Why Sex Isn’t Just For Him

"My husband wants sex all the time!"--getting over thinking of sex as a chore, and having fun! #marriage

Are you a little bit fed up, thinking, “my husband wants sex all the time!”. He won’t leave you alone! Well, today I want to help us think about this in a new way.

Yesterday I was talking about how sometimes we get into this dangerous pattern of thinking of sex as something we give him “as a favor” or “as a reward”. We think that having sex means we’re being selfless. But if you dissect this, what you’re really saying is:

I’m doing something I don’t want to do to try to make you happy.

So the attitude says: I think of sex as a chore.

That’s going to kill a guy’s self-image and really hurt your marriage.

Now, for many of us sex is difficult because we have some real issues–like sex hurts, or we have been abused in the past, or we feel really guilty for things we’ve done before. I totally understand, and I know that it can take a while to get through some of these things. But I also believe that if you’re up front with your husband, and tell him that you’re struggling, but you honestly want to get over the issues, and you’re taking steps to do so, he’ll likely understand and not take it personally.

But for most of us, that’s not the issue. It’s not that it hurts or it brings back flashbacks. It’s that sex has become a chore. Your husband wants sex all the time, and you get sort of sick of it. And you think, “why should I make love to him if he can’t even be affectionate towards me? Why should I go out of my way for him if he can’t do the dishes sometimes or lighten my load? And doesn’t he understand that I’m exhausted?” And so you don’t.

What if there were another way of looking at it? What if you could actually start to believe that sex was for you, too? It isn’t something you just “give” him; it’s something that actually benefits you, and that can help you with your exhaustion, or your insecurities, or your loneliness! Wouldn’t that be better? Maybe then it would be about your husband wanting to make love constantly and bugging you about it; it would be about you both wanting to connect on a deep level. And I think that is possible, if we just change the way we think about sex!

So let’s jump in.

Here’s why sex is good for you, too:

1. You Sleep Better

Honestly! If you are really exhausted, sex is often the best thing for you. You’ll fall asleep faster, and then you’ll sleep deeper. And it’s not only if you orgasm (although that is a big part of it). Simply feeling close to him, and repairing some of the emotional distance, can also help you sleep.

Some nights when I know it’s been a while, and I know we should really make love, I say no because I’m so tired. Those are often the nights I toss and turn and can’t get to sleep. And I’ve realized it doesn’t work. So now when I’m really exhausted, I say to my husband, “Put me to sleep, baby.” It works every time!

2. You Feel Closer

Often the reason that we don’t want to make love is because we feel distant. You’re not sure if he really loves and values you the way he once did. He hasn’t been feeling affectionate.

But do the close feelings come before sex, or does sex bring the close feelings? Often you can’t really distinguish it. For many of us, we feel closer after we make love. And the reason is quite simple: by making love, we reaffirm our commitment and our love. Making love is the only thing that only married people can do. It’s reserved just for you. When you do make love, you say, “I would marry you again.” And God designed sex to bring us together! We release hormones during sex that help us to “bond”. So if you’re feeling distant, maybe the solution is to make love, rather than to wait to feel closer.

One caveat, though: don’t expect miracles if you make love very rarely. I’ve had letters from women who say something like this:

We only make love once a month or less because I’m so busy and so tired, and we’re growing apart. But I don’t find that he’s any more affectionate after we make love than when we don’t.

I understand, but perhaps the problem is the frequency. When you make love less than once a month, your husband is going to feel very unloved. Maybe you don’t think that’s fair, but that’s just the way it is. And if it’s obvious that you don’t really want to, then making love isn’t really going to boost his ego at all.

So try this instead: for two weeks, make love often (let’s say 3 times a week). And then see if you feel closer to him! I’m pretty sure you will, and I’m pretty sure he’ll be awfully happy, too!

3. You Feel More Secure when You Make Love

Sex helps you to feel like your relationship is strong. When you make love, you cement it together again. Sex makes you feel protected. It makes you feel loved. It makes you feel like you have a future together. It makes you feel happier.

On the days after you make love, you can smile slyly at each other because you have this secret. You can giggle with each other more. You touch each other more. But most of all, you feel like the relationship is stronger. That’s because sex is a vital part of a relationship. As one commenter wrote in the comments yesterday, “sex isn’t the icing on the cake; it’s the oil that keeps the engine going.” When we don’t make love, our relationship can get really clogged up. When we do, we feel like things are humming along much better.

