Photo credits

The Embalse de Riano in northern Spain. The picture was taken by .... me!

Thursday, September 27

A call for a conversation about Maleness (Some controversial stuff here)

There was a time when a man’s woman (or women) were considered to be his possession, to do with as he saw fit.

This was wrong.

A better balance based on mutuality and respect developed, but it was still assumed that consent was given once for all in the wedding vows.

This was wrong.

British law now recognises that rape can occur within a marriage.

So now atheist feminists and Christian theologians are in agreement. Sex is about the mutual giving and receiving of love.

All is peace and harmony. NOT!

I believe the reality in most couples is different, and the difference becomes greater with age.

The fact is, in general men want it more than women. And as menopause hits in, the woman is much more likely to experience a reduction in desire than the man.

I think that the present system is good in that it recognises the needs and rights of women and corrects the injustices of the past. But I believe increasingly strongly that it does not meet the needs of men.

And it’s not just our western culture that is failing. Everywhere, there are frustrated men who are simply not getting enough.

I have read recent BBC articles about predatory men in Moroccan villages sexually assaulting women in the street. Similarly in Egypt, where it is apparently worse since the revolution. In Mexico there are deeply entrenched cultures of recruiting and trafficking women into prostitution. Western culture is soaked in pornography, and British local newspapers openly advertise ‘escorts’ and ‘massage’. And there has been all of the scandal of paedophile priests in the Catholic Church. Closer to home, I have friends who finding that they don’t get it at home have gone to adultery websites to find women that will give it. Too many wives tell their husbands that they can’t look at other women, but then they don’t let their husbands look at their own wives either – a real dog-in-the-manger attitude.

NONE of this would happen if men were getting sufficient good quality sex from their wives.

OK, some of it would – there will always be the person who wants more of an adventure and the thrill of the illicit. But I’m looking at the principles rather than the exceptions.

Now, I am a Christian, and I subscribe to Christian doctrines of monogamy and no sex before or outside of that monogamy.

But it isn’t working.

So how do I put it: “I know a man who says…” I get very frustrated domestically. Mrs genuinely believes that we have a good sex life. And indeed when stuff does happen it is wonderful - like a lush oasis in a desert. But no matter how wonderful the oasis, it is still in a desert.

I remember watching a fly-on-the-wall documentary about married couples. One elderly couple had a similar problem, and in the end the man left her and went to London to consort with pole dancers. Amazingly the couple were reconciled, and came to a ‘once a week’ arrangement. The wife described this as ‘not nearly enough for him but far too much for me’.

We are not that old, but an arrangement like that would triple my experiences. And I’m sorry, but I am not getting enough. It would be nice to have an honest talk with her about it, but I feel that she is oversensitive, paranoid and takes offence at things much less than this.

She has no idea how hard it is for me to live by my Christian principles in this area. The temptations of internet porn are only a click away. Those adverts in the newspaper only require one phone call. There’s stuff on TV that is just a channel-surfing ‘accident’ away. I have voices screaming in my head to go and do those things. All the time. And as the weeks pass I get that growing physical sensation, very similar to hunger but in the pelvis rather than the belly. It makes my pelvis grind, even while I sit at my desk designing sewage works. It makes my skin tingle. It makes my trousers stretch. I have testosterone seeping from every pore.

You may say I am like this because I evolved from a monkey. You may say I am like this because that is how God created me. Either way, it is a biological reality. I am what I am, and I have rights. We hear about women’s rights, but men have rights to. And we have a right to a healthy sex life. [Do we? Is that controversial?]

So I approach my wife over a period of days. I compliment her, give her treats, gradually building up to the moment when I make the suggestion or make the decisive stroke, and all of a sudden she ‘remembers’ that she has to do the kids packed lunches and she’s off. My one chance that week gone. All that effort wasted. I’ve come as thirsty man to the oasis, only to find it was a mirage.

So I’m raising this as a question. I’m sure I’m not alone. What do we do about the fact men need sex?

I have no satisfactory answer. Here’s some of the things I’ve considered.

• Masturbation. Well its like having a packet of cheap crisps instead of a gourmet meal at a posh restaurant. It gets you by but is not the real thing. It does not satisfy.  And if supported by on-line pornography it is both intrinsically imoral and likley to exploit traficked women.

• Polygamy. I don’t love those other women – I only want one. And one is enough trouble! Polygamy is invented by men for men. It may be a practical solution to my problem, but it’s not a moral one.

• State-run brothels. State-run to protect the staff and avoid the trafficking issues. But this still involves marital unfaithfulness.

• The pendulum has swung too far – put it back to a more balanced position where consent is assumed within a marriage. It would still involve force and coercion. It would still be wrong.

• Bring back concubines. See polygamy above.

The answer that I do believe has potential to work, while still being moral, is for women to be given a better understanding of their husband’s needs. The Bible says “Do not withhold your bodies one from another”. This is advice not law, but it is good advice, and in my view not to follow that advice could be classed as sin. I seriously wonder if my wife sins against me when she says no.

Clearly there must be consent, or it is rape. There must be no coercion, or it is rape. So if I go to my wife and tell her that the Bible says this and she’s not giving me enough and she should do more, then that puts pressure on her, its coercion, its rape.

I need a mature Christian woman who is respected for her biblical and practical knowledge to say this to my wife, not to force her, but to present her with an opportunity to love me better. I think there was something that may have been heading in this direction at New Wine, but again it was one of those things that she needed to attend of her own free will, not by me telling her she is not good enough and sending her to it.

What do you think is the answer to the problem of men’s sexual needs?

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