CTBHHM: Tell My Wife To Have Sex With Me!

Created To Be His Help Meet, pp. 161—164

In this post we begin on Debi’s chapter “To Love Their Husbands.” Remember that Debi is working her way through the things older women are commanded to teach younger women in Timothy 2. You want to know what this entire chapter on wives loving their husbands is about? I bet you can guess. Sex. That’s right, I’m not surprised either. I do need to start with a warning, though. If you’ve ever experienced intimate partner rape, I’d suggest you either read carefully or skip this post altogether.

Loving him means putting his needs before your own. I am a minister. If you are a wife, you, too, are a minister. Our ministry is directed toward our husbands and then our children. We were, and are, created to be help meets. Every day and every night we need to be ready to minister to his needs.

Because describing sex as “ministering to his needs” isn’t creepy at all!

And now we have a letter, which Debi gives the caption “A Normal Guy.”

Dear Mr. And Mrs. Pearl,

I am in a dilemma and need you guys to write my wife and tell her what I say is true. My wife thinks I am a sex pervert because I need sex. She feels I am not sensitive to her needs when I want sex and she doesn’t, which is most of the time. She will give me sex, but it hurts her feelings that I do not love her enough to consider her first. I tried to explain to her that to a man sex is just like having to eat. When I have missed a meal I unconsciously roam the kitchen, opening cabinet doors, and peer into the refrigerator, just looking and looking. I told her that a few days without sex leaves me in the same condition sexually. No matter how much I love her and respect her feelings and needs, I still have this overwhelming sexual need that drives me until it is satisfied.

There are very few times when everything is just right for her. She is exhausted, or has a backache or not healed right down there or whatever she comes up with. I tried to explain to her that she is setting me up for temptation, and that really set her off. Now I am not only a pervert, I am also unfaithful in my heart, so she is upset every time a good-looking girl walks by.

Please tell her I just down-right need my woman. That’s the bottom line; I am normal—all guys need a woman. She said I made it until I was 23 without sex, so why do I have to have it now? I told her when I was single, I did not have to see one undress or lie in the bed and know I could if I wanted to. I just want to come home and be a family man. I want to crawl into bed at night with a woman who is glad I am her man, and I want to make love every few days so I don’t have to think about the girls at work. Would you write her and explain all this to her. Maybe if she heard from you she might understand that I have feelings, too—physical feelings as well as emotional feelings.


First of all, unless Micah is a high school teacher (and I very much hope he is not), the strange female creatures (to use Michael’s term) he’s looking at at work are women, not girls.

Next, has Micah literally not thought of helping with the kids and the house after supper so that his wife won’t be so exhausted when bedtime comes? Can he seriously hear “I have a backache” and think about how awful his wife is for not wanting to have sex with him without even considering that she might need a back rub? And what in the name of all that is holy is this bit about Micah being upset with his wife when she doesn’t want to have sex because her vagina has not fully healed from childbirth?! You cannot—cannot—be more of an asshole than that. You try pushing a baby out of your vagina, ripping the skin of your vulva such that it has to be stitched back together, and then hopping between the sheets! I cannot believe how freaking insensitive Micah is!

The sad thing is that Micah started out so well. He’s right that having sexual urges doesn’t make him a pervert. I have to wonder if his wife grew up with such conservative ideas about sex that she’s been unable to shake them. It’s more probable that Micah and his wife are simply not sexually matched. From his letter, it sounds like he has a much higher sex drive than his wife. And you know what? That does suck. I’ve known women in the same boat—dating or married to men who simply don’t want sex as often as they do. Yes, you read that right—this sexual mismatched thing can go either way. Micah needs to know that it’s not just him, and then needs to be given healthy tools for handling this mismatch. And in case you’re wondering, “tell my wife to have sex with me even when she doesn’t want to” is absolutely not one of those healthy tools.

Also, Micah, telling your wife that she better put out or you might just be forced to cheat on her is totally not okay. It’s a threat, and it’s shifting blame. Your wife was damn right to be upset when you told her that!

Debi doesn’t follow this letter with commentary. Instead, she starts with this verse:

“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:31—32). 

Then she offers bullet points that, presumably, expound upon what this verse means:

  • God’s ultimate goal is for you to meet your man’s needs.
  • God’s original intention was that a woman would spend her life helping her husband fulfill his dreams and ambitions.
  • From the beginning, God meant for us to be a comfort, a blessing, a reward, a friend, an encouragement, and a right-hand woman.

In other words, women were created to meet men’s needs, so they darned well better put out. If they don’t, after all, they’re not meeting their men’s needs, and that’s their whole purpose for existing. Debi then offers this dialogue:

“What can I do to help you, Adam?”

“Pick up the other end of that log, and help me move it over here.”

“What should my next project be, Adam?”

“Have my dinner ready every evening, and take good care of my little ones.”

“That is a very strong fence you are building, and the gate looks nice. I am so proud of you, Adam. What would you like now?”

“Take your clothes off real slow so I can watch . . . . Yeah, you’re a fine help meet.”

In Debi’s other life, she’s a porno writer.

Anyway, moving right along:

A man’s concept of love and marriage is different from a woman’s, especially after he has gone without sex for a few days. This is not a “how-to” book for a man. I will skip his part, and deal with the ladies’ part. God describes marriage as “they two shall be one flesh,” which is their bodies coming together. 

Many men feel that marriage is not quite what they thought it was going to be. Some men spend their youth dreaming about the wild passion they are going to experience with the woman they love more than life. It is their expression of the oneness they will have with her alone. This is truly God’s design for a man in the department of love.

The man remembers the passionate and loving looks his sweetheart had for him before marriage. He had naturally assumed that she would always think of him in that all-consuming, loving way. When they were courting, that is the way she made him feel. He saw it reflected in her face. All he wanted was to satisfy that hungry animal he thought she was, and, for a while, she was all he had hoped for; but then that faded away. She wasn’t interested anymore. Her disinterest in him sexually is a reflection of her heart, and he knows it. There are a multitude of excuses women use to explain why the would “rather not” or why the “cannot respond” sexually. I believe I have heard them all. Her husband knows in his spirit that all her excuses are just that: excuses for not wanting him. 

Uh . . . no.

First, let’s stop giving guys (and girls) unrealistic expectations about what their sex lives will be like when they grow up. My parents and my church talked about the glory of married sex to the extent that I was personally profoundly disappointed upon finding out what sex was actually like. I’m not trying to dump on sex or anything, it’s just that the view I was given was very unrealistic. I didn’t realize that it was something that took practice, for instance. Sex is great, but if you go into marriage thinking it’s going to be an eternal sexual pleasure fest, you’ve got something coming.

Second, what in tarnation is this idea that if a woman doesn’t want to have sex with her man every single minute of the day and at the drop of the hat, this means she no longer loves him? This is absolutely insane. Debi is saying that any time a woman doesn’t want to have sex, she is simply making up “excuses.” Excuses for what, I have to ask? Women aren’t obligated to have sex whenever their husbands snap their fingers. To the extent that women actually make up “excuses” for not having sex, it’s because they don’t feel like they can just say “no thank you, I don’t want to right now.” And that’s something they should feel like they can say without repercussions, because men aren’t babies, they’re fully grown men who should be mature enough to except a “no.”

Third, this idea that women shouldn’t be taken at their word when it comes to sex is a huge part of rape culture. And more than that, this suggestion of Debi’s that when a woman says “I don’t want to have sex with you right now” she’s really saying “I don’t love you anymore” is both complete bullshit and extremely destructive. Debi is creating a situation where men will interpret a woman saying “no” to sex one evening as complete and utter rejection and a situation where women feel like they can’t say “no” even just once without risking making their husbands feel completely and utterly rejected. And that’s a level of dysfunction someone ought to be able to see coming a mile away.

When a woman is not interested in his most consuming passion, he feels that she is not interested in him. When a woman just “allows, cooperates, and tolerates,” it leaves a man feeling sick at heart. If, to a man, sex were just copulation, he would make his deposit and be satisfied, but to him it is intimacy, a merging of spirits, a way of saying, “I love you . . . I need you . . . I like you.” A man’s most basic needs are warm sexual love, approval, and admiration. For his wife to be willing but indifferent, speaks of neither sex nor love.

A woman is a fool to believe her own excuses or to thinks he can convince him that what she says is truth. Her half commitment makes him feel incomplete and unloved. By not obeying God in this area of sex and love, a woman is putting a terrible curse on her husband. When a woman forces a man into that position, it is the equivalent of a man saying to his wife, “You are a stupid, ugly, lousy wife, but I will still be a good husband and kiss you today.” A man’s wife has more influence on his frame of reference than any other thing or person in life.

Holy hell. Not only do women have to have sex with their husbands at any moment or the drop of a hat, they have to also act as though it’s absolutely and completely the only thing they want to be doing. They have to be into it, active, passionate. Debi somehow sees nothing wrong with telling women that they must have passionate involved sex with their husbands any time their husbands want it, whether they themselves actually want to or not. More than that, how can Debi not see that what she’s telling women to do is to learn to be good at faking it?

Man is driven to succeed. Hormones drive him to be the best at work, to drive aggressively, to build the best building, or write the finest musical piece. But his most pressing drive is to be a successful lover. Making his wife feel glorious when he touches her is the ultimate test of his manhood—the very measure of the man. He cannot view life differently; that is the way God made him.

You know, this is the first time female pleasure has come up, and somehow Debi makes female pleasure all about men. Women, you better feel pleasure during sex, because if you don’t your man won’t feel like a real man! Really? Is that, like, the whole point of female pleasure? Seriously, what?

He needs a wife, a help meet, a helper who will meet the need God put in him. If a wife does not meet his intimacy and sexual needs, she is a help-not-meet, a helper not suitable to the task for which God created her.

I’m done. I’m so, so done.

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  • Iris

    You’re done and I’m feeling sick to my stomach…

  • Jolie

    Two side observations:
    1. Debi’s idea that female sexual pleasure is all about men and this whole ‘you have to have super-passionate involved sex whether you like it or not- aka fake it well’ thing seems to be resting on the assumption that, unlike men, women never *really* want sex in and of itself; and it illustrates quite tellingly why this idea is so rape-culture-y.

    2. Can’t help but think of how patriarchal sexual scripts may have a lot to do with why the couple are sexually incompatible; I’m not ruling out that they genuinely enjoy different things and different frequencies, but can’t help but notice:
    -So, her vulva is hurt from giving birth. Now, there are ways of giving your partner orgasms and experiencing sexual pleasure yourself without actually involving it… (Disclaimer: I am absolutely NOT saying that you owe non-vaginal sex to your partner if you can’t have vaginal sex in any way; it’s just that if you would genuinely very much like to give your partner an orgasm, except that your vagina doesn’t feel up to the task, there are ways). Now, I reckon Debi& co. wouldn’t encourage this kind of exploration…. so it’s have vaginal sex that’s painful to you or be a horrible wife.
    -On the same note, the idea that men enjoy sex and women don’t/ just do because it pleases the man have to force themselves to enjoy it can work as a self-fulfilling prophecy. So you get a couple of virgins having sex for the first time. The man happens to enjoy it, the woman not so much- physically speaking. If they don’t believe the “men are supposed to be sexual beings, women just need to submit sexually and meet men’s needs” bull, and if he is a decent, caring human being, she will openly tell them and together they will figure ways of having sex that they both enjoy (as in: What positions work best? Does she orgasm from the clit or the g-spot? Where are the erogenous spots on her body? Does she have any kinks or fetishes he shares or at the very least doesn’t mind indulging? What are her main turn-ons and turn-offs?) All of this can be found out over time, but only on the condition of full sincerity from partners regarding their likes and dislikes, with an open, non-judgemental mind as a prerequisite. If, however, they do believe the aforementioned bull, they will keep having sex the way they did the first time, believing that’s how it’s supposed to be like, and it’s not going to improve.

    Also, I’m dying to know how Debi would respond to the same letter with the genders reversed :)))

    • Squire Bramble

      Yes, one can see that Debi is very sexually inexperienced, for all Michael’s boasting. Secular men and women express pride in being able to pleasure their partners orally and manually.

      Does any woman really want “Micah” to put the moves on her? Apologies to anyone whose loved ones have this name, it sounds Starkadder-ish and unsexy to me.

      Oh, and this is clearly one of Debi’s many made-up stories.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Probably accusations of the woman being a Feminazi lesbian in a duplex. Proper, Christian women don’t enjoy sex. Just babies.

    • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

      I think if the letters were reversed, Debi’s advice would be something like this.
      Dear Mrs. Micah-
      The Bible says that you don’t own your body; that it’s your husband’s. It’s an abomination and disrespectful to not put his needs first. If he is not in the mood, or not willing, then what are you doing to make him not love you? I would reccommend making sure his dinner is hot on the table by the time he gets home. Perhaps taking effort to look nicer, maybe lose a few pounds and update your hairstyle?
      Or, next time he is ready to go, make sure to let him know that his EVERY TOUCH delights you to the point of screaming in pure pleasure (just try not to wake the children!). If he knows that you are a good help meet outside the bedroom, and an amazing “minister” in bed, he will chase you down when it’s been a few days.
      If you keep trying to “lure” him into bed when he is not willing or able, he will turn to other girls; girls for whom lovemaking is an expression of love, not just of flesh. You will be left at home, wondering where he is, while dinner gets cold on the table. Your kids will lose respect for you, because you couldn’t bridle your passions. And through it all, your husband will have the most amazing lovemaking of his life, in the arms of another.
      And you don’t want that, do you?

      • tulips

        Totally. This is so apt it’s unnerving.

      • Brennan

        You’re so good at imitating her style, it’s almost creepy.

      • akb111

        Also: You will go to sleep in a 4-bedroom ranch, and awake in a duplex.