Great tips to make sex wonderful!

4. You Feel Wonderful After Sex

Let’s not forget the final part: sex actually feels good! Now, maybe for you it doesn’t yet. That’s okay. As I found in the surveys for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, it can take a decade or so for couples to find that sex works like clockwork. It needs practice! So if you’re not there yet, pick up the book for some great tips, and work through our 29 Days to Great Sex!

Don’t settle for mediocre! If sex isn’t wonderful for you yet, don’t despair. Take it as a research project you can do together–a project with lots of benefits. Maybe you need to hit the reset button on your sex life and start over because you’ve developed some bad habits, like rushing through it. Or maybe he doesn’t know what you like.

But don’t despair! Sex does feel wonderful. And you can get there!

So if you’re feeling exhausted, and feeling distant from your husband, and feeling tense, then instead of saying, “there’s no way I can make love given how I feel“, why not say instead, “I had better make love given how I feel!” Making love can cure all of those problems!

If that’s so, why are women often so reluctant? I think it’s because we don’t get aroused the way men do. We think that we have to “be in the mood” to make love, and when we’re exhausted, we’re not aroused. We don’t even necessarily desire it very much.

For women, though, so much of sex is in our brains. When our heads are engaged because we’re thinking positively about sex, then our bodies will follow. So instead of dreading it or avoiding it, or resenting sex because your husband wants it all the time, why not say, “this is what I need to feel better!” You’ll be more positive about sex, and you’ll likely find that your body will then engage. And then all these benefits will come to you!

Now, I want to know: what do you think about this? And what problems do you still have with it (if any?) I’d love to write a follow-up post for some of you who are still struggling in any of these areas, so let me know, and I’ll try to elaborate where I can.

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  1. What about husbands who think of sex as their reward?
    I know sex is fundamentally about intimacy and all the spiritual stuff, but a small part of me thinks of it as a reward for doing what “good” husbands do. That includes both what I do because I want to and what I may feel obligated to do. (I try hard to not be manipulative.)
    There is a fine line between sex as a reward (after doing good husband things) and sex as a motivator (before doing good things).
    Again, I know we fundamentally don’t have to earn sex. So is this reward mentality ungodly?

    • I do think that it’s just a dangerous attitude to get into, because it sets it up as sex being something that is “for him”–and that’s not good for a guy, either. If he thinks he’s going to get “a reward”, then again, he’s thinking that sex is primarily for him. Sex really needs to be something that is for the both of you, that is about cementing your relationship, not about a reward for doing what’s right. That’s why in 1 Corinthians 7 Paul tells us to “not deprive each other”. He wouldn’t say that if sex could be conditional–you do the right thing, and then I’ll sleep with you.

      Of course, it’s hard to distinguish motivation sometimes, because sex is about showing love, and often we want to show love more when we feel loved. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that! But if you get into a cycle where it’s “if you do X, I’ll do Y”, then you’re also telling your brain “this is for him, not me”. Because you don’t do it just for you. And that’s not good for the relationship at all!

      I think we need to realize that sex is a key part of marriage–and we can’t neglect it if we feel distant. That’s not biblical, it’s selfish, and it also in the end hurts both of us, you know?

  2. Great post and so true! The problem that I have sometimes is getting my brain going in the right direction. Last night was a prime example of this. I was agitated, beyond exhausted and totally overwhelmed. I sometimes feel like this when it’s been too long since we’ve had sex – and this time it’s been a week (my period).

    We spent some time relaxing watching TV, which helped. However, when we went upstairs, I just felt sick. I wanted to have sex, but I knew that with the state of mind that I was in, I was extra vulnerable to dissociating. As I’ve mentioned in previous comments on other posts, now that I’ve experienced being present on many occasions, when I “slip”, it’s just heart wrenching. I was trying to think positively about sex to get myself in the mood as you’ve described in this post, but then those thoughts kept getting overwhelmed by the fear of guilt that I could end up feeling – not for past actions, but for PRESENT actions (dissociation).

    I’ve experimented with some ways of decompressing before sex so that I’m less vulnerable to negative thoughts during the act itself, but anything that works for me has a negative side effect (i.e. chocolate adds to my hips!). I need the release of the orgasm itself, but in that state I can’t get there without accessing a part of my brain that I’m trying to shut down.

