Is there a sexual struggle in your marriage because you assume sex is only a physical release for your husband?
Maybe you feel offended, thinking you are nothing more than a means to an end — his sexual needs fulfilled.
I know I am generalizing some, because this scenario could be gender flipped and it could be the husband feeling he’s being used only for his wife’s sexual release. But by a long shot, that would be the exception when this topic comes up.
As prevalent as the narrative is that husbands just want a physical release via sex, there is not much truth to back it up. Nearly all the husbands I hear from do NOT view sex as that one-dimensional.
They are quick to point out that If it was just about ejaculating, they would only masturbate or let their body relieve sexual tension through wet dreams.
The men I hear from tell me they want to have sex with their wife because she is the one they love. Yes, it feels good to have an orgasm. And yes this does relieve sexual tension that builds. But husbands tell me all the time they deeply desire that experience with their wife. Even more so, they find phenomenal pleasure in seeing her enjoying sex as well.
Many Christian husbands are not selfish about their sexual desires. They are biblical about their sexual desires.
They are serious about wanting to experience sex on a somewhat regular basis ONLY with the woman with whom they fell in love and made a covenant vow.
If you are a wife who is solidly in the camp that your husband wants sex with you as nothing more than a physical release, I encourage you to humble yourself. Give him the benefit of the doubt.
Consider his perspective and ask yourself these questions:
1. Am I giving him my body, but not my whole self?
As tempting as it would be to shift all the accountability on to him, take a look at where you need to own up to a few things. Do you always (or nearly always) just go through the motions when it comes to sex? Are you eager for him to “finish” so you can get back to what’s more important to you?
That sounds super harsh. I know. But hear my heart on this as someone who has spent a lot of years listening to married people about sex. No one, especially your husband, wants to feel like you are just going through the motions on things that really matter. It cheapens sex and reduces it to nothing more than a physical release. An emotionless transaction, you could even say.
So that’s a bit of the irony. You don’t want him to view it as just a physical release, but have you done anything that has made it just a physical release?
Sex was intended for so much more than that. God built it into the marriage relationship as an authentic expression of love. He thought so highly of marriage that it is the only relationship where he wants a couple having the physical, emotional and spiritual expression of oneness that comes form sex. It is an exclusive place for a unique kind of vulnerability, fun and bonding.
So if you give him access to your body, but never your heart and mind and soul, have you grasped why God designed sex in the first place? It is something worth pondering as you seek God and look inward to your own motives and actions.
2. Do I pursue him sexually?
I know that sometimes couples fall into patterns where only one spouse initiates. Usually when this is happening in a marriage, it is the husband shouldering all the initiation of sex. Not surprisingly, this can set up a discouraging dynamic, because it subtly (or not-so-subtly) suggests that the wife holds all the keys as to whether they are going to have sex.
She is always the one in the position to say yes. Or to say no.
But do you know what I hear from husbands? They are not too fond of this pattern. Not one bit. They would prefer a healthier dynamic where both the husband and the wife initiate sex, so that sexual intimacy becomes a shared responsibility and a shared privilege.
If your husband is like most, he wants you to desire him. He wants you to pursue him sexually. You are the only one with whom he morally can be intimately affectionate and have sex. So if you don’t pursue him sexually, where does that leave him? Feeling like crap. That’s where. Maybe even angry. Disappointed. Confused.
So stand back and ask yourself if you pursue him sexually. If you don’t, dig into not only the why behind that, but also what the two of you together can do to right the ship.
3. Am I climaxing and enjoying sex?
I think it’s incredibly easy to fall into a pattern of seeing sex as simply his release if you yourself don’t enjoy sex and experience orgasmic pleasure when the two of you make love.
And mind you, I’m not talking about climaxing only from actual intercourse, because for some women, that’s difficult. That’s why it is so important for the two of you to learn what it will take for you to experience an orgasm, whether it be from the way foreplay increases your arousal or the way one or both of you use your hands during sex, or by trying various positions or sexual techniques.
If you have been faking orgasm, I encourage you to come clean about this. Sure, this is hard, but faking pleasure instead of actually experiencing it is not sustainable if you want healthy sexual connection in your marriage. For a good read on this, check out 5 Reasons Faking It is Hurting Your Relationship. I also wrote Wives Who Fake Orgasm, But Really Want to Come, as well as I’d Rather HAVE an Orgasm than FAKE One.
When both of you enjoy sex, this idea that it’s just a physical release begins to diminish. You realize that sex is so much more than that. If you struggle having an orgasm, check out this entire page I have on orgasm.
4. Am I paying attention to how sex benefits our life together?
This may feel more abstract, but I often sum it up this way — I like my husband better after we make love. We are better equipped to extend grace. We are softer and more easy going with each other. We communicate better and enjoy each other’s company more.
Your husband likely has noticed this as well in the life the two of your share, which just further confirms that sex is so much more than a mere physical release for him. He wants the two of you less stressed and more on the same page.
