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Protected: Miniblog #327: The Key Is That Each Spouse Should Focus on the Other’s Sexual Needs

by Carson T. Clark on March 8, 2014

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  • PercyDovetonsils

    An excellent post, sir. The term that best describes the attitude that both husband and wife should have toward their spouse’s sexual needs is “generosity.”

    btw, I am the man whom Sarah Moon banned for “mocking a minority group and saying they shouldn’t have rights.” I believe that I was responding to the discussion point dealing with ‘asexual’ people, and said that they shouldn’t get married.

    Horrors!! I actually said that people who don’t want sex shouldn’t marry! I might have used the Bible and called them a horrible name, such as “eunuchs,” and said that it would be wrong for them to impose celibacy on another person.

    Mea culpa, mea culpa.

    • http://carsontclark.com/ carsontclark

      hehehe

  • http://nailtothedoor.com/ Dan Martin

    With due respect, the needs that should be honored by the other cut both ways … think about it. Submission and respect are both beautiful when freely given, but ugly and demeaning when demanded.

    • http://carsontclark.com/ carsontclark

      I’m failing to see our point of disagreement here.

    • http://nailtothedoor.com/ Dan Martin

      Perhaps there is none, and if so, wonderful. Your examples seem (to me) primarily about the needs of the one desiring more sex, and the dereliction of duty in one who does not produce. I merely mean to point out that selfishness can be exhibited, not only (as in your example above) through the withholding of sex, but also in the demanding of it. The tenor of your article does not seem (again, to me) to recognize that possibility.

    • PercyDovetonsils

      The operative words being “can be?” Refusing to have sex IS selfishness and sin (1 Cor. 7), whereas you are going to have to apply a very slippery scale to try to define wanting sex as selfish.

    • http://carsontclark.com/ carsontclark

      I agree with that.

    • http://nailtothedoor.com/ Dan Martin

      Focusing on one’s own needs/desires (the two words are not synonyms) to the exclusion–or even subordination–of the needs of another, is selfishness. The fact that the issue in question is sex does not change that basic fact.

      As an exegetical matter, to call refusing to have sex “sin” is, I believe, going beyond what is written in 1 Cor. 7. 1 Cor. 7:2 states “But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” You certainly aren’t going to say that therefore it is “sin” not to be married, are you?

      Let me be clear. I do believe that both this passage, basic common sense, and the marital vow teach us that spouses should actively choose to please each other, and the sexual relationship is absolutely part of that. I believe that scripture is clear that sexuality was made to be exercised in marriage.

      But just as Ephesians 5:21 puts the following submission stuff in the context of each being submissive to the other, I think this is one of those areas where it is one thing to discuss what each of us ought to do (defer to the other), and another thing entirely to set up a situation where the one to whom submission, or sexual gratification, or whatever is to be offered, demands it on the basis that the other sins if it is not granted. This is part of a general principle in the conduct and teaching of Jesus and the apostles, that while we certainly have duties toward each other, I think demanding our rights to those duties from others falls outside the Christian pale. And that’s not just about sex, but sex is definitely one of the things it is about.

    • http://carsontclark.com/ carsontclark

      You keep using that word. Demanding. Of the epidemic of evangelical sexless marriages I’ve become aware of, not a single husband or wife has been “demanding” his/her spouse have sex.

    • http://nailtothedoor.com/ Dan Martin

      The repeated reference to violating 1 Cor 7, if conveyed to the person in question, would sound like a demand to me.

    • http://carsontclark.com/ carsontclark

      I disagree.

    • http://nailtothedoor.com/ Dan Martin

      The error, IMO, is creating an equivalence between the marriage covenant (which consists entirely of promises given) and the value given-for-value received, quid pro quo transaction of an employment contract. This implies a commodetization of the relationship that is unhealthy.

    • http://carsontclark.com/ carsontclark

      I disagree. It’s a recognition that there are certain responsibilities that are fundamental for what it means to be married, to maintain one’s vows, and to fulfill the marriage covenant.

    • PercyDovetonsils

      Do you view the Bible as a cudgel or the Word of God?

    • http://nailtothedoor.com/ Dan Martin

      Neither. I’m surprised you suggest “cudgel” when it is you who are cudgeling unresponsive spouses with 1 Cor.

      I do believe the Bible to be authoritative for faith and practice, but i refrain from giving it the title “word of God” since the Bible does not self-label as such.

      If you are really interested, see my post at the link below.

    • http://nailtothedoor.com/ Dan Martin
    • PercyDovetonsils

      And yet you view a husband who would tell his wife that imposing celibacy is sin as a selfish, demanding…. what? Pig? Jerk?