  3. I don’t know if this is common since you keep saying sex gives us betrer sleep, but it takes me forever to fall asleep after sex. I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t get release (I’ve never orgasmed), or if it’s too much like exercise (which they say you shouldn’t do before bed), or what the problem is. But it definitely makes me less interested in sex at night when I’m already tired and in bed – I know it’ll be another two hours or so before I sleep if we do have it. So I try to do it in the afternoon when our daughter naps if possible but those days aren’t common.

    I guess it’s just annoying because you keep promoting it as one of the main attractions to having sex, and it backfires for me. I’m wondering if this is just me or if it’s a common problem.

    • Amy, it may very well be related to the fact that you don’t get release. For most people it does bring better sleep, but obviously there are always exceptions to the rule. I’m wondering if you and your husband could work more towards helping you climax? I do have an article on it here, and I’ve got more about it in my book. I know it’s difficult for many women, and usually we can get there through other ways rather than intercourse. It takes a lot of relaxation, and trying not to have too much pressure, which I know seems almost impossible. But I would definitely work on that, because this is something that you should get to experience, and it certainly isn’t hopeless at all!

      • Mel Schellenberg says:

        I have to agree with Amy, ,y husband and I have a fairly good sex life and 95% of the time I get the release. After we have sex I will stay awake in bed for 2 plus hours while my hubby lies beside me in a deep sleep! I guess I am one of the exceptions as well.

    • Amy,
      I am in the same boat…it takes me forever to fall asleep after sex, although I almost always orgasm. And it is never helped by the fact my husband is asleep in about 30 seconds, deeply sleeping and snoring loudly in my ear. Snuggling and cuddling after? Ummmm…not so much! Sometimes I read, sometimes I get up and get some things done, sometimes I just lay there and think (at least it is peaceful, except for the snoring of course, and no one needs me for anything!) Nights we don’t have sex, I am asleep when my head hits the pillow! You and I might just be in the minority and not get the sleep benefits that others seem to get!

    • You know, sometimes I am awake for 2 hours afterwards, and other nights I fall asleep quickly. If we have fun during the daytime, I can either clean the house like a madwoman afterwards, or I’m so exhausted for the rest of the day. I wonder if it depends on the food, drink, or sleep of the night before that affects the results afterwards. My husband during the day just gets up and keeps going, but at night, he snores away. So, it doesn’t seem to affect him one way or the other. LOL

  4. kristin says:

    SO true, I always sleep like a baby. Sometimes I/we will be dozing off on the couch and it would be so easy to just go crawl in bed and go to sleep, but one of us will start nuzzling and kissing the other to wake up and then it’s on! Doesn’t take long to get ready for bed and jump in fully awake! :)

  5. rebeccah says:

    What if I’m way more interested insex than my husband???

  6. I definitely agree that making love can make one feel more secure and close to their spouse. And the giggling is fun too, especially if it’s a mighty creative or fun romp 😉 Thanks for posting on this Sheila! Be blessed.

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  7. The thing I love about your blog and your sex posts is that it makes me so grateful. I have a wonderful husband and we have an amazing sex life. I saw the title of this post and I thought, “What if you feel guilty sometimes because you received so much pleasure and it seems like he had to do all the work?” I really am blessed to have a husband who is attentive to my body and makes sure that I always have a good time.

    I have found that even if I’m not necessarily in the mood….if we start things up I am in the mood soon! My advice to women is just do it! You’ll be in the mood after you get started. Oh, and the sleep after…..I love how well I sleep!

    • I think it’s safe to say that your husband doesn’t see it as work. :) It sounds like you have a husband who is just deeply grateful to have a wife like yourself who values intimacy as much as he does–if not more!

  8. Sherri Madrigal says:

    Great post! I’ve had this issue in the past…I’m too tired, etc…I like the idea of saying, put me to sleep! Sex does help me go to sleep more quickly, so why have I not made the connection yet?!?!?!? I’m hoping to put all of your advice to good use once my husband comes back from deployment!

  9. I love your post! What are some ways to get in “the mood”? Are there some physical, concrete things we can do to get in the mindset for making love? I would love your advice!

  10. Megan G. says:

    We have really found that the more sex we’re having the closer and happier we are. I don’t know if the happy feelings of closeness lead to the sex…or the sex leads to the happy feelings of closeness…or both!

    • This is so true, Megan! And I don’t know if you can tell which comes first; I think it’s more like a circle!

