Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sex: It's Not all About Him - Sheila Wray Gregoire

Are wives solely responsible for a husband’s 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 husband’s 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 it’s something I talk about frequently. I don’t think women always understand that sex is something very different to men than it is to us. They do have biological drives that we don’t 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 here’s where I want to insert a big BUT. I have read some of the Every Man’s 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 don’t have to satisfy him whenever he wants it. You are not a receptacle. The passage in 1 Corinthians 7 where it says that the wife’s body is the husband’s also says that the husband’s body is the wife’s. Therefore, if what he is doing is hurting you, that’s 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 that’s 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 I’m sorry ladies, but I just don’t buy that. Not completely.

It takes two, and that’s 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, we’re making the same mistake with sex that the world makes. We’re pigeon-holding sex so that it’s all about the physical, and not about the spiritual or emotional connection that it’s 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 we’re just into "meeting his physical needs”, then we start to think of it that way. It’s for him, and it’s about satisfying him, as if he’s some sort of an animal. Sex doesn’t 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-meet”, 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 wives’ sexuality.

Sex is something beautiful; it’s not a duty where you just have to act as into it as possible so that he will have a good time. It’s 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 others’ bodies, explore each other, kiss a lot, and look into his eyes. It’s not just about his release; it’s about the bond that needs to come between the two of you. That bond is not going to happen if it’s all about just satisfying him. Sex needs to be mutual.

You’re in this together

So mutually you need to decide on frequency. If he wants it twice a day, you don’t have to do that. You really don’t. I would suggest several times a week, but that’s 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. Don’t 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 he’s addicted to pornography, you can break that addiction by simply being better. If you’re sexier, and more fun, he’ll lose the interest. That’s totally a misunderstanding of how male sexuality works. The reason he’s addicted to porn is because he’s addicted to fantasy and to an image. He isn’t addicted to a relationship. And you can’t break that addiction by becoming sexier and more outlandish; in fact, if you do that, you’ll cement the addiction because you’ll let him act out his weird fantasies, and then you’ll 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 it’s 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 husbands’ sex lives the best that we can. But the way sex is best is not when we just have sex all the time; it’s 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 won’t feel loved, and you do great damage to your own sexuality. You feel cheap, used, and resentful. Don’t fall into that trap. Embark on a sexual journey of discovery that’s fun and mutual, and you’ll be a lot better off.

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