  • Turtle

    “A man’s concept of love and marriage is different from a woman’s, especially after he has gone without sex for a few days.”

    This is the part my husband and I most took objection too. Yes, his libido is higher than mine. Yes, he sometimes gets a bit tense if it’s been a while. However, it never changes his concept of love and marriage. Not even slightly.

    It’s really bizzaro world how this strain of Christianity seems to make sex into this amazing thing that is either the epitome of all sin or the pinnacle of married happiness. Whereas a couple of sex-positive people like us who were promiscuous before marriage can accept that sex is something rather nice that we enjoy a lot, but it doesn’t define Our Marriage.

    • http://postnuclearera.wordpress.com/ Katherine

      It seems like they are setting up this RIDICULOUS dychotomy where “to express love” means “being super duper nice and pretending you don’t have needs/feelings” for women and “having sex that is satisfying for YOU” for men. In the real world, of course, both partners are capable of expressing love through selflessness, sex, as well as a myriad of other things!

    • aw

      But marriage is often, in their world, completely defined by sex. Nothing else. I have known very fundie-lite evangelicals –people who dated conventionally–who married only for the purpose of having sex. And the idea of doing that is sometimes advocated as the best “protection” to keep teens from premarital sex–have them marry extremely young even in new or unstable relationships. It is very unhealthy and leads to the kind of dysfunctional relationships Michael and Debi define for us in their books.

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        Well, it does make sense. If you can never really talk to your spouse, if you are fully bound by gender roles and can never just be yourself, how else can they achieve anything even close to approximating intimacy?

        My husband and I recharge our relationship batteries in many ways, many of them involving the playing of video games together. I can’t imagine that being “allowed” in a fundie marriage (especially since I tend to choose to play video games instead of, say, cleaning the house whenever it’s nap time for the kid). We also do a lot of our chores together, like every Wednesday when we vacuum and mop the whole house and we bond and talk while we do it. A MAN? CLEANING??

        The genders are so confined in their separate spheres that there’s very little overlap, and when the man is off working all day and the woman has an expectation of perfection keeping her busy, there’s very little “off” time where they could share hobbies or really talk.

        What you’re left with is sex. It’s easy enough to have quickly and quietly after the kids are in bed, and it doesn’t require the acknowledgement or respect of either party’s individuality. Sex is the only form of intimacy that is readily available to someone trying to practice a “godly marriage.”

  • AlisonCummins

    “But his most pressing drive is to be a successful lover. Making his wife feel glorious when he touches her is the ultimate test of his manhood—the very measure of the man.”

    And how does this relate to Micah exactly?

    (I do think this is another fake letter though: Debi has previously said that pain is no excuse and this is full of her threatening style.)

    • Sally

      She even mentioned pain in her outburst to Michael in his book’s story about their honeymoon. I wonder if she knows not all women experience pain with sex.

  • Pauline

    As usual there are a lot of half truths here. The “half commitment” stuff, translated into actual good advice, would become “don’t have pity sex”–which is really good advice. It sucks to feel like the person you love and are wildly attracted to is bored & just putting out to be nice. (Of course she spoils it by basically saying “But you do have to have sex, for his sake, when he wants and you don’t, so fake it to make sure it doesn’t *look* like pity sex.” Sheesh.) My husband would much rather, even just for his own sake, that I get some sleep if I’m too tired, rather than have sex solely to be nice to him. There’s always tomorrow. (And he would HATE it if I faked it. Hate it.)

    The funny thing is that I did get one piece of useful advice from Debi, when I read this book with rather complex feelings of horror (being a Christian feminist by that time, and never having heard of this crap before) at the house of a missionary I was working with as a sort of intern (gee, was *that* awkward. Luckily I was never asked to promote the book or give it to anyone…) Debi said something like “Try having sex when you are not in the mood, you will find that your body warms up to it once you get started and you’ll enjoy yourself.” There are all kinds of problematic things about that statement in conjuction with the rest of the book, especially if you’re someone who’s not just “not in the mood” but has real, deep reasons for not wanting it (Hey, just do it and you’ll enjoy it! You don’t? There is something wrong with you!) but it did make me wonder if this might be true for me, and it turned out it was. It did kind of help to consciously find out that when I feel like I could take it or leave it (not when I actually don’t want it–screw you, Debi), if I choose to take it I will, with pretty much no exception, have a great time.

    The more I think about it though, that’s probably largely luck, combined with the fact that DH and I really worked on learning how to pleasure each other, combined with the fact that he’s NOTHING like the men in this book.

    • ako

      The “Try when you’re not in the mood, and you’ll come to enjoy it” thing is one of those bits of advice that’s true for some women under some circumstances, which makes what she’s doing with it particularly dangerous. It’s something that can work for some people if “not in the mood” is pretty much what it sounds like, and everyone involved has a flexible style that will allow for “Please stop. I gave it a shot, and I’m still not having fun”, but she’s lumping it in with this obligation to perform Or Else, and telling women that injuries which would make sex painful and possibly even dangerous to her health don’t justify saying no.

      • grindstone

        It actually does work for me, with my current husband, not my previous husband. With my husband, I can say, “I’m not in the mood, but you could probably fix that.” And I know I have the right to say it is or is not working. I can also offer alternatives to PIV sex that provides for him, or me. This communication and respect means that both of us get what we want/need more often, so win-win. But you know, it took a couple of YEARS to get to this point. I didn’t feel I could say no without insulting him. We had tense times. But over time it became clear that this was an activity for us that was chock-full of mutual respect and giving. In short, it bears no resemblence to Debi’s advice.

      • http://postnuclearera.wordpress.com/ Katherine

        Yes. I have a really high sex drive, but when I’m stressed I go through periods of having a hard time getting worked up AT ALL until something is happening. It took me awhile to figure this out, and since I typically am the one to initiate sex, it was frustrating for both me and my wife. But now we communicate about it, and she knows when I’m feeling that way and not to be afraid to take the reins a little bit in those circumstances.
        Of course, this only works because we both know we can say “no” “stop” or “this just isn’t working” at any time.

      • Pauline

        “The “Try when you’re not in the mood, and you’ll come to enjoy it” thing
        is one of those bits of advice that’s true for some women under some
        circumstances, which makes what she’s doing with it particularly

        Oh, definitely. She’s the queen of half-truths, which are almost always particularly dangerous. That’s also what leads to some of the reviews this book gets on Amazon that say “Well, there’s some really good advice in here in places, you just have to throw away the chaff…” Yeah, that’s going to end well, because everyone can tell bad advice when they see it, right?

      • Mary C

        Yep – Debbie’s advice allows no room for the kind of communication necessary for this to work in a healthy way.

    • Lunch Meat

      The other night Husband was watching TV and I was sleeping on his lap. He fairly obviously wanted more but was doing a commendable job of trying to hide it and let me sleep. So when we got up to go to bed, I asked if he’d be offended if we had half-asleep sex, and he said of course not. So we had quite pleasant, undramatic, sleepy sex after which I promptly fell asleep. Debi would probably take this story to mean that everyone should put out all the time, but I think it shows just how much better and nicer a sexual relationship is when both partners respect each other as equals and are in tune with one another, not so insecure that a refusal sounds like rejection, and willing to meet each other where they are. If Husband insisted that we have sex all the time, there’s no way I would be offering when I could get away with not doing it.

      • Lunch Meat

        Just to add–partners should understand that sex isn’t going to be the same all the time. Sometimes it will be hot and steamy and passionate and sometimes it will be just pleasant, as well as everything in between. And that’s okay. If a woman feels like she has to act like a porn star all the time, of course she’s not going to be into it.

      • Pauline

        I so agree. It’s like cooking. Sometimes you eat a sandwich, sometimes you cook something gourmet for Christmas dinner… it all nourishes you. Simple sex after a busy day is one more sweet moment together that strengthens your bond that little bit… as long as you don’t put stupid expectations on each other that aren’t based in real life.

    • Mary C

      I think I know what you are saying. My husband and I have an informal agreement of sorts that goes something like “I won’t do it if I don’t want to, but I’ll let you try to convince me I want to.” Meaning that we try very hard to be receptive to the other person’s foreplay – but if it still isn’t happening, then it isn’t happening, and that’s cool. This works well for both of us. We often are too distracted, tired, not feeling well initially – but a little “attention” of the right kind from the other party causes a change of mind. It took us a while to work this out, and it generally works very well for us. It comes from each of us wanting to meet the others’ needs, and trusting the other person to respect boundaries and limits.

      But the level of mutual respect and communication that it took to get to this point would likely be heretical to Debbie. I feel so sad for couples that actually try to follow what Debbie is preaching.

  • http://www.twitch.tv/eil0nwy/ Mira

    Ok, so, this “obligatory sex” mentality is what led to me being raped. I didn’t KNOW I could say no once he was aroused. I didn’t KNOW I had that right. I froze up. I desperately didn’t want it.

    On the second thing, yeah, no, my bf got really upset at me when I told him that a decent chunk of the time I was faking it. He said he’d rather improve and know he needs to improve than to think he’s doing an awesome job and I’m just meh the whole time.

    • Rosa

      I’m so sorry that happened to you.

      On the second thing…aside from your boyfriend wanting decent feedback, if he wants you to keep being willing to have sex with him the *last* thing he should want is for it to be a lot of work (faking it) with no reward (faking it). That’s like, classic conditioning for NOT wanting to do something.

  • ako

    I was just reading The Handmaiden’s Tale, and Debi Pearl makes being a handmaiden Gilead sound almost bearable in comparison. They’re only coerced into sex for a couple of days a month, and they’re not expected to pretend they like it. Also, they mostly have to put on a front of quiet modesty, not actively fake cheerfulness at all times.

    Also, her advice only makes sense if you assume all men are scum. The hopefully-fictional Michah obviously is, but there are lots of men who simply don’t want their wives to grimly endure a painful and potentially damaging sexual encounter, even if she pretends to enjoy it. There are lots of men who don’t even want their wives to grimly endure unwanted sex when there are no physical injuries. Many, many men genuinely want sex to be enjoyable for everyone involved, and are even willing to face things like occasional sexual frustration and criticism in order to make the sex that happens more mutually enjoyable.

    • NeuroNerd

      Margaret Atwood just did an AMA on Reddit. When someone asked her who the inspiration for Serena Joy was, she responded “No one in particular, but in general she was inspired by the women who make a career out of telling women to not have careers.”

      My first thought was Debi Pearl.

    • Ahab

      Debi would have made an very effective Aunt in Gilead.

      • Rosa

        Can you imagine how free and fulfilled she would feel as an Aunt? OMG the relative autonomy AND the power to enforce her authority on others.

  • Squire Bramble

    “What can I do to help you, Adam?”
    “Pick up the other end of that log, and help me move it over here.”
    “What should my next project be, Adam?”
    “Have my dinner ready every evening, and take good care of my little ones.”
    “That is a very strong fence you are building, and the gate looks nice. I am so proud of you, Adam. What would you like now?”
    “Take your clothes off real slow so I can watch . . . . Yeah, you’re a fine help meet.”

    Worst.Fanfic.Ever. That said, this dialogue is…intriguing.

    These are the only two people on the planet. Driven from the garden. Cursed to delve and spin. But now, Adam is building a fence with a “nice” gate. Huh.

    T-Rex kept at bay by logs erected by two people, but you need a “nice” trellised gate for when Mr Badger and Mrs Squirrel come to tea? Still – they have enough time for a healthy sex life, so that’s something, I suppose. Awfully decent of T-Rex and the other carnivores to respect the gate.

  • Sally

    “or not healed right down there ”
    I don’t know if this refers to healing after childbirth or healing after sex. If it’s the latter, the wife needs to see a gynecologist who specializes in pain with intercourse. Debi doesn’t even acknowledge that the woman see any kind of doctor (or be allowed to heal after childbirth, whichever it is).

    • ZeldasCrown

      I was also thinking that it could go either way. If her husband is too rough with her, or starts too quickly so she’s not “ready to start” until after it’s over (if at all), or any number of things that would make sex painful, would all be quite understandable why a wife would come up with “excuses”. If a husband supposedly loves his wife, how does he reconcile that with purposely hurting her? I’d bet the “letter-writer” hasn’t tried anything to help his wife out, such as talk about what works or doesn’t, or help out around the house so she isn’t so tired (or if she has chronic backaches, go to a doctor to see if there’s something to be done about that).

      Plus, Debi completely ignores (or is totally ignorant of) that there are things a woman can do to “help her husband out” that don’t involve her vagina.

      • Baby_Raptor

        Pretty sure she ignores it.

        In the version of fundiedom I was raised in, everything except PIV sex was considered sodomy. And I’ve heard of this attitude from lots of other people.

      • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

        Which is weird, because there are sections in Michael’s book when he talks about doing things to make the woman happy. Like he says a man can’t be sexually fulfilled until his wife is, too.

      • ZeldasCrown

        I guess it’s just yet another way in which Debit and Michael paint their marriage in completely different ways. Although, how aware is Michael to know real from faking it? I’m sure Debi seems “into it” in the moment, but based on her book, how much of that is real? I suspect there’s a lot of manipulation from both sides in their marriage to make the other one think that things are one way when they actually aren’t (in pretty much everything). I doubt either has an accurate view of their marriage.

      • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

        That’s what I couldn’t understand. Debi’s book says Michael approved every word, so how could he not know? Having both books together makes my head hurt. :S

      • ZeldasCrown

        Trying to reconcile the two makes my head hurt too. I will say, though, that Debi’s book plays right into Michael’s hand. “Honey, you said in your book that you have to do whatever I want all the time, so hop to it.”

