Nietzsche and the Bible on Marriage, Possession, and Love 1

Friedrich Nietzsche is perhaps most famous for declaring and lamenting that “God is dead.”

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?

But Nietzsche also touched on psychology, and in “Beyond Good and Evil” (in aphorism 194) he wrote some thoughts about desire and possession in marriage. It’s worth noting that despite his amazing mustache Nietzsche never married, often visited brothels, endured numerous physical and mental afflictions, and died at the age of 55.

[I have inserted paragraph breaks below to improve readability.]

The difference among men does not manifest itself only in the difference of their lists of desirable things—in their regarding different good things as worth striving for, and being disagreed as to the greater or less value, the order of rank, of the commonly recognized desirable things:—it manifests itself much more in what they regard as actually HAVING and POSSESSING a desirable thing.

As regards a woman, for instance, the control over her body and her sexual gratification serves as an amply sufficient sign of ownership and possession to the more modest man;

another with a more suspicious and ambitious thirst for possession, sees the “questionableness,” the mere apparentness of such ownership, and wishes to have finer tests in order to know especially whether the woman not only gives herself to him, but also gives up for his sake what she has or would like to have—only THEN does he look upon her as “possessed.”

A third, however, has not even here got to the limit of his distrust and his desire for possession: he asks himself whether the woman, when she gives up everything for him, does not perhaps do so for a phantom of him; he wishes first to be thoroughly, indeed, profoundly well known; in order to be loved at all he ventures to let himself be found out. Only then does he feel the beloved one fully in his possession, when she no longer deceives herself about him, when she loves him just as much for the sake of his devilry and concealed insatiability, as for his goodness, patience, and spirituality.

One man would like to possess a nation, and he finds all the higher arts of Cagliostro and Catalina suitable for his purpose. Another, with a more refined thirst for possession, says to himself: “One may not deceive where one desires to possess”—he is irritated and impatient at the idea that a mask of him should rule in the hearts of the people: “I must, therefore, MAKE myself known, and first of all learn to know myself!”

From Nietzsche’s nihilistic perspective we see three types of men with increasing levels of ambition for possession — not only for possession of a woman, but here using that possession as an example.

  1. The Modest Man is satisfied with controlling the woman’s body and her sexual gratification.
  2. The Ambitious Man additionally requires that the woman give up herself and her desires for his sake.
  3. The Third Man requires all that, but still will not be satisfied unless the woman knows him thoroughly and profoundly, such that she does not deceive herself into thinking that he is better than he is.

When we contrast Nietzsche’s thinking with the Bible we can easily see how his glimpse of the truth was twisted by nihilism. Consider:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Ephesians 5:22-33

Some differences that jump out:

  • Instead of possession, the Bible speaks of love.
  • Instead of control, the Bible speaks of submission.
  • Instead of the wife giving herself up for her husband, the Bible says that the husband gives himself up for his wife.
  • Instead of loving devilry and goodness alike, the Bible teaches that we can be washed clean and made holy.

And yet buried within Nietzsche’s nihilism is a profound truth: we all have the desire to be “thoroughly, indeed, profoundly well known”, and this craving to be known is interwoven with our need to love and be loved. The great chapter on love, 1 Corinthians 13, decimates Nietzsche’s ambition to merely possess and concludes with a deeply satisfying promise that through love we will ultimately know and be known.

… but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. [snip] For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

1 Corinthians 13:10-12

(Side note: Some Christians are dissatisfied with the teachings in Ephesians 5, especially with regard to love and submission, but be sure to notice the stark contrast between the Bible and Nietzsche. Nietzsche was one of the greatest secular minds in history and has had a profound impact on modern culture. It you “kill God” you must yourselves “become gods” to replace him, and don’t be so sure that you’ll do a better job of it. Nietzsche died alone and insane.)

