Must It Always Lead to Sex?

Male & female symbols intertwined

Photo credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

We wives ask ourselves this very question at varied times.

After a long day when your shoulder muscles are tight, you ask your hubby to give you a quick massage. He starts rubbing your shoulders, your head falls forward as you “ooh” and “aah” at his firm but gentle touch, and stress begins to ebb from your body . . . until his hands move forward over your shoulders and begin to touch your breasts instead. Next thing you know, the relaxing massage for you has become a titillating experience for him and he’s ready and eager to get to the bedroom and massage other parts.

OR

As he comes home, you greet your husband at the door with a fond embrace and a soft-lipped kiss — either because you enjoy his presence or you’re thrilled to have reinforcements to handle the rambunctious spawn tearing up your house little by little. The peck was so nice that you extend the kissing with another, deeper, more passionate kiss. Happy to have had your Hollywood movie moment, you’re ready to get back to dinner preparations or lock yourself away in your bathroom in a hot bubbly tub. But he has read your cue as “She wants me” and suggests a sexual encounter.

I could give plenty of other examples, but these two will suffice. The point is that wives often feel that any show of affection is immediately interpreted by their husbands as a come-on or a sign of sexual readiness.

Husbands, take note of the two very important rules that follow.

Affection does not lead to sex. Not always. Most women enjoy affection for its own sake. Holding her hand or hugging your wife may make her feel secure not sensual. Kissing her evokes romantic, not necessarily sexual, feelings. We like to sit close, cuddle, stroke our lover’s skin, and get massages without the pressure of sexual performance automatically tied to the affection. Most women are more generous with touching and kissing when they feel that it can be enjoyed as its own separate pleasure.

Remember when you were dating? Unless your relationship began with a one-night stand (which I hope it did not, but I don’t exclude the possibility), you moved slowly from small touches to grander gestures of affection. Perhaps you recall the first time you held one another’s hand or your first kiss — including where you were, what you wore, or what music played in the background. You didn’t expect to “get lucky” the first time you touched.

Guess what? You won’t get lucky every time you touch just because you’re married now. While sex is a fabulous experience, you should also enjoy the small gestures of affection that create a romantic atmosphere, communicate tenderness and like for one another, and foster closeness and emotional security in the marriage.

Affection does lead to sex. Wait, this is the exact opposite. Yes and no. The paradox is that when husbands show affection without strings attached and when intimate gestures become routine and enjoyed for their own sake, it creates the environment in which sexual encounters are more likely to occur.

Foreplay for women is not merely the 10 to 15 minutes before intercourse; it’s what has happened in the last 24 to 72 hours. When a wife feels secure and loved for herself, when she can get a stress-reducing massage that lasts longer than three minutes and doesn’t involved a breast-squeeze, she feels connected to her husband and more willing engage sexually with him. Those minor touches and brushes of skin against skin, those tender kisses stolen in the kitchen or the utility room as you work together — they lay the groundwork for the wife to open up with her husband later in the bedroom.

Thus, affection does lead to sex. Just not always right away. It may take fifty minor acts of affection for the wife to equal the kind of sexual interest a husband might have after two seconds of “naked woman emerges from shower.” A wise husband will take time to demonstrate genuine desire for his wife — not simply for her body, but for her — with or without sex in that immediate moment.

I realize, of course, that there are exceptions — wives who want oodles of affection and still won’t put out a welcome sign no matter what. They likely have underlying issues which I and other marriage bloggers address in different posts.

But on the whole, courting your wife with affection for its own sake is a smart move, hubbies. You might also discover that you relish kissing her soft, pink lips and holding her curvy body close to yours, just because.

Greet one another with a kiss of love.”

1 Peter 5:14

14 thoughts on “Must It Always Lead to Sex?

  1. Anonymous

    Always? no. Most of the time? You betcha. Listen, back when we were dating, the reason we were “ok” with Touching a cuddling but not having sex had little to do with that actually being what we were wanting to do and more of a biding our time, showing great, and I mean, GREAT, restraint to not go there (and most of us guys probably didn’t do it all that well). That was all because we were looking forward to the day when the restriction was lifted. We’re told that once we’re married, its all good in the sight of the Lord, so go for it! Only to find that once we get there, we now have to contend with the question, “does it always have to lead to sex?” as if it’s some big chore we’re putting you through. So we find ourselves back in the same spot we were in before we got married- trying to run our game in the hopes of getting laid. There’s a word for that, but it’s not appropriate for a Christian blog.

  2. J

    Anonymous – Perhaps one word could be “frustrating.” Thanks so much for your input. It helps to see sexuality from both sides – male and female.

    I agree wholeheartedly that simply cuddling and kissing in marriage isn’t going to cut it! Anyone who has ever sat in the theater knows that there are only so many previews you can watch (no matter how good they are) before you’re rolling your eyes and demanding the feature presentation.

    Try not to think of non-sexual touch as a “restriction,” however. It can be enjoyed in its own right. And when wives feel that their affection is valued for its own sake, they are usually more open to sex. That’s all I’m saying.

  3. Anonymous

    Boy did you hit the nail on the head!Great blog!I never get affection only and that is what I miss most!