        I would bet that Debi hasn’t read Michael’s book (or at least not openly). She’s probably not allowed to, judging by the admonishments in Michael’s book for any wife reading it.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Not only that, but WTF was with Michael saying how sensitive Debi is, and how she “feels their pain,” etc.? I mean, seriously?!?

        Micah: My wife won’t have sex with me because she says it, uh, hurts and stuff.

        Debi: How dare you not put out, Mrs. Micah! Go have sex with your husband NOW!

        Somehow I’m missing which part is the sensitive part?

      • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

        Perhaps sensitive in compared to Michael? Though I don’t see his advice being any different in this example. :S

      • Mary C

        Lol that is exactly what I was thinking! Michael thinks anyone who even notices another person has feelings is empathetic.

      • Amtep

        She feels Micah’s pain, that’s what counts!

    • Jayn

      Yeah, I thought Libby was being more generous than I would be, because my first thought was that it meant from the previous sexual encounter as well. I can see a man being frustrated at having to wait until she heals from childbirth to resume sex (although, still, BACK THE FUCK OFF and let her be!), but if it’s from sex itself then something’s very wrong and she needs to either find a good doctor or a nicer husband.

      • Things1to3

        I have had this issue for many years with my husband. I have to be in the right “mind space” for sex and with children coming so soon after we were married we’ve never had time for more than quickies. It took me three years and lots of talking to finally teach him how to help me orgasm. I finally, about six years into our marriage discovered personal lubricant so I don’t chafe and spot blood after sex. My spouse still tells me that if I were better hydrated it wouldn’t be a problem. What he doesn’t know is that I spend a lot of time keeping myself in a state of artificial arousal (porn is SO my friend) so that when he wants sex, I can be ready, get done and move on.

      • persephone

        Your situation sounds miserable. I’m finally away from my abusive ex who demanded and coerced and threatened me into sex at least once, often more, times a day, and then would blame me if it didn’t meet his porn-fueled, drug-inspired dream.

        I’m going to try to believe that the other parts of your marriage are so good they make up for the forced sex, but I can’t believe that they do.

        I hope things get better for you.

      • Things1to3

        I’m finally away from my abusive ex who demanded and coerced and
        threatened me into sex at least once, often more, times a day, and then
        would blame me if it didn’t meet his porn-fueled, drug-inspired dream.

        I’m so sorry you were in that situation! I didn’t mean to give the impression that my spouse forces me in any way. We both came into marriage from places of profound ignorance, neither of us knowing what we wanted much less how to satisfy each other. Then kids were added into the mix almost immediately (we were both raised Abstinence Only and were each others firsts. I was his first and only girlfriend and he was my second boyfriend ever), on top of uncertain job situations and a serious lack of support structure for me. (I’d been away at college for five years.) We communicate well, and we do a lot of compromising, but it’s hard to work a solution when you yourself don’t know what you want, much less how to get it.

        We are good friends and balance each other well and we’re both really bad at sex. (I’ve spent at least seven years learning to give him a blowjob and I haven’t gotten him off more than twice in all that time) But we’re learning and, for me, as long as we’re making forward progress, I can live with that.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        Don’t worry too much about the lack of orgasms with oral. Our culture makes it seems like oral is better than vaginal, from a guy’s perspective, but I’ve known several men who have a hard time orgasming from oral, because as it enjoyable as it feels, it’s still a lower amount of stimulation required for most male orgasms.

      • Kamil Kukowski

        don’t forget a BJ is the most disgusting thing a woman could do

      • MI Dawn


        I’m sorry. Giving my lover a blow job is one of the most FUN and wonderful things I can do. We have great sex – oral, vaginal, aural…. Anything that consenting adults want to do is not disgusting.

        I’m sorry you are so blind.

        MI Dawn

      • Helix Luco

        i don’t like the idea of performing oral sex on a man either, but commenting on the “disgustingness” of it is inappropriate. people negotiate sex acts for themselves with their partners, and judging another person’s choices is failing to respect their bodily autonomy.

      • Lyric

        I thought it was sarcasm, tbh.

      • Helix Luco

        augh, you’re probably right

      • Kamil Kukowski

        I never said I was judging another couple’s preferences, i was just voicing my personal opinion on the matter

      • Anat

        Then why did you use the wording you chose? You stated it as though it was a fact that everyone should know and obviously agree to.

      • Anat

        Huh? If you don’t like it, maybe don’t do it. Some of us really enjoy giving oral sex. And don’t find anything to be disgusted about.

      • Kamil Kukowski

        I’m a straight guy

      • Anat

        Well, if you find oral sex disgusting then don’t have any. Stay out of other people’s lives.

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        I am so sorry, that is awful! There’s a lot of issues that affect dryness, and telling you that you should be “better hydrated” is ridiculous. Circumcised penises cause more friction, and it’s incredibly common for women having sex with circumcised men to need lubrication even if they don’t when having sex with uncircumcised men. Size can also be an issue. So can just individual variation in women. So can the absence of proper foreplay. Needing lubrication is NOT “a problem.” It’s just part of sex for many people and in many situations.

        I’m also very concerned that your view of sex is that it’s something to just “get done and move on” whenever he wants it. I don’t want to intrude on your marriage or be the busybody telling you what’s what, but from my outside perspective, that does not sound like a healthy dynamic.

      • Things1to3

        I’m also very concerned that your view of sex is that it’s something to just “get done and move on” whenever he wants it.

        It’s not so much “get done and move on” when he wants it so much as I tend to view sex as sensory manipulation designed to release feel good hormones. I recently stumbled upon the terms demisexuality and asexuality, and I think I fall between the two of those. Sex doesn’t do much for me and it takes me a long time to get into the right head space to enjoy it. We’re both so busy that I do the prep work ahead of time so we can both enjoy what we can when we can. For me, its not any more significant (and sometimes much less) than spending the time to cook a nice meal for us to enjoy together.

        I threw that post out there as a personal anecdote illustrating a situation where a woman could be sore from previous sex. I think you did a much better job listing the many possible reasons. :-)

      • Rebecca Horne

        I’m also asexual, in a sexual relationship. What’s helped in my case is teasing out the specific aspects of sex that I do enjoy and figuring out how to play those up, even if “sex,” as whole entity doesn’t appeal to me all that much.
        By specific aspects, I mean, for example, just enjoying simple touch; or having sex in a way that makes you feel “dominant” or “submissive” (whichever side you enjoy, if you enjoy either at all–oral sex is convenient in that respect, as it can feel either way, if you’re up for doing or receiving it).
        If you can find things about it that you do like, you can arrange for those things to be at the fore, and start getting more out of it.
        Or…I might just be bandying about unsolicited and unnecessary advice.

      • Turtle

        “My spouse still tells me that if I were better hydrated it wouldn’t be a problem.”

        I drink loads of water a day and it’s made no difference at all to my vaginal dryness. I recommend Replens.

      • TheCarolineEntity

        That was my first thought too. I’m still…dumbfounded as using either one of those as “just another one of those excuses women come up with!”

    • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

      While I agree with your general gist, the idea that something must be wrong with *her* if she’s in pain after sex is… problematic. This guy does not strike me as a considerate lover. He comes home and demands sex – he’s presumably ready to go, but is she? And does he really strike you as the kind of person who is going to take the time to make sure she’s fully ready before he penetrates?

      Going dry with no preparation is going to hurt anyone, and it is NOT a physical issue with the woman.

    • Nea

      Later, Debi’s gonna snap about “don’t tell ME about pain.” Methinks that Michael’s been at her before she’s healed; we know he was all over her on their wedding night to prove something to another guy rather than consider her pleasure. Yet again, because she has survived the abuse, it is normal and everyone should live like that.

  • https://aaatheist.blog AAAtheist

    In an alternate, better universe than PearlWorld …

    Dear Micah:

    I am in a dilemma and I need you to listen to what I say and know that it is true. You think that I think you’re a sex pervert because you want sex more often than I do. I don’t. You aren’t being sensitive to my needs when I say I don’t want sex and you insist on what you want most of the time. Because of this, I’ve had sex with you when I didn’t want to and that experience has left me feeling absolutely horrible. Telling me men’s sexual desires are akin to eating makes me feel like hamburger or a steak and discourages me from wanting to have sex with someone so insensitive. I want you to love me and respect my feelings and needs, despite our mismatched sex drives.

    There are very few times when I feel like having sex with you. That’s because I’m exhausted from taking care of our child. I’ve developed chronic back pain from all of the housework and childcare I’m expected to do that you don’t help with at all. Plus, I haven’t fully healed from childbirth. Checking out other women in my presence and claiming it’s my fault is making me love you less and less each day.

    Pressuring me constantly for sex is a huge turnoff for me. It makes me wonder if, in the future, I’d have to threaten you with bodily injury to accept my refusal. Sometimes, in bed, I just want you to hold me without thinking that inevitably it must lead to sexual intercourse. I know that you and I were raised with a very particular idea of what ‘family’ is, but this lifestyle seriously compromises my self-respect as a woman. The Pearls have given us spectacularly bad advice and I would appreciate it if you no longer asked them for help with our marriage. Going forward, I’m willing to make certain compromises (that I surreptitiously learned about outside of our culture, not within it) if you are equally willing to do the same, not threaten affairs if I tell you ‘no’ or ‘not right now’, plus share the housework and parenting duties. Believe it or not, I have physical feelings too, and I think they could increase for you if you pay attention to my emotions and what I’ve just told you. Otherwise, for my sanity, we may just have to part.

    Your wife

    • Ahab

      :: hits the ‘like’ button maniacally ::

      Yes. THIS. Perfectly worded.

      • https://aaatheist.blog AAAtheist

        Aw shucks, Ahab, you just made my day.   : – )

  • Ymfon

    “to a man sex is just like having to eat”

    Dear Debi Micah,

    This is me after six months without sex:
    “Hmm, I’d really like to hook up with someone.”

    This is me after six months without food:
    *lies dead on the floor*

    These two needs are NOT THE SAME.

    • purr


  • M.S.

    I think this has been the worst part of this book yet… Debi is doing serious harm to women here. IMO all normal relationships go through both dry spells and great spells in a sex life. Being available 24/7 sexually is NOT part of the wife gig. And, in particular, a wife does not feel sexual post-partum, while recovering from delivery and breastfeeding 24/7. This is not a free pass to cheat.

  • Shiny

    I still have this overwhelming sexual need that drives me until it is satisfied.

    Say it with me. Mas-tur-bat-ion.

    Seriously, if you need an orgasm that bad then go give yourself one and stop being a whiny sex-pest.

    I tried to explain to her that she is setting me up for temptation, and that really set her off

    The only person responsible for who you look at, Micah, is you. I don’t care if they were walking around stark naked and they are all Playboy models, if you don’t want to be tempted by them then you don’t need to check them out.

    know I could if I wanted to

    I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. If one partner does not want to have sex you shouldn’t even be considering it.

    • Jolie

      I’m seriously wondering how much the ‘all men are sexual predators with raging hormones’ mentality has to do with the same purity culture not allowing boys and men to take the matter in their own hands, should they find themselves with a sexual urge but without a consenting partner.

      • Ismenia

        Also he needs to accept that actually its normal to feel desire for an attractive person (especially if you’re horny) and not worry about it. If he didn’t see natural feelings as sinful then maybe he could be less hung up about temptation and more senstive towards his wife. As for the Shiny’s comment on masturbation, when Debi talked about “right-hand woman” I couldn’t help but snigger.

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        Right. It’s the idea that you can sin with your eyes. If he’s looking at a woman, it’s as if he’s cheated, which makes him a disgusting perverted adulterer. No one likes to believe these things about themselves, so he’s projecting, he’s blaming his wife for making him into the disgusting perverted adulterer so that he doesn’t have to face the idea that he did that all on his own.

        Add to that the prohibitions on masturbation and the “pornography addiction” bs and you have a recipe for destructive sexual views.

        (Where was the thing about Michael Pearl talking about how to talk to his daughters’ potential suitors, and one of the main questions he says to ask is when they last looked pornography?)

      • Shiny

        Because obviously everybody answers truthfully when their potential girlfriend’s father asks when they last looked at porn.

      • Jolie

        Tee hee hee… I missed that-one.

      • Nea

        Of course! That would be impurity. Also, extremely hard (heh) for the men to dump guilt on women. By refusing an outlet to the guy, they control the guy and blame the woman at the same time. (Plus, bonus chances to knock her up as often as possible.)

    • brbr2424

      I was very unhappy when Bill Clinton caved on his pick for attorney general because the doctor suggested that masturbation was a healthy alternative to teen sex.

      • https://aaatheist.blog AAAtheist

        The Jocelyn Elders fiasco. I was wondering when someone was going to bring that up here. Yeah, no better example of conservative politics / religious fundamentalism having a chilling effect on the federal government.

      • Trollface McGee

        Yep – especially since that would do more to reduce teen pregnancy and STDs than all the fundie abstinence programs.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      The “I know I could if I wanted to” just sprang out at me. “Micah” (I almost typed Michael, probably for a reason!) seriously thinks he is someone that any woman would love to bonk!

      • Helix Luco

        or he’s implying that he could force himself on his wife, since right in the same sentence he was talking about how insufferable it was to see his wife naked or lie in bed next to her without having had an orgasm immediately prior.

  • http://Thechurchproject.me/ Tracey

    This mentality is what prompted me to stay quiet and stay put in a bad relationship. I’m going to describe this relationship and dunno if comments need warnings or what but here goes. I was raised Catholic and him Methodist. This idea that men need and women give must be tucked into our mentality as a society so seamlessly- no ever taught me this. About him I don’t know. “I need this,” was his go to line. I rarely found ways to refuse. Our relationship ended shortly after one such refusal. I said no due to pain (I have since been to a doctor) and he was so upset he said something extremely twisted. He told me he was considering using me anally, the implication being without my permission. It’s really hard to write this because I feel like such a fool for going along with that crap for so long. But I thought it might be important to write that yeah, dudes like Micah exist. Even as boyfriends. At least I didn’t have to go through any legal proceedings to leave this guy.

