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.
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.