Chocolate=Lies, Sex=Truth

What does it mean when you desire a hot fudge sundae more than sex with your loving, gorgeous, faithful, and servant-hearted husband?

When I was still nursing my 2nd child, I attended a women’s conference with the goal of talking to friends about nurturing my marriage while having zero sex drive.  One friend, a former missionary in Africa, said, “That’s why polygamy always made sense to me.  If one wife is nursing and has no sex drive, the husband can go to another!”

I attended the tail end of a workshop on the developmental stages of marriage just in time to hear Marilyn, a wise sage in our ministry, close in prayer and turn to leave.  Shoot, I missed it all!  And then she returned to the podium, “One more thing, if you’re not having sex regularly with your husband, your marriage is already in trouble.”

Whoa. . .

The next morning I sat with Marilyn at breakfast and said, “Wow, that was a doozy way to end your talk.”

“Kathy, I literally felt the Holy Spirit push me.  I told Him, ‘But I closed in prayer!’ but He pushed me back and said I had to speak.  Since then, I’ve been approached by about 30 women who say they’re no longer having sex in their marriages, and some haven’t for years.”

So sex drive or no sex drive, with Marilyn’s advice ringing in my head, I’ve tried to be faithful in nurturing this part of my marriage.

And sex within our committed marriage covenant has been a very good thing.  It’s good to be naked and unashamed with my husband.  Staying comfortable with one another’s body helps us stay comfortable emotionally and spiritually.  I think of sex with my husband as a spiritual discipline much like observing the Sabbath, a spiritual discipline that enables God to breathe life into our marriage.

But all that theology doesn’t change how 99.9% of the time I’d still rather eat a hot fudge sundae than have sex, just like 99.9% of the time I’d rather check email than pray.  Between peri-menopause, teenage kids, my job, his job, groceries, cooking, chauffering, etc. sex can easily feel like just another obligation and chore.

Last night, I discussed this ongoing topic with a couple girlfriends.  One said, “You do want sex!  You want to be connected with your husband, you want to feel bonded, you want your marriage to grow, you want to make him feel good.  You do want it!”

Yes, but I FEEL my hunger, even lust for chocolate on a daily, sometimes even minute to minute basis, in a way I don’t about sex with my husband.  I can spend all day thinking about what chocolate I’ll nibble.  My mother-in-law says no one should eat chocolate before lunch, and I generally follow her direction, but that doesn’t stop me from coveting chocolate-almond croissants for breakfast.

Yet as we talked, I remembered that the actual experience of chocolate often disappoints.  For all of the anticipation, Trader Joe’s sea salt and turbinado sugar dark chocolate almonds can leave me hollow.  Sure they taste good, but not mind-blowingly good.  And with last swallow, that See’s dark chocolate California brittle didn’t change my life, make me happy or calm my anxiety.

“Hah!  Chocolate is the lie!” said my friend, “You want it but it doesn’t deliver!”

“And sex is the truth?”

“Yeah!  Sex bonds you with your husband, grows love, brings connection and you feel great afterwards.  Sex is the truth!”

Who knew? A new mantra for marriage and life.

Chocolate is the lie.  Sex is the truth.

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  • Tara Edelschick

    Your friend sounds brilliant. I bet she’s beautiful, too. And your husband should definitely buy her a thank you gift.

    • Kathy Tuan-Maclean

      Come to think of it, my friend IS brilliant and beautiful–and funny too. I’ll let my husband know about what she requires.

  • Sue Hahn Gutierrez

    We need a flip side too – husbands pleasing their wives sexually also being a discipline!

  • Jackie F

    I’m a lucky lady so far…. Not a fan of chocolate… ;) Good luck in rekindling all the fire – well at least some of it. Don’t forget to touch each other “non-sexually”, but tenderly any time you are near each other – it helps remind you how god the other touches are.

  • Jackie F

    GOOD…. I meant GOOD….

  • Kayla

    I don’t know… My husband doesn’t want “willing,” he wants “desire” so the fact that I’m willing does very little good. Making it a “spiritual discipline” therefore only heaps shame on top of obligation. There has to be more to it (from someone who wants to want it but just doesn’t)

    • LeAnne

      Kayla, I am with you. For the first two years of our marriage, I tried my best to do “the wifely duty” but hated it most of the time. I then discovered he had a pornography addiction that began before our relationship (I had been clueless). I know many see nothing wrong with that, but it crushed me. Now, it’s a worse cycle than before. I hate sex because I feel so used and have lost most attraction for my husband. However, NOT having sex probably drives him to his addiction even more. Many times I wished he would just settle for willing and not insist on asking “if I liked it.” Then I’m faced with the decision of lying or making him mad. I’ve wanted to scream, “I’m in here faking it, just let it go at that. Stop asking questions you know neither of us want to hear!”

  • Anonymous

    “What does it mean when you desire a hot fudge sundae more than sex with your loving, gorgeous, faithful, and servant-hearted husband?”

    It means that woman has no clue (or no longer remembers) what it’s like to be endlessly single, where such a thing would never enter the mind.

  • David Thom

    Can a gentleman enter this discussion? My first marriage died with my wife nursing anger toward “men who had the possibility of being in intimate contact with her” – PTSD issues – over events that happened in her life 20+ years earlier, long before we were married. I dare not sound like I understand much more than that, but my bet is that more and more women suffer from the combination of having hopes for intimacy and fears of intimacy at the same time, sadly, due to having suffered abuse in the past. And then somewhere in there, food end up being the substitute for intimacy, or oddly enough for some, sex is the substitute, but it’s not sex in terms of intimacy. Or it’s work, or shopping, or you name it. But some substitutes tend to stand out.

  • Cynthia Eppley, MA

    This is an interesting discussion! As a counselor, I see this “problem” walk into the office
    more than you know. Women “desire” a close, warm, emotionally intimate relationship; men “desire” sex, and don’t KNOW that they desire a close, warm, emotionally intimate relationship. For many men, sex is the closest they get to that reality. It certainly IS worth working towards unity in this area if we, as wives, understand our men more. Women live through living breathing relationships; for men, sex is very much that very thing. Obviously, I am not addressing deep seated problems such as past abuse.

    • Kathy Tuan-Maclean

      My grad school advisor said the same thing. She said that she thought our definition of intimacy was a female driven definition–emotional closeness–and wouldn’t be surprised if men thumping each other on the back at a bar was actually intimacy for them. Marilyn’s point in her seminar was that men often dealt with anxiety through sex, and that sex is intimacy, hence its importance.

  • Gregmetzger

    This is posted by Quyen, Greg’s wife. Sex and chocolate are fantastic stress relievers for me. They both may increase your seratonin levels which are brain chemicals that increase feelings of well-being. However, sex burns calories while chocolate gives you calories. So my advice as a doctor, sex is better for you than chocolate, though chocolate is a close second!

    • Kathy Tuan-Maclean

      Quyen, we needed the doctor’s perspective here! Thanks!