SWM003: Is sex a need or a want?

Sex Within Marriage PodcastToday I’m tackling the question: Is sex a need or a want?  I’ve actually written about this in the past but it was about 3.5 years ago, and I have a lot of new readers since then and now new listeners who haven’t heard my views on this subject.  So, here we go.

Show Notes


  • Many people exhibit side effects of a lack of sex, or a low frequency of sex.
  • These side effects can be physical, they can be psychological, they can be emotional and they can be relational
  • Often one spouse experiences the effects more than the other.  But, does this mean they need sex more often, or just that they want sex more often?

The conflict

  • Usually it’s the higher drive spouse who experiences the negative effects of a lack of sex.
  • Generally the lower drive spouse has other things they’d rather be doing.  Often, particularly when you have young children, and if the lower-drive spouse is the wife, the conflict is often between preferring sleep over sex, or visa-versa.
  • Who’s need is more important?  Well, if the low-drive spouse has veto power over sex, then they win by default, regardless of whether it’s a need or a want.

How do we solve this?

Using the example of sleep and sex:

  • If sex is a need and sleep is a need, then you have a stalemate.
  • If sex is a want and sleep is a want, then again, you have a stalemate.
  • If sleep is a want and sex is a need, then sex should definitely be an option.
  • If sleep is a need and sex is a want, then the high-drive spouse is viewed as selfish.  As we talked about last week, often this is how the low-drive spouse feels, because they may not see sex as a need, and so their spouse is obviously flawed, broken, selfish or abusive for wanting sex above whatever they feel their need is.

What does the Bible say?

  • 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 says that sex is certainly a need, in fact we’re commanded to be available to our spouses, to not deprive them.
  • That doesn’t mean we can compel our spouses to have sex.  After all, Ephesians 5:25-28 says that we need to love in a sacrificial way.
  • So, what’s the answer?  Ideally, we each love selflessly, seeing the needs of the relationship above our individual desires.
  • Sometimes that means individual desires need to be met so that the relationship can thrive.

My conclusion

  • Sex is not an individual need, thought it may be an individual want.
  • However, it is a relational need for marriage.  Without frequent sex, the relationship gets damaged.  How?  More on that next week.

What’s going on this week?

Don’t forget to check out this week’s marriage challenge.

Looking for more help?

12 thoughts on “SWM003: Is sex a need or a want?”

  1. Mike DeLuca says:

    After years without sexual intimacy we have been making love almost every day. Sometimes morning, sometimes afternoon, sometimes bed time, sometimes all three times. Last night at bedtime we made love for an hour or so. At about 1:30 a.m. my wife woke me up and wanted to make love again. We made love for an hour or so. It was great sex. However, I got to thinking. Am I not satisfying my wife enough, or has something awakened in her that makes her WANT to make love to me so often? Does my wife NEED sex that often now? I am happy to oblige either way. Although, I must admit being worn out a bit.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      But it’s a good tired right?

      1. Mike DeLuca says:

        🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. Robyn Gibson says:

    Sleep is an excellent comparison of a need and a want. Great read, thanks!

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Hey Robyn! Long time no see! You’re welcome!
      It’s actually a podcast, so you can listen as well as read 🙂

  3. Mike DeLuca says:

    I wonder when I will have sex with my wife again. My mother-in-law arrived yesterday for a couple of weeks for Thanksgiving. After we picked her up from her flight, my wife said she was too tired last night to make love. This morning since we did not sleep well, we did not get together. This afternoon we were lying down and would have had sex, but my wife heard her mother walking around so we had to stop. My wife said, “lets go go bed early so we can make love.” I am looking forward to that time with my wife, but, we had a little tiff over dinner and now I wonder if she will be too tense with her mother around to relax enough to enjoy our time together. I need my wife. How do you suggest she “leave and cleave” and how do I deal with this? She is making sounds like she wants to live with us.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I would suggest talking about it openly. Tell her your fear that it will damage your intimacy together, not just sex, but how you worry it will affect your relationship negatively.

    2. Blue 140 says:

      Yeah, unless it’s an extreme situation your mother in law finds herself in, I’d be vetoing that idea. You have a good thing going. Don’t let it get screwed up.

  4. Gracie says:

    I feel that sex is a need for a healthy close marriage. It is the one thing you share with your spouse that you share with no one else. Don’t let the cares of this world and busy schedules rob you of this vital connection to keep you two connected.
    I have been married for a long time and still feel that sex is very important. One of us has a much higher sex drive and always has. In our case it is me, the wife. My husband has a normal sex drive for a man, surely not lacking but for some reason mine is higher. It has been an issues lately because of health issues that have affected my husbands desire and ability. Through communication we have learned that sex does not have to be P in V all the time. It is about the intimacy and closeness. Sometimes just cuddling naked is a bonding experience like no other.
    I am a strong believer in Christ and can tell you that no one is above temptation to stray if their needs are not being met by their partner. The bible is very clear about your bodies belonging to each other and to come together regularly except for when there is sickness. Even mutual agreement not to have sex is disobedient to the Bible. God knows what is best for us.
    Hope this helps, especially you newly married couples. Take it from one married since the 70s, keep sex alive and it will improve your overall quality of life and health. It is also a good example to your children and children if they see appropriate touching of their parents and grandparents. Knowing your parents love each other is the best gift you can give them.
    Happy Thanksgiving

