PTSD Flashback Sex

Over at Dalrock’s, Isa asked the following question.  Since I’m on record as saying that wives should obey their husbands without exception, I thought I should respond to this delicate issue here.

Just as a more personal question, when would it be acceptable to withhold? If I know that engaging would cause ptsd flashbacks etc. I of course say no (I’d rather not crush his soul into tiny tiny tiny pieces).

I think part of the problem is that women really have no clue how important sex is to a husband.  Even the ones who think they know only grasp it partially.  When you deny your husband sex, that “crushes his soul into tiny tiny tiny pieces.”  You may think it would crush him to be inside you when you have one of your flashbacks, and you may be right about that.  But denying him over and over devastates him too, and perhaps worse.  Only he can know that.  You can’t.

Lying next to the woman you love, smelling her, hearing her breath and movements, and not being able to have her, is torture.  If you have no choice — if she was in a terrible gymnastics accident that broke her vagina so it had to be removed — you can roll with that; at least you’re in it together.  But when you can’t have her because she denies you, then she is the one torturing you.

You’re saying that sex (often) is torture for you.  But being denied sex is torture for him.  Is it fair to subject him to torture to save yourself from it?

So my short answer is: it’s never acceptable to withhold.  It’s just not.  Aside from the fact that Saints Peter and Paul didn’t say, “Be subject to your husbands except when it would be really horrible for you,” it’s the most destructive thing you can do to your marriage, short of cuckolding him in public.

Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with asking for his understanding.  A man who loves you doesn’t want to put you through torture just to get himself off.  I assume he knew about your issues before you married, so he expected to have to deal with this.  I don’t see anything wrong with saying, “I’m in a bad place right now; could I have a rain check?”  He’ll probably agree, glad that you’re communicating, as long as you don’t overuse it.  Just make sure you keep that rain check, and show him a good enough time that he’s glad he waited.  If there are times that you feel like you’d be okay, seize the opportunity by seizing him.  If he asks you to do anything to help with your fears — counseling, praying together, medical treatments, sacrificing a chicken first — do it without complaint.  Be the best wife you can be in every other way; sandwiches and a clean house won’t make up completely for lack of sex, but they can help.  Pray constantly for release from your demons, and pray for patience for your husband.

Frequency of sex is important, but perhaps even more important is that a husband never feels like his wife is using her issues, whether headaches or flashbacks, to deny him or manipulate him.  If there are times that you just can’t do it, apologize, beg his forgiveness, and make it up to him as best you can.  But when you can grit your teeth and bear it, do it; don’t abuse his consideration.


The lesson here for unmarried women:  if damage from your past, whether self-inflicted or inflicted by others, makes you feel sick at the idea of a husband pulling you into the bedroom and tearing your clothes off whenever he feels like it, don’t get married.  Don’t even date, because you’re not ready to marry.  And don’t think you’re going to find an understanding guy with low libido so it won’t matter, because what’ll happen is a guy will fall in love with you and claim he doesn’t mind, but he’ll really be thinking, “My kindness will heal her wounds, and soon we’ll be humping like bunnies,” and he’ll resent you when that doesn’t happen.  Get help for yourself and heal those wounds first.  If you can’t, well, that’s a tragedy, but marriage isn’t for everyone.

Bad Catholic Advice

I could probably dedicate this entire blog to chronicling the non-Catholic advice given at the Catholic Answers Forum (I’m not linking to it because I don’t want to help Catholics honestly searching for help with their faith to find the place), but I won’t.  It would be too depressing.  I did want to respond to this one posted in a comment at Dalrock’s blog, though, since it gets into Catholic apologetics more than is on-topic there.  I won’t quote the whole thing, but the context is that a Catholic wife went to her priest for advice because her husband doesn’t want to have procreative sex, so he’s basically blackmailing her: have sex with a condom or get me off some other way, or I’m going to turn to porn.  And the priest told her to go along with it for the sake of keeping the marriage together.  Now, we only have her side of the story, but I’m going to take it as given for the sake of discussion, because this kind of thing does happen.

The problem here is that a Catholic wife with a Catholic husband went to her Catholic priest and got non-Catholic advice. Whether non-Catholics at Dalrock’s disagree with Church teachings is irrelevant to two people who took vows in a Church where openness to procreation is one of the absolute prerequisites for marriage.

