Why Men Accuse Women of Sexual Bait and Switch

I hear a lot of men accusing their wife of sexual bait and switch – using sex to get married then greatly reducing the frequency of sex or refusing to do things she did before they were man and wife.

Let’s start by admitting something like this does happen on occasion. We knew a young woman who invited her then boyfriend over for dinner. After dinner, she went to the bathroom and returned to the living room wearing nothing but panties and plopped down in his lap. Yes, they had sex, and, yes, he felt so guilty about it that they were married by a justice of the peace a few days later. And, yes, the marriage was horrible and ended in an ugly divorce.

However, this is the rare exception.

Why Men Accuse Women of Sexual Bait and Switch

Most women accused of bait and switch deny it because there was no intent to do it. They may have been aware they are using sex to get a guy, but they assumed they would feel the same way about sex after they got married. Then they married and they started to feel very differently about sex.

J Parker had a great post about this over on Hot Holy & Humorous – Why You Feel Worse Than He Does about the Premarital Sex. Men usually see premarital sex with the woman they married as no big deal. Some think getting married retroactively sanctifies it, others figure it was wrong but it’s been forgiven and it’s no big deal. Some women feel the same way, but many experience a little bit of to a lot of guilt. I suspect the guilt was always there, but it was being pushed down. Once the couple marries it comes up with a vengeance.

Another issue for some is that premarital sex is exciting because it’s hidden and illicit. This becomes a part of the thrill and when it’s gone sex becomes more difficult or less fun.

Still another factor is the possibility the woman was pushing herself past what she really wanted to do before the wedding. The sad reality is most men who follow Jesus expect sex before they marry a woman. A lot of men won’t keep dating a woman who is not “putting out” sexually. This leaves a woman in a very difficult situation if she is morally opposed to sex before marriage. If premarital sex is required to get a husband and she wants to be married, there’s a lot of pressure to give in. I suspect some women convince themselves they want it as much as he does to dull their shame. Others just learn to play the part, pretending to want and enjoy sex. Those who actually enjoy it may be even worse off, it’s like their bodies are betraying them.

There is one other thing I rarely see mentioned. If a woman is having sex when she doesn’t want to or feels it’s wrong, she has crossed her internal line. So when he wants to do something she has no desire in doing, it’s not really different than what she’s already doing that she doesn’t want to do. She has already violated her conscious and standards, how can she start saying no to specific acts now? So she does things she doesn’t enjoy, things that she finds distasteful, maybe even things that are uncomfortable. If sex, in general, is a form of self-violation, saying no to anything is far more difficult than it would be otherwise.

Then when the woman marries she stops saying yes all the time to everything. She starts to think about what she wants. She starts to say no to things she dislikes. She no longer feels a need to pursue her guy, so she stops initiating. She is no longer afraid of him leaving if she fails to put out, so she says no when she’s tried or just isn’t feeling it. She starts to act much as she would if they hadn’t had sex before they married, but he compares her to the woman she was portraying when they were dating and engaged. Or perhaps she is less sexual than she would have been because she is dealing with guilt. Either way, he sees her doing less after marriage and accuses her of bait and switch.

My goal here is to give you an understanding of what he’s thinking and why, while still acknowledging the reality single women face. I get why women do what they do sexually before marriage and I understand why so many pull back after marriage. But regardless of why, and even if a lessening of sex was not premeditated, if she becomes less sexual after marriage she did give her husband-to-be a false expectation.

If you see yourself in this, I hope it causes you to see your husband a bit differently. Sure he was wrong for having sex with you before marriage, but that is a shared sin. If you lead him to expect more than he got after saying “I do”, that’s on you.

Finally, I urge you to teach your sons and daughters about this. Let them know the sex a couple has outside of marriage says nothing about the sex they will have if they get married. Tell them sex before marriage is a good way to mess up sex after marriage.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and the sex I had with Lori before we married is my biggest regret in life.

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55 Comments on “Why Men Accuse Women of Sexual Bait and Switch

  1. “The sad reality is most men who follow Jesus expect sex before they marry a woman.”

    This one line truly made me angry. Preachers need to shout it out from the pulpit that if a guy expects sin, desires sin, he darn well isn’t a follower of Jesus, and needs to be born again AGAIN!

    • @CSL – True for some, but others are simply swimming in the culture. Premarital sex has become a minor sin, one we give lip service but don’t really deal with. Either that, or we go to the other extream and make singles feel sinful for having sex organs at all.
      What I would like to tell people is God is not mocked. If you walk in that sin, you will pay a price.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Friday Flashback: A Peace Too CostlyMy Profile

    • That’s what I figured.

      Ain’t nobody got time for that. Funny thing is, even though I’ve always made it quite clear that there will be no sex before marriage (of any kind), I’ve always had several guys who wanted to date me. So clearly “putting out” is not a requirement.