      Scriptures, then? Is that not too offensive to you?

    • http://nailtothedoor.com/ Dan Martin

      I find biblical commands are usually targeted to us to evaluate our own obedience far more than to command that of others.

    • PercyDovetonsils

      And yet you write off commands if they don’t suit you. After all, above, you demote “Do not deprive each other” from a command to a mere “instruction” that can be ignored.

      You are too facile for me, Dan. I’m not privy to your hierarchy of Biblical authority or lack of authority.

    • PercyDovetonsils

      I perceive that you want to subjugate v3 to v2, much the same as you want to demote Eph. 5:22 to 5:21.

      No matter how you cut it, “do not deprive” in v5 means that unilateral sexual refusal is wrong. You may try to try to couch your objections in pejorative, slanted verbiage (“demand sex”, etc.) but you can’t get around the fact that Paul says that the only reason for cessation of sexual activity is mutual agreement, and that it is for a short time only, for prayer. Not for ever.

      It is not unilateral, it is not an imposition of celibacy at the whim of one partner. Doing so constitutes abandonment.

      And what is “outside the Christian pale” is attempting to negate the Word of God.

    • http://nailtothedoor.com/ Dan Martin

      Your characterization depends upon the assumption that every instruction in Scripture (or even in Paul’s epistles) is a command not to follow which would be sin. That’s neither rational nor supportable by the text.

      I wholly agree that spouses ought not unilaterally deprive each other. But to call it sin is going too far. To call it divorce is just wrong (read on down in 1 Cor 7).

      And re: your opposition to my suggesting Eph 5:21 governs 22, check out the original language. The verb “submit” does not occur in v 22, but is inferred from its dependence on v 21. That’s not theology, it’s grammar.

      And I do judge a man’s (or woman’s) motives by whether he (she) is focusing in self or other.

    • http://nailtothedoor.com/ Dan Martin
    • PercyDovetonsils

      Your characterization depends upon the assumption that every instruction in Scripture (or even in Paul’s epistles) is a command not to follow which would be sin. That’s neither rational nor supportable by the text.

      I do not reserve to myself the prerogative of blue-penciling the Bible. I read your post and was underwhelmed.

      And I do judge a man’s (or woman’s) motives by whether he (she) is focusing in self or other.

      You are your own judge. You assume that you know more than Paul, and that without knowing a man, you can judge his heart and intentions. You are your own Bible, claiming that you can judge the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12).

      In your considerings, does it even seem possible that the husband’s actions might be for connection, for intimacy, for closeness? That it’s not selfishness? Or do you, like so many others, believe that God really screwed things up by giving humans a libido?

      And btw, if it were a woman claiming that her husband won’t make love to her, would you be so quick to condemn her for selfishness? (fyi, in 20-25% of sexless marriages, it is the woman who is complaining about little or no sex) So is her drive selfish, or is it only men that are selfish for wanting sex with their wives?

    • irisoftruth

      What if the man has an unquenchable sex drive? Constantly demanding his wife give him sex. Is it a sin there to refuse or is the man (in this case) being the selfish one?

    • http://nailtothedoor.com/ Dan Martin

      Have you not considered the possibility both are being selfish?

    • http://carsontclark.com/ carsontclark

      It seems to me we ought to begin such discussions with what the norm/ideal ought to be. Get that established, then proceed to variant circumstances. Starting with the excesses rarely results in a reasonable, thoughtful perspective, in my experience.

    • wjc

      The norm/ideal will change. What’s normal in the honeymoon won’t be normal for new parents or in midlife.

    • PercyDovetonsils

      “unquenchable” “constantly demanding” – slant much?

      Let’s try that shoe on another foot: a woman marries who hates sex, and so imposes celibacy on her husband?

      You and I are presenting examples/cases that would certainly be outside the bell curve. I believe I have heard the term “long tail” used to refer to those types of cases. Using the outliers to try to justify sin is wrong.

      As Carson says below, we need to begin with what is right before we begin to try to whittle out the caveats that make us feel good about ourselves. After all, as they say in the legal profession, “Bad cases makes bad law.”

    • River Birch

      Really, really, really, really, really glad I am not the one married to Mr. Dovetonsils!

    • PercyDovetonsils

      Lady Astor: “Winston, if you were my husband, I’d poison your tea.”
      Winston Churchill: “If I were your husband, I’d drink it.”

      I believe that that would constitute the range of any connubialities in such a union. In a word, I reciprocate your praise.