My last post actually started as a comment on the Matt Walsh Blog which generated over 1,300 likes and dozens of comments in the first 24 hours. So I figured more people would want to read it and posted it on my blog. Apparently, my comment is the sort of thing that people either love or hate passionately because there were also many comments that ardently disagreed. One of the chief criticisms (besides the oft-repeated declaration that I "don't know anything about feminism") had to do with this statement:
"Feminism told them that it's degrading to be a stay-at-home mom or to submit to a husband or to want a lot of children. They should never have sex with their husbands unless they feel like it. They should never let a man make decisions for their family."
Specifically, a lot of people had a problem with the second sentence in that quote. They objected to the idea that a woman should ever have sex with her husband when she doesn't feel like it.
But I absolutely stand by that statement. I think it's perfectly normal and right for a woman to have sex with her husband even when she doesn't feel like it. In fact, I'll even go so far as to say that a woman ought to have sex with her husband even when she doesn't feel like it - at least sometimes.
That sounds like a radical idea, I know. Our society has become so feminized that this idea is actually considered crazy or weird or somehow the same as saying women should be raped. It's not.
You see, there are lots of things we do that we don't feel like doing. I don't always feel like getting up in the morning, making breakfast, feeding my kids, cleaning the house, changing diapers, going to the store, or a million other things I do. But I do them because they need to be done and because I love my family. My feelings don't rule me. I make decisions based on love for my family and what needs to be done to care for their needs.
It should be the same in for caring for my husband's needs, including his need for sex.
Of course, the usual response at this point is to ask whether I consider sex some painful, unpleasant duty. I get people saying my sex life must be horrible. On the contrary.
You see, it is a modern and erroneous notion that "duty" is a bad word and the opposite of "pleasant." But that is a false dichotomy. There is no inherent reason that duties cannot be pleasant. Nor does doing something out of duty mean that one cannot enjoy it. Of course, not all duties are fun, but they don't have to be unpleasant simply because we have a duty to do them.
For example, I may not feel, at the moment, like taking my girls outside to play. It's hot. I'm tired. I have dishes to do. But they want to play outside and the fresh air and sunshine will do them good. So I go because I love them and have a duty to care for their needs. One of their needs is play time and time with mommy. But once we're outside, we have a great time and I'm glad I did it. Duty, in this case, was not preventing me from having fun. In fact, duty helped me overcome laziness, lower priority tasks, and distractions that would have prevented me from having fun with my girls.
There are many other things which work similarly. I have a duty to read and study the Bible, and I enjoy it. I have a duty to feed my family, and I also enjoy it. I have a duty to vote and participate in my government, and I don't find that duty horrid or burdensome. I have a duty to be a witness to those around me, and I find that duty agreeable. I have a duty to clean my house...ok, maybe I don't necessarily enjoy that one, but it isn't some horrible thing I do just because I have to either. I do it because I love my family. And having a clean home is certainly enjoyable.
In the same way, I have a duty to have sex with my husband, and I also enjoy it greatly. There is no contradiction there.
Another thing to consider is the design of female sexuality. Women are less likely than men to be aroused out of the blue. We women often need touch, closeness, and the right mindset to get us in the mood for sex. If a wife is waiting for the mood to strike her before she says yes, it may be a long time and it will take a toll on their marital intimacy. Thus, women who go ahead and engage (not just laying there, but actively participating), even if they weren't initially in the mood, will often find that they warm up as they go along and end up enjoying it. And the emotional intimacy that comes from physical intimacy will strengthen the marriage and bring husband and wife closer together.
So, if duties aren't necessarily unpleasant or a hardship and women can often enjoy sex if they will choose to engage, then pointing out the duty to have sex within marriage doesn't mean that sex becomes unpleasant or forced. Sure, it could be that way if you let it. But it doesn't have to be. If you have the right mindset, recognizing the duty to have sex can help you overcome laziness, lower priorities, and distractions that would prevent you from having the vibrant, intimate, and fun sex life that God intended you to have in your marriage.