to him that he can get aroused easily- even unintentionally- but I require so much effort. Yeah… so unfair to him isn’t it.
    I love reading this blog. Unfortunately a lot of it rests on the premise that both parties are willing to work for a better marriage. Sadly, some people want that to be easy, so they put the burden of responsibility on their spouses.
    I love the blog though. The first time I started reading through it, I found myself cheering, excited to see someone teaching the truths that I believed but had rarely heard spoken. Thank you for all that you do, Sheila.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      You’re welcome, Sam. I’m glad you’re here. And I am sorry for what you’re going through. You’re right–what your husband is doing is selfish. Have you considered trying something like 31 Days to Great Sex, which spends time slowing down and paying attention to foreplay for both of you? And gives you a chance to talk through what you each think? That may help. Or would he not be willing to do that, either?

      Reply
  31. Christopher

    First time poster here. My wife and I have been married almost 4 years, have a 18 month old, and almost no sex. I desperately want to be with her and pleasure her when we do. She is almost never interested in sex, and when we finally do, she wants me to finish quickly. I have never been able to bring her to orgasm, and don’t know how. We have had a few times of beautiful sex in our brief marriage, but few and far between, and now almost never. She does so much with our son and works that I know she is tired a lot. I try to help with chores and all more than probably most husbands. I am at such a loss right now and am not sure where to start. For the record,we are both believers and love Christ and each other. I just feel empty. Sorry for the long post.

    Chris

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Chris, what you’re talking about is so common! I’m sorry you’re walking through this. It’s not wrong to want to be close to your wife; that’s a god-given desire. I did write a post for husbands in your situation to show to their wives to start this conversation. You can find it here, and I hope that helps.

      Reply
  32. Trevor

    Wow, so much good reading here — in the article and the comments. These kinds of discussions are rarely had so openly in both Christian communities, and in marriages, which makes the struggles more difficult than they have to be. Thanks for doing what your doing.

    I admit to skimming the comments, so maybe it was addressed, and yes I think the post that seemed to kick things off here had some things that we could safely call red flags. However, and maybe there’s another blog post on this, I didn’t see much discussion about the “Prince Charming” cultural fantasies that are very much tossed over women’s experiences in the same way sexuality and porn are tossed over men’s.

    From a much early age, women are packaged a particular kind of fantasy about men (two of them actually) that greatly impact their happiness and expectations in marriage. The first is the easiest to spot because its basically in every Disney movie ever made, or as was the case in my mother’s life, present throughout adulthood in the kinds of romance novels she read every day. It is the “Prince Charming” theme and it does often unconsciously put the “squeeze” on men and leave them feeling like that won’t ever measure up.

    The other is a little more insidious and in my experience leaves deeper scars — and that is that most men can share a story of how being overly “Prince Charming” like when they where younger and dating left them in the friend zone, and they watched somewhat helplessly caught in “nice-guy” land, how their young love interests chased the bad boy.

    Many men felt and continue to feel caught in that trap years later, that when it came to love and marriage their wives had one kind of expectation, but when they were young, dating, and a little more carefree, they were the kind of guys that hardly got a 2nd glance in high school. From an early age, they were conditioned to believe they weren’t desirable specifically BECAUSE they were the kind of guys that would do the things on the Prince Charming list that apparently Bill’s partner keeps in exchange for sex.

    I think as men, and I certainly don’t speak for all of them, but will say for many men whom I have counseled in marriage, we grew up with two rule sets — one for marriage and one for just getting noticed long enough to score a first date. Learning how to balance confidence and compassion didn’t come naturally for us because what women chased early in our lives didn’t look like what they wanted to settled down and build a family with.

    And even sexually, those differences and expectations can creep back into the bedroom, sometimes with us (meaning men and women) totally unaware that they’re there.

    And I do agree with Doug, there’s obviously much more going on in that situation than the one line it seems we’ve chosen to focus on here. There’s a culture of expectation and a mound of actual experience that leads us to draw the conclusions we do, even the wrong conclusions.

    Reply
  33. Mike

    >>> I’m aware that there are some >>> women who just won’t let their husbands try to give them pleasure. That’s a separate issue than the one being talked about in the comments, though it’s just as frustrating).

    Will you be addressing this in more detail?

    Reply
    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      Yep we are planning on talking about this in the future!

      Reply
  34. Christinia

    My husband can’t penetrate me due to to a very small penis.

    Hi all, we just got married and I had been saving myself for marriage….for a long time, I am 35yr old. When he brought out his ‘member’ on our wedding night, It was about 3 inches erect…is that normal??. We can’t do the common positions..missionary, me on top, spooning..because he is too small to penetrate me, we finally managed a very awkward position.. I have been so depressed since then…I feel God has let me down, I have kept myself and obeyed his word, I have been looking forward to sex for sooo long. Sorry if this sounds mean but I just felt like venting. I don’t know what to do now. Please help

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi Christina! I’m so sorry. That must be such a disappointment!

      A few things, though–even if it’s small, it should be able to penetrate you? I’m wondering if it’s not actually getting erect? I have known other couples who have found penetration impossible because the husband isn’t actually hard. It should feel very hard.

      Also, he can still do other things to make you feel good, even without intercourse. But even with a small penis, intercourse should be possible. I would make sure that he’s actually erect. You can also take a look at the book The Gift of Sex which has a lot of medical and educational information about things like this.

      Reply
    • KB

      It’s normal. Some men are that size. But I wouldn’t say a word about his size to him or that you found out it’s on the small size just don’t say nothing because that’s going to give a man a huge complex.

      Try looking up deep penetration positions and definitely do a lot of kegal exercises.

      Don’t let this be a disappointment! It’s better than the other extreme of being with a guy who’s very large and everything takes longer because otherwise it hurts.

      Reply
  35. Chris

    Why do I feel, Bill, Doug and Mike all come from the same IP address.

    Reply
  36. R

    Regarding Doug’s comments, I just want to say that words do, in fact, have the power to harm deeply. He says he lived in a fog of rage for 20 years… and he wonders why his wife doesn’t want to have sex with him? I guarantee you she was picking up on his rage and it made her fearful. That’s pretty much what I lived for about the same amount of time. Within the past year, my husband has finally done away with the rage, and I feel a whooole lot different about him now.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *