To The Transformed Wife: Obligation Sex Isn’t Biblical.

by | May 7, 2021 | Abuse, Libido, Sexual Intimacy, Theology of Marriage and Sex, Uncategorized | 42 comments

Merchandise is Here!

The Bible does not tell women that they can’t refuse sex if their husbands want it. 

This week, The Transformed Wife put up a video disputing what I’ve been saying about sex. I’ve been stressing that biblical sex is MUTUAL, INTIMATE, and PLEASURABLE, and that means that women’s needs matter. Women are not required to provide men with one-sided intercourse on demand. 

She was objecting in particular to this graphic that I created:

Fixed it for you Ed Wheat pregnancy

(I have more of those on my Instagram account, or I posted some on this post!)

For those of you who don’t know Lori Alexander, aka The Transformed Wife, she writes a blog and runs social media channels where she spreads messages about women that are, quite frankly, misogynistic. You can check out her Facebook Page if you want to to find the video, but i don’t recommend reading the comments (they’re very disturbing).

Lori and her husband Ken used to comment on this blog quite frequently years ago until I finally banned them when Ken was defending spanking an 8-month-old baby with a plumbing line. Again, it was very disturbing.

I usually ignore it when she writes about me (she has before), but this one just made me sad, and so I wrote a few posts on my Facebook Page for her fans who may be trying to check me out, telling them that they were precious to Jesus, and that Jesus didn’t want them to be used.

And then yesterday, I created a Facebook Live trying to explain a biblical vision of sex, where BOTH people need to matter. I tried to explain that sex isn’t just about a man’s need, but instead is deep intimacy. I tried to tell the women that God does not love their husbands more than He loves them, and that God is not happy when they suffer.

A number of people asked me to put the video somewhere other than Facebook, because they have friends who need to see it who aren’t on Facebook.

It’s hard to download Facebook videos, so I did a little cheat which makes it not amazing quality. Plus the sound isn’t synced for the first 30 seconds (then it gets good).But this is an important message, and I said it clearly, and I hope women who are in communities where they are told that their husbands are allowed to use their bodies that this is not of Jesus.

As Leslie Vernick says, you are a woman to love, not a body to use.

 

Katie didn’t edit this video and make it pretty; it’s pretty much just my Facebook Live. But it’s heartfelt, and I hope and pray that the people who need to hear it will listen.

CORRECTION: I said in the video that she had blocked me on Facebook; actually I wasn’t blocked. I assumed I was; Lori blocked me on Twitter ages ago. Once I realized I was not blocked, I did go over to her page and share the link to this video. Just wanted to set the record straight.

The Great Sex Rescue

Now Available!

What if you’re NOT the problem with your sex life?

What if the things that you’ve been taught have messed things up–and what if there’s a way to escape these messages?

Welcome to the Great Sex Rescue.

Have you ever been in a “Christian” community where you were told you had to provide sex on demand? Or are you there now? How does that make you feel about sex and marriage? 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

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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

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Comments

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42 Comments

  1. Anna Rushing

    I absolutely loved your LIVE post on Facebook yesterday! You are awesome. Thank you for what you do.
    💖

    Reply
  2. Kelly Ann

    Oh I can’t wait to see her rebuttal to this post!! She thinks what she is teaching is Biblical but it’s not! Spanking a young child is abuse. Period!! And yet she uses the Bible to support her stance a la The Pearls!
    Also thought it was a ‘funny story’ when she poked a hole in her diaphragm to get pregnant with baby #2 so she could be a SAHM and quit teaching. Yet she also had a maid and a nanny.as a SAHM.
    What’s irritating about Lori Alexander is that she blocks people from her blog and social media accounts who dare to question her ideology. She recently shut down the option to reply to her on Twitter and her blog. I’ve been blocked from her FB, Insta, and Twitter for years. Yet she claims she’s never blocked you. Right. She’s not open to healthy debate. She is right and the rest of us are wrong in her mind. She thinks all women should stay home and homeschool their children. But she also babysits her daughter’s son while the daughter works. Hypocrite much Lori?
    I have burner social media accounts so I can still see the vile things she spews but don’t comment on them.
    Also belong to a few Lori Alexander snark groups on Facebook and you were mentioned on them over the last few days. I backed you up as having taken your groundbreaking survey and also being on the Launch team for The Great Sex Rescue.
    We just gotta do better as Christians. Lori Alexander is not a Christian.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks, Kelly, for standing up for me! I really don’t want to be painted with the same brush as her at all! I had to ban her and Ken from this blog many years ago when Ken was defending spanking an 8-month-old baby with a plumbing line. I do not allow child abuse to be advocated here. So very, very sad.

      Reply
      • Kelly Ann

        Oh I remember. God doesn’t condone child abuse. Yet they use spare the Rod spoil the child verse to justify said abuse!

        Reply
    • Andrea

      This is the problem, she has the money to hire help, but her listeners are mostly working class people struggling to make ends meet. I loved the podcast yesterday and was really struck by Timothy’s testimony and his amaaazing wife defying him by getting her nursing degree. One of the ways complementarianism controls both women and men is by the push to start having kids young, as he mentioned, and not everyone can afford that. He’s a teacher and a coach, his wife made it all the way to management with her nursing degree, so they’ve had some time to build up a little savings and what’s so wrong about that. They’re still young, they can have several kids and start raising a family with less financial stress, one of them might actually be able to afford to stay home now for a few years.
      In his blog, which Sheila linked to, he says he defines whiteness more categorically than descriptively, which is super-helpful and I highly recommend reading it. I’ve gotten into the the habit of looking up the net worth of famous men who insist a woman’s place is in the home; it sure gives you a different perspective on the whole thing.

      Reply
    • Jane Eyre

      “Also thought it was a ‘funny story’ when she poked a hole in her diaphragm to get pregnant with baby #2 so she could be a SAHM and quit teaching.”
      Wow. Wow.
      So she never wanted to work or hates working. That’s fine! It isn’t everyone’s vocation or even how they best contribute to their family. The problem is that she can’t just say that; she dresses it up as Christianity, and, icing on the cake, condescends to women who need to or want to work. And maybe someone will explain to me what is so submissive about not using birth control when you and your husband agreed to use birth control.

      Reply
  3. Lauren

    I’m thinking of all the women who have never explicitly been told that “you matter too” and been given specific action steps to live as though that’s true and how beautifully your video and ministry can impact them. My husband does not contribute to this oppressive view of sex, but having read many one-sided relationship books as I was newly married, I feel the weight of the trauma of duty even so. Thank you for being so persistent and repeating this message over and over for those whose minds have heard message after message after message that or only purpose is to serve our husbands and keep them from temptation, it’s so important that they can come here and hear again and again “you matter. You are not less than. You are not to be used. You are loved and valued by God. You deserve to be loved and valued by your husband. You matter. You matter. You matter.”

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      When Rebecca and i were talking about what I should say in the video, she told me, “keep bringing it back to Jesus and telling the women that they matter, because that’s what they need to hear. Don’t make it all about statistics.” She’s very smart.

      Reply
  4. Nathan

    Great commentary on the video!
    A (paraphrased and edited) summary
    1. Sex is mutual, sex is intimate, sex is pleasurable (physically, emotionally and spiritually) for both
    2. As husband and wife, our bodies belong to each other equally.
    3. God wants men and women to be happy in their marriage and sex life with each other.
    4. When only one person matters in a sexual relationship, it’s not really intimate sex. It’s just using, and possibly even abusing.
    How some people can call this anti-male is a bit confusing.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly! Especially since most men WANT a mutually satisfying sex life with a woman who really wants to be there!

      Reply
  5. Laura

    Sheila,
    Thank you so much for offering us wisdom about marriage and sex. All that I’ve been learning from your blog and your podcasts, I wished I had known about this 19 years ago. At that time, I had left a sexually abusive marriage where most of the time, sex was one-sided as I was obligated to give him sex and if I said no, he took advantage of me while I was asleep. I didn’t know there was such a thing as marital rape and to talk about this years ago was so hard. I felt like I was the only woman it happened to. Keep speaking out against those damaging teachings.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Laura, that’s heartbreaking. I’m so very sorry. I’m glad you’re in a safe place now, and I’m glad you found me. But I’m sorry that you went through that.

      Reply
  6. Natalie

    Possibly your best video yet!!! I thank God regularly that your voice is so strong online and that the message of what actual, real biblical sex is is getting out there!
    Maybe it’s because I grew up on 100+ year old novels where chivalry/caring for the needs of women and romance were alive and well and actually elevated in society as a goal of the romantic (male) partner, but I definitely expected sex to be that mutual knowing and strongest earthly bond we could make with another human here on earth. It’s such a beautiful representation of Christ’s love for us and the kind of intimacy He desires to have with us. I started reading those books at a fairly young ages (9? 10? Something like that) before the bulk of my purity culture teaching came. Thinking back, I remember being disappointed to learn that men just thought of sex 24/7 and almost exclusively wanted it due to its physical nature and sexual release, and that all men struggled with lust and porn and that I basically was never gonna find a man who wanted that beautiful, pure, innocent sort of love and knowing and sex that I so desired. I wanted my future husband to want to have sex with me so he could see and know ME and I could do the same with him, not just so he could get pleasure from my body and gratify himself. So when I started absorbing that purity culture teaching, it became the dominant view of how I perceived all prospective romantic partners. It caused me to put up a wall so that even when I met my very caring, sensitive, emotional now-husband who has an equal need for that deep knowing as I do (& actually likes to talk and share his emotions probably more than I do), I put him into a box. Through my actions and how I interacted with him sexually and shut myself down sexually, I made him into that “I require only physical sex” sort of man I’d been told to expect as my husband. We wasted those precious honeymoon years on duty sex and me putting out regularly and initiating when neither of us really wanted to because neither of us were having the kind of sex we wanted to be having. And that’s all thanks to the harmful, extremely damaging duty sex teachings I absorbed so fully as a teen.
    So thank you, Sheila, for combating decades (centuries?) of harmful teachings in the church, and countering the duty sex voices online. It’s desperately needed!!!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Natalie! And I love seeing your transformation. I read romance novels really young, too. They really need to write more interesting novels for 10 and 11 year olds who are good readers but aren’t interested in weird YA fiction.

      Reply
  7. Leighann

    This is so well put. I just don’t understand why it’s so hard for people to understand this. Unless they are trying to cope with abuse themselves. To justify it away instead of admiting they were used/abused and seek healing for that. Sometimes facing that is HARD. But perpetuating it is…worse…
    I consider myself someone who has a great sex life now; but after 18 years of marriage (next month) I can look back and see where some of these teachings did affect our early years. We grew up “church kids” in the late 90’s but didn’t get the full brunt of the purity culture teachings. Some stuff still crept in. But that all can fade away when we just realize how much God absolutely and completely loves us. We can’t say God is Love and then teach that we don’t matter in every aspect of our lives. Especially something as intimate as sex.
    I think deep down we all know it’s not right but for whatever reason some people think they have to accept and justify it away. We think we are crucifying our flesh when in reality we are fighting against unbiblical teachings. I was taught that sex is God’s gift to marriage. A gift where you don’t matter is not a gif. A one sided experience is not a gift. How sad when we believe we are honoring Christ by suffering where he intended something beautiful.

    Reply
  8. Dorthea

    This is such an important message! And Rebecca’s right keep pointing us to Jesus and telling women we matter. How can anyone who claims to follow Jesus argue against that?!?! The work you’re doing along with many others, speaking up for women, minorities, for the abused, the oppressed is the message of Christ. We are to reach out to the least of these just as Jesus did, not to continue oppression but to bring freedom. That is our calling- to love one another as Jesus has loved us. Keep on preaching!

    Reply
  9. Melissa

    Satan’s war on women is so insidious that women themselves perpetuate misogyny and even downright abusive behavior in Christian circles. And vulnerable women seeking advice and comfort buy into it because, well, this woman telling me these things is older and wiser and more Godly than me so she must be right. Right?
    When I stood up and refused to participate in this sort of behavior in a group I was in, I was publicly reprimanded. It was one of the most humiliating and hurtful experiences of my life to date. And it showed me how the enemy has so infiltrated the minds of women, that we ourselves are fighting his war against us. I refuse to participate in it any more.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Very true, Melissa! Often the ones preaching this stuff the loudest are women. In our rubric, for instance, 2 of 3 books written by women scored among the lowest (both For Women Only and Power of a Praying Wife were rated in the “harmful” category), while some books written by men scored very high. Often women cling to legalistic patriarchy because it gives them an identity–I know what my role is and I never have to question it, and I can feel superior to other women because I know how to suffer. It’s quite strange, but very common.

      Reply
  10. Bethany#2

    What I found interesting, is that her bio said she was married for 23 hard years and it was Starting to get better….as she “transformed”. And then talked about how she had a ministry teaching younger wives. And I’m like…….that’s your resume???? 23 hard years? I don’t want to learn under someone who has no personal success at it.

    Reply
  11. Frustrated

    I don’t mean to rain on your parade, but I feel left out here. I am a loving husband who wants to have sex with my lovely bride (married over 40 years now). I am kind and considerate, I help around the house, I’m a great provider, and I support her in everything she does. I do everything to prioritize her pleasure, but she just doesn’t want to make love – in spite of the fact that she claims to find me attractive and enjoys intimacy. There is nothing wrong with her physically. Every other month or so when she does consent, I make sure that she has at least five and up to eight or nine orgasms, depending on how many she wants, and I LOVE doing it for her, whether it involves intercourse or not. Maybe I’m the exception, but I feel like you’re dumping on me because I want sex with my wife, and if she doesn’t want it then I am wrong for wanting it, and I’m even MORE wrong for being disappointed when she says no. I should just give her a massage instead, and be happy about it. I would never coerce or force my wife to do anything, but I gotta tell you it hurts when I’ve done everything I can (even gave her six weeks off with not even a mention of sex, like you suggested to me once) and there is still no desire. She took “Boost Your Libido” and it made no difference. She has told me in the past that she “wants to want it” but she just doesn’t. If I try to talk to her about it – well, “Here we go again! That’s all you ever think about!”
    You used to tell women that they should try to get in the mood, even when they don’t feel like it. Now it seems that you have decided that if a wife doesn’t want sex, it must be her husband’s fault because he is abusive or selfish or doesn’t care about her needs or whatever. I’m telling you that is not always the case. That’s probably not what you (and Rebecca) are trying to say, but that’s how I feel when I finish reading your posts lately.
    I should mention that we are both strong Christians, and in every other way she is an outstanding wife and life partner for me. She also accommodates my desire for orgasm (in other ways other than intercourse) once a week or so, even though I would like at least every other day, and I’d like to do the same for her. I’m doing my very best to be satisfied with whatever I can get, while tamping down my own desire so she won’t feel pressured. When I read Song of Songs, the wife REALLY desires her husband. I wonder what that must be like.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi there! This is a case where a licensed counselor would likely be a good idea, and especially one who specializes in sex therapy. Let’s get to the bottom of why she has a low libido. And it is okay to tell her that this needs to change, and that sex is an important part of marriage you don’t want to do without, and that you don’t want to pretend things are okay when they aren’t. So let’s see a counselor, let’s get to the bottom of this. You’ll do whatever it takes, but she needs to as well. That really is okay to do. Things are unlikely to change until she feels a need for things to change. And if there is something holding her back, then she may be able to get to the bottom of it with a licensed counselor.
      If she won’t go to therapy, or if she just refuses to change, then you’ve got to decide if you can live with this or not. But it really is okay to make something that is important to you into a big deal.
      Does she have trauma in her past? Has she grown up with a lot of negative messages about sex? Maybe even reading The Great Sex Rescue would help her get rid of some negative messages.
      It’s okay for it to matter to you. And it’s okay to want more for your marriage. We’re just saying that for the vast majority of sexless marriages or near-sexless marriages, there is something else going on–and our men’s survey found this as well.

      Reply
      • Frustrated

        No trauma, no negative messages, no physical issues. She’s a strong, kind, compassionate, and wonderful woman. I adore her and she knows it. She just (in my mind) doesn’t desire me sexually. We’ve tried bio-identical hormones, estrogen cream, etc. She just doesn’t want sex very often, if ever, and doesn’t want to read or talk about it. She wouldn’t come out and say it, but I feel like she would be happy if she never had to bother with sex again. I can remember exactly ONE time in our 40+ years of marriage that I felt like she wanted me (sexually). Never in my life have I turned her down (but that’s easy because I’ve only had that one opportunity). We did not have sex before marriage, but we both wanted to, and looked forward to being married so we could. In the early years of our marriage, she seemed much more willing, if not eager. I haven’t changed in this area – she has. I want her to want me, not tolerate me. Her breasts, which I have always loved, have become pretty much off-limits for me. Although she would deny it, I feel that she doesn’t even like to touch or kiss much anymore because she’s afraid I might want sex. Sigh – if that’s what she thinks, I guess she’s right. 🙂

        Reply
    • Maria Bernadette

      In the video Sheila called out: a subset of men (who get pleasure from their wives pain, by having sex when it’s painful for her and they know it’s painful). Never did she say that wanting sex when your wife doesn’t makes you a bad person.
      She said that the obligation sex message was bad, but that’s different; people who tell women that they owe their husbands sex are spreading false and harmful teachings. Wanting sex and respecting your wives boundaries about it isn’t what she was talking about, not from what I read in the subtitles.
      And, on a different note: a lot of women commenters on this blog have spoken out about how the obligation sex message hurt them DESPITE them being married to men who irrefutably reject that toxic message. Men who believe sex should be mutual.
      Women wrote about how their husbands would never dream of pressuring her into sex, yet she still felt obligated (through no fault of his), and it effected their sex lives.
      If (keyword) your wife feels that, since you did something nice for her, now she’s obligated to have sex with you, that could make sex, well, not sexy. Obviously, you don’t control her feelings. But, if (again, keyword) you are doing things with the expectation that it should lead to sex, that could be causing problems.

      Reply
    • Frustrated too

      Mr. Frustrated, any updates? Did you go to counseling? I’m looking for hope as I’ve been married for over 20 years and I’m in pretty much in the same boat.
      I know she loves me, but sexual intercourse is extremely rare (less than 10 times a year). I help around the house, make sure when we do have sex, she has multiple orgasms (if she desires – I consistently offer), etc. Two weeks ago she told me that she realizes that she’s never been sexually attracted to me, which hurt beyond belief. I’m still trying to fully process that…
      Since then, I’ve made it a point to make it a big deal and basically give an ultimatum. She has to prioritize me and work with me to find out what’s the block (not standby idly like everything is fine). She’s going to try the libido course and she’s open to counseling, which somewhat shows that she wants to try to make it work. Why it took this long to even try to look for answers is beyond me…
      I don’t want a divorce, but something has to give. I too want to be desired by my own wife. I can’t get it from anywhere else.

      Reply
  12. Em

    You are a gifted communicator with a life-giving message. I really admire your ability to share truth with such love, poise, and strength.

    Reply
  13. Anonymous305

    I bet most women feel repulsed by the duty message, but assume that it’s the “sinful nature” that is repulsed. Now I wonder if that repulsion is God’s design, trying to protect us.
    Personally, I believed the 72-hour rule, but couldn’t force myself more than once a week. So, I felt successful for 3 days and like a failure for 4 (or more). Now I’m wondering if that was God’s way of giving me dignity. (Not the feelings of failure, but the fact that I couldn’t program myself to be a robot).
    Also, anything about “discipline” to a baby who is too young to understand speech creeps me out, other than yanking a hand away from a stove or something similar. The baby won’t learn anything besides fear if the baby is too young to understand why the parent is punishing.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I think you’re on to something! I think that we instinctively recoil at that which is not of God, and that probably many women were recoiling to protect ourselves.

      Reply
  14. JC

    I don’t think this is correct. The Bible teaches a radical and egalitarian viewpoint about sex in marriage: neither spouse has the right to refuse the other. This is because marriage is intended to be a protection against sexual sin, and a husband or a wife who refuses their spouse leaves him or her open to temptation. This idea that it’s ok to turn down your spouse sexually is not biblical, nor is it wise.
    Women’s needs matter, and so do men’s. That’s why neither spouse may turn down the other. Yes, sex is supposed to be mutual, but that means mutually giving, not mutually rejecting! It is not ok for a man or a woman to say no to their partner – instead, God commands us to make an effort to take care of our partner’s needs, even if we don’t feel like it.
    Just as we are to be loving, compassionate, and giving to others, even if we don’t feel like it, we are not to turn down our spouses sexually, even if we don’t feel like sex. To turn down a spouse sexually is sin, and worse, it opens your partner up to sin.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      JC, the Bible does not teach that neither spouse has the right to refuse. It teaches that neither has the right to deprive. If your child asks you at 11:00 in the morning for Cheetos and you say no, you are not depriving them of food. Our need is not for sex on demand; our need is for a mutual, intimate, pleasurable sex life that is life-giving. Self-control is also a fruit of the Spirit. We are expected to have self-control in this area of our lives as well as all others. To say that someone does not have the right to refuse says that their needs don’t matter, which is the opposite of intimacy. It says that one spouse has the right to use the other no matter how they feel about it. That is not biblical sex.
      I explain this in detail in The Great Sex Rescue. What you are describing, we now know, results in lower libido, higher rates of sexual pain, and much lower orgasm rates. If you want great sex in your marriage, you need to give your spouse the right to say no. Someone cannot truly say yes unless they can also say no. And the inability to say no is what holds so many women back. Realize that sex is mutual, which means both of you matter. Then, address WHY your spouse doesn’t want sex. And then, as we found in our survey, your sex life is far more likely to flourish.

      Reply
      • JC

        I’m not sure I agree with this distinction between depriving and refusing. Refusing a spouse in need is deprival.
        In your view, who makes the call whether refusal has reached the level of deprivation? Don’t you think anyone who sinfully deprives their spouse would say “oh, it’s not deprival, just refusal. She’s just being a kid who wants junk food.” This is a dangerous loophole. The Biblical text is clear on this point – any sexual distancing has to be mutual, agreed on by both spouses, because each spouse’s body belongs to the other.
        I totally agree that these obligations come with responsibilities – it would be cruel and sinful to demand that a spouse who is seriously ill or in pain have sex with you, and if your spouse wants to say no, that should be addressed at a deep level. That said, it is also a sin to refuse a spouse in need, because that leaves her open to sexual temptation and goes against the role of marriage as a safety net for sexual desires.
        In my mind, this is the much more pressing issue. There are so many men and women out there who cruelly deny their spouses, and that’s saying that the needs of the denied spouses don’t matter.
        There are a couple problems with your Cheetos example. Junk food is unhealthy, whereas marital sex is essential for our spiritual health. And spouses are not children – it is somewhat condescending and paternalistic to treat a spouse’s desires like a child’s wish for junk food.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          To go with the Cheetos example–if your spouse really doesn’t want to, and you push them to anyway, then it is now junk food sex, because intimacy is missing.
          What we found in our survey of 20,000 women is that when sex becomes infrequent, there is almost always a reason. A woman who regularly orgasms during sex, who has high marital satisfaction, and who feels emotionally connected during sex is very, very unlikely to have sex infrequently. So if sex becomes infrequent, the answer is not to try to make sex more frequent. The answer is to figure out WHY. Address that issue. Considering that we have a huge orgasm gap (47 points), I think it’s incumbent to see if that is also an issue.
          I have a post on 10 questions to ask if your wife doesn’t want sex, and I think that’s a good place to start. The fact is that very, very few women DO cruelly deny a spouse with no reason. What we found is that there is almost always a reason. In marriages with very infrequent sex, or in sexless marriages, 78% have AT LEAST 2 of the following problems: male sexual dysfunction; female pain during sex; male porn use; infrequent or non-existent female orgasm; or emotional distance during sex. On the other hand, most marriages with frequent sex had none of these. Deal with the root, and you’ll fix things. Frequency is a symptom of something deeper; it does not tend to be an issue in and of itself.
          (And by the way: if you both have authority over each other’s bodies, it’s even more important to have mutual consent to go ahead than mutual consent to say no. The fact that you don’t seem concerned about consent is, well, highly concerning.)

          Reply
      • JC

        I have been thinking and praying a lot on this.
        I hear you that you, and many other people, in particular women, got really harmful messages saying that your needs don’t matter, presenting sex as a joyless duty lacking in intimacy. I agree that those messages are harmful and wrong. I know God doesn’t want that.
        At the same time, I strongly believe in the egalitarian Biblical command not to refuse or deprive your spouse. Intimacy is one important goal, yes, but there is also another equally important goal: avoiding sexual sin by not refusing your spouse, which is hurtful and itself destructive of intimacy. A spouse cannot feel safe and intimate if they are in danger of being sexually rejected unilaterally on a whim. That’s not ok. You err by ignoring that side of things.
        You go too far by presenting the message that people (though this seems mostly directed to women), can freely say no whenever they want, for any reason, and that’s perfectly fine. I disagree, and I don’t see how you can argue that is Biblical, or wise, if you keep hurting your spouse by denying her.
        I think at the very least, the decision to say no needs to be made carefully, prayerfully, not lightly, and needs to take your spouse’s needs into consideration as well. This is not an “inability” to say no – it’s the recognition that it is not wise or moral to turn down your spouse unless you discuss your reasons and come to an agreement like “yes, it makes sense to take a break now.” Your writing is very one-sided. It doesn’t look at the harms or consequences of refusing a spouse.
        There is a middle ground here, and spouses do have duties and obligations to one another – you seem to ignore that. This should not be presented in a cruel disrespectful way, which can indeed cause pain.
        You say I am not concerned about consent. Consent is vital for sex – if one spouse doesn’t consent, the sex cannot happen. Everyone has the free choice to consent, or withhold consent. The question is under what circumstances it is wise, moral, and Biblical to choose to withhold consent from a spouse in need. Marital rape is always wrong, but it is also wrong to withhold consent frivolously.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Here’s the thing, JC: Sex is AWESOME. It really is. So if it’s awesome, then people should want it.
          So if someone doesn’t want it, we should ask why and figure it out. I’m not saying that people should just say no; what I’m saying is that the REASON people say no is that sex, in their mind, has changed. It no longer means what we want it to mean. So if we want someone to be excited about it again, we have to figure out why.
          If we tell them the obligation sex message, what we’ve found is that we make the problem worse. I used to teach the obligation sex message; I’ve changed since the survey because the findings were very stark. It leads to even worse sex.
          So now what I tell women instead is figure out why you don’t want it. And often that’s because, at the very beginning of marriage, sex became about him rather than about her, and she’s never figured out a way to reclaim it.
          I know you’re not happy with this, but I assure you: giving her the obligation sex message will backfire. Trying to figure out WHY she has seen sex as something other than awesome is a far better play.
          And if it’s simply that she loves sex but honestly only wants it once a week or so, then maybe just readjust your expectations downward. Once a week is not out of the ordinary. (although I don’t know what’s happening in your case).

          Reply
        • RJH

          Her take is very on sided. You appeal to scripture. She appeals to a survey of flawed human beings. You can take a survey of 20K ppl and they would approve of fornication but that does not mean we have to see “why” they would choose fornication when the bible says why born in sin.
          It’s a tired trope of men/husbands being cast as eternal villains while women/wives are cast as eternal victims. We are all prone to sin and selfishness. And Yes spouses (men and women) can be and have been selfish in the area of intimacy and the bible clearly speaks on this issue.
          The bible teaches to capture every thought and submit it to God. So the command for husbands to love their wives is not conditional and a husband must love whether he feels like it or not. LIkewise wives too.
          Out of our deep commitment to God we should in submit our will to His. It’s not easy but possible. Because the believer’s weakness is made strong in Him. The power of the Holy Spirit allows to be faithful to scripture when it’s seems foolish by worlds standards/surveys
          In conclusion, follow the word of God with every ounce of strength you can muster. Depend on the God head for wisdom and strength. Husbands render to your wife what is owed. Wives render unto your husband what is owed. This is not a clinical issue but a spiritual one. Which cannot be remedied by natural.

          Reply
          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Quite frankly, RJH, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Our survey measured differences. I know this may be difficult to understand if you haven’t studied statistics, but this wasn’t a frequency survey (where the population of the survey takers would matter). This was a study. We were able to look at what happens if you believe something vs. if you don’t. That means we had some people who believed the obligation sex message, and some who didn’t. And guess what we found? The “hurt” people you refer to are those who believe it! Not those who don’t. You’re pushing something that harms women, and I think you know that and don’t care.

  15. Brittney

    I really wish my husband would listen to this and believe it. I have no sex drive haven’t had one for a very long time. And my husband thinks since we are married and we are Christians, we have to have sex that I have to give him pleasure when he needs to get off. I do not want sex I do not want intercourse I just don’t have the feelings of wanting and needing it. It is also very uncomfortable. He tells me that I cannot refuse to help him get off because God made sex and I am married to him.

    Reply
    • Maria Bernadette

      I’m sorry that you are going through that. Your husband is saying some unloving and unChristian things to you.
      You don’t owe him sex. And he has no right to expect you to manage his sexual energy.
      While it’s true that God made sex and that married couples are, well, married, that does not negate the fact that you have the right to say “no” to sex.
      (For those who need to hear this: please don’t mistake the word “no” for the phrase “never again.” They are not the same.)
      And only you know your motivations for saying “no” at this time.
      Because sometimes, the good of the marriage requires a “no.” Not always, but sometimes. And it sounds as if your husband feels entitled, which, I think, would make sex emotionally unsafe and damaging to the marriage.
      Praying and hoping that things improve for you.

      Reply
  16. Healing

    The Transformed Wife is CRAZY. I was reading through her posts and then the comments on her posts and my husband and I were BLOWN AWAY at how awful her advice is. I don’t understand her stance on how if a wife withholds sex from her spouse that she is living in SIN and is serving SATAN, not Christ, etc. Then a commenter will mention how their husband is withholding sex from them and Lori doesn’t call it sin on HIS part. There is excuse after excuse as to why the husband might not want sex and the solution is prayer, etc. but it’s never called sin if the man is withholding sex. Doesn’t make sense.

    Then there’s the whole “there’s no rape in marriage” idea. Lori will say it’s not rape if there isn’t physical abuse too or if it only happens “once” or if the husband isn’t “drunk or high on drugs. Like- what in the heck? Then there’s loads of followers who agree that a wife waking up her husband having sex with her is not rape. Some commenters said they’d find it exciting that their spouse was so passionate about them.

    Oh and sex isn’t supposed to be mutual according to her.

    I mean, I can go on and on but she is CRAZY. I literally can’t believe the stuff I have heard her say and it’s scary that so many people believe the stuff she says.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      She has no consistency except one: The man is always right. That is her starting point. He is lord of her life, and she must do whatever he wants. If you understand that’s her starting point, everything else makes sense.

      Reply
  17. Vickey

    The more I learn about Lori Alexander, the more I realise how sick & deranged of a person she is. And I mean, not only is she outright sadistic towards her own kids, but she also seems to shut out ALL and ANY criticism that goes against her. (I’m not kidding, she even closed the ability to comment on her newer posts!) What Lori says would curl aby reasonable person’s hair!

    Anyway, yes, I agree, ‘the act’ should be mutually pleasurable and CONSENSUAL. Have a great one and don’t read The Transformed Wife. Peace.

    Reply

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