marriage bed symbol

marriage bed symbol

Monday, September 5, 2011

Is Masturbation Justified In A Sexless Marriage?

 Anon56 asked:

"I married my wife in the temple over 30 years ago, but most of which has been without regular sex. She has basically decided, unilaterally, that she does not want to "do it" any more. On those rare occasions when we do, it's ALWAYS me who initiates it and for her, she's just doing her duty. I can't keep this up, it's killing me. I have resorted to masturbation on a few occasions but refrain mostly for all the usual LDS reasons. It is, my choice of last resort. I do not involve pornography believe it or not, but instead I will concentrate thinking about my wife when I engage in masturbation. There is most often a sense of relief and the hormones released seem to help my general well being, in other words, my mood improves. That having been said, I'm really looking for counsel as to whether I should abstain from masturbation altogether even though and this is not an exaggeration, my wife and I may never again have intercourse. I love her very much and none other. What's in her heart is anyone's guess. I have sexual needs that are not being met by my wife and I refuse to fulfill that need with any other woman. Occasional "solo" masturbation seems to be my only outlet. (And yes, we're been to several of our bishops and marriage counselors over the years with no improvements in our relationship.)"

Dear Anonymous56,

Thank you for reading and your question. I have to let you know that it is difficult to know the correct course of action based upon the information that you gave. In all fairness, I don’t know your wife’s side of the story. I will base my reply upon how I understand the situation from your side of the story and how it affects your relationship with your wife and our Savior Jesus Christ.

The presidents of the Church have taught us that sex in marriage has a two-fold purpose. One is to create bodies for our Heavenly Father’s spirit children. The second is to strengthen the eternal bonds of a husband and wife through physical intimacy.

You have been though the temple and made sacred covenants. To obtain the blessings of the temple, you must keep your covenants – including those pertaining to the law of chastity. That law of chastity also excludes sex with ourselves.  I also want you to notice that this same law of chastity doesn’t exclude any sexual activity we have with our spouse. Manual stimulation of the genitals does have its place, but only if used between a husband and wife as a means of strengthening their intimate bonds.

Solo masturbation is a separating and selfish activity, both of which are two of the four marriage killers I write about in my blog. If  you are not communicating with your wife and keeping your masturbation habit secret from your wife, then you’ve added a third marriage killer to your relationship.

I’m sorry to be so painfully frank with you Anon56, but because of your plan of action to remedy the situation, your masturbation is creating a sexual addiction in you, just in the same manner as a profane erotica addict would. This is true even though there is no profane erotica involved. In some sense, there is profane erotica involved, since you are visualizing a fantasy version of your wife who wants to have sex with you while you masturbate.
I know that you have seen bishops and therapists already, but I must suggest seeing an LDS Marriage and Family counselor (preferably with your wife) to help you reprogram your sex life. If your only option at this point is to either masturbate or not have sex at all, you don’t have a marriage, you're roommates. In addition, your marriage is not likely to last. You are in a sexless marriage, which will not build you a relationship that will want to be together for eternity. You can reference my blog to the condition of sexless marriage here:

May I suggest focusing on your relationship with your wife. You’re going crazy not because of a lack of sex, but because of a lack of intimacy with your wife. To use a metaphor, you’re emotionally thirsty, but you are trying to slake that thirst by eating more food (orgasm through masturbation).

People can go a lifetime without ejaculating or having an orgasm. No one has ever died from failing to ejaculate, but people have suffered from severe depression, insanity and even death from lack of intimacy.

I find it hard to believe that you love her with all your heart. In one breath you say you do, but in the next you confess that you know nothing about her.  That suggests to me that a major communication breakdown has happened somewhere between your and your wife.

You expressed that you have to be the initiator all the time.  Men are biologically designed and given the duty to be the initiator, or at minimum the spouse with the higher desire has claim to that role.We don’t have to be ashamed or frustrated by that. In most marriages, if no one initiated, sex just wouldn't happen. It is your God-given right. You are “THE INITIATOR”. Wear it proudly.

Not all females are given the same strong sexual drive as men, and therefore often rely on the men to initiate sex. The universal question for all men is “How do I do this effectively so she wants sex too”?

The answer goes back to communication. Each gender communicates differently. What men define as sex or romance is very different from a woman’s definition.

A misconception many men have is that a woman’s vagina fills her with the same drive and gives her the same sensations sexually as a man’s penis does.

Most men communicate love through their penis and feel loved when their wives give attention to their penis and husbands consider it the ultimate expression of love when she allows them into her vagina.

Unfortunately, we follow that emotional logic to think “Oh, she must feel the same, and if she doesn’t she is frigid.” This is not true. Women by and large do NOT feel the same.

If we want our wife to willingly and joyfully accept us into her vagina, we have to stimulate what she associates love and sex with - her heart. Touch her heart.

Here is how to touch her heart:

  1. Be kind to her. Constant criticism kills love and your sex life.

  1. Honor your priesthood. LDS women find this to be very sexy; a woman is turned on by a man she feels can lead her to the Celestial Kingdom and inspires her to submit herself to him sexually. This may sound goofy, but we’re not talking about communicating to men. We’re talking here about what turns an LDS woman on.

This means you should attend your regular Church meetings, lead your family in scripture readings and prayer, have regular Family Home Evenings, give your wife and children priesthood blessings, and attend the temple regularly. Cast evil spirits of contention and anger from your home when you feel them. This will work wonders for your sexual relationship. As unrelated as that may sound, it will help her feel loved, cared for and safe, and allow the Lord to open her heart  (and vagina) towards you in many ways you can’t even imagine now.

  1. Talk to her, and more important – listen to her. Let her know what your sexual needs are. She has a responsibility to be considerate of your feelings and needs too. But, also ask her what she needs to feel loved and safe.

  1. Be kind to her children (this probably should be number one – it’s very potent for getting her to want to connect to you sexually).

  1. When you hold her, put your hand over her heart and hold it there. Ask her how it makes her feel.  Don’t get upset or weirded out if she weeps. Crying is a good sign – it means that she is accessing her emotional center, which can sometimes lead to feeling sexual toward you. 

  1. Sex starts for a woman in the brain, not in her genitals. A woman can get turned on with a story, or a scenario. Get her dreaming. Talk with her about what she would find romantic – what and where. A story involves a place, or a situation. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to involve sex; it could involve cuddling or kissing. This sort of talk begins to channel her constant thoughts from the cares of the day into her primitive sexual brain, and helps her to connect emotionally to her desires.

  1. Make life more fun together. If sex seems like a duty to her, that should be a warning sign to you that you have just become another task on her list to check off. This is not using sex to build an eternal relationship. Take her on dates every week, romance her, bring her flowers weekly by surprise, or write her little notes. These sorts of things can touch her heart, and are different for every woman. You’ll need to experiment to see what works for your wife in particular. Pray for inspiration in this regard – you are entitled to it. The Lord is very interested in the success of your sex life.

  1. For couples with severe sexual troubles, a good start might be to read Laura Brotherson’s book, And They Were Not Ashamed. You could invite your wife to read this alone, or with you if she chooses. Laura Brotherson is very good for helping sisters to understand the importance of sex in a married relationship, and  in terms that women understand. She also has some exercises that you both will need to do together in order to rebuild your sexual relationship.

  1. If your wife finds it difficult to talk about her feelings, you can encourage her to write them. She may find it easier to express herself in a different way than talking. When she does express herself, never, ever criticize what she says, no matter what your reaction. If you want her to accept you eagerly into her vagina, you have to develop a relationship of trust. She has to know she can trust you with her deepest feelings.

Many men make the mistake of forgetting the reason she wanted to marry them and have sex with them in the first place. She wants to be romanced – her whole life. This is why we have been counseled by our Church leaders to continue the courtship after marriage.

If you’d like to try something new sexually, she may be adverse at first, but that doesn’t mean she’s totally against it. She just may need some time to warm up to the idea. Touch her heart, talk about it with her and try to understand her feelings.Restate what she say's to make sure you understand.

In order for sex to be an eternal bonding experience, it must be a “sharing” activity. If she’s just laying there and “thinking of the Red, White and Blue” (doing her duty), you’re just using her body to masturbate on. Don’t get me wrong, quickies have their place, but the majority of the time, when we men have sex with our wives, we should be looking in her eyes, talking to her, holding her hands, and learning how she is feeling or how she wants to be touched.

When she tells you how she wants to be touched, do it (no matter how dumb or un-erotic it sounds to you). What’s dumb to you may be very erotic to her (and vice versa).

Thirty years is way too long to go without regular, loving, intimate sex, but that doesn’t mean your marriage is automatically doomed. If you’re willing to try again, and your wife is willing to try again, there’s hope. Building an eternal relationship takes longer than a lifetime.

Marriages also get into trouble when we start depending on our spouse to make us happy, and using them to justify our selfish reactions. Masturbation in your situation is nothing more than an escape valve from your troubles. Instead, I would challenge you to do the hard thing, and go after the root of the problem instead – your lack of intimacy with your wife.

Don’t just go masturbate and give up on your wife, your marriage or your eternal salvation.  Try something new, until something works, or until you’ve exhausted every possible way of getting through to her. Take 100% responsibility for your sex life and you won’t regret the results.