How important should sex be?
I know that it’s less important than, for instance, a steady supply of oxygen or loving God. The problem comes that my wife and I see its importance differently. I think it’s important enough to spend a fairly significant amount of discretionary time on not only sex itself, but being in top shape for sex — being well-rested, exercising, and getting any needed medical attention that might help. My wife seems to see it as somewhat less important than, say, fretting about her job or spending time reading political news on her iPad. Your thoughts?
Sex should be as important in a marriage as it is for the higher-drive spouse, after adjusting for unhealthy factors.
If, on a scale of 1-10, it’s a 3 for both, then its importance in their marriage should be a 3. If it’s an 8 for both, then it should be an 8. If it’s there’s a discrepancy, it’s the higher number minus the amount based on unhealthy factors. If it’s a 3 for one partner, and an 8 for the other, then look at WHY it’s an 8. If part of that person’s 8 is fueled by unhealthy factors, such as attitudes shaped by porn, using sex as a means to counteract low self-esteem or deal with negative emotions instead of facing them, or substances (like using uppers or too much testosterone,) or any other factor besides natural physical drive and emotional need to connect with a spouse, deal with those and see what’s left over. If they are at 7 after dealing with those, then the importance should be a 7 to the marriage, even though it’s a 3 to the spouse.
If something is important to my husband, that makes it important to me, whether I recognize that or not. Ignore that at my own peril. We can compromise over how to deal with the importance of an issue versus our individual preferences, but it’s not good to compromise over the importance of the issue itself.
Just my opinion.
Your wife sounds a lot like me, frankly. It was only last summer that I realized I needed to make sex a higher priority. But I think it’s easier for my husband to understand because we are both in the same profession, and we both must bring work home. Work will sometimes take precedence over sex because we both know what will happen if work is left undone for too long. We’re honoring each other by allowing that time to happen.
The political news issue is where we differ. I am highly political, and matters relating to politics was my original career goal. I spend a lot of time on politics. To me, everyone should take politics seriously. I see it as a civic responsibility. I’m a letter writer currently, I was a Congressional intern in college, and I’ve worked on campaigns. To him, voting is enough. Drives me crazy.
I say this because while you value sex and wonder why she doesn’t, she may be feeling the same way about you and politics. It also may be that she doesn’t see your exercise time as being a preparation for sex. That’s definitely a mindset that people who don’t work out will have trouble understanding.
The key here is a meeting of the minds. My husband told me last summer that he was feeling like he was taking second place to a screen. It hurt to hear that. But he was right to say it. So we’ve worked out a compromise that works for both of us.
Sex itself shouldn’t be so important that it encompasses everything. But marriage should be given an extraordinarily high priority. I’ve always felt that the “forsaking all others” part of the marriage vows refers to more than just people. I think you should have a talk with her about what you’re feeling and how you can have more quality time with each other. It may mean you both need to give some things up, as my husband and I have done. But it will be worth it.
Have you found out what her “love language” is? I’m guessing it’s not Touch…But what is it? Maybe it’s acts of service; Are you serving her as best you can? Maybe it’s quality time. While some people think that sex is quality time, some think sitting on the couch watching a movie is QT. I have had dozens of these conversations with my DW too…The season we are in right now is taking care of her windows (like on a computer). She has too many open, and the last thing she needs is a nagging husband begging for sex. So I’m going to selflessly serve her. Maybe if I help her close (not minimize) some of those windows, her desire may reappear. But I’m not serving her JUST to get sex…I’m serving her because God commands me to Love my wife like Christ loved the Church. I’m dying to self and cherishing her by serving. I don’t know where you all are, but that may be an approach to try.
Making love with my husband is very important to me. To me it conveys feelings of being loved, and desired. There are feelings of trust, safety, adequacy, wholeness and worthiness. I feel more connected to him and my love tank gets filled because I am a touch person with an emphasis on sexual intimacy. During this period where it is only 2-3 times a month, I struggle with the effects of not feeling all those things I listed. It really has the ability to steer my overall attitude. Which in turn can make it harder to engage, once feelings are tender.
As a guy, sex is important to me not just because touch is my top love language but because it communicates love to me (and probably most guys). My wife desires me. A males sexuality is probably as much of who he is/nature as it is a women’s instinct to mother her children. Shaunti F talks to ladies and asks them, how would they feel if their husbands only said, “I love you” a few times a month…or even less? So why do women withhold it and treat it like that when it means so much to a man?
