Question:

My husband and I have been married for only a few months, and we are having some difficulties. I know that it takes years to make a solid relationship, but I'd really enjoy some advice.

My husband thinks I want too much sex. We are usually intimate twice per week, but I feel like I need more. He has a problem with looking at porn. He's gotten much better, but it still comes up every few weeks. Because he does this so often, I feel unattractive and unwanted. I've talked to him about this a few times, and he says he is just too tired or stressed to perform for me, and the porn is just a way to de-stress -- something he got hooked on when he was younger. He always feels bad about it, confesses his sin to me, and I forgive him and pray for him. However, our physical relationship doesn't ever seem to get better. I'm in a quandary. I thought newlyweds, especially those who abstained before marriage, would be more active.

How do I handle this with my husband? Again, I know that good marriages take time. He's trying to work on his problem, and I'm trying very hard to have patience, but I honestly feel unloved. Not having a physical relationship with the man I love and the spiritual leader of our home is taking an emotional toll on me.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing your feedback and advice.


Answer:

This one is a bit difficult to address because there are two parts which need to be joined together, but I only have one half to work with. There are things I would discuss privately with your husband, but at the moment I have your ear, so please don't think I'm just picking on you. My rule generally is to only talk about what the person writes can do to improve.

There is a physical component to sex in men that isn't present in women. For a man to feel a desire for sex, his seminal vesicles need to be full. See The Male Reproductive System for an explanation. What this generally means is that there must be a recovery period between times of sex. The time between sex varies from man to man. Some men produce semen faster than others, but the speed of production also depends on how often a man is sexually aroused. The intensity of a sexual act will also impact the time between the desire for sex. Intense sex will empty the seminal vesicles more, which means it will take a little longer to fill them back up.

If the spacing for sex is too frequent, the seminal vesicles are near empty. A man can have sex, but it takes more effort and the results are uncomfortable. If the spacing is too infrequent, the seminal vesicles cause a guy to strongly desire sex to the point of distraction. The act of sex then feels like a huge relief. The average male in his twenties tends to ejaculate about twice a week, so your husband is typical in this regard.

Pornography has always been a problem, but it has gotten worse because of its easy availability. Teenage boys are particularly vulnerable to compulsive habits and are easily snagged by things related to sex. Most of the breaking of a bad habit has to come from your husband's commitment to do what is right, but there are things you can do to help.

First, is to limit the availability of pornography. If it is through the home computer, I would suggest installing K9 Web Protection. It is free and is even available for some smartphones. You should hold the password. This doesn't eliminate the problem. It just means less easily available so it gives him a chance to practice self-control.

The second is to spend more time "playing." It is easy to make sex into work that has to end in intercourse. Usually it is the wife who complains of this, but it can be the other way around. So flirt with your husband without expecting it to go further, but if it does, so much the better. Spend time touching as you pass by. Cuddle when you have opportunity. Tell him you think he's hot. If he is stressed, give him a back rub. Take a look at the Song of Solomon (see The Greatest Love Song Written for some ideas).

What I suspect is happening is because of his sin with pornography, you feel unloved. You pull back because you don't want to be hurt. He pulls back because he feels guilty. But then the intimacy dies because it isn't being feed and that just drives the wedge further. What people tend to do is when they feel unloved is to be less loving back. Rather than just say it is his problem, I'm suggesting you keep the fire burning so he is attracted to your flame. "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12). If you want to feel more loved, you actually gain it by making the other person feel more loved.