    • Rilian Lunsford

      I went along with it for 2 years. Because he told me we should “compromise”. I said at first we should only do what we BOTH want to do, but he said if we did that then I’d be getting everything I wanted and he’d be getting hardly anything he wanted and that wouldn’t be fair. So we should compromise. I should do some things I don’t want to do because he will also not-do some things he wants to do. But his wants were ever-expanding. So I just kept doing more and more, because I didn’t know how to refute his “compromise” argument, and he would back it up with “i need to be fulfilled in the relationship too”, “if you love me..”
      (and i am noticing this behaviour in myself with current person i’m dating and ewwwww i need to stop that. I don’t do it with sex, I do it with other stuff, but is it really that different?)
      Anyway, ex monster also pushed me down and raped me 3 times and he won’t even say it, he will say “I know what I did was wrong” but he won’t call it rape.
      The times when I said “ok” after hours of “convincing” were no less terrible. i still have pain from all of that and i worry that something is really wrong. doctor said i was ok though.

      • https://aaatheist.blog AAAtheist

        I never know what to say in these circumstances except “be well.” Be as well as you can be under the circumstances. Take care of yourself and know that none of it was ever your fault. You were involved with a narcissistic, gaslighting sociopath that you are well rid of.

      • Rilian Lunsford

        “You were involved with a narcissistic, gaslighting sociopath that you are well rid of.” I know that now! Also I think he’s a sadist. He would look happy when I was sad or in pain. He licked my tears off my face.

      • http://Thechurchproject.me/ Tracey

        As to finding yourself repeating that pattern with your current relationship, I had similar problems. It took me a long while to get out of that -yield and shut up- mode. My partner is very conscientious of this and gives me reminders- “No I don’t NEED this.” And he is secure in that I’m not making a comparison between them. It helps that we communicate often and thoroughly.

  • Lunch Meat

    I’ve told this story before in the comments to other blogs, so forgive me if you’ve heard it already. (trigger warning for painful sex)

    When I got married, my husband had had one sexual partner before me, but I was a virgin. I had never used any kind of sex toy or even a tampon. Our wedding night, predictably, ended in tears. It was so painful I couldn’t stand it; he couldn’t even successfully penetrate me without me reflexively pushing him away. After that, because I was expecting pain, it was extraordinarily difficult for me to relax enough to let him in. It took a few months before sex wasn’t painful and several months before I actually started to enjoy it. This was frustrating not only for the obvious reason but also because I have a fairly high sex drive and I wanted to enjoy it. We only got through it because Husband was willing to wait and not do anything I wasn’t absolutely comfortable with and because he did his level best to find what I liked and do that. Because of that I was willing to keep trying.

    I shudder to think what would have happened if either of us was raised in a slightly more conservative environment, if I had been taught that it would always be painful and it was my job to do it anyway, or if he had been taught that it was his right to have whatever he wanted. And the sad things is, this does happen to countless other couples.

    • Jolie

      I’ve been exactly there with my ex-boyfriend, minus the marriage part (though we were in a very serious relationship and had been for more than a year when we first tried). Even with him being all wonderfully patient and 100% supportive, it took me nearly 6 months between when I first tried having sex and when I first succeeded. I remember the feeling of my brain very much wanting sex and my vagina just refusing it; and I did get quite angry at my own body for it.

      Also, I think this may have a lot to do with attitudes towards masturbation; the thing is that oftentimes, the only thing you can do to cure vaginismus is to gradually accustom your vagina to having something inside, with fingers or sex toys. If you feel awkward and guilty about the idea of doing it, it’s not going to help

  • Charley

    This post reminded me of something I saw the other day in a different context, a place that is usually a feminist safe-space and all about empowering women. The comment was about how porn just doesn’t compare to an actual woman, or something like that. But it squicked me and I wasn’t able to articulate why. Put together with this (because I was raised to believe much what Debi puts forth in this section) it makes more sense. Porn is porn, and if you have a need for orgasm it’s always available. Women are people. Making porn sound like the poor substitute for a woman degrades women, making them into objects you (need to) use to meet your sex needs. And it encourages men to get coercive, because they’re such losers if they have to resort to porn. It’s the dysfunction Debi is promoting here, translated into secular lingo. I think.

    • Scott_In_OH

      And it encourages men to get coercive

      I think you’re right. They can reject Shiny’s recommendation (9/27 at 9:30 AM) and go back to bleating that men need sex–with a real woman, not a toy or a hand.

      I also think the point that these attitudes, or attitudes very similar to them, permeate secular society is very, very important.

      • Charley

        I won’t even guess at whether the attitudes were originally cultural or religious, but they are pervasive. What really pisses me off about seeing them in the religious context is they’re sold as the antidote to the problems in the larger culture, when they’re really just the same thing dressed up in Bible verses. And sometimes (as with the Pearls’ books) they’re even worse.

  • Baby_Raptor

    My boyfriend and I went an entire year without sex. Matt must be some sort of sex drive god. /sarcasm

  • http://postnuclearera.wordpress.com/ Katherine

    I’m doing my morning blog reading, and Sarah Over the Moon made an excellent point this morning that these ideas are NOT exclusive to quiverfull, or fundamentalist, or even just plain CHRISTIAN, circles, they are present in more watered down forms in mainstream culture.

    I can remember being sixteen, and considering myself a feminist (me reading Backlash pissed a lot of people in my life off) and joking with my boyfriend about women who use “headaches” as “excuses” not to have sex. It makes me feel sick now.

    If he wanted to try something new and I didn’t want to, I had to give REASONS, no was not enough. And the. The reasons weren’t enough, and I was reminded that I couldn’t know whether or not I enjoyed something until I tried it. If something sounded gross to me, I was being prudish, allowing my pesky female conditioning to affect my sex life when I should have known better. Yuck yuck yuck.

    Maybe some of these married Christian ladies would want sex more if they were allowed to have feelings, to sometimes have sex that was about having THEIR needs met, or to say no when they wanted to.

    • Jolie

      Just wondering: if you wanted to try something new and he didn’t, how did he react?

      • http://postnuclearera.wordpress.com/ Katherine

        This was all a decade or so ago, so I’m trying to remember, and I can’t recall it ever happening in that order. In reality, I was somewhat sexually repressed (for one thing, I was forcing myself to date men when I DESPERATELY wanted to be with women) but I still think my “no”s should have been respected more. I can see how our sex life may have been frustrating for him, and he truly believed he was helping me “break out of my shell” but when someone is DEEPLY uncomfortable with a sexual action “well, just give it one try!” Isn’t the way to go…

    • Lunch Meat

      Yeah, when I started having sex and it hurt so much, I thought I was a bad feminist because liberated women are supposed to enjoy sex all the time. Not that I had heard that from any actual feminists, but it does permeate culture.

      • Miss_Beara

        I don’t enjoy it at all. It hurts to freakin much and it feels like I am suffocating. I don’t know if it is a physical or mental thing. My boyfriend and i do other things but I do feel kind of bad and he feels just as bad. Bad for it hurting and being extremely unpleasant, not in a “i don’t care if it hurts!” way.

        Here is an article I ran across recently that relates to that… it is kind of long:


    • Alix

      I had to give REASONS, no was not enough.

      That’s something pervasive in a lot of American culture, though, at least where women are concerned. (Can’t speak to other cultures.) It was a perennial source of frustration for me as a kid: I was never allowed to just refuse to, say, go hang out with someone; I had to give reasons, but if I lied it was a bad thing… Gah.

      “No means no” applies to everything, not just sex.

      Also, was it here someone posted a link to an article about how “indirect nos” (i.e. demurring with an excuse) are usually interpreted correctly as “no” unless a man is trying to pressure a woman into something – at which point men who are ordinarily quite able to parse indirect nos correctly suddenly pretend they’re unable to understand subtext? (I’ve lost the article link or I’d link it.) It was … kind of nice, to see people proving what we’ve all already known, given how often the “taking an indirect no literally” trick gets used.

      • Jolie

        Also, in some circles at least, women are culturally encouraged to ‘play coy’ and give a few ‘indirect no’s’ when they really mean ‘yes’.

        This is why I think a woman’s right to say ‘no’ (including -if I can say so, the right to her indirect no’s being correctly recognised as ‘no’) is so connected to her right to say ‘yes’; and the consciousness (both hers and people around her’s) that she can say ‘yes’ when she wants to.

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        Cosmo is horrible for this. You’re never allowed to just tell your partner what you want, you always have to play coy, make him ask, then make him ask again…

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        Because straight answers are boner-killers? Or something?

      • purr

        Boner killing makes God sad!

      • Lunch Meat

        My husband hates it when I act coy, even if I’m just teasing him.

      • Alix

        That’s a very good point. And honestly? It is … kind of hard to blame a man for thinking women’s excuses/indirect nos mean yes when that’s exactly what they often mean in their subculture.

        Let me be clear: I am in no way excusing rapists, or anyone else who assaults people. But, well, if you’re told all your life – and confirm this by life experience – that “green” means “yellow,” you’re not going to assume that green means green when encountering the more common usage for the first time.

        …This is why the whole “playing coy” thing creeps me out, fwiw. It’s practically designed to make women into victims – because it means no one can know whether their statements really mean no or are really yeses. (What the hell is the plural of “yes”?)

      • Ymfon
      • Alix

        Yup! Thanks!

        I need to keep my links better organized, really. XD

      • HedgieButt
      • Alix

        That’s the one, thank you.

  • Alexis

    Is anyone else noticing how eerily similar a name ‘Micah’ is to ‘Michael’? Just sayin’… Freudian slip, maybe?

  • Ahab

    You know, sex in the Quiverfull/Christian Patriarchy culture must suck, abysmally. There’s no concept of enthusiastic consent, sexual compatibility, sensuality, or real emotional connection during sex. It’s just depicted as an itch than boorish men need to scratch, and a household chore that wives must perform. Where’s the pleasure or intimacy in that? No thanks.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      I was a fundie and yes, IT SUCKS VERY BAD. I spent most of my early adulthood thinking I just wasn’t very sexual, but the reality was I’d just never ever had decent sex, so of course I didn’t ever want to have sex–it was always guaranteed to suck, after all. I hated sex, or at least what I thought was sex. I didn’t even know how to masturbate. I didn’t even know what an orgasm *was* let alone what it felt like. The whole time, my disgusting husband (a preacher) was crowing about how awesome married sex was in our religion and how sex-positive it was (for married people of course) and how his god made sex soooo much more fulfilling and wonderful and everything, but at home we had a typical fundie sex life–he’d beg, plead, and occasionally force his way into sex, and I’d do everything I could to forestall it or push it away. It was a war almost every night, one we both lied about during the day. I literally didn’t know any better; I thought that’s how everybody’s marriage was, and Christian literature like this book reinforces that concept all the time. “Men are from Mars” does the same thing, just in fancier language; Debi takes the full-frontal assault tactic, but she’s not saying anything different from her apologetics peers.

      Anybody who thinks fundie guys want virgins for any other reason than that non-virgins might know they suck in bed and expect better treatment is only fooling him/herself. It’s got almost nothing to do with virgins being “pure;” I’ve heard with my own two pretty ears Christian young men talking about feeling threatened and insecure about their future partners–women they had not even met yet, mind you–having experience. It wasn’t impurity they felt threatened by; it was being with someone who had more experience than they had.

      • purr

        The whole time, my disgusting husband (a preacher) was crowing about how awesome married sex was in our religion

        Your story reminds me of that FLDS preacher from Texas who is now in jail for life. He had 12 year old girls shipped to him from Canada. He then tape recorded himself preaching to them about how sex with him is what God wants. And how they can only get close to God if he forces himself on them.

      • Ahab

        Captain Cassidy — What a horrible way to live, day after day. I’m sorry you had to endure that from your husband. I was alarmed when you wrote that he used force, as there is no excuse for marital rape.

        Are you and your preacher husband still together, or did you free yourself from his indignities?

      • LadyCricket

        “I spent most of my early adulthood thinking I just wasn’t very sexual, but the reality was I’d just never ever had decent sex, so of course I didn’t ever want to have sex–it was always guaranteed to suck, after all. I hated sex, or at least what I thought was sex. I didn’t even know how to masturbate. I didn’t even know what an orgasm *was* let alone what it felt like.”

        That’s pretty much the situation I’m in right now. I bought a vibrator on the sly once (accidentally broke it without having used it much at all) and I couldn’t even get it in, it hurt so much. Once I made myself twitch by using it on the outsidey parts, but, wow, I can’t even make myself orgasm using a device made for that purpose. What the literal fuck am I doing? (Just for context – I haven’t so much as kissed someone in a romantic context)

      • BiSian

        BTW it’s very common for women to need lots of simulation on the “outside parts” to orgasm. I suggest you keep trying 😉

      • Liz

        Start with your hands and go from there. If you’ve never used a vibrator before or had an orgasm that might be a little to much stimulation for you. And just remember, it takes practice to figure it out. It took me years to get into a routine where I knew that if I did XYZ then I’d generally have an orgasm.

        http://www.scarleteen.com/article/body/with_pleasure_a_view_of_whole_sexual_anatomy_for_every_body <– this is a good resource to learn about your body and how it functions. The more you know the easier it'll be :-)

        Good luck!

      • angharad

        I had the same problem when I first started trying to have PIV sex. Fortunately my partner was very patient, and once I was both turned on and relaxed enough, it happened much more easily.

      • Whitney Cox

        I know it’s got ‘teen’ in it, but can I recommend to you the great folk at http://www.scarleteen.com/ ? I know some of the people who answer questions there, and they’re absolutely the best folk to given solid advice about literal fucks.