  4. Anonymous

    It made me sad to read this. This is exactly the reason that there is no affection in my marriage. My husband just cannot receive a kiss or touch without assuming that it must lead to sex. So if I’m not up for sex, I give nothing, because if I kiss without sex he will feel teased and pout and we will argue. And forget a back rub… For once I would love a little back rub. Men, why do you interpret “Can you rub my back?” as “I’d like to have sex?” WHY?! If I’m asking for a back rub it means I am exhausted, stressed, and sore. Ack! Sad part is, my children witness no affection between their parents- not a little kiss or holding hands or anything. 🙁

  5. J

    Anonymous – I was sad reading your comment as well. Have you expressed to your husband how much you desire affection? Perhaps if he understood that your desire for affection may equal his desire for sex. Then both of you could work toward meeting one another’s emotional needs. He puts out some non-sexual touch, and you put out, period. 🙂 Don’t give up working on this area. Affection is so important. You’re in my prayers.

  6. Christy

    Anonymous-I was sad as well when I read that but in all honesty most women have felt that way at one time or another. I think when we go about our day with the intention to serve God and then our husband because we “get” to love him it over flows and they in turn want to do things for us. Have you ever looked into going to one of the Love & Respect Conferences? Really great for marriages.

  7. Anonymous

    If it is acceptable for a woman to ask for a back rub without the expectation of sex, then why is it not acceptable for a man to ask for a hand job or BJ once in a while when he comes home stressed out and tired after a long day of work? Don’t get me wrong, this issue is a 2 way street. Husband needs sexual release as much and as often as wife needs emotional comfort. The less he provides the emotional comfort, the less she wants to provide sexual release. The less she provides sexual release, the less he wants to provide emotional comfort. In programming they call this an endless loop…it crashes the program. We are trying to break our way out of this loop, but there is a lot of years of learned behavior history that we have to contend with.

  8. A...

    I’ve come to learn that my husband is only affectionate after loveytime. I’ve also sort of accepted it. It’s his nature to be that way. But we do share pecks throughout the day. And we hold hands a lot. We are newlyweds after all 🙂

  9. Paul H. Byerly

    For most men affection almost always lead to being sexually interested. If a guy is having enough sex, that interest is nice but does not cause a desperate need. OTOH, if he is sex starved, it starts a fire that is going to burn regardless of what happens next.

    Yes, he needs to be considerate of her needs – just as she needs to be considerate of his. If she is taking care of him sexually most of the time, he should be fine with affection that does not end in sex. In fact, if he is having enough sex, he can actually enjoy affection that does not lead to sex.

    If every affectionate act leads to a fight over sex either the couple needs more sex, or the man is just a selfish jerk. If he is not a selfish jerk in other areas, that is a clue.

  10. landschooner

    “Men, why do you interpret “Can you rub my back?” as “I’d like to have sex?” WHY?!”

    ….when SHOULD it be interpreted? If your marriage is a desert, a little trickle of water is HOPE.

    I GET what this article is saying. I GET it, but its interesting that it makes the counterpoint that non-sexual affection is tied to getting sex. (Which actually isn’t true in my marriage but I believe it is in many)

    If affection without strings leads to more sex, then its WOMEN that are actually adding the strings.

    If foreplay leads to sex, then which foreplay is sex allowed to follow? This makes marriage a minefield. Especially if sex is rare, why WOULDN’T a man try each time, OR give up the affection?

    Some women, and I believe MANY women, interpret a lack of pressure, coupled with affection as a sign that ALL IS WELL. That the status quo is GOOD. My analogy is that of two drivers on a twisting mountain road. Unless one tail gates, at least a little bit, the driver in front will think all is well and that she has found a kindred spirit in me happily ascending the hill at 15 mph. No need to pull off. no need to speed up. We’re GOOD. What a lovely day! But the driver in the rear vehicle is pulling his hair out with frustration.

    I finally learned I had to PUSH and be blunt. Things are a lot better now, but I say point blank “Look, you want a backrub but we haven’t had sex in 11 days. I can’t handle that tonight unless we go farther than just a backrub….”

    LS

  11. Anonymous

    An interesting discourse here.

    Its true that some guys are just jerks or being plain selfish. I love my wife to bits but she frustrates me to no end seeing as she falls into the category of “wives who want oodles of affection and still won’t put out a welcome sign no matter what”.

    I am at a point of giving up having gone for weeks and months showing unconditional affection and still getting none. Gifts, love notes, massages, breakfast-in-bed, helping with dinner, dates, name-it. When her friends or her mother call, she has the time and energy. When I am home early before the kids get home from school, she’s tired and wants to sleep!

    I hate that I am having to think of the unthinkable.

  12. Anonymous

    wow. I think I have been in every post in my marraige of 30 years! Great discussion. I think my wife and I finally have things figured out. I love to make love with her and she with me. We have sex almost every night and sometimes morning and afternoon too! And in betweenn, lots of touch, talk, and non sexual affection. It is prety much a given that it will happen daily unless illness or other drastic thing occurs. The last couple of years have been bliss. No guessing… if I do this, will she do that… orr whatever. We are now closer than ever. Hasn’t always been this way. We both got our priorities in line with Gods design. Putting Him first then each other. Sorry for rambling. Thank you for the blog.

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