Sex has the potential to be glue in a marriage. When nurtured and mutually-savored, it helps the two of you better function in your overall life together.
And let’s face it. There are a lot of aspects of life that a married couple has to navigate together, whether it be bills, parenting, work decisions, time management, carpool schedules, soccer practices, birthday parties, in-laws, dogs puking, buying/selling/renting homes, planning for the future, and dealing with a host of curveballs that you never could have seen coming as you stood at the altar.
Like I said. A lot! If having healthy sexual intimacy could help keep you more connected on this crazy trip of marriage, isn’t that a huge benefit worth exploring? A little peace of mind and stress relief go a long way, and sex can bring you both.
All things considered (if you have hung in there with me this far into the post), do you see that it’s highly unlikely sex is just a physical release for your husband?
If the two of you have sexual struggles or unresolved issues or whatever it may be that has sabotaged healthy intimacy, then let this be your wake up call to build a healthier path. As long as you are still married and still committed to the marriage, there is hope. Your tomorrows do not have to look like your yesterdays.
Sex is about so much more than a physical release.
For more reading, cruise through my list of past posts. as well as my page with a bunch of posts on orgasm.
And I have a 5 video series available on building better sex in your marriage. Great way to invest in your marriage! You can find out all about it at this link: Better Sex in Your Christian Marriage.
Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.
Never want to miss one of my posts? Subscribe via email on this page. And be sure to join my more than 10,000 followers on my Facebook page and 11,000 followers on Twitter.
12 thoughts on “Do You Think Sex is Just a Physical Release for Him?”
Thanks Julie for this post. Better communication can help couples grow in appreciation and respect for each other’s emotional needs during lovemaking.
Husbands desire for their wife to be fully present in the lovemaking. We have to work as Christians to overcome this false and misleading idea that sex is only about physical release for the husband. Healthy sexual intimacy within a loving marriage is about connection, not mere physical release.
Pretty sure my wife is in that camp. Sex has been a tug of war between us since before we were married (29 years ago). The last few years I’ve been trying to focus on her pleasure and connection. This last summer I thought we were getting a lot closer to being on the same page and it felt awesome. In the last couple months however she has suggested more than once that I think of her as a “sex partner”! That’s a pretty serious libido killer. Apathy is starting to set in big time.
My husband, at 50, is still all about sex. The last two years my health has declined. I have endometriosis and interstitial cystitis plus starting menopause. I HURT AND BURN 24/7. Hand jobs and oral sex isn’t what he really wants. I’m feeling so guilty.
These days it “appears” as though MOST women are not romantic, not affectionate, and not intimate. I’m sure there are some women that are yet I’ve failed to find many that will put forth much work toward the marriage. It’s become a selfish time. The only women I’ve seen that desire real intimacy are those that are very lonely. So strange.
My wife is in the rut exactly as you have described above . She seems to want to get it over with quickly , says I take to long and rarely if ever has she ever asked what I enjoy. Make that she’s never asked what I enjoy ; it seems that her talking about sex or intimacy is not allowed by her . I’m totally fed up with her “un performance with me and when she hints of sex, it’s gotten to the point where I just flat out say NO! It’s not fun anymore.
Great article. You understand men well. It reminds me of the first article of yours I read “You might be a selfish wife sexually if …”. I think you are making nearly all the same points but in a less threatening way (for a female reader). You seem to have a camera into our bedroom or something 😉
My Christian wife of 43 years and I have become roommates. She has a good job, her own money and has made lots of major decisions from early on. We still sleep in the same bed but haven’t had sex in 14 years. Being overweight since childhood, she’s never liked her body. Fast forward to two babies, stretch marks and varicose veins. To top it off, she lost both breasts to cancer. The only time she was interested in sex was to get pregnant with our two daughters. Other than that, sex was something to endure, a real nuisance. If she could wish it, she’d have all her female sex anatomy gone so as to not put up with monthly periods and cramping. Makes me feel like a sperm donor indeed. We do enjoy eating out, going to movies and sporting events but all this activity is no substitute for intimacy. When I try to talk about these things, I’m met with anger, rejection and a long silent treatment.
Feeling trapped with little hope, I pray to God for answers and know he could help but see it as never coming.
PS. I know we are sinning by not honoring our wedding vows and being obedient to Him according to his plan for marriage.
Tonya Golden, I am so sorry your husband isn’t very understanding about your health. My wife has health problems that make intercourse unpleasant, but we are still sexual, two or three times a week, just not intercourse. Hands are wonderful! I wouldn’t want to have sex with her if she is ill. There are other things you can do other than intercourse.
It is both, I like the physical release and want to spend close time with my wife. As a spouse, man or woman, you are the ONLY person your mate has for their sexual outlet. If you turn them down, where does that leave them?
I lot of great info here. Thank’s for the article. This is such a hard topic to bring up in a marriage but necessary.
Very candid article. As others have stated, communication gets more important in a relationship as we age. Understanding the needs and desires of each can only lead to better outcomes.