      Sticking to your guns on this issue is a great filter. Filters out everyone who wants to use you, guys who pretend to follow Christ to get with you, probably some abusive types (cause they know you know how to stick up for yourself) guys who just want sex and don’t care about you, and guys with poor self-control.

      Not sure why feminists don’t teach this. Aside from being the right thing, having sex before marriage gives the man all the cards. Insisting he marries you first gives the women most of the power.

      • @alchemist – Yes, there are men who will respect that. Not enough, but they are out there.

        As for feminists, I agree. I think it’s the “equality thing”, which plays out as women being able to do anything men do even if it’s self-destructive.
        Paul Byerly recently posted…Home As A Safe PlaceMy Profile

      • Maybe both are wrong?

        If it’s a game of who has the power, that doesn’t sound like love and care for your spouse.

        If the goal is power, that’s not love.

        • Who are the both in questions?

          Obviously, you don’t want your marriage to be a power play and you don’t want sex to be transactional. But if the goal is using a girl for your sexual gratification, that’s not love either.

          I was being purely pragmatic. In addition to it being the right thing (not fornicating); I figure a man who keeps pushing for sex against your conscience and stated convictions doesn’t respect you and can’t delay gratification. In my estimation, a man like that is not worth having.

          My question is why feminism seems to encourage women to sleep around. Women assume a significantly larger portion of the risk for much less certain reward. Feminism has been about empowering women for as long as I’ve been alive/ conscious of such things. The root word being power. In very course terms, dating does have a power balance. If no sex -> the woman has what the man wants and therefore has leverage. If sex -> the man gets everything he wants without the commitment and the woman has nothing. Only uncertainty and fear of pregnancy. That’s seems like the opposite of empowering women.

          • @alchemist – Feminism has been about empowering women for as long as I’ve been alive/ conscious of such things.

            Yes, that is the mantra. But a lot of what they advocate is contrary to that. Clearly, three is another or additional agenda for at least a vocal minority.
            Paul Byerly recently posted…Friday Flashback: Post Sex TouchMy Profile

  2. Great post, Paul!

    Of course, the other side of the issue is the guy who, having sampled the goods, decides he got all he wanted from the relationship and moves on. I can’t imagine how this would make a woman feel.

    Or, for that matter, how much stress she’s under when she wants the relationship to work, gives in to premarital sex, and then, having seen friends dumped by men, is always wondering if she’ll be next.

    Makes me ashamed to be male, sometimes.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 354 – Freedom…From Pain {FMF}My Profile

    • “Makes me ashamed to be male, sometimes.”

      Don’t ever be ashamed to be male because of the behavior of other men. This is typical feminist brain washing that fails to take into account all of the women who sample the goods and then move on. If women truly are equal then they are also equal in their sinfulness. But you won’t catch my wife being ashamed to be a woman just because of all the skanks she knew in college sleeping their way through the entire roster of football players.

  3. I feel like a victim of this sometimes. During our dating, my (then) girlfriend (now wife) was very flirty, used gestures that peaked my attention, showed me pictures of her in a (modest) 2 piece swimsuit and was very physical. We never went ‘all the way’, but we were both very touchy and went over the line numerous times. We both were guilty, but me more so.

    Upon marriage, she told me that the gestures she used had no meaning to her and in fact she was unaware that they meant anything at all. (I don’t doubt it now, she was/is quite naive when it comes to innuendo.) She has never worn a bikini in my presence and lingerie was called ‘something street walkers wear’. So I came into marriage expecting much more than she ended up being. She is a wonderful, Godly woman, but I was led on by what she didn’t even know she was doing. And the touching we wrongly did has always been a source of remorse for her. I’ve repented and moved on, but she can’t seem to.

      • Where does this urge come from to rationalize the deceptive seductions of women? Women know what they are doing. But they don’t want you to know they know. So they lie and blame you for misunderstanding. And we men will then rationalize their deception by blaming “the culture.” Stop the excuses. Women enjoy being the objects of our lust every bit as much as we enjoy lusting after them.

        • @Mitch – And you know they know what they are going how? I assume it’s because other MEN have told you this so called fact.
          I doubt very few women know who much they affect men. Even those who are doing it intentionally usually underestimate the effect – often significantly.
          Paul Byerly recently posted…The Big Destroyer of Married SexMy Profile

          • I guess all the women you know are totally oblivious to what they are doing when they act flirtatious. My wife can attest that most of them know what they are doing, but will concede are still not fully aware of the extent to which this affects men. That’s still not an excuse that can be blamed on the culture.

