Sex – more than one thing, more than one need.
I was recently introduced to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. What I find interesting, and right, is that sex shows up in more than one place. You see sex at the bottom, on the Physiological level, and also see sexual intimacy two levels up as part of Love/belonging. I’d add something sexual to the fourth level up, Esteem.
What I often see in men is that their basic Physiological sex need is not being taken care of, and that leaves them unaware of, or unable to feel, their sexual intimacy need. Women tend to be far more aware of, and thus focused on, the intimacy or Love/belonging aspect of sexuality. That’s not wrong, it’s a function of how God made women. The problem comes when a woman expects a man to be as she is. Some women find their husband’s awareness of sex on the Physiological level to be distasteful, or unloving, or just wrong. Sometimes a woman will withdraw from sex because she wants to have her Love/belonging sexual need met. The problem is that this just makes his Physiological sexual need intensify, and that makes it just about impossible for him to have sex on the Love/belonging level.
In short, a woman can make what she wants, Love/belonging sexuality, difficult to impossible for her husband to provide because she’s not meeting his Physiological sexual need. It’s kind of like trying to teach a child table manners by denying them food when they fail to show good manners. Thing is, the hungrier they become, the less able they are to not grab what they can and stuff it into their mouths as fast as possible.
Am I suggesting that a wife should unilaterally give her husband what he wants? Actually, I am. Not because her wants and feelings are unimportant (they are very important), and not because I think sex is primarily for men (it should be for both of them). However, it’s easier to take care of Physiological sex when you lack Love/belonging sex than the other way around. This is the same as with the child who needs to learn table manners – it’s easier when they’re not starved.
That said, my audience here is primarily men, and I know most of you can’t (or shouldn’t, trust me) forward this to your wife. For you, my suggestion is to understand what’s going on, and why. See what you can do to give her what she wants, even when you’re tempted to grab anything you see. Try to treat her with love and respect even when you’re so horny you can’t think of anything other than sex. Try not to be a jerk when she fails to understand and meet your sexual needs. Then, when you are not feeling sex-starved, or at least when sex is not possible for a while, talk to her gently about her needs and your needs, and ways to meet both needs more often.