Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Should "moods" even be a consideration in our marriage beds? Prager doesn't think so!

Here is one of the best articles on marital sex that I have read on the internet. Initially I began to post only the links here but then.... when I followed the old link for the article, I discovered that it had been moved to a different webpage. No doubt it will be moved again so I decided to post the entire article.

Please share your thoughts on what Prager says here. If you are a refusing wife, would you take Prager's words to heart and at least pray about them? If you are a refused husband, would you consider sharing this article with your wife and lovingly discuss it with her, perhaps in the presence of your pastor or therapist? (ie, impartial third party to help keep peace during the discussion)

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When a Woman Isn’t in the Mood: Part I, by Dennis Prager

Given our preoccupation with politics and economics, it is easy to forget that for most of us micro issues still play a greater role in our lives. So here are some thoughts that, as heretical as they might sound, have been found extremely helpful, sometimes even marriage-saving, from listeners to my radio show, which features a “male-female hour” every week.
The subject is one of the most common problems that besets marriages: the wife who is “not in the mood” and the consequently frustrated and hurt husband.
There are marriages with the opposite problem — a wife who is frustrated and hurt because her husband is rarely in the mood. But, as important and as destructive as that problem is, it has different causes and different solutions, and is therefore not addressed here. What is addressed is the far more common problem of “He wants, she doesn't want.”
It is an axiom of contemporary marital life that if a wife is not in the mood, she need not have sex with her husband. Here are some arguments why a woman who loves her husband might want to rethink this axiom.
First, women need to recognize how a man understands a wife's refusal to have sex with him: A husband knows that his wife loves him first and foremost by her willingness to give her body to him. This is rarely the case for women. Few women know their husband loves them because he gives her his body (the idea sounds almost funny). This is, therefore, usually a revelation to a woman. Many women think men's natures are similar to theirs, and this is so different from a woman's nature, that few women know this about men unless told about it.
This is a major reason many husbands clam up. A man whose wife frequently denies him sex will first be hurt, then sad, then angry, then quiet. And most men will never tell their wives why they have become quiet and distant. They are afraid to tell their wives. They are often made to feel ashamed of their male sexual nature, and they are humiliated (indeed emasculated) by feeling that they are reduced to having to beg for sex.
When first told this about men, women generally react in one or more of five ways:
1. You have to be kidding. That certainly isn't my way of knowing if he loves me. There have to be deeper ways than sex for me to show my husband that I love him.
2. If this is true, men really are animals.
3. Not my man. He knows I love him by the kind and loving way I treat him.
4. You have it backwards. If he truly loved me, he wouldn't expect sex when I'm not in the mood.
5. I know this and that's why I rarely say no to sex.
Let's deal with each of these responses.
1. You have to be kidding. …
The most common female reaction to hearing about men's sexual nature is incredulity, often followed by denial. These are entirely understandable reactions given how profoundly different — and how seemingly more primitive — men's sexual nature is compared to women's.
Incredulity is certainly the reaction most women have when first being told that a man knows he is loved when his wife gives him her body. The idea that the man she is married to, let alone a man whose intelligence she respects, will to any serious extent measure her love of him by such a carnal yardstick strikes many women as absurd and even objectionable.
But the question that should matter to a woman who loves her man is not whether this proposition speaks poorly or well of male nature. It is whether it is true. And it is true beyond anything she can imagine. A woman who often deprives her husband of her body is guaranteed to injure him and to injure the marriage — no matter what her female friends say, no matter what a sympathetic therapist says, and no matter what her man says.
(Very few men will confess to the amount of hurt and eventual anger they experience when repeatedly denied sex).
Of course, there are times when a man must simply refrain from initiating sex out of concern for his wife's physical or emotional condition. And then there are men for whom sex rarely has anything to do with making love or whose frequency of demands are excessive. (What “excessive” means ought to be determined by the couple before the refusals begin, or continue.) But the fact remains: Your man knows you love him by your willingness to give him your body.
2. If this is true, men really are animals.
Correct. Compared to most women's sexual nature, men's sexual nature is far closer to that of animals. So what? That is the way he is made. Blame God and nature. Telling your husband to control it is a fine idea. But he already does. Every man who is sexually faithful to his wife already engages in daily heroic self-control. He has married knowing he will have to deny his sexual nature's desire for variety for the rest of his life. To ask that he also regularly deny himself sex with the one woman in the world with whom he is permitted sex is asking far too much. Deny him enough times and he may try to fill this need with another woman. If he is too moral to ever do that, he will match your sexual withdrawal with emotional and other forms of withdrawal.
3. Not my man.
Many women will argue, understandably, “My husband knows I love him. He doesn't need me to have sex with him to know that. And this is especially so when I'm too tired or just don't want sex. Anyway, my man only enjoys sex with me when I'm into it, too.”
The importance of mutual kindness to a marriage is impossible to overstate. But while necessary, it is not sufficient. Women can understand this by applying the same rule to men. Most women will readily acknowledge that it is certainly not enough for a man to be kind to her. If it were, women would rarely reject kind men as husband material. But as much as a woman wants a kind man, she wants more than that. If a man is, let us say, lacking in ambition or just doesn't want to work hard, few women will love him no matter how kind he is. In fact, most women would happily give up some kindness for hard work and ambition. A kind man with little ambition is not masculine, therefore not desirable to most women.
Likewise, a kind woman who is not sexual with her husband is not feminine. She is a kind roommate.
Furthermore, a woman who denies the man she loves sex is not kind.
4. You have it backward.
Every rational and decent man knows there are times when he should not initiate sex. In a marriage of good communication, a man would either know when those times are or his wife would tell him (and she needs to — women should not expect men to read their minds. He is her man, not her mother.)
But, to repeat the key point, rejection of sex should happen infrequently. And it should almost never be dependent on mood — see Part II next week.
5. I know this and that's why I rarely say no to my husband.
This is a wise woman. She knows a sexually fulfilled husband is a happy husband. (At the same time, men need to recognize that complete sexual fulfillment is unattainable in this world.) And because a happy husband loves his wife more, this cycle of love produces a happy home.
In Part II, I will explain in detail why mood should play little or no role in a woman's determining whether she has sex with her husband.
I conclude Part I with this clarification: Everything written here applies under two conditions: 1. The woman is married to a good man. 2. She wants him to be a happy husband. If either condition is not present, nothing written here matters. But if you are a woman who loves your husband, what is written here can be the most important thing you will read concerning your marriage. Because chances are the man you love won't tell you.