        • @Paul and @Mitch,

          Paul, If you knew my wife, I don’t think you would say what you did. (doing what the culture had taught her). She was from a very protective home and church and she made a point while growing up to avoid the culture around her. I honestly think she didn’t know that what she was saying/doing meant anything. I have come to this conclusion after almost 30 years of marriage together. To this day she is totally in the dark as to innuendo and comments made on TV or wherever. I really don’t think she intended to lead me on. But that is what happened. I truly don’t think “understanding how a man would interpret it” was an issue at all. Back then, I just was overly excited to have a girlfriend that I thought was going to be a fun, sexual partner upon marriage. I didn’t even consider the alternative because I DID know what those things meant in the context of culture.

          Mitch, I’m not trying to “rationalize the deceptive seductions of women” at all. As I said to Paul, now that I’ve been with her for almost 30 years, I know her enough to know. At least in our case, I honestly think she didn’t know what she was doing. (If we could talk in depth, I could give you many examples.) And as to being the object of lust, nothing could be further from the truth. She doesn’t want that from me or anyone else. She likes being the object of my attention, believes that sex (basic intercourse, nothing much else) is okay in marriage, but ‘lust’ is not what she seeks after. That term (fantasy as well) has nothing but bad connotations for her, even from me. The natural desire of a man for his wife or a wife for her husband is squeaky clean for her, just that, holy and sacred. Anything remotely kinky or even out of her comfort zone is not entertained. Even though I believe that it is Biblicly fine for a married couple to lust for each other, she sees even marital lust as connected to how Jesus condemned it universally OUTSIDE of marriage. To her, it is wrong to lust, period. So you just have to take me at my word on this one, I really don’t think she knew what she was doing. Unfortunately back then, I didn’t know that she didn’t know. Now I do and I miss the stuff that I thought we were going to do. I mean I REALLY miss them.

            • One complaint women collectively seem to have is that men jump to conclusions about their behavior. Being polite and friendly is interpreted as being flirtatious. Smiling nicely is seen as an invitation. Dressing up is seen as asking for sexual attention.

              I was even told I was trying to attract the attention of other men and commit adultery because I cut my hair in a new style that I liked for myself!!!!

              • @Libl – These things are usually a reflection of the man – if he would see some other woman doing them to him as flirting, then they are flirting if his wife does them to someone else. This would seem the case with something as extreme as a hair cut.
                But these things can also be a reflection of how men, in general, see things. Some things women see as innocent while the vast majority of men see them as flirtatious. I’ve never been a fan of “perception is reality” but if most men see something as an invitation, it’s an invitation regardless of what she intends.
                Paul Byerly recently posted…Be Her Muscle ManMy Profile

                • I think a lot of the confusion is that women treat *other women* in a certain way, yet men look at it as flirtatious or teasing or inviting. Women smile to each other and compliment each other and chit-chat. These are normal interactions for us.

                  Men don’t do these things (I’m guessing? it seems different), so they immediately assume women are coming on to them. When, in fact, women are treating them the exact same way they treat literally everyone else.

                  It would be just as easy to flip the script and say if a guy is complaining that every woman is a tease or a flirt, maybe the problem is with his interpretation of events.

                • @sunny-dee – Yes, men treat men and women differently. Despite what we are told, we know men and women are different, and that affects how we treat each.
                  And part of this is some women do not treat men the way they treat women. That is probably less true amount younger folks, but even there it is true for some women. So a guy doesn’t see it as his interpretation because it’s only some women.
                  Paul Byerly recently posted…Be Her Muscle ManMy Profile

                • There are actually a couple of types of invitation. One is “To ask to do some act or to go to some place; to request the company of a person.” The other is “To allure; to draw to; to tempt to come; to induce by pleasure or hope.” (Webster’s 1828). If a woman is inviting a man (through mannerisms or body language) to join her in the relational aspect yet a man interprets this to be the second definition (tempting him, drawing him to her) I submit that there has been a misinterpretation by the man. In this case his perception (or misperception) does not change the woman’s intent and she is not responsible for his misperception, nor does this the change the intent of her action. Personally, I find the term ‘bait and switch’ somewhat offensive. Yeah, I get that some women intentionally ‘lure’ guys. But not all women. Honestly, I’ve been married for a loooong time and, before I started reading this blog (and others like it, books, etc.) I had NO idea the depth/pervasiveness of a man’s sex drive and how his sexuality is “him.” No idea. It still baffles and amazes and confounds me. I just cannot “know” or understand it because I am not a man. But, now I believe/accept it as a truth for men. That said, I will give women the benefit of the doubt. I think on some level they know they have ‘power,’ but many really don’t have a clue as to what it is, the depth of it or why they have it. Or how to use it for good. All this misinterpreting (not to mention ill assumptions by each gender) makes for a lot of sad situations.

