This is part 4 in my "Why Husbands Leave" series. If you missed the previous 3 posts, follow the links at the end of this post.
We all know that in most marriages wives are in charge when it comes to sexual activities. Sex happens only when they say, where they say, and only includes the things they say it will include. Husbands can initiate until the cows come home and it won't make a bit of difference. Generally speaking, her sexual preferences are the only thing on the menu, take it or leave it. If she wants a certain something, that's what they do. If she doesn't, they don't. Done deal. As long as the end result is the same every time, he should feel desired and sexy, right?
Many of you are probably shaking your heads in disagreement. but if you really examine it closely, it's true in a vast majority of marriages.
Here are just a few facts from my research:
- Men wait an average of 4 days from the time they begin initiating sexual intimacy until they actually have sex with their spouses (no wonder we give up).
- 52% of husbands have stopped initiating sex with their wives.
- In a survey of 2,473 men, 7 out of 10 said they were afraid to ask for anything different sexually from their wives.
- In the same survey, almost all husbands said they enjoyed seeing their wives' bodies.
- A poll of 1,500 wives showed that 4 out of 5 placed a higher priority on their children and house than pleasing their husbands.
- 75% of husbands stated that they would try anything their wives wanted in bed.
- 62% of wives are reluctant to let their husbands take the lead in bed.
- 69% of wives do not enjoy giving their husbands sexual pleasure if it doesn't involve intercourse.
- 43% of women do not like to get messy during sex.
84% of women have sex to get their guy to do more around the house.
What to do?
Men are visual creatures. We are sexual creatures. We desire adventure and variety. We are hunters by design. It's how our Heavenly Father made us.
I am fully aware of the fact that husbands are supposed to turn their sexual appetites toward their wives (1 Cor. 7:2), but when he she is too ashamed to show him the love he needs, it feels to him like something is wrong with him, as though he isn't sexy enough or desirable enough for her to share her body with him. When this happens, he feels awkward; he will shut down to her and seek other ways to make himself feel better.
If a wife consistently avoids things in bed that she is uncomfortable with, he will become passive. He will not initiate sex, and will leave it all up to her. When, where, how, etc... all for her to decide. He will stop asking. He won't stop desiring, he'll just stop asking. He'll write her off as a playmate. Just like a viticulturist prunes the unproductive branches of the grape vine, a husband will "prune" his wife from that part of his life. Then he will look for ways to fulfill that desire elsewhere.
If a wife treats sex as a chore instead of deriving joy from giving pleasure to her husband, he will not feel desired; he won't feel good when he's with her. As a result he will withdraw from her and seek out people who find him pleasant to be around. He will find a way to fill that need of being wanted.
If a woman is too ashamed to reveal her body to her own husband (Gen. 2:25), he will seek out opportunities to see a naked woman, because he has an attraction to them. You see, a naked woman is, to a man, like a light bulb is to a fly. He will keep flying into it even if he knows it's a terrible idea.
- He might linger a bit longer on that television station.
- He might let his eye be drawn to the advertisements on the right bar of his computer. He may even click on the link.
- Perhaps he will ogle the young jogger in the park.
- He might view pornography.
- He may have an affair.
- He might leave the marriage.
BUT ... many husbands are easily and deeply wounded by rejection from their wives. When husbands are wounded in a sexual way, it cuts to the very heart of their identity. Men are created that way. Yes, it really does mean that much. In some cases this is why husbands leave.
WARNING: THIS WILL MOST LIKELY OFFEND SOME OF YOU (I'm gonna use the "S" word).
Submit. When wives do not submit to their husbands sexually (translation = when wives don't give their husbands the sex they want/need), it places the husband in a vulnerable position in which he is more open to temptation. He will be drawn to situations that make him feel sexy and desired. That retail clerk who always winks at him might turn out to be someone who will fulfill his sexual desires. He should be turning these desires toward his wife, but if she isn't willing or available, he becomes susceptible to sexual temptation. In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul wrote, "Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything"(Eph. 5:24). I believe this also carries through to things sexual, as a means to keep husbands from being tempted by things outside of the marriage.
Now, before you all jump on me for being a misogynistic jerk, husbands are looking for more out of this deal than just sex. It's about intimacy. Oneness, Being known. completely. The whole enchilada. Husbands want sex to be a completely non-taboo activity. They don't want to be thought of as "yucky" in any way, but sadly in many cases that is exactly how they feel.
And ... I'm not saying all of this falls on the shoulders of wives. There are many husbands who have not spoken up about this, but are passively accepting what is given without making waves. ("What we have here is a failure to communicate." - Sorry, I just couldn't resist) In such cases, the husband needs to speak up and express his needs. If his wife doesn't know she isn't meeting a need, there's no reason for her to think there's a problem.
What to do?
Wives need to know their husbands. I mean really know them. They need to become students of the things that please their husbands and make them feel sexy and desired. Simple as that. Learn about him and his needs and learn how to meet them. Start small, simple - Rome wasn't built in a day
Husbands mustn't forget that when Adam and Even introduced sin into the world, God promised men a life of pain and frustration. Like it or not, they must accept the likelihood that their wives may not EVER make them feel desirable. With that in mind, trusting in God and focusing on His promises that things will be much better when they're walking on streets of gold is a more productive use of a man's time than walking around in a perpetual pity party. Meanwhile, they need to speak up and take the lead. It might make them happier men and better husbands.
From the inside out,
Why Husbands Leave, Part 1: Significance
Why Husbands Leave, Part 2: Love
Why Husbands Leave, Part 3: Respect