4 Things Your Husband Wants from You in Bed

What does your husband want in bed? I can’t say exactly, since I don’t know your husband. However, I have interacted with so many husbands now that I feel confident about what many want from their wives.

Mind you, this is not all men. For example, if you’re a higher-drive wife, your husband may have less interest in one or all of these. If you’re in an abusive marriage, physically or emotionally, these may not apply either (and you should seek help immediately). But for oh-so-many marriages, here are four things your husband wants from you in bed.

Access

Obviously, your husband wants access to you to have sex. The issue of gatekeeping comes up a lot when speaking to hubbies. Gatekeeping is defined as “the activity of controlling, and usually limiting, general access to something” (Oxford Dictionary). Plenty of wives are the gatekeepers of sexual intimacy in their marriage—controlling and limiting it denying access to their husbands.

Now let’s not swing this pendulum too far on the other side, because of course you have say in when and how sex happens. It’s also not okay for a husband to demand access whenever he feels like having a good romp!

But access to you and your body shouldn’t be so limited that it feels like the gate is chained and padlocked most of the time. You got married, sex is supposed to be part of marriage, and access is part of that. If access has been seriously limited, I’m not telling you to shut up and go do it with your hubby. Rather, you need to ask why you’ve been gatekeeping and address that underlying issue. (See Leaving the Path of Refusal from The Forgiven Wife.)

Another part of access comes into play after you’ve decided to have sex. Do you hide yourself from him? For instance, insisting on making love in the dark so he cannot see your body? Keeping your legs more closed than open because you worry about what’s down there? Avoiding certain activities because they make you feel more sexual than you’re comfortable with?

If so, it’s time to address those issues too. Why are you hiding, and what steps do you need to take to start giving more access to your husband in the bedroom?

Confidence

The first time I heard this, I was in college. A male friend told me that, when it came to a woman being sexy, confidence mattered more than looks. Of course I doubted that.

But it’s been mentioned so many times now by men I’ve come across that I just have to accept they mean it. I’m not saying men don’t notice a pretty woman, but confidence is a real key to having sex appeal. And hubbies are invested in the one woman they want to be with—the one they want to see strut into the bedroom with confidence.

How can you, wife, feel confident about your body and your sexuality? Well, if you’re struggling with your looks, I had a whole feeling beautiful series you can check out. Our podcast also did an episode on Body Image, as well as one with husbands giving the male perspective on Guy Talk – A Wife’s Beauty.

As for your sexuality, my best recommendation is to get my book, Intimacy Revealed, which will walk you through how God created you to be a sexual being who can and should experience pleasure and intimacy in the marriage bed.

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There’s also the principle of fake it till you make it. Now before you tell me that’s deceptive, I’m not suggesting you lie. You should be honest about how you feel, but acting as if something is true has been shown to be a very effective way of changing your attitude. Too often, we think a mental shift must occur before our behavior can change, but transformation can happen the other way around as well.

So try these little tips to feel more confident about your body and your sexuality:

  • Wear lingerie that flatters your figure
  • Use soft, low lighting or a colored bulb in your lamp (some light, but not too much)
  • Display confidence with your body language, such as open posturing, eye contact, and initiating touch
  • Memorize scriptures that remind you of your worth and rehearse them as you enter the bedroom or begin sexual activity (e.g., Psalm 139:14, Song of Songs 4:7, Song of Songs 7:10)

Confidence is also naturally increased when you feel like you know what you’re doing. That’s one of the reasons I started my ministry—to give wives specific sex tips from a Christian point of view. You can find lots of them in my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design.

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Engagement

Imagine you went on a date with your husband, but he complained about having to go, he looked bored or distracted much of the time, and he intimated that he wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. Does that sound like a good date?

Obviously not. And yet, sometimes wives approach sex that way. They can be frustrated by the time it takes, aren’t really into it when it’s happening, and show with words or actions that they want it to be over quickly. Understandably, that makes sex a far lesser experience—for both of you.

In contrast, hubbies tell me they love, love, love when their wives are really engaged. Whether it’s her initiating sex, her speaking up for what she desires, her taking charge of some aspect of lovemaking (like choosing the position), or her showing her excitement through sounds, words, and expressions, knowing she’s deeply engaged in sex is both arousing and satisfying to him. Even better, watching her orgasm.