Sexual connection in a marriage bonds the couple and can make a good marriage great!. It AIDS in, does not eliminate, reducing temptation and lust (it’s my responsibility to guard my heart & eyes AND I don’t need anyone/thing else ’cause I got a great woman at home who’ll show me (and let me touch) her breasts at any time). Great sexual connection is not technique as much as it is having a great emotional connection and intimacy…which leads to great sex as two people bond and work together understanding each other AND their bodies.
The key would be to find out how to best serve and connect emotionally with your wife. I would also add that it’s not worth arguing over for 5, 10, 15, 20+ without any outside help. Maybe going to see a good Christian counselor is in order. If I had a do-over in my first marriage, I would insist on seeing a counselor MUCH earlier about this specific issue.
I believe it should be important to both spouses.
If it isn’t to both, then there will likely be problems in their relationship/marriage. If it is unimportant to both, then their situation might be workable and amicable.
If one spouse avoids sexual intimacy or views it negatively, as draining, or an obligation, (unless the other spouse is being demanding, unloving, sinful, etc.) there will be problems in the relationship/marriage, but the source of the problem of unimportance is in that spouse’s own heart and mind.
Now in a situation where one spouse isn’t living as a godly spouse, that still shouldn’t mean that sex is unimportant to the other spouse. Yet, so as not to enable or reward bad behavior, important as it is, sex may not be as frequent or unitive as is should be.
Passion/sex should be A priority in marriage, but it can’t always be THE priority. As the Apostle Paul says, “I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Cor 6:12) To me, if your whole life is around sex, like the things mentioned in OP, it sounds like one is being mastered.
While I am all for sex personally, I see it primarily as something that is important for our marriage.
There have been (a relatively few) times when I was not interested, or could have gone either way, that I pushed to do it because I felt I should. Sometimes that was “for her” but there have been a few times we both pushed to have sex because we felt we needed to even though neither of us was really into it.
Seeing it this way drastically changes the low drive/high drive dynamic.
I think sex is important. I do what I can to keep healthy and to make sex a priority. DH doesn’t as much. He is very laid back, so goes with the flow.
I put effort into my eating, exercise, reading up about sex, shutting down all the windows in my mind, so there is even room for sex. For most of that, DH couldn’t be bothered. He just shows up!
He doesn’t need exercise insofar. He’s not out of shape. But, it would be good for him and so just this morning, I asked if he would join me every morning in exercise. It helps me be more consistent, if he joins me. I made sure to tell him that, too. If I just flat out told him he needed it, he would buck, I’m sure! Same thing, if he flat out told me to change my diet, lose weight, go to the doctor, etc, I would also buck. With the exercise thing, I may have to compromise and pick a different DVD than what I am doing now. I hate exercise as much or more, than most people. But I can endure 10 min. He just sees it different.
Occasionally, we have also had sex, because its just time. We may have even discussed it, that its been too long, but neither of us feels like it. Than usually DH says, we better do it anyway!
Its only been since coming to TMB, that I so clearly see, how making sex a priority, actually keeps us from arguing, nit picking, etc. So to us, yes, its important to make it somewhat of a priority. When things begin to not go as smoothly between us, as they ought to, we may need to clear some things up, before having sex, again.
To me, sex can be idolized in an unhealthy way even within marriage. But I still see it as very important. In a healthy marriage, it doesn’t seem right to me that we allow the cares of the world (e.g., jobs and politics) to impair of sex lives. I do think it’s to be expected that unusually stressful or uncomfortable times with work or unusually sad or maddening news in the world will make having sex difficult, but that should be the exception rather than the rule. FWIW, my DW has become much more politically minded than I over the last year. I had been the political junkie in our marriage, keeping up on news, knowing the names of senators and governors, etc. And I haven’t become less politically engaged. But my DW went from being almost completely unengaged to almost obsessive about it. She also went from being on one side of me politically to the other side of me. In a way, it’s been exciting and interesting to see her change in that way, but also a bit unsettling at times. Politics can change a relationship in both good and bad ways. It really hasn’t affected our sex life negatively (or, at least, it hasn’t had a net negative effect), but political differences (either about positions on issues or just in level of intensity) can cause stress in one’s sex life.