Dealing with Forced Celibacy
Does anyone known how men (or women for that matter) are counseled to deal with forced celibacy caused by health or other issues?
How do you keep from losing your mind when loneliness and raging desire are all-consuming? It’s easy to say things like, “Pour yourself into the Word” or “Lean on Jesus as your rock” or “Let God carry your burdens” or “Be as the Apostle Paul and turn away from your worldly desires”. That sounds great in church, but it’s not realistic in real life for a healthy vigorous person looking at decades of potential celibacy.
What are some practical tips for dealing with this?
I would start by making a distinction. If Lori or I became unable to have sex, I know we would continue to do something sexual for the other. If nothing else the one who can’t asks the one who can to masturbate while lying next to them. So in my mind celibacy is rarely forced by medical conditions. Yes, it happens, but in many cases, there could still be sex of a sort.
I don’t think I’d have much trouble dealing with it if she really couldn’t do anything. It’s part of life in a fallen world, and you just go on with it. I’d masturbate in the shower as needed while thinking of the sex we have shared.
On the other hand, if she could be sexual and just wouldn’t, that would be a whole different thing. That would be her choice to deny me sex. It would make me feel unloved, and it would make me question her love for me. I’d have to work through that with God, probably forgiving her a number of times. In theory, it would be good to masturbate as I felt the need, but I suspect doing so would just make me feel more angry at her, so that would be difficult.
And of course, it’s more than just the loss of sex. How could I go on with everything else we do as if that had not happened? Part of the foundation of our marriage would have been removed (by her), and we would have to rebuild on whatever was left. Who knows what that would look like.
In time I think I could come to peace with it. I’d accept that this is her sinful choice, and I don’t have the power to change her mind. I’d look to build the best life and marriage I could. And yes, God would be a big part of getting me through it. There would be a lot of praying and crying.
I had wondered about this, and then it actually happened to me. I’m curious why you’re asking, if you’re in this situation and what your story is.
In my case, DW started having abdominal pain. It’s amazing how your sex drive falls off when you have to watch your spouse in pain. We tried to have a few romps on some of her better days, but it was obvious that she was in too much pain. A woman’s O uses a lot of abdominal muscle, and it was painful for her. We could no longer enjoy anything sexual, and that is more than enough to kill your sex drive and take your mind off sex. Sure, at times I might have liked some MS or OS but even asking her to contort like that was out of the question. Unfortunately, as her cancer progressed she became more like my patient than my DW. Sex becomes the last thing on your mind, at least it did for me.
HIT — I really relate to a lot of what you’re expressing. I have asked many of the same questions many times. I didn’t read all your comments and responses because they were too eerily familiar.
My DW and I do have sex on occasion and those occasions are growing, but my first 7 years of my marriage felt identical to what I was reading. When I say occasion is growing, it’s progressing from once every 6-8 weeks to once every 3-4 weeks or so. My love language is physical contact and I am still enamored by my wife, but her refusal often left me feeling utterly broken.
I don’t have the capacity to go much deeper right now, but I appreciate you opening up, asking the question and sharing your experience of refusal.
I read your story elsewhere. I’m so sorry to hear what happened with your wife . Praying for comfort for you and your family, and that God gives you clarity for what He has in store for your future.
I’m not dealing with anything like you’ve been through.. Just outright refusal with enough medical issues to make it legitimate / seemingly insurmountable. Unfortunately, not everyone experience the diminished desire you’ve described. Sometimes the exact opposite is the case .
Are there techniques to crush desire and make loneliness easier to cope with?.
In times where there have been serious medical issues (ie surgery, etc), I understand your point completely. But for the rest of the time the need to feel wanted is overwhelming.
Note – I’m not sure I like this new board format. It doesn’t keep the messages in order so I can’t tell who I’m responding to.
Admins – can we keep it in order of posts so there is a way to respond to actual replies?
