A big part of editing the Thriving Marriages newsletter/website is coming up with headlines that’ll make people want to open the article without resorting to shameless clickbait. It’s not as easy as it might seem! Which is a roundabout way of saying I almost resorted to the most clickbaity headline I could just because I really, really want everyone to read today’s great post from Sheila at To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. It’s about sex and men and why we care about it so much and … yeah it’s pretty much right on. Guys, read this and feel validated. Ladies, read this and understand your husbands more.
Also, we are always wanting to grow our Thriving Marriages community, so if you like today’s post, share it with someone!
Is sex really as big of a deal as everyone makes it out to be?
We talk about sex a lot on this blog, and without fail we will get at least one comment that says:
I just don’t understand the hype around sex! Why is it such a huge deal to guys?
And it occurs to me that I haven’t written any posts lately talking about how wonderful sex is and how we should be emphasizing it more! So I came across something I wrote a few years ago that I want to reiterate today.
But first, let me tell you about a funny conversation that I had the other day with a (relative) newlywed. She said that she was talking to a bunch of other newlyweds about what was so great about being married. And they all said things like, “It’s so fun to not have to say good night and then have them leave”, or “it’s so nice just to be able to do life together”, or “it’s so nice just to be able to cuddle whenever we want.”
And the newlywed said to me, I wanted to say, “are you kidding? You know what’s so great? You can finally HAVE SEX!” But no one else seemed to be jumping on that bandwagon.
Why is that?
Partly, of course, it’s that sex takes a while to get to work like clockwork. But I think it’s also because too often we women don’t necessarily value and appreciate sex the way that we could (which is also often why sex doesn’t feel great right off the bat). And when we don’t realize how great sex can be for us, we can unintentionally make our relationship more distant.
For instance, here’s the basic summary of an email I recently got from a guy who reads this blog:
I really am quite simple: when my wife has regular sex with me, I feel like I can take on the world. I’m happy. I love being with her. I love being with the kids. But when she doesn’t, everything feels like a chore. It’s not that I don’t love her; it’s just that it’s much harder. I don’t find that you talk about that on your blog anymore. You give all these excuses for women not to have sex, but honestly, I wish women understood that for men, it really is that simple. Make love, and we’re putty in your hands.
But here’s what started to happen: I wrote many posts on what to do when your husband doesn’t want to make love, (or what to do if you’re the higher drive wife!), and these have become some of the most popular posts on this site. Many, many women who come here would LOVE to have husbands who want to make love, but they don’t. Their husbands have rejected them. Or perhaps their husbands watch porn so much that they can’t have a real relationship.
And so many of my posts have been slanting in that direction and trying to minister to these women.
But I have to admit: on the whole, that commenter is right.
For most men, far more than for most women, sex is a huge felt need.
The fact that so many men reject sex in marriage is just a sign that our world is getting more and more messed up. And if you’re in that camp, then please head on over to my week for higher libido wives post and find some answers that will work in your situation.
Today, though, I do want to talk to the rest of the women: the ones married to men who dowant sex. And what I want to say to you today is, yes, it really is that simple.
But if he wants sex all the time, that means he’s really shallow! I can feel so many of you thinking that right now.
Is sex really that big a deal? YES! Here’s what happens when sex goes missing in marriage.
You see, when we women think about whether or not a relationship is good, we ask whether we’re talking enough. We wonder if we’re affectionate. Have we done anything together lately? Do I feel as if I can share my heart? Do I know what’s going on in his heart? Has he reached out to me lately? Has he asked me for help with something? Has he talked through a problem? Has he helped me around the house or with the kids? Has he shown me love?
We have all these data points that tell us whether or not we’re connecting.
For him, those data points tend to be combined into one simple thing: sex.
That doesn’t mean he’s pathetic, or that we’re somehow more sophisticated than he is. It simply means we’re made differently. When he makes love, he feels as if our hearts are connecting. It’s his way of checking in on the relationship.
And I don’t mean when we lie there and say, “you can if you want to”, and then we look like we’re counting ceiling tiles. I mean when we throw ourselves into it, and even initiate sex! The sexiest thing, to a man, is to have a wife who is enthusiastic about sex–not just a wife who placates him.
A man knows that for a woman to enjoy it she has to DECIDE to enjoy it.
She has to want to make love. If she wants to make love and enjoys it, then, she’s told him, “I want to be with you. I want to have fun with you. I have decided to give myself to you.”
If you make love with relative frequency, then, he knows that you truly love him and want him. If he feels truly loved and wanted, he’ll want to be home more. He’ll want to be with you more. He’ll want to be more involved with the family. He’ll find it easy to be more involved with the family! He won’t have to be fighting that feeling that he isn’t really wanted or appreciated; he’ll be able to pitch in and help knowing that he is. It invigorates him; it energizes him; it propels him to action.
But wait–you may say. Are you saying that I should have sex whatever he’s doing? Like it’s a reward or a bribe or something? After all, there are so many other issues in our relationship! We’re in debt and he doesn’t take it seriously. Our children are holy terrors and he won’t discipline them. He won’t listen to me about how mean his mother is to me. And the list can go on and on.
May I suggest that if you get the sex part right, it will then be a lot easier to deal with these other very real issues?
Sex is your way of saying to him, “I’m committed to you, I love you, I want you, I value you.” If he knows that and feels it, it’s so much easier to then bring up the really big issues that are bothering you.
I can’t tell you the number of women who have written to me saying,
“I used to think we had a horrible marriage. He never showed me love, we were fighting all the time, and I didn’t think I could go on. Then I read The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex and just decided to jump in for both our sakes. And my husband is a completely changed man! He loves being with me. We laugh so much more. And those problems I thought we had? They’ve gotten so much easier to manage.”
Now, I’m not saying have sex so that your husband will change. But what I am saying is that when you’re not having sex with your husband, you’re allowing that gap between you to widen. When we make love, you see, he feels closer and empowered. But we also feel closer to him, and all the things that bug us about him are minimized as well because sex has a powerful way of bringing you together emotionally as well as physically. We’re feeling more intimate and more connected, so the little things don’t bother us as much anymore. We realize that they really are just little things.
Will sex solve all the problems in your relationship? No, of course not. But it will very likely help you with a whole lot of them, and that greater intimacy and connection will make working through the bigger issues easier. And just jumping in and having sex is a lot better than staying up all night hashing it out and still feeling distanced and at odds in the morning.
Besides, sex feels great (or at least it should!). And if we decide that we’re going to enjoy it, and we start looking forward to it, then sex isn’t just for him. It’s for both of you. And that helps you feel closer, too, and more ready to deal with other issues in your marriage.
Here’s my question: if there really were something so simple that could help you so dramatically with your marriage, why wouldn’t you try it?
So why not take this challenge:
For one month, decide “I will make love every night unless there’s a really good reason not to, and I will not go longer than 72 hours without sex. I will decide to enjoy it and throw myself into it.”
Now, if you are struggling with low libido and feel defeated by the idea of even initiating sex, may I suggest trying the Boost Your Libido course? I created it for women just like you–women who want more for their marriage, who feel that there is more just around the corner, but no matter how hard she tries it always seems to slip through her fingers.
God created you to have awesome sex in your marriage–but if that truth seems too distant to believe, try my course. It walks through the issues many women find are blocking their libido and helps them find what true intimacy really means. Check it out,and I hope it blesses your marriage!
So today, write down how you feel about your husband: do you feel close? Do you feel like you can talk? Do you feel loved?
Then do that for a month, and ask yourself the same questions. See if the answers are different.
You just may find that it really is that simple after all!