Note that the priest doesn’t tell her to obey her husband out of obedience to God — that would be too traditional. No, he tells her to go along with his sinful desires (grudgingly and tearfully, from the sounds of it) in hopes that the marriage will magically get better (or that the kids will get old enough that she can blow up the marriage without hurting them, probably). So he’s still coming from the female imperative, encouraging her to choose to participate in sin rather than saying, “Lord, I’m putting my faith in You and following Your Word by submitting joyfully; please use me to bring my husband closer to You.” See how this priest’s advice actually lets her husband partly off the hook, whereas actual wifely submission would put all the responsibility on him? See how it results in her thinking that she — as the more spiritual, moral partner, being female — has to “help” him do the right thing?

Also, as far as we know, the priest hasn’t visited with the husband to find out what the heck is going on and correct this member of his flock if necessary, which should have been his next stop after talking to her. But that would probably be too confrontational; and besides, we all know that women are the spiritual ones in the family and men are pretty much hopeless brutes, so why bother.

Also, many priests of a certain generation are just as dismissive of Church teachings on sex as anyone else. It’s not unusual for them to shrug this kind of thing off with, “Oh, it’s not that big a deal; no one’s perfect.”  I’ve even heard of priests telling people to stop bringing it to Confession. I know people with several children whose priests have offered to give them a dispensation for using birth control — even though they have no such authority and no such thing exists. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some of that coming into play here, with the priest wishing she’d just get with the program like the other 90% of Catholics who ignore the teachings on procreation and stop bugging him.

These “micro-managed rules” (which they aren’t: “no contraceptive sex ever” isn’t micro-managing; it’s actually one very simple rule) make sense and work just fine, in the context of an overall Catholic life. Not so much when the spouses are immersed in the female imperative; have been taught since Vatican II that you can pick and choose from these “old-fashioned” rules; and have a cowardly, modernist priest who only makes things worse.  It’s not surprising that non-Catholics think it’s a lot of arbitrary nonsense with this kind of guidance happening.

Deadbeat’s Day?

I’ve finally gotten some other things out of the way, so I’m going to be posting regularly starting this week.  But I had to share this lovely sentiment I saw on Facebook today:

To all the great dads (and the mom’s who did the job of a dad) everywhere, Happy Father’s Day.

So we can’t let fathers have one day to themselves without sneaking mothers in there.  But even worse, we have to use the opportunity to take a shot at fathers who weren’t around (usually, as in the case of this single mother, because she made it so).  O happy day!

I’m going to try to remember this, so I can post the reverse next year on Mother’s Day (minus the apostrophe abuse) and see what happens.

Quick Question

Most of the messages I get on dating sites are from women my age or older, even though my profiles clearly state I’m looking for my age minus 5 or younger.  So would it be wrong to chat these women up and then try to date their daughters?

Just wondering, since I got a message from one whose picture of herself includes her very pretty daughter who looks 25 or so.  Seems only fair, if she’s going to use her daughter in her picture to catch men’s attention….

Bullets Dodged

I got a stark, first-hand confirmation of Rollo’s SMV comparison chart last night.  About ten years ago when I was doing quite a bit of online “dating,” I got to chatting up this one girl.  She was almost 30, and I would have been mid-30s at the time, so on Rollo’s chart we were pretty close to the point where men and women cross.  She was pretty hot — kept herself in good shape, though primarily with smoking and stress, long hair, pretty face, etc. — and I was fairly smitten for a while.  We chatted and talked on the phone every day for a while, but never met in person, partly because she was a few hundred miles away (this was before I learned not to chat up girls too far away for a casual meeting), but mostly because she was still enjoying her hotness and not really wanting to settle down yet.  She had enough guys hitting on her, both online and in person, that her SMV was probably at least an 8 in her mind, and mine perhaps a 7 or so.  Eventually we both just dropped it, and it turned into a once-every-couple-years birthday wish or something.

So last night she suddenly pops up and says hi.  Within five minutes of chatting, she has: 1) mentioned that she’s recently single again after a long serious relationship (not marriage); 2) asked about my own marital status; and 3) made suggestive comments about how she could help me relax.  We were always pretty forward with each other, so that wasn’t surprising, but I shot that down pretty quickly, saying no fun stuff is worth driving that far.  And I really believe that now, so I guess my own perspective on scarcity has changed.

But while we were chatting, I saw some of her recent pictures, and whoa!  She’s gone from a 7-8 to maybe a 5, and that would be adjusted for age.  She hasn’t gotten fat, but that’s about the only positive note.  She looks so rough that I found myself wondering what I was thinking ten years ago, but I looked back at some old pictures, and she really was pretty at 30 — not a model or anything, but enough to turn heads.  Now she looks like she’s lived 20 hard years in 10.  She works nights at a pretty demanding job and has had some serious health problems, so I guess it’s no surprise, but it was really striking: ten years ago I ached for this girl, and now I wouldn’t look twice at her if I passed her in the grocery store.