  5. Jimchristian says:

    Hi all, newbie here. I found you guys in a search for information on coconut oil, well, to rub down my wife with. Look, a couple has GOT to set aside time, set a mood, plot the evening. Guys, you absolutely have to turn your woman on. You must lead her to that out of love and your own motivation, your horniness, whatever it is that drives your instincts as a man toward making love to your wife. I have friends, golf buddies, confidants, if you will, that haven’t made love to their wives in months. Months. One, a man of maybe 40, he and his wife maintain separate sleeping arrangements within the house. And they seem resigned, even satisfied with the arrangement somehow. It is at this time that I suggest they must be low-testosterone. I’m no he-man, but I’m 58, my wife is 52 and all I think of is plotting the satisfaction of my wife and of course, in the course of the evening, my own. I set the stage with affection leading into the evening, but we have made many things more comfortable in the bedroom. Our queen-size bed is tall, so that it is like a massage table, makes access VERY nice. We light candles, my wife LOVES her massages, front, back, it progresses from there. We really can’t get by the weekend without a lot of lovemaking. But gents, you have to want this and I believe testosterone deficiencies are a huge factor. That is what drives a man’s “horny-levels”. It just does.

    Every morning, I send my beautiful woman an email, always subject-line, “Thoughts”. I do poetry, my own and each and every day, my note celebrates one little aspect I love about her, our trust, her kindness toward others, toward me. Other “thoughts” express love for her passions, others about my plans for a lusty weekend, sometimes so explicit she blushes when she opens them at work. She knows who her man is, and it’s ME. She SO appreciates this stuff and within my heart, it builds passion and dammit, I know testosterone fuels a lot of this because I get damned passionate in my notes and expressions of feelings and love. And when my gal comes home to me, I make her my wife, and I am her man. It’s leadership, but she has lots of incentive, lots of massages, kisses and many unmentionables. With my wife, in her eyes I am a benevolent animal attraction and it IS good. We save the little poems and “thoughts in a collection and sometimes, I catch her browsing through our “Love.Doc”, it is hundreds of pages of my thoughts and the bottomless well of love I have for her. I am so blessed, I look at the stars and thank God for my beautiful “Brazilian Bombshell”, I kid her with that. I love her so, and she, me. We found each other late in life, widowed both, but it was a gift from God, we are convinced. This has been my way with women and wives forever and the rewards returned are immeasurable. This, men must do and have.

    Guys, somewhere in your woman’s heart, there is love. Maybe it’s a little warmth, maybe just a spark. But with care, with planning, with setting a mood and a comfortable bedroom environment conducive to music and warmth and by learning your wife’s body and soul with your hands, kisses and touch, you can reawaken your love. The women WANT to be led there, to a special place in their soul, they want their husband to take them there and be enveloped in that passion together with you. But Gents, you have to want it. Without this love, is emptiness and without that leadership and satisfaction, straying, or God forbid, a divorce. There is no life without all the love of a woman. She wants it too, but you have got to make it good, and sincere and loving. It really is easy..

    Now, about that coconut oil? 🙂

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Hey Jim,

      I think there is something in here, but then I also think there may be too much. This may be practical for a couple without young kids, but that’s a lot of invested time for those of us with … more interruptions. This weekend we could even manage our 20 minute foreplay challenge without having to take a break to tend to a kid. More often, it’s a massage OR sex, not massage and sex. While I agree, many men need to make more of an effort, I think most need to work smarter, not harder. Most need to shift their perspective, not throw more labor into the problem.

      Don’t get me wrong, I think taking the time to do things that show your love and invite your spouse is important, but I think some would see a huge advantage to having a letter a quarter written without needing to jump to daily.

      And, sadly, even if a husband did all these things, there is still no guarantee his wife would reciprocate (or visa-versa). There are still hard hearts to contend with in some marriages.

      P.S. I actually wrote a post about coconut oil yesterday. It should be up next week.

      1. Jimchristian says:

        No kids, here. Annnnnd, no risk of kids. I suppose being on the other end age-wise has it’s advantages and liberations. As for my little note, they’re 5 minute contrivances. I fancy myself a bit of a writer, I have a vivid imagination, they’re no effort with this gal.

        And you’re right, no guarantees. Mine is from Brazil, however, and not tainted with fourth-wave feminist attitudes. She is content for me to take the lead. My suggestions work for me, of course, any other (especially so) young man’s mileage may vary.

        Jay-Dee, you run a kindly written and at the root, loving environment here. I can see there is good support here for the confused of both genders. Pity there is such need, that we have built such a society that the young are in love and aren’t even allowed to show it to one another. Seems that way and it seems they need guidance. Pastors are working hard these days with their flocks, at least the pastors and the parts of the flocks with good intentions. Cheers, Jay-Dee. Thanks for allowing my oar to dip the water here.

        Merry Christmas. There I said it! Ha!

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