He’s leaning forward with his elbows on his knees and his fingers intertwined, like he’s praying, and he’s looking at me with a pleading look on the one hand and a please don’t answer the question on the other. If I’m able to answer this question in any cogent way at all he knows he’s going to have to say goodbye to a friend that he’s depended on for comfort almost daily or even daily for fifteen years and it’s like pulling a dead puppy away from a little boy whose been crying over the dead puppy just a little too long and instead of growing up the little boy clings to the dead puppy for comfort, knowing that if he doesn’t let go he can’t become a man.
Every boy knows this. You don’t need me to tell you. In fact that would be the first reason to give up porn: you can’t become a man if you don’t. I don’t mean the TV version of a man. A man on TV sitcoms is shallow and selfish and short-tempered and petty. No. I’m talking about a man who has dignity and deserves respect and can hold his head high and can be proud, not arrogantly so that he pushes people away, most of all his loved ones, but proud in the sense that he has nothing to hide.
Nothing to hide. That would be the second reason to give up porn. The power of porn is the secret. Porn tells you you have to hide. You can’t be known. If anybody knew your little secret the facade would come crashing down like the Wizard of Oz: “Ignore the little man behind the curtain.
That’s what you are when you do porn: a little man behind a curtain. The fantasy of porn is you are a big man. Look at these robust images of pleading females just ogling for your flesh. How come that doesn’t happen in real life, man? I mean, little boy? I had one guy tell me point blank (I didn’t even have to bring the subject up.) that porn was easier than having to have a relationship. Yeah, ain’t that the truth: having a relationship.
That’d be a third reason to quit the stuff: It’s NOT a relationship. It’s training you to NOT have a relationship. It’s self-worship. It turns you inward. You become your own idol. The problem is you make too small of a god. You aren’t big enough to worship. You tell me, well, I’m not a Christian. Okay. Fine. Here’s a non-denominational thought for your non-Christian brain: Jesus said, the pure in heart shall see God. So turn that on it’s head and what do you get? The impure in heart will see ________? Tell me what you see if you are impure in heart? You’re not religious, right? But you are impure? You’d dispute that porn isn’t impure? Are you kidding me? Who are you fooling? You actually believe this poison you’ve been worshiping is (can I say this?) pure? Pure?
You know it’s not. And if you tell yourself it’s fine while you drag your mind through the gutter you are a fool. You don’t have to be a Christian to know you are a fool. And impure. And if you are impure of heart you are going to see something, just not God. So go ahead, you non-Christian (or Christian or priest or pastor for that matter. Porn is no respecter of persons) and tell me what you see.
That’s another reason to quit porn. It tells you lies you believe. You don’t really believe them, but then again you do. And you know it’s sucking your very life away. Away. Away. Here’s a true story. I could multiply it a million times if I had the time to hear all the stories.
There once was a man who hated his job. The odd thing was he trained for this job and went to college and spent thousands of hours and thousands of dollars to become good at this job and there was a time when he felt really accomplished at this job because he was good at it, but, alas, it had lost it’s allure.
Simultaneous to learning his career he was also learning to cope with his problems by masturbating to unrealistic images of ungodly women doing contorted unnatural ungodly things. It was like his career had two tracks: One where he learned a respectful, fulfilling, creative career; one where he learned to frit away his time in the gutter. When his job became difficult, as every job does now and then, even if you like it, he’d go to porn for a little buzz, a little pick-me-up, and he’d feel better for a little while, but he couldn’t get back to his work, because he’d trained his mind to want to wander into the gutter along with all the ungodly women doing contorted ungodly things whenever his problems came to bear on his life.
One day his boss caught him looking at ungodly women doing contorted ungodly, unnatural things, right there in the boss’ business on the boss’ time. This particular young man was lucky, because the boss could have fired him on the spot as a lot of companies have a one and done policy. They don’t take kindly to employees coming to work, pretending to work and fritting away their time in la-la land. It’s called stealing. This would be another reason to quit porn. Nevertheless, this particular employee had a gracious boss, who took the young man aside, who was used to coping with his problems by thinking of ungodly women doing contorted ungodly, unnatural things, and said, as much as he liked the young man, he didn’t want to pay the young man to frit away his time living in a fantasy world and if the boss ever caught the young man fritting away his life on company time again he would be immediately fired.
The young man (boy?) was very repentant, because, even though he hated his job, he liked the money, and fritting away his time with ungodly women doing contorted ungodly, unnatural things wasn’t important enough to the young man to give up his job and eventually live under a bridge so the young man gave up porn cold turkey. He realized that if he was going to quit porn at work he had to quit porn everywhere because he couldn’t very well concentrate at work if he was continually thinking of breasts and butts and other private parts flailing around here and there. He’d found that if he did it at home or on his cell phone at other places that even if he put his phone or computer away the images were still rushing through his brain like an uncontrollable flood and while at times he’d entertain these thoughts just to get through the day, he’d decided, on his own, without his therapist or pastor or anyone else for that matter telling him, that it wouldn’t be fair to his boss to be thinking of these ungodly women doing ungodly contorted unnatural acts instead of concentrating on his work even if he wasn’t looking at those types of things at work anymore. In other words, his conscience kicked into gear. This would be another reason to quit porn.
And an amazing thing happened. Over time, even over a few weeks, he discovered his job again. It’s like he’d been in a desert and didn’t know he was thirsty. How he ever became so discontent he’d no idea. This would be another reason to quit porn. His mind cleaned up. It no longer, or rarely at least, dipped into this fantasy world, and he began to concentrate on his work. He saw he’d made errors on his job. He saw he’d been incomplete. He saw he’d been, basically, incompetent, because his job required him to be meticulous, but he couldn’t be meticulous, when he was thinking of UWDCUUT and various body parts going this way and that. He realized the lion’s share of his discontent with his job had to do with his own failure to perform and be creative in his field and the discontent he felt so strongly was not really about his job at all, but about his own failure of character. He came to this thought on his own without reading any fancy books on porn or talking to his therapist or pastor or anyone else for that matter.
