All Our Little Messes

Episode 12: The Destructive Power of Obligation Sex: A Wake-Up Call for Christian Marriages

October 12, 2023 All Our Little Messes Season 1 Episode 12
Episode 12: The Destructive Power of Obligation Sex: A Wake-Up Call for Christian Marriages
All Our Little Messes
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All Our Little Messes
Episode 12: The Destructive Power of Obligation Sex: A Wake-Up Call for Christian Marriages
Oct 12, 2023 Season 1 Episode 12
All Our Little Messes

What if the sexual dynamics of your marriage were fundamentally flawed? Would you be brave enough to confront the issue and find a better path? Join us as we unmask the damaging concept of obligation sex in Christian and Catholic marriages, a mindset rooted deeply in purity culture that pressures women into being sexual commodities.

We're not here to point fingers, but to challenge norms and initiate change. We explore the controversial interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7:5 and how it’s been manipulated to suggest that women are mandated to satisfy their husbands sexually, invariably stripping women of their autonomy and dignity. The impact goes beyond the bedroom, affecting relationships and personal confidence, as women grapple with guilt, shame, and expectations that are at odds with their own desires. 

In this journey of enlightenment, we explore the repercussions of obligation sex, and the unhealthy power dynamics it cultivates within a marriage. Tune in as we underscore the importance of communication, respect, and shared experience in fostering a truly intimate bond. It's time to rewrite the narrative, shaking off harmful stereotypes, respecting boundaries and embracing healthier, more balanced relationships. This episode is a step towards empowering women to reclaim their bodies and their rights, and encouraging couples to cultivate mutual understanding and consent.

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Send any questions or comments to allourlittlemesses@gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you guys!

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What if the sexual dynamics of your marriage were fundamentally flawed? Would you be brave enough to confront the issue and find a better path? Join us as we unmask the damaging concept of obligation sex in Christian and Catholic marriages, a mindset rooted deeply in purity culture that pressures women into being sexual commodities.

We're not here to point fingers, but to challenge norms and initiate change. We explore the controversial interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7:5 and how it’s been manipulated to suggest that women are mandated to satisfy their husbands sexually, invariably stripping women of their autonomy and dignity. The impact goes beyond the bedroom, affecting relationships and personal confidence, as women grapple with guilt, shame, and expectations that are at odds with their own desires. 

In this journey of enlightenment, we explore the repercussions of obligation sex, and the unhealthy power dynamics it cultivates within a marriage. Tune in as we underscore the importance of communication, respect, and shared experience in fostering a truly intimate bond. It's time to rewrite the narrative, shaking off harmful stereotypes, respecting boundaries and embracing healthier, more balanced relationships. This episode is a step towards empowering women to reclaim their bodies and their rights, and encouraging couples to cultivate mutual understanding and consent.

Support the Show.

If you like this show and believe in its message, please consider supporting our Patreon. For as little as $3/month, get access to behind the scenes content, early access to podcast episodes and more!

Send any questions or comments to allourlittlemesses@gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you guys!

Subscribe to the newsletter here to get periodic updates on blog posts and more!

Buy Me a Coffee!

If you liked this episode, consider buying me a coffee! It'll help keep me awake during late night editing sessions. Thank you!

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for behind the scenes content and everyday posts about parenting and marriage.

Sounds from Zapsplat.com

Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to All Our Little Messes, a podcast focused on healing through intentional conversations about parenting, relationships, religion and more. I am your host, veronica Winrod, and I'm so happy to have you here listening in on my thoughts today. I hope you enjoy this episode. Hello and welcome back to All Our Little Messes. Today we're going to be talking about something that I feel is it is starting to become more of a focal point in Christian influencers and things like that, but I feel it needs to be talked about more, and I have myself experienced, I would say, some of the aspects of this belief and this mindset. So we're going to talk a little bit about obligation sex today and its impacts on Christian and Catholic marriages, and also where it came from. Like it's from what I have seen and what I've read inside of, like marriage books that I was given when I got married and things like that it really seems to be a direct result of purity culture and just like a natural progression from purity culture into marriage. And so, yeah, I just wanted to talk about that.

Speaker 1:

While we're, you know, continuing on our series about purity culture, I wanted to address the obligation sex within marriages because, again, like purity culture doesn't cease to exist after we get married. There are just the just certain teachings around purity culture just change for us, essentially those of us that are married, and so obligation sex is just one of those teachings. And so, basically, what obligation sex is is we? It's actually based on 1 Corinthians 7.5, where it says do not deprive each other except by, perhaps by, mutual consent. And so a lot of Christians, you know, and Catholics especially, more of the Catholics of the more traditional mindset and more fundamentalist Christians, they take that as do not deprive your husband, because there's just generally accepted belief that women do not need or enjoy sex. And so when we see that verse, a lot of people take that as do not deprive your husbands.

