When A Husband Is Sexually Inhibited


As Jane and Pete prepare to leave, Jack teases, “You behave yourself now, Pete, when you get home.” “Oh, he will,” Jane answers harshly. Jack chuckles, “That’s the way, Janie girl! Maybe you can get a headache on the way home.” “Why do men always think it’s the woman?” Jane muses.

Jane’s Story

Walking out of the building that Sunday evening after worship, Pete and Jane appear to be a normal, happy, caring couple–faithful in their attendance of services. As the outdoor lights softly caress Jane’s light brown hair making her pretty face glow as she and Pete visit with another couple in the parking lot, no one could foresee the tears that will swell her face later that night and on into the next day.

“Can you come over for a little while?” Sue, Jack’s wife, asks.

“Sure!” Pete speaks up. “We’ll follow you home.”

Once they arrive, the men go to the living room while Jane and Sue fix sandwiches in the kitchen. Jane loves swapping tales about her two boys’ newest skills with Sue, who has three small children of her own. “You and Pete have such a nice family,” Sue volunteers. “Aren’t you glad Pete works with your boys? I wish Jack would be like Pete and take more of an interest in our kids.”

“Pete is good with them,” Jane agrees while thinking, “I wish Pete was more like Jack! Sue doesn’t know how lucky she is.”

“And Pete is such a good song leader! The singing was great tonight! I always like it when Pete leads the singing. Jack can’t even carry a tune!”

“Well, not everyone has a talent for singing,” Jane tries to pass off the remark about Jack. Disparagingly she thinks, “Jack has talents more important than singing.”

“Yeah, I know, but Jack’s not even successful at work like Pete. Jack told me Pete got a promotion. What are you going to do with all that money?”

“Oh, I’ll worry about that when I see it,” Jane tries to laugh, while wishing she could change the subject to the boys. “I wonder what Sue would think if I told her I’d gladly exchange our nice house and all the money Pete earns if Pete was more like Jack?” Jane asks herself. “I’d better not tell her, though, about our problem even though she is my best friend. She just wouldn’t understand.”

Later, as Jane and Pete prepare to leave, Jack teases, “You behave yourself now, Pete, when you get home.”

“Oh, he will,” Jane answers harshly.

Jack chuckles, “That’s the way, Janie girl! Maybe you can get a headache on the way home.”

“Why do men always think it’s the woman?” Jane muses as she snuggles sleeping Pete, Jr. closer to her for comfort as she gets into the car.

The ride home seems like an unbearable endless journey to nowhere before they pull into their driveway. The porch light beckons them cheerfully, giving no hint of the scene soon to follow. Jane puts the boys to bed and washes her face. Pete is already in bed when she slides under the covers. She kisses him goodnight and tries to linger at his lips as she whispers, “I love you.”

“Love you, too. See you in the morning,” he yawns. Rolling over, he goes to sleep.

Her body tense and uncomfortable, Jane closes her eyes and prays for sleep for what seems like hours. Finally, she can stand it no more. For three months she’s waited patiently for her husband to make love with her. Now he just lies there sleeping soundly while her stomach, breasts, and groin ache from unsatisfied sexual desires. Fighting back tears, she wishes she could quit caring and just roll over and go to sleep like he does night after night after night.

Over the last months she’s made every conceivable excuse she could think of to keep from taking his lack of interest for sex personally. But Jack’s innocent remark about her getting a headache on the way home caught her with her guard down. Now the flood of anger and resentment that she has tried to bury for seven years of marriage comes pouring out. She jumps out of bed. “I’ve got my conjugal rights you know!” The words pour out loud and hateful, not forceful, the way she intends.

“Huh? What?” Pete tries to force himself awake.

Repeating her words, Jane feels a flood of tears coming. Running to the bathroom she quickly locks the door behind her. A wasted effort. She knows he won’t come. He’ll only use her outburst as an excuse to avoid her sexually for several more days or even weeks as he’s done in the past. What could she do? Shouting isn’t the answer. Jane knows that.

Wearing frilly gowns and perfume to bed doesn’t work either. The time she put on her baby doll pajamas to try to coax him to bed he angrily responded, “Go put on some clothes, and don’t run around like that!”

She looks in the mirror at her tear-stained swollen face, not very pretty now, even though she always takes care of her appearance. She carefully avoids gaining weight to look tempting to him. “Why bother?” she asks herself half aloud. “While other men pay me compliments, Pete doesn’t. Or if he likes the way I look, he still doesn’t want to go to bed with me!” Looking nice works for other women, but not for her. Jane knows that.

When she married him she eagerly looked forward to lovemaking. She felt confident she’d make a good wife because she vowed to never tell him no. “Little did I know I’d never get the chance to tell him, `No.’ Just once, I’d like to tell him, `No,’ and let him see how it feels to be rejected!” she thinks bitterly. “When he finally approaches me, I’m so desperate I say, `Yes,’ rather than face another week or two of going without sex.” Besides, revenge isn’t the answer. Jane knows that.