He found that when he discovered these mistakes and oversights that he felt really accomplished for doing a good job and his enthusiasm for his job began to return. He was thinking clearly and seeing there were a lot of things he’d been overlooking. He thought of new ideas to improve things. His creativity came back. His passion for his work came back. In fact, he no longer dreaded coming to work and liked his job again.
This would be another reason to quit porn: it takes your creativity away and replaces it with sloth, unfulfilled desires, discontent, impatience and anger.
Discontent, impatience and anger are the blood brothers of porn. It teaches you to meet your needs now, instantly, whenever you want. Getting what you want when you want it is only a click away. I would submit to you that getting your own way when you want it will turn you into an unbearable prick which would be another reason to quit porn.
And I haven’t even mentioned your wife (or future wife. If you are not married, let’s not forget her. That’d be another reason to quit porn) and how it devastates her and tells her she’s not pretty enough or thin enough or stacked enough or flamboyant enough or contorted enough because she’s very aware somehow these UWDCUUT somehow make you happy or you convey that to her by your judgmental comments now that your brain is steeped on perversion and multiple body parts too numerous to mention. Having just two breasts, for example, wouldn’t really do it for it you, now would it? That’d be reason enough right there to quit the stuff. Really.
In fact, there are lots of reasons to quit porn. We’ve listed a few. Let me summarize:
you can’t become a man if you don’t
you can’t be a genuine person if you don’t
you can’t be open and have honest relationships if you don’t
you can’t be honest with yourself if you don’t
you can’t concentrate on your work or anything else for that matter if you don’t. It literally robs you of your creativity and drive.
you can’t trust your conscience or be conscientious if you don’t
you can’t be productive if you don’t
you can’t be content if you don’t
you can’t not be a prick or control your anger or anything else for that matter if you don’t
you can’t relate to your future wife like you should if you don’t
you won’t be content with your wife and will devastate her or future wife if you don’t
But you didn’t need me or your therapist or your pastor or anyone else for that matter telling you, did you?
Has it every occurred to any of you that what is extremely beneficial for your marriage is your desire for self-improvement?
Gentlemen, can your wife come home and feel truly blessed because she knows deep within your heart that you are striving to be the best husband, father, employer/employee, and citizen you can be? Does she see you take on new tasks to better yourself? Has she ever seen you challenge the way you think about an issue because the opposite view might be more rational? Has she ever seen you actual complete a goal you set?
Gentlemen, does she feel like a lady around you or a tramp? Does she feel served and revered by you? Can she truly say it is an honor to be your wife? Can she boast to all her friends about how awesome you are? Can she boast that she came home the other day to a clean and well-ordered house? Can she boast that she never feels like a sexual object but always as a person who is deeply loved? Can she boast that you are always the first to get up in the night when the kids are crying? Can she look you in the eye and say, ‘I am a better person because I married you’?
If not, why? What is holding you back?
Gentlemen, how have you challenged yourself lately? What negative character traits are you trying to rid yourself of? What new character quality/ies are you undertaking? What new talents are you trying to cultivate?
Don’t you realize that your wife longs to see you improve? Don’t you realize your wife longs to boast about you? Don’t you realize that as your personal qualities are perfected the relationships around you improve? Why has this not occurred to you?
Stop complaining and get to work. Stop making excuses. Stop blaming your dad for all your personality blunders. No one likes a whiner—especially your wife.
Improve, Improve, Improve!
This should be your mantra.
Do you think you are a loving man? Find ways to love even more. Do you think you are generous? Find ways to give more. Do you think you are a good lover? Strive to become even more selfless.
Give, Give, Give!
This should be your mentality.
Don’t you realize that your wife grows tired of pandering to all your vices? Don’t you realize that your wife longs to be seen as a rare jewel?
Don’t let the feminist culture deceive you, most women still long to see their men practice chivalry. I don’t imagine the majority of the audience watching Prince William and Miss Catherine getting married at 4 A.M. were men. The dream is still out there: many women still want to be swept of their feet by a prince. Be that prince (I don’t care how cheesy that sounds—its true).
Man up and learn some manors. Open the door for your lady, take her on a date, and buy her that new dress or item she has been eyeing for months. Stop staring at her breast and butt and look her in the face. Stop taking your sexual fantasies out on her by imposing embarrassing requests on her. Make her your fantasy.
Stop being lazy and learn how to clean a bathroom. Stop making your wife do all the house work. Go workout and look fit for your wife. Eat better and stop drinking so much. Life is not that bad. Learn to control yourself.
Put the computer down and go hangout with your kids. They want to be with you. Teach your son how to be a man. Take your daughter on a date and teach her what a true gentlemen is. Be such a good father that she has a difficult time finding a man to marry. Stop putting this off; soon they will be gone and you will have missed your opportunity. No excuses!
Gentlemen, it is time to be a man. It is time you think about whatever is noble, true, and beautiful. Stop letting your mind run in the gutter. Put off moral filth and the lust of the eye. Learn to control your sexual passion so you can truly give yourself to your spouse. There is nothing like sex when your desire is to completely give yourself to her and not to merely get rid of sexual tension. The latter reduces your wife to an object and a stripper; the former elevates her to the most cherished person on the earth. Let your bedroom than be the Prince’s chamber where your wife feels like a Princess and not a mistress.
Gentlemen, it is time to raise your wife’s expectations of what a husband should be. Make sure, that if you died, she would have to marry a saint to feel like she is truly loved.
I don’t really have time to blog today. Got clients coming soon. Gotta say something. Can’t just not say anything. I promised in a previous blog I’d be writing in the near term about the question, Is Perversion in the Marital Bed Okay? Crap. It’s a very depressing subject. I wish all my blogs could be about trips to Boone, Iowa (my last blog post).
But, alas. Evil rears it’s ugly head. I can’t NOT say anything. Clients come to see me because of the evil in their lives. We can’t deal with evil if we don’t name it. You can’t fight an enemy you can’t name. If you don’t name it, it doesn’t exit.
