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
How Angelina Jolie Won the First Big Battle in Her Divorce
25 Famous Women on Being Alone
It’s Time to Get Over Your White Feelings and Start Taking Action for Black Lives
22 Intimate Lost Photos of Marilyn Monroe
Everything We Know About Brad Pitt’s Plane Incident
Jaden Smith on the Many Subtle Flavors of Water
Taylor Swift’s Squad Begged Kim Kardashian for Mercy
Gigi Hadid Fought Back Against a Creepy Stranger Who Grabbed Her
The 6 Best Denim Shops on Etsy
Beyoncé and Tina Knowles Did A Normal Mother/Daughter Thing
From Our Partners
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Love and War FeaturesAva DuVernay on Hollywood Racism, Modern-Day Slavery, and Why She’s Still an Optimist
The director, whose new documentary The 13th chronicles America’s history of racial subjugation, talks to Rebecca Traister about Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the modern criminal-justice system.What No One Tells Couples Trying to Conceive
It helps to be rich.The Hidden Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race
A segregated unit of mathematicians born of desperation during World War II became the secret to NASA’s success.Slut-Shaming Squids Are Everywhere
The “Bermuda Square” comic strip is back.Santigold’s New Video Is the Result of a Spontaneous Run-in With Kara Walker
The collaboration that dreams are made of.Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield Spotted Together Again, Love Might Be Real
They could be back together ahh!Teen, Forced to Go on Vacation With Her Family, Calls 911
The logical decision.Report: Hearst Fired Seventeen EIC Michelle Tan During Her Maternity Leave
Tan had been at the magazine for about two years.Good Morning America Host Amy Robach Apologizes for Saying ‘Colored People’ on Air
She quickly apologized.Unknown NFL Player Tries to Get Attention by Asking Aly Raisman Out in Video
That’s one way to do it.
Marissa Cooper is poised for a comeback ... maybe.California Votes to Remove Time Limit on Prosecuting Rape Cases
In light of the Bill Cosby case.Beyoncé’s Behind-the-Scenes Lemonade Photos Belong in a Museum
She had the "Boycott Beyoncé" sign already in formation on set.The Rise of the Male Celebrity Full-Frontal
An ex-publicist explains.Gabby Douglas Will Be a Miss America Judge
The gold-medal gymnast will help choose the 2017 pageant winner.Camille Becerra’s Photo Diary of Rockaway Beach
An ideal trip to add and cross off your summer bucket list.Sorry Nerds, Ian McKellen Won’t Officiate Your Expensive Lord of the Rings–Themed Wedding
Not even for $1.5 million.Miles Teller Is Still Upset About Being Called a Dick
He wants to set the record straight.Why Parents Shouldn’t Talk About Weight With Their Teens
New guidelines seek to banish weight talk.UVA Student Assaulted at Knifepoint During Orientation Weekend
But some students weren't notified until 24 hours later.