When a Woman Isn’t in the Mood: Part II, by Prager

In Part I, I made the argument that any woman who is married to a good man and who wants a happy marriage ought to consent to at least some form of sexual relations as much as possible. (Men need to understand that intercourse should not necessarily be the goal of every sexual encounter.)
In Part II, I advance the argument that a wife should do so even when she is not in the mood for sexual relations. I am talking about mood, not about times of emotional distress or illness.
Why?
Here are eight reasons for a woman not to allow not being in the mood for sex to determine whether she denies her husband sex.
1. If most women wait until they are in the mood before making love with their husband, many women will be waiting a month or more until they next have sex. When most women are young, and for some older women, spontaneously getting in the mood to have sex with the man they love can easily occur. But for most women, for myriad reasons -- female nature, childhood trauma, not feeling sexy, being preoccupied with some problem, fatigue after a day with the children and/or other work, just not being interested -- there is little comparable to a man’s “out of nowhere,” and seemingly constant, desire for sex.
2. Why would a loving, wise woman allow mood to determine whether or not she will give her husband one of the most important expressions of love she can show him? What else in life, of such significance, do we allow to be governed by mood?
What if your husband woke up one day and announced that he was not in the mood to go to work? If this happened a few times a year, any wife would have sympathy for her hardworking husband. But what if this happened as often as many wives announce that they are not in the mood to have sex? Most women would gradually stop respecting and therefore eventually stop loving such a man.
What woman would love a man who was so governed by feelings and moods that he allowed them to determine whether he would do something as important as go to work? Why do we assume that it is terribly irresponsible for a man to refuse to go to work because he is not in the mood, but a woman can -- indeed, ought to -- refuse sex because she is not in the mood? Why?
This brings us to the next reasons.
3. The baby boom generation elevated feelings to a status higher than codes of behavior. In determining how one ought to act, feelings, not some code higher than one’s feelings, became decisive: “No shoulds, no oughts.” In the case of sex, therefore, the only right time for a wife to have sex with her husband is when she feels like having it. She never “should” have it. But marriage and life are filled with “shoulds.”
4. Thus, in the past generation we have witnessed the demise of the concept of obligation in personal relations. We have been nurtured in a culture of rights, not a culture of obligations. To many women, especially among the best educated, the notion that a woman owes her husband sex seems absurd, if not actually immoral. They have been taught that such a sense of obligation renders her “property.” Of course, the very fact that she can always say “no” -- and that this “no” must be honored -- renders the “property” argument absurd. A woman is not “property” when she feels she owes her husband conjugal relations. She is simply wise enough to recognize that marriages based on mutual obligations -- as opposed to rights alone and certainly as opposed to moods -- are likely to be the best marriages.
5. Partially in response to the historical denigration of women’s worth, since the 1960s, there has been an idealization of women and their feelings. So, if a husband is in the mood for sex and the wife is not, her feelings are deemed of greater significance -- because women’s feelings are of more importance than men’s. One proof is that even if the roles are reversed -- she is in the mood for sex and he is not -- our sympathies again go to the woman and her feelings.
6. Yet another outgrowth of ’60s thinking is the notion that it is “hypocritical” or wrong in some other way to act contrary to one’s feelings. One should always act, post-’60s theory teaches, consistent with one’s feelings. Therefore, many women believe that it would simply be wrong to have sex with their husband when they are not in the mood to. Of course, most women never regard it as hypocritical and rightly regard it as admirable when they meet their child’s or parent’s or friend’s needs when they are not in the mood to do so. They do what is right in those cases, rather than what their mood dictates. Why not apply this attitude to sex with one’s husband? Given how important it is to most husbands, isn’t the payoff -- a happier, more communicative, and loving husband and a happier home -- worth it?
7. Many contemporary women have an almost exclusively romantic notion of sex: It should always be mutually desired and equally satisfying or one should not engage in it. Therefore, if a couple engages in sexual relations when he wants it and she does not, the act is “dehumanizing” and “mechanical.” Now, ideally, every time a husband and wife have sex, they would equally desire it and equally enjoy it. But, given the different sexual natures of men and women, this cannot always be the case. If it is romance a woman seeks -- and she has every reason to seek it -- it would help her to realize how much more romantic her husband and her marriage are likely to be if he is not regularly denied sex, even of the non-romantic variety.
8. In the rest of life, not just in marital sex, it is almost always a poor idea to allow feelings or mood to determine one’s behavior. Far wiser is to use behavior to shape one’s feelings. Act happy no matter what your mood and you will feel happier. Act loving and you will feel more loving. Act religious, no matter how deep your religious doubts, and you will feel more religious. Act generous even if you have a selfish nature, and you will end with a more a generous nature. With regard to virtually anything in life that is good for us, if we wait until we are in the mood to do it, we will wait too long.
The best solution to the problem of a wife not being in the mood is so simple that many women, after thinking about it, react with profound regret that they had not thought of it earlier in their marriage. As one bright and attractive woman in her 50s ruefully said to me, “Had I known this while I was married, he would never have divorced me.”
That solution is for a wife who loves her husband -- if she doesn’t love him, mood is not the problem -- to be guided by her mind, not her mood, in deciding whether to deny her husband sex.
If her husband is a decent man -- if he is not, nothing written here applies -- a woman will be rewarded many times over outside the bedroom (and if her man is smart, inside the bedroom as well) with a happy, open, grateful, loving, and faithful husband. That is a prospect that should get any rational woman into the mood more often.