My wife doesn’t like that I need to write about these horrid topics. I used to write a column for a denominational magazine. It was positive, up beat. Like the thought I just had of the drier going off and it was my wife who turned it on before heading into work a half an hour ago. She’s not here, but she leaves trail of blessing to me and ours.
I’d rather write about that. Our trail of blessing. That’d be sweet. Encouraging even. But then I see this. Somebody has to say something. Somebody has to name it. Somebody has to say there’s an enemy we’re fighting.
I’m flipping channels. I used to do that more. Aimless. Flip. Flip. Flip. I try not to do that much. But this night, last night, I’m home after hearing stories of hurt and shame. I’m looking for something light. A little levity. A snatch of joy. Relax a bit.
But no. I happen on ABC and a story of a couple who’s broke and is resorting to filming their bedroom encounters online to make a living for their unseemly website. I see this for about 10 seconds. 15? before I switch the channel. Enough to catch them disrobing and the announcer making it sound like this is a walk in the park. A couple’s gotta do what a couple’s gotta do. Nothing immoral here at all. Maybe even admiration at their inventiveness.
There’s supposed to be a lock on the bedroom door. The marital bed is undefiled. The marriage bed is a holy temple. We don’t allow any other gods in this temple. No porn. No objects of worship like ropes and chains. No S & M. No bondage. No fantasies of somebody else. No fantasies that your wife or husband is somebody else. No fantasies that you want to dominate or hurt or be dominated or hurt. Sexuality between a husband and wife is to be holy, a bringing together, a reminder of their oneness.
Sexuality in marriage is supposed to be very tender. Very sacred. Holy, even. IF. IF. If it is protected by marriage. That’s your job: to protect your spouse, protect you, protect your marriage and your marital bed from the evil in your own heart. Your sexual times are holy times. Just you two. No one else. You become one in the process. God smiles. You feel blessed. Close. Renewed. Together.
But if instead you think perverted thoughts of others or of your wife or husband as your slave or you all tied up or your spouse standing over you in domination? Or you fantasizing about someone else? Or you make it simply an object of observation by others? A performance at the circus? A video camera and thousands (millions?) of other lost souls lusting after imaginary pixels on a screen. You’d sell your soul to the devil for this?
This stuff comes from the gates of Hell. Purge it from your heart and if you can’t, get on your knees, but don’t bring into your bedroom.
But Dr. Wall…you don’t understand. What if they both WANT to do the video thing? Neither is protesting? It’s their marriage. They can do whatever they want, right? Dr. Wall, you are so judgmental. Lighten up, already. Two consenting adults who are married to each other can do whatever they want.
Is it Okay to murder somebody if he wants you to murder him? Marriage means you have a boundary around the two of you. You are going to be married, but you are not going to respect the boundary of marriage? Whom are you trying to kid? Marriage is supposed to be about protection of each other physically, emotionally and spiritually and you are going to expose your spouse willingly to embarrassment and degradation, not to mention degrading yourself? Or that you are defrauding the very boundary you promised to protect? If your spouse tells you to humiliate him in the act of sex, you’d willingly do that? How is that honoring and protecting?
Can we just be done with the idea that the purpose of sex is pleasure? Could we even count the ways that marriage has been defaced by the god of pleasure? Just because it makes you happy doesn’t mean you should do it. The purpose of sex is the tangible experience of the spiritual oneness of marriage. It’s not a license to do whatever your heart says. If your heart is telling you to break the boundary of protection and exclusivity in your marriage then your heart is pretty dark.
But you say, Dr. Wall, this is who I am. I’ve always been this way. I cannot change.
Just because you have proclivity to gossip does it mean you should? Just because you have a tendency to get mad, does it mean you shouldn’t work on that? Just because you have a devious, deviant desire, does it mean you should just go ahead and do it? There’s no self-control at all? Whatever your heart says, do? And then you say the only value you share is that you both agree? What if you are both wrong? You can ask Bonnie and Clyde about that.
This stuff defiles you. It defiles your spouse. It defiles your marriage. It causes you to doubt your spouse’s integrity. Lust breeds lust. It’s an unquenchable fire that keeps burning unless you quit feeding it. The more you feed it the less you become, because what it is feeding on is your very life, cannibalizing you one cell at a time until there’s nothing left. Your marriage will self destruct way before that more than likely.
This is why cohabitation without marriage is so insidious. It’s just like marriage, right? It’s just us? We might have a kid or two together? We might even own a house together? Isn’t that enough? Yeah, we’re not married. Why? Oh. Ah. We’re not mature enough to get married(!). We have to save more money. Well, we’re not ready to get married. I have to see.
Have to see.
Have to see.
And when will you have seen enough?
We’re so desperate we can’t wait for anything? Marriage isn’t worth waiting for? If it’s not worth waiting for is the relationship even worth anything? Just feelings? What happens when your impatience wears down your feelings? What then?
Sexuality is so tender, so precious, so delicate, that it needs a holy temple to protect it. The holy temple is marriage. The holy temple is not a child or a mortgage or sharing rent. All that is is roommates. Roommates with no protection. No promises. Nothing certain. Enter insecurity, loss of trust and chaos and unending relationship problems.
Sex without marriage is sheer pleasure for pleasure’s sake. For awhile. Then it becomes a burden and a bore. The quickest way to kill your sex life going forward is to have it outside the temple in the courtyard. No walls. No roof. No protection. No trust. No certainty. No sanctity. No beauty. Just raw selfishness. Married or not. Go ahead. Try it. See how well you do. And then you wonder why you have problems?
You want hot sex? Try ONLY having it in the holy temple for 30 plus years. It just starts to get interesting. Becoming one? Whoa, baby!
You can take your marriage out of the temple. Just put a video camera in front of it. Objectify it. Take the holiness out it altogether. Make your spouse a slave. Nothing about humility here or being a servant or sacrificial love. Nothing special here. Just bodies commingling. Like animals. We’re not people.
In ancient Israel, the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies once a year to make a special sacrifice for the Children of Israel. He had a cord tied around him to pull him out in case he died in there. If he died in there no one else was allowed in the temple. They’d drag him out.
No one else was allowed in the temple.
