To transition from non-sexual to sexual touch I'd like to share a piece a wrote a few years ago as I reviewed Shaunti Feldhahn's book, for women only. It deals with the inner world of a man with regards to sex and interactions with his wife. May you have significant, open discussions through our posts on sexual touch.
Here is one of the questions she asked on sex in for women only. Imagine that your wife offers all the sex that you want, but does it reluctantly or simply to accommodate your sexual needs. Will you be sexually satisfied?
The answer is...14% said yes and 86% said no.
She learned this, men do want to connect with our wives emotionally during sex. If not it is really just masturbation using her body.
So what's up? The myth is that men just want sex and orgasms.
Shaunti found out two truths,
Benefit #1 Fulfilling sex makes him feel loved and desired. 'Making love is a solace that goes very deep into the heart of a man.'
Benefit #2 Fulfilling sex gives him confidence. Shaunti says she broke the 'man code' here. Men said they 'felt better' when they got more sex. She says she assumed they meant physically. One man wrote, "Sex is a release of day-to-day pressures...and seems to make everything else better."
This illustrates what many fail to understand about men whose sexuality gets out of whack through pornography, compulsive masturbation, sex with prostitutes etc...SEX ISN'T THE CORE ISSUE. There is much more going on in a man's soul in healthy and unhealthy sex.
Wound #1 "If she doesn't want to, I feel incredible rejection." This one hit home with me. Mostly my sex life with Ann is good. And I can hear her no and mostly just be slightly disappointed when it happens. But for a while she was sort of whining when she was saying no, kinda like noooooo don't ask. I was really hurt but hadn't put it all together yet. Once we got it on the table in the open we both realized the depth of pain and rejection she was causing me and our communication on the matter is back to being more direct and sensitive.
Shaunti explained that men hear more than no to the sex. Men tend to hear no at the center of our being. One man said, "When she says no, I feel that I am REJECTED. 'No' is not no to sex--as she might feel. It is no to me as I am. And I am vulnerable as I ask or initiate. It's plain and simple rejection."
Wound #2 Your lack of desire can send him into depression. She says, "If your sexual desire gives your husband a sense of well-being and confidence, you can understand why an ongoing perception that you don't desire him would translate into a nagging lack of confidence, withdrawal, and depression.
I relate to that. When I was hearing Ann's 'whining no' I felt lower than Ike Turner singing backup on Proud Mary. Hadn't heard that lately? I felt lower than a spy squashed into the gutter by a Mountain Dew Machine falling from ten stories. That's been a while too.
Shaunti continues, "A man can't just turn off the physical and emotional importance of sex, which is why its lack can be compared to the emotional pain you'd feel if your husband simply stopped talking to you." Ouch! Good analogy.
Her advice to women on dealing with the 'sex gap'.
- Know that you're responding to a tender heart hiding behind all that testosterone. If at all possible, respond to his advances with your full emotional involvement, knowing that you're touching his heart. But if responding physically seems out of the question, let your words be heart words--reassuring, affirming, adoring. Do everything in your power--using words and actions your husband understands--to keep those pangs of personal rejection from striking the man you love. Leave him in no doubt that you love to love him.
- Get involved...and have more fun too. She quotes a man who said, "The woman needs to play an active role in the sex life. She needs to tell her mate what she needs, wants, and feels. Passive wife=boring wife." Men generally want a godly lady on the street and a 'wildcat' in bed.
- If you need help, get it. Pursue healing if you need to. It will be worth it for you and the man you love.
- Make sex a priority. She quotes this woman from a Christianity today article, "I felt what I did all day was meet other people's needs. Whether it was caring for my children, working in ministry, or washing my husband's clothes, by the end of the day I wanted to be done need-meeting. I wanted my pillow and a magazine. But God prompted me: Are the "needs" you meet in your husband the needs he wants met?...I soon realized I regularly said no to the one thing he asked of me. I sure wasn't making myself available to my husband by militantly adhering to my plan for the day...Would the world end if I didn't get my tires rotated? I'd been so focused on what I wanted to get done and what my children needed, I'd cut my hubby out of the picture.
Sex is a touchy issue (pun intended). Shaunti helped validate the deep emotions I feel as a man around my sexual relationship with my wife and it's not like Ann and I don't ever reflect on our relationship.
I feel a little hesitant to say yes I do have a tender heart underneath my testosterone. But it is true. I deeply desire to be wanted, valued and accepted by my wife. Yet she has the power to hurt me more than any other woman on the planet.
Marriage is an incredible calling with the capacity to reflect our God's love for us. You are worthy of that calling and capable of treasuring your spouse's soul in your sexual relationship and in turn reflecting a heavenly love.