That got me thinking about Rollo’s chart.  My own SMV, as far as I can tell, hasn’t changed much from mid-30s to mid-40s, just as his chart would predict.  I’m about the same weight, same build, maybe a little less hair, but I’d lost quite a bit of it already back then.  I’m not much better-off financially, but at least not worse, and I have more of a sense of direction in my life.  I’m certainly more confident, especially with women, and more established in my communities.  So some pluses and some minuses, holding steady at about the same level.  The amount of interest I get from women seems to support that.

She, on the other hand, going from 30 to 40, has gone from fertile to not likely.  She’s also a grandmother now, so instead of looking to start a new family, she’s focused (and rightly so) on helping her kids with theirs.  (If single moms don’t have much spare attention to give a husband, imagine the single mom of a single mom.)  An additional ten years of dating and relationships under her belt certainly doesn’t add to her appeal.  On top of those reasons, add the drastic decline in her looks, and now I not only don’t want to marry her, but as we chat I’m mostly thinking, “How soon can I politely say goodnight so I can get to sleep already?”  Harsh, but true.  Just as Rollo’s chart predicts, her SMV has been on a steady decline since we met — maybe more of a free-fall in her case — and now mine is well above hers.

And she knows it, whether consciously or not.  That’s why she was the one who looked me up this time, why she was the one to start the flirting, why she was the one to say let’s talk again soon.  Back then, I was obviously (in retrospect) the needier one; now that’s reversed.  I thought through some of the other girls I dated or chatted with back then, and looked up a few.  Most weren’t attractive to me now at all, and in some cases I felt like I’d dodged a bullet by never dating them.

If I’d been smart at 35, I would have been looking at 20-year-olds instead of girls my own age.  The 30-35 crowd were attractive enough in the short term, but only had a few of their best years left, at most.  At 35, I could have dated younger girls without skeeving them out; and if I’d married one, her SMV would have pretty much paced mine instead of accelerating downward while mine rose or leveled off.  Of course, when even the still-hot 30-year-old single moms are still putting off marriage, a guy only has so many options.  When the 30-year-old single moms are turning you down and putting you off, it doesn’t occur to you that you might have better luck with the younger, hotter set, if you haven’t gained any red-pill insights yet.

Little Signs Along the Way

Saw an interesting TV ad this weekend.  I don’t know what it was for, but it opened with shots of poverty, including a bankruptcy sign, and the voice over said something like, “We know times are tough and you’re worried about the future.”  Then voice-over guy got happier and said something like, “But things are still pretty great today,” and the pictures shifted to fast cars, cool gadgets, and things like people skydiving: shot after shot of luxuries and fun. The word “today” was repeated many times.

Most TV commercials seem to be non-stop paeans to consumerism these days, but this is the first one I’ve seen that gave a nod to the feeling that’s spreading among the populace that maybe we can’t afford to keep the party hopping this way.  And what was the message? Don’t worry about it! Things are still great, at least for today! Don’t worry about tomorrow! Don’t be a boring ant; have fun today, grasshopper! It’s been a few months since I’ve watched TV, so it kinda shocked me to see such a naked appeal: pay no attention to those rumblings; there’s plenty of time for more picnics before those clouds get here!

I found it heartening, in an odd way. When you hang out with unconventional friends and frequent dissident web sites as I do, it’s easy to start to think that “red pill” truths are spreading a lot more than they are.  Usually, when I go out among the “normals” or turn on the TV, I’m depressed to see that most people still are firmly blue pill, believing what government and media tell them to just as they always have.  So this was nice, to see that a red pill truth — that the economy is not recovering, that the party can’t go on forever and hard times are coming — is seeping into the general consciousness enough that the corporations that depend on profligate consumerism are starting to feel the need to combat it. Maybe we’re not always just preaching to the choir.

Navigating the Murky Sexual Marketplace: Good Girl Edition

I touched on this a bit in my last post, but then Deti stated it clearly:

For at least 30 years now, women have been encouraged to put off marriage for as long as possible. So that’s what men see now, and what they deal with.

So I started riffing on some recent thoughts in that direction, to see if I’d come up with anything useful, and it kind of went back to the conundrum in which good girls find themselves.  So here goes.

Men don’t expect girls to be interested in marriage anymore, especially right out of high school.  What’s the worst thing that can happen to a bright, young 18-year-old girl, in the eyes of our society — even in church people?  Pregnancy.  Not because of the sin, primarily, but because it closes off her “potential.”  Even if she gets married to the father, who turns out to be a responsible provider, and they make a good family together, there will still be people who will sigh and wonder “what could have been,” as if she would have been curing cancer if she hadn’t gotten sidetracked by diapers and PTA meetings.  Everyone except a few oddballs like the Amish or very traditional Catholics is in agreement: a girl shouldn’t get tied down too early, preferably not before 26-28, after college and a few years of establishing a career.

So young men catch this vibe and act accordingly.  The guy who expresses an interest in marriage around typical 20-year-old girls quickly learns that he might as well talk about his struggles with chronic foot odor.  The romantic, marriage-minded boy learns that he has to hide his good intentions, so as not to scare away the girls who just want to have fun.

I was one of those boys.  I assumed that I would follow the script of my parents and grandparents:  graduate from high school, find a nice girl, date a while, get married, and build a life together.  On some parallel track, I would be establishing a career, but I didn’t expect one to have to wait for the other, because it didn’t for my ancestors.  They got married young and started having kids and getting on with life, even though it meant sacrifices like living with one’s parents for a while until they could afford a place.  It’s just what you did.

Well, not so much for my generation.  The girls weren’t interested in marriage, and they certainly weren’t interested in struggling to get by, cooking on a hot plate in a dingy apartment while hubby worked long hours to save up for a house someday.  They had fraternity parties to go to, and fascinating careers ahead of them!

Of course, while the girls weren’t interested in marriage, they were still interested in sex and temporary relationships.  I didn’t really understand that for a long time, though, because I still had women on enough of a pedestal — and they still paid enough lip service to the idea of marriage someday, at least — that I assumed they really did want marriage, and my own lack of success meant I just wasn’t attractive enough.  In hindsight, I can see that wasn’t it; girls were attracted to me at first, but I scared them off by coming on too relationshippy.  Had I known what I know now, I could have gotten laid like tile; but the truth is, I just wanted to find a nice girl and settle down.  (Not that I was so moral I wouldn’t have had sex with her at the first opportunity, but I would have married her.)

So, in that milieu, where most of the girls are just having fun and the boys have learned to play by those rules, what’s the Good Girl to do?  How does she figure out which guys have an interest in marriage that they’re keeping quiet about?  How does she signal to those guys that she’s different?  Here’s what I would suggest, from the point of view of a man watching for that kind of girl:

First, don’t do what the other girls are doing.  Don’t go to the parties, don’t watch shows about the fascinating lives of single working women, don’t dress like a hooker.  Just by not doing the bad stuff, you already set yourself apart.

More on dress: go with dresses and skirts as much as possible.  Keep it modest; look like you might be saving something under there that only one man will get to see.  Don’t obsess about it; it’s not like you can’t wear jeans once in a while and still look feminine.  But keep the cleavage out of sight and leave some things to the imagination.  Also, have long hair and know how to work with it.  Want to get a guy’s attention?  Take your hair down and brush it out a bit then put it back up while you’re talking to him.  Just don’t necessarily expect him to remember what you were talking about.

Talk about marriage/family topics around guys you find interesting.  Not, “So, what do you think about marriage?” but talk about how much you enjoy babysitting your friends’ or relatives’ kids, or how great it was growing up in a big family (whatever applies to you).  When a guy hears, “I love kids,” he knows what that means (even if she doesn’t).  Remember that guys are much less perceptive about these things, so don’t be afraid that you’re coming on too strong.  You’re much more likely to be too subtle.  Remember that, if he’s a marriage-minded guy, he’s been burnt before by expressing it, so it might take more than a hint or two to convince him you’re on the level.

Learn and practice homemaking skills.  If you’re doing things like cooking or sewing on a regular basis, it will come up in conversation naturally and will make you look more “wife-like” without you having to advertise it.

Don’t rule out older guys too quickly.  I’m not saying you have to date guys 20 years older; if you’re not attracted to them, don’t.  But don’t get stuck thinking you have to have someone within a few years of your age just because everyone says so.  Guys 25-30 are much more likely to have gotten tired of waiting for the girls their age to stop partying, and could be very receptive.

Tell your friends and relatives in no uncertain terms that you’re ready to marry when the right guy comes along, and that you don’t want to fool around in the meantime.  They may not approve, but word will get around, and may get to the right guys.

Any other suggestions?