No one else was allowed in the temple.
Except we two. Just us. No cameras. No videos. No websites. No sexual toys. No strangers. No idols. No ropes. No chains. No blindfolds. We’re not going to be paid to be sexual. We’re not going to prostitute ourselves for someone else’s pleasure. We’re not going to.
We’re not going to.
You can take the holiness of marriage and pervert it if you aren’t careful.
Unfortunately, a lot of us aren’t careful.
There’s no temple. There’s no holiness. We do it whenever, wherever, with whatever and whomever under every green tree.
You do this and then you wonder why you are anxious? Depressed? Unhappy? Suspicious? Insecure? Lost?
It doesn’t look like we humans, mankind and all, have learned much, even after God destroyed with world with a flood. You’d think we’d have taken that as a warning. But, no. We’ve figured out how to take the most wonderful thing in the world, the expression of sexual love between a man and a wife, and totally rob it of anything meaningful, or anything to do with life, or anything to do with mutual connection and tenderness and make it a symbol of punishment and death instead. Ouch.
Recently, I made the mistake of watching Rihanna’s new music video, S&M, on YouTube during a lull between clients (Sorry, no. I’m not going to link you to it.). Her video is a graphic lesson how far we’ve come in taking away all the joy in marital sexuality. Sexuality outside of marriage is what I call the “Sexuality of Death.” Her video is a lesson in death where she and others are depicted in degrading positions (Well, duh, Dr. Wall, it’s S and M.) including asphyxiation, which is where sexuality takes you if you don’t have the boundary of marriage around it to protect it and keep it holy: degradation, humiliation, loneliness, despair, bondage, punishment and death. Curiously, there was a complete lack of smiling faces, that anyone was having fun, and NO ONE was connecting in any conceivable sense of love and tenderness with anyone else. Yes, it was group sex. A group of people. A group of disconnected, self-absorbed, migrating planets of nameless bodies, except for Rihanna, and she’s taped to a wall behind a clear plastic sheet, giving us the impression she was prohibited from breathing, role playing death scenarios. Sexuality for Rihanna, as here depicted, is a form of punishment, used by everyone to separate us from everyone else. I think that is imagery similar to how the Bible describes Hell. She’s spot on.
Pretty scary. At least when Madonna went down this path 20 years ago she had a smirk, like she was pulling the wool over our eyes. No smirk here, folks. Just raw disconnect, hopelessness, wretchedness, gloom and dejection. With lyrics like “the pain is my pleasure,” “sticks and stones may break my bones, but whips and chains excite me,” “the affliction of the feeling leaves me wanting more” and with an invitation to hurt her even more, she exclaims, “Come on, come on, come on I like it-like it” you’ll need an antidepressant afterwards. Oh, the word “Love” does occur: “sex is in the air, I don’t care, I love the smell of it” and “I love the feeling you bring to me, oh, you turn me on.”
Me. Me. Me.
Welcome to sex twenty-first century style.
“I love the feeling you bring to me.” That about sums up our view of love, too. Sex is about me. Love is about me. I don’t love you…I love the feeling. Great. Try building a marriage and a life on that as a philosophy.
There’s nothing here about love that involves another human soul or tenderness and sharing a life and connection and looking into your spouse’s eyes or maybe having a baby and having a family together. I hope for Rihanna’s sake this is just entertainment and a way to make a buck and that her heart is not really into all this stuff. She’s only 23 and already she’s bored with sex and needs all of this to kick it up? She’ll make a sad case history down the road if this is her lifestyle of choice. This stuff isn’t something you mess around with. Darkness and doom are not your friends.
Whether she believes all of this or not, sadly, some of her many admirers will embrace these morbid views of sexuality and go down these dark tunnels only to discover emptiness, grief, horror and sorrow.
Believe me. I’ve talked to a few who have tried these activities on for size and found them wanting. Self-imposed trauma isn’t exactly the way to bring blessing into your life. This stuff sticks with you a long time. It ain’t all fun and games. Later, when you are married and interested in having children, how are you now, all of a sudden, going to associate sexuality in your marriage with love and tenderness and connection and life, when you’ve spent all this time and energy and lust and thought and desire and uncontrollable urges playacting scenes from Medieval paintings of Hell? What does that have to do with anything meaningful and mutual and life giving?
If you are married and telling your spouse we need to do these punishing activities to shake up our sex life and add some variety to the mix, you are telling her sex is about you, not the two of you. In case you haven’t figure this out, that would mean sex to you is a selfish act for your benefit. It’s important for you to get off, it matters not with whom. If your spouse has half a brain, she’ll figure out it doesn’t even matter if she’s in the room. It only matters if YOU are getting what YOU want. In marriage sexuality is there to infuse life into our love and relationship. It’s supposed to be about connection with each other. Bring in someone else and we’ve got another animal altogether. It’s no longer about life. It’s taking the beauty of marital sexuality and running it through the gutter. Marriage is supposed to be a boundary of protection from perversion and evil. Introduce pain and punishment or someone else into your holy marriage bed and you turn it into the complete opposite. What does a dungeon have to do with the privacy, sanctity, tenderness and the life giving nature of marital sexual love? This behavior turns meaningful, mutual, life-giving, marital sexual love between a husband and a wife and turns it into abuse and punishment and death.
Believe me. I’ve heard the stories of people who have tried these paths and have burned their dignity and seared their consciences and baptized their spouses in a cesspool and now they ask me to help put their marriages back together and do you know what I hear? I hear, you were supposed to protect me as my husband and you threw me to the dogs instead? That doesn’t sound too exciting and fun and invigorating to me.
