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Emily

I think this point of view is tied to the idea that a woman coudln't possibly actually want to have sex; it is just a chore to be put up with. If women never want sex, and in getting married you are surely agreeing to have sex sometimes, then you are necessarily agreeing to have sex when you don't want to. It's a short step from there to "there's no such thing as marital rape."

Mary

Actually, as a Christian I can tell you there are many branches of Evangelical Christianity that teach women's bodies "are not their own" and that means when your husband has the urge as a good Christian wife you will see to your husbands needs and not be so "selfish" as to not put his needs over anything you happen to be feeling at the time. Fortunately, my Christian husband takes his role seriously in loving me as Christ loved the church and is considerate of my feelings in all matters. There is a huge emphasis in Evangelical circles right now for women to be "Biblical Women" unfortunately it's creating these monster men who think they have the right to dictate what their woman wears, thinks, and does in every aspect.

Zan

I actually just heard about Schlafly for the first time a few weeks ago. Yes, I've been living under a rock. I think it is wrong for a woman to say no to sex to her husband, BUT it is equally wrong and sinful for a man to force sex on his wife. When I am sick or not in the mood, my husband would NEVER force himself on me. Good grief. The man who does this is the ultimate creep. I would have to read the context of Schlafly's statement before I comment on it. I have met extreme Christians who abuse their wives and those men are NOT Christians and blaspheme God. If the husband is not loving his wife as Christ loved the church and the woman is not submitting in love than the marriage is not the beautiful thing God intended it to be. I think extremist Christians forget that we live in a fallen world and sin can ruin a lot of things that God meant for good. This sin could be abusive husbands.

One of my favorite preachers, Al Martin, preached strongly against men who used and abused their wives like, "house harlots." He practically told men like that, that they were not saved and going to hell faster than the street walker on the corner. (He was a very firey preacher ;-))

I hope you don't confuse all Christians with the extreme ones. Sometimes, the real Christians are the ones who live quietly and keep to their own affairs. That is something I have learned over the years.

Zan

Exactly, Mary! You must have posted the same time as me. I do worry about the lack of more Biblical Manhood. The thing I worry about is that the men who ARE the biblical men are not the ones with the podiums. Personally, I have seen more abusive men in the ultra conservative circles I have been in than unsubmissive women. We need more Al Martins to call these men on it.

arielladrake

Zan, I'm genuinely curious here, you say "I think it is wrong for a woman to say no to sex to her husband, BUT it is equally wrong and sinful for a man to force sex on his wife."
Are you referring to a woman who refuses to have sex with her husband at all? Because otherwise, I'm confused as to how telling your husband you're not in the mood isn't effectively saying no to him. I'm also confused as to how you determine that saying no to one's husband is on equal terms with marital rape.

The Happy Feminist

I agree that partners in a marriage have an obligation to try to please each other sexually. That doesn't necessarily mean hopping to whenever your spouse is in the mood, even if you aren't. It means trying in good faith to make sure that your spouse's needs are being met over time. It also means respecting your spouse when he or she does not want to have sex or wants to go for a period without sex. It's a mutual moral obligation for both parties to work together on this aspect of their lives in good faith. It's not something either party or the State can or should enforce.

The injection of force into the equation is another matter altogether. That is the issue here.

The Happy Feminist

I also second Arielladrake's position that neglecting a spouse's sexual needs is NOT morally equivalent to forcing sex on someone.

Zan

I didn't mean that saying no was on equal term with marital rape, but I do think there are some jerky women out there who use sex to control their husbands. That is very sinful. Saying no because you are ill or sick is not the same as marital rape, but I think that toying with your husband because you want to be controlling is bad. The whole thing about it being "equal" with rape is tricky. I believe all sin is equal in God's eyes. In the eyes of man's law rape is much worse than a controlling emotionally abusive woman. Men who commit violent crimes are highest on my list of people to dislike. So, if your husband has a brain and loves his wife he will see that when she is sick or not in the mood that he won't force the issue. Without going into personal detail, my husband will not engage in relations with me unless I am up for it. I think there is a huge problem with women saying no for their own selfish reasons or using sex as a weapon to get their own way. This is the "no" I am talking about. Sorry I wasn't clear.

Mary

Zan, I think we're saying the same thing but this comment came across to me differently:

"I think it is wrong for a woman to say no to sex to her husband,"

The only time I think it would be wrong for a woman to say no is if she's being manipulative or withholding purposely for long periods of time. I think this would indicate some sort of emotional issues or even physical issues. I think it's true of any marriage Christian or not that some times the husbands and wives are out of sync and when both partners are loving their spouses there has to be some give and take. Christian marriages when they are truly Biblical are actually more egalitarian than most nonChristians recognize. I think this is because Evangelicals focus so much on women's role and not so much on men's. As a mother it's my responsibility to raise my sons and daughter to know what's Biblical and what is simply man's distortion of the Bible regarding the roles of men and women in marriage. Women are not mere doormats placed on earth to serve some mans every little whim.

Mary

"The injection of force into the equation is another matter altogether. That is the issue here."

Sorry, for wandering off on a rabbitt trail. Not sure if I made the point that their are some Evangelical marriages where men believe that if they get the itch their women are to drop everything and hop to. Not physical force but a mental force? Can't think of how I want to say that. To me if a man "made" me have sex because he just wants it and I really really didn't feel good or was just overwhelmed or whatever, but if he used his "biblical authority" in marriage -- that is just as bad to me as if he physically forced himself on me. Now I have a stronger will than that, but unfortunately I've know Christian women who were brainwashed into thinking however and whenever their man wanted it they were to hop to and they absolutely came to hate that aspect of marriage because of that attitude.

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