Remember, ladies, that our sexual response is often different from a man’s, meaning we may not arrive as excited about the prospect of sex as he is, but if we decide to show up and engage, we can reach those heights of arousal and enjoy the experience. The pleasure can indeed be mutual.

Appreciation

Men are a wonderful paradox—on one hand, so strong and masculine, and on the other, fragile in their egos at times. I hope I’m not offending any guys here, but I’ve repeatedly heard this from the male species. (Also, see For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn.) They long to know they’re desired and appreciated for who they are, including their sexuality.

It’s a deeply meaningful thing for your husband to hear that you appreciate his body, his sexuality, and the way he makes you feel in the bedroom. For some hubbies, his penis in particular is important, in that he wants to know you like and value it too. (Check out Are You a Fan of Your Husband’s Man-Part?)

You can show appreciation by speaking positively about his body and his sexuality, by touching his body and specifically his penis, by vocalizing your pleasure and enjoyment, by thanking him or reminiscing fondly about a good sexual experience you’ve had together. Just let him know you appreciate who he is in your marriage bed.

There you go! Four things your husband, most likely, wants in bed.

Can you show up tomorrow and give him all of those? Maybe not. It may take some time to get there. And that’s okay. Just take the first step in the right direction, then another, and another. Eventually, you will find that you are indeed accessible to him, confident, engaged, and appreciative.

28 thoughts on “4 Things Your Husband Wants from You in Bed

  1. C

    Thank you J. As a wife of almost 25 years who started out extremely strong in most if not all of these, the last few years have not always been easy to maintain. Years of infertility, wrong messages from friends, aging, hormones, time apart for work, etc, etc, etc, have eroded at my desire, time and definitely my confidence.
    I think it’s really tough to KNOW what an amazing sex life is in your marriage and then to lose it. I KNOW what I’m missing. I’m trying to get my groove back. We aren’t promised tomorrow and what if I could have done these things and I didn’t. And then I don’t get another chance?
    The last few years have had some really great times and some really dark, hard times. But I do love my husband and I know he loves me. I want the next 25 to be the best. <3

    Reply
      1. C

        Thank you! I think my comment’s wording portrayed it worse than it is. Life has been hard and dark at times causing some strain on my marriage. Maybe that’s a better way tonword it. But I covet your prayers all the same. <3

        Reply
  2. Greg

    A fantastic post, J. And you’ve hit the Gang Of Four each squarely on the head.

    Thoughts I’ll contribute here related to confidence and body image and issues.

    As a husband, my bride’s confidence is her most magnetic, alluring, erotic part, and because of that, she engages all five of my senses. Has motherhood and time changed how her body looks? Yes. But the softness of her skin, her fragrance, her flavor, and her sounds have all maintained, and with her increased confidences, she looks as gorgeous as ever.

    So wives, my bet is that your good-willed husbands share this sentiment, writ on the side of a mug I gave my bride: “If I could give you one thing in life, I would give you the ability to see yourself through my eyes.”

    Additionally, husbands, say Songs of Songs 4.7 aloud to your wives so that she can hear it in your voice in her mind: “You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way”.

    Reply
  3. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    What I want from my wife
    in a bed we cannot share
    is restful sleep, for her life
    is that for which I care.
    Cancer’s left me sore
    and tired, but an insomniac,
    wakeful, restless, and even more
    determined to beat it back.
    So she must sleep while I write
    and step out to behold the stars
    and I pray for her deeply in the night
    that she outsleep my duel with Mars.
    I pray she’s refreshed in the dawn,
    or when I die, she must go on.

    Reply
  4. Brian

    Extremely well said. All four of your points are on the nose, and for me points 2 and 3 are especially important. I want to be desired, and I want my wife to be fully engaged. I’m vulnerable to my wife like no other person, and so your last point is particularly true. Well done J!

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    As a male reader, I agree 1000% with your 4 points. J, you truly have a gift of writing. In fact, I had tears in my eyes as I reflected my marriage of nearly 40 years. We have experienced all four issues in our sex life, mostly due to bad teaching and my darling wife’s health issues. It is too late for us to make changes but I am praying that my married children will not have to experience the severity of our issues. Christians now have so many more resources available compared to 40 years ago.

    Reply
  6. Lynn

    I was 56 years old when I married for the first time, to the first man I ever dated, too. I was apprehensive because of my saggy old overweight body. Let me tell you: IT IS MY HUSBAND who makes me feel totally confident, by the look in his eyes and his response. I’m sure I look pretty ridiculous at times but as long as my husband finds me sexy, so what! So he gets what he wants by giving me what I need. God has really blessed me, not only in giving me a wonderful man, but in the grace to accept his love without question. I say this as a person who is normally pretty insecure.

    Reply
  7. Nancy

    I have always been insecure with my looks, but because my drive is so high, I have pushed through it during my 20 years with my husband. I have to admit that I think that God has a sense of humor. He paired me with a wonderful man, who is a great provider but he is very low drive and not a lot of talk. My 2 love languages are physical touch and words of affirmation. This has been a struggle throughout our marriage I miss the child bearing years because he wanted a big family so that was the goal. What do you have to do to reach that goal? It was a great 15 years! On the flip side, when my MS takes my drive and ability(15 years and still waiting for that), I know that he will be a loyal husband and not tempted to find something outside of our home. And to those who are going to try to help. He has been tested for testosterone deficiency, no porn, workaholic, yes but when you have an average, you need someone on the low end to get the average. 🙂 At least he always wants to hold me at night when we sleep and makes it a point to be open to me close to once a week. Just thought I would chime in for all the high drive wives.

    Reply
    1. B

      @Nancy, thank you for your comment. I am also a higher drive wife. Your situation sounds similar to mine, only you handle it much better.

      So often people say “there are lots of high drive wives out there” – but Ive never met one in real life and almost never hear another one talk about it. So it was incredibly refreshing to hear maybe it isn’t a lie and that I’m not all alone. And thanks for pointing out that you need someone on the low end to get the average. That makes sense (although selfishly, I still wish it didn’t have to be me). But I’ve always felt wildly abnormal as far as our situation in our marriage, so you pointing this out is incredibly helpful.

      My husband has always liked to hold me at night, too, even though his drive is much lower. For years I slept on the sofa, because with his lower drive, and my belief I was ugly and unloveable to him due to his lower drive, having him hold me was like sheer torture. It was like being starving and having a dinner plate stuck in your face but not being allowed to taste the food. So I chose to sleep in the other room. This made him sad, but I figured if I was too ugly to “be” with it would make him happier not to have to sleep next to me. I made a lot of wrong assumptions. Thankfully I’ve gotten over myself (a little) and I do sleep in bed, and I do let him hold me, and he is much happier. Our sex life has improved a bit and I’m hoping it will continue.

      Anyway, thank you for sharing! It helped me.

      Reply
      1. Nancy

        Out of my circle, I too, have not found any other woman with a higher drive. I love your dinner plate analogy. That is so true. I will admit, I have not always handled it well and still let my anger swell up into an argument every once in a while. I’ve been reading a book lately called “Sacred Marriage
        What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?” which is making me look at the situation a little differently. I’m making it a point to look towards God and thank him for handling my husband’s heart and for giving me the strength to rid the thoughts the enemy is trying to get me to concentrate on. Still a work in progress. 🙂 Have a blessed weekend.

        Reply
  8. Obviously anonymous

    I have a question for you. What if “digestive issues” rob you of the confidence you might otherwise have as a wife.
    Unfortunately, my stomach does not always like me and I live in terror of that making itself known at any time, let alone in an intimate moment. I. Would. Die. I can’t count the times I have avoided sex or at least an orgasm because of this terror. It steals my confidence. And no way am I telling my husband!?! Ive been married many years and have children with this man! I love him, he loves me. I guess I just need to keep eliminating foods until I don’t have this issue. (I already have several main foods eliminated).

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Oh, bless your heart! What a struggle! Yes, I would suggest dealing with the digestive issues. But why not also explain to your husband your worries? Talk to him outside the bedroom, explain your fears, and ask how you could/would deal with it.

      With 26 years of marriage under our belt, my husband and I have each had several embarrassing moments, including some digestive ones, and they don’t define the sexual intimacy we’ve had. They just remind us that we’re human, that love and grace play a role in our sex life, and that together we can get past the embarrassing moments.

      And a quick, practical tip: I would consider sexual positions that make those digestive moments less of a problem. For example, “stallion style” (rear entry) probably won’t help you relax, but you have a lot of other options.

      Reply
      1. Obvious

        I’m sure my husband would say it’s no big deal. But, to me, it’s HUGE. Like enormous.
        I guess one positive with this particular malady and refusal to give in to it when anyone is around is that my pelvic floor muscles are likely tighter than that of one who has never given birth. 😉 Kegels are a way of life!!!
        Ironically, rear entry (never heard stallion style- Always heard it referred to in relation to another animal lol) is less likely to cause exposure of the problem. I’m sure it’s simply anatomical.
        But obviously, orgasm is guaranteed to expose. 😏

        Reply
  9. male J

    A comment for “Obviously anonymous” from a husband who sadly has a knack for reading way too much negative and oftentimes untrue stuff about himself into his wife’s actions, inactions or silence: please pray about and work towards finding a way to share with your husband the real reasons behind the countless times you’ve avoided sex or orgasm. And the sooner the better. Now I don’t know him or can’t guess his innermost thoughts, feelings, or reactions, but I have a hunch your legitimate digestive issue reasons are FAR from and way less worrisome or threatening than the countless assumptions and insecurities about his own sexuality/ masculinity he’s probably dreamed up as to why you might not be as responsive or active in the bedroom. Trust me, if he’s a good man and committed to you, your marriage and your sex life, he will be more than calm, patient and understanding in not only handling the news but in navigating the issue with you. Honestly, as I read your comment all I could think was “Really, is that all?? So what!” Good advice J, and thank you for this post, too. A huge Amen!! from a husband reader.

    Reply
  10. Obvious

    The problem with your comment, male J, is that it leads me to once again wonder if my feelings don’t matter. “Is that all? So what?”…to me it’s HUGE. And it does matter. A lot.
    So, I’m to get over any insecurity I have to make my husband feel better? (Most of the time I will simply say my stomach hurts and he knows I have food allergies, etc So I’m not just blowing him off.) I try really hard to make things good and to give. And if I’ve already made “promises” I’ll do everything possible to come through even if I’m not feeling it.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I didn’t get that same vibe from his comment, Obvious. I felt like male J was trying to say that it very likely isn’t as big a deal to your hubby, and maybe knowing that would help your feelings settle. The reason to address the insecurity is primarily for your sake, because it’s really affecting you inside, but doing so would benefit your husband as well. Praying that you can find a way to deal with this issue and get some solutions.

      Reply
  11. E.E.W.

    Obvious:

    Since you haven’t specified exactly what your “digestive” issue is, I’m going to guess and offer some ideas–in hope, too, that other readers may read and find relief (pun intended). Passing gas in bed is common to all, male and female; married and single. Yes, I did, in fact, Google this some time ago, after my wife voiced her opinion. And BTW, it’s a much bigger problem for men, possibly because men are usually taller and we do often eat more.

    Here’s the thing: Stomach gas trapped inside will tend to migrate upward as a burp, which can be silent and have little odor, while you are sitting or standing upright. Once you lie down, the trouble starts. The gas takes the easiest route along a level plain, and you can expect it to come out as a fart, often during an intimate moment. That’s normal. Husbands and wives need to call a truce on this issue, when it’s not possible to run to the bathroom. Learn to laugh about it. Forgive. And forget.

    Sadly, most of us learned in grade school that passing gas was about the grossest thing that anyone can do, and most of us (males, at least) have been humiliated, made to feel terrible, possibly scarred for life by a wicked-minded schoolmate who let the whole class know who “let” one.