Speaker 1:

And so we're taught, like girls are taught kind of indirectly, subconsciously, about the obligation to satisfy your husbands. We're kind of taught that concept from a very young age without ever being really explicit about it, and it's through very, very subtle things within purity culture. You know just the thing like messaging like you know, boys think about sex every seven minutes, or something like that. I was always told that men think about sex every seven minutes, or that we have to dress a certain way in order to protect boys, because they're constantly thinking about sex, or that we have to protect ourselves from boys because you know they, kids, can't help themselves, right? And so there's this subconscious messaging, from the time we're very, very young, that boys need sex and that we're the gatekeepers to it. And so then, when we get married, then all of a sudden this sex is allowed and we're supposed to, we're just supposed to give it to them.

Speaker 1:

And so this, you know, teaching that we are, you know, the gatekeepers to sexual morality, one subconsciously also does teach us that our bodies, one, are sinful, they're inherently sinful, and also that they're not, they're not our own, our bodies are not our own, and because, you know, someone is always trying to take it from us. So after marriage, after we've been taught our entire lives that our bodies, subconsciously, our bodies, do not belong to us, and so we grow up thinking our bodies are sinful, we must hide them, someone's always trying to take them because you know, it's, it's there, is that kind of thing. And then we get married and we are told in all of these marriage books and I could, I could actually name quite a few where I've read this Love and respect every man's battle. You have the series of books for his eyes, only for her eyes, only. A lot of these books All say, or created to be, as help me, that's also a really big one when it comes to this. They all say the same thing Men need sex and basically women are there to provide it, and so we Women become a commodity After marriage and our bodies are, you know, our bodies are there to be used for our husbands, because our husbands need sex and we are there to provide it essentially.

Speaker 1:

And so Through that, through that messaging, we are taught that our bodies do not belong to us. And you know more than that, like they'll, they'll start using, you know, one Corinthians to justify that position, and you know, if you're saying no for any reason, basically you're depriving your husbands, and which is really, it's really sad because, like it, it strips a woman of her her bodily autonomy in marriage, like it strips her of of her dignity, and it just, it's so Harmful and cheapening and degrading to be told that your husband needs sex and you were there to provide that sexual pleasure, not, not that he is giving a gift of himself to you and you are giving a gift yourself to him and and sharing in this incredibly close emotional and physical bond. No, you, he has a need and you have to provide it, and that's all that sex is, and so you can never say no. You can never say no because you know one Corinthians says do not deprive each other, and if you say no, you're depriving him of this, of this need that he is. You know, he is, you know you're obligated to provide. He is entitled to it, he's entitled to your body, and so Like and I, I believe I mentioned this, you know, in an earlier podcast episode where, in you know, the early days of my marriage, I, I Never said no because I had been raised with that mentality of you can't say no.

Speaker 1:

Like, all of the books I was given after I got married all told me that I could never say no to my husband, and I believed it because they also said, and like I had, I had other Married women like, affirm this, they it was sinful, I would be sinning, I would be committing a? I mortal sin if I Deprived my husband so if he asked for it or if he, like you know, a section that showed any kind of sexual advances or anything like that, and I Said, no, I'm not interested, I was. I was sinning against him and against God and against myself, and so it really, sex was hard sometimes, a lot of times, for me because, you know, I, during that first year, especially First, like two years of marriage, like you know, I was pregnant and then after that I had the second year, I had my first child, and so I was learning how to navigate motherhood for the first time and, like navigating, you know, learning how to breastfeed and like all of my first child had some medical problems, and so I Was navigating all of these, these medical problems and things. And then, on top of that, I also had this messaging of, you know, whenever your husband needs it, you have to say yes. And there was also, you know this, this shame attached to Talking about that.

Speaker 1:

Like I was I felt guilty over not wanting to have sex sometimes and Wanting to say no, and like I felt like that was bad, like I, I had to Want it at all times when he said it, I had to want it even though I was tired or or I felt sick, or I was just absolutely touched out because I had a, you know, a nine month old baby that just needed me all the time. I Could never just say no, I'm tired. Can we, you know? Can we do it tomorrow instead? And so I, I, I felt like I couldn't express that to him either because again, there was like so much shame and guilt attached to that, because I felt like even you know, wanting to say no, even though I wasn't even wanting to say no, was sinful, and so, like it took it took me years, honestly, to move past that and like be able to share with him hey, this is what's going on. Like I Don't always want to have sex and like he was shocked because he thought I did.

