Should You Ever Withhold Sex From Your Spouse – I Vote No

BY: - 5 Jul '11 | Intimacy

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I can’t tell you how many times women in my family and circle of friends have given me this advice: “Girl, you know you have the ultimate power,” they would warn. “Don’t let him get the upper hand!”

The “ultimate power” is that men need sex and without my consent, it doesn’t go down. Their logic: If your man is acting up – not fulfilling his end of the bargain – then you have to make sure he’s not getting what he needs from the relationship – at least in the bedroom.

Sorry if this is TMI, but I didn’t get married so I could be doling out sex like special treats for a puppy. I got married because I loved my husband and I wanted to spend the rest of my life as his wife.

In my own personal definition of a “wife,” I don’t see any line in there about tit-for-tat, or you-do-me-wrong-and-I’ll-make-sure-you-know-it.  Here’s three reasons why “withholding sex” doesn’t work in the Jefferson household (and I suspect why it doesn’t work in yours):

1) Sex is supposed to be about intimacy – two bodies coming together to explore and cherish each other in the way only a husband and wife can. It’s a physical, spiritual, emotional experience – it shouldn’t hinge on whether or not my husband took out the trash the second I asked him to. Yes, I know for women that “sex starts in the kitchen,” meaning the events of the day do have an impact on whether women will feel in the mood once the sun sets. But withholding sex is more about punishment than it is about your own personal desires. You say you’re trying to teach him a lesson – are you his mama or his wife?

2) If I’m scheming to get the “upper hand” – where does that leave my husband? I prefer when we approach our marriage as partners, not members of an opposing team. If I’m spending my energy trying to keep him in check by withholding sex, that means I’m not spending energy trying to figure out why a certain area of our relationship needs work and what I can do to fix it.

3) Um, let’s not forget that sex is not just something that I “give” to my husband. I’m a grown woman with my own desires. I’m supposed to suffer just to teach him a lesson? LOL.

I’ve let that advice go in one ear and out the other numerous times, but I wonder why women continue to give it. I also notice I never hear the guys talking that mess. Ladies, does it ever really work? Fellas, can you tell when your lady is withholding sex from you? How does it make you feel?



About the author

Tara Pringle Jefferson wrote 276 articles on this blog.

Tara Pringle Jefferson is managing editor of She\'s also the author of Make It Happen: The Young Mommy Guide To Creating The Career You Crave. Follow her on Twitter or check out her blog for her insights on what it means to be a mom, wife, student, writer, and about three other labels she\'s too tired to remember.


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27 WordPress comments on “Should You Ever Withhold Sex From Your Spouse – I Vote No

  1. Fdljohnson

    First of all withholding sex is a punishment to me as well.u00a0 Sex is about connection and helps get me to a place where I am ready to work things out and I love having sex with my husband.u00a0 I’m good.u00a0 Just sayin’

  2. Mrs7venMitchell

    “I didnu2019t get married so I could be doling out sex like special treats for a puppy. ” <—u00a0 Lmbo! I LOVE this, and these are my sentiments EXACTLY. I just cannot do it, so #3 I relate to 1010%. There are other ways to handle disagreements but skimping on the bedroom activities is not one of them. We talk and discuss our problems, work on our issues but sex isn't thrown into the equation for the simple fact that sex didn't do nothing to anyone (except calm us down and make us happy lol). I couldn't ever wrap my mind around the withholding sex thing even before getting married because (unless you're a bi-weekly kind of woman) you're going to be punishing yourself as well. I enjoy that connection with my husband more than any disagreement, heck, sometimes it can actually help us to come to a better solution once we've both had a chance to "relax" ;D

  3. NTruble62

    My husband and I agree that sex has nothing to do with disagreements. God KNOWS that I can hold a grudge(lol) so I am not willing to hold out for 2 weeks until I am over it. Besides, when he comes out of the showeru00a0 all wet and looking hot, I usually ‘forget’ why I was angry anyway. If I do remember, he can get the ‘cuss out’ afterwards. :o)

  4. NTruble62

    My husband and I agree that sex has nothing to do with disagreements. God KNOWS that I can hold a grudge(lol) so I am not willing to hold out for 2 weeks until I am over it. Besides, when he comes out of the showeru00a0 all wet and looking hot, I usually ‘forget’ why I was angry anyway. If I do remember, he can get the ‘cuss out’ afterwards. :o)

  5. Gsuaka48

    It’s pointless to hold out calling yourself teaching “him” a lesson. If you disagree with me about something, take it out on me in the bedroom!!! But under NO circumstance would I get ignorant & pretend that I’m not in the mood…whatever….if your mama didn’t send you to bed without feeding you…Why would you do it to your man???n

  6. Moonblue54

    “Do not withhold yourselves from each other unless you agree to do so just for a set time, in order to devote yourselves to prayer. Then you should come together again so that Satan does not tempt you through your lack of self-control.”~1 Corinthians 7:5 (See also 1 Corinthians 7:3,4)

  7. Jerome English

    how can you withhold what is not yours, the bible as women so often want to quote, says your body belongs to him and his body belongs to you. Most of the time women telling you to with hold sex do not have good marriage of their own, so be careful where your counsel comes from  

