As my frequent readers know, I write a lot about sex.
It’s not because this is an easy subject for me; on the contrary, it was one of the biggest stumbling blocks in our marriage early on. Eventually I got tired of fighting about it, and decided I was going to figure out how to get in the mood more often. I even wrote a book about it (my husband likes to say that he liked the research), and it really did change my perspective.
So today, I thought I’d give you some insight into a man’s perspective on it. Perhaps you’re in a relationship where you want it more than he does; I’ll write about that again soon. But today I want to address the women who are beginning to find sex a chore.
Part of the problem that we women have is that we have over-sexualized sex.
Let me explain what I mean. We have bought into the world’s idea that sex is all about physical pleasure. In order for it to be “pure, honest” sex, it has to be mind-blowing. It has to be stupendous. You have to want it.
If we don’t want it, and we do it anyway, we’re cheapening it. We feel like we’re being used. We’re deceiving him. So it’s better to not have sex at all until we can throw ourselves into it.
We’ve taken sex down to its lowest common denominator: physical pleasure.
Why is it purer to have sex when you both want to and you both are going to get tremendous physical release from it? Isn’t that turning sex into mainly a physical activity?
Sex is so much more than that. It’s also emotional and spiritual, and when we make love because we want to show him how much we love him–regardless of how we currently feel about the exercise–then we’re actually being more loving. It’s more sacred, almost. Can you see that? Also, sex cements you in a way that nothing else does. It is a spiritual union. To dismiss that potential because we’re not “in the mood” isn’t operating on a higher or most honest sexual plane; it’s actually being baser. We’re the ones who are making sex only about physical pleasure, not our husbands. They want to make love not just to feel great, but also to feel loved. We, on the other hand, don’t want to make love unless we can feel great. We’re the ones who have debased it, not them.
When we turn around and make love for them, we imbue it with a bit more of the sacredness that I think God intended. But much of that depends upon how we define “giving our bodies to him”. If we just lie there, counting the minutes until he’s done (sorry to be so graphic, but you’ve all been there), we’re not really giving ourselves. We need to throw ourselves into it, and see if we can give him (and ourselves) pleasure. And often when we do commit our minds and bodies to the exercise, our own pleasure does follow.
It’s not wrong to simply give your body as a gift to him.
We interpret it as wrong because we think of ourselves on a higher plane in relationships–we value the relationship, he values the sex, so he’s the one who’s debased and needs to learn to become better, like us. But he isn’t worse, and we aren’t better, we’re just different. And God made us different to encourage both of us to step out of our comfort zones and give to one another.
I’m not suggesting that if he’s asking you to act out pornography that you should do it, or that you should make love if you have physical issues, or that you should do so if you’re having flashbacks of childhood trauma. If you need counselling, get it. If you’re having relationship problems, tackle those. Sex shouldn’t be something that hurts you.
But normally, the problem is not something huge; it’s just that we can’t be bothered, and we think there’s something a little bit pathetic about men that they want it so much. And why should we have to use our bodies to give him that?
We do lots of things with our bodies that aren’t always pleasant, though. I remember breastfeeding through blocked milk ducts and infections. I drag myself out of bed to tend to sick children. I get less sleep than I need because my kids need me. I don’t mind using my body to love my kids; the problem seems to come when we need to use it to love our husbands. They should be able to cope!
God didn’t put you in a marriage so that you could both cope.
He put you in a marriage so that you could both lean on each other, give to each other, and love to each other. You may think it’s pathetic that he needs love to be expressed in this way when you’re tired, and cranky, and bloated. But he does, and he’s not wrong. So challenge yourself this week to see sex as something less base than something purely physical. See it as the emotional and spiritual building bond that it can be. Love your husband in the way that he needs it, and you just may find that your marriage gets ever so much better!
Sheila is the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex.