This dilemma was inspired by the discussion over at The Thinking Housewife here. I don’t want to focus on the specifics of the cases discussed there, though. I’d rather think of the more general question. I’ve showed before that wives have a duty to render the marriage debt to their husbands–that this is the unambiguous position of Christianity and that it has an important natural function. That was looking at things from the wife’s point of view. Now let’s look at things from the husband’s point of view. Given that his wife usually must comply with his requests, when is it right for him to make them? As the head of the household, the husband must not privilege his own desires; if anything, he should disfavor himself so that his authority will more clearly seem to be motivated by the common good.
I think the answer is, a husband may command his wife to have sex with him only for the explicit purpose of begetting children. He must limit such requests to her fertile period, and he must stop altogether when they are not trying to have children.
Let us admit that this problem of men’s and women’s mismatched libidos is entirely caused by the abomination of birth control. Although men desire sex more often, they’re also, as the family provider, more sensitive to the difficulties in having additional mouths to feed. Without the accursed practice of sterilized sex, men would be restrained by prudence to the same degree as women are restrained by nature. The end of infant mortality should also have been the end of sexual intercourse as a regular part of married life.
There is a law of conservation of tolerance. When one starts tolerating something, one must stop tolerating something else. While accepting contraception and celebrating the sexually voracious woman, society has ceased to tolerate the frigid woman, a far more common type. There’s nothing wrong with a woman never being interested in sex. It’s perfectly normal. It’s also perfectly normal for a woman to be married to a man she’s not attracted to. Women’s standards in men for physical attraction tend to be very high, and there aren’t enough “alphas” to go around. Women with low libidos can have perfectly normal lives, including a husband and (if she will only agree to just lay there occasionally while her husband does his thing) children.
Women’s magazines in the supermarkets are all about how to increase one’s desire and have more orgasms. At first glance, one gets the idea from them that women must be obsessed with sex. On further consideration, one realizes the real issue: women are not obsessed with sex, but they think that means there’s something wrong with them, and they’re trying to fix it. (Men never read about how to get more pleasure from sex. We only read about how to get more sex.) Feminist society has told them they should have the same sexual appetites as men, but they don’t.
Of course, it’s not just women who have been made to feel inadequate. Men are now told that just being a good provider and companion isn’t enough–they have to “perform” and make their wives enjoy sex as much as men do. Frequent sex is also bad for relationships. It makes wives suspect that every gesture of affection from their husbands–every hug, kiss, or cuddle–is really a sexual advance. Some may even deny their husbands these affections because they don’t want to “give him ideas”.
Reducing sex to pleasure is making people miserable.
Filed under: Sex