How much sex do you need?
As I have been going through the “What I need from my wife” poll, I’ve seen a number of guys say something like “More sex – at least xx per xx.” The following may help some of you get a better handle on “enough”, and that might help you discuss the issue with your bride. Or, you might just send her this – if it says what you feel and you really want her to hear the whole thing.
I contend that you really can’t know how much is enough unless you have had an amount that felt like enough, and that happened in your current relationship, and fairly recently. I think we can really only feel three things about how much sex we are having – it’s enough, it’s not enough, or it’s too much. How can we know where the dividing line is between any enough and not enough if we have not experienced it? And what does “experience it” mean? Can we base “enough” on how often we masturbated 15 years ago? I don’t think so. Can we base it on the amount of sex we had when we first married? Again, I would say no.
“Enough” is not just about quantity. Granted, if quantity is too low, it’s virtually impossible to think about anything else. However, we really do want far more than just “as much as I can get”. We want, and we need, sex that is emotionally and relationally significant and satisfying. The problem is we have a hard time even experiencing those when we are sex starved. For most men a certain level of “frequency” is necessary before anything else can register. We don’t like that we are that way, but we are. I’ve looked deeply into the biology, and it’s clear to me this is how God made us – it’s how we are.
Enough is a moving target. Sex is not just about releasing the pressure we feel when we don’t have it; sex does so many things for us. Sex makes us feel loved, it makes us want to be intimate, and it causes us to want to bless and protect our bride. Sex also effects our bodies, releasing stress, helping us sleep, and making us feel more balanced. Since sex does so many things for us, the “enough” amount will vary as our life changes. Some guys want more sex when they are in high stress situations, while others want less. If a couple is separated for a time, a man will want more sex to reconnect and feel close again. Sex can be a reassurance after a fight. Sex can also be a desire born out of deeper intimacy – so spending time together may result in a man wanting more because he feels closer and more in love.
Not all sex is the same. A while back, I saw a wife commenting on a secular blog. She had learned that her husband would masturbate nightly if they were not having sex, but did not masturbate at all if she had sex with him two or three times a week. This probably seems odd to most women, but we guys get it. Both acts result in physical release, but intercourse is so much better in so many ways. Sex with our bride satisfies parts of us that can’t be satisfied by masturbation. Masturbation leaves us hungry, and we may try to fill that with more masturbation, but it never works. Similarly, for most men intercourse is better than any other way a wife might give him sexual pleasure. It may or may not be more physically pleasurable, but it does satisfy and reduce our sex drive more deeply. This is why a man may struggle to “last” when they have intercourse once week and she does something else for him the most other days, but the same man can last as long as he likes when they have intercourse every other day and that’s all he gets. Even though he is climaxing more often in the first situation, it’s not as satisfying, and does not give him as great a release from his sexual tension.
How much do you need? You probably don’t know. You probably also don’t know what you need – how much intercourse verses other forms of sex you need to be really satisfied. It’s okay not to know, and it’s okay to tell your bride you don’t know. Be honest with her. Tell her what you think and feel. Tell her you don’t know how to get from sexually frustrated to sexually satisfied, and then be open to working with her to find what works for you.