  8. Cajunmama3

    I don’t think it’s withholding. If you don’t feel loved, rrspected or appreciate, how can you give that, natually. I believe if you frel this way there should be a conversation(s). But in the mean time? At some point you have to protect yourself. To many have “done what they are supposed to” at the expense of themselves. How far are you supposed to let yourself go? I believe it is extremly unhealthy to have sex if it is going to be detrimental to yourself

    1. Tara Pringle Jefferson

      @6e1062608775b061aef9f2dc73d0fb69:disqus    – I wasn’t talking about relationships where you are continually being disrespected or you’re always feeling hurt. I’m talking about relationships where, for the most part, you are on the same page. You’re not 100% thrilled, but you’re not running for the exits, either. When women would give me this advice, it was usually in regard to something like, “He wanted to watch the game rather than load the dishwasher? Cut him off in the bedroom!” I felt that was silly. If I can’t talk to my husband about any situation that arises and come to some sort of agreement, I must be doing something wrong…

  9. Nivek1967

    Well ladies while your witholding from him, over taking out the trash, you have just cheapin the intamacy in your relationship. Plus, Im sure there is someone out there that is willing to give what you are witholding.

  10. Sheltonbst

    You make great sense. Withholding sex or anything else for that matter is wrong. However, if your spouse isnt satisfying you in other ways, sometimes the emotion goes out of the window and you just cant perform, sexually. Sex is an emotional thing and if a woman is emotionally withdrawn, then what can be done?

      1. Anonymous

        Then he wasn’t in the relationship for the right thing. If it is that easy to give away then why get married in the first place? Stay single if all you’re worried about is sowing your oats.

  11. Carvell Aldridge

    It amazes me that the women that do this would be the same ones so upset to find out their spouse was cheating.Sex is not to be used as a a weapon or a bargaining chip.It may be wrong but it is true “what you won’t do someone else will.

  12. Jaingram

    I think that there are instances in which not having sex is acceptable. It is not healthy to continue to have a sexual relationship that is opposite of how the rest of your relationship is – if all you do is fight all the time why are you having sex like a happy couple. It’s miss leading for both partners and can give the impression that you are okay with the way things are outside of the bedroom. if theres a problem keeping you from wanting to be intimate, the best thing to do is talk about it before “withholding” becomes a problem.

  13. Sar

    My wife has been playing that game with me for months. I been faithful for a long time but it finally got to me and I stepped with a women from my past. I felt guilty at first but as my wife continued playing her games the guilt went away and I’m ready for divorce so I can move on with my life. I paid all the bills and took care of my family like a man but when I didn’t do exactly what she wanted she would take sex away and that has taken its toll on me.

  14. Torre

    Play foolish games and you’ll loose in some way or the other! Withholding sex, really!?? Better try communication and compromise. If he’s happy & satisfied, he’ll do everything in his power to make sure you are happier!

  15. Kris Kross

    Many young and unwise women play this game and so do older and wise women do too. My wife has been doing this for 6yrs now off and on; but has since last July 2014 she has been withholding sex from me and had the audacity to say “I don’t where you’re getting some from but you’re not getting any from me ever again”. We have been married since 1993-22yrs going on 23. Of those years 17 of them I was the breadwinner and provider and paid all of the bills. For the last 5 of those years and going on a 6th I have been unemployed and unable to get work and now she is head-of-household and does not do anything to help me gain employment but does everything in her power to belittle me even bought our 2 grown adult offspring vehicles so they could get around when needed and one of them do not work and still live at home with us and the other playing house with an unemployed male. This is the second time she has attempted to by vehicles for her adult offspring before but it didn’t work and I was employed around that time. It is often said women cheat better than men because they do not get caught. If that is really true I wonder if my wife did so when I was working because she had plenty of opportunities to do so. My wife makes every effort to avoid talking to me gives me the silent treatment never informs me whenever she leaves the house constantly tells me she too tired to have sex make promises to try later and then does not has not kiss me in the last year and tries to avoid kissing me when I attempt to do so telling me that I smell like onions stays gone for hours goes on vacations and out of town without me spends way too much time at work or with her relatives grandchildren and grown adult offspring she also comes home from work 2-3 hours after she gets off on her off days she stays away as long as possible does not talk to me unless she is complaining about something or to verbally insult me doesn’t bathe before going to be like she use to do after working 12hrs. She behaves as if she wants a divorce and has even verbally said she wants a divorce but does not act on it. She claims she not seeing anyone and claims she not cheating on me and never has.I feel that she is not being upfront and truthful and feel of being used after all these years and since I have nothing else to offer in terms of money then I’m of no use for her. It is like she is trying to get me to file for divorce instead of her just going to get one since she says and act as if she is so unhappy. I’m the one who should be very unhappy and feel rejected and neglected not her. I’m the one who should have cheated on her by now and still has yet to do so. She has used me up- just like the verse in the Bill Withers song-and has the ability to help me out but doesn’t. She just keep trying to do things to get me to leave, get a divorce, get me to go off on her either verbally or physically, get me arrested by whatever means, and/or have sex with someone else out wedlock which I refuse to do. She should have never married me if she was not really in love with me or had an ulterior motves from the beginning.

    1. TheShow

      Rather leave than to cheat.Grow up and take responsibility.Don’t hold on and beg for love that is not there.Sign those papers and leave respectfully and get your loving from where you feel your worth is.

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