This post is directed at husbands, but I highly encourage wives to read it, too. It might spark some lightbulb moments for both of you.
Let’s talk about mining gold for a moment.
When miners are trying to get to a vein of gold, they must first blast through the quartz and granite it is trapped within. It is a tedious process, but with discipline and persistence, it pays rich dividends.
That’s a good analogy for solving many of the sexual miscommunications happening in a marriage. We must mine the vein of rich information, which may feel tedious and awkward, but ultimately will pay rich marital dividends.
I’m perpetually fascinated by understanding not only what sex means to a marriage, but also what it means to each spouse individually.
I had lunch recently with a friend, and she and I had a great conversation about this. We agreed that sometimes a spouse expresses a need for sex, but they may actually be hungering for something deeper — and sex helps them experience that deeper thing. If that deeper thing is better communicated, their spouse may be more receptive to the sexual proposition.
Husbands, I want to unpack this with you. I want to help you mine this vein of information that you can then use to better communicate to your wife what sex means to you.
When you initiate sex with your wife simply by putting your hands on her body or kissing her neck from behind, you may indeed find a receptive and willing participant. But maybe not, right? Likewise, when you are both in bed and you initiate sex by rolling toward her and caressing her breast, she may respond or she may not.
I know many of you reading this have long given up on initiating sex in those ways, because the response you have gotten thus far has been negative. Some may think a general verbal invitation is the better approach. “I need sex” or “I need to be with you,” for example. But does she respond enthusiastically? Many wives would not. You say, “I need sex,” and she may hear, “He just wants me for sex. It’s just a release for him.”
So what is a husband to do?
I say mine the vein of information within you and communicate it better. I’m willing to bet that sex is more than just a physical release for you. After all, a physical release can be reached through masturbation. Yet the husbands I hear from don’t want to resort to masturbation as a first choice. They wholeheartedly desire sex with their wives. It’s not just about a physical release.
But when you initiate sex only by putting your hands on her or with generalized statements of “I need sex” or “I need to be with you,” she easily can interpret your proposition as a means to one end — physical release. And that doesn’t do much to make her feel valued for who she is to you.
I’m not downplaying her responsibility on the communication front (and I will get to that in another post). But first I want to suggest what may make her more receptive to sexual initiation.
To start, ask yourself, “What does sex mean to me?” If it’s more than physical release, then what is it? My guess is many men reading this would say something along the lines of this…
“I want to make love to my wife because I hunger to be close to her.”
“She’s still the one for me and I feel incredibly loved when we have sex.”
“It means so much to me to make her come. I can’t even describe the passion in those moments and how lucky I feel to have her as my wife.”
“I know that when we make love, we do life better together. She is my safest haven. I can be completely vulnerable with her.”
“There is nothing I crave more than for her to desire me sexually. I feel loved when that happens.”
“I love her. I deeply and genuinely love her. And when we have sex, I am reminded of what a gift our marriage is.”
Sure, you may use different words, but do any of the above resonate with you? If so, does your wife know how you feel? Have you shared in specifics what sex means to you?
I get that sometimes sex is about raw physical need and release. But more often than not, there’s a reason you want to make love to her, right? There’s something about her that you are drawn to, and I’m guessing it’s not just her physical attributes. You want more than her body. You want her whole self, the woman you fell in love with… the woman you would choose again as your life partner.
Help her understand that sex to you isn’t just about sex, but rather it’s about experiencing that connection and sexual closeness with her. You don’t just crave sex; you crave her. You don’t just want a physical release; you want oneness with her.
When you try to share this with her, I suggest you do it at a time that isn’t closely tied to when you are having sex. Find a time when you are alone, well rested and won’t be interrupted. Go on a walk or take her someplace on a date where you can really talk.
You could start by saying, “I know it may seem that sex is just physical for me, but it’s so much more than that. I haven’t done a good job of sharing this with you, but I want to tell you now what sex means to me…”
And if all that seems way overwhelming to verbally say, then consider writing a letter, with the goal of it being a springboard into more conversations about what makes sex enjoyable for each of you. The more you help her understand what sex means to you, the odds are greater she will be more receptive and more willing to pursue sex.
The next time you place your hands on her or kiss the back of her neck, will she recognize the meaning behind the meaning? I hope so.
Copyright 2019, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.