This is the second post in the 1/2 Marathon being orchestrated by the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association. I have a bunch of questions left from the A Males Perspective teleconference I spoke at last week. As such, I’ll be using this marathon to answer some of the questions I received. Please note, these are my perspective. I cannot vouch for all males and when I’m giving my perspective on women, I certainly cannot vouch for all women. So, on to the question:
Why do you think men think about sex more than women? And why is that so important to a man in his marriage?
So, I think the first question to ask is, do men actually think about sex more than women? There is a myth out there that men think about sex about once every 7 seconds while they are awake. This myth is false, I don’t know who started it, or why and it doesn’t really matter. What does appear certain is that, on average, men seem to think about sex more than women do. Researchers don’t agree on how often, and it varies greatly from person to person. One study says 19 times a day on average, another says every 5 minutes for teenagers and every 30 minutes for older adults, another says that 45% of men think about sex less than once a day.
As for why no one seems to have any substantiated ideas on it. Some blame society, some blame our brain configurations, some the way we were raised. I’m going to play the God card and say that I think God intended for men to think about sex more. We are both driven to connect emotionally, but in different ways, ways we both need in marriage to stay connected. I’m afraid that’s not a terribly satisfying answer scientifically, but it’s all I have.
Now, on to why it’s so important to a man in his marriage. At the core of a man’s self lies his sexuality. Again, whether by nature (God), or nurture, it’s unclear, but it is clearly there for an overwhelming majority of males. We view almost every interaction with our spouse through the lens of our sexuality which we take as the core of our self. So, from my perspective, if my wife is willing to have frequent sex with me, it means she wants to spend a lot of time with the part of me that is my core. If she wants to have passionate sex, it means she’s passionate about what makes me me. If she wants to explore and grow in our sexuality together, that means she wants to grow and explore and have adventures with that inmost part of me.
If she wants to take a walk, regardless of her feelings, it does not resonate the same because there is no sexual component. There is a part of us missing. If she wants to have a conversation, again, it’s good, it means she’s interested in my mind, but it lacks that sexual component, so we still feel like part of us is left out. If we were going for walks every day, having great conversations every day, but rarely having sex, what I feel is that she is interested in having a body walk beside her (perhaps protection, or companionship), she’s interested in me intellectually, but she rejects the very essence of myself, my sexuality. After a while, I would feel rejected as a spouse in my entirety.
It is said that women feel the same way about conversations with their spouses. No, don’t get me wrong, I love conversations with my wife. She is intelligent and wise and it is a pleasure to converse with her about any topic. But, if we didn’t manage to talk to each other for a couple of days, I’d miss it, but I would be climbing the walls for conversation. No, imagine the tables turned using conversation. Let’s say we went for a walk every day, we had sex every day, but we didn’t say 2 words to each other that weren’t purely functional. My wife would feel rejected. She’d feel objectified as a sex object/walking companion. A core part of herself, her need to communicate, is being denied.
The biggest problem with this analogy: she can get deep meaningful conversations with another adult, regardless of gender. I cannot get sex from another adult, nor would I want to. I am 100% dependent on my wife for sexual fulfillment and when your wife said “I’m not in the mood”, it means “I have decided unilaterally for both of us that we aren’t having sex, no discussion.” So many marriages exist in this state, of one spouse or another refusing sex day in and day out and then are shocked when the non-refusing spouse has an affair, or serves divorce papers, or gets addicted to pornography. Don’t get me wrong, they have their own blame, but it’s shared blame I think. You don’t starve a person and then lock them up for stealing bread, you feel the person and try to fix the system that made them starve in the first place.
So, why is it important? Because a rejection of sex with a man, is a rejection of the man from the man’s point of view.
Men: Do you agree, disagree?
Women: Is this a surprise, or did you know this?
35 thoughts on “Why Do You Think Men Think About Sex More Than Women?”
ayup. you may not be speaking about all men, but I think you’ve touched upon a deep truth
Oh, I agree, you cannot assume this about all men, but I would say the majority of men.
I agree completely and no surprises here. I’m so glad that there are blogs out there that will speak the truth about this. I believe that women have been let off the hook in this area for far too long out of ignorance. Thank you for bringing it to the forefront.
I agree, I think society as a whole has been masking this issue for far too long, and I think it’s being masked to tear down marriages. Sex drive differences are listed as the #1 reason couples go to therapy. This could not happen if we were more open and honest about the dynamic.
Everything you wrote is exactly what my husband has told me except the part concerning the frequency that men think about sex. Now, that is a relief! Every 7 seconds seems a bit much lol!!! I like how you compared a man’s need for sex with his wife’s need for conversation. I can totally relate to that!! Thanks for sharing:)
I absolutely agree. Thank you. This is a message more women desperately need and deserve to hear more often – at least once for every time we men have to listen to the message about how it takes all day priming the pump to get a woman interested in sex.
Again, great article, however I think you’re missing something. You are a man…you can’t say why a woman is rejecting a man, or IF a woman is rejecting a man. You can speculate, based on your feelings as a man, and what you THINK she is doing.
