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What can husbands do to help their wives reach orgasm more regularly?

Welcome back! It’s Keith here, Sheila’s husband, with another instalment of “Men’s Corner” where we talk primarily to Sheila’s male readers about some of the things being said on the blog.

(Don’t worry, women, it’s okay for everyone to read or comment!).

This month the theme is orgasm, obviously an important topic. Why is this such a difficult thing in so many marriages? Why are there so many marriages where she rarely (or never) orgasms?  What can a Christian husband do to rectify this in his own relationship with his wife?

Rather than diving straight in, though, I want to lead into the discussion from a different direction.  It might initially sound like a tangent, but I think it is fundamental to understanding this issue and I am confident you will see why once we get there.

Last month there were a few comments on the blog and the Facebook page about how the problem with lack of sex in Christian marriages was ultimately “women’s selfishness”. This really irked me. At first, I thought it was the fact that it was insulting to women.  I assumed I was just feeling defensive on their behalf. Yes, sometimes women can be selfish, but so can men! And to imply that women are somehow MORE selfish than men is really not something any of us truly believe, is it?. (At least I hope not). Would we husbands accept a statement like “the problem is men’s selfishness” (i.e. if we men stopped wanting sex that would be the best solution)? If not, we shouldn’t be saying the same to our wives either.

But then I realized what truly bugged me about those comments was much deeper.  It was the fact that they were typical of a disturbing thought pattern that I see continuously in Christian marriage teaching –

We have an underlying assumption that sex is basically something for men and not for women. 

To paraphrase the idea, it goes something like this: “Come on, ladies, we know you don’t want to, but it really matters to him, so why can’t you just help him out?” Basically, good Christian women aren’t supposed to enjoy sex, but good Christian men are. You may think I am exaggerating, but how else do you account for the fact that Emerson Eggerichs, speaking to women in his book Love & Respect, could say “If your husband is typical, he has a need you don’t have (emphasis mine)” and nobody bats an eye. In fact, many Christian marriage books (eg. His Needs Her Needs, The Power of a Praying Wife, etc) talk about how sex is a need for the husband and affection is the correlating need for the wife (as if we both don’t need both!) This thinking is everywhere and it really irks me.

And Sheila and I talked about this a ton on yesterday’s podcast!

But what does this have to do with orgasm? 

If you think about it, it is pretty obvious.  This month Sheila has been talking about what women require in order to be able to orgasm. Let’s just consider two points.

First, women need to feel comfortable in their own body and second, they need time to get sufficiently aroused.

It is easy to see how the “sex is for men” mindset can wreak havoc on both of these. Imagine you are a wife who has internalized this message.  How comfortable are you going to feel relaxing, letting go and enjoying this experience which you are “not supposed to like”?  How comfortable are you going to be telling your husband what does and doesn’t feel good?  Or what if you are a husband who has internalized this message? How likely are you to devote the time it takes to “make it happen” for her? If this whole sex thing is for you anyway and “women just want affection”, what is your incentive to get better at bringing her to orgasm? There isn’t one!

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. We can do better than this!

We can completely reject this notion that sex is for us husbands and not for our wives and both have much more satisfying sex lives in the process.

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There are things we can do as Christian husbands to make sure our wives don’t have to experience the “orgasm gap” Sheila has been talking about all month.

So, if you want to learn how to rock your wife’s world, read on.

1. Believe that sex was meant to be pleasurable for your wife, too! 

The idea that women can’t enjoy sex is clearly false.  Women do have the capacity to derive great pleasure from sex. They may take longer to warm up, but when they reach orgasm, they can have multiple or prolonged orgasms. They don’t have a refractory period like men, so they can have prolonged, intense enjoyment if things are done right.

Yet in many marriages, wives orgasm far less frequently than their husbands. Resolve not to be one of those marriages! Let your wife know that her pleasure matters to you with your words and your actions. So many women email Sheila asking how to talk to their husbands about the fact that they are always “left hanging”.  Don’t be one of those relationships.  If you are a husband whose wife never or rarely orgasms, I encourage you to read this post and resolve to no longer deprive your wife of the opportunity to have a wonderful mutually satisfying experience with her husband.

2. Avoid the “obligation sex” message at all costs. 

People can be guilted into things fairly easily (depending on the person of course), and women are no exception. However, people are never going to truly enjoy something if their underlying motivation to participate is guilt.

Guys, you need to realize that so many women feel this overwhelming sense of guilt about sex. It’s like a lead straight-jacket for them.  They fear if they are not sexually available that their husbands will stray or watch pornography. They feel like they have a duty to perform because – as I said above – they have been taught that repeatedly.

