With a title like that, it’s really not fair for me to withhold the answer, is it? But I should first admit that I have no research to back this up, just years and years of hearing from Christian women about what messages they absorbed in the culture around them—church and secular—about sex. And, sadly, they learned this:
Sex is for him.
This myth that God created sex more for men — and its corollary that He thus cares more about men’s sexuality than ours — has floated around like a dark mist that many wives struggle to wave away.
Did anyone say those words to us exactly? No, but it was the underlying message of a bunch of other advice we received. Did you, sweet wife, happen to hear any of the following
Greatest Worst Hits?
Teen guys have a hard time stopping.
“Teen guys struggle with their sex drive, so you need to be the one to stop things from going too far. ” As if SHE doesn’t struggle too?
When I was sixteen years old, two married women in my church offered to teach a Wednesday evening class for young ladies. From a place of wanting the best for us, they warned us about the intensity of a teen male’s sex drive. It was described almost like a bucking bull just inside the rodeo chute; one crack in the gate, and all heck would break loose. (Don’t get the rodeo analogy? Watch the video below.)
And you know who had their hand on the latch? We young ladies.
Since their libidos were wild animals, we had to be in charge of making sure nothing broke out of the pen. Unfortunately, I recall sitting there in class wondering who was going to help me tame my inner beast. Because sex sounded really interesting to me too.
Even gals who didn’t have as strong a drive were at least curious. But since saying so might mean we were wayward young ladies, many of us either denied our drive, interest, curiosity or decided we were fighting a losing battle and should just unlatch the gate already.
Most boys/young men masturbate.
“Most teen boys masturbate because the resulting climax is so satisfying. “This practice might have been accepted, tolerated, or condemned, but it was presumed that he has a longing to experience the physical release of a climax. Ignoring that SHE would also like to know what it feels like to orgasm.
Females masturbate. Not with the frequency that males do, but when your goodies are all tucked away, it’s not so obvious or easy or even tempting to fondle yourself all the way to climax. Some girls do it anyway, and some don’t.
But most gals are just as curious about what it would feel like to have a sexual orgasm as the guys are. And we are drawn to the physical pleasure and release of climax.
Should we masturbate? That’s a different question. But interest in experiencing the physical sensation of an orgasm? Women have it too.
If you don’t have sex regularly, your husband might cheat.
“You need to have sex regularly in marriage, to help him the avoid temptation to cheat.” Honestly, there’s a thread of truth in this one (see 1 Corinthians 7:5-9), but where is this admonition for husbands? Are we saying that he needs sex a lot, and SHE doesn’t?
And this makes sex sound like merely a preventative measure. Along the lines of “if you don’t need get a flu shot, you might end up horribly sick for a week” or “if you don’t floss your teeth, they’ll fall out.” You and your teeth don’t have equal choice, but in marriage-adultery, both sides are conscious actors. Adultery, therefore, would not be the wife’s fault just because the adulterer didn’t get his groove on as much as he wanted.
Interestingly enough, negative consequences are not a great motivator for positive action (see “What Motivates Employees More: Rewards or Punishments?” – Harvard Business Review). Strong warnings can work well in getting us to not do something — like smoke or cross the street at the wrong time — but not so well if we have to exert effort to prevent the bad thing from happening. So saying do not commit adultery and listing negative consequences makes far more sense than saying do have a lot of sex and listing adultery as a negative consequence. If we want a wife to engage in more sex, we should stress all the benefits to her and the marriage! Because there are plenty.
Men are turned on by looking at women.
“Men love to look at women; it’s just how God made them.” Also not so much a myth—though plenty of women are visual—but growing up, I never heard the other side of how God made women to be aroused. Which made it seem like we didn’t have our own temptations or our arousal didn’t matter as much.
Women are typically more turned on through the senses of hearing and touch. We tend to be auditory and tactile. I wish I’d known that a long time ago. I wish someone had acknowledged how we ladies get aroused, and how that can be both our struggle outside of marriage and our blessing inside of marriage.
I mean, my husband probably should be a little jealous of how in love I am with Dean Martin simply because of his singing voice (though him being dead certainly lessens the competition), but when my husband’s low, rumbling voice whispers in my ear?…
Sorry, I had to go fan myself for a moment.
Never say no to your husband.
“Never say no to a sexual advance from your husband.” This one has come from so many different circles, I don’t really know where to begin. I understand how well-meaning the advice is, because it’s important for wives to be fully engaged in the sexual intimacy in their marriage. But seriously, never say no to your husband? Does that mean HER needs and desire in the moment don’t matter?
Also, there’s a convention-center sized group of higher-drive wives reading this right now and wanting to scream: Did anyone ever tell the men to never say no to their wife?! *waves to ladies* Yes, I see you there, and you make a great point: This advice tends to be lopsided.
If Corinthians 7:3-5 should teach us anything, it’s that sex in marriage is mutual. It matters for both husband and wife.
It’s a necessary act in marriage.
“It’s just what you have to do in marriage.” Sadly, some wives who never learned to fully embrace or enjoy sex themselves characterize sex as a clause in the marriage contract you cannot get out of — though you wish you could. As if it’s written somewhere: “The female party, referenced throughout as ‘Wife’ agrees to faithfully, industriously, and to the best of her skill, experience and talent, perform all of the duties required of the position, including that thing where he wiggles around on top you while you mentally make your grocery list.”
Every time I think about this attitude, I am caught between wanting to cry for the wives who believed or experienced sex like this and wanting to scream about the madness and misery of this myth!
Thank heaven that we’re dispelling that myth more and more these days. Thus freeing up wives to express their sexuality, pursue answers when they don’t experience pleasure or orgasm in the bedroom (their right, according to Scripture), and just revel in a good ol’ romp with their husbands.
Hopefully, by this point you’ve identified what wrong messages might have led you to believe, even in the smallest way, that sex is ultimately for him. It’s not, dear wife. It’s for you too.
God was well-aware of what He was creating when He made women — including her unique sexuality, her longings and desires, her mutual contribution to sexual intimacy in the marriage bed.
For you created my inmost being;Psalm 139:13-14
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
Your body and your sexuality are fearfully and wonderfully made, and they matter. Sex is for your husband, created and delivered by God, but don’t buy the myth that sex was created mostly or exclusively for him. God longs for you to enjoy it too.