“He acted so affectionate during courtship. I can’t understand it. How could he turn so cold overnight?” she blows her nose. “What’s wrong with me? His mother convinced him that anything to do with sex was dirty even in marriage, he told me that. She never lets her husband see her undress. She even jumped all over me once when she was visiting and saw me undress in front of Pete. His folks endure such a miserable marriage!”

“Pete can’t even kiss me goodnight right! He just quickly pecks me on the lips and then rolls over. He’s so afraid he might brush up against me and want me. He doesn’t want to take a chance on any `dirty feelings’ for me being aroused. It would sure be easy to hate his mother!” Hate isn’t the answer. Jane knows that.

“The only time making love doesn’t bother him is when he wants another baby. It’s too soon for another child!” She carefully blots another tear as her face is beginning to feel raw. “Maybe I should just throw myself into taking care of the kids. Just get so wrapped up in taking care of them, I’ll be too tired to notice or care if he wants me. That wouldn’t be good for the kids, though. They’d just grow up to be like him–not knowing how to love since they’d never seen us express affection. I’m not going to cheat my daughter-in-law the way his mother cheated me. His mother still uses her kids and grandkids as a surrogate-mate.” Substituting the kids’ love for her husband’s love isn’t the answer. Jane knows that.

“I realized we had a problem that first week we were married. When it didn’t get any better after several months, Pete agreed to go with me to talk to the elders of the church. I thought surely they could help. Instead, the elders only made our problem worse than ever, if that’s possible!”

“All they did was scold me, `It’s your job to be submissive to your husband. Whatever he wants in sex, you’ve got to go along with it.’ They didn’t even say one word to Pete!” Going to the elders should help, but it doesn’t always. Jane knows that.

“I left that meeting feeling dirty and guilty. Pete simply quit trying to satisfy me. He just doesn’t care! Maybe something’s wrong with me. Maybe normal women don’t want intercourse more than once every month or two or three.” Her feelings are normal. Jane knows that.

“Oh, how I wish my feelings weren’t normal! I wish I was just as cold as he is so I’d be glad he went for months without touching me. The only way I know to turn myself off sexually is to stop loving him. He wouldn’t like that and neither would I. I’ve got so much love for him. . . . I just wish he would let me show him. I wish it were all my fault! Then I could change me and we’d be happy!” It isn’t all her fault. Jane knows that.

“To think, I even considered adultery once. Yet if I loved someone enough to go to bed with him, I’d want to live with him and take care of him–not just share a few stolen moments. Besides, I wouldn’t have any chance of going to heaven if I committed adultery. Anyway, that’s not what I really want. I want Pete! And I want him to want me!” she cries as she grieves over the past. Adultery isn’t the answer. Jane knows that.

“No matter how calm I am when I tell Pete how I feel about making love, he never listens. He just resents me and there’s less intercourse than ever. I don’t say anything anymore unless I reach the end of my endurance. By then I’m hurting too much to be patient. Then it always backfires, and I wish I’d had the strength to be quiet.” Talking about it with him should be part of the answer, but it isn’t for her. Jane knows that.
“Will this horrible problem ever end? I’ll be a bitter old woman when he finally learns there’s more to marriage than bringing home a paycheck or cooking and caring for the children. Then it’ll be too late!”

“There was one time when I thought the problem was finally solved. That was when we had a gospel meeting at church, and the preacher taught on I Corinthians 7. Usually when preachers teach on that passage they emphasize how a woman should never tell her husband no. They go on and on about what a horrible sin it is for a woman to be a cold lover. They seldom teach the other half of the passage and talk about men being cold lovers. They don’t say what a horrible sin that is, or how such men cause their wives to be tempted by Satan. Maybe the preachers don’t give women any credit for having legitimate sexual desires,” she bites her lip as she tries to control the body-shaking tears that escape.

“Finally, that one time a preacher talked about the command for men to love their wives and about a woman’s needs being real and being from God. That night was wonderful! Pete loved me and held me so close. I was so thankful and happy! I just knew our problem was finally solved.”

“It only lasted one night! The next Sunday our regular preacher spoke on something else, and it was two months before we made love again. So Pete hearing what the Bible says about the sexual relationship just one time isn’t going to solve the problem. I honestly don’t know what to do!” She reaches for a fresh tissue. Hearing what the Bible teaches about the union of a man and woman should be part of the answer, but it hasn’t been for her. Jane knows that.

“I just feel so unloved. I don’t know what to do. I wish I could talk to some woman who would understand my feelings and would help me cope with them. Most of the older women don’t act like they even like their husbands, let alone love them anymore. I sure don’t want to be like any of them. So they probably can’t help me.”