                • @roomtogrow – Let’s turn it around. If a man says something most women would see as rude or insensitive, but he didn’t mean it that way, is he innocent and should just keep doing it the way he has always done it? I mean “In this case HER perception (or misperception) does not change the MAN’S intent and HE is not responsible for HER misperception, nor does this the change the intent of HIS action.”

                  In any situation, if the majority of people see something a certain way, it is wisdom to know and accommodate that.
                  Paul Byerly recently posted…Kindness Is Not Optional!My Profile

              • That leaves women walking on egg shells regarding their behavior around men. If a majority of men interpret being polite and friendly as being flirtatious, smiling nicely as an invitation, and dressing up as asking for sexual attention, how are women to act so as not to “lead a man on?”
                Do we need to revert back to the 1800’s?

                I say, if men know they are hyper sensitive to a woman’s possible intentions, shouldn’t they take the responsibility to assume their interpretations are probably wrong, at least half of the time?
                Why do men error on the side of a woman being seductive?

                • @BitterSweet – I would certainly advise men as you say, but convincing them they are hypersensitive when most men agree is difficult.

                  You ask why men err on the side of women being seductive? Many men would ask why women act so seductive?

                  I’m not trying to take sides here. Above I gave a gender reversed example. A lot of men complain about walking on egg shells because they say things that seem fine to them and get accused of saying something rude, ugly, sexist, insensitive, and so on. I do realise the situation of being accused of flirting is a bit more potentially dangerous, so while I find them similar I don’t mean to equate them completely.

                  As I said before, in any situation, if the majority of people see something a certain way, it is wisdom to know and accommodate that.
                  Paul Byerly recently posted…Kindness Is Not Optional!My Profile

  4. My understanding is that at the beginning of a romantic relationship, there is an upswing of endorphins and hormones that change one’s brain functions, energy, and emotions. This Enchantment Stage increases laughter, playfulness, affection, & sexual energies. Like it or not, we are not ourselves. We act stupid, say silly things, feel sexual urges we’ve (females) never felt before, but more importantly, we tend to ignore red flags, morals, and reality.
    Physiologically, this stage cannot sustain itself.

    Most women don’t intentionally scheme to use sex to “catch” a man. In the beginning, they actually feel how they are acting. They truly feel lusty and horny. Sadly, over time, the endorphins and hormones that gave them that drug induced high peter out and their system reverts back to their normal equilibrium. They probably don’t even notice the change.
    Add all of the other aspects of premarital sex described above, the pressures of everyday life, sexual baggage, and perhaps children, and voila: sex drops down the list.

    Men have the advantage of testosterone to keep their sexual energies and interests high.
    They didn’t need the endorphins to make them feel horny.
    I can understand why a husband would consider his wife’s change in behavior as evil, mean, and conniving. They liked what they had. But, what they had was a drug induced stupor that cannot be sustained long term.

    After the Enchantment Stage, women have to make an effort to put sex higher on the priority list. Without the assistance of free flowing endorphins and hormones, it becomes more of a mind game than a body need.

    This is just my understanding from things I have read but it makes sense.

    • I think this is a valid idea….which is why the idea of continually pursuing your wife is a good one. It helps return those endorphins.

      I was plain stupid in my naivety, ignorance, and cultural misunderstandings and I used sexuality because I thought I had to to keep him. I wanted to be married so badly. Once I gave in once (we did manage to save intercourse for marriage), I felt I was ruined and had to keep giving in to keep him or else i was a tainted woman.

      He’s actually the one who pulled the bait and switch. He pursued sex, and I gave in because I felt I had to give him something. He introduced oral and manual into our relationship. Once married, he was hardly interested in sex at all. Eventually, he stopped oral and manual, and at one point stopped sex.

      The pressure to have sex, the common use of porn…if I ever become divorced or widowed, I have no plans to date or remarry. It would have to be God dropping a good man in my lap. I am not going through all that painful nonsense all over again and then find out I am married to a man who has little concern for my sexual pleasure.

      • @Libl,
        It was different for me. I’ve been remarried six years now to a very loving man who cares more about my pleasure than his own many times. Yet in the 20 years with my ex he never ever once in that time did anything to help me have pleasure, and I was naive enough to not know differently.

        When my current husband and I got together, yes, all those endorphins kicked in and I was suddenly feeling things I never did before. Suddenly there was a man who called me beautiful (although I don’t see it) and who gave me pleasure like I’d never known before. And yes, we did oral and manual before marriage which I’m not proud of. Unfortunately, after marriage he was the one who didn’t seem as interested as he once had been before. I think part of it was due to his new job which requires 14 hour days and suddenly he was exhausted all the time.

        And I agree with you 100%, and was just about to jump on and say it myself, that men need to keep pursuing their wives after marriage like they did before. I personally believe, and know from my own life, that the lack of that pursuit creates a void. I suddenly didn’t feel as beautiful or desired, even if he says I am and says he does. I need to be continually sought after and I think that is part of why it appears that the woman after marriage is suddenly not this sexually driven person she was before.