      • Alix

        Seconding the recommendation.

        On a slight tangent: you know what made me fall in love with that site? I mean, not just decide it’s useful, but really made it my go-to resource I recommend to people?

        They are the first site about exploring sexuality and informing people about sexuality I ever ran across that treated asexuality respectfully. And not even just respectfully – their info on asexuality’s as good as the rest of the info on that site.

        It is damn rare that I find a site with advice about sex, sexuality, understanding anatomy, and so on that doesn’t also alienate me when I’m looking for info. Major props to them for doing it right.

        *cough* End tangent. Sorry.

      • LadyCricket

        Weeelllll, um, I still live with my parents, and this computer has a web filter that I don’t have the password to. But that is solid advice.

  • onamission5

    My interpretation of Debi’s take on marital sex, in a nutshell: A) It is fine for husbands to rape their wives. B) If you don’t enjoy your own rape, you are a horrible person and a failure as a woman and neither your husband nor god will love you any more.

    Like I said before, I can’t see anything resembling empathy from her, just projection. Projection that is horrible and sad and tragic, given the subject.

    • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

      The name of the letter writer is making me think this is more than just projection, more autobiographical.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      and C) If you do refuse this rape somehow, not only are you a bad person but your husband will leave you for a stripper and you will die alone in an apartment in a ghetto while he parties up with his new stripper wife.

    • purr

      You also have to enjoy the forced pregnancies that may result. Anything else will make you a selfish non-woman.

  • DigitalAngel3

    OMG!! this passage has seriously screwed me over! I read this as a young, naive Christian wife during my “try-to-be-the-best-christian-wife” phase. Now 10+ years later after having gotten away from Christianity and growing upon a bit and realizing that marriage is a partnership not a dictatorship, this is still in the back of my mind. When I have an I’m-too-tired night and hubby is OKAY with that, yet when he rolls over and goes to sleep I’m up for the next few min trying to quiet these demons of doubt. The ones that say “oh, you didn’t satisfy your hubby, he might find someone who will satisfy him” ! Like seriously brain hubby loves me and is not going to cheat on me!! I so blame Debi and her book for those unhealthy doubts in my marriage.

  • onamission5

    Spouse and I started out like sex-starved bunnies in the first decade of our relationship. Both of us had high sex drives, a lot of experience, and as such, we were quite physically compatible, but this has started to wane over the past few years so that now, 13 years in, ever since my miscarriage, my sex drive has tapered off to practically nil. This is difficult for Spouse because his own sex drive hasn’t budged. He definitely wants more than we have in that regard, and sometimes he gets scared that I don’t find him attractive any more. So you know what he says to me? He says, “I love you and I will wait as long as is needed to for you to be in the mood because our relationship is built on more than sex and I’m in this with you for good.” and then he says “If there’s something bothering you, or anything I can do to help, I am here for you so just ask.” Then he hugs me and leaves me alone. Even if he’s really horny. Even if it’s been months. Even when he’s feeling super insecure about my feelings for him and desperately wants validation. He accepts me telling him verbally how I feel about him and showing him how much I care with other actions like trying to be a good listener; he does not want or need me to have sex with him in order to validate him when sex is the furthest thing from my mind.
    Because he’s not a rapist.

    • TLC

      You are a very fortunate woman to have such an understanding husband! Kudos to both of you for building the kind of relationship where this is possible. **turns green with envy — the good kind!**

    • Miss_Beara

      What a lovely husband you have!

      • onamission5

        Dashing the whole conservative Christian assumption that men won’t commit or show respect if women have sex with them before marriage, and also that you can’t have a healthy relationship without jesus, we’re neither legally married nor remotely religious!
        Yes he is wonderful, truly, madly, deeply. I think the whole “not a rapist” non-coercive part of his character is just basic human decency, though. Basic human decency that is entirely too uncommon as to be considered amazing when it happens. *sad*

      • Olive Markus


        We’re common-law married.. or something :D. I call him my husband anyway and he calls me his wife. We had to fill out some domestic partnership papers once, so we celebrate that anniversary by trying to remember every year exactly when we signed those papers!

        He wears a ring and I don’t.

        If we ever feel like it or need to for some reason, we’ll officially get married.

        All those who claim that a woman needs to trap a man through “purity,” virginity, religious ceremonies and paperwork for fidelity and support can go… well, you know what.

    • Rachel Heston-Davis

      And, ironically, the ability you have to communicate, and your freedom to say no, has obviously given you the space and safety to consider his feelings and be understanding of them (rather than being beaten over the head by a book author about how much empathy you should be having for him and how you should be gritting your teeth and smiling). When communication and respect enter the picture, both parties are able to feel safer AND understand their partner’s feelings better.

    • Olive Markus

      I’ve had very similar conversations with my husband. Just the other day, in fact, while talking about my hormonal imbalances, waning sex-drive and everything I’m doing to try to fix it, he simply said “Whatever you need, you know I’ll be with you.”

      My current problem sucks for both of us. I WANT to want more sex as much as he wants more sex. In the beginning of our relationship, I had the more active drive and I actually had to learn not to take his lower libido personally. And then things switched, and they switched fast. We’ve gone months without, as well, and he’s never done a single thing to pressure me. Ever. He can hug me and cuddle and touch and not feel as I’m obligated to be his sex toy because of it.

      For all of these religious people claiming that they build real relationships while we are no more than sex-crazed animals responsible for the destruction of the world, they are the ones with the most immature, shallow vision of marriage and relationships I’ve ever seen.

    • http://pro-abortion-rights.tumblr.com/ L.J.

      One of the moments that led me to decide to marry my husband was when, for some reason, a tryst didn’t go through as planned. Maybe I was menstruating heavily, I don’t remember. Since we were both busy and not cohabitating, opportunities for sex were rare and I was anxious that he would be disappointed. Instead he told me he was just glad we had met up; he liked me a whole lot more than he liked sex. And then we cuddled while I listened to this inner voice that told me this dude was a keeper.

      The thing that kills me is, isn’t that pretty much what evangelical Christian dating/courtship should be all the time? If there is a reason to keep sex out of the equation, isn’t it because you’re supposed to see the other person as a person in their own right and not a tool to fulfill your desires? (Just to be clear I’m not Christian and had sex before marriage, something I feel no guilt about. I’m just trying to see the premarital sex ban from an internal point of view.) So why do that restraint and respect fly out the window the moment you tie the knot and suddenly it’s okay to see one person as a thing or a means? Getting cognitive dissonance here like whoa.

  • TLC

    “You are a stupid, ugly, lousy wife, but I will still be a good husband and kiss you today.”

    How ironic for me that Debi uses this in the context of a woman refusing to have sex with her husband. My ex was, by his own confesion, addicted to pornography and masturbation — to the point that he could not perform sexually unless porn was playing. He had no interest in having sex with me — he was too busy with his cyberwomen. But the quote above is how he treated me, and how all of this made me feel. It took more than five years to get this out of my head after I left.

    I don’t think Debi realizes that there are women out here that want sex more than men. I think her brain cells would explode if she knew that.

    This passage shows how completely unrealistic are the promises of the purity culture: “If you wait to have sex until you’re married, you’ll instantly be ready for sex on your wedding night. Just flip off that light switch, and your “ready for passionate sex” switch will flip on, and STAY on, the rest of your life! And then you’ll be having sex like porn stars (not that we know what THAT looks like, wink wink). All it takes is some vows and a ring!” Um, no. It takes time to build intimacy and communication and trust and all the parts that make a good sexual relationship. All the parts that courtship does not allow to develop because there are too many people around and no time for privacy.

    Furthermore, the attitudes of Micah and Debi are completely unrealistic for this quiverfull culture. Maybe Micah’s wife hasn’t healed “down there” because she’s had six babies in eight years. Maybe she’s exhausted because she cooks massive meals, keeps an enormous house clean, and homeschools all these kids. And then she waits on her jerk husband hand and foot from the time he gets home to the time they go to bed. And she’s supposed to be swooning when she hits the mattress? Not in the real world!

    And Micah thinks he might fool around with the women at the office? Guess again! Those women probably know about his home life and his beliefs on submission, and think he’s a sexist pig. He probably treats those female co-workers like that, too.

    Micah, pull your head out of your nether regions and take a long, realistic look at the world. I don’t care what Debi and Michael say, you need to contribute much more to your marrige than income and sperm.

  • Rachel Heston-Davis

    “God’s ultimate goal is for you to meet your man’s needs.”—I just know lightning is going to strike Debi any minute. Really, Debi? So you’re going to ignore the whole Jesus/reconciliation/advancing the kingdom/forgiveness of sins thing and point to wifely obedience as God’s highest priority?

    Debi is confusing me even more than usual today. Why does she assume that all reasons why women are disinterested in sex are just “excuses” that aren’t true? What is her theory on the women’s ACTUAL motives? Does she believe that women just arbitrarily and maliciously decide to frustrate their husbands for no reason at all? If so, why does she believe that all women arbitrarily make that decision at about the same point in marriage?

    I don’t understand! This does not compute!

    She alludes to the woman “not wanting” the man, so I guess that’s what she thinks the real motive is? But then…why would all women suddenly stop loving their man at about the same point in marriage? I just don’t understand!

    I’m in agreement that this (probably imaginary) dude Micah should help with the housework and kids. Or divide it 50/50. Or, at the very very very least, why doesn’t he tell his wife to take a few days off from housework? Just say “Honey, why don’t you rest up for a few days? I don’t care if the house gets messy if it means we have enough energy to rekindle our intimacy.” What would be wrong with that, I ask you??

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      I don’t think for a heartbeat that a single one of these “letters” was really written by anybody but the author.

      • Rachel Heston-Davis

        Girl, I agree with you. There’s always a tell…something that sounds just a little fake-y. For this one, it was his vague, hand-wavey “or whatever excuse she comes up with” line, because it just played SO HANDILY into Debi’s later comments that all reasons are just excuses.

  • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

    “She is exhausted, or has a backache or not healed right down there or whatever she comes up with.”


    This dismissive “or whatever she comes up with” throwaway line is so telling. This is not a man who views his wife as a person who has needs of her own. This is a man who is yelling at his laundry machine because it often doesn’t get the stains out.

    • Lunch Meat

      This and the above comment remind me of people describing abortions as occurring for “reasons of convenience.” Women don’t actually have needs, wants, desires, plans, agency of their own, so when they don’t do what you want them to do, they’re just malfunctioning out of spite.

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        Or they’re being “selfish.” That’s the one I got hit with all the time when I wasn’t functioning like a proper Stepford Wife/RealDoll.

      • purr

        Women are expected to:

        1) rely completely on their husbands for everything

        2) be his sex toy

        However, if your husband forcibly impregnates you…YOU CAN’T GET AN ABORTION BECAUSE YOU SPREAD YOUR LEGS YOU DIRTY SLUT – CAN’T YOU JUST SAY NO?

        So women are essentially forced into a position of being sex slaves, then told that they are sluts and whores for…being a ‘godly’ sex slave like they were told to???

      • zoey

        hey those boys just can’t help themselves! /sarcasm

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        Of course. Can’t win for losing, can you? There’s nothing left to chance here at all. No matter what a woman does, she is punished.

    • Rilian Lunsford

      He would say to me that it just means I’m not actually attracted to him. If I were attracted I would want to all the time ne! And the other stuff that I said I would do but I tried to put it off because I would NEVER want to do it, it’s not about being in the mood it’s about me not having the same “kink” as him, anyway I would say I’m not ready, because I had to psyche myself up to it, you know? but he would call that an excuse, that i was just trying to get out of my “promise” to do it. He didn’t care if I wanted to do it, he just wanted to get as much as he could. That’s what the men are like that debbie talks about, they’re psychopaths. You have to keep your word! Even though your “word” was actually coerced out of you.

    • Pauline

      What the “whatever she comes up with” line (immediately following “not healed down there”!) actually made me think is… this dude’s a troll. I don’t know–he might not be! But it’s just so over the top.

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        I don’t know. On the one hand, I’m pretty sure that the Pearls heavily edit or even completely make up all of their letters. On the other hand, I’ve heard too many stories like this in my mother groups not to know that there are plenty of men like this. Hardly a week goes by without a mother saying that she’s nowhere close to having healed, she hasn’t even finished the “off limits” time prescribed by doctors, and her husband is whining that his “needs” aren’t being met.

        It’s like there’s this subset of men who have never heard of masturbation…

  • Nichelle Wrenn

    Being sexualy compatable with a future spose is a very important thing to ensure a smooth marriage. If I want sex every 2 months and my future husband ever 2 weeks it’s going to cause problems. This is something you recognize BEFORE marriage. If you are creating unrealistic expectations before marriage, like say, expecting your spouse to submit to your ‘sexual cycle’ rather than communicating that ahead of time to each other what that may be it’s going to cause problems. Open, honest COMMUNICATION is not easy but it goes a long way in forging a happy marriage. This book rarly mentions cmmunication and it make me worry for the future of any couples who use it as a guide.

    • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

      Yes and no. Being compatible before marriage doesn’t tell you anything at all about how compatible you’ll be 5 years down the road, or 10, or 15… Barring the most extreme issues, sexual incompatibilities tend to be fairly easy to work around as long as all parties involved have a solid relationship built on trust, communication, and respect.

      When my husband and I first became sexually active, we were totally compatible. We were young (in our mid teens) and full to our noses with libido. But then my sex drive started dropping when I went to university and was dealing with a lot of stress, and it took an even bigger nose dive after we had a baby. None of this has mattered to our relationship – even though he’s good to go pretty much all the time and I would quite happily go several months without sex. It hasn’t mattered because, as you say, we communicate, and we respect each other, and I do put extra effort into getting myself in the mood and he is content with a “I tried, sorry.” And because we have many non-sex-based avenues for intimacy, reducing our frequency of sex hasn’t impacted our relationship in any meaningful way.