How can they possibly enjoy sex if that is why they are doing it in the first place?

If you truly recognize that sex is meant to be enjoyable for your wife as well, you will do your level best to get rid of any sense of obligation in your sex life. She needs to know that you will love her and be faithful to her no matter what. Only when she knows she is safe can she really be free to experience her own sexuality with you. This is really easy to mess up without knowing.  For instance, one commenter last month noted how after she had had a sexual encounter with her husband where she DID orgasm, he asked her “So why don’t you want to do this all the time?”. I am pretty sure he didn’t intend to lay a guilt trip on her, but I am 99.9% sure that he was clueless enough not to realize that’s what he actually did!

3. Don’t expect your wife’s sexuality to be the same as yours.

I talked a bit about this already in my post on seeing sex from a woman’s perspective, but we sometimes assume that  if our wives don’t experience sexuality the same way we do, that something is wrong with them or with us or maybe both.

For instance, let’s consider time from initiation of sex to orgasm. If you have decided “Tonight’s the night” for her and you are not aware of (or don’t appreciate) the fact that women take considerably longer than men, you may start sending her signals about why this is taking “so long” once you get past the point that this would already be over for you. Hopefully you would never say that out loud (although sadly, Sheila does get emails from women whose husbands have said just that), but trust me, if you are thinking it, she will pick up on it.  She might even say it before you do! (Remember the guilt straight-jacket I talked about earlier?).

Instead, you should recognize and appreciate that women see sex differently than men and that is not a bad thing. One of the recurring themes in Sheila’s post about what husbands who are great lovers do is the sense that you have all the time in the world for them. Enjoy the moment instead of sprinting for the finish line. See sex as more than intercourse. Aim to have the experience be mutually enjoyable by making it stress-free and deadline-free.

4. Remember that sex is meant to be mutual and to be intimate, more than just a physical release.

Sadly, however, sex is quite often presented in exactly those kind of transactional terms, even within the church. This is not a godly view of sex, but an incredibly worldly one.  I might upset some of you, but I think it could be said that it is basically a pornographic view of sex. 

What I mean is this: Pornography is all about pleasure and taking that from another person rather than about relationship and mutuality.  It is ultimately about one person using another rather than two people experiencing true intimacy.  I think this way of thinking about sex has crept in more than we would like to realize.  In contrast, Sheila has shown in many posts how the Biblical perspective differs from this and Is centred around true intimacy and mutuality.  The word “know” is used in Scripture repeatedly to denote sexual relations (as in “Adam knew his wife, Eve”).  This is not a euphemism. God doesn’t need to speak in code words about what He has created. This is meant to tell us that although sex may be physical it is also more than that, something deeply intimate and personal and – it seems clear to me – also mutual.

It’s okay to have “his” nights and “her” nights once in a while, for sure, but if you are in a relationship where sex is mostly one sided or is all about the physical, you are missing out on the much deeper level of intimacy that God intend sex to be.

5. Finally, be open to learning and doing things differently than you have in the past.

Most of all, talk to your wife. Just because sex is working for you, doesn’t mean it is working for her.  I have seen too many marriages where men assumed everything was fine and didn’t realize there was a problem till it was too late.

Ask her honestly how things could be better for her and listen to what she says.  If she is looking for more, but doesn’t know how to get there either, then seek out good resources together (like The Orgasm Course!).  Couples struggle for far too long with simple problems because they didn’t seek the help they needed. And there is help out there!  Our newly released “The Orgasm Course” has lots of fantastic information to help you and your wife in this area. Sheila and her team put TONS of work into this and it is just excellent. This whole blog is dedicated to building an amazing sexual relationship in your marriage and I hope you find lots here to help. But one of the major keys to seeing that happen is for us husbands to see sex as something that is meant for both the husband and the wife and dedicate ourselves to making sure she derives as much enjoyment from it as we do.

So let’s do this!

What do you think? Is there another tip you’d add? Let’s talk in the comments!

Keith Gregoire

Blog and Podcast Contributor, Co-Author with Sheila of two upcoming marriage books

Keith is the rock that supports Sheila, who runs this blog! Sheila and Keith married when Keith was attending Queen's University medical school in Kingston, Ontario. He later completed his residency in pediatrics at the Hospital for Sick Children, and has since directed the pediatric undergraduate program at Queen's University, and been Chief of Pediatrics at a community hospital in Belleville, Ontario. He and Sheila speak at marriage conferences around the world, and together they've also done medical missions in Kenya. Next up: They're authoring The Guy's Guide to Great Sex together! Plus, of course, he's an avid birdwatcher.

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