        Want sex more guys? Then keep doing those things you did while dating…actually keep dating her! Make out, buy her flowers or chocolate or whatever just because, send her lovey-dovey texts because you’re thinking of her…whatever it was in the beginning that made her feel special and desired, do those things.
        I miss those things and even after telling my husband that I desire that kind of attention, I never really see much effort on his part. We can go a week without sex and finally on the weekend when he’s ready, then it’s all systems go, but without the flirting and pursuit leading up to sex I find it hard to really get there and be on board, even when I am a high drive wife and crave more frequency. I consider all those things as part of foreplay, and so during dating when he put the effort into wooing me, I was revved up and feeling sexual.
        Amy recently posted…Speaking loveMy Profile

    • BitterSweet August “Physiologically, this stage cannot sustain itself.” – Yes and no. Reseach finds some couples do say there, or at least very close. (I wrote about it at http://bit.ly/2oZ4ECj) Why some keep it while most do not is an open question.
      I think one problem we have is long engagements – usually following long times of dating. I think God intended us to get married while we are still in the early crazy in love stage. It was intended to help us through the difficulties of the two becoming one. Without that, couples don’t connect as they should after marriage, and that affects all aspects of intimacy including sex.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Friday Flashback: A Peace Too CostlyMy Profile

      • I probably should have had a longer engagement. Maybe those endorphins would have worn off more and I would have awakened to the red and yellow flags I so easily and fearfully ignored.

    • That seems right. That can be the reason my wife told me that one of the reasons she didn’t want as much sex as before was because I wasn’t so romantic anymore. The thing is, I wasn’t romantic when we were dating. I was more or less pushed into marriage so I wasn’t so romantic. I have since we got married worked hard to be more romantic. Not for sex but because I don’t want to fall into the trap that showing love and being romantic only is possible if you feel like it. I believe it is something you decide to do. The feelings help but aren’t necessary. Anyways I think because she didn’t feel the same as pre-marriage she thought i wasn’t romantic anymore. I also think that for her she used her sexuality for what she wanted, marriage. After that she didn’t need to be seductive anymore, sadly. I don’t think she was totally conscious about it altough she mentioned something like that once. Our sex life isn’t all bad but not what I was expecting. One positive thing tough is that I have started to lower my expectations so I guess that in time I won’t be affected by this as I am now.

      • “One positive thing t(h)ough is that I have started to lower my expectations”

        This is not a positive thing. This may seem like you are maturing by matching your expectations to reality, but this assumes the reality is unchangeable. The amount of sex in your marriage is VERY changeable. But it takes two to change it. By lowering your expectations you are capitulating to your wife’s unwillingness to change her behavior to increase the amount of sex you are having and to your own unwillingness to discover the ways you can seduce her.

        Do not believe those who say an increase in romance equates to flowers and candy and date nights. These are strictly beta male characteristics that you probably already have in plentiful supply. Instead, you have to learn about the alpha characteristics you lack. This has to do with your weight, your assertiveness, your decisiveness and your determination to have your way with your wife. There are a lot of resources on the web that talk about ways to combine alpha and beta characteristics to maximize your sex life. Some of the information is bogus, but almost all of the advice given to married men from Christian circles is bogus. They advocate beta, beta, and more beta.

        You don’t have to lower your expectations. You can step up your game.

        • @Mitch – In general I agree with you, but if it becomes clear reality is not going to change, or is not going to change as much as you want, continuing to push can actually prevent what change could occur.
          I hate accepting less than is right, but sometimes it’s the best bad option on the table. The trick is knowing if and when it’s time to do that.
          Paul Byerly recently posted…The Big Destroyer of Married SexMy Profile

        • But what is the normal amount of sex? When we first got married we had a lot of sex maybe the two first month of marriage. At least one to two times a week but then It started to get worse. At the fourth month she got pregnant and after that our sex life kind of disappeared. Occassionall hand jobs and sometimes intercourse that ended after the pregnancy. It took 1,5 year to come to the place where we had sex at least once a month. Then she decides to have one kid more. I didn’t want to but she got her way. In the beginning the hormones made her really horny. But we’re still talking maybe once or twice a month. For me it seemed as a lot because she was very willing but Now not so much. We’re on our 4th week without sex and I suspect that I won’t see much action until 2019. And im
          not sure how much I will see anyways because if having one kid is exhausting, two is going to be worse. I’m To afraid to get rejected and being selfish so even if I would like a handjob once in awhile I’m afraid to ask. After reading a lot of marriage blogs it seems sex isn’t a need and it’s selfish to ask to get a handjob so why try?

