The Battle Of Needs…or…Sex Is Different

Ah, life. A twisted and messy endeavor if ever there was one.

In my own case, something that makes perfect sense 4 hours ago causes serious questions later. What, pray tell, is causing my current conundrum? Why, it is my wife‘s need for celibacy.

Before I go ANY further I need to set something straight. I understand WHY she has this need. I also understand that it is a need that will not be going away for a very long time. I also need to make clear that I will do everything in my power to satisfy her need. I WAS going to say that I don’t like it. That is not true though. I am more than happy to satisfy her need for celibacy. I get it. I caused her to have this need. I said it before and I’ll say it again: Time to put on my big boy panties and deal with it.

Meeting my wife’s needs is NOT a burden. It IS causing intellectual/theological confusion though.

The Basis Of My Confusion

2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.       1st Corinthians 7:2-5

Biblically this is not supposed to happen. I am to hook her up, sexually, and she is supposed to hook me up sexually as well. If we do not, Satan can come in and tempt us (me).

Or that’s what is supposed to happen. Well, that’s what’s supposed to happen if Mr. Husband doesn’t mess around on her.

Am I to assume that her celibacy need will only be temporary? That isn’t what she says. She said, “I’m perfectly willing and happy to go the rest of my life without ever having sex again.”

The Battle Of The Needs

So the question must be asked. Do my needs ever get met again?

PLEASE understand that I am truly not trying to be an asshole here. I really and truly WANT to meet her needs. But, being the selfish bastard that I am, I do have to wonder if my needs will ever be attended to. And if they are, will it be begrudgingly or just out of a sense of duty?

I am dedicating myself to the pursuit of meeting all of her needs to the best of my ability. As an asshole, is it too much to ask for my back to get scratched on occasion?

Additional Information

Today I, again, asked her if she would ever be willing to go into sex therapy. She is less than excited about that prospect. “I don’t think that I can ever go into something as private  as sex and have somebody else tell me how to do it.” My response was pretty obvious- “Isn’t that what you’re doing with individual counseling? You don’t know how to deal with your emotions so you’re asking someone else to tell you what to do.” “Sex is different.”

So we chatted about sex therapy. I eventually said that my understanding of sex therapy is that the therapist gives us a homework assignment, we do the assignment and report back the next week for more stuff.

This was a dumb thing for me to say. See, she JUST finished her master’s degree last Sunday…

“Homework already has a negative connotation to me. Then you add something that I do  NOT want to do on top of it. I can’t go there right now.”

Here is my problem with that: I think that sex will never return to our lives on a regular basis without therapy. She disagrees.

I asked her if she would agree to at least consider it so I could have some kind of hope for the future.

“I didn’t say I would never do it. So do with that what you will.”

I clearly hit a subject she has zero desire to discuss. So we agreed to cross that bridge when we get there. I just hope we get there…

That wasn’t really meant to be a negative statement btw. It just kind of fell onto my keyboard. The way I write these things is what my therapist calls ‘Free Association,’ which I guess means- write whatever comes to your brain when it comes and how it comes. That seems to be the most therapeutic thing for me.

This entire thing has me confused like you wouldn’t believe. I want to be what she needs. She says that she wants to want to have sex. In my mind, if that were the case, she would be willing to do anything it took to get there. BUT, she doesn’t have my mind. ALSO, I have to remember that she is on her own timeline to recovery.

I guess that it’s entirely possible that this time next year we are neck deep in marriage counseling and sex therapy. Of course, it’s also possible that we never have sex again. So there’s that.

 

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About MyJourney

I'm a 41 year old married father of 3. I am a sex addict. This blog is to document my progress, recovery and marital growth. Pornography is an evil creation. Let my experiences serve as a warning to all.
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7 Responses to The Battle Of Needs…or…Sex Is Different

  1. chipgruver says:

    Excellent question. Well asked and I like that you covered most of my concerns and objections in the post. So, a few observations.

    I don’t like the word “need” used for sex. I think it is part of the way we men justify sinning sexually. How could God give us a “need” and tell us not to fulfill it at times? I think it is more accurate to say it is a strong desire that we ought to have. Sexual desire is a good servant but a terrible master.

    Additionally, that verse DOES command sex in marriage. But it is not a club to be used by men to get sex. You are choosing the wise path of trying to figure out why she doesn’t want sex (she is a sexual being too). It does put you in a tempting position and to the level she is failing to have appropriate sex with you, that is sin in her life. But, as you said in the post, it is a sin that you set her up for. Most of it is on you.

    I read an article recently that really changed my view of the versses you mentioned and I think it would be helpful for you. Check it out a:

    http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/when-the-sex-should-stop

    It might not answer your question, but I found it very illuminating to sin in my own heart.

    Hope this helps.

    -Chip

    • That was a great article. Thank you.

      It seems to me that the issue is healthy sex. We are incapable of that right now. She has so many feelings and thoughts in her mind. He has been with _____. How can he do _____? Why did he _____?

      A healthy sexual experience is impossible. So the passage does not apply.