4 comments:

mr. self respect said...

Much of Prager's sentiments are echoed by Mark Gungor, who is my new favorite author and speaker on this topic. Of course, Gungor is a pastor, so he tends to take more of a Christian slant on this topic.

Gungor is quite clear on this topic: someone who routinely and systematically denies their spouse sex is unfaithful. They are not living up to the marriage covenant, which Gungor describes as a "sexual contract." He goes as far as to call sexual refusal a valid reason for separation (not divorce.)

verticaldistance said...

I agree 100% with Prager. In life, you have to do things you don't feel like doing. I EXPECT the husband to go to work everyday, to mow the lawn, to fix the cars, and so on, regardless of mood. I didn't get married to do these things. I expect the male to do it. Yes, I do love my husband, but my love, my body, and my time has never been free.

Hell, sex doesn't even take that long, so it isn't a big time investment on my part.

What kind of hell on earth this would be if the police didn't report for duty simply because they didn't feeeeeeeel like it? The military? Teachers? Juries? The cable guy!!!!!!

Hiswildcherry47 said...

Hi Gemma,

"A husband knows that his wife loves him first and foremost by her willingness to give her body to him".
I needed to give him not only my body but particularly, my mind. My husband always marvels at the amount of energy I have as a mother. I have re-directed a huge portion of my energy into our sex life/marriage...we are smokin' hot together.

"He has married knowing he will have to deny his sexual nature's desire for variety for the rest of his life".
Ouch. This one blew my mind when I fully comprehended the magnitude of my husband's exclusion of other more delectable pussy cats. I now adore my tom cat to the utmost with all my senses firing.

"A kind man with little ambition is not masculine, therefore not desirable to most women".
Ambition towards providing for his family has meant that my husband is away as I write this, and has spent huge amounts of our married life on the road...for me and ours.
I now thank him ALL THE TIME. I used to feel tremendous bitterness for all the wasted husband/fathering years. He hurts from his loss more than I can imagine.
Having mind blowing sex lets him feel like a man and allows me to thank him in the most basic way I can..with myself.

"A kind woman who is not sexual with her husband is not feminine".
I thought I was uber feminine being a SAHM and all out wonder woman for our family but I had a cruel wake up call when I bit into this kernel of truth.
Now I focus on being a feminine wonder for my husband who loves, loves my attention and femininity according to what he says femininity is...sexual craziness for him.
And OMG, this man is making my efforts gloriously sexually fulfilling. As I keep at my game, I find myself overwhelmed by the awesome loving we are experiencing. HWC purring.

Gemma said...

What is REALLY sad to me is when a wife refuses sex all or most of the time except for when she wants to get pregnant. What's up with that????

I can poke holes in this behavior because, unfortunately, that was me in the first year of our marriage.