Have you struggled to actually want sex?
We’re challenging some misconceptions people have about sex this week, and we’re tackling a big one today. What do you do when your husband wants sex all the time, but you just don’t?
We’ve got Jenny, a South African blogger from My Autumn Reflections, here today to share how sometimes the ruts we get in and the conflict that happens can be because of our misconceptions about what sex should look like in our marriage.
Do you know these 5 truths about sex?
I’ve been married 27 years and there have definitely been times I didn’t feel like being intimate with my husband.
Too tired. Too worn out by life. Just plain didn’t feel like it. I didn’t even need a headache as an excuse – I just wasn’t interested. And he was.
I’m not talking about an oversexed, pornographic-minded male wanting sex every day. I’m talking about a godly man with God-given desires who was trying his best to provide for his family and meet my emotional needs as best he could.
And I said no. Or avoided sex by pretending to be asleep. Or gave him the message by being unresponsive.
Reject a man sexually often enough and he will shut that part of himself down to avoid the rejection. Only problem is, he’s not only shutting down his desire, he’s shutting down his heart too. He’s shutting down his emotional side to protect himself from you.
We stayed up late many a night trying to resolve our conflict about sex. I didn’t see how my rejection was affecting my husband. It wasn’t that I didn’t like sex–I loved it! But on my terms. Only when I was interested. Blinded by my selfishness and lack of compassion, I could only see my own needs. (There were reasons for this – see here for how your past affects your marriage).
Then God used a straight-shooting lady to tell me what a wife’s responsibilities are in marriage – one of them being to provide her husband with good, regular sex. Willingly. Enthusiastically. Because that is how I can bless him and serve him and love him best.
That shook me up and started me on the road to change. Here are five things I realized that changed my thinking about sex:
1. Physical intimacy is a ministry to my husband.
One day as I was praying for God to bless my husband, it struck me – God wants to use me to bless my husband and that means meeting his need for sex. Simple. God has called me to minister to my husband. He is my first priority – before children or anyone else. I must meet his needs before meeting the needs of anyone else.
Sex helps men solve problems and deal with life. By meeting his physical needs I am helping my husband deal with the rest of his life, lessening his stress, and helping him figure out solutions to his problems. Now that’s being a helpmeet!
2. I don’t have to be in the mood beforehand to serve my husband (but it often follows!)
Sometimes saying yes to sex is a choice based on principle, not on feeling. In doing this I learned that it truly is more blessed to give than to receive. I learned to pray, “Lord, I don’t feel like sex, but I’m willing for you to change my feelings. Please give me the right feelings.” God has always answered this prayer and I end up having a good time!
It’s not necessary to be aroused to be an active participant in loving your man. But in that willingness and choosing, arousal usually follows. Choose to stay focused on your husband. Don’t think about your shopping list or what you need to do tomorrow. There is reward in bringing pleasure to someone else. Choose it!
3. Sex is not just physical for a man.
While sex for a man is a lot about physical release that’s not all there is to it for him.
Sex for a man is also emotional. It makes him feel close and connected to his wife. When you say no to sex you are saying that you don’t want to be close to him.
Sometimes the best way to unlock a husband’s emotions is through satisfying his physical need. It helps him to become emotionally open. Want to connect with your husband emotionally? Make love to him.
4. When I reject sex I’m not just saying “No” to sex, I’m saying “No” to the whole person.
Sex is not something you can separate from the man. It is the man. A large part of his identity and self-worth are tied up in his sexuality. Say “No” to sex and you mess with his value as a man. It’s how Dr. Gary & Barbara Rosberg put it in their book, The 5 Sex Needs of Men and Women:
When a wife rejects her husband’s request for sex, it’s not that he feels the attempt failed; he feels that he’s a failure…Even when she says no for a valid reason, rejection to a man spells one thing: rejection. And when rejection happens often enough, he will shut down.
As I turned off the light before my husband came to bed and pretended to be asleep, I thought I was just avoiding sex, but in my husband’s mind I was saying no to him – the whole person.
And that hurt. It made him feel unwanted and unloved.
It took a number of years for me to heal that rejection. For a time I did not allow myself to say no to sex. I initiated sex with him. I had to be willing again and again and again. When I felt like it and when I didn’t.
I learned that I can say no, honestly, gently, and that offering an alternative time gives my husband hope of having his need met – “I’m so tired tonight, can we make love in the morning?” Very often that honest conversation leads to lovemaking anyway. It doesn’t take that long and it’s better to go to sleep feeling loved and connected than to have a rift between us.
5. Sex is not just for men, it’s for women too.
God didn’t only have men in mind when He thought up sex. There must be something in it for women too. If God made it, and He’s a loving God, then sex should be something that excites women too.
The devil has made sure that a lot of us see sex as selfish, grabbing, dirty, repulsive. He’s made sure many of us have been abused and sex is something to be endured or avoided. He’s made sure that the media portrays perfect bodies everywhere making us ashamed of our lumps and bumps, and feeling like we can’t be seen naked.
It’s time to claim sex back from the devil. God made it and He wants us to enjoy it. It’s a gift from Him.
Sex is an opportunity to enjoy physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy with your best friend. It’s a time to enjoy some of the most pleasurable sensations known to man (and woman ☺).
Avoiding or refusing sex deprived me of pleasure and connection and emotional fulfilment. Not anymore. Now, I love making love with my husband.
Sex must be good if God created it. Are you missing out? Why? Maybe you need to heal from sexual abuse or change your thinking about sex. Claim it back for yourself.
I wish I could go back and change my story. I can’t. But I can do things differently today. I’m claiming sex back.
I hope you will too.
Do any of these 5 thoughts resonate with your marriage? What’s something you’ve learned that impacted how you think about sex? Let’s talk about it in the comments!