Why Sex is So Important to Men

Why Sex is So Important to Men

In 4 out of 5 marriages men have the higher sex drive and are the primary initiator of sexual experiences. If you are in one of these marriages this comes as no surprise to you. It may seem like your husband is constantly wanting sex and acts like a wounded puppy dog if you’re not in the mood. It begs the question: Why is sex so important to my husband?

It’s the way God made him. 

He came from the factory this way. That’s how God made him. It’s actually part of the whole created in God’s own image thing talked about in the Bible. You see a man’s passionate and unrelenting pursuit of intimacy with his wife reflects God’s passionate pursuit for peoples hearts. When we were still completely disinterested in Him, He loved us and pursued us, wooing our heart that we might be in an intimate relationship with Him. 

Repeatedly in the Bible God uses the marriage relationship, husband and wife relationship, to illustrate the kind of relationship he wants to have with people; He being our husband and we His bride. In this relationship God is always interested in connecting intimately with us. There’s never a day of the week or time of day, or any place that He isn’t willing to connect with us if we make the time to do so. You’ll never get a “I’m too tired, come back later” message from Him. 

There’s also this amazing metaphor for the intimacy that God desires to have with us displayed through intercourse. In every other religion God is out there some where and we are trying to get to god. In Christianity, the message of the Gospel is that God came for us, and when we embrace Him he literally indwells our body, alive inside of us. This closeness of relationship is mirrored as a husband literally indwells his brides body through intercourse when she accepts him. 

Sex is a primary way a man emotionally bonds with his wife. 

Again we’ll blame God for this, since in His perfect wisdom God designed your husbands body to release the bonding hormone oxytocin in enormous quantities when experiencing orgasms with his wife. Wives experience this too, but men do so 400% more. 

You may be familiar with oxytocin if you have vaginally delivered children. The synthetic form, pitocin, is often administered during baby delivery to move labor along. It’s because of the massive amounts of this bonding hormone in your blood when your baby arrives that doctors believe you want to snuggle with your baby instead of kill it after all the pain it caused you. It’s also the hormone that triggers a nursing mom’s milk let down when her baby nuzzles and causes the feeling of closeness when your kids snuggle on your lap while you read them a story. 

God wired your husband so that when he connects with you sexually, the skin to skin contact and hormone release with orgasm would create deep emotional bonding between he and you. It’s this oxytocin flood through his body that also makes him very sleepy after sex. In the absence of regular oxytocin events like sex your husband will be emotionally disconnected from you. 

Sex is a huge part of a mans identity.

In more than 10 years of therapy I have yet to have a man sit on my couch and say “Josh, my wife only loves me for my penis. Sex, sex, sex, it’s all she wants. It’s like she doesn’t even care about me as a person. All I am to her is a walking penis.” Now maybe that guy exists, but I’ve not met him yet. I have, however, had many wives express the sentiment concerning their husbands – that they feel their husband isn’t interested in them as a person, only as a sex object. 

This idea is foreign to men, because their sexuality is very much integrated with their identity. While women experience their sexuality as largely separate from their personhood. For a man, to reject him sexually is a rejection of his personhood. 

Sometimes I illustrate this with a story about the best and worst anniversary card ever given. The story goes like this:

A husband decides to write his wife an anniversary card to express his undying love for her. It reads, “Darling, you are so beautiful and I find you so sexually un-resistible that if you were in a coma and we could never have another conversation but we could still have sex – I wouldn’t mind a bit, I’d keep you around so we could keep having sex.” 

How do you think that wife felt? How would you feel? Not very good probably. Quite possible the worst anniversary card ever, yes?

Now, take that same anniversary card and have a wife give it to her husband, “Darling, you are such a stud and I find you so sexually un-resistible that if you were in a coma I would keep your body around so I could keep having sex with you.”

You’re likely to hear this guy telling his friends around the locker room “You’re never going to believe what my wife said….it was the nicest thing she’s ever said to me…”

The reason for this is that men’s identity and sexuality are so integrated. To accept a man sexually is to accept him. To reject a man sexually is to reject him. Often times women will say this to their husband, thinking they are paying him a compliment: “Honey, I love you so much, appreciate you as dad, and enjoy being married to you – if we never had sex again, I would be OK with that, I just don’t need that part of our relationship – it’s you that are so precious to me.”

A man hearing this from his wife feels about the same as a wife feels hearing, “Honey, I love having sex with you so much, if we never have another meaningful conversation, if I never have to hear your voice again, but we can keep having great sex – I would be OK with that, I just don’t really need that whole conversation part of our relationship.”

Most wives would be crushed hearing this – husbands feel the same. Only, instead of expressing it in tears men tend to express hurt in the form of anger. They may blow up or just shut-down and withdraw from the relationship. 

It’s a big way he feels affirmed and accepted by you. 

Since a man’s sexuality is such a big part of his identity it’s also a significant way he feels affirmed and accepted by his wife. Words, acts of service, quality time, non-sexual physical touch, and sometimes gifts all matter – but none of these love languages replace a man’s longing to feel wanted sexually by his wife. Nothing says, “I love you, thank you, I think you’re great” to a man quite like “You’re a stud and I look forward to having sex with you.” 

