I don’t know about you, but I’ve read over and over how important it is for a Christian woman to give her husband all the sex he needs so he won’t feel deprived and become interested in other women. We’re told to understand his natural need for intimacy, and to minister to his bodily needs just as we minister to his other needs. I agree with that, but I think it’s hugely one sided.
What I mean to say is, where is all the literature emphasizing the need for Christian men to give their wives all the sex they need, whenever they need it? But strangely, we’re supposed to accept that a woman’s need for sex is not that powerful or important. So, many Christians celebrate Natural Family Planning (NFP) as a shining “alternative” to birth control, while totally disregarding the fact that for it to work, a woman has to basically be denied her need for sex when she most craves it. We are completely lop-sided in the way we over-emphasize the man’s need, and under-emphasize the woman’s.
You hear warnings like this: “Give your man a little bit of pleasure every day, or he might become tempted by his secretary at work; to ignore his sexual needs is stupid.” What about the woman? We can ignore her needs, and it’s not? Stupid? Because she would never struggle with temptation because her needs aren’t being fulfilled, right?
Here’s a personal example. When my husband and I started to use NFP, it was my idea. I thought it was the answer to taking control of our fertility. No pills nor anything else; just careful timing. Wonderful! It worked just as we had hoped for quite some time. As long as I was careful to chart my temperatures and keep track of mucous quality, it was a snap. But in all that bright, shining success, a shadow darkened my path unsuspectedly.
I wasn’t happy. I was only “allowed” to come together with my husband when I had no desire for it, kind of like cramming a donut down your throat when you’re not the least bit hungry. And then, when I really, really had the desire for intimacy, we couldn’t. According to the rules of NFP, the answer was No: my temperatures and mucous quality were too fertile (ironic, isn’t it, that to be healthy and fertile would ever be considered a “bad” thing). But, I was supposed to be self-controlled. Now, my husband had to be self-controlled, too. But, there was a difference: he could at least be intimate for part of my cycle at times when he wanted to; I, could never. To not ever be able to have what I craved when I craved it, and yet be so close to that manly body all the time was, well, maddening. Frustrating. It made me want to scream.
So, I just want to put this out there: within marriage, don’t the needs of the wife count, too? God made our bodies to need sex with our husbands. It isn’t just the men who need it. With so much focus on “giving due benevolence,” you would think that a woman would get her due, too. But with NFP, she doesn’t. So, let’s stop touting it as a wonder-method; it isn’t. It isn’t biblical for two reasons:
1)It is still yet another way of rejecting children, which the Bible says are blessings, not burdens (Psalm 127:3),
2)It deprives the wife of sex when she needs it. It is an abuse of her physical needs.
And they wonder why she’s so cranky? It may be because she lives in a state of constant sexual frustration.
This state of frustration was never God’s plan for a happy marriage. In fact, God designed the woman’s monthly cycle so that when she is the most fertile and just about ready to release an egg, she is the most desirous of intimacy; when she craves sex, it is because her body is preparing itself for conception. She has no control over this; it all has to do with her hormones. Why do you think God made it that way? Why did He make the woman not desire sex as strongly the rest of the time–why at the stage of greatest fertility? Because He wants the couple to conceive.
It is so perfectly coordinated, and so extremely obvious, but let me say it again: God made the woman want to have sex with her husband at just that time of her cycle when conception would be most likely! And He did it on purpose! So, if the husband denies her sex because they are using NFP, he is doing more than denying her feelings; he is denying what those feelings were designed to naturally lead to: a baby. He denies God’s design for life. That’s quite a slap in the face. It is my belief that God’s cheek burns constantly these days, as millions of couples rebel against Him.
The best cure is to get back to God’s intention for marriage: get married, have normal sex (meaning, without birth control), and have children. It’s so simple, you wonder why people make it complicated.
1 It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
(1 Corinthians 7:1b-5)
(Notice there is absolutely NO mention of using birth control in this passage that tells husbands and wives to “come together.”)
The wife is to give her husband the affection due him; but interestingly, the wife is not the only one who has to submit, here: “the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” With so much emphasis in the Scriptures on a wife needing to submit to her husband, this might seem a little out of place. . . until you consider the reasons why God is telling the husband to HAVE SEX with his wife WHEN SHE WANTS IT (not just when he wants it, though that’s obviously important, too). First, it is in order for her sexual needs to be met so she will not be tempted by Satan–it is to keep her pure for her husband alone. Next, and something which is made clear throughout the rest of the Bible, it is so that they will have children–God’s stated desire for married couples!
I understand that there are sometimes health concerns, amongst other things. It is not my intention to address this issue from every possible angle; my aim is to show one aspect of Christian sex that I believe we have skewed, and which I think needs to be corrected. I can speak from experience; I wonder how many other wives struggle with the same issue? Thankfully, my husband and I took an honest look at birth control, and we stopped using NFP. Instead, we put our trust in God’s timing. Our times of intimacy got much better after that. Yes, it did result in more children. But, we believe that’s just the way God wanted it, and have not regretted our decision for one second. And no, it has not always been easy, raising and providing for all our children. Don’t think I’m some sort of sexual pervert who only cares about her wants getting met. No. I cherish each and every one of our children, and have worked hard to bring them into this world and to care for them once they’re here. I simply want to be a voice for those who are too shy to speak up for themselves. Maybe somebody will listen.