    Again, discuss this with your spouse and come to loving terms that honor both of you in bed.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Interesting info. And my only issue with passing gas is when (1) the person makes zero effort to avoid having it affect others (like if your spouse knows it’s coming and lets it rip with their hindquarters pointed at you, when they had time to turn away), or (2) when someone actually acts proud about farting, which is so “how old are we?” Otherwise, yes, passing gas is a normal human function, and mature people should understand that it happens and have particular grace when it comes to their beloved spouse.

      Reply
  12. E.E.W.

    Great article, J!

    I’ve slept with the same lovely wife for nearly 56 years, so I guess I’l chime in here. I don’t usually want sex, but there’s nothing I enjoy more than to find a naked wife sleeping with her back to me so we can spoon.

    I complement her with praises for her body and her gifts of love (meals, ironing my shirts, etc.) several times a day, as well as telling her I love her. I also buy her expensive perfume and body lotion, and she knows that the best place to wear these is in bed, with nothing else.

    After more than five decades in my arms she’s more beautiful than ever, and I do tell her so!

    Reply
  13. Sheep

    Commenting as a man that is now in the middle of a divorce because of my wife’s adultery and unrepentant attitude. Your list really hits the nail on the head as I look back at 20 plus years of marriage. My wife was absolutely the gatekeeper, and I learned just to stop asking because it wasn’t going to happen unless it was her idea. Often, she would make sex something to bargain for, “If you will go and get me this…. then maybe we can do something tonight. For most of our marriage, when it was her idea, it had to be in the dark with no exploring going on. There were times that I went for years without seeing her naked. When it did happen, I usually was not allowed to touch her, and it was with the attitude that I should just hurry up and get it over with.

    She had great confidence in every other area of her life, but it was like in the bedroom she just didn’t care enough to have confidence. It goes without saying that there wasn’t a whole lot of engagement or appreciation going on either.

    Looking back, one of the hardest things, is that this was all done with an attitude of “you should just be thankful for what you get” And in an odd way I was thankful, kinda like the man dying of thirst in the desert is thankful to find a small cup of water. Of course I didn’t know any better. She would refuse to talk about sex, wouldn’t read any resources on the issue and wouldn’t have let me read any either. I wasn’t the type of person to talk with a friend about it because I didn’t want to make her look bad.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      This makes me so sad, both because I know it’s a heartbreaking story you went through (and frankly, she did too, because she really missed out) and because it’s one I’m sure other spouses could tell. Thanks for sharing your experience.

      Reply
  14. Anonymous

    I think just as important as knowing WHAT a man wants in the bedroom is WHY he wants these things (which, as a man, I can say are spot on!).

    Intimacy (Into Me, See) with God is more than just growing in our knowledge of Him, but BELIEVING that knowledge to the extent that it changes who were are (our identity). Out of the deep-seated belief (new identity), our behavior flows. When we believe what is true of God and us with not just our heads, but our hearts, we have intimacy. When we don’t (believing lies about Him and us), we have sin.

    Intimacy with our spouse is no different. There are (many) things about our spouse that confuse us, because we often process the world in a completely different way. As we gain this knowledge about our spouse, we find it hard to believe. Because of this, our identity doesn’t change and our behavior continues. Intimacy doesn’t happen to a great degree because of this unbelief. We believe the lie that how we see the world is the only way, the right way, or some combination of the two.

    Take a husband who tells his wife over and over that she’s beautiful, for instance. She has a hard time believing that to be true (for any number of, what to her are, legitimate reasons). Because she struggles to believe it to be true, so she doesn’t have any light on when making love (what J called “access”). This is perceived as a lack of confidence, or belief in what her husband has told her over and over again. “It’s clear she doesn’t believe me.” “How I wish I could not only see her, but see her confidently giving me access to her visual beauty.” Her husband is perceiving a lack of intimacy and closesness because of her unbelief (regardless of how difficult it may be for her to believe him).

    It’s the same for husbands who have a wife that tells them they just want them to listen, and yet, because that’s not how he sees the world, finds it hard to believe and doesn’t end up listening but constantly trying to fix everything. She senses a lack of intimacy because of his unbelief. If he could believe her to the extent that it changes who he is (going from being her “fix-it man” to being her “trusted confidant”), his behavior would change and their intimacy would grow.

    I hope this is helpful…

    Reply

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