      • Pauline

        Yeah, this is a good point. I’ve seen a good deal of change in sexual cycles. Health affects it, age affects it, stress, childbirth and children, yeah. Establishing enough trust that neither of you is touchy about the whole when-will-we negotiation is probably more important long-term than initial sexual-cycle compatibility (unless the incompatibility is extreme. I’ve read of men who “need” to do it twice a day, now I wouldn’t be down with that.)

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        Other extreme situations would include certain kinks. If one partner is *really* into anal and the other *really* isn’t, or one loves bondage, pain, rubber gloves, or rubber duckies, there could be an issue. But for the most part, human sexuality is very flexible and most people will be able to find a healthy compromise that addresses all needs in most situations.

      • Hilary

        Rubber duckies . . . . . ? I don’t wanna know.

  • http://www.letterboxd.com/gillianren/ Gillianren

    I’m now having the happy mental image of my doula “talking” to Debi about referring to pain as an excuse. She’d show Debi some pain. My doctor would, too, but my doula is a midwife, and I bet Debi prefers midwives to doctors. Oh, she wouldn’t listen to either of them, but it would have more of an impact from a midwife. Also I bet my doula can hit harder than my doctor.

    • Jolie

      In Romanian language, there’s a mild-ish swear idiom/euphemism which literally translates as ‘your midwife on ice’.

    • M

      My sis-in-law was a midwife for a long time. The image of her brilliant, 6-ft. self “talking” to Debi and that dude about taking vaginal pain seriously and waiting for proper healing is giving me fun giggles.

  • tatortotcassie

    This so perfectly dovetails with an article I read about a new book coming out that I’m just sick. The only difference between Michael Pearl and Joe Gorga is that Michael justifies his abuse with religion and Joe justifies his with . . . “I want so gimme”, I guess.


    • Lunch Meat

      The way I see it, if a wife is a puttana, her husband will never feel the urge to go outside the marriage to actual whores, or strip clubs.

      Actual whores”??? So we’re just, what, “technical” whores?

      • Jolie

        Side note:

        A lot of people (not limited to fundie culture) use the words “slut” and “whore” almost interchangeably. I, for instance, see them as opposites. (As in: a slut is a woman who unapologetically and proudly enjoys sex in and of itself; a whore is a woman who uses sex in order to obtain other things: money, power, fame, emotional manipulation of a partner, social status etc.) That exemplifies interestingly the differences between purity-based and consent-based sexual ethics

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        I noticed as well when I was fundie that women who valued sex were seen as intrinsically flawed; they were viewed with considerable suspicion. Something had to be wrong with them. Denigrating a woman for her sexual past or behavior is about as low as someone can go, but fundies don’t see anything wrong with it.

    • Liz

      I just read that article and it reminded me so strongly of the Pearls.

    • TLC

      OMG, I just clicked over. I had to stop when she said her husband thinks she doesn’t poop because she never does it around him. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

      • Things1to3

        I just finished the article and then moved over to Youtube and had this advertisement pop up.

      • TLC

        OMG! Now I’m gigglesnorting!

        When I was 8 months pregnant, my ex proudly declared at a party that we were going to have a child that didn’t poop. A woman at the party then told me about the “Everyone Poops” book. I got it for him for Christmas, which was a month before the baby was born. And yes, he poops!

  • Bobo

    Another reason this woman might not want sex (apart from the perfectly valid reasons she gives) is fear of another pregnancy. It seems unlikely that this reason would go over well in this subculture, or that reliable birth control would be considered acceptable. If I feared pregnancy with every sex act, but was ashamed to admit it, it would definitely squelch my libido and very likely cause me to come up with “excuses” not to have sex.

    • ZeldasCrown

      If one’s only option for birth control is to not have sex, and sex is seen as something a wife owes a husband, that puts women in this subculture who don’t want any more children (or even just don’t want children at all or a woman who has such a terrible time with pregnancy that it’s something she never wants to do again, even if she wouldn’t mind more children) in a tough place. I would also find any excuse I could to avoid sex (or severely limit its frequency) if I found myself in this situation.

  • tatortotcassie

    the only reason I can stomach reading this drek is that I’m half convinced “Micah” was trolling the Pearls and they didn’t realize it; and also that ridiculous dialogue with Adam reads like it’s got to be a parody. I feel much better if I view them like that.

  • Spectrall

    It’s a shame these two had kids, as it seems like it’d be best for them to just go their separate ways, like sexually incompatible people outside the Christosphere often do.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      In the Christosphere too–Christians, even fundagelicals like the Pearls, divorce about as often as anybody else, maybe more often. They just fancy up the reasons. “It wasn’t our god’s will” sounds a lot better than “we’re totally sexually incompatible.”

  • brbr2424

    Maybe the wife should use birth control so that she can enjoy sex without fear of getting pregnant.

  • Mary

    Does the issue of masturbation never come into play? Um….. sometimes, people have unmatched drives, and yes, it can go either way. In that case, you could guilt or pressure the lower-drive partner, you could tell the higher drive partner that they’re evil or dirty and to repress their natural urges, or……you could evaluate and communicate. Is the drive difference innate, or are there relational or lifestyle factors contributing? (e.g. for weeks, or sometimes months, after childbirth….dude. Not gonna happen. Your hand is your friend, and if you’re really nice your wife might even provide you with some…..artistic photos of herself to…help a brother out. Much hilarity may ensue. :) ) Are there medical/hormonal issues involved? Doctors are your friend. Is someone overworked/overcommitted? DOes someone need some basic sex ed/technical knowledge? Etc, etc. (ALso- sex can be more, or less, than intercourse. But how would you get into creative alternatives to work around issues for you and your partner if you’re not honestly communicating??!?!?) If the drive difference is innate, then you have two options- 1. End the marriage amicably, and this could be sad if you have kids and/or like each other otherwise, 2. Get creative/embrace self-gratification, or 3. Have an open marriage. (my personal beliefs prohibit me from recommending that last one, but depending on your beliefs it could be an option, as long as each partner’s health and safety is respected and no lying happens) While your partner of either gender should want you to have fun and should be respectful, your sexuality is ultimately your own. This is why it is so, so important to 1. Have comprehensive sex ed, and 2. To openly discuss sex and expectations, even if you choose to wait for sex until marriage, before you are married. If you can’t even discuss sexual issues with your partner in an affirming and healthy way, I cannot begin to imagine how you are going to have a healthy, intimate partnership.

    Just for the record, men having higher drives? BS.
    Men needing sex more? BS
    Faking it being good for your marriage? BS
    Having a partner whose ego is more fragile than your two year old’s? BS
    Having a partner who doesn’t care about @%$#%$#$ PAINFUL SEX or a HEALED VAGINA? SO, SO MUCH BS. I would advise that lady to separate, pending counselling, at the very least. Like, yesterday.

    • Lunch Meat

      I think Debi would disagree with you right at the beginning. See, “evaluating and communicating” places your feelings and thoughts above The Rules. If you start evaluating and communicating about whether this style of sexual relationship works for you, pretty soon you’ll be evaluating and communicating about whether you should be hitting your kids for having feelings, and then where would you be? No, better to follow all the rules and regard yourselves as dysfunctional if they don’t seem to be working for you. All you have to do is try harder.

      • mary

        Yep. So, so sad.

    • Charley

      But according to the fundigelical religious mindset, masturbation is a SIN. It says so in the Bible. Somewhere. I couldn’t actually find the verses. 😛 Adultery is a SIN. Divorce is a SIN. Therefore, the only options you have are to be silently miserable or guilt/coerce your partner into doing it when (s)he doesn’t want to. It’s a ridiculous and damaging mindset all the way around.

      • Mary

        Yep. I’m a CHristian, and I see nowhere in the Bible where it says that masturbation is wrong. Same thing with divorce. (That verse that people always quote about God “hating divorce?” Wrong. It says God hates a practice in which a man “put away” his wife without legally divorcing her, prohibiting her from marrying someone else but removing himself from any obligation to her. There is an organization fighting this practice in orthodox judaism even now. ) God hates injustice, not women’s rights. AT least that’s what I’m going with. Decent hermeneutics save lives, folks. :) If you think you must turn off your brain to be a christian, or religious in any way, that’s a sign that you are doing it wrong. (winces in preparation for lighting bolt striking my progressive butt…. j/k, j/k)


        (don’t agree with everything there, but there’s a beginners’ explanation of the divorce thing.)

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I think the masturbation thing is tied to the story of Onan and how you’re not supposed to spill seed or something.

        Not saying it makes sense or is a prohibition of masturbation per se. Just saying I think that’s where that prohibition traces back to.

      • Hilary

        You’d think, given that the Talmud was written by men for men, they’d have found some halachic loophole for masturbating. Like, it’s a sin under such specific circumstances that’s impossible to enforce actual . . . . ahem . . . practice.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I think they just prefer not to know. I’ve never been Orthodox, but I don’t think they harp on the anti-masturbation all that much?

      • TLC

        Amusing side note: my ex-brother-in-law used to be a UCC minister. He always swore that if he had the chance to go to an NFL football game, instead of holding up a sign that said John 3:16, he would hold one up that said Genesis 38:9, which refers to Onan spilling his seed. He loved the thought of people looking up the verse and wondering WTF? ;-D

      • purr

        It traces back to Onan, and Onan got in trouble for REFUSING to knock up his dead bro’s wife. IE, he DISOBEYED God, and that was the sin.

        Nothing whatsoever to do with beating one’s meat.

      • Mogg

        Interestingly, I’ve seen that particular story interpreted as uncharitable against the woman as well, in that a woman whose husband died needed a son or sons to care for her, and by refusing to knock up his brother’s wife he was also condemning her not only to social scorn for being childless, but also almost certain future poverty, with nobody to provide for her in a society where women had almost no way of supporting themselves. Bearing children was, according to this interpretation, absolutely vital for the woman, not just for the legacy of the dead man. I have no idea whether this isrealistic, but it certainly made me think again about exactly why a character like Onan might have been considered sinful or selfish in such a society.

      • purr

        Yep without male sons she has no rights of inheritance..of property…basically refusing to knock her up would leave her starving in the streets.

      • Jolie

        According to the Slacktivist, not only does it have nothing to do with spanking the monkey, but actually…. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/08/19/the-onanism-of-teavangelical-republicans/

        So… He refused to knock up his dead bro’s wife. Now, why did he need to knock her up? It’s because his brother’s line needed to be continued, so that the widow and child keep the dead husband’s share of the land. As a childless widow, she would be utterly dependent in that ancient
        economy, whereas a second wife with a firstborn son has hope for an economic future. The law mandating brothers to marry their brothers’ childless widows (but never the widows with children was part of the Ancient Jewish society’s safety net for widows.

        A Deuteronomy verse (check link if you want to see this-one) specifies that men who refused to marry and give children to their childless, widowed sisters-in-law were to be formally shamed, but by all means not killed. Onan was dealt a more severe sentence because he was guilty of a more severe crime.Not neglecting to provide for a childless widow, but trying to weasel out of that duty while at the same time exploiting the very woman he was duty-bound to help. Attacking the existence of a safety net rather than merely failing to do his part.

        Therefore, if, in contemporary America, you see women working full-time unable to raise their children without government assistance, and the policies you are supporting in response boil down to “cut food stamps and any other forms of social assistance, abolish minimum wage, allow employers to not cover birth control in health insurance as well as not to offer any paid parental leave- or even to fire pregnant women if they so wish; then go ahead and tell women they need to submit sexually to their husbands and they shouldn’t be working outside the home anyway”, then you are committing the sin of onanism.

      • Scott_In_OH

        On whether divorce is forbidden in the Bible, I think one can make a strong case. Matthew 5:32, for example, reads,

        But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

        At the very least, it sounds like re-marriage is not allowed (or only under certain circumstances). For the Catholic Church, an annulment of the first marriage is required.

        There’s also Matthew 19:6:

        So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.

        There are many, many people who interpret these and similar verses to mean that Jesus does not approve of divorce. (Which is not to say that’s the only possible interpretation, just that it’s a pretty mainstream one.)

      • purr

        jesus didn’t have a problem with people leaving their famlies in order to follow him though, did he?

        like, just walk away from your family…abandon them..

      • Scott_In_OH

        The prohibition on masturbation is less clearly from the Bible. The other commenters are right that the Onan story is sometimes interpreted this way, but it’s a bit of a stretch, to say the least.

        This is the Catholic excuse (from Persona Humana, Chapter 9 (1975):

        …[M]asturbation is an intrinsically and seriously disordered act. … Even if it cannot be proved that Scripture condemns this sin by name, the tradition of the Church has rightly understood it to be condemned in the New Testament when the latter speaks of “impurity,” “unchasteness” and other vices contrary to chastity and continence.

        Of course, Catholics are not as constrained to follow the Bible as are Protestants, especially conservative Protestants, so I’m not sure where those denominations get their teaching from, unless they agree with the Catholics’ loose interpretation of Scripture.

        Fundamentally, though, at least for Catholics, it all stems from the belief that the only time sex is OK is when it’s between a husband and wife and ends with ejaculation in the vagina. Starting from the premise can lead to some pretty sick conclusions.

      • TLC

        On masturbation: My church said it wasn’t the act that was a sin, but the “lustful” thinking that went along with it, because most people have sexual fantasies while masturbating.

        On divorce: Most fundagelicals believe there are two reasons for divorce as cited in the Bible.

        1) Adultery (Matthew 19: 8-9).
        2) When one spouse is not a Christian, and that spouse deserts the family (1 Corinthians 7:15)

        They say there are no other grounds for divorce — not even abuse. You are supposed to get a legal separation and “pray for your spuse to return.” Uh, not much help for keeping an abused woman and her children alive!