By the way, if you are married and your spouse suggests this kind of craziness, you need to put your foot down and insist that marital, sexual love between the two of you is supposed to be about the two of you, not anyone else or anything else, and it is suppose to be about reaching out to each other and connecting, not about hurting. I am not one of these types that believes you should nurture wild sexual fantasies, that fantasies are innocent and fun and add spice to your marriage, and since you are married you can do whatever you want sexually and everything will be fine. I believe you can take a perfectly beautiful and wonderful thing and destroy it without hardly even trying. Anyone can ruin marital sexuality in a moment. It takes real skill to keep marital sexuality meaningful and tender for 50-60 years. You do that by keeping it special and private and just about we-two and keeping the gutter out of the bedroom. Clean sheets would be good. Keep the porn out. Keep the objects out. Keep others out. Keep the perverted fantasies out. If you don’t it’s like drinking out of the toilet after it’s been used and before it’s been flushed. Yes, there’s water in there, but that doesn’t mean it’s a drink you want to take. Refreshing? Ah, no.
Don’t be too self-righteous. You can ruin your later marital sexuality pretty easily before you are married if you are not careful without ever going the S & M route. Sexuality outside of marriage with whatever gender, or, in the case of pornography, your navel, is addictive, compulsive and, as Rihanna has so graphically conveyed, meaningless and hurtful. We’ve got a whole generation and now going on two generations, who believe you can be sexual with anyone regardless of gender and there are no consequences. I’m here to tell you that sexuality outside of a husband and a wife and the sanctity of marriage is a sea of misery and heartache and you can tell yourself there are no consequences all you want, but that doesn’t mean there are no consequences. Self-delusion is a surefire way to ruin your life without even being aware. At least when same-sex behavior and premarital sex was morally wrong people had consciences. I pity you if yours has died. God gave you a conscience to help you make appropriate decisions. Ignore His still small voice and you enter the land of the dead and dying, without even trying.
That’s the problem. Nobody’s trying.
At least Rihanna in honest. She’s right. Sexuality outside the confines of marital sexuality between a husband and a wife is meaningless, hurtful and degrading. She’s taken the romance out of sexuality outside marriage altogether.
We’ve been discussing sexual desire in all it’s variant forms from extreme high sexual desire spouses who can’t seem to notice anything else in the world (here, here and here), to extreme low sexual desire spouses who wish that sex would just go away like a bad dream (here and here). We’ve also looked at more normal situations and how even in the best of couples there can be some hurt feelings around the topic (here). Sometimes we use sex as a weapon (here) and sometimes we let it deteriorate (here). Neither of those options is very helpful. Today we’ll look at some of the common ways people use to suck all the meaning and mutuality out of marital sexuality and end up taking sexuality, which is supposed to be an expression of love and life between a married male and female, and turn it into an instrument of hurt.
Hurt feelings around sex? What’s that about? Here’s the most wonderful feeling in the world, at least for a moment, and it becomes, for too many, an instrument of pain? Dang. What a bummer. Anyone can have a robust sex life in their teens and twenties. Anyone. Try keeping that up until you’re 80 and let’s see how that goes. Turns out sexuality is pretty sensitive and it needs the protection of marriage between a husband and wife to protect it. Do it any other way with any other person or thing, or by yourself, for that matter, and you invite chaos into your life and you let the air out of your sexual life. One of life’s cruel ironies. Turns out abstinence wasn’t such a dumb idea after all!
Here’s how to completely destroy any meaningful, mutual, marital (husband and wife) sexual desire and turn it into an instrument of hurt:
Surefire Ways For Husbands:
Be promiscuous when you are young.Sleep around without regard.The more the merrier.Who cares what gender?It’s just sex, right?It feels good, right?You can do all things without consequence, because you are invincible.A lifetime of vigor for you!Do the masturbation and porn thing for hours and years on end while you are single.Live with your future spouse before you get married and rip each other’s clothes off everyday until you get bored with that (Which will eventually occur.Crap.How am I supposed to be excited about getting married when sex is boring?), then break up with that person and start the adrenaline-newness cycle all over again with somebody fresh and different and unexplored and once again have great sex, but for a shorter period of time this time, or get married someday and rip each other’s clothes off for a while until you get bored with that or she gets bored with that and then go back to porn (let me guess: you stopped porn for 6 months after you got married ‘cuz you were bound and determined to be faithful, but, no, you’d been masturbating and pornifying your mind for, what?, 10-20 years before you got married?, and how are you supposed to stop a habit like that, just because you walked down an aisle all decked out and everything and signed a paper and smiled for the camera one too many times?) and here was porn and masturbation waiting in the closet as a long-lost friend and he was so glad you discovered him again and pretty soon you are doing really weird stuff on Craigslist or Yahoo Personals or in one of those totally creepy chat rooms where people talk about stuff that would normally burn your ears if you had any sense at all, but you need excitement, baby, and you are gonna get what you want when you want it ‘cuz you are concerned about you, right?And this is all really fun and everything until your wife happens on your internet history or your phone buzzes with a text and your wife is sitting right there and she asks who the text if from and you lie to her straight to her face that it’s whatever than what it is, ‘cuz it’s some prostitute or whore posing as your friend and she’s asking you about your private member and if it needs a little attention, if you know-what-I-mean, and hopefully your conscience kicks in ‘cuz you’ve been lying to the wife of your youth waaaaay too many times, and she doesn’t deserve to be treated like that, and you admit to violating your marriage vow, but probably not.More likely she grabs the phone, because she can see the embarrassment in you eyes and your word didn’t match your facial expression and the incongruity of it all didn’t match and she’s been wondering how come you didn’t want to be sexual with her much lately and she’s not stupid and she wonders what all this secrecy and hiding of your phone is about, and she reads the text from your internet friend on the other end masquerading as an angel of light and you can bet she’s not as turned on as you when she reads what she reads.
Or you can nag your wife how sexless she is.Point it out.Over and over.Train her that sex is about making you happy and if she’s not sexual with you, pout a lot.Or lecture her about what a prude she is and she’s denying you and purposely refraining from sex because she doesn’t love you or she’s trying to hurt you.Tell her she was a bait and switch: Sexual with you like crazy before you got married and then after she won you, she completely shut it off.Tell her she’s frigid.Frown and scoff.When she’s not sexual with you ignore her.Only show her attention when you are sexual.This way you will convey to her that you are very self absorbed and only thinking about sex, not her.That’s it.Don’t treat sex as a way of connecting with your wife.Use it as a way to get off, to feel good, just like you trained yourself from your youth using porn and masturbation.That way, when you are sexual with her, you won’t connect with her soul or her spirit or her personhood at all.Nope.It’s orgasm for you and too bad for her.
Or when you are sexual don’t bring her along. Don’t romance her at all. No I love you’s, no surprise gifts, no cute little notes, no surprises at all. Just do the same ol’, same ol’. Don’t touch her anywhere else. Don’t talk to her about how pretty she is or how you like this curve or that curve or how this connects to this and look at this curl in your hair. Don’t mention anything. Don’t talk at all. Just get off. Don’t look her in the eye. Convey to her that you are just using her to masturbate. Make it as impersonal as you can. Suck the life out of sex. This way you can train her to hate it. Over time, she may even hate you, too.
Or don’t help around the house or be a servant in any way.Don’t pick up after yourself.Or help with the kids.Make sure, if you do “help” that it’s “help.”Convey it’s her responsibility and you are just helping.Be gone all the time doing all your hobbies and missions and work and that’s just who you are and if you don’t love me for me than you know where to go.Show her by your words and actions that she is not important to you.Don’t tell her about your day.Don’t call her up and ask her about hers.Don’t ask her out.Don’t plan anything for the two of you…ever.Just veg on the couch.Put on all kinds of weight and drink beer.A lot.A ton.Oh, you just love beer.Make beer your new mistress.Or whatever.Just not your wife.She’s a nag anyway.
Surefire Ways For Wives:
Or, if you are of the fairer gender, you can literally ruin your sexual drive in your later years by sleeping around in your younger years when the waters run fresh and clear and cool and then when your husband starts to bore you with his arrogance or indifference or his obsession with fishing lures or computer pixels you can start your own exploration of excitement again, because that’s what you used to do before you ever got married and go on-line to that eternal fountain of bliss and find a guy out there who will tell you you are wonderful and sexy and godIcan’twaittoripyourclothesoff and your husband never talks to you that way any more and it’s just so nice to be attractive and have someone notice, but, speaking of notice, you notice your experience of sex is dropping off, not gradual like a long road off of a mountain, by like falling off a cliff, and you could care less about sex.Hmmm.Oh, well.I can always go to Target and get a buzz.
Or maybe I’m gay? That’s it! Ha! I’ll just try that! Oh, the joy. Tell yourself the reason your desire for your husband dropped off is ‘cuz you were never heterosexual in the first place! Woohoo! Tell yourself whatever you want. It’s about you, right? Forget this marriage crap, and commitment and giving and reaching out to your husband. It’s all a ruse. Some cruel, male joke. Same song, second verse. You seek sex as a god it don’t deliver. Heartache and pain and sorrow are the cousins of SEXASGOD. You pursue sex for it’s own sake and that’s what you get …. For a while. Sex as a drug don’t deliver for very long and then there’s a bill to pay.
Or you can ruin your sex life the subtle way by neglect. Refuse to take care of your body. Refuse to dress up and look feminine….ever. You are too mature to play that game right? Besides, you have a poor self-image. You’ve put on too much weight and don’t feel sexy any more. What a relief!!!! Too bad your husband doesn’t feel the same way. Ahhhhhh, he’s supposed to have a vote here, sweetie. Not just you. Just ‘cuz you’ve turned off the spigot doesn’t mean he doesn’t need a drink. Too bad for him. You are in charge of you and you ain’t gonna let no male chauvinist sex fiend influence you. No, sir. You are your own person, right? Stupid one-track-mind males. Drive me crazy.
Or keep yourself busy. Always have something else on your list. Convey to your husband that he is NOT on the list and that you don’t WANT him on the list and you will do whatever you can to keep him OFF of the list and everything else you do is your mission. Everything in life is your mission except your husband. Give your heart to your children. Make them your number one priority. Convey to your children and your husband that your children are number one. Your husband is only a nuisance. All he does is make a mess and resent him for that and nag him about that and point out his faults and drive him away, drive him away, drive him away. Whew!!! I can drive sex away, too! All by myself! Very easily. What a relief! I don’t have to worry about sex any more. Done, done, done, done, done, done, done.
Or, if you are the wife and you happen to want sex more than your husband (which, by the way, is a pretty common, though little known pattern), chide him for not wanting it with you.Accuse him of being gay.Suck the manhood out of him.Point out his lack of virility.If you make an advance and he pulls away, scoff and scold him.Or get mean or pull away yourself.Make him feel guilty about not meeting your needs.Shut your heart to him.It feels like he’s shut you out so treat him the same way.That’s it.Make sure that NEITHER of you is reaching out.That way your marriage can crash and burn and you don’t have to even feel guilty about it.Why’d you divorce?Oh, he wouldn’t have sex with me.Really?Of all the….Start sleeping on the couch or going out with your friends or look for comfort on the Internet.Find comfort somewhere, just not in your marriage vow or in your fidelity.Let your heart wander.You deserve to be happy.Search for happiness by looking for it.Forget patience and tenderness and love and caring.You’ve had enough of that.You’ve given enough.You tried (you think) and failed.Oh, well.
Surefire Ways For Either Husbands or Wives:
You can destroy sexual desire for either you or your spouse without hardly trying.Here’s a couple of surefire ways for either gender:
Have an affair. You weren’t looking, right? It just happened. You were just friends. Imagine how the brain works, the largest sex organ. Now you are spending all your time thinking of your affairee! How are you gonna be sexual with your spouse now? You can fake it. That’ll be fun. How long can you keep that up? How long before your spouse starts to put two and two together. Better hide your phone. Watch your back. Change your passwords. You need another mailbox now? A different bank account? One of those traceless cell phones from the Wal-Mart electronics aisle? Funny how you are paranoid all the time. This is REALLY fun. How you gonna hide all that? Look at you. How come you’re mad all the time and pissy about nothin’? You make a great liar. Who’d a thought? Just wait til your affairee gives you an STD! Then you can give it to your spouse and he/she will never know the difference! I didn’t mean to. HA! No consequences for you! You can do whatever you want. You can run your car without oil, too. Forget seatbelts and parachutes. It’s just you and excitement, Baby. A walking miracle. You can walk on water, too. And calm the waves. Just like that. Mr. or Mrs. No Consequences. You could start your own religion. You may as well. You are already worshipping you.
