Category Archives: Male Perspective of Sex – Guest Posts

Q&A with J: “He Gets Erections When He Sees Other Women”

Welcome (back) to Q&A with J. Let’s look at today’s reader question:

My husband gets erections when he sees other women. Is this normal? It’s messing with my self esteem in ways I can’t describe.

Q&A with J: "He Gets Erections When He Sees Other Women"

When I first got this question, my instinctive reaction was yeah, that’s normal — certainly for younger guys. But as I thought about it more and more, I wondered how I reached that conclusion. It’s not as if I gazed at previous boyfriends’ or my husband’s groin area when we crossed the paths of other women to check for reactions. Most of the time, whatever my guy was wearing would mask anything but a very strong erection, and I wouldn’t know without being physically close enough to detect what was happening.

Maybe it’s because I’m the mother of two boys, and as they grew up, I realized how quickly and somewhat randomly a boy can get an erection. It can certainly be a sexual thing, but it can also happen for other reasons. Frankly, that whole area is a bit of a mystery in how active it all is.

I don’t have that equipment, so I can’t say for certain. Which is why I turned to a wonderful marriage blogging colleague, Paul Byerly of The Generous Husband (for husbands), The XY Code (for wives), and The Marriage Bed (for couples). I wanted a trusted guy’s perspective on what’s happening with this reader’s husband.

Here’s Paul’s response:

Is it normal? It is certainly common, especially for young men. Starting at puberty, we find ourselves with erections all the time. Often there is some sexual thought or sight, possibly very minor, to blame, but sometimes it just seems to be random and without any cause. These erections are swift to happen and can be very, very slow to go away. Thinking about them makes it worse, and not thinking about them is rather difficult.

With age, a man develops some degree of control over this. Basically, we learn to suppress “inappropriate erections.” Suppress can mean not getting them, or it can mean getting only partly erect — we feel it, but it don’t show. Some men develop this ability very quickly, some take far longer. I’ve had emails from men in their mid 20s who still struggle with this. There are actually web pages devoted to telling men how to dress to hide undesired erections.

The bigger question is what his erections mean. I’d say it means his body works and his mind has not yet become able to suppress the reaction. It does not mean he is sexually unsatisfied, and it does not mean he is tempted to cheat.

[By the way], women do the same thing, but their bodies don’t advertise it. In fact, it can be subtle enough for a woman to ignore, which is pretty common given how uptight many women are about sex. If you fitted this woman with a device that beeped when she got mildly aroused I suspect she would learn things about herself she could not handle.

Good point, Paul. For many women, certain times of the month, thoughts, or sights can cause arousal and lubrication. Thank goodness none of that is on display, or people might draw erroneous conclusions about our sexuality. A woman getting “wet” around some guy doesn’t mean she wants him; it could mean she’s hitting the fertile part of her cycle or a stray thought about her husband entered her mind.

Of course, if a wife knows her man is regularly getting a “hard-on” in the presence of other women, I can imagine how that could mess with self-esteem. It could be interpreted that he was interested, or at least intrigued, by other women. I have great compassion for this wife’s emotional response. Like all of us wives, she wants to be the focus of her beloved’s eyes, mind, and heart.

But here are a few things to consider:

Look at the totality of how he treats you and your marriage. You cannot conclude how he feels about you and other women based on one aspect. If he gets erections now and then around other women, but he doesn’t pursue their attention, keeps his commitment to you, and prioritizes your marriage bed, it’s very likely not what you’re thinking. And he may also be bothered that this is happening.

We cannot read each other’s minds. Yes, we look for clues about what someone’s thinking, but sometimes we’re just wrong. We think his tone is angry when he’s really just stressed, or we think her falling asleep means she’s refusing sex when it’s just been an exhausting day. We tend to personalize things in a relationship: If we’re interacting with someone, and they display certain signals, we think it’s about us — when it might not be at all. The only way to know what your husband’s thinking is for him to tell you what he’ s thinking.

If you need to, have a conversation. Personally, I’m pretty bold about stuff like this, because if I were facing this scenario, I’d simply ask my husband: “Hey, I noticed had a reaction around that woman, and I felt hurt when that happened. Can you tell me what’s going on?” Then he’d answer: “It’s cold in here” or “I don’t know. It was weird. But it wasn’t about her and when it happened, I immediately thought about you and how much I want to . . .” And then he’d whispered suggestions, and I’d forget about it. At least, knowing me and my husband, I expect that’s how this conversation would go. But whatever that would look like in your case, talk about it. And be willing to ask for what you need, whether it’s reassurance or to see him turn away from looking at a woman when that happens. We can calmly ask our husbands for what would help us feel better about our marriage and intimacy.

