Dennis Prager features a lot of discussions about male-female relationships on his show, particularly during the male-female hour. I think this is one of the parts of his show that I really like best, because he knows what he is talking about.
He did a two part series a while back on 1) male sexuality and 2) what women should do about it within a marriage.
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…
He then explains the 5 ways that women respond to this.
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.
And this is the common mistake that some women make because they think that men are just hairy women with no feelings and desires of their own that are distincly theirs. In the past, all women understood how men are different than women, but today almost no younger women do. In fact, many younger women today struggle with the idea that there is anything about men that they need to learn. The only thing that they need to know is what makes women happy, and that it is everyone else’s job to make women happy, so that women can then behave nicely (whatever that means). Younger women today often think that they only need to be in touch with their own feelings – and that men and children simply have to get used to the idea that they have no right to make any demands on a woman – she has no moral obligations in a marriage.
Here’s another from the list:
4. You have it backwards. If he truly loved me, he wouldn’t expect sex when I’m not in the mood.
Again, this is the common mistake that many younger women today make in thinking that love is a one-way street – flowing from men and children to the woman. If men and children DON’T do what the woman wants, or if they make demands on her, then they don’t “love” her and she is justified in ignoring them. This is especially common with women who grow up without fathers and expect men to make no demands on them for encouragement, etc.. In older generations, women knew that they had moral obligations that existed whether they felt like doing them or not. But today women have been taught to believe that they have no moral obligations because they are always victims or some group of oppressors, such as men and children or corporations. Their “role” in the relationship is just to try to be happy all the time – there really nothing else that they are trying to accomplish. If sex doesn’t make them happy, then they don’t have to do it. When you are always the victim, anything that goes wrong cannot be your fault.
I think this whole problem of women not understanding men, of treating men as objects, and of demeaning male feelings and values, is very serious. In my opinion, there is a whole lot of work that needs to be done by women in order to fix this problem. The best place to learn about this is in Dr. Laura’s book “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands”, which is a book that women should have to read and write about in order to begin a relationship with a man, just to prove that they understand the needs of men and the concept of moral obligations. It’s like an application form for a serious relationship. Sex is one thing, but a serious man should insist that a woman take him seriously – and take marriage and children seriously. Pre-marital sex, having fun, getting drunk, and going out, etc. are not the right foundation for a relationship that is defined by the need for mutual self-sacrifice. There is no such thing as a “feminist” marriage – marriage is not about selfishness and playing the victim.
I actually had a conversation with a Christian woman once who said that women should not be obligated to do things that they didn’t feel like doing. I asked her if men were obligated to go to work when they didn’t feel like going. She said yes, and acted as though I were crazy for asking. I just laughed, because she didn’t even see the inconsistency. Most young women today just don’t understand men, and they don’t want to understand them. They just want what they want and in the quickest way possible. Understand the needs of men and children, or how feminist-inspired laws discourage men from committing to marriage and parenting, are of no interest at all.
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.
He then explains the eight reasons.
Here’s one of them:
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.
This makes the point that many young women today do not really understand that they are, in a sense, capable of changing their husband’s conduct by the way they act themselves. I think that younger women seem to think that their role in the relationship is to sort of do nothing and wait for the man to serve them. This actually happened to me with another “Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” Calvinist. I sat down with her and tried to explain to her what I did for a living, and she got up and left, claiming she did not need to know how the money was made – nor did she need to help. On another occasion, I was explaining a difficult financial problem I had to solve and she screeched back her chair and said “go ahead and solve it then”. The point is that postmodern feminist women (she was one – she just claimed the “Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” title as a smokescreen) are really totally unaware that their role in the relationship is not to stand back and refuse to do anything, then respond to the man’s subsequent unwillingness to perform with nagging and complaining and gossiping to their girlfriends (which is what this Calvinist woman did, I later found out). What is interest is that often many of these women who are very active in fashionable heroic causes are the least capable of self-denial and self-sacrifice in a relationship. Activism can be an expression of narcissism. “Look at me! I’m so great!”
At the end of the article, Prager makes a general point about women that I think needs to be emphasized over and over and over:
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.
I think that is an excellent question to ask a woman. What does it mean to love a man? I was forwarded one amazing response from a Calvinist woman recently in which she explained several things that she wanted to do to meet a particular man’s needs and make his life easier, and what she was prepared to do now in order to show him that she really could do handle the role. I think that she said these things out of sympathy and understanding of that man, and that was very encouraging.
But I think that kind of seriousness about taking of someone else as they really are, self-sacrificially, is rare. And it makes me wonder what people think that marriage is when they get into the church and make vows that, ostensibly, will require self-sacrifice. What do women think that marriage is? What is the goal of it? What makes a marriage successful? What do women think that men marry? What do men get out of marriage? What are the woman’s responsibilities to the man in a marriage? I think these are questions that men should ask women. And the should not be satisfied with glib answers. Men should demand that books be read, that essays be written, that skills be developed, and that the woman’s life experiences show that they has understood what will be expected from her and why.