One night when my husband, Fred, wanted to make love, I moaned inside, Not again already! I felt put out, so I managed to say, “OK, I can put up with a quickie for your sake, but let’s hurry. I’m tired and want to go to sleep.”
Fred took a deep bow and said, “Thank you, O great and noble martyr!”
As I recall, things slid downhill quickly from there.
That week I wondered if these halfhearted, short experiences with me were fulfilling for him. While women draw intimacy from their mates primarily through sharing, hugging, and talking, I’ve learned that men draw intimacy from the sex act itself.
Mulling this over, I reversed the scene in my mind. What if Fred reacted to my need for sharing and hugging in the way I’d been reacting to him? What if he said, “I’m only in the mood once or twice a month to give you a hug and talk to you in any meaningful way, but I can give you a quickie talk before I fall asleep.”
The light popped on in my head. These two situations are exactly the same, but because of the gender differences, men aren’t nearly as concerned about hugs as they are about sex, and women aren’t nearly as concerned about sex as they are about hugs. We can’t expect our husbands to get interested in hugs if we don’t get interested in intercourse.
Initially, in my early years of marriage, I was shocked by male sexuality, especially by its visual orientations and its regularity. Male sexuality seemed rather shallow and almost weird to me, but I started to wonder about that. I discovered that it really isn’t shallow. It’s just different.
And given the obvious struggle men have with sexual purity when they’re without sex, I began to understand why God would tell me, “Your body is not your own.” I can see where at times sex is vital to Fred’s purity and his emotional intimacy with me. And I can really help him out. In fact, God expects me to do it.
While we’re quick to expect our husbands to toe God’s line of sexual purity, we’re often slow to toe His other line and admit that our bodies aren’t our own. We have no right to expect our husbands to stay sexually pure if we constantly pull away. We’re their sole vessels of sexual satisfaction, and guys need regular sexual fulfillment two or three times a week.
A friend of mine, Cindy, related her husband’s observation that she had all the power in their sexual relationship, every speck of it. Every single time, he was the one who locked the door and asked for it. She, on the other hand, was always either freezing or tired.
“I know you have no real interest,” he said to her. “But it’s tough knowing that 90 percent of the time when we have sex, you can’t even pretend to find me desirable. All you understand is that I need something you don’t need, and you’re simply doing it out of duty. When you don’t show any true desire or passion on your own, I start feeling like a little boy depending on Mommy to give me my candy.”
Mood should have nothing to do with it. We’re called to help out, whether we’re in the mood or not. Countless times I’ve initiated sex with Fred when we both knew I wasn’t in the mood.
Every night when Fred comes into the bedroom, he sits in his “talking chair” to make sure he doesn’t fall asleep before I have a chance to talk with him. That means so much to me, especially since I know Fred is never in the mood for talking at that time of night. He’s a morning person, so he’s really tired when we go to bed, but he converses with me because he knows I need it, whether he’s in the mood or not.
If your husband is like most guys, he goes to work at his job when he isn’t in the mood, at least 50 percent of the time. I know that if it weren’t for the kids and me, Fred would choose a different path for his life. How often am I tired at the end of the day, and Fred cleans the kitchen so I can sit and read a book? How often does he play Nintendo to draw the kids out of my hair for a break? (He hates Nintendo. He doesn’t know what he’s doing and always gets slaughtered, even by 9-year-old Michael.)
Can’t we do the same for our husbands when we aren’t in the mood? Besides, moods are a funny thing. Moods change quickly. Remember, part of our own intimacy is based on hugging and touching. I’ve found that if I submit and go ahead with things for his sake, more often than not all the touching and caressing changes my mood, and soon I’m enjoying things as much as he is. In fact, this happens so often that I’ve begun to count on it. I’m usually rewarded, right on the spot! I chase after four kids all day. On many of these nights I’m not really in the mood for sexual intercourse because I’m too tired or because my natural drive is just plain weaker than his. On those occasions, I’ll say, “I’m not really interested myself, but I’d love to do something for you.” I know I’ll at least like the snuggling, even if I don’t get all fired up.
And while a long-term diet of drive-through sex isn’t desirable, there’s certainly still a place for a quickie since it defuses the power of a man’s 72- hour cycle. Sometimes you just don’t have the time or energy for the full package, but if you care about him, you can find just enough energy to get by. Regardless, there’s something very fulfilling to a man in knowing his wife cares enough to help like this, even if it’s not really “her night.”
I don’t pretend to understand Fred’s sexuality. All I know is that sexual purity is not just every man’s battle, but every couple’s battle as well.
God bless you,