        Keep in mind that the conversation in Matthew 19 refers to the divorce laws Moses passed down which said a man could divorce a woman simply by handing her a letter and kicking her out. It was a pretty easy thing to do, and left women little recourse. (Deuteronomy 24: 1-4).

      • violingal

        Re: masturbation, I was always taught that it was wrong because of the verse in Matthew involving using your right hand to sin. (Obviously, only if you’re right handed?) This was in Southern Baptist circles, though.

  • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

    I am simply heartsick thinking of what kind of life Debi has that she thinks what she’s describing is a healthy relationship between two adults. What a disgusting, sickening mindset. I remember thinking that way too as a fundie. I’m so glad I’m out of that horrifying religion. The faster we can get this sick stuff out of our society, the faster we can end rape culture and marriages like the Pearls are happily forcing on other women in the name of their god. That poor woman. That poor, poor woman. It’s just sickening.

    Thank you for the trigger warning. I’m okay, but I can easily see this topic needing one. And I bet Debi wouldn’t even understand why.

  • purr

    Sounds like the plot of The Stepford Wives

  • lawrence090469

    The so called men Debi describes are such pathetic cripples. Such sniveling, entitled parasites. They couldn’t survive outside the artificial exotic atmosphere of the patriarchy.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      No self-respecting woman, Christian or not, would put up with these mewling man-children if it weren’t for artificial inflations of these men’s opinions and desires.

    • onamission5

      There’s nothing inherently pathetic about someone being crippled, so can we refrain from disparaging disabled folks by comparing them to Debi’s depictions of sniveling, entitled men?

    • Hilary

      So, would you read my analysis of Micah, posted a little after yours, and let me know what you think?

  • Carmen

    This might be kinda off topic, but I just finished re-reading Lysistrata, and I find myself seeing some parallels about men are viewed as entirely dependent on sex or they go out of their minds. The whole plot of Lysistrata is that the Greek & Spartan women get together and take an oath to swear off sex with their the men, while at the same time tempting them as much as possible, until they agree to end the war. The women agree that they will do their best resist their husbands and if they are forced to have sex, they will make sure their husband’s know they are being forced. Lysistrata explains that the men won’t enjoy sex like that (contrary to Debi’s idea). The women are victorious because the men become helpless idiots without sex. It seems to me that this idea that men need sex constantly or they can’t function has been around for a very long time.

    Interestingly, the women also have a hard time swearing off sex. Some have trouble just making the oath. There is a hilarious scene where many of the women try to sneak off from the Acropolis where they are barricaded. Each is caught, and gives Lysistrata different made-up excuses, my favorite of which was the women who said she was giving birth (“but you weren’t pregnant yesterday….why does your belly look and sound like a metal helmet?”). But the women are stronger than the men in being able to swear off sex, which is why they are ultimately victorious.

    • Carmen

      Sorry about the numerous typos in my post….end of a long, stressful week and I am not at my best.

    • Lyric

      Funnily enough, if I remember my humanities classes, the Greeks thought of women as the more sexual gender. So there’s an extra layer that a present-day audience doesn’t even see: “Guys, ending this war is so important that it would make women abstain from sex. Women. Abstaining. Think about that for a minute.”

      • purr

        Women were not allowed to view the Olympics because they would be too turned on by the sexy NAKED male athletes.

  • Carmen

    I wonder what this kind of thinking does to men who have difficulties with sex, for whatever reason. It is probably very messed up for them as well.

    • Hilary

      Probably would mess them up big time.

  • Hilary

    I am very, very carefully going to speak up on Micah’s behalf. Not to excuse what he is doing, but to try and put some perspective to where he might be coming from with some sympathy. Warning, long post. First, the caveots:

    1. I’m not from this culture, not even the Jewish version of fundyland. I’ve never been beaten, raped, or married to a man, so a lot of this is imagination and analytic observation.

    2. I’m not excusing him or this behavior. It is everything everybody has said it is and I’m not defending that. But a few things have caught my eye that I want to explore here. I don’t know if all three Pearl books have ever been gone over point by pont at the same time in the same space, and I’m drawing off of the other stuff we’ve read from their other books, mostly TTUAC.

    3. I’m not trying to offend or trigger anybody by treating him with some sympathy. If at any point my language is off, triggering, or disrespectful please let me know. That is never my intent but I’m walking though a minefield – no matter how hard I try the odds are good I’ll put a foot down wrong. Apologizes in advance if needed, my intent is to look at this behavior with some analysis for patterns, not to hurt anybody or deny the validity of anybody else’s experiences, especially people who have personal experience with these issues.

    4. While I don’t think this is a real letter, I do think this type of man and this situation is very real. For the purpose of my analysis, I’m going to treat MIcah as a real person.

    I just wanted to clear that from the start. OK, this is something I read recently from links from the Slactivist:


    This is what really caught my attention in the article, after all that we’ve been reading about Pearl style abusive childhood:

    “Many men who admitted to committing rape had been physically or sexually abused as children or neglected by their families. Low socioeconomic status, food insecurity, low educational attainment, alcohol abuse and drug use were also associated with rape perpetration. A large proportion of men reported very high levels of depression, stress and suicidal thoughts.

    Those who used sexual violence against their partners were more likely to have experienced gender inequality in the home and child abuse . . .”

    I do not know if Micah has been sexually abused. It is possible he has, this is the type of culture that enables child sexual abuse more then others. However, if he has come out of anything like a Christian fundamentalist background that the Pearls and co. encourage, he has been physically abused, witnessed gender inequality at home, and witnessed child abuse even if he himself was spared being beaten.

    This is what really stood out to me, that we’ve all commented on how ‘training’ and ‘discipline’ for these families is well past the line into child abuse. Micah has been beaten for rebeling by having his own opinion, or simply not moving fast enough or with a convincing enough smile for adult convenience. He was probably told to ‘toughen up’ as a boy and stop being a sissy for having any sensitive emotions, even as a very small boy. People on this blog are (rightly) calling him out for having no consideration for his wife’s physical pain, yet do we know when or even if anybody ever gave consideration to his physical pain as a child? Where would he learn to respect another persons physical pain as a valid limit if nobody ever respected and validated his own pain?

    What made me think of this was his line that “not healed right down there ” was just an excuse. If he was raised as has been described in TTUAC, and by many people here from their own childhoods, the fact that he was still recovering from the pain of a previous beating would *never* have been reason enough to cut him some slack. Especially as a boy it would have just ‘toughened him up’ to ‘make a man out of him.’ The fact that any cuts, bruses, or lacerations from an earlier act of abuse are only half-healed would never stop such a parent from further abuse/discipline/training if they felt it necessary. Thus his disregard for “she’s not healed right down there” isn’t just him being a sexist boor, it’s a valid understanding of human interactions from his lived experience.

    Being beaten is (among other things) a terrible violation of personal boundaries. If he was repeatedly beaten as a boy, and told that he earned it or deserved it, he learned over and over again that his personal boundaries are meant to be violated by someone stronger than him or with more authority than him. From where would he learn to respect another persons boundaries if his own were never honored? In this world of strict hierarchy, he now has authority over his wife, and it is completely within range of normal human interactions for men in higher authority to utterly disregard the personal boundaries of women and younger boys with less authority.

    There seems to be two basic variations in reaction to deep personal trauma; never again will I let myself or anybody else be hurt like this, *and* never again will I let myself be vulnerable, no matter what the cost to another person. Many people reading here have gone the route of saying that “I hated it when this was done to me, so I won’t do it to another person. I’ll never do it to my own children.” Which I personally think is amazing, wonderful, and one of the best reasons to be hopeful for humanity. But “Nobody ever cared about my pain or personal boundaries, why should I give a rats ass about yours?” is also a human resonse. Or simply “How can I see you boundaries and needs if I am blind to my own, because I’ve never been allowed to have them?”

    Where Micah is between the last two responses, I don’t know. What I’m trying to get at, is his behavior didn’t come from nowhere, and connecting these dots is just more reason to stop the child abuse from the begining. Because if I follow this logic out, the Pearls are starting a rape culture in childhood from pre-verbal infancy on.

    Or I am totally blowing this out my ass, but I don’t think so. What do you guys think about this analysis?

    • Hilary

      Guys, I really would like some feedback on this. I put a lot of thought into connecting some of these dots, I’d like a reality check from somebody.

      • tdd68

        I think you are on to something. This fundamentalist subculture goes out of its way to destroy a child’s ability to identify and protect their own boundaries. They can call it “discipline” all they want, but it is quite obviously abusive for any but the most naturally mild-natured child. Once the ability to identify/define/protect their own physical boundaries has been destroyed it is just a matter of convincing them that these types of boundaries don’t exist for any person. When you then add on the authoritarian and hierarchical thought patterns, you have set up an inherently abusive system and culture. This abusive culture IS rape culture for the women within it, because the men are told repeatedly that the women exist only to fulfill ALL their needs.

      • Shayna

        It makes me think of of those psychology experiments where students were sorted into guards & prisoners. They all knew that the ‘prisoners’ hadn’t done anything wrong, but the power & authority given to the ‘guards’ led to a lot of abusive behavior.

        Even if Micah wasn’t abused as a child, his position in this culture makes it ridiculously easy to become the bad guy.

        To me, it seems like the Pearls are creating abusers & victims almost on purpose by the way their system is set up.

      • purr

        Even if Micah wasn’t abused as a child, his position in this culture makes it ridiculously easy to become the bad guy.

        I have heard TWRA’s (traditional woman’s rights activist) argue that patriarchy is just WONDERFUL, and that Islamic societies aren’t a true representation of patriarchy because ‘some bad men have taken advantage of all that power.’

        Of course, they never offer a solution as to how these ‘bad men’ can be prevented from taking advantage of all this power that has been handed to them on a silver platter.

        TWRA’s btw, are just the secular version of Quiverfull.


      • TLC

        I’m with tdd68. You are making me see this in a new light. If “Micah” was raised in the “World According to the Pearls,” it’s pretty likely he grew up being abused. Along with that, the “man is king” idea has been incorporated into his DNA. He’s stayed in the patriarchal culture, and he’s paid his dues. It’s time for all those purity teachings to come true! And he has no clue why his hurting wife won’t perform on demand for him. . . . .

        I just can’t imagine the frustration of both the men and women in this culture when they become adults, get married, and find out that pretty much everything they’ve be told isn’t true. And since they’ve been taught not to question anything, and their relationship skills are so lacking, they don’t know what to do.

        I think the childhood abuse is a part of this sick cycle that we hadn’t considered. Thanks for bringing this up.

    • Squire Bramble

      While I think that this letter is completely made up, and “Micah” merely an avatar for Michael, you have a point: what a man like this really needs is weekly counseling and behavior management sessions, a few lessons on social/ sexual etiquette and a copy of the complete works of Dan Savage.

      This is also the reason I assumed the letter was a fake – a man like “Micah” would not be able to function effectively in an office environment, even in a male-dominated field. As someone up thread mentioned, the “girls” would give him a wide berth and the blokiest men would tear him a new one for his sexual inexperience: “Ever hear of a blow job, Micah?”

      • Hilary

        I’ll see you the complete works of Dan Savage. I’d pay good money to see Micah/Michael in the same room with Dan Savage for an hour.

    • Liz

      I wasn’t going to step into this one, but I know you would really appreciate feedback so I’ll try to articulate my thoughts.

      I agree with you, but I’m still conflicted about it.

      I have always had a strong policy of understanding where a person is coming from, no matter what. I can feel empathy for a shopping cart, for pete’s sake, so going out of my way to understand *why* a person is being hurtful isn’t a stretch.

      However, the more I hang out around social justice blogs the more complicated it gets. For one thing, we’re both speaking on a topic we’ve never experienced, and as a result neither one of us gets to define the appropriate response to an abuser (not saying that was your intention or the result, necessarily).
      Also, sexual violence (which, in my book, includes violating boundaries, coercing a partner into sex, and disregarding a person’s pain during sex) are *never* ok regardless of the intention or the history of the person involved. I know you made it clear you weren’t excusing his behavior, just trying to understand it (and I agree), but will the pursuit of a conversation to understand the *why* become a space that ends up invalidating and questioning survivor’s experiences and anger? Again, I’m thinking about the privilege of defining the “appropriate” response and tone policing, not to mention abuse apology, etc.
      (But those assholes show up in every conversation, without fail–should we just ignore them in favor of the larger work that is being done on understanding in order to prevent violence? Can we afford to ignore their impact on survivors? Or would that be throwing a group under the bus in order to achieve a larger goal, a la racism within feminism?)

      So… I guess what I’m saying is that I do agree with you. A lot. I just have a hard time agreeing with you and I wonder what the consequences of focusing on the why of an abuser’s behavior would be.

      Knowing and studying how violence is perpetuated is *extremely* important, and can help prevent abuse in the first place, but this could quickly become an academic discussion that silences survivors.

      This is not meant as criticism of your comment in any way, and I could just be way off the mark on this one. Just some thoughts.

    • angharad

      You may have a point about the abuse leading to a lack of respect for other people’s pain. On the other hand there is a very strong cultural narrative that makes light of women’s reasons for not having sex, and suggests that they are just made up eg the ‘oh I have a headache tonight’ trope. Although headaches are pretty common, especially among women, and although having sex is last thing you want to do when your head is throbbing, there’s still this notion that a woman says ‘not tonight, I have a headache’ just as an excuse. So why wouldn’t all the other things she says just be excuses too?

