There are a LOT of differences between men and women. One of these differentiations between the genders typically involves the way we view sex. It is a source of silent conflict for many couples. We are talking about one of the most intimate acts that two humans can engage in, so even just the vulnerability that sex brings about between you and your partner can be a recipe for miscommunication and unintentional (and sometimes even intentional) hurt. A lot of these misunderstandings, however, can be avoided if we would simply get to know how our partner is thinking when it comes to important questions like:
– How does my spouse view sex?
– What is his/her end goal of sex?
– How does he/she think that sex will bring us closer together?
I think when you can get into the mind of your spouse, it changes the game when it comes to healthy sex and communication, waylaying unnecessary fighting, and allows you to connect more deeply and intimately then ever before.
Take my wife Tracy and me for example. Tracy and I are very similar in a lot of ways, but we are also extremely different in others. I am an early morning person. She is a night owl. I am borderline OCD with order. She is ok with chaos. I am conservative financially. She is willing to take risks. But at the end of the day, we always see eye to eye, regardless of what the subject is. How? The key is knowing where the other person is coming from and being able to enter into his/her train of thought with as much openness and as little bias as possible. Once we were able to do that, the entirety of our marriage changed.
Perspective is huge!!
And the subject of sex is no different. You see men and women may want the same end goal when it comes to sex, but they view and approach it very, very differently. (Now these are broad strokes, so you may be an outlier, but for the most part this analogy holds true.) I really do believe that the end goal of sex for both genders is אֶחָד “echad”, or intimacy that allows two people to become one, or fused together at the deepest level. Sex is an amazing way that we can reconnect and experience that echad again and again. (For a more in-depth understanding of this, be sure to check out the first post of this series “Healthy Sex (Part 1 of 3): What is Sex”) How men and women get there, however, is totally different.
Let’s start with the men. Much to the disbelief of some women, men do crave non-sexual intimacy. They want to be emotionally close to their wives and have a deep and personal relationship with her that goes beyond sex. The massive variance that delineates men from women is that men need to first have sex in order to feel this intimacy.
Intimacy is a POST-SEX experience for guys. Sex is the gateway that leads men to this type of emotional connection.
This is very different for the ladies.
For women, they need to feel that intimacy BEFORE the act of sex. They need to have an intimate and emotional connection to stir up her desire for a sexual encounter with her husband.
When non-sexual intimacy is high in a marriage, wives are far more open and willing to have sex with their husbands. If not, well, it is going to take a little while longer to heat up the oven… or sometimes not at all.
This was pretty revelatory for me to figure out. It was a game changer. It really did change my perspective and helped me to understand my wife a lot better when it came to sex and her perspective. And it changed hers as well when she recognized that sex was the main portal to intimacy for me as a man.
Now there is a part of me that really wishes that men and women would have been made to see sex in the same way, but we weren’t and we don’t. And sometimes I wonder why God designed us this way. It would have been much easier for us to have a compatible perspective that lines up with one another when it comes to sex, wouldn’t it? So why would God play this cruel joke on us to make it so hard to connect in this way that we both so desperately want?
Sex is how men emotionally connect. Women need emotional connection before sex. Do you see why this is such a problem for a lot of couples?
But the more I thought about it, the more it actually made sense. There is a beauty in the way God designed how men and women interact with one another when it comes to sex. By giving us completely different perspectives and making it to where men need sex to feel that intimate connection and women to need intimacy before feeling the desire for a sexual connection, it forces a couple to interact on a deeper relational level instead of just a physical one. It creates an interplay between husband and wife that compels them both to engage with one another on multiple levels and in multiple ways. It invokes physical, communicative, emotional, mental, and even spiritual connectedness in order for us to fully experience echad as God designed it.
It’s pretty brilliant actually. Well played God. Well played.
It also points us back to the fact that we are not in this marriage for our own selfish gain. We are in it to serve and love our spouse and have a 100/0 mentality, not a what-can-I-get-out-of-this-marriage mentality. Sex is one of the great ways that God has allowed us to not only experience echad and the most intimate and beautiful connection with another human being possible, but also points us back to the selfless love of the Father and is a working example of how we should ultimately live every aspect of our lives: selflessly and for the sake of others.
This all comes from when we are able to put the needs of our spouse in front of our own. And when we are flowing in this 100/0 mentality where we are trying to serve our spouse by meeting them in his/her emotional and physical desire, sex fits beautifully. Sex becomes the bond and holistic connection that it was intended to be between two people devoted to one another. But this all comes from a proper perspective and being able to see it from the other side and your spouses angle… and having the desire to serve them in this way.
Look out for Part 3 of the Healthy Sex series coming soon! Be sure to subscribe to the blog or follow on social media for more info!