Let me clarify – I’m not saying you aren’t right…I’m saying you could be right in certain circumstances, but you won’t know because you are not a woman saying no to her husband. Therefore you can’t say that “a rejection of sex with a man is rejection of the man.” That would be like me saying “a man thinking about sex more often than his wife does shows he is insensitive to her feelings.” My statement would be wrong. I can’t know WHY you think about sex more often, because I am not a man, and to assume it’s because he is insensitive would be wrong of me and just speculation.
First of all, saying no, isn’t ALWAYS a rejection. Often, yes, it is…but, sometimes it’s a protection, a rain check, a preface to a suggestion of something different. Not just with sex, with anything. When I tell my child no, it’s not a rejection, it can be many things, guidance, redirection, or yes, rejecting their idea.
What I’m saying is that women don’t think like men believe we do, and as a man, you don’t know what we think or why we say no. As long as the marriage is happy and healthy, when I say no, or when I don’t warm up to the idea, it’s not because I’m thinking “I don’t want him to touch me, I reject him.” It’s because of another reason (usually a few put together, but sometimes just one), that if he asked without assuming, would probably make sense to him…and would most likely earn him an alternative to sex, or even change my desire and get him sex!
Thanks for the comment Melissa,
I was speaking from the man’s perspective. It is a rejection as far as he (I) feels, even if we understand it differently intellectually. Regardless of intent, real causes or real feelings, that is how it feels. I’ve edited the last line to clarify, I hope it meets with your approval.
LOL, you by NO means need my approval, but the fix is perfect! I agree with the post, as it is based on a man’s feelings and who are we to say anyone can’t or doesn’t feel a certain way. It’s just incorrect to assume or state that a woman saying no is a rejection, or a jab at her accepting or loving her husband. However, our perception is reality, and whatever someone perceives is their reality, even if it’s not what it was intended.
Agreed, I by no means meant to imply that women saying no to sex meant they were rejecting their spouse out of hand, only that it feels that way to the man. Thank you for taking the time to discuss instead of just disappearing because you disagreed!
Regardless of how the woman intends it, the man is going to understand sexual refusal as refusal of his innermost self. Jay wasn’t talking about the woman’s feelings here, he was talking about the man’s. Many women try and deny that, which unfortunately means that they are perpetuating the problem. To deny that it is rejection is to invalidate his feelings. Both men and women are responsible before God to learn to understand each other and meet each other’s needs.
I think we’re all starting to argue the same points here.
1) The women don’t feel they are rejecting their husbands.
2) The men feel they are.
3) Regardless of reality, the damage to the relationship is real.
To be honest, I find that entire statement a sexist generalisation sorry Jay Dee. In my marriage, if I were to reject my husband (as I’ve had to a few times in the last few weeks for medical reasons such as the doctor said we could lose our baby if we tried) and he wouldn’t even consider turning down his off as rejection of sex, let alone rejecting of him as a person. To him, it is merely a postponing for a few days to protect HIS child, and I’m sure the few times he has offered sex, that it was because he knew we couldn’t and was just trying to make me feel wanted while knowing that I couldn’t actually do it and that he wouldn’t have to follow through with his offer
I could say no every time he offered, and he still would not find it a rejection of him as a person. In fact quite the opposite, rather it is when I try to initiate, he gets upset, no matter how gently I ask, he feels pressured to have sex and feels rejected for who he is.
Not all men meet the stereotype, nor do most women. Yes there are some women who would initiate, only because they are trying to make their husbands happy and who feel like throwing a party when their husband says no as they see it as a good thing to have got out of what they see as an obligation, but there are women who feel like when they are refused, they are being rejected as a person. And I believe it often goes much deeper than a man who is being rejected.
Every single man I’ve heard talk about this (and I’ve heard a lot now, talking to a lot of people on sexual refusal sites now), see it purely as a rejection of their sexual nature leading to a rejection of their “innermost self”. And while in some cases, I can understand how some of them feel, there are definitely many I’ve met who say this who make sex an idol – they obsess about sex, and if there wife became genuinely totally unable to have sex ever again, they would leave in a heartbeat. Whereas for women who are rejected, it is has little or nothing to do with feeling her sexuality is being rejected. It is her complete body her refusing husband is rejection and often not just her physical body, but her mind and spirit too. If her husband was suddenly genuinely unable to have sex ever again (eg becoming a paraplegic), despite her high sex drive, she would not consider even for a second leaving or getting sex elsewhere.
I think that is what anyone who has a refusing spouse needs to sit down and think about. If your spouse became genuinely unable to have sex ever again, what would you do? If you would not stand by them and would feel like your innermost self was being rejected, sex is an idol to you. Even if your spouse is wallowing in sin with constant refusal, there are still a lot of people who are turning sex into an idol.
If my husband became genuinely unable to have sex again, I would be totally devastated – not just by the lack of sex, but by whatever was causing it. But I would not feel at all rejected. Too many guys I’ve spoken to in sexual refusal forums would feel rejected to their innermost self if it happened to them. It is a worry.
I have to say, you know very different people than I do. Thank you for the new perspective.
Oh, and as you’ve said in the past, your husband has Asperger’s, which often comes with a disconnection from his own sexuality, so that may be part of the reason your are seeing a different perspective.