“Besides, most of them aren’t interested in talking about the Bible. They just gossip about their kids, grandkids, and each other. I even heard one of them complaining that her husband still wants too much sex at his age. I wanted to tell her how lucky she is! She just kept running men down as animals. I was afraid she’d just think I was abnormal. I feel sorry for her husband! And he’s such a nice, warm, loving man.”

“How will I ever make it through tomorrow? I’ll try to act cheerful–and it’ll really be an act! I’ll probably even end up apologizing for my outburst, even though it’s not really my fault. I always end up accepting all the blame so that he won’t punish me and make me wait two or three more days to make love. I wish I weren’t such a coward!”

“I don’t know if he does it deliberately or not, but he manipulates me with sex. If I’m a good wife, he ignores me and assumes I don’t need any lovemaking. If I reach my breaking point and say something to him in anger, then he withholds it deliberately to punish me. So whether I’m a good wife or a bad one, he has his reasons for not desiring me.” She forces herself to stop crying.

“If I go back to bed and try to discuss it with him, he’ll just say, `How do you expect me to want you when you act like that?’ as if he wants me in the first place. That’s what he always says.” Talking about it ought to help, but it hasn’t helped her. Jane knows that.

“We’re such hypocrites when we’re around other Christians. People think we’re an ideal couple. If they only knew what went on here. I wonder if the men would be so eager for Pete to lead prayer, if they knew what kind of a husband he was?”

“Why serve God if this is what marriage is all about? If this is what being a woman is all about? I wonder how many couples fall away from the Lord because of lousy sex lives? A lot, I bet!” she speculates. Leaving the church isn’t the answer. Jane knows that.

She searches the medicine cabinet for the sleeping pills. For a moment she considers, “It would be nice to take them all and be out of this mess. He wouldn’t care though! He’d just marry someone else and make her life miserable, too. And I won’t get to go to heaven. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to figure out what to do.” Suicide isn’t the answer. Jane knows that.

Then unlocking the door, she slips back to bed. Pete snores softly. She resents it. “He really doesn’t care about me,” she aches. “Lord, please help me and the pills to wait him out!” she begs.

Then getting up, she kneels beside her bed and prays in earnest, “Please, dear God, help me to survive! Help me to have the right attitude. All I do is fight trying to control my sexual desires that come from loving Pete. I don’t have any energy left to go ahead and be a whole person. Not being married would be better. Then I wouldn’t be around someone I love so deeply all the time, and he wouldn’t arouse my desires without satisfying them. Please help me, dear Lord!” Leaving him isn’t the answer. Jane knows that. Tomorrow will be the same. Jane knows that, too.

Caught in the middle of the great sexual dilemma of today, Pete and Jane wallow in agony. Jane battles extreme sexual frustration that comes from continual denial of sexual satisfaction over many years. Even though Pete appears to have little or no sexual desires of his own, sex creates an unbearable home environment for him, too. While his wife never actually calls him a failure, he questions his manhood.

Not only that, Pete hears so many locker room stories at work about the prowess of other men that he’s afraid to seek help for his problem. He reasons, “After all, men are supposed to have greater sexual needs than women. If a woman doesn’t enjoy sex, no one thinks anything about it, except maybe her husband. If a man doesn’t enjoy lovemaking–well, people might wonder if he’s normal.” So Pete feels the pressure from both his wife and from the world.

The dilemma? They experience God-given and God-approved sexual desires, but are denied satisfaction with the one legitimate sexual partner God provides–the spouse. While their mates refuse them this sexual relief, God’s commands to the wife to love and reverence her husband and to the husband to love and cherish his wife create and enhance sexual desire and pleasure. When confronted with a mate with inhibited sexual desire and pleasure, these loving thoughts seem impossible in the face of extreme sexual frustration. But mankind creates the dilemma–not God!

Readers describe Patsy Rae Dawson as the most outspoken Christian woman on sex, referring to her frankness and comfort talking about sex. Her unique ability to unlock the scriptures and challenge traditional views makes her a popular speaker and writer. Check out Patsy's latest book, The Song of Solomon Love Triangle,  God's Soulmating & Lovemaking Guide to Prepare You for a Lifetime of Passionate Sex. She's also the author of God’s People Make the Best Lovers  and God’s People Appreciate Marriage (which includes a verse-by-verse study of the Song of Solomon). 

She has CDs on The Song of Solomon: God's Sex Education for Ages 11 to 99  and Challenges in Marriage: What to Do When Sin Inhibits Love.  Sign up for her newsletter called Embarrass the Alligator where Patsy talks about the good, the bad, and the ugly of marriage so we can enjoy a literal taste of heaven. PatsyRaeDawson.com and EmbarrasstheAlligator.com.

This article was originally published at http://patsyraedawson.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.