          I’m not sure what you mean with Alpha things? Weight, decisiveness? Im a little overweight and I know I should training more but I have hard time with changing myself to be likable. I have a low-self esteem and the thought that I can’t be desirable for her because I’m a little fat makes me sad. When I got married I was chubby so she knew what she got. But maybe i need to look like a movie hunk for her to get really horny.

          • “I’m not sure what you mean with Alpha things? Weight, decisiveness? Im a little overweight and I know I should training more but I have hard time with changing myself to be likable. I have a low-self esteem and the thought that I can’t be desirable for her because I’m a little fat makes me sad. When I got married I was chubby so she knew what she got. But maybe i need to look like a movie hunk for her to get really horny.”

            It’s not about looks, really. On average, women aren’t turned on by physical appearance the way men are. But it certainly can’t hurt. Get in the best physical shape possible. It will help your confidence and your overall health.

            The whole alpha/beta balance thing is way too big to cover in a single blog comment. In very broad strokes, I’d define “alpha” as simply being the best version of you you can be.

            Get in shape. Dress/groom yourself well. Lead the family. Lead other people when possible. Happen to things, rather than letting things happen to you. If you had hobbies that you let go by the wayside after getting married, get back into them, particularly ones that convey talent or social status (mastering a musical instrument, for example). Whatever you do in a given day, try to do it 1% better than the day before.

            You also mention low self esteem and changing yourself to be more likable. If you do all the things I mentioned in the previous paragraph, you may see those traits that you dislike start to disappear. However, if you *don’t*, or if depression prevents you from really working on those things – go see a counselor. Talk that stuff out.

            Again, this is a very broad topic. Notice I haven’t mentioned your wife; do these things for *you* – not for anyone else. Ultimately you can’t change anyone else – only yourself.

            • I guess I have a problem with all of that because I feel that if I fail then i won’t be lovable anymore. Maybe it’s just me and my low self-esteem but I have always struggled to be good enough for God, people and myself. Iv never felt good enough. So when I hear I need to change it creates a lot of anxiety because i only think: “You are not good enough, you need to change and you have to keep that change and if you don’t well then you aren’t lovable”. At the same time I try to do a lot of things but it’s because of this pressure. I clean, cook, take care of our daughter, wash our clothes and wake up early to go to work. I try to be a good husband in that way but I don’t always succeed and then I feel the pressure that I’m not good enough so I try again but I always feel the pressure that I have to be a perfect husband or else I’m not lovable. I don’t know if you get what I mean. The pressure of having to be super good to be loved paralyzed me more than it motivates me.

              • “I guess I have a problem with all of that because I feel that if I fail then i won’t be lovable anymore.”

                Do you feel lovable now? If so , your posts certainly don’t reflect that.

                I see a lot of anxiety, depression and nice-guy-ism. Ask me how I know. Been there, got the near-sexless marriage. Because I didn’t think I deserved any better. It’s still something I wrestle with daily.

                It’s patently obvious you are unhappy with the status quo in your life, but its what you know, and the thought of change (with the possibility of failure) is paralyzing. I get it.

                That’s why I suggested individual counseling. Forget everything else I said about self-improvement. For now, having an impartial third party to talk through this stuff would do wonders for your self-esteem. It may be a long and painful journey, but my guess is it would be very beneficial.

                • I don’t feel lovable and I guess I never had. I practically hate myself. If or when my wife leaves me I won’t be surprised. I mean I can barely cope with myself so no I don’t feel lovable. I’m. It even sure God loves me. I mean i would hate myself if I was God and had to watch a creature like me. I would kill myself for pity.

                  I’m trying to find a counselour but it’s hard to find here and very expensive.

              • @50?! – If you don’t think you are “good enough” then why would your wife? If you don’t think you deserve sex, why would your wife think you do? (I have a TGW post on the Saturday week.)
                I second the suggestion you read No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice–Instead of Good–Hurts Men, Women, and Children. I’d also suggest pretty much anything by John Eldredge.
                I’m sure your wife is imperfect, but until you deal with your inner thoughts and fears nothing she does is going to really matter.

                • Well I guess it’s hard to feel lovable when you make so many mistakes. I don’t deserve to be loved. I even told my wife that if she one day would cheat or fall for someone else I’m not even sure I would try chasing after her because I would get it. I would just hope she would find happiness because clearly I wasn’t making her happy. It’s hard to stop being the ” nice” guy because my wife is usually the one who decides everything and if I try to be tougher she feels like I’m being mean. And I don’t want that becaus I saw how my father treated my mother and I would never want to become like him.

