You want to be a “good” wife, the kind of wife God wants you to be. You love your husband deeply. But it seems he’s always thinking about sex. Does he really have to have sex that often? It will help to understand what sex does for your husband.
This is dangerous territory. I wish it wasn’t necessary to write these next few sentences. But the enemy has greatly exploited our vulnerabilities around sex and sexuality, and there may be more woundedness around this than perhaps any other area. And some wives desire more sex than their husbands. So first I must clarify what this article is not saying.
- It’s not OK for a husband to demand sex any time he wants, or pout when he doesn’t “get” it. He is not entitled to sex.
- As important as sex is to him, a man can live without sex (even though some may dispute that). Jesus did! And He was the most Fully Alive man ever to walk the earth.
- As a wife, you are not responsible for managing your husband’s sexual drives. Any porn use, infidelity, or other “bad behavior” is absolutely not because you’ve not been sexy enough. He is 100% responsible for handling his sexuality before God.
- Having more sex will not “fix” your husband. That’s not on you; that’s between him and God. There are times you should not have sex.
- Sex is not all about your husband and his desires. Your needs and desires are 100% as important as his.
- Not all sex is good. Sex that is demeaning, exploitative, selfish, or painful damages both of you. The only sex that is good is that which is mutual and loving between husband and wife.
With those very important caveats out of the way, there are some wonderful things sex does for your husband.
Affirms His Masculinity
Successfully engaging in intercourse is one of the very few things that says to a man, “I’m a man!” Most wives don’t fully appreciate how powerful that is for him. A wife accepting sex from her husband means she accepts him as a man.
And when a wife initiates sex, for most men that means she desires him as a man. He doesn’t only need you to say Yes; he wants you to want him.
Other behaviors that affirm his masculinity such as providing for you, career success, protecting, parenthood, etc. have a place. But none of them does for a man what sex does.
In large measure a man will be able to weather the dog-eat-dog world “out there” with a sense of comparative security and resilience if he knows his wife accepts him as a man. Words from his wife are helpful in that regard, but not nearly as powerful as having an engaged wife who accepts and affirms him in sex.
This past week I spoke with a wife whose husband rarely communicates. Even when she tries to engage him, it feels to her like pulling teeth. However, “after sex he’s a chatterbox!”
Many men will only communicate on an emotional level when they feel safe. Just like most women are physically modest, most men are emotionally modest. He needs to feel exceptionally safe and private before opening up.
And having sex creates that sense of safety for a man where he may be able to communicate in ways he is unable to otherwise.
As a wife, that doesn’t mean you stop working on communication all the time. It does mean, however, that you can treasure the moments after sex when he may communicate more easily. That’s when his heart is likely to be most open, most tender. Treat that time as precious.
And treat his heart gently at such times. Don’t use that time to bring up problems; focus on hearing his heart. Choose another time to have a challenging conversation.
Creates Emotional Connection
The only way a man can get a shot of oxytocin is to have intercourse. (Women can get it in other ways.)
Oxytocin is the bonding hormone. It’s why many men seek sex as the most important means of connecting with their wives. (Many women see sex as the result of connection rather than the means.) So when a wife feels her husband is only wanting sex, it’s possible he is actually doing so because he wants to connect with her.
That’s also why having sex outside the covenant of marriage is so destructive. Even though men tend to compartmentalize sex much more than women, a bond of some kind is still created when he has sex. (1 Corinthians 6:16) And like the hooks of Velcro, the more times that bond is created and broken, the weaker his ability becomes to create a truly lasting bond with his wife.
What’s a Wife to Do?
Remember; you are not responsible for your husband’s sexual integrity. But you are a tremendous help to him when you understand the powerful role sex plays in his soul. So here are a few things you can do.
- Deal with your own sexual baggage. If you hate sex you’re not alone. But deal with it. Doing so is not only important for your own heart’s restoration, but it will impact your husband as well. (This is one of the common issues I deal with in coaching.)
- Say Yes when you can. When you say No, make sure it’s No to sex and still say Yes to your husband. Have sex with him not out of obligation, but as a gift you are offering to the man God has given you.
- Go there in your mind. Sex begins in the mind. Flip that mental switch. You can make the mental choice to move toward your husband. If you do so, your body is much more likely to follow.
- Don’t accept bad behavior. Porn, infidelity, a husband demanding sex as a right, violent or demeaning sex – never OK. Refuse to accept what is hurtful. You’re worth more than that. And so is he.
- Explore to enjoy. Sex in marriage can become increasingly satisfying, comforting, and enjoyable as the years go by. Learn to talk about sex. Ask for what you need and want. You greatly enjoying sex is a great gift – to yourself, and to your husband.
A healthy sexual relationship is worth the effort it takes. And you can make a big difference in that effort.
P.S. And yes, sex does important things for wives as well.
Your Turn: Has sex been a point of conflict in your marriage? Does this help you understand what sex means to your husband? Leave a comment below.
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