Speaker 1:

But I had been raised and hardwired to be that way, to be the, to be the willing, submissive Wife at all times, you know, ready for sex with this mile, whenever he wants it, always be sexually available, and you know, and the obligation, sex, and it went even beyond that. I mean, I Felt like if I told him no, then, you know, because men think about sex every seven minutes and that's all they want and that's why they get married and I, I get. I had a. I had a man tell me that the only reason why a man gets married is so he can have sex and Like, even though my husband would tell me Multiple times that that is not why he got married to me, like that is not why he married me, I had a really, really hard time believing it. Like it was very difficult for me to believe it because, like again, I had been hardwired to think that the only thing a man cared about, the only thing boys cared about was, was sex and what I looked like and what I could give them. And so I Like, I that whole, that whole culture surrounding you know, men needing sex, and then you know women are never allowed to say no.

Speaker 1:

Like I felt. Like If I did say no because of this, this huge need, supposed need that he has for sex at all times, if I said no, he would, you know, start watching porn or He'd cheat on me. He goes to someone else for his sexual satisfaction. Like these were actual, legitimate thoughts that were running through my head all the time. And so and it took me a very long time to to get over that and and to understand that like it's okay, we are, we actually are allowed to say no.

Speaker 1:

You know me saying no for a night is not depriving my husband and be not only that Women are allowed, like the whole messaging behind obligation sex and the fact that you know it's it's Sex, is this thing that men need and women can provide. The whole method, like the messaging behind that is just so Harmful and messed up to me because it basically turns men Into like these, these animals that just, you know, just can't help themselves and they just have, like this, this primal, this need that they just cannot control, they can't, they can't control themselves, and turns women into, like this, this Commodity or objects or sexual objects to be used by men whenever they have this urge, right, and it completely ignores the fact and it feeds back into, you know, the idea in purity culture that women do not need or enjoy sex. It feeds back into that idea that women do not need or enjoy sex and that couldn't be further from the truth. I mean, the way that men and women approach sex is definitely very, very different. Like the way women approach sex is very emotional, like we have a very emotional approach to it, we have to be emotionally connected, emotionally fulfilled, like there's so many facets to it before we can have, like a truly enjoyable sexual experience. And so, yeah, like.

Speaker 1:

The ways that men and women approach sex is very different, but that does not mean that just because we approach sex differently than men, that does not mean that we do not enjoy it, and that is like the messaging behind obligation sex is that we have to provide it at the drop of a hat, without any effort for fulfillment on our husbands parts. And so it becomes this job, this chore on our to-do list Every day that we just check off him. Oh shoot, I forgot. I have to do a load of laundry and then after that I have to have sex with my husband and then I need to remember to do the dishes. And it's just like this whole, it's a long list of laws, right, when, in fact and it's not, it's something that we dread and we never look forward to. Like I couldn't even imagine that. Like I personally hate doing laundry. It is like the worst to me. I, if I could, I would put it off forever. I cannot imagine putting like now. I can't, I cannot imagine putting sex on my to-do list for the day and treating it and thinking of it as this thing that I had to do. I couldn't put it off, but I just, you know, I needed to do it and get it over with, like that load of laundry that I just have to do.

Speaker 1:

It's just so weird to me but unfortunately a lot of women in Christianity and within like Catholic cultures, you know, view sex that way. And it really comes back to this whole idea, that this whole idea of obligation sex and that where men are entitled to us and men are entitled to our bodies. And you know, when you read, when you read the whole verse of 1 Corinthians 7-5, it never mentions, explicitly mentions, either men or women. It's actually talking about both of them and I thought that was very interesting because it, to me, it shows that it is a need for both the husband and the wife, not just the husband, and so it is both of our jobs to approach the sexual relationship and fulfill each other's needs. Like my husband has, you know, he has more physical needs and and he also, he also has emotionally. You know he's a human being, so he also has emotional needs as well.

Speaker 1:

And so you know, and especially when you're, you know within, you know when you're, when you're married, sex becomes a very emotional thing. It's how you know a married couple, like a healthy married couple, emotionally connects. But Especially, that's especially true for a woman like she has to feel safe, she has to be feel taken care of, she has to be Emotionally fulfilled. She needs to feel heard and understood and like like her husband actually cares about her. And if that, that emotional connection with her husband, that spiritual connection I should call it, actually, if that connection with her husband isn't there, then sex really did. It's an, it's an obligation, it's a chore, it's just something that she needs to check off on her to-do list and it doesn't Fulfill, you know, the biblical requirements of sex.

