Your husband wants sex? 3 things he’s not saying out loud

Your husband wants sex? 3 things he’s not saying out loud October 21, 2015

Welcome to the weekly list at Ask Shaunti! Each Wednesday, join me as I share a few of the little, eye-opening things about men, women, and relationships that make a big difference in marriages and families.

Your husband wants sex? 3 things he’s not saying out loud:

1. “I need to feel desirable.”  We women may think sex is just a physical need for a guy, but that’s not most of what is going on. When his wife responds to him – or initiates it herself! – it meets a deep emotional need to feel that his wife desires him.

2. “I love you and want to be closer to you.”  We women want to feel close outside the bedroom in order to feel close inside the bedroom.  But for many men, when they feel tension in the air, when there’s distance, when they know something’s just not right… they miss their wife.  For a man’s biological chemistry, in fact, sex is one of the only times that his brain releases oxytocin, the bonding hormone, which brings a great feeling of closeness with someone.  When he reaches for you, you may think, I cannot believe he would want sex now, when we’re at odds / fighting /distant. But instead, realize: he’s reaching for you in order to get back that feeling of closeness with you that he is longing for.

3. “I’m really vulnerable right now.”  Because sex is more of an emotional need than a physical one for him, many men in my research told me there is no time more insecure, scary and vulnerable than when they approach their wives in that way.  They are essentially laying their “desirability” and their heart out in front of you and asking, “what do you think of me?”  Without realizing it, when we are tired or just not in the mood, it is easy to brush him off in a way that cuts that vulnerable heart deeply.  Now, just to be clear, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have a say in the matter!  Of course, there will be times we simply aren’t able to respond.  But when that happens, it is even more critical that we show him how much we care, how much we love him, and (with a saucy wink) that we need to make a date for another night!

Do you want Shaunti to share life-changing truths – including helping women understand men – at your event, church service or network? Inquire about Shaunti speaking, here.

Shaunti Feldhahn is the best-selling author of eye-opening, research-based books about men, women and relationships, including For Women Only, For Men Only, the groundbreaking The Good News About Marriage, and her newest book, Through A Man’s Eyes. A Harvard-trained social researcher and popular speaker, her findings are regularly featured in media as diverse as The Today Show, Focus on the Family, and the New York Times. Visit for more.

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  • MrShorty

    I would agree with this list. The only real exception I would make (or at least consider) is that I am not sure this is unique to men. I know we like to draw the lines between “sexual pursuer” and “sexual distancer” (to borrow terms from Laurie Watson) along gendered lines. I expect (and I hope the “high drive wives” will comment to confirm or refute) that most married people, whether male or female, who are the sexual pursuers in their relationships, feel these same emotions and desires.

  • Melinda Todd

    Yes, my husband has told me these 3 things. These are good discussions to have with one another. I know I feel very vulnerable too when I am the pursuer. It’s a sensitive subject.

  • Clare Krishan

    Interesting, I concur with your insights, but may I add that some non-verbal intimacy issues aren’t physical but intellectual and need to be broached in a verbal fashion to ensure that the one spouse isn’t using the other as a ‘security blanket’ ?

    Also, of note: recent developmental research into affective disorders amongst children (particularly boys ‘on the spectrum’) have begun using oxytocin therapeutically, not sure what outcome this may have on future conjugal relations, but perhaps learning improved conflict resolution skills as children will remove some of the intellectual miscommunication outside the bedroom that blocks physical communication inside the bedroom?