3 Things Underneath Your Husband’s Desire for Sex

3 Things Underneath Your Husband’s Desire for Sex

Your husband wants sex? 3 things he’s not saying out loud:

1. “I need to feel desirable.”  We women may think sex is just a physical need for a guy, but that’s not most of what is going on. When his wife responds to him – or initiates it herself! – it meets a deep emotional need to feel that his wife desires him.

2. “I love you and want to be closer to you.”  We women want to feel close outside the bedroom in order to feel close inside the bedroom.  But for many men, when they feel tension in the air, when there’s distance, when they know something’s just not right… they miss their wife.  For a man’s biological chemistry, in fact, sex is one of the only times that his brain releases oxytocin, the bonding hormone, which brings a great feeling of closeness with someone.  When he reaches for you, you may think, I cannot believe he would want sex now, when we’re at odds / fighting /distant. But instead, realize: he’s reaching for you in order to get back that feeling of closeness with you that he is longing for.

3. “I’m really vulnerable right now.”  Because sex is more of an emotional need than a physical one for him, many men in my research told me there is no time more insecure, scary and vulnerable than when they approach their wives in that way.  They are essentially laying their “desirability” and their heart out in front of you and asking, “what do you think of me?”  Without realizing it, when we are tired or just not in the mood, it is easy to brush him off in a way that cuts that vulnerable heart deeply.  Now, just to be clear, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have a say in the matter!  Of course, there will be times we simply aren’t able to respond.  But when that happens, it is even more critical that we show him how much we care, how much we love him, and (with a saucy wink) that we need to make a date for another night!


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Helping people thrive in life and relationships is Shaunti Feldhahn’s driving passion, supported by her research projects and writing. After starting out with a Harvard graduate degree and experience on Wall Street, her life took an unexpected shift into relationship research. She now is a popular speaker around the world and the author of best-selling books about men, women, and relationships. (Including For Women Only, For Men Only, and the groundbreaking The Good News About Marriage).

Her newest book, The Kindness Challenge, demonstrates that kindness is the answer to almost every life problem, and is sparking a much-needed movement of kindness across the country. Visit www.shaunti.com for more.

This article first appeared at Patheos.

3 Comments

  1. adriana says:

    we hear and read a lot about a husband’s desire for sex. but what about his lack of desire? falling sleep on the sofa constantly?
    it is hurtful to feel rejected and directly affects a wife’s self steem and sense of security since she may think husband’s so talked about sex drive is being fulifilled somewhere else.
    of course a wife in this predicament will be easy to anger, anger is a secondary emotion lets not forget that, and an angry nagging wife is a undesirable wife. but an absent husband is hurtful. how to break the cycle when wife feels inadequate and unwanted?
    asking for a friend 🙂

  2. Bobthemusicguy says:

    Shaunti, thanks for another spot on analysis. It took me a long time myself to realize that my desire for sex with my wife is really about relational intimacy. When a man approaches his wife for sex, he is laying his heart on the line. Her response can build him up or tear him down. A yes brings pleasure to his body but joy to his heart. A no, when heard frequently, or a later that is not followed up on, will leave wounds. Thank you for explaining this so clearly. Most women, and probably most men, don’t understand the deep vulnerability a man has, especially regarding the woman he loves and desires.

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