This week's "Bonds" column — the Wall Street Journal's answer to "Sex and the City" — tells the story of Chris and Afton Mower, high-school sweethearts turned Mormon newlyweds whose marriage has improved drastically since Mr. Mower taught his wife that not having sex with him amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. Ms. Mower had been turned off by the "pressure" to have sex again after a miscarriage, she says, until "he said, 'It feels like you don't love me' — and that really, really scared me." Now the couple wants to spread the word. Herewith, all the terrible things that happen to a man denied sex, according to the Mowers and the Journal’s cast of scientists and therapists.
It makes him depressed.
According to Mower, the vagina is the source of all of a man’s self-worth.
“He became grumpy, gained weight and stopped wanting to come home at night. ‘For me to feel good about myself, I needed her to have sex with me,’ he says. ‘Otherwise I thought she didn't love me.’”
It's like you're hiding his antidepressants.
Because men “often limit hugs and physical affection,” the Journal writes, women may be their only source of oxytocin.
“‘Take sex away and they don't have the chemical stimulants that give them a sense of well-being,’ says Helen Fisher, a Rutgers University research scientist in anthropology.”
Or censoring his self-expression.
According to the Journal, “men tend to express feelings with actions, not words," and by actions, they mean sex. Squishy noises are the key to his soul.
"For some men, sex may be their primary way of communicating and expressing intimacy," says Justin Lehmiller, a Harvard University social psychologist who studies sexuality. Taking away sex "takes away their primary emotional outlet."
It may drive him to housework.
Mower is the only known person to have taken that study that says women find men who do chores sexy seriously.
“After reading online that women are turned on by men who do housework, he washed the dishes and vacuumed more often. ‘It didn't change anything,’ says the web designer and food blogger, now 30, who lives in West Jordan, Utah.”
And fastidious chart-making.
Mower tracked their sex life as if he were scoring a baseball game. He estimates he was batting around .05.
“He drew a chart and filled in different-shaped dots to represent various scenarios: He initiated sex but was declined. They planned on sex but didn't follow through. They actually had sex.”
It dredges up childhood trauma.
Every sexual rebuff has oedipal implications.
"When a man gets depressed because he's not being touched, it's just like the little boy who stands in his crib and cries to be picked up," [Esther Perel, a marriage therapist and author of Mating in Captivity, says.] "He is experiencing emotional deprivation."
In short, when a woman denies a man sex it is a form of emotional torture second only to that inflicted by his distant, refrigerator mother.
Most Viewed Stories
It’s Harder to Be Thin Than It Was in the ’80s
Why Do I Jerk Awake Right As I’m Falling Asleep?
From Up Close, Raf Simons’s Vision for Dior Is Clear
Michelle Obama: No Boy Is Cute Enough to Keep You From Getting an Education
A Pregnant Supermodel Explains What She Eats
The World’s Easiest Way to Highlight Your Face
Meet the Prom Queen of Instagram
Selfie Sorority Uses Media Frenzy for Good Cause
‘Truly Ugly Guy With Glasses’ Is Europe’s Most Virile Man
A Comprehensive Taxonomy of Men With Long Hair
From Our Partners
The Eye Makeup Tip That Will Put Plastic Surgeons Out of Business
15 Signs You're With A Good Man
Why You Should Never Wear These Two Items Two Days In A Row
Who What Wear
The Zara Outfit Every Girl In New York City Is Wearing
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Love and War Features8 Actually Good Things That Happened This Week
Baby sea turtles wearing bathing suits and a necklace for your pizza.Selfie Sorority Uses Media Frenzy for Good Cause
Take that, sportscasters.A Comprehensive Taxonomy of Men With Long Hair
And why we like them anyway.Teens Are Dying From Train-Track Photo Shoots
The popular photo destination is actually super-dangerous.‘Truly Ugly Guy With Glasses’ Is Europe’s Most Virile Man
Ed Houben has fathered 106 children — that he knows of.The Internet of Parents Is Miserable and I Love It
Why it's so hard to look away.Did the ‘Maxipad Bandit’ Really Think He’d Escape?
Not so fast, mister.Woman Driven From Her Home by Death Threats After Starting Pro-Choice Hashtag
The hashtag drew intense scorn from anti-abortion activists.Ice-Cold Teens Don’t Hesitate to Block Their Exes
"I’m just like this is irrelevant now.”Let Sorority Girls Instagram Themselves in Peace
Come on, man.
Whether you're Lena Dunham or an emerging writer, the format has an appealing intimacy.The Bennifer Years Affected Matt Damon More Than Anyone Else
It's just really hard when your buddy breaks up with J.Lo, you know?Someone Used Gasoline to Set a Los Angeles–Area Planned Parenthood on Fire
Police believe gasoline was used as an accelerant to burn down the Thousand Oaks facility.Michelle Obama: No Boy Is Cute Enough to Keep You From Getting an Education
"Compete with the boys. Beat the boys."Stop Time-Traveling to Such Lame Eras, Losers
You have a choice, people.New ‘Yelp for People’ Will Let You Rate Everyone You Know
Kind of like Lulu, or Hot or Not, or ...Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is Glad She Was Trained in the ’60s
She's glad she was trained in the Mad Men era.Lena Dunham Apologizes for Joking About Abuse
"When I heard my own quote I was like, 'Jesus, Lena, no.'"Desperate Republicans Attack Planned Parenthood Chief’s Salary
"The disrespect, the misogyny rampant here today tells us what is really going on."Blake Lively’s Lifestyle Is No Longer for Sale
She will Goop no more.