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A Reply To: “6 Reasons To Sext Your Husband”

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum, or in this case, on my way to read a research article on the benefits of marriage [1].  Having perused one article, which summarizes how the largest protective factor against ending up living a life of poverty has shifted over the past century from employment and education, to marriage, I was shocked to see a second recommended article entitled “6 Reasons To Sext Your Husband [2]” by Krystle Schoonveld, a military wife.  The title of this second article seemed to belie the seriousness of the first, which noted the myriad benefits of marriage for the spouses including improved mental health, recovery from disease, income, employment, education, and yes, even higher sexual satisfaction.

It has been theorized [3] that one reason marriage is so powerful is that it “molds men into producers, providers, and savers…because ‘men settle down when they get married and if they fail to get married, they fail to settle down.’”

Sexting one’s husband and settling down?

6 Reasons – Or Not

(WARNING—Content might not be suitable for younger readers)

Each of the 6 reasons provided by Mrs. Schoonveld is accompanied by an explanation, which, on the surface, might seem reasonable to many.  While her professed goal is a flourishing marriage, as is often the case when errors occur, the problematic assertions are not egregious or necessarily obvious, but they are toxic nonetheless.

I review her reasons here, parenthetically putting forth the alternatives (hers vs. mine) to be considered.

  1. Foreplay (pornography vs. emotional intimacy).  The author suggests sexting as a means to increase anticipation of a marital encounter and, supposedly, marital intimacy.  The actual consequence, unfortunately, is more akin to that elicited by pornography [4] than genuine intimacy.  The real goal of foreplay is not mere physical arousal, but rather the emotional bonding and connection on which healthy marriages depend: something not easily communicated—likely not even possible—through electronic devices.
  2. Test the Waters (anxious distortion vs. direct communication).  The author suggests that sexts allow for experimenting with ideas which are too embarrassing to speak, and allow for staged photos depicting things one would not actually be comfortable doing.  She further suggests this will result in a deeper sexual connection.  The truth, however, is that there is no deeper sexual connection without deeper emotional connection; and that deeper connection is much more likely to occur through direct communication with one’s spouse.  If a spouse desires to be more adventuresome, in a healthy marriage this could be broached directly, sensitively and gently with one’s spouse.
  3. Building a Collection (nostalgia for what was vs. growing towards the future).  The author suggests saving the sexts for future use.  The emphasis here on the crass physicality of the marital encounter should cause one to take pause.  As research has shown [5] that objectification is related to lower relationship satisfaction, the danger of objectifying one’s spouse thus becomes very clear and present.  In a healthy marriage, the fullness of the marital unity, body and soul, is not limited by time, and grows into a beautiful connection that transcends mere physical attraction.
  4. To Connect During Separation (connecting through objectifying vs. mutual sacrifice).  The author raises an important issue of loneliness that naturally occurs during separations such as deployments, yet her emphasis on “keeping him focused on [the wife’s] skills and assets” objectifies herself and misses the point to a large extent.  Marriage is about being a gift to the other, and making sacrifices for the good of the family; separations are a prime example of the sacrifice spouses commit to make when they exchange their vows (for better or for worse) – and what is worse than being away from one’s love.  Yet, strength and goodness come from knowing you are sacrificing together [6], and trusting the joy which will come when you are again physically (not virtually) united.
  5. Reminding How Your Relationship Began (re-living the past vs. embracing the present and future).  The author’s contention is that the physical attraction that began the relationship is needed to sustain the connection.  In truth, the initial physical attraction, often the spark that draws attention and interest, was never enough to sustain the connection, and in healthy relationships there is “something more” that grows and deepens the bond before proposals of marriage are made.  It is this something more – emotional intimacy, soul-mating, best friendship – that is important for the present and future.
  6. Your Husband Will Probably Be More Attentive (manipulative exchange of services vs. dialogue about needs and sacrificial gifts).  The author states that the wife’s sexting will result in her husband becoming a more generous date-night partner, and more involved housekeeper and father.  This comes dangerously close to utilizing the marital encounter as a ploy to get something for oneself, rather than respecting the encounter as the opportunity to give of oneself [7], as it is intended.

So leave your phones in talk mode, and connect with your spouse verbally, by all means letting them know of your desire to be with them, emotionally and physically, as circumstances allow.  Respect and non-sexual attention and affection remain the true tie that binds a man and a woman together for life.