When Sex Becomes Abusive in Marriage by J. Slattery
There are men who identify as Christian who think the Bible teaches they are owed sex by their wives. They cherry pick and distort one or two Bible verses to try to prove this point (although the Bible says 1. the husband’s body is not his own but belongs to his wife and 2. though it is fine for a couple to abstain from sex).
There’s this guy who runs a very sexist blog where he claims that wives owe men sex, and if they don’t “put out” that the husband should punish the wife. This guy claims to be a Christian, and his blog posts are so “over the top” that people can’t figure out if he’s serious or a troll or a Poe.
I have read Christian men online who claim there is no such thing as “marital rape,” though there is such a thing (laws in our nation even recognize it and outlaw it), and God does not condone of marital rape, of men taking a wife forcefully, or guilt tripping or manipulating her into sex, or threatening to punish her financially or in some other manner to get sex.
There is a lot of male entitlement among Christian men, and in certain denominations, theologies, or churches. Some preachers actually encourage this male entitlement. They twist the Scriptures to tell women that it’s God’s design for their spouse to rule over them, to get every whim and need satisfied when and how he wants it, and so on.
Many men – and this includes a lot of Christian ones – mistakenly believe that woman’s only role is to serve men, cater to men, whether that be sexually, to do nothing but cook and clean for a spouse, to bolster a man’s ego, to give them encouragement.
Never do these selfish, sexist male oafs consider how they can pamper the women around them, give encouragement to women, or meet a woman’s sexual needs and desires.
One of my disagreements in this otherwise fine piece I link you to below and offer a few excperts is where the author says that the Bible calls the husband to be “the leader” in the home – actually, no, it does not. That is a traditionalist, or complementarian type of interpretation of certain passages.
Here are off-site links to pages by Christians who have interpretations that dispute the traditional or complementarian view of marriage:
- (Link): Headship Madness: An Introduction to “Headship” (Part 1)”
- (Link): Headship Madness (Part 2) – there is also a part 3, 4, and 5 on their site.
Without further ado, here are excerpts from “When Sex Becomes Abusive in Marriage” by J. Slattery.
(I don’t want to copy the entire article, so be sure to use the link here to visit their page to read the entire article, if this sort of topic interests you – I have placed portions of the article I found especially pertinent in bold face):
(Link): When Sex Becomes Abusive in Marriage by J. Slattery
- Sexual abuse can happen in marriage. Here are a few ways to identify it.
Sexual abuse within marriage can be quite a confusing concept. After all, doesn’t the Bible teach that a wife’s body belongs to her husband, and her husband’s body belongs to her?
Specifically, it says, “The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife” (1 Corinthians 7:4). Husbands have been known to quote such biblical teaching as a justification for sexually abusing their wives or demanding sex as a God-given right, but this verse seems to leave both a woman and man open to unwanted sex.
- The recent popularity of BDSM (which stands for Bondage, Dominance, Sadism, and Masochism) has blurred the lines of consensual sex even more. A couple that may begin by consensually experimenting with one person dominating the other in the bedroom may end up violating the will of the “submissive” spouse. This is simply sexual abuse by a chic name.
- It’s critical to be able to recognize when your marriage has become abusive in the bedroom.
The dictionary defines the verb abuse as “to use something to a bad effect or for a bad purpose.” God did not create sex to be a weapon used to harm, manipulate, or coerce.
Sexual abuse in marriage is just as vile as any other form of sexual abuse. It’s one person exploiting the trust and vulnerability of the other person, and God hates it.
Overt Sexual Abuse
After a recent speaking event, Hannah approached me visibly trembling. She explained that her husband was regularly abusive—physically, emotionally, and sexually. When I asked her to describe her marriage, she shared how her husband regularly took her sexually by force.
- At other times when sex was consensual, her husband forced her to engage in acts that were physically and emotionally harmful to Hannah. When she tried to approach the issue with her pastor, he made light of these incidents and encouraged Hannah to be a loving and submissive wife and to be a more willing lover.
- Unfortunately, this type of overt sexual abuse in marriage relationships is more common than we might think. …
Dominating men typically find themselves married to dependent women who don’t know when or how to stand up for themselves. He demands what he wants when he wants it.
- Unfortunately, conservative religious communities sometimes encourage this abuse with unbalanced teaching on submission and patriarchal authority.
- The Bible says that God hates a man who covers himself in violence.
- Subtle Sexual Abuse
- Not all sexual abuse involves violence and physical coercion. Other forms of sexual abuse can include sexual humiliation and manipulation.
- Sexual abuse in any form is not simply about sex; It is also about power.
- … The most common and overlooked form of sexual abuse involves manipulation and even spiritual themes to coerce a spouse to act sexually against her will.
- From the beginning of their marriage, Jake expected and even demanded sex from his wife every day. He walked through the door of their condo after work and became irate if Shelly didn’t have dinner cooking and a willing bedroom attitude.
- This was why he’d married her in the first place, he reasoned.
- What good was marriage if he didn’t get his “needs” met? Jake never forced Shelly to have sex but withheld all affection and “punished” her with critical comments if she didn’t give him what he wanted.
- Understandably, Shelly began to hate sex. She avoided it with physical complaints and by filling their calendar with social events.
- Calling It What It Is
- If you are living with a man who uses any form of coercion in your sexual relationship, please stand up and call it what it is. Sexual intimacy was designed to be a beautiful exchange of your bodies in order to build love and intimacy. What is happening in your marriage is a destructive distortion of God’s intention. It is never God’s will for a husband or wife to live within an abusive environment.
(Link): Don’t want to be at the birth of your child because it will put you off sex? Man up! Women deal with it, so you should too – from DM – Why Christians Need to Teach that Sexual Ethics Are For Everyone Not Just Teens or Singles – and Male Christian Entitlement
(Link): “I found that the abuse began or escalated when the men became Christians … When rigid traditional family values are combined with rigid traditional religious beliefs, there is always abuse.” (by B H Brennen)
(Link): Ex-Church Usher Found Guilty of Hiring Hitman to Kill His Wife So He Can Pursue Kinky Sexual Lifestyle With His Mistress (the guy in this story is married AND is a parent)