🧵: Some Thoughts On "Sacrificial Sex"

"I don't think sacrificial sex is ever appropriate," I told my husband yesterday. And he said, "Of course not! Anyone who can enjoy having sex with someone who is making a sacrifice to participate with them has got some issues." 1/8
In his new book Married Sex, @garyLthomas acknowledges that "obligation sex" is a poor long-term strategy for relationships, & that problems arise when a woman feels she must have sex to prevent her husband from cheating on her or turning to degrading pornography. 2/8
Yet he goes on to spend pages of the book explaining just how much men need sex, just how much their identity is rooted in it, & how they are bound to resent their wives for withholding it or not enjoying it. In other words: obligation sex is bad but also you *are* obligated. 3/8
I want to unpack this contradiction a little bit, because it was a source of confusion to me for some time. Are there occasions when someone ought to have sex with their partner even though they don't want to? Surely we ought to make sacrifices for one another? 4/8
The messaging around obligation sex ("sacrificial sex," if you will) is so ubiquitous in Christian circles that to consider throwing it out altogether can feel almost scandalous. But time & marriage has convinced me that this narrative is a heap of perilous silliness. 5/8
While it may seem like an act of kindness, engaging in "sacrificial sex" can actually serve to widen the distance between partners because it frequently takes the place of good communication & skirts around the need to address important issues like orgasm gap or mental load. 6/8
It also undercuts mutuality, fostering an environment in which one party's sexual satisfaction (usually that of the woman) is seen as inessential to the sexual enjoyment of the other. This is of course deeply detrimental to intimacy. 7/8
In conclusion, don't let the many toxic authors of Christian marriage resources talk you into seeing coercive sex as "normal." Neither I nor my husband can even imagine desiring "sacrificial sex" from the other, & I venture to think we aren't the only ones. 8/8

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More from @_Bryana_Joy

9 Oct
🧵: A Lot of Women *Do* Like Sex, ACTUALLY

Yesterday's thread has been generating conversation & I have something to add. Although one of the most pressing issues produced by evangelical marriage resources is the horror of women being pressured into sex even though sex is...1/8
...not enjoyable for them, the tone taken by these authors also creates a second issue that deserves more attention: the continuous messaging telling women "God didn't design us to like sex as much as men" is frustrating & isolating to so many women for whom it rings untrue. 2/8
Among the women in my age bracket with whom I have discussed sex, the majority actually consider themselves to have a higher sex drive than their husbands & tend to be the ones experiencing sexual rejection. I personally recall how distressing it was for me in my young...3/8
Read 8 tweets
9 Oct
I want @garyLthomas (& @Zondervan!) to know that for an untold number of women, his words in Married Sex are triggering trauma responses & great anguish this week. We. are. tired. We are so, SO tired of being told that men desperately need sex & we don't. 1/9
We are SO tired of being told that our bodies have an almost-mystical power over men & that we need to use our sexuality strategically to retain our husbands' affection. We are so tired of being treated like a separate species primarily defined by our sex appeal. 2/9
I want @garyLthomas to know what it's like to be a woman suffering with vaginismus/dyspareunia & forcing herself through agonizing pain & hours of dilator therapy every week in sheer terror that the man she loves will leave her if she can't fulfill his sexual expectations. 3/9
Read 10 tweets

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