When mentoring someone in the area of sexual intimacy in marriage, the following may be helpful in addressing delicate or difficult questions that get asked.
Question: My husband wants to watch violent or sexy movies that make me uncomfortable. What can I do to change him?
Question: What if my sex drive is stronger than my husband’s… I’m interested, but he isn’t?
Male sexual passivity is a very real problem in more than 25 percent of the couples that contact FamilyLife. This rejection by a husband makes a wife feel unattractive and lonely rather than loved and cherished as God intended. It also runs contrary to God’s overall design for marriage where husbands initiate and lovingly lead.
Scripture clearly shows that God has created sexual love to be shared and not withheld in marriage. Married couples are instructed not to deprive one another of sex (1 Corinthians 7:5) or to live in marital celibacy, because this creates unnecessary conflict and opens the door for outside temptations like emotional affairs or even adultery.
Dennis and Barbara Rainey talk frankly about this phenomenon in the book Rekindling the Romance. In researching for the book, Dennis discovered that the problem for most men is often not inadequate desire or erectile dysfunction, but a dysfunction of the heart—anger, resentment, and bitterness. Therefore, repentance and forgiveness may be necessary first steps back toward sexual intimacy in the marriage. If a husband won’t open up, a Christian counselor might be needed.
Another consideration, as Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus discuss in their book Intimate Issues: 21 Questions Christian Women Ask About Sex, is that a husband’s fizzling sex drive could be the unexpected side effect of various medications, including pills for high blood pressure or cholesterol, anti-depressants, decongestants, and more. In such a case, a consultation with the husband’s physician is critical.
Other factors which can contribute to a loss of male sex drive in marriage include his desire being siphoned by pornography, lasting consequences of childhood molestation, or the husband simply spending too much energy at work so there is little left for his wife. Whatever the reason, Dennis Rainey exhorts the husband: “A man who refuses to address his low libido and meet his wife’s needs is putting his marriage at great risk… Step out of the shadows of isolation and into the healing from the One who gives ‘every good and perfect gift.’ (James 1:17)”
For additional help, please read:
Why Sex Is So Important to Your Wife by Dennis Rainey.
Question: My husband is into viewing pornography and wants it to be part of our ongoing sex life. Do I have to submit to that?
“A biblically submissive wife’s focus is not on enabling wrong behavior, but on empowering her husband to pursue right behavior—to become the man God wants him to be, and the leader God wants him to be. That’s an extremely important point. God never asks a wife (or any believer) to do what is wrong. After all, she ultimately serves Christ.” (Robert Lewis, Rocking the Roles, p. 137)
Also, according to Jesus the sin of adultery is not just the physical act itself but also includes lust of the heart and mind (Matthew 5:27-28). A husband who tries to justify using pornography as an aid in marital sex is either deceiving himself or attempting to rationalize his sinful, selfish desires. A wife should not agree to this practice, for she is “bought with a price” and should glorify God with her body. (1 Corinthians 6:20)
Having said that, because internet pornography is so readily accessible today, many married men, even Christian husbands, get ensnared in the trap. Typically these men will need wise counsel and the accountability of other godly men before they will experience lasting freedom.
“For many men who are willing to fight for sexual purity, an important step is finding accountability support in a men’s Bible study group, in a smaller group of one or two other men serving as accountability partners, or by going into counseling… The men’s ministry at your church can also help you find someone who can pray for you and ask you the tough questions.” (Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker, Every Man’s Battle, p. 115)
A wife is wise not to rush to judgment or condemnation, but to begin praying that God will bring her husband to repentance and bring their marriage to a place where sexual intimacy is holy and honorable. (Hebrews 13:4)
For additional help, please read:
Helping Your Husband Battle Pornography by Dr. Dave Currie with Glen Hoos
How Do I Escape the Trap of Pornography in My Life? by Dave Boehi and Mike Pickle