Work on your own self-confidence. My husband’s opinion of me certainly plays into how I feel about myself and my appearance, but it’s not as important as how I independently view myself and how much I trust God’s view of me. We can more easily approach situations like these from a place of confidence and calm than if we’re doubting ourselves all the time or expecting our husbands to be our self-esteem heroes. Cultivate those feelings that you are a woman of beauty and value. 

I hope something here helps! And thanks again to Paul for generously offering his man-wisdom.

Spock Speaks: An Interview with My Husband

I am giddy with delight! For the last several weeks, I have welcomed husbands (and one single guy) to guest post on what they wish women knew about sexuality. Today is the last day of this series, and I asked my husband to add his two cents to the conversation. Convincing him may have involved some cajoling and some nudity, but he finally agreed.

For those wondering about the title Spock Speaks, sometime ago I introduced my husband with the pet name of “Spock.” Why? Because if you want to picture his personality, imagine a Vulcan.

“Logical, as always, Mr. Spock.” – Kirk

He’s not Mr. Romantic or Mr. Talkative, but he is a fabulous husband and has grown with me through the years into a relationship of trust and intimacy. Oddly enough, whenever I take those “Which Star Trek character are you?” quizzes, my results always come up as Captain Kirk, and since Kirk and Spock are best friends and work well together, I think I did pretty good with my hubby choice.

And now we boldly go where no one has gone before . . . to my husband speaking on my blog. Given our personality types, we opted for interview style. Going forward, his answers are in bold.

What did you expect regarding sex going into our marriage?

Frequent sex.

What was the biggest surprise about our marital sex life?

Um, cannot really think of a surprise. Entertaining that it was very creative.

“Creative” in what way?

Different positions, different approaches. I knew you enjoyed having sex and were a willing participant.

When was our sex life the worst?

After [our first child] was born.

What was so bad about it?

It was non-existent. (Mostly true.)

How did that make you feel about us and yourself then?

Made me feel very frustrated. I felt that there was something not quite right about what was going on with your body, and you weren’t doing anything about it.

I (J) learned some lessons; see When My Sex Life Sucked, Part 1 and Part 2.

What have you learned about God’s gift of sex through our marriage?

I don’t so much think of it as learning something new as better understanding how unifying it is, how it brings the two together to feel as one, to be closer together.

What does having a satisfying sex life in your marriage mean to you?

Means I have a satisfying sex life. (See what I mean . . . Mr. Logical.) Which means I don’t carry a lot of frustrations that go with an unsatisfying sex life.

What is it like to have a wife who obviously enjoys sex and pursues it?

Much better than the alternatives.

What do you hope to teach our kids about sexuality?

First, and probably foremost, is that it’s meant to be mutually enjoyable to the two who make a lifetime commitment to it. Always remember it’s about mutual enjoyment, not personal enjoyment; therefore, warm her up before you go to the races.

After this comment, I responded to my beloved, “And now we wives have been compared to horses.” To which my classy guy retorted with a cocky grin, “Ridden hard and put away wet.” *BIG EYE ROLL* Good thing I have a sense of humor!

How do you wish churches would deal with the issue of sex?

Historically, I feel that churches have been much like the Sadducees and Pharisees — quick to condemn sexual activities, slow to praise enjoyable sexual activities. Now sex is meant to be an intimate experience between a husband and wife, so to the extent that a church gets involved in it, it should be in the form of counseling couples to develop healthy sexual relationships.

What do you think husbands want wives to know about sexuality in marriage? 

Sexuality is a gift from God meant to unite and strengthen the relationship of a man and woman. To strengthen that relationship, each must hunger for and feel bonded by sexual intimacy. The man wants the woman to understand this as much as he does, and to train her mind, her body, and her heart to experience it as strongly as the man does.

What do you think about your wife blogging about Christian sexuality?

I think it’s something she was born to do; she serves God’s purpose.

Anything else you want to say to me or my blog readers?

I love you, J.

And go hug somebody; it’ll make you feel great. (He ripped off that last line from some weatherman’s sign-off, but it’s still good advice.)