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Sex Q&A: "Another Unfulfilling Love-Making Session" 2

We often get emails from husbands who want advice because they sense that their wives aren’t enjoying sex that much, so we thought it would be particularly worthwhile to share this email from wife “RI”:

Hi there.

The fact that I feel awkward writing this email already may say a thing or two.

I am writing this after having had another unfulfilling love-making session with my husband last night.

I have often thought of seeking help but I have not known where or how and wanted to seek advice from a Christian source.

My husband and I have been married for over one-and-a-half years. We are both each other’s first and only sex partners. My husband engaged in pornography prior to our marriage, but I don’t feel this is affecting our relationship. We have an awesome marriage! But we get stuck when it comes to sex. He seems quite happy with our loving-making sessions but I am often left feeling like it’s been one-sided. I don’t fully know what makes me feel good and when I try to explore I get nowhere. I ask my husband to explore and sometimes he gets it right (and I make sure he knows it) but often he does some casual kissing here and there to try get to the goal of penetration. I do occasionally orgasm but always in the same position during penetration. We have tried other positions but they just hurt for me. He has tried using his hand or fingers but it has never worked. He doesn’t seem to know how to use his hands differently even with thorough communication which often leads to frustration on both our parts. I read about how sex within marriage should be fun and exciting and very stimulating but to be honest I often just try to have it because I know we should but am scared of being disappointed again and feeling like the whole thing is one-sided. I don’t know if the problem lies with me as I feel like I’m really not very sensitive physically and like there’s something wrong with me. I often just catch myself thinking “there must be more” especially if even Christian marriage books speak so highly of how fulfilling sex can be and how great it can feel.

I don’t have a direct question but some guidance would really help even if that guidance is referring me to a Christian counselor or something.

Thank you.

Wow, what an honest and vulnerable letter! Husband, if you’re longing for greater intimacy and frequency with your wife then consider that your wife’s experience might be close to what RI as written.

RI, thanks for your email! Don’t worry about feeling awkward — talking about sex has that effect on people! Be encouraged that sex tends to improve over marriage, and you have many years of exploring ahead of you. El Fury and I are frequently learning new techniques to enjoy. Your sex life is a process of discovery, and your body can even change over time. Something that didn’t get your attention before can suddenly feel amazing.

You should also be encouraged that you’re able to have an orgasm from penetration — 70%+ of women need direct clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm, which can be hard to accomplish during penetrative sex. It doesn’t sound like there is anything physically wrong with you. I used to have that same thought, and I wasn’t even able to orgasm for a long time. Here are some suggestions for you to try:

  • Communication is really important, especially about sex. The more you talk about sex with your husband the easier it gets. Tell him that you want to figure out how to be more responsive sexually and ask if he would be willing to learn with you. You could tell him about our blog. There might be a few posts to direct him to, like “How to Rub a Clitoris: Pulling Back the Curtain”, “How To Help Your Wife Orgasm”, “Do Whatever It Takes to Give Your Wife as Many Orgasms as She Wants”, and “Thumb and Finger Zoom Technique”. It’s hard to figure out what feels good without exploring, and maybe you both need some fresh ideas!
  • Extended foreplay. If you are having pain during sex it’s often because you aren’t aroused enough, or even aroused at all. Spending time in foreplay is key on this. It can take women 45 minutes or longer to orgasm — for me it’s a good 20-30 minutes. It’s important to have the mindset when you start your session that you’re going to be in it for a while. Sometimes it’s just the same motion for a long time that does the trick. El Fury could be using his fingers and it doesn’t stimulate me, but then he moves them a tiny amount and it feels completely different. So even if he is using the same technique, try moving around until you get the right spot. Then in a few minutes, you might have to move it again. Do foreplay until your body is really aching for penetration, then sex shouldn’t hurt.
  • Introduce a vibrator. I used to be really skeptical of sex toys, but then El Fury asked to use one on me and WOW. Just because you are using some assistance does not mean that sex becomes about the vibrator. Sex is still about the intimacy between you and your husband, and using a vibrator can really increase that intimacy. I can’t orgasm during sex without one. It’s a matter of geography. When we use a vibrator I get to experience that amazing closeness that comes from having an orgasm during sex. If you start using one with your spouse you are likely to have a lot more orgasms during sex, which is part of what makes sex feel so good!
  • Track your monthly cycle. Most women ovulate about two weeks after the first day of their period. Make sure you have sex on that day! One week later is usually PMS, and you might feel really low libido that day, so try not to get frustrated if sex isn’t great then. In addition to this, pay attention to yourself! Is there a certain time of day that you notice yourself feeling aroused? If possible, have sex at that time!
  • Talk about your needs and expectations. Most men need to orgasm more frequently than most women, and I don’t have an orgasm every time we have sex. Both partners should get the sex they need to feel satisfied, and that’s about more than mere frequency! You might not care about frequency as much as your husband, but when you do want an orgasm you should get one.
  • Pray about your sex life. Together! I remember the first time El Fury and I had sex, and right afterwards he prayed out-loud for our sex life. I thought it was so weird at the time, but looking back I’m so thankful he did, and that moment is one of my most meaningful memories.