  11. How do you get over though- that he NEVER initiates? I tried tried tried having more sex after reading your 29 days series. It was good for awhile but he is still never affectionate, never romantic, doesn’t help out that much around the house unless i really bug him about it. I tried to tell him I could use more romance- the funny thing is he thinks he’s romantic- but he doesn’t show it at all! He would rather just veg out on the couch night after night and watch TV. It’s disheartening to be the only one giving. I do like sex and I think he does too when we get around to it. It’s like he lacks motivation.

    • umm, so.. motivate him. Get some lingerie. Kiss on him. Snuggle him. Be inviting.

      • Yeah, but it may not be that simple. Jan’s man may have low testosterone, which this sounds a lot like. And to be safe, he should get himself checked for that — even if he doesn’t think it may be an issue — just out of love for his bride. Low T affects far more than sex drive or sexual initiative: it can greatly affect energy levels, other kinds of initiative and overal health. (And be leery of docs who say he’s “low normal” and proclaim that there’s nothing to be done — a man in his 20s can be “low normal” with the T levels of an average 70-year-old!)

        • Very true, David! Great point. And testosterone is a relatively easily treated thing in men–not so much in women, but definitely in men.

  12. I think one way I can tell my wife thinks of sex as “for me” is that she has never once in 20+ years said anything like “i would like to have sex”. It is always, “do you want to do something? Or “i have a few minutes if you hurry”

  13. Katie Did says:

    I LOVE having sex with my husband and I often initiate it. However, it isn’t as enjoyable for me, because he doesn’t take the time to bring me to orgasm. When he’s done, he’s done and I often lay there afterwards writhing because I’m aroused, but sex is done and he’s asleep.

    • That’s a tough one, Katie, but I’d really suggest talking to him about this. And a good way around it is to ask him to bring you to orgasm BEFORE his orgasm (so do it in a way other than intercourse, if necessary, before). That way you’re not left hanging. I do think it’s important to talk to him about it, because it makes it so much more difficult afterwards once you’ve developed negative habits, and then you may start to resent sex. I have a post on how to hit the “Reset Button” on your sex life and start over again right here that may help!

  14. It’s funny you say that comment about sex being good for energy on Rasing Olives site, because I’m so exhausted and feel too tired for it most of the time, but what you say is right…if I can get past the feeling of being too exhausted, it does give more energy and better sleep. My being overweight does not help at all either….I feel much better about it when I’m much lighter.

    Also, I do believe that sex is what helps keeps a great marriage going… and you’re reminding me that I just need to do it more often (like we had been doing for the past 10 years–but the last year and a half has been very difficult due to a prolapsed uterus and a surprise pregnancy and lack of sleep from having our beautiful little baby #6).

    • Oh, Natalie, what a busy time you must be having! I hope you do find time just to relax and do things for you. But I hope that sex can be a part of that, because I do think we all feel better–in a whole variety of ways–when sex is a part of our lives!

  15. Sherri Madrigal says:

    I’m excited and nervous about having sex again after my husband comes home after a 6 month deployment. He will be home next week! I’m afraid that since we have been apart for so long, that everything I’ve been reading from you will go out the window! Do we just go crazy for the first couple of days and then try to incorporate some things after he gets settled back into home life?

    • Sherri, I vote for the going crazy thing for a few days! Just give each other a lot of grace after being away from each other that long. Then, after all the emotional stuff has settled down, you can really get to it :). But just have fun, take some deep breaths, and don’t put a ton of pressure on each other!

      And congratulations. I hope your reunion is wonderful, and thank you so much to both of you for your sacrifice you’ve made.

  16. Sheila- I absolutely love your message! This topic in particular is something that I just shared in a small group of women friends. Recently, I have asked Holy Spirit to ‘change my mind and thinking wherever there are faulty messages’. My view of sex was on the list of incorrect thinking! While we have had 24 years of what we’d consider great sex, as we hit our 50s our bodies are beginning to drop the ball in many aspects. Because of the physical/mechanical challenges, I have come to think of sex as something I have to be ‘up’ for, give energy to, and talk myself into. God specifically said to me…’I want you to go to Stuart as a way to get the nurturing you want. Connecting with him will GIVE you emotional energy, GIVE you pain relieving endorphins, and bind you together against the energy draining circumstances in your life right now.