      We part ways when speaking of sex as a need. I believe it is. God created it, made it pleasurable for His children and commanded us to become one flesh. We need to do it.

    • I forgot to address part of your comment.

      “How could God give us a “need” and tell us not to fulfill it at times? I think it is more accurate to say it is a strong desire that we ought to have. Sexual desire is a good servant but a terrible master.”

      I’m no scholar, Biblically speaking, but I’m unaware of any scripture in which God tells us to not fulfill our need for sex? (I continue to call it a need btw). The scripture I cited states that the couple CAN abstain if they so choose. It does not say must or will abstain.

      We could also, very accurately, state that man ought to have a strong desire for closeness to God.

      I see them both as needs for intimacy that must be fulfilled.

  2. You’re trying to fill an artificial need by having sexual relations with your wife. It won’t ever satisfy your desire, or at least the artificial need. It’s a square peg in a round hole. What’s more, you’re placing the burden on her and externalizing the issue.

    Through sex/porn addiction, you have developed a crutch. Using the crutch, makes you feel better, at least in the initial seconds. You’re expecting your wife to fill that void. But that will never work, because that need is only satisfied in the artificial way. You must give it time and your brain will relearn natural ways.

    You need to learn how to walk without a crutch, let your wife heal, and things will be better.

    (I’m probably stepping over all sorts of bounds in terms of giving advice, but I had to say it. So sorry for that – but hopefully it strikes a chord)

    • You can make any comment that you wish. No problems there. But we disagree in a major way.

      I do not have an artificial need. The need for sexual intimacy is not artificial. And my need to be sexually intimate with my wife is something that God has commanded. That desire can only be met by my wife. I proved time and again that porn did not satisfy.

      I also disagree when you say I’m placing a burden on my wife by externalizing my issue. I did burden her with my infidelity. There is no debate on that. But my desire for sex is my burden to bear. I do not believe I have placed that upon her. I tell her if I have the desire and she is free to engage or deny as her desires dictate.

      Now if she were to engage with me sexually because she felt pressure or a duty, that’s another story.

      We agree that porn is a crutch. But sex is not.

      As for walking without my crutch and letting her heal: that’s what this blog is about. The purpose of this blog, other than mental therapy, is to document my feelings/progresses/failures as well as our recovery/healing as a couple.

      I also think that stating, “let her heal and things will be better” is incredibly oversimplified and presumptive. Nowhere is it written that her healing from the wounds I inflicted will lead to a successful marriage. Maybe in some cases. Some cases see the marriage totally disintegrate. Some flourish, some fail, some flounder in mediocrity.

      • I completely misspoke. I agree with most of what you’ve said. Let me try to clarify.

        From my experience, I feel like porn was a release. It was something extra that was sexual on the surface, but it was really just a way to make myself numb to the world (if I was having a bad day) and get an apparent high. Of course, afterwards, I would always feel down.

        I have no experience with sex addiction (although I came close to setting up encounters several times), so I can’t speak directly to that. But in terms of porn, I felt like it was almost completely unrelated to sex and had become an artificial need (more apparent looking back on it). I would try to reproduce the same “high” with my girlfriend during sex, but it never really felt like I was successful in reproducing it and I would ultimately be unsatisfied with sex. After stopping porn, I feel like I can clearly see a difference between the two “excitements” of porn vs. intimate sex.

        I agree that nearly all human beings need intimacy. And the line becomes a little grayer or a little thinner when talking about sex addiction, but I think the concept is still there. Porn/sex addiction is an extra activity that leads to excitement not for the sexual part of it, but because of the way it makes us feel. Intimacy is far deeper on several levels. So there are two things we’re talking about here. The need for intimacy and the artificial need of sex/porn.

        When I was looking at porn and for a time after stopping, it seems like I was using my girlfriend/wife to supplement. The intimacy aspect was involved sometimes (from my perspective), but most of the time, for me it was trying to get that same high that I was getting from porn. Maybe its just my own perception, but it might be something thats common with all porn/sex addicts. Thats what I meant from the square peg/round hole comment.

        So yes, the intimacy can only be satisfied by your wife, and to a lesser degree, friends and family and I completely understand your concern with restoring that aspect of your relationship.

        Regarding the burden, I agree with what you’ve said. I just meant you may have to be careful not to cross your needs for intimacy with your needs for sexual excitement similar to what you were getting from porn/sex addiction. In my case, I felt like they were two separate things.

        My comment about “Letting her heal” was completely simplified. It’ll take a shit-ton of work and effort to repair your relationship and its not guaranteed. But its a necessary step. I wouldn’t push into the intimacy part too soon (similar to how you wouldn’t start having intimate relations when first starting to date someone).

      • Makes sense. I agree with that.

        Things get messy when sex and emotions are part of the deal. Especially when marriage is involved.

        Married couples need to be intimate. Even my wife and I need it. It’s a basic human need. The problem is when our minds start thinking about the crap we brought with us or the other brought with them. That’s where my wife is. She has issues because she knows what I’ve done.

        Time heals all wounds. I don’t think so. Hopefully it mends things enough that we can move on.

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