I know that most of this post is about orgasms, but that is a really important part to having a fulfilling sex life. That is what satisfies you and also fuels your desire for sex the next time.

And since it’s worth repeating, husbands go check out Do Whatever It Takes to Give Your Wife as Many Orgasms as She Wants. You’re likely to have more and better sex if your wife is having plenty of orgasms.

Please use the contact pages for Sexy Corte and El Fury to send us your questions. We will never reveal your name or any other identifying information. You can ask questions anonymously, or use a free anonymous email server like Mailinator.

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Review: "Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm", by Kim Cattrall and Mark Levinson 3

As I’ve perused the marriage blogosphere it’s clear that the female orgasm is one of the most prominent themes: ever-elusive; mysterious; husbands desperate to please their wives; distraught wives who just can’t seem to get there; frequent frustration. It’s easy for husbands to have orgasms, but it’s very common for wives to have a harder time achieving sexual satisfaction. To that end, I want to recommend “Satisfaction”.

The book is about “the art of the female orgasm”, and there’s a solid focus on the loving relationship between the couple. Aside from the expected advice to communicate and develop intimacy with your spouse, the book reads almost like an instruction manual for the female body — and that’s exactly the approach I was looking for when I bought it. I found the book to be extremely educational. It’s laser-focused on its single target: “helping a man fully satisfy a woman” — without toys. The philosophy of the book is that “every man can be an artist” when it comes to the female orgasm. It’s not that toys aren’t fun or handy, but the book intends to teach the reader how to please a woman with his own body.

Topics covered include:

  • Basic anatomy, the clitoris, the g-spot
  • Oral stimulation
  • Using your fingers
  • Anal stimulation
  • Vagina-to-mouth
  • Multiple orgasms
  • A few simple medical issues (including premature ejaculation and the use of Viagra)
  • Various communication topics
  • Hygiene

The book has no photographs in it whatsoever, but there are abundant diagrams and drawings that depict the referenced acts and body parts. The drawings are clinical in nature, but if you have a strong desire to avoid any depictions of nudity then this book is not for you. The diagrams are all helpful rather than titillating, and are essential for explaining some of the more esoteric movements and positions. If only for the diagrams, this book is better than searching the internet for information. Any internet searches are bound to lead you to pornography.

It’s also worth pointing out that the book is not written from a Christian/marriage perspective, but that won’t hinder your application of its techniques.

“Satisfaction” probably has something to teach everyone, and with the caveats above I strongly recommend it to anyone who loves female orgasms. Specifically, the book might be an excellent gift for newlyweds. Brides receive a plethora of gifts at their bridal showers, but “Satisfaction” might be the perfect gift for the groom who wants to please his new wife and has remained chaste until his wedding.

What resources have you used to learn about sex? Have you read any good books?

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