The entire pornography and illicit sex industry is built on the exploitation of this powerful reality for men. Porn and illicit sex is never rejecting, always affirming, and always want’s you sexually. While this is a fantasy and no real woman could ever live up to this, it illustrates what they know about a mans heart. Every man want’s to be found sexually desirable by his wife and to feel accepted/affirmed sexually by her. 

Men and women are different by design. 

Men experience their sexuality differently than women. While this may be confusing to wives, it’s not because men are broken or defective – it’s how God made us. Believe it or not, the differences are actually complementary. 

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Anxiety in Men: Common Warning Signs

anxiety

Anxiety in men is real and impacts life substantially.  However, it often goes unnoticed, by both the man and those who care about him.  When the “a” word is used, the response is immediate, “No, I am not anxious!”  The old saying is true: a man isn’t afraid, he’s just concerned.  As a therapist who specializes in working with men, there are common warning signs of anxiety I look for.  A man won’t use words like anxiety or fear, but he may identify as:

  1. Feeling overwhelmed by life’s responsibilities and expectations.
  2. Having limited patience and being irritable.
  3. Being easily fatigued.
  4. Restlessness and inability to relax.
  5. Feeling unable to control or manage his worry.
  6. Becoming less effective/productive in work and home responsibilities.

*See below to learn more about each of the seven warning signs of anxiety in men.

  1. Feeling overburdened by life’s responsibilities and expectations.  Men are like pick-up trucks.  They are built to work and haul loads (life responsibilities).  In fact, just like a pick-up, if there’s no load in the back, their handling can get kind of wild (think of the way many young, single men live and behave).  While it’s good for him to carry a load, sometimes life’s load gets imbalanced or he is not effective in carrying it.  Generally, instead of recognizing this and communicating a need for help, he will struggle silently, growing more frustrated.
  2. Having limited patience and being irritable.  Like it or not, most men anxiety/fear with weakness.  Weakness is not something he is comfortable with, at least his own weakness.  Men will often make flippant comments about the box of tissues in my office, trying to joke with me about needing it.  Anger, in the form of irritability, frustration, being demanding/controlling, is a safe way for a man to express fear.  Anger gives the illusion of power and mastery.  However, it is ineffective in solving the real problem.  Think of it another way.  If a child is afraid or overwhelmed emotionally, they will often react with anger.  They feel powerless, and to deal with this, they are using angry outbursts to demand control.  It’s as if they are saying, “If I get angry, I won’t have to feel afraid anymore/If I have a choice between anger and fear, I choose anger.”   
  3. Being easily fatigued.  If a man loses the “zip” in his step or enthusiasm for life, it can be a sign he is struggling.  Anxiety is one of the most energy zapping emotions.  It has the effect of causing a man to expend several times the usual amount of energy to accomplish the same tasks.  I use the following example with men:

a b line

There are two points above, A & B.  The line takes me from A to B in the simplest, most efficient way possible – in a straight line.  Only the necessary amount of energy is expended in this example, but what happens if we add anxiety?

Anxiety makes a big difference, taking our once straight line and turning it into a phone cord.  Yes, the man is still able to get from A to B, but if we stretch out the line, it’s clear he has had to go farther and expend more energy to get there.  No wonder he is so tired.

  1. Restlessness and inability to relax.  Once we realize why our guy is so fatigued, it’s clear he needs to rest. The problem is, he can’t.  Strong feelings of anxiety keep causing him to feel as if rest is not a good idea.  He must remain vigilant, even if he does not have a good reason to.  Explaining this to loved ones is difficult.  In counseling, I use the example of a fire alarm.  Imagine if you are in a building and its very loud fire alarm is sounding.  It causes you to feel the need to act, to get out of the building, exactly what it was designed to do.  Now imagine a loved one was there in the building with you, but they could not hear the alarm.  They keep telling you to lie down and rest, maybe even take a nap, but it’s impossible.  You try to explain this to them, but they just don’t get it.  Hunger is only a burden to those without food to eat, but for the rest of us, it’s just a cue to go to the refrigerator.  Fatigue is only a burden to those who cannot rest.
  2. Feeling unable to control or manage his worry.  Some anxiety is normal and a part of life.  Too much can be an inescapable burden.  Most of us are working to manage our anxiety throughout our day.  It’s like we are juggling balls, and most of the time, feel pretty adept at doing so.  However, the man who is anxious feels as if he has way too many balls to juggle.  No matter how much he tries to manage them better he keeps dropping them.  Anxiety goes from being a normal life experience to a sign that something bad is about to happen.    
  3. Becoming less effective/productive in work and home responsibilities.  Too much anxiety has the net effect of making a man less effective in important areas of his life.  He is unable to concentrate his efforts and energies on the task at hand, leading to poor performance.  His problems are also beginning to multiply.  As his productivity lessens, his backlog increases and so does his anxiety.  An insurmountable obstacle is forming, which will cause him significant problems down the road.  Anxiety has worked to justify its existence by creating real, identifiable problems.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with anxiety, there is competent, caring help available.  At The Relationship Center, we have counselors who specialize in helping men with anxiety.  Give us a call today at 417-763-3309. 

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical
manual of mental disorders
(4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: Author.

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