                • @50?! – It sounds like you feel you deserve a bad life, and we usually get what we think we deserve. I’ve even seen people drive away a spouse who tries to give them more than they think they deserve.
                  I pray you can change this. If you don’t it will mean misery for you, for your wife, and for any children you have. And NONE of that is God’s will.
                  Paul Byerly recently posted…What I Want vs What I Think I DeserveMy Profile

  5. I think the deception can go both ways. Guys can be very attentive before marriage and then slip back to old selfish habits afterwards. But if it is specifically related to sex then I think women are the bigger culprits. I think the issue can be understood with a simple mathematical formula, where X is the bait and Y is the switch. If X-Y=1, then there is very little difference between pre-marital and post-marital sexual expectations. Even with two virgins, there are ways they communicate sexually before marriage that can create expectations after marriage. The bigger the gap however, say X-Y=100, the bigger the sense of betrayal.

    This can be especially true when there are huge issues that a man or woman are bringing to the marriage that they do not divulge for fear of losing the relationship. Once the marriage happens, it’s too late for the other spouse to do anything short of divorce. Sometimes annulment is available but generally speaking there are few cases where that happens, especially if children are involved.

    If my wife had told me before marriage of the full extent of her sexual history, including 2 abortions, I may have still married her but insisted on more pre-marital counseling and maybe some therapy specifically for her. But there is no getting around the fact that I may have decided that I just wasn’t cut out to deal with that extent of a sexual history given that I was a virgin who had never had a girlfriend before and had a lot of my own feelings of inferiority to deal with. But I never got the chance because I was never told. This is where bait-and-switch gets close to fraud. That’s the line that should never be crossed.

    Marriage changes everyone. Hopefully it mostly makes us more mature. But,

    • This is a good point. My husband hid the extent and nature of his sexual history (and also his drinking) before we were married. Like you, if I had known, I would have insisted on an entirely different type of counseling (and likely would never have gotten married, because based on current experience, there’s no way he would try to get help for his drinking).

      This goes way beyond the sexual bait-and-switch that I think Paul is talking about, but it does happen in a minority number of marriages. You think you’re marrying one type of person, and they deliberately misrepresented. How can you even prepare for a partnership like that?

  6. … sometimes it exposes deep character flaws that had been successfully hidden. Marriage not only changes us but it reveals what we are already.

    (Sorry for the break in the comment)

  7. I think Mitch hit upon a key element in a comment above when he says: “Do not believe those who say an increase in romance equates to flowers and candy and date nights… This has to do with your weight, your assertiveness, your decisiveness and your determination to have your way with your wife.”

    Before marriage there is usually a strong sexual attraction between the man and woman, and whether or not both people choose to abstain from sex before marriage, there is a sexual desire which both male and female typically show towards the other. This is usually shown in ways such as kissing, hand holding, texting or calling often to just check in, cuddling, talking about their day, looking at each and smiling just because you are thrilled to be with them, etc. There is a real connection and effort made to be with the other person because we really desire and want to.

    Then marriage hits. And in my experience, what seems to happen is we become complacent and stop making the effort to really connect in a manner that shows true desire and wanting to be with the other person, and this goes for both men and women.
    It might become more of, “hey, hon, are you horny tonight?” or slipping into bed after a long day and trying to get something going without there being any hint earlier of a desire for sex or a husband just walking up behind his wife and groping her when she might feel so touched out after being home all day with children or spending the evening doing separate activities and then the husband (or wife) decides they are in the mood while their spouse hasn’t felt any connection.

    While I think men certainly need to feel that desire from their wives and I’m not giving women a pass on this, I think for a woman to keep that sexual feeling going after marriage the husband has to continue wooing her instead of just expecting her to be turned on every time he is ready for sex.

    Keep that desire alive by kissing, really kissing like you probably did during dating, holding hands whenever you are with her, sitting close together on the couch or cuddling, kissing her neck while you do dishes together, taking her in your arms and slow dancing to a song on the radio, opening her car door, etc. And yes, it can also mean picking up some little thing for each other that you know means something special to that person, whether that’s buying your wife flowers or getting your husbands favorite ice cream.

    We talk so much about foreplay being central for the arousal of a woman and to me, as a woman, the biggest part of foreplay or maybe the foreplay itself are in the moments of feeling such desire from my husband in the form of connection, not just flowers or candy or grabbing a boob (although that one is certainly okay by me ;) ), but in feeling him want me by showing a strong desire in ways I mentioned above.
    Amy recently posted…Winning the battleMy Profile