    This simple change in my ‘mind’ about what sex can DO FOR me and us… was revelatory AND fruitful! So it was so FUN to find you writing about it in your ‘voice’. I wish I could write with such a gift. Instead, I will just point people YOUR way.

    I recommend you daily. You make the hard truths easy and with my ‘in your face’ style! In our marriage ministry we use ballroom dancing as a metaphor to give aha revelation of the REAL divine design for partnership. Sex is the one of those amazing design secrets! Although I’d like to announce my personal revelations from our sex life to the world of hurting women out there, we have found that we need to stick with the message/assignment that God has given us and direct folks to the other parts of the Body in the Kingdom for the completing messages that they have been given. That’s where YOU come in! You are one of our very favorite resources because of the powerful and simple way that you present this dynamite (literal). Ok, I think you have the idea here. We really appreciate your ministry. BE ENCOURAGED that you cannot begin to see the ripple effects of your obedience to take this truth out of the bedroom and into the church.
    In fact, because we use our ‘tool’ of the lure of ballroom dancing to make the hard emotional and scriptural topics edible and FUN, we reach outside the four walls of the church by meeting a relevant need. THAT is also what you do. When even unbelievers experience the real deal in the bedroom, they are actually tasting the goodness of God and His design!

    I have been blown away recently by the level of dysfunction in Christian marriages! Over half the women I encounter in the church are unhappy or have given up on a great sex life; non-orgasmic, or have actually quit trying! HOLY COW! That reveals one of the answers to my question…”How in the world can we in the church have the same divorce rate as the world?” Your ministry and calling to change that is so needed and POWERFUL! Thank you.

    I wonder if there is some way that we would be working together someday!? Would LOVE to meet you.
    I promote your work and books constantly. It occurs to me that we might need to let you know that we list your books and blog in our ‘Favorite Resources’ page in our workbook. http://www.thedanceofmarriage.com

  17. When we first marries, I asked the Redneck what he liked about me. He said that he liked that I didn’t use sex as a reward. A few days later, I found a book he had been wanting for a long time. I bought it and when I walked in the house, I said, “I may not use sex as a reward, but here’s a reward for the sex!” We laughed for says over that. Great post.

  18. Im deffenetly guilty of not giving my husband enough sex. Unfortunately for me sex Is usually painful. Currently im very pregnant with our third child so we have sex once or twice a week but before the pregnancy I would say 3-4 times a week… everytime I would go unwillingly. Sex has been hurting since I got pregnant with our first child and it never got better. Even with 3-4 times a week he would complain (probably because I didnt want it and only didbit for him) so I can see how lots of sex doesnt mean much to them if there wife is less than happy about giving it. In my deffense he is very lazy.. comes home throws his cloths everywere but in our bedroom.. dirty stinky socks on the furniture pants by the shoes and shirt somewere on the floor.. shoes not were they go… on top of me caring for a 3 year old and 18 month old and being pregnant I have a condition that makes it very hard for me to get up without feeling sick.. and he still refuses to help around the house and if he does the smallest chore he expects sex and gets upset if I feel to sick for it… he is very selfish and makes it hard for me to WANT to have sex with him. I am hoping I get some energy after this baby is born so I can repair our sex life… but we have talked many times about him showing me more affection and spending time with me to make me feel loved and he still has not improved.. hoping things will imrove after baby

  19. I realize I’m a little late to reading this article, i found it on pinterest.. thank you so much for posting it! It’s really hard to find these kinds of articles. My husband and I work opposite shifts and it’s really hard to find that time because by the time he gets home I’m so tired and I feel guilty. I’m going to try these out! Thanks again!

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  1. […] these issues. We know these problems abound. But we also know that sex keeps a marriage close. It helps you to sleep better. And it helps you to feel more positively towards your […]

  2. […] BOTH need this. It isn’t just for him. You need it, too. You need to feel close to him. You need to feel like you have a partner in […]

  3. […] of saying “yes”? After all, sex isn’t just for him – there are plenty sex benefits for you, too! It feels great (and if it doesn’t, I’ve got lots here that can help). It helps […]

  4. […] may seem difficult to get to the point where you see sex as something beneficial for you, and not just for him. But honestly ask yourself this question, “do I treat sex like […]

  5. […] With the way many of our lives go, sex is the last thing that gets taken care of. It’s only if everything else gets done. And so often it’s put on the back burner, even though sex is so important to helping a marriage stay intimate and fun. I think we forget how much sex benefits us women! […]

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