Speaker 1:

Like one Corinthians sevens five, says do not deprive each other, except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. He's talking to both of us and you know, while women may have, you know we're not, we're not going necessarily going to be tempted sexually, but if we do not come together with our husbands and Both of us, you know, take care of each other in the ways that we need, then Satan will tempt us in our unique ways and so like he will tempt us emotionally If we cannot get that emotional connection that we need in order to fulfill, fulfilled during sex. If we cannot get that, then we're going to seek it elsewhere, because women really do need that emotional connection, like it's just it's, it's in our natures, we need it and so if we cannot get that from our husbands, we are going to seek it elsewhere, through you know, friends or you know worst-case scenario, god forbid.

Speaker 1:

You know outside of, you know the bounds of marriage and so like this, this verse is very important, but I feel like people really Misconstrued to mean the wife cannot deprive the husband and that's all it is about, and just so. Not about that. It is about more than just sex and and I feel like people people need to really read and study that verse and Try to come to a better understanding, in my opinion, because I feel like a lot of problems could be avoided, especially in the early years of marriage. If you know, this was actually something that was talked about in marriage classes and stuff which I mean. I actually can't speak to Marriage counseling and marriage classes nowadays because the marriage counseling I was provided with before I got married was Very, very minimal.

Speaker 1:

It was a three-hour crash course the day before I got married by a priest who did not even end up marrying us and, basically, when it came to one Corinthian seven, five like, the Counseling and advice I received surrounding that was don't say no, you can't deprive him you, so you can't say no, and that was my marriage advice when it came to sex. And so it was, which you know further, I had a priest telling me and you can't say no, so I it further like solidified in my mind that it was a sin and I would be, you know, causing us both to sin if I ever said no and so, like very rarely what I do it like I would have to be, you know, basically dying in order for me to say no. Like I remember after my first child, you know, traditionally you're supposed to wait six weeks, right? You're supposed to wait six weeks to make sure your body's healed and to make sure that there is not any risk for infection and all that stuff, right after you have a child. I did not do that. Neither one of us really were told about the whole six-week thing and I didn't even really think about it. And so it was.

Speaker 1:

It wasn't too soon, but it was fairly soon after childbirth, we were talking about it and he asked, and I didn't really feel comfortable because I had just been out giving birth and I was just like dead tired all the time. But again, you can't say no, no is never an answer. Like you can't, it's not even something that should enter your mind. So it's like, oh, yes, of course. And you know, looking back and I'm just like, oh, my goodness, like both of us had such a twisted understanding of healthy boundaries in marriage at that point and like I didn't have an understanding of what I was and wasn't allowed to do biblically. And so I yeah again. Like I felt like if I ever said no for any reason, I was, you know, committing a sin and I would have to confess it, confess the sin, and so it was.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it was like growing up like that was just, and going into marriage like that was just so harmful and so emotionally exhausting all the time and it really it twisted my idea of what healthy, you know, a healthy sex life in a marriage should be like. And like, the more I've talked to to women in within Christianity and within Catholicism, like traditional Catholicism, I find that it's actually a very common occurrence like this is very, very common for girls to be raised with this idea that we can't say no, it is a sin to say no, our bodies do not belong to us, we have no rights over them at all, like none, zero, not a ever, even after childbirth, and so, and that creates, you know, whole hosts of other problems which we can get into later podcast. But yeah, it just it's so, it's so sad and it's it's just so harmful and it's creating. It's created really this epidemic of marriages where there's, like this power dynamic that really, oftentimes, you know, the husband isn't even where exists because, again, like I mentioned earlier, a wife feels shame and guilt, that she has these feelings of, you know, being feeling obligated to to have sex with her husband when she doesn't want to. She feels shame and guilt, that it's a chore and she doesn't want it and but she won't talk about it and so, like there's again there's like this, just this odd power dynamic that neither one of them is really aware exists within the marriage and it's it really, it affects the marriage in all areas, not just in, you know, the sexual relationship, but it affects them in all areas and, like, in order for a marriage to be, you know, truly healthy. You need to be able to communicate those kinds of feelings to your husband and you need to be. You need to know that you know you're going to be hard and you're going to be emotionally safe and, like. A woman needs that.

Speaker 1:

And in a lot of cases, a woman doesn't know that when she's raised with you know the obligation sex message, and when she's raised with impurity culture, she's taught that her voice does not matter and her body is not her own, and so she never feels like she can actually speak up and say I don't like this and I I want this to change. And so, like I feel like our first steps to break out of this cycle of you know obligation sex and you know purity culture is to start teaching our girls that you do have a voice. If someone you know just like basic things, like you know if someone is touching you that you don't like, even if it's just a hug or or just you know they just want to give you a hug, it's okay to say no because your body is your own. No is a complete sentence, no is an answer, even when you're married. And that starts with teaching our girls from a very young age and I'm talking young toddlers, as you know as young as when they start talking, learning how to speak. Start teaching them you know bodily autonomy and how to say no and that their bodies are their own, and teach them healthy boundaries.

Speaker 1:

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