Thought I’d tackle another question from the Grace Centered forum today.
In this case, a guy says he and his wife have vastly different libidos. He feels the need for sexual release 4-5 times a week, while she is only receptive once a month.
After a few years of marriage he took to “helping himself” several times a week to take the edge off. This was easier than getting constantly rejected. He said that since he started doing this, he is not miserable every day like he was during the first few years when he was trying to refrain from “indulging.”
He said that the trouble now is guilt. He doubts that his behavior could be Christian, especially since not every thought in his head is about his wife during masturbation.
He asks if he is fooling around on his wife by having frequent solo “encounters” without her knowledge. Then he expresses the Catch-22 that many Christian guys can relate to:
If so… what the heck is a guy supposed to do? Ive spoken to her about it (believe me!) numerous times and she is sympathetic but please, the girl cant have sex on demand, no should she be expected to ‘manually’ service me on a regular basis should she?
This poor guy’s situation is a prime example of what the Apostle Paul warned about in Colossians 2:
If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.
The masturbation = sin teaching probably wrecks more men’s conscience than anything else. It has a certain “appearance of wisdom” because jerking off is not exactly something to be proud of. It feels good to call it evil and say you’ll never do it again.
But think of it this way:
Your sex organ is certainly something that is “destined to perish with use.” You are not going to be stand before God’s throne on judgment day and be judged for how many times you did or did not tug on your dick. That stuff doesn’t matter. It’s perishable.
What does matter is whether you do the things God actually said in His word, which includes not defining things as “sin” which God did not call sin.
Now I do think that limiting masturbation is a good exercise in self-control and can help increase your masculine energy. But this guy doesn’t have a regular outlet for that masculine energy, so it’s a pointless exercise at this phase.
In terms of guilt about thinking of other women while masturbating… it’s important to distinguish between lust and arousal. Having a sexual thought about a woman or even a sexual act does not automatically equate to sinning. The sin is when you seriously desire to illegitimately have sex with her… like in real life.
Probably not a good idea to intentionally think about another woman while you’re taking care of your business… but I wouldn’t get too bent out of shape if the thoughts cross your mind. It’s normal.
The guy’s real problem is not masturbation (for he’s right, other than sexual immorality, there’s really no practical way for a man to relieve his needs in a situation like that.)
His real problem is how he sees his wife.
First off, he assumes that the problem is his wife has a drastically lower sex drive than he. Possible. But this is often just an excuse men use to protect their own egos. She probably does have a well of sexual energy inside; he just hasn’t tapped into it yet.
It is more likely that she has simply been turned off for a very long time (or is having an affair with an alpha male.)
He refers to his wife as a “a well adjusted and healthy young woman in her 30s.”
If she only has sex once a month, she is not well adjusted… not to marriage at least.
He then says, “the girl cant have sex on demand, no[r] should she be expected to ‘manually’ service me on a regular basis should she?”
“Sex on demand” is a more difficult challenge. But “manual service on a regular basis” would be a good start. I’d say that’d be the bare-minimum to fulfilling Paul’s command to not deprive each other.
In a situation like this, a direct confrontation is probably best. Even many pastors would agree that a wife only giving sex once a month is a serious problem. Confront her about the issue first. Go over 1 Corinthians 7:5. Then bring it up with your church elders if the problem persists.
Even a turned off wife ought to be able to muster up once-a-week duty sex. Otherwise, there’s really nothing bonding the marriage together. Very serious matter.