Likewise, you are on message boards full of refused spouses. Perhaps they have disconnected as a defense mechanism? Just thinking out loud, trying to understand the huge discrepancy between our perspectives.
whoops, Melissa…I really hope you didn’t mean to use the word “earn” with respect to sex with your husband. ouch.
“As long as the marriage is happy and healthy, when I say no, or when I don’t warm up to the idea, it’s not because I’m thinking “I don’t want him to touch me, I reject him.” It’s because of another reason (usually a few put together, but sometimes just one), that if he asked without assuming, would probably make sense to him”and would most likely earn him an alternative to sex, or even change my desire and get him sex!”
I sure did…here’s why. If I am not in the “mood” it’s not because I’m just trying to reject him (even if he interprets it that way, that’s not my intention). It’s because of a completely different reason, like say being stressed, or having a bad day, or something with work, or feeling ill, or the kids etc, etc. So, if he didn’t just assume I was rejecting him, and thought to say “hey, tell me what’s up and why you’re head/body isn’t in it, what can I do to make you feel better.” I would a) be able to vent and it would draw us both closer so he knows I’m not rejecting him, and I feel like I’ve been heard and he cares, and b) it would put me in a less stressed mood and more in the “oh he’s so sweet to care and think about me” mood, which would get him some alternative to actual intercourse, or intercourse itself.
So yes his response could essentially earn, get, yield, whatever you want to call it, my desire to have sex. Sorry if you don’t like the word. However it was not used in a context that he has to “earn” sex all the time…I was referring to THAT example.
JayDee – Great read. Thanks for trying to kill the every 7 second lie.
As to why, testosterone levels are a part of the answer. Give a woman more T, and she will think about sex more often. In large part this is because T drives visual arousal. Women with a lot of T (natural or prescribed) have much more of an issue with sight driven lust than most women. That said, I offer that as how God did it, because I agree He did it.
Good point, completely forgot about testosterone, don’t know what I was thinking. It’s not fool-proof, because some people with a high T-count still have no drive, but it is an indicator, yes.
I’ve seen several of these studies about how frequently men think about sex. The thing is, there’s really no accurate way to measure those thoughts. The studies depend upon the man telling someone or noting the time of every sexual thought. So, what they’re doing is saying “think about sex and tell us that you’re doing so.”
On the other hand, I’ve got to totally agree with you that men think about sex much more than women do. This is made clear by the number of times men wake up from erotic dreams with an erection. If that’s not evidence of sexual dreams, I don’t know what is.
I agree that the tests can in no way be accurate. But I’m not sure waking with an erection is a clear evidence of sexual dreams. Children with no concept of sexuality yet can wake with an erection, there isn’t necessarily a correlation, sometimes it is just a physical response.
I have heard this very thing from other husbands, but I think you summarized it particularly well. I especially appreciated you talking about how sexuality is at a man’s core; part of his identity as a man is how I’ve seen it. However, I admit that I have heard this from wives as well who feel rejected as a woman by a husband who won’t engage sexually with her. So while I agree that the feeling is typically stronger in males, when a wife is deprived, she often experiences those same feelings. Great post!
P.S. I keep trying to count how many times I think about sex with my hubby each day to see if I’m “normal,” but I think that writing a marriage and sexuality blog is skewing my results. Or maybe not. :p
There are definitely cases where the husband refuses the wife sex and she feels rejected. I don’t think anyone should reject their spouse for sex (OK, except for those abuse cases, extreme medical cases, or other such things far outside of the norm).
I wonder sometimes if writing about sex raises my libido as well, but my wife is quick to point out that it has always been high. What’s infinity + 100?
It’s possible the God did create men to think and feel about sex in this manner. Without it means rejection. Or possibly since the beginning of the male psyche after Adam its been instilled to believe so. I wish I could crawl into the male to really get behind the truth because sometimes (all) it drives me crazy of how much he wants to do it. Yes I said do it. Take a break, a week in between won’t kill him.
Kill him? No, well, it’s unlikely. But I can promise you it will damage the relationship if it’s not 100% agreed to take a break, and I don’t mean coerced into taking a break. See my post about pregnancy and sex. I was aware it would happen, I agreed to have a baby, and yet, it still affected our marriage. How much a break in sex will affect yours will depend on your husband. I know after a week I am fighting some fairly severe feelings of rejection, depression and lack of love unless it’s a week where there is NO POSSIBLE way to get together. For example, in November I’m going for 11 days on a mission trip. No phones, no internet, I will be incommunicado. I’m half curious and half scared at how I will react. I think I’ll be OK, I’m hoping I can channel that energy into the mission work, but this will be the first time I’ve been away for an long period since our sex life turned around.
I may very well think about sex more than my husband does – my sex drive is ridiculously high, actually a bit higher than his, although his drive is high enough to be normal for most men. We have mind-blowing sex and sexual activities very frequently, but I still think about it all the time! I even dream about having sex with him, while cuddled up naked next to him! But, I think it may perhaps nurture a different part of us. It makes him feel reaffirmed as a man, like a stud. Men have a lot of underlying emotions tied to sex, and to their nether regions