That’s it! My husband, ladies and gentleman.

Now do you have any questions for J’s hubby? (I may need some more leverage to get him to answer, but I’ll try.)

Hearing from the Hubbies Wrap-Up…and a Tease

Male stick figure

THANKS, GUYS!
from AIGA [public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I am so thankful for the men who have written on Hot, Holy & Humorous with what they wished women knew about sexuality. In case you missed any of the guest posts, here’s the full list:

Sexual Desire Differences: What If There’s Nothing Going Wrong? from Corey Allen of Simple Marriage

A Wife’s Insecurities, a Husband’s Response from Justin of Do Not Disturb

Sexual Appetite by the Kentucky Colonel of A Grown Up Marriage

Wives: What Is Your Husband Thinking during Sex? from Gerad Harris of mission:husband

Ten Lies Wives Believe about Sex (and Ten Truths Husbands Want You to Know) from Scott Means of Journey to Surrender

The Beauty of a Woman by Greg Donner

You Would If You Loved Me! from Paul Byerly of The Generous Husband

Quantity vs. Quality: What Do Hubbies Want? from Jay Dee of Sex Within Marriage

What stood out to me about the posts as a whole are that husbands don’t see sex as merely a physical release assisted by their wives. Unfortunately, that’s the picture drawn by many in our culture. The assumption is that since most men crave sex, they are focused on the act itself. Instead, these guest bloggers demonstrate that men crave connection, and that God created them to desire it in the physical context of sex. That isn’t all they want, but in most husbands’ eyes, it’s a big part of what makes them feel intimate with their wives.

I love the conclusion of the book For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhan. Ms. Feldhan surveyed husbands and asked what they wanted their wives to know. The number one answer? “Men want their wives to know how much they love them.” Husbands aren’t always able to express it the way they want to, but most men I hear from desire their wives so very much . . . because they love their wives so very much.

I hope you’ll share in the comments what post stood out to you and why. What did you learn while it was “raining men” on Hot, Holy & Humorous?

And now for the TEASE! I am giddy with delight! The husbands (and one single guy) above have willingly blogged on what they wish women knew about sexuality. Since this was the time for hubbies to speak up, I asked my own husband to add his two cents to the conversation. Convincing him may have involved some cajoling and promises of nudity, but he finally agreed.

So come back next week when “Spock” will speak.

Quantity vs. Quality: What Do Hubbies Want?

31 Days to Great Sex book coverQuick announcement first: I dropped the ball weeks ago and forgot to announce two winners for Sheila Gregoire’s fabulous book, 31 Days to Great Sex. But the winners are Heather G. and Megan, and Sheila is sending their books. Congratulations, ladies! In the meantime, it’s not too late to get your copy for Valentine’s Day or just because. You can purchase the book for less than a Chick-fil-A meal ($4.99) through my affiliate link by clicking HERE.

I think this post is the second-to-last entry in my It’s Raining Men (hearing from the hubbies) series. Today’s entry is from Jay Dee of Sex within Marriage. I love his honesty about how hubbies feel, paired with his seeking God’s heart for sexuality in marriage.

When J first approached me about writing a post, I had just listened to a podcast called Sexy Marriage Radio, and they posed the following question: Would you be willing to give up half the frequency of sex to double the quality of sex?

I didn’t know the answer to that question for myself. I might be willing to try for a short term though. So, I came up with a plan.

Cut our frequency in half for 2 weeks to see if sex was better. Then, double our frequency to see if it got worse.

I thought it was a solid plan. But, life has a way of setting our plans for us. Over Christmas break, my wife developed an awful cough which turned turned out to be a lung infection. Unfortunately, we didn’t figure that out until a month into it. So, all through the Christmas and New Years season, my wife has been fighting what seems like the worst cold she’s ever had. She couldn’t sleep because she was coughing too much, couldn’t breathe through her nose, wheezing, couldn’t catch her breath, and drinking enough lemon tea to keep a small company in the black.

To sum up: She was exhausted and felt awful.

So, by coincidence, phase 1 of my plan fell into place, but a little more harshly than I would have liked. Our frequency dropped to more like 1/4, or less, of normal instead of the 1/2 I planned/was prepared for, and Phase 2 probably isn’t going to happen for a while. So, while I was hoping to bring empirical data to bear for this question, I’m afraid I cannot. Even so, I have some thoughts, and some experiences to draw on that I’d like to share.

