After a pretty hectic day, Funmi (real name concealed) was in no mood for marital intimacy that night. That very day, her boss had practically chewed her for a minor error in a proposal the firm submitted for an account the agency was pursuing. Though she apologised and reassured him that the proposal was still “solid” and stood a good chance of scaling through the screening process of the target client, her boss was having no none of that. To assuage her hurt feelings, Funmi closed early and went home. On the way, she called Femi, her husband and they talked over the situation. After dinner, which she didn’t really enjoy, she left Femi in the sitting room where he was watching the news. She had a bath and was already in bed by the time came into their room, turned off the light and slipped in under the sheets beside her. He drew her close and traced her temple with his fingers, murmuring ‘sweet nothings’ into her ears, a gesture she always responded to by snuggling closer and curling up against him. But this night, she turned away, murmuring an excuse that was barely audible and pulling the sheets up to her chin… She was simply saying NO, not tonight. But Femi wasn’t too pleased, believing that a little ‘intimacy’ would have lightened her mood. In some other situations, women have had to say ‘NO’ to marital intimacy. Some people feel that this should not be so. So, is refusing intimacy unacceptable in marriage? Below, four women offer their opinions. Excerpts... MRS ELSIE OTEGBADE, MD HARVESTFIELD CONSULT, LAGOS. Well for a woman it’s not just sex but lovemaking unlike a man. So a man who wants cooperation in this area from his wife at night will work at not hurting her feelings during the day. Wise men take a step further to assist her with chores or make her feel special with one kind gesture or the other. When a woman is generally unhappy, tired and demoralized, sex or lovemaking is the last thing on her mind . MRS BAMITALE KEVIN-AGONO, MD, RECREATION SHIRTS. A woman should not refuse her husband sex under normal circumstances because her body is not her own alone anymore in the institution of marriage, except for medical reasons or when she is fasting. And under these circumstances she must get his consent. Aside these circumstances truth be told, for me, there is no other reason why a woman should say no. On the other hand, I think it also depends on your appetite for sex and your general disposition to it. If it is something you enjoy, you would be favourably disposed to it, even if you are tired. JOE-OKEI ODUMAKIN - DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST I think a woman can say no when she is tired, not in the mood, exhausted, or when there is an unsettled issue or issues. I’ve said no on a few occasions. At those times when the state of the nation is terrible, and I have been so exhausted, I just want to sleep so that I can maintain my sanity. Then at times, when I just need to sleep for a few minutes to wake up to read, write or edit. I could say no. Also, I do not eat after 8 pm, I prefer to sleep hungry, and if it’s on a night like that, it’s definitely No! PASTOR DEOLA OJO, CO-PASTOR, GRACE ASSEMBLY, LAGOS. When exactly does a woman refuse her husband sex? Women give various reasons for refusing their husband sex. Some of these reasons are that the man does not provide finances, therefore he does not have the right to ask for sex. Other women insist that a man who has been verbally or physically abusive needs to be punished with sex. Some women are just too tired to give themselves to their husband. However, a woman should never refuse her husband sex! Sexual abstinence must be by consent. The issue is not that she refuses sex, but that she explains why she does not want sex at that particular time. If her husband agrees with her, then they both decide to postpone sex until a more convenient time. It is wrong for a wife to refuse her husband sex. Some women use sex to settle scores. If a husband does something that his wife does not like, she may decide to retaliate by refusing to have sex with him. This is not just wrong but is very unwise. When a married man starts having sexual affairs, the situation can become life threatening through the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Every woman should endeavour to keep her husband sexually satisfied. There are some serious situations that may make a wife feel that she has the right to refuse her husband sex. For instance, if he has travelled for some months and she has proof that he was having affairs during that time, she may feel that it is better to refuse sex until she is sure of his status. Again the issue is not to refuse, but to discuss with him. While most husbands will feel angry that their wives are suggesting that they do a medical test before they can be intimate, a man who has done no wrong does not need to be angry. On the other hand, a man who knows that he
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