"When a man gives up his freedom to get married, and forsake all others, he reasonably expects to get a ‘little thing’ on a regular basis." ~ Richard Hoad.
The obvious premise of the above quote is that men need "a little thing" or in other words sex, with the underlying implication that women are not always prepared to give it. The problem with this equation is that there is a built-in expectation of exchange. Men are purportedly giving up their "freedom," which means surrendering a "right" to sexual variety, in exchange for regular sex with one woman. Women, however, seldom define marriage in these exact terms. Sure, we know regular sex is involved in a committed relationship, but very often we want more.
So where does sex, then, fit in for women? It really depends on the woman and I won't be presumptuous to attempt to speak for us all. Where a woman is coming from sexually and emotionally will determine how she navigates her marital priorities. In turn, this determines how accessible her sex will be to her husband.
The sexually assertive and experienced woman may rate sex fairly high on her list of relationship priorities. This may be the woman who is accustomed to sexual pleasure, is very comfortable with her sexuality, is older, wiser, tired of previous failed relationships, has a high sex drive or the woman who has been taught that sex with her man must be her number one priority. She may take or give sex willingly with little pressure for the meeting of other needs. And it's not that they don't exist. In the general scheme of things, she may have just grown wise to the understanding that not all of her needs will be met by her husband. Instead, she may have decided to simply enjoy what's available, with minimum fuss. Several men enjoy such women who are not emotionally demanding or who don't challenge them to stretch beyond what they know or are comfortable with.
Conversely, there are women who want and need more before they can feel comfortable in their sexual groove—and this is not about always having a headache, a perpetual period or about keeping their legs closed. These wives may give it up, but that's just the problem. Sex is viewed by them as a sacrifice; it's not a right or even a pleasurable priority. They may vacillate between not doing it to being emotionally absent when it’s being done to them.
This is exactly how such women verbalize or experience sex; as something taken from them, as something which they sacrifice with few or no returns—and husbands sometimes just don't get it. It's not always about the orgasm. Many women understand how to be orgasmic all by themselves. In the context of their relationships, however, they want so much more. Men must understand that their wife’s orgasm does not necessarily mean she's satisfied with the relationship.
“Men, however, are seldom taught that meeting their woman's deep emotional needs will guarantee that she will be literally opened for business whenever he comes knocking.”
This is where we need to find balance. A man's sexual needs are his number one priority, but a woman's emotional needs are hers. A man expects that sacrificing his wayward tendencies will yield sex on demand. A woman expects her relationship will provide unconditional love, loyalty and security, as core values in themselves; no strings attached. Whose needs are more important or where should we start? As women, we are often told to give a man all the sex he wants and this will keep him glued to our side.
Men, however, are seldom taught that meeting their woman's deep emotional needs will guarantee that she will be literally opened for business whenever he comes knocking. This imbalance in how we are socialized means that men can be literally spoilt. They expect the sexual goodies without responsibility for any returns which may transcend "giving" an orgasm. So yes, your woman gets an orgasm and you feel validated as a professional in the sack, but let’s move on to something, which really tests your manhood by asking these critical questions.
As a husband, when was the last time you really opened up and shared your deepest longings, hopes or fears? Have you taken the time to find out what your lady needs from you, outside of sex, to really feel loved? Are you prepared to spend some intimate couple-time without any "sexpectation?" How accessible and dependable are you to your wife? What about the volatile issue of fidelity; are you threatening her with this because you're not getting the sex you believe you're entitled to?
Ultimately, marriages are built on the sense of community that we are able to successfully emerge. This means bringing a merger to the meeting of needs. All needs are important and should be met within a context of genuine love. This also includes self-love, which should discourage us from surrendering our needs, to "settle" in angry silence, whether man or woman.
“While sex may define physical, emotional and spiritual oneness in marriage, it does not absolve men of their responsibility to see their marriages as more than a rubber-stamped entitlement to sex on demand.”
Bringing balance to the equation of needs requires ongoing dialogue, recognizing that our needs will change with time. While sex may define physical, emotional and spiritual oneness in marriage, it does not absolve men of their responsibility to see their marriages as more than a rubber-stamped entitlement to sex on demand. Similarly, wives should internalize the value of sex in improving the overall quality of their couple-lives, as it can bolster the emotional intimacy, which they crave.
Denise J Charles is an educator, counselor, relationship-coach, published author and blogger. She holds a Masters Degree in Education and is a qualified trainer-of-trainers. Denise is Executive Director of "Better Blends Relationship Institute," a counseling and training entity founded by herself and her husband Gabriel. Denise’s blog on sex can be found "here". Denise’s new book is "How To Have Mind-Blowing Sex Without Losing Your Brain." Follow her on Google+.