There was a time when I thought that I wanted multiple sexual encounters with my wife every day. That is what I was expecting going into marriage, and wow, was reality a wake-up-call! Those that have visited my blog or know me from The Marriage Bed forums may know that my marriage had a pretty rocky start with no shortage of blame on either side. But a few years ago we took a huge step, worked through a lot of issues, did a lot of communicating, and turned our marriage around. After that, it felt like a new marriage. We finally got the honeymoon phase we had missed when we got married. We actually had sex 9 out of every 10 days for a month. We changed the culture in our marriage for a time. Instead of wondering “are we going to have sex tonight,” we assumed we would. This was amazing for me, but exhausting for my wife whose sex drive still didn’t (and doesn’t) match mine. During our talks, my wife had made a promise that she would never say “no” again when it came to sex. In all honesty, I don’t think I believed her, and so I squeezed every chance I could get out of it, and she didn’t fight me. I think part of me was taking my fill while it was available (thinking it would run out), and part was testing her to see if she meant it. Neither was a very good response from me.

Eventually though, things slowed down. We went down to 4 out of every 5 nights. Why did it slow down? My wife still wasn’t saying no, though later she did tell me she couldn’t have kept that pace up much longer anyway, regardless of any promise she made. I believe it slowed down because sex was becoming, not empty, or cheap, but it was watering down slowly. Now, I’m not saying that a couple can’t have sex every night have amazing experiences and connect intimately with each other. I’m saying that for me, and I’d guess many others, there is a law of diminishing returns when you start pushing frequency to its extreme, in either direction. Let me explain:

If you have an extremely high frequency of sexual encounters (let’s say every day or more for example), for most people, sex will lose its “specialness.”  It won’t be “that thing I only do with my spouse and it helps us to reconnect,” it will be “that thing we do all the time.”

On the other side, if you have an extremely low frequency, let’s say a few times a year or less, sex turns from “that thing I only do with my spouse and it helps us to reconnect” into “that thing we’re supposed to be doing more often, but we don’t, because my spouse is selfish.”

I should point out that I’m talking about long term trends here. If you both decide to take a break from sex for a time (medical reasons, fasting & prayer, birth of a child, physical separation), I don’t think that’s an issue, so long as both agree and it’s not too long of a time. On the other side, if you both agree that you’re going to have sex every night (vacation, birthday gift, anniversary, or just a surprise), I don’t think that’s an issue either, so long as you both agree, and it’s not too long of a time. I won’t say how long is too long, that’s for the couple to find out and decide.

However, I think there are some near universal constants.

On the high-frequency side: If you’re having so much sex that it is causing detriment to your life, your work, or your other relationships, it’s probably too frequent.

On the low-frequency side: As J has mentioned in a previous article, and I agree, a couple should get together (except in extreme circumstances) at least once a week.

She made a good case, and I suggest you read it if you haven’t already.

Go on.

I’ll wait.

Done? OK. I wanted to add one point to it. The rabbis that lived during the New Testament and prior to that were of the mindset that a minimum frequency was once a week. Now, since Paul was a Pharisee, and a Rabbi, he would have had the same thoughts on this topic. So when he wrote his first letter to the Corinthians and the famous passage every Christian marriage blogger knows:

“Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” – 1 Corinthians 7:5

In Paul’s mind, he would assume that his audience would be aware that a week was long enough to go without reconnecting in this way.

So, keeping that all in mind, what’s my answer?

Would I be willing to give up frequency for quality of sex?

Honestly, for myself, no. Why? Because, if I may be so bold: our quality is pretty outstanding from my experience. Is there a difference when we have it less frequently? Yes, unquestionably: Orgasms are stronger, and they happen sooner. But that’s not worth the trade off. I mean, the orgasm is such a small (albeit dramatic) part of the whole experience, and why would I want to shorten sex by that much, I like the buildup, I like the time spent working each other up, and personally, I like longer sessions.

But, if my wife came to me and said “you know, I think I might enjoy sex more if we had it less often,” then, without much delay or disappointment, I’d start discussing what the new frequency would look like, and we’d find something that works for both of us, because this is a marriage. My needs and wants aren’t the only ones that matter, and ultimately, if she is more fulfilled sexually, then I am as well, because I feed off her pleasure, it is what drives me, what really gets me off.

