I’ll never forget the young couple I counseled several years ago. They were on the verge of splitting up, and sex was the crux of their problems.
The young wife was put out by her husband’s regular need for sex. I asked him about it, and heard a normal young man expressing his desire for sex with his wife—along with the rejection and shame he felt from her every time she refused it.
Then I listened to the wife tell her side of the story. I heard her saying that she didn’t accept his sexuality. Going into their marriage, she fully expected that he would rarely need sex. As a result, she flatly rejected his advances. She even accused him of being perverted for wanting so much sex.
This was an instance of a young couple entering marriage ignorant of each others’ sexual expectations. They simply didn’t understand each other’s needs.
Statistically, the majority of younger men (between 18 and 45 years of age) are more sexual than their wives. This means they think about sex more and have an intense need for it more often.
As men get older, their testosterone levels gradually drop. This causes a decrease in sexual desire—a change men tend to notice in their 40s or 50s.
However, a woman’s desire for sex often increases as she ages. Sometimes this is the result of greater emotional security in her marriage. Women may also have less fear of pregnancy and/or greater acceptance of their sexuality as they grow older. These factors can cause women to become more sexually open later in marriage.
What does this all mean? It means that, throughout the life of a marriage, it is possible for one spouse to desire sex more often or less often than the other. Seldom do a husband and wife’s sexual desires align.
Though we usually think of men when we think of frustrated sex lives, I have counseled many a wife whose husband was uninterested in sex.
My main point is to illustrate the need for husbands and wives to be accepting of each other—even though we may not always have the same sexual intensity or need at the same time.
I encourage generosity between married couples when it comes to their sex lives. It is devastating for either a husband or a wife to be judged, ignored, or rejected by a spouse when expressing a sexual need.
That means it can be hurtful when a husband shames his wife for being uninterested in sex.
That also means it can be hurtful when a wife accuses her husband of being perverted or obsessed with sex.
Men and women both have intense needs, but these needs can be different from one another. Regardless, these needs are an inherent part of us.
When you reject your husband’s sexual needs, you are also rejecting him.
When you reject your wife’s sexual needs, you are rejecting her.
Sex is a deep need. When it is misunderstood and rejected, serious problems and sexual frustration can result. But when it is understood and accepted, sex results in goodwill and intimacy. Are you accepting of your spouse’s sexual needs?