Or quit sleeping together. No cuddling. No affection. Just you and your private blanket or pillow or dog or kid. Anybody and anything, except your spouse. You don’t want to convey to your spouse that you are married or that you care or that the two of you are special or anything. Or have a kid or two in bed with you and your spouse. Insist as a badge of honor that your child MUST be in your bed because Johnney or Sally can’t ever cry. Can’t have that. Let your spouse bellyache, but not your kid! We are nothing but fair in our family! Let the kid determine if you are going to be sexual or not. That’s a plan. Let the kids run the family. Use every excuse you can think of to not have to sleep with your spouse and then tell yourselves you love each other and you are just being caring by not sleeping together. He snores too loud. Her leg shakes. She keeps me up. He keeps waking me up. I need my sleep. We go to bed at different times. Whatever. If you need more excuses, make them up. Sound believable. Convince your spouse the two of you don’t have to sleep together to be married. You don’t have to have sex either. If you are sexual in this environment (good luck) you will resolutely, completely annihilate any meaning in it at all because the two of you won’t be warm enough to start any friction, let alone a fire. Do this for years. You won’t notice it at first. This is a very subtle way. It usually ends with somebody serving someone with papers. What happened, Honey? We had such a nice arrangement? Arrangement, yes. Marriage? In name, maybe.
Or, if your spouse tries to be affectionate, turn away, turn away, turn away. You don’t want to be sexual, right? And if you are affectionate, he/she will start taking it to the next level? YIKES! Can’t have that. So we’ll just have affectionless sex every once in a while. Do your duty, so to speak. You aren’t the affectionate type, anyway. Or the sexual type. Or the loving type. Or the married type. You are the selfish type and that’s fine with you. Giving isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anyway.
Or if your spouse quits pursuing sex with you, make sure you DON’T pursue sex with your spouse.Treat him how he treat treats you.Treat her how she treats you.Don’t treat him or her how you want to be treated.No.That would keep the embers burning, right?Don’t want that.Treat your spouse how your spouse treats you.Don’t pick up the ball.Drop the ball.Drop everything.He doesn’t try anymore.Neither will you.Indifference is our new mantra.This way the relationship will deteriorate to the lowest common denominator, which, in your case, is as roommates.Roommates make poor lovers.They may even worse husbands and wives.
And then the divorce will just be this mutual agreement.No biggie.We didn’t have any fire left in us.The fire went out years ago.It’s hard to make a flame with only one stick.The two sticks have to rub together to make a fire.Oh, well.We tried.
Right. You call that trying?
And then you can live in your tiny one bedroom apartment, because your spouse took half your retirement and half of everything else. Somehow you ended up with more of the debt. How’d that happen? Stupid rip-off lawyer. I’m still making payments to his sorry butt. At least you got the kitty. Couldn’t divide the kitty in half.
This blog is part of a longer series of blogs on sexual desire (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four) and Part Two on swingers and swinging. In the previous blog on swinging I suggested that swinging smacks of child sexual abuse for adults and that the spouse who talks the other spouse into doing swinging is the perpetrator, the one who gets talked into it is the victim. This is new language to describe swinging behavior, but you need this background to follow today’s comments.
Swingers don’t make very good marital therapy candidates. The one who wants to do it, the one who tries to talk the other into it, the one who advocates for it, chides about it, prods the other, grooms the other spouse, this person’s mind is so far removed from the protection and safety and sanctity and respect and dignity of marriage that the suggestion from a therapist like me that opening up the boundary of protection in marriage and driving a semi-truck of evil and selfishness and chaos and trouble through it isn’t a good idea, this client is only going to get mad: Frickin’, fundamentalist, legalistic, narrow-minded, unenlightened therapist. And I’m sorry, but I’m going to have a hard time helping you be a better couple while one of you advocates for swinging and one is devastated. You can’t use me to explain to your spouse that “Open Marriage” is just fine. And if you both tell me that you love swinging, but you have these other problems and we don’t want help with the swinging, the swinging is just fine, I’m not going to believe it. You’ll get irritated very quickly with my skepticism. This is one of those times I’d really have a hard time referring you out. We’ll probably just have to shake hands and say I’m sorry.
That’s not to say ALL perpetrator spouses in swinging couples are always unrepentant. Sometimes they are very sorry because the temptation that they’d feasted on in pornography for years – the doctor is doing it with the nurse, the nurse is doing it with the patient, the patient is doing it with the housekeeper, then they all do it together and everyone is so happy, happy, happy- turns out to be a nightmare instead and the perpetrator spouse wises up and realizes this ain’t the road to happiness after all.Crap.We gotta stop doin’ this.What am I gonna do with this stupid semi-truck?But then we end up with this sad irony.The victim spouse came into swinging kicking and screaming and protesting and against her will. In order to overcome the victim spouse’s objections, the perpetrator spouse had to convince and argue, sometimes for years, that the marriage boundary is only in their hearts and sexuality is only an amoral act.It does not matter who this act is done with.It only matters that you are having fun.We’ll protect the boundary of our marriage in our hearts by only truly loving each other, but we’ll use our bodies to express our latent sexual desire and enter nirvana through this secret gate.Comeonitllbefun.Don’t be such a prude.You never want to have any fun.
The victim spouse intuitively knows it’s wrong and evil and degenerate and out-there and freaky and wants nothing to do with it, but the perpetrator spouse is so convincing and such a salesman, goading and pounding it in and showing the victim porn and on and on and on and so the victim spouse finally relents.She’s been converted to the view that sex means nothing between them.It’s just an act.If sex means nothing between her and her swinging partner, then it means nothing between her and her husband.She can’t play mental games like this.Her sex with her husband hasn’t meant anything for some time now, because he’s told her it just an act:Dogs copulating in the field while staring off into space.That’s not what he said, but she wasn’t prepared to play the mental games he was suggesting she play.Sex either means something or it means nothing.It can’t mean something with her husband and nothing with everyone else.She’d dreamed as a child that sex was special.She even wore white at her wedding and got all dolled up to show it was worth the wait and that there is something unique about the wedding bed and all her friends and her mother cried when she walked down the isle.That was all a ruse?Now he’s telling her all her ideals were a sham. Over and over.Sweetie, you gotta loosen up.You are so uptight.Lose those inhibitions.They are binding you.Her dream.What happened to her dream?You mean it’s not making love and looking into each other’s eyes and heart and soul?Not connection in love?Not tenderness, mutuality, longings fulfilled, oneness?Nothing special about it all?Nothing worth protecting at all?Damsel in distress?Forget that.The prince will join the giant and let’s get the other soldiers in here, too, and any other damsels we can rustle up and we’ll all ravish the damsel.Group rape is fun.Why are you crying?Stop it.Just loosen up, already.
Well, after you’ve been preached at, hounded and scolded and manipulated and groomed by the perpetrator for so long, pretty soon it’s all going to take hold and the victim is no longer a victim, but a willing participant—sort of. Yeah. Now this is where it gets really weird.
The only way any sane victim can be victimized and not go crazy is to find a mental game to play. They have to leave the extreme hurtfulness of the situation.Victims of child sexual abuse talk about leaving their bodies.I’ve had clients tell me it was like they were on the ceiling looking down on their perpetrator violating their bodies.It’s sounds a little psychotic, but I think this type of coping is a God-given way to keep sexually abused children from going literally crazy.It’s hard enough witnessing your dignity stolen from a distance.
Another way they cope with it is to think of something else altogether, while the act is being forced upon them. Strippers and prostitutes do this in order to stay sane and stay at a distance from what they are doing. Don’t get me wrong. It still hurts like the dickens. You can only escape in your mind so far. This is why so many of them are on drugs or alcohol. They are only acting like they are enjoying it. That big smile you see on the stripper’s face? It’s part of the act to get you to give her your money. What they are thinking instead is that this guy or these men are pervs and I’m doing this because I hate them and I’m exploiting them (it’s really the other way around, remember?). Just because you “pay” a prostitute or a stripper, doesn’t mean you aren’t abusing her. She’s been abused all along by her daddy or Uncle Bob and those pervs unwittingly trained her years ago how to survive and not go crazy. The only way that she could go through Uncle Bob’s shenanigans is to hate his guts while he did his totally perv and unspeakable thing. Or they are paying their bills in their heads or reciting a poem or a favorite song, anything other than I am enjoying this and I’m really sexual and wow this is awesome. Those interviews with porn stars and strippers and prostitutes you see on TV where they say that they are just sexual and it’s just an act and they are actually self-actualized in their sexuality and she shouldn’t be discriminated against and women are sexual beings and she’s just exploring her sexuality and it’s a good job and look at all this money? Don’t believe any of it for a second. It’s all part of the act. She’s quoting Uncle Bob! She’s really just a broken little girl acting out a script she’s been brainwashed to do. She’s anything, but happy. It’s only a matter of time before she totally breaks. She’s aging before her eyes.
How do adults cope with sexual abuse by their spouses in the form of swinging, swapping, and same-sex experimentation? Swinging opens the door to every perversion. It’s just sex, remember? It doesn’t matter with whom. Gender don’t matter squat, either. The plumbing works. It’s meant to be utilized, right?
Every right thinking victim knows intuitively that it’s not just sex. It’s supposed to be special. It’s supposed to be about love and connection and tenderness. So in order to keep from going crazy, they fall in love with their partners. Male or female. It makes no difference. Pandora’s box has been opened. The marriage vow has been deflowered and debased and debunked. There must be some love here somewhere.
And then a swinging victim asks herself why would I want to be married any more to my perpetrator? Sex didn’t mean anything to my husband, right? Just an act and all that? But it meant something when she did it with this swinger guy or gal. Finally meant something, just like she thought it should. She’s been looking for love all along and she finally found it when she swung with this guy or gal. Imagine that. He was nice. He was gentle. She looked me in the eye and soothed me while I cried. Sort of a built in revenge deal against her perpetrator. It’s a cruel world.
If her perpetrator has groomed her this far and this well, she doesn’t make a very good marriage therapy client, either. Sadly, no. I gotta get out of this marriage to be protected. I gotta be safe somewhere. He just throws me to the wolves. My husband is a crazy sex perv and all he thinks about it himself. Getmeoutofhere!
Before leaving this subject, I must write about how some couples end up in this semi-truck load of evil seemingly unwittingly.I don’t really think that, because the naïve are still responsible for being in positions to be duped.They took the bait.Don’t take the bait.Don’t be in a position or situation where the bait even looks attractive.Be far, far away.These people are not your friends.It’s time to leave, Honey.
Sometimes you will meet a really outgoing and friendly couple.But you notice after a while, that they are just way-way too forward about sexuality.They talk about it with both of you there.They talk to you about it when your spouse isn’t there.It’s great fun.They brag about their sexual exploits.They make crude jokes.They look at each other in this knowing sort of way.They invite you to watch porn with them…as couples.They openly flirt with you.They talk about their sexual activities in front of you.They invite you over to their hot tub.Things happen.One of you enjoys it.The other is appalled.Maybe you are both appalled.But now we’re both in therapy because one of us thinks the other should have put a stop to it before it got this far.Or that one of you was too enthusiastic and if that’s what you want Okay fine, but my marriage means more to me than that.Yikes!
Okay.Look.There are perpetrator couples out there looking for innocent victim couples to exploit.Avoid friends like this like the plague.They are grooming you just like two child molesters might work in tandem.Team perpetrating.Run away.Run away.The only person you should be talking about your sex life with is with your spouse or your pastor or your therapist.
If any couple or single starts talking to you about sexuality in any provocative way, you need to get out of there and never go back.
Your soul and the protection of your spouse and your marriage and your integrity and your commitment are worth more than a hot tub and a semi-truck full of trouble.