Now, I’ve spent a lot of time reading about sex, writing about sex, and talking to people about sex, and the only thing I can guarantee is that you never find an issue that everyone agrees on. Some people will disagree with me adamantly, some will say that’s exactly how they feel, and if you are a wife reading this, I cannot tell you how your husband will answer. I can only hope I’ve brought up some points that will start a discussion with your spouse, because his answer is the only one you need to concern yourself with. God bless, and have fun figuring out your answer.

This is definitely a good post to start a discussion in your marriage about quality and quantity of sex. Make sure it’s a discussion and not a demand-session, as Jay points out. I really appreciate his approach.

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Jay is passionate about two topics above all others: theology and sexuality. His blog (www.SexWithinMarriage.com) seeks to explore the nature of sexuality from theological, scientific, and experiential viewpoints in order to help married couples understand their sexuality within the context of Christian marriage.

You Would If You Loved Me!

Paul Byerly

What a treat today! One of my favorite marriage bloggers, Paul Byerly of The Generous Husband and The Marriage Bed, is joining us to send his message to us wives from the hubbies.

Most men have figured out that “If you loved me you would” is not a good way to talk their wife into sex, and because of this, they do not say it. However, most men do feel this way. Before you get upset, let me try to explain.

Odds are your husband only wants to have sex with you. I know that is not true for all men, but it is far more common than most women think. He loves you, he chose you to be his wife, and when he did that he understood he was saying yes to you sexually and no to every other woman in the world. He willingly made that choice because you were the woman he most wanted to be with sexually. You were the one pearl of great value for which he gladly gave up all others!

For men sex is a significant expression of love. His having sex with you is saying to you that he loves you and your having sex with him is you saying to him that you love him. Is this really that odd? You are the only person he is sexual with, sex is special, unique, something he shares with you and you alone. Why wouldn’t he see it as a deep expression of love?

Ladies, what speaks love to you? What does he do that makes you feel he loves you? (Or, what does he not do that would speak love to you if he did it?) Now imagine that you knew from experience that if you ask for that thing, you will get it less than half the time — how would you feel?

If this is true of your husband, why does he talk about his needs, and focus on the physical aspects of sex, rather than telling you that sex makes him feel loved? Most men are more aware of their bodies than their “feelings” and far more comfortable talking about their bodies than their feelings. He may not fully understand why being told no makes him feel so bad, and even if he does he may not feel comfortable expressing that, or may not know how to express it. Basically, falling back on the physical is easier and more natural for him.

Sex is intimate and deeply personal and being told “no” hurts in a very personal way. Saying it is not personal does not change that it feels personal.  How you mean it does not change how he hears and feels it.

Am I saying any no hurts? Not unless he is totally selfish. The problem comes when he hears no more often than yes. When no is the most common answer, why you say no eventually stops mattering. Even though some or all of the reasons are very understandable, when they are part of a general pattern he stops hearing much past “no.” I suspect you are much the same — if he repeatedly says no to something, do you really think about the reason(s) he gives? After a while, don’t you assume he just does not care about you enough to say yes to what you want?

If you say no to most of your husband’s requests for sex, you are telling him you do not really love him, or at least that you do not love him enough. That may not be what you want to tell him, but it is probably what he is hearing deep in his heart. Can you imagine what that does to a man? Can you imagine how he will change over time if it goes on? Maybe you can look back and see a gradual shift that is related to this very thing.

If things keep going as they are, will he “get over it”? If by “getting over it” you mean will he accept you are not going to change, then yes, he will. If you mean will he learn to feel  you love him despite saying no to sex most of the time, no, he will not. He will probably learn to change to avoid getting hurt as much, and that might look to you like he has “matured” or “accepted things.” Do not be fooledlearning to live with something that is painful does not mean it no longer hurts.

Have I a put a heavy burden on you here? Have I made you feel horrible? I do not desire to do either of those — my goal is to help you understand that your husband does have feelings, and that you can hurt him deeply. Often saying no to sex will hurt him, and that pain is not because he is selfish or sexually greedy; it hurts because it makes him feel he does not matter to you.

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Paul, and his bride of 28 year Lori, have been writing and teaching about Godly sex and marriage since 1997. They live in Eastern Washington and love SciFi, TexMex and the beach — two of which are not to be found near home.

Websites: The Generous Husband, The Generous Wife, The Marriage Bed, Twitter and Facebook