For all who responded so far – thanks for the replies. A couple things;
I’m not interested in ‘not loving’ my wife or finding more ways to avoid her. We’re a normal married couple, heavily involved in our church, live a normal romantic life, go out on dates, I bring flowers home, we sleep in the same bed, etc. She just isn’t capable of sex physically because of non-stop medical issues. I can’t force her, and wouldn’t want to.
Paul – Get down on your knees right now and thank the Lord for a wife who will do that sort of thing with you. Not in a million years would my wife dream of that kind of activity. She actively avoids anything that would stimulate her because she says it causes her physical distress (migraines, nausea, intestinal issues, etc). And even if it didn’t, she would say that’s weird (anything other than 5 minutes of missionary is weird to her) 🙄
What I’m looking for is active ways to repress the need for sex and intimacy. I know it’s not holy, but the thoughts of anger, envy, and the ‘what if’s are hard to avoid. The shower trick Paul B mentions only goes so far.
Surely somewhere there’s a practical list?
– Don’t think of your wife sexually.
– Never kiss her with the thought that it could lead to more.
– Always keep expectations of physical intimacy at zero.
– Avoid discussions with engaging attractive women at all costs.
– Destroy your computer, phone, or anything else that could remind you that normal women enjoy and desire sex.
– And by all means never read ‘The Marriage Bed’ board and discover that this life of lonely isolation isn’t perfectly normal.
Yes – These are ridiculous. But someone smarter than me surely can come up with some practical steps to cope.
“why can she not hold you and cuddle while you masturbate?”
She won’t participate in any sort of sexual activity whatsoever. I didn’t mean to be ambiguous. We have sex on rare occasions when the planets align. But she’s recently had a hysterectomy and no way no how is there anything sexual taking place. She won’t discuss sex without it turning into “Is that all you care about!” It’s an off limits topic.
I believe love is a choice, not an emotion. I agreed to love my wife as Christ loved the church. Sometimes that is extremely difficult.
Oh… I just thought of another thing:
– Avoid all friendships with other men who have great marriages and want to hint how great their sex lives are, further isolating yourself. 🙄
“do recognize and harness the softer emotion behind the anger – the hurt -and use it to motivate you to take action. “
Take action? What action am I supposed to take? I’m not going to leave – I need coping skills for how to survive without intimacy. Surely there are some tips on how to keep it from becoming an all consuming burden.
I’m reading a book by Ken Copeland. When he was at Oral Roberts university they held a prayer meeting. As was the custom the town brought a lot of very sick people to the meeting and put them all in a big hospital ward type of room. Oral Roberts at the time told Kenneth, who was starting out at the time, to go and pray for and heal the sick people. The first person Kenneth walked up to was a lady with a large cancer tumor in her stomach. Kenneth started to pray but Oral Roberts spoke up. The tumor was so large this lady was 75 pounds and looked pregnant. Oral said “You foul unclean spirit, taking the life of my sister, take your hands off Gods property in the name of Jesus whose I am and whom I serve !” This was a “roar of faith” and Oral Roberts released his faith. The lady “ coughed up the tumor that had been killing her. It was as big as a fist and looked like a jellyfish with strings hanging from it. She coughed it right out on the ground and then took off running around the tent.”
When we pray don’t plead with God and ask Jesus to heal. Lay hands on her and command satan to depart. You and your wife must saturate your minds with healing scripture and know she is healed and that’s why Jesus she’d his blood.
In some cases people do not want to be healed. If you had a choice to be in Heaven 6 months from now or continue to live on Earth, what would you choose? It sounds harsh but when young people die it can be because they choose to leave. You can have the faith to heal her but she might not want to receive healing. Maybe build a vision of what you want to do with her AFTER she is healed. Get her excited about life and travel, grandchildren, Disney World, lots of reasons to live….
Jesus’ healing always comes, but do we have the faith to receive? If you read the New Testament whenever the demon wouldn’t leave Jesus rebuked the disciples. He got mad and annoyed with them. Cast out the sickness. Don’t ask Jesus to do it, he can’t. He gave us that power. We cast it out in his name. I’d take my wife to visit Kenneth and Gliria Copeland. The healing might come immediately, or it might take a little time…