Are wives solely responsible for a husbandís sexual satisfaction, or is there something that both the secular world and Christians tend to miss?
I want to give a bit of balance to what I think is often misunderstood when it comes to marriage. Lots of marriage books, and especially certain Christian circles, really emphasize the idea that wives are pretty much solely responsible for a husbandís sexual satisfaction. They should understand that it is a need that he has, and thus they should go out of their way to fulfill it.
To a certain extent I agree with this, and indeed itís something I talk about frequently. I donít think women always understand that sex is something very different to men than it is to us. They do have biological drives that we donít have in the same way. They do often experience love through sex far more than they do through a hug. So we do need to confront our sexual insecurities, deal with our sexual baggage, and as much as possible jump in and have fun!
Finding a balance
BUT. And hereís where I want to insert a big BUT. I have read some of the Every Manís Battle series of books, and some of the ones written for women made me feel distinctly uncomfortable. If sex is dirty, or if it is damaging to you, or if you have a lot of issues that need to be dealt with sensitively, you donít have to satisfy him whenever he wants it. You are not a receptacle. The passage in 1 Corinthians 7 where it says that the wifeís body is the husbandís also says that the husbandís body is the wifeís. Therefore, if what he is doing is hurting you, thatís not right either.
I know when I was first married, sex was very difficult. I had a lot of trust issues, and even some physical issues with sex. To jump in and make love whenever he wanted it, with no thought to what I was going through, would have been very psychologically and emotionally destructive to me. I needed some understanding. I needed some love, and I needed some space. And when I did receive that, most of the problems went away (others went away later, but thatís another story).
There is a thread in a lot of this literature that sex is somehow all about him, and so we need to adjust and make it fun for him. Use lingerie. Do what he wants. And Iím sorry ladies, but I just donít buy that. Not completely.
It takes two, and thatís a good thing
Yes, we need to think about him. Yes, we need to be sensitive to the fact that he probably needs sex more than we do. Yes, we need to initiate. But when we start talking about how we need to satisfy his sex drive, weíre making the same mistake with sex that the world makes. Weíre pigeon-holding sex so that itís all about the physical, and not about the spiritual or emotional connection that itís supposed to encompass as well.
Sex is not only physical. It also needs to be a deep way that we connect on other levels, too. If weíre just into "meeting his physical needsĒ, then we start to think of it that way. Itís for him, and itís about satisfying him, as if heís some sort of an animal. Sex doesnít become something that brings the two of you together; it becomes something that almost dehumanizes you. And that is not what God intended.
Unfortunately, part of the Christian church buys this. They think that because we were created to be his "help-meetĒ, we have to help him in this area, and that should be our main task. But if we go in with that attitude, we miss the potential that sex has to be something that binds us together beautifully. And we can do some serious damage to some new wivesí sexuality.
Sex is something beautiful; itís not a duty where you just have to act as into it as possible so that he will have a good time. Itís meant for the two of you together. So instead of thinking of something that you have to do to satisfy him, think of it as a journey of exploration that you take together, where you get to know each othersí bodies, explore each other, kiss a lot, and look into his eyes. Itís not just about his release; itís about the bond that needs to come between the two of you. That bond is not going to happen if itís all about just satisfying him. Sex needs to be mutual.
Youíre in this together
So mutually you need to decide on frequency. If he wants it twice a day, you donít have to do that. You really donít. I would suggest several times a week, but thatís something that needs to be between the two of you. And when sex does happen, make sure that you tell him what you want, too. Donít see it as a chore, which is how so many of these books seem to describe it.
There are also some books that tell you that if heís addicted to pornography, you can break that addiction by simply being better. If youíre sexier, and more fun, heíll lose the interest. Thatís totally a misunderstanding of how male sexuality works. The reason heís addicted to porn is because heís addicted to fantasy and to an image. He isnít addicted to a relationship. And you canít break that addiction by becoming sexier and more outlandish; in fact, if you do that, youíll cement the addiction because youíll let him act out his weird fantasies, and then youíll become part of his porn habit.
You are not responsible for him becoming addicted to porn, and having sex constantly will not break that addiction. He needs to decide itís wrong, he needs to go to God, and you both need to find a way to make love in order to forge a spiritual connection, instead of just to find the next weird physical thing you can do.
I hope that this provides some balance. Women need to challenge ourselves to make our husbandsí sex lives the best that we can. But the way sex is best is not when we just have sex all the time; itís when we embrace everything that sex should be, and that includes a deep emotional and spiritual connection. Work on forging that bond, and sex will be great. Think of sex as a chore where you have to act all excited or your husband wonít feel loved, and you do great damage to your own sexuality. You feel cheap, used, and resentful. Donít fall into that trap. Embark on a sexual journey of discovery thatís fun and mutual, and youíll be a lot better off.
This originally appeared as a Wifey Wednesday post on my To Love, Honor and Vacuum blog. Read more marriage posts right here!