  • Norm Donnan

    “to a man sex is just like having to eat”
    Ok,heres a better analogy.Sex to a man is like TALKING is to a woman.
    90% of sex to a man is stress relief,it’s not about power or control,it’s relief.Thats why we drop off to sleep straight away after sex.
    For a woman to have no one to talk things through especially when they have had a stressful day leaves pent up and anxious.Men are the same.
    If a husband told his wife “I really dont want to hear about your day,leave me alone”, you would call him insensitive and inconsiderate.Same with sex for a man.

    • Lunch Meat

      I’m a woman, I’m an introvert and I usually hate talking about my day. Quit trying to tell everyone what all men or all women are like.

      Also, it makes me feel SO MUCH BETTER to hear that at most 10% of sex is, you know, about love or intimacy or desire to this supposed ideal of a man.

      • Hilary

        High five fellow introvert. When I’ve had a stressful day, sometimes I want to go over it with Penny and get some reassurance, and other times I want to go curl up in bed with a book and let the world go away for awhile.

      • Norm Donnan

        sorry to break it to you but 10% high.

      • Anat

        You know Norm? I’m really sorry for you. Your description of your life sounds awful.

    • onamission5

      So to dear Norm here, a woman not allowing him to use her body like it’s a treadmill is *her* being insensitive and inconsiderate.

      Norm. If you feel that you need a sexual release and there are no consensual adult partners available to help you, then use your hand or a sex toy made for that purpose. Women are not sex toys. If you have sex with someone who does not want to have sex with you, whether by force or by coercing her into it, then you are a rapist.

      • purr

        Yeah well, Norm is also vehemently pro-life.

        big shocker there, I know right

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        What does that have to do with anything? Pro-lifers are not all misogynistic douchebags who think women aren’t people. I’m a woman AND pro-life in most situations.

      • Anat

        The pro-life position is that someone else has more rights to a woman’s body than herself. Which is exactly what Norm is saying here.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        That’s one spin you can put on it. I can’t speak for anyone else who does not support abortion, but the reason why I don’t support it is not because I think women should be punished for sex, or that I think we don’t deserve to have the right to control our own bodies. But pregnancy involves two people: the woman, and the baby. There is no way for it to ever be perfectly “fair”, if I can use that word – the only way that the baby can continue living is if it resides within the woman’s body. There is so far no getting around that, although I suspect the day will come when technology advances to the point where even that barrier will be broken. Until then, though, there’s no easy answer. I still do not think it is acceptable or morally defensible to allow one person to kill another without a very serious reason to do so. For example, if the woman will die if the pregnancy continues, and the baby isn’t old enough to have a chance at surviving it if is delivered. That’s a good reason – a horrible choice, but a valid one, like self-defense.

        There is more at play here than only the woman’s body and her rights to control it. The baby is not part of her body like her kidney or her skin; it is a distinct life, genetically and otherwise. That has to be taken into consideration too. Abortion is not a black and white issue.

      • purr

        “Baby” is a matter of personal opinion.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Call it an unborn human being, then, because that’s not a matter of opinion – it’s a fact.

      • purr

        “Unborn human’ would be more precise.

        Human being is a synonym for person, and it is not a FACT that a single cell zygote is a person.

        EDIT: Anyways, abortion is off-topic, and I don’t want to get into it if the subject is something that will upset the mods.

        However, my point is, people such as Norm believe that women who willingly engage in sex (ie, if they are not violently raped) deserve to ‘pay’ for their ‘irresponsibility’ with a forced pregnancy. All the while, ignoring the fact that the woman, if she is viewed as the *property* of the man in her life, really doesn’t have much of a say in whether or not she has sex. Because it’s her DUTY. So, in essence, he is saying that the woman’s body belongs to the man, to his sperm, and to his offspring. And if she dares to take her bodily autonomy back through abortion, she’s a dirty slut!

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        It is a zygote for an incredibly short time – technically you aren’t even pregnant during that part of the process because it comes and goes before implantation ever occurs. If you are going to use words like “zygote” as if it applies to the whole pregnancy, well, you shouldn’t, because it’s a bit ridiculous. You set up a straw man and then knocked it down…nobody was equating a zygote with a person! Most abortions take place between 7 and 9 weeks of pregnancy. At that point, the embryo/fetus (it becomes a fetus after 8 weeks’ of pregnancy) is very different from a zygote. If you want to know more, check this out: http://www.ehd.org/ It is not a pro-life site (I hate those!). It’s just science, it is backed by such reputable organizations as National Geographic, and all information is presented in an ethically-neutral manner. Look at weeks 7 – 9.

        A human being is simply that: a human. I am not talking about legal personhood, because I don’t trust that as an accurate definition to use in this discussion. Legal personhood has historically been denied to those who were actual humans…it has a poor track record where reliability is concerned. But the unborn are completely human even at the most basic, genetic level, and they are also demonstrably alive, once they get to the point where the heart begins beating and brain waves are produced (heart begins beating around 4 weeks; it takes several weeks beyond that for the heart to develop all its chambers and vessels, but it still does its job).

      • Chalkdust

        Do you think that making elective abortion illegal is a good goal in and of itself, or do you think of it merely as a means to the end of preventing as many abortions as possible?

      • purr

        Because it is a criticism of Norm, who values women only for their use as objects to:

        1) sexually please him

        2) give birth

        And it sets women up for failure, because it puts them in a position of a) being obligated to act as a sex toy for the man and b) if the woman gets pregnant, its *her fault* for spreading her legs

        Norm is big on the woman taking ‘personal responsibility’ for engaging in consensual sex, while simultaneously holding the opinion that a woman must drop whatever she is doing and be sex slave to the man she is with.

        Do you see the problem with that kind of thinking?

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        I do, of course; but I don’t think that this is the same as the issue of abortion/pro-life. Expecting a woman to essentially be a “sex slave” for her husband is not the same as thinking that it’s wrong to kill an unborn human being. Apples and oranges.

      • purr

        In Norm’s case, the two are related. Which is why I pointed it out.

        He holds the view that women must ‘put out’ and then calls them sluts when they do.

      • purr

        Oh, and the fact that you are a woman is meaningless.

        There are hardcore Islamist women who write books, just like the one mentioned here, about how it’s a woman’s job to submit to her husband, beatings and all.

        You CAN be a woman and be misogynist.

    • Lyric

      Norm, I’m sorry. If I’d realized you didn’t have working hands, I swear I would never have upvoted any of the posts that made fun of your spelling.

      • Hilary

        L.O.L. It’s his punctuation I can’t get over. My spelling isn’t always great, but at least I’m not too lazy to hit the space bar.

      • Squire Bramble

        Yes, poor Norm just outed himself as a member of a sexual minority. I can’t remember the exact figures offhand, but it’s only around 2- 5% of American men and 8 – 10% of American women who have never received oral sex; and that doesn’t take into consideration all the other forms of non-PIV sexual stimulus – manual, frottage, etc.

        Though he has admitted that his wife is required to wipe his shitty bottom daily, that can’t be much of a turn-on, poor thing.

      • Norm Donnan

        ha,I do and theyve had plenty of work but masterbation is like you talking to a friend while sex is like talking to your husband.Good sex is like a deep and intermate conversation,it binds and builds your relationship.

      • Lyric

        I would say that masturbation is like masturbation. Or don’t you think that women ever do that?

        I agree with you that good, mutually enjoyed sex is like nothing else. But this particular excerpt isn’t talking about good, mutually enjoyed sex. Very, very far from it.

        Not wanting to have sex is not inconsiderate. It’s just . . . not wanting to have sex. And not wanting to have a conversation isn’t inconsiderate, either. Sometimes, you just don’t want to talk. Nobody should actually need an excuse for either, beyond “I’m not really up for it right now.”

      • Norm Donnan

        This is true except I know men whose wives havent let their husbands have sex for months,sleeping in the same bed aswell.To me,this is abuse,not just inconsiderate.

        Im not saying women should be “treadmills” as one twit put it ,just considerate.

      • purr

        Yet you don’t think women should have the same right to bodily autonomy as men?

        Again, colour me unsurprised.

        Your views are extremely misogynist.

      • Lyric

        Then you’ve never experienced abuse. Which is good, don’t get me wrong, but it also means you don’t really know what you’re talking about when it comes to abuse.

        Look, I agree that if a couple goes without sex for months, with no explanation, because one person doesn’t want it*, then there’s something wrong which badly needs to be talked out. But if you think that I was abusive for telling my husband that we couldn’t have sex while I healed up from a Cesarian section, well, I’m not just going to laugh at you, I’m going to tell him so he can laugh at you.**

        *Leaving aside situations where both partners have such low sex drives that a month’s dry spell is normal for them.

        **Actually, I probably won’t, because he would probably go into full-on “Someone is being mean to my wife,” mode. But you know what I mean. He does not feel abused. Hell, I even asked.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Yeah, apparently some people don’t see that there are situations and times when no sex is normal, and can be agreed upon by both people.

      • Anat

        No, this is not abuse. Nobody owes you sex ever.

        It would be time for conversation, maybe counseling, maybe divorce. But if she had sex with you when she didn’t want to, you would be a rapist.

    • Veiled_In_Dance

      90% of it TO YOU is stress relief. You don’t speak for all men. For a lot of men, it is not about power or control but it’s also not about stress relief: it’s about an intimate connection with someone they love.

      You speak of it as if women owe it to their husbands out of courtesy and consideration, and that’s bunk. You also make it sound like sex isn’t something women want or need, and that’s bunk too.

      • Norm Donnan

        Oh dear,do you really believe that ?Men listen to their wife woe’s and worries out of courtesy and smile politly ,thats life.Oh and I never said women dont desire sex either.

      • onamission5

        Well that comment was condescending as fuck.

        Mine listens because he considers me a person and cares about what is happening in my life. And also because he’s not a caveman. It’s called active listening, you should try it, it helps a lot when you need to see other gendered humans as if they were really people with feelings and perspectives of some importance.

      • Norm Donnan


      • Trollface McGee

        Men are all insensitive clods? That’s life? Why are you such a misandrist?

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Believe? “Believe” is for things that you don’t know to be true. So no, I don’t “believe” it – I know it. Men aren’t all as cold and inconsiderate as you are. Men aren’t emotionless sex robots. They’re people. Sure, some guys listen to their wives only out of courtesy and to avoid a fight, and I feel sorry for their wives (and yours, to be honest, if you have one). But if a man loves his wife, he will listen to her woes and worries because he loves her and wants to be there for her and help her if he can. That’s what marriage is about. It’s the same for a woman – if she truly loves her husband she will care about his problems and feelings and she will want to be there for him and help him. It isn’t just about having someone to warm your bed at night. You cannot expect your wife to meet your physical needs enthusiastically if you aren’t meeting her emotional needs sincerely. Faking interest in her as a person and pretending to care about her problems is a really crappy way to treat the woman you claim to love.

    • angharad

      Because no woman ever used sex as stress relief or fell asleep directly afterwards.

      • Norm Donnan

        Please do,feel free,you wont hear your man complain.

      • purr

        So you’re the kind of person who will demand sex, then accuse the woman of being a slut if she gets pregnant and doesn’t want to have the baby.

        Why am I not surprised?

    • Trollface McGee

      Those wimminz, they just yap, yap yap all day while eating their birth-control flavoured yoghurt on the way to their mani/pedi/abortion.
      Not like manly men who stand around pounding their chests all day at the office where they go to fight each other all day to prove who is the mightiest manly man – then they go home and need their sex battery recharged so they don’t turn gay.
      Stupid stereotypes are stupid.

    • Anat

      As usual, you overgeneralize. How about stopping that?

      Personally, if it were up to me, I could go days without talking. At work I sometimes go entire days without saying more than ‘hi’ and ‘see you tomorrow’. Not because I have to, not because I don’t like the people around me, but because I can. At home it is my husband who wants me to hear about his day. I’m the one who has to be prompted. (If I have a stressful day I read more blogs.)

  • Ribbons Undone

    Dear Micah,
    You don’t love your wife. Not really. The reason I say this is because if you really DID love her, you would not see her as a thing to be used when you have the urge. If you REALLY loved her you would see her as a complete person. She is not only your wife. She is a daughter to her mother and father. She is a granddaughter. She might be a niece to someone. She is a mother. I will instruct you to read and meditate on 1 Corinthians 13. I will also instruct you to get your head out of your ass and stop pestering your wife for sex.

  • Trollface McGee

    Ugh. This section.. just sick and infuriating. Way to go Debi, you’ve made sex unsexy.

    “But his most pressing drive is to be a successful lover. Making his wife feel glorious when he touches her is the ultimate test of his manhood—the very measure of the man”
    If you’re hurting her, you’re a crappy lover. If you think that sex is something you’re owed, you’re a crappy lover. If you demand sex from someone who doesn’t want it, you’re a crappy lover and potentially a rapist.

    But seriously.. is she saying that sex is man’s highest calling? Really?

  • Rebecca Horne

    Is there something out of context that clarifies that the “healed down there” refers to childbirth? My first interpretation was that she was sore from the last time they’d had sex. Which…yanno…isn’t much better, and might be worse.

    • Alice

      I was thinking something like a UTI or yeast infection.

  • Mitch

    It’s hard to think of where to begin… The idea that a wife should be little more than a “pleasure vessel” for me to validate my manhood really gets me angry. It’s a twisted way of thinking that severely inhibits the potential development of women.

  • j.lup

    Hey Micah: Why don’t you make arrangements for your wife to have a couple hours off from housework and childcare, go someplace quiet together, massage her feet and her back and let her have a nap, then rouse her with kisses and caresses all over her body (avoiding the still-healing genitals or being extra-delicate with them) and try to give her pleasure with something other than your god-given penis…and if you do, she might no longer regard your body and that penis as an instrument of pain and coercion and give it some loving attention with her hands and mouth. And yes, if don’t require every episode of sexual intimacy to involve coitus, you’ll probably find yourself have a lot more sexual intimacy.