Sex and Intimacy

Ladies, Showing Him That You Want Sex Is More Important Than How Much Sex You Have

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Women, signal that you want sex; that is more important than how often you’re having it. Ladies, although there are certainly exceptions, we know men tend to think about sex more than we do. Most of us do care about intimacy, and we certainly want to fulfill that need for our husbands. But we also get tired, busy, and just don’t think about sex as often. And we may not realize that that this can convey a really discouraging message: You’re not desirable.

We may think we could resolve this if we just knew how often our husbands needed sex, and planned for that amount. But checking sex off our to-do lists misses the point. Because in my research with thousands of men, it is clear that what is important to each man is not really how often he and his wife have sex, but that his wife shows that she wants sex too. Because it signals that she desires him. Here’s a comparison that might help.

PrintWhat if you told your husband you wanted him to say “I love you” more often, and his response was, “Well, how often do I need to say it? Is once a week okay? Tell me how often, and I’ll plan on that.” My guess is you wouldn’t feel good about that solution, because it would feel like he’s only saying it because he has to.

It would be obligatory rather than genuine. You would be thinking, “You mean he has to force himself to get up the energy to tell me loves me? Why doesn’t he naturally feel it? Maybe he doesn’t love me like he says he does…” And down the rabbit hole we go.

For most men, I found they have this exact same mental concern about sex – or the lack thereof. If you signal that you’re only doing it because you feel you have to, it is so depressing. They don’t feel desired – or loved. But when you signal that you want to be together in that way, you’re telling him you find him desirable, you want to be with him, and that he makes you feel good.

It turns out that for a man, feeling desired, desirable, and that he can please his wife sexually is one of a man’s deepest emotional needs and actually gives him a sense of well-being in all the other areas of life. Just as we deeply want our men to learn to say words of love enthusiastically and not under compulsion, our men have a deep need for us to do the same with sex.

Now, it was also clear in my research that most (although not all) women are simply wired differently from men. We literally don’t think about sex as often, and it can be easy to find ourselves too tired to get “in the mood” at the end of a long day.

So what do we do? One solution I heard in the research was the idea of sex dates: that you know ahead of time that you two are going to have some intimate time together at this particular time. One couple I interviewed ran a retail business together and had crazy hours, so they realized that if they weren’t purposeful about it that it wasn’t going to happen, and they wanted to keep their marriage strong. They decided that no matter when else they could be together, Friday morning was “their” time, after the kids went off to school and before they headed to the store. The husband laughed and told me it gave a whole new meaning to TGIF!

On average, married couples have sex a few times a week. However, there is no one “right amount” of sex that men need. Instead, what men need – what your husband needs – is for you to show him that you desire him and that you look forward to expressing your love during those intimate times. Try it. Get into that habit. I’ll bet you’ll find that it will end up being a great thing for both of you.


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This post was first published here and is used with permission.

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  • Old Alaskan

    Hello Shaunti,
    I’m writing to you to contribute my input to your research on this subject. You obviously are trying to obtain objective, accurate information relevant to improving marital relations. In my opinion this work you are doing is very important and is despirately needed. Stable marriages and stable long term relationships in our culture are in serious danger and I believe it is partly due to a lack of accurate understanding of the differing “needs” of men and women, and how couples can value, accomodate and collaborate openly and honestly to optimize mutual mental health, enjoyment in life, etc. I don’t pretend to have this figured out yet. That is why I am reading blogs like yours. Mostly what I’ve found is very gender biased, non-research based opinions and rantings. So I appreciate your approach.
    Anyone who has done research or values research based studies knows that, regardless of how ernestly the researcher is in trying to compile unbiased data in a strictly scientific manner, the conclusions drawn from that data can be extremely biased, particularly if the researchers have that inclination. Even with very good intended analysis, it is extremely difficult to even write research questions which don’t result in biased data, and hard to interprete the data in a truely unbiased manner.
    The reason I would like to contribute my input to your research is that from my male perspective, it appears to me that you are unintentionally putting an somewhat inaccurate gender-biased interpretation to the data you are analyzing. To a researcher, I know that “opinions” can be down right annoying and certainly don’t validate or invalidate one’s research. In my “opinion” for what it is worth, is that you are certainly on the right track when you identify that sex is more complicated for men than just meeting a biological need, but from my male perspective, your conclusions about how it is so, is a bit off the mark. Hopefully you can use my input in a constructive way as you build on your important work.
    To be more specific, as much as it is “nice” for a man to feel sexually desired by his partner, I really disagree with your statement of “One of a man’s deepest emotional needs is to feel that his wife desires him.” In my opinion that is totally a female gender biased perspective. A more accurate statement would be, “One of man’s deepest emotional desires is to be in an authentic, dependible, mutually loving relationship.” And what “feels loving” to a man, from a woman, is that she genuinely cares enough about him TO BE WILLING TO GIVE OF HERSELF, in a reasonable manner, to try to understand and to help meet her partner’s wholistic life needs”, one of which is regular affectionate sex. And, of course, it is only reasonable for a man to expect that his partner would NEED similar reciprocation in order to be happy with the relationship. However, no valid interpretation of research data is going to minimize the biological cravings a man has for the physical aspect of sex, no matter what else is communicated by his partner. When a man’s sex life has ended, one of the main necessities that gives a sense of living to life, is gone.
    Along with that “authenticity” mentioned above, if a man (I) senses that a woman is artificially pretending to sexually desire him, when she is not, that would come across as destructively deceitful as a hooker faking an orgasm. That is NOT what a man needs. In contrast, it would melt a man’s heart with love and appreciation for his wife/partner if/when she shows she is willing to give of herself, affectionately (not reluctantly or resentfully) to gratify her husbands sexual hunger, even if she isn’t particularly in the mood herself. I know for myself, that makes me want to do everything I can to better understand the differing needs/hungers of my wife, and to be willing to try to do my reasonable part in meeting them.
    A good, mutually respectful, mutually considerate sex life is certainly what “gives him a sense of well-being in all the other areas of his life.”
    I also think that a deep emotional need of some men, especially, sensitive, compassionate (and hopefully equally strong) men, is to have a woman in his life who is receptive to him truely giving his love to her. At times I’ve felt like that is even more important to me than receiving the love of a woman. The implication being that anything that feels like the dreaded rejection from a woman to whom a man is trying to give a loving gesture, can feel as emotionally crushing as living a sexless life. But that is a whole other topic.
    Good luck with your research on this topic, and your efforts to get the information out to young and older couples trying to have a more successful marriage.

  • Deborah West

    Leading medical study shows most couples have sex ONCE a week. When couples were told to have sex more often – it lead to UNHAPPINESS on both partners. No one likes to be told what to do. No one. Quit telling people to just ‘put out’. If one doesn’t desire sex as often as the other, this needs to be discussed between the two of them. This ‘fake it til you make it’ mentally has proven to be harmful. Your ‘research’/’surveys’ were done with males on the street. What did you expect them to say?? Men everywhere suffer from the mass media pushing them to believe that sex is the ‘end-all/be-all’ to their existence. This article reminds me of that dangerous book “men want respect, women need love’. That also has been proven wrong. Male and Female are more alike than different. And as adults – they should able to honestly communicate their needs. Trust and communication are the keys to a good relationship. Not sex.

  • Rahab2011

    Hello, Shaunti. What do you recommend when one’s husband insists things need to be spontaneous, but it’s impossible?