    • I hear you Amy and agree but if that’s what needed to have sex then I understand why it is so hard for women to want sex. I wasn’t very romantic with my wife before we married but she thought so but after marriage she said I wasn’t as romantic. I simply think it was her being in love that made her feel I was romantic. I am much romantic now then before but I can’t say it has lead to much more sex. I have tried all the hugging and kissing thing and while she likes the hugging she doesn’t like it to be too long. I love to hug her but she rarely wants to. She doesn’t like kissing either. In a year we may have deep kisses less than we have sex and it’s not because I don’t want to or try. She doesn’t like it. I have asked her why but she says we do kiss but we don’t. I think she thinks I’m a bad kisser but don’t want to tell me but who knows. What I know she likes is clothes and shoes. But if I am going to buy stuff all the time to get sex then I think we are coming close to prostitution. Altough I heard of a couple where the man paid to get oral sex from his wife. What I’m trying to say is that I think you are right but how much does a man have to do. With th life’s we live where both are working, one child wich I I take care of at least or even more than she does during the days and one coming it’s really hard to do something special. Especially when she doesnt like when I want to leave our daughter ata babysitter so we can be alone. The most romantic things I can do is to clean, wash and cook + taking care of our daughter witchI do(not as good as she does it) but I really try to do it. How much does a man need to do or pay to get sex?

      • @ 50?! — a husband shouldn’t have to work so hard to be able to have sex with his wife. I’m sorry that it’s that way in your marriage. Certainly speaks to the fact that not all men or women are the same. We tend to generalize that ALL men want and need sex frequently, yet where does that put my husband who is happy with once, maybe twice a week, and is not climbing all over me in need of more?? And then we tend to say that ALL women have no sex drive until after things get going, but where does that put me as a woman who is craving sex often??

        It’s a shame that in marriage, sex seems to be that one thing which tends to be harder than others, when it should be the one thing we can be assured of.
        Amy recently posted…Speaking loveMy Profile

      • 50, I feel you. I’m in the same boat – if I knew what turned my wife on, I’d do it. It’s not touching, it’s not being physically close, it’s not kissing, it’s not flowers, it’s not even clothes and shoes.

        “The most romantic things I can do is to clean, wash and cook + taking care of our daughter witchI do(not as good as she does it) but I really try to do it. How much does a man need to do or pay to get sex?”

        I’d argue that you probably need to back off on the housework and anything romantic for that matter. If you’re putting forth 100% of the effort and she’s reaping the benefits without reciprocating, that just builds resentment. The power imbalance you’re describing is unattractive to her and continues to push her further away the more you double down on it.

        • I have wondered if I do to much but at the same time it doesn’t feel like that. mybwife is pregnant now so it’s natural that I do more but it has been like that even before her pregnancy. I spend all my day working, I go get my kid at kindergarten, feed her and then try to do something at home. Clean or thinking about what to cook. Then I play with my daughter, bath her , feed her again and then put her to bed. My wife has mostly helped out but often she is to tired because she also works. The thing is that even before her pregnancy I did many of these things. I want to do them because I love her but then I wonder, she rarely does things for me. Because I don’t only do that I also try to take time to massage her when she wants it wich right now is very often but I also did it before she was pregnant. I want to do all these things in love and every time I nag I try to refocus and do it in love but I sometimes feel like she doesn’t do much for me. It’s like I should feel happy she wants to be with me at all and hasent left me and that’s the effort she puts into this relationship. Maybe that’s true I just wish she could do something for me. I’m not sure what it is because I have a hard time receiving love, i always seem to think I need to earn it. And because she never does those extra things I really don’t know what I want. It’s not just sex but I would like some romantic love too. People think only women want that but I would like to be hugged and kissed. I would love to cuddle. We never cuddle anymore and I understand she is tired but I would love that. I don’t know I don’t want to back down on the things I do. I had a father who only came home to watch tv and letting my mother do everything at home. The thought of coming home and just sit infront of the tv while my wife does everything just makes me sick.

          • Yeah, pregnancy and infancy does throw a wrench in things. A poor time to withdraw help and support to be sure. I’d just be very mindful of not doing things in order to win her love and/or affection. As Dr Phil would say, how’s that been working out for you so far?

            Again, I’m going to recommend individual counseling. I’d also suggest reading No More Mr. Nice Guy and No More Christian Nice Guy.

  8. Wow, this is very true. Looking back I realize a lot of what I did or how I acted was because I truly thought I had to in order to keep my man interested. Once married I started acting more like I truly felt because I started to feel like he wouldn’t leave. Although I would add that during our dating I felt like he wanted ME, and after a few months of marriage it felt more like he wanted Release and I was he only outlet. I know Paul you have touched on that before, but if I had understood better a mans needs before marriage I may have been better prepared. Part of my gate keeping period was because I felt used.

    • @Grace – It’s a sick dance we get pushed into because neither person understands the reality of the other.
      I’m actually doing something on release next month. I totally see how it can make a woman feel used.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Bait and Switch: Hers and YoursMy Profile

  9. Kinda goes along with perception is reality. If he thinks he’s a victim of a bait and switch, that’s his perception and one cannot in good faith tell him that he’s not experiencing what he’s experiencing.

    If you are less active now than when you first met, then he has some evidence that things have changed and not for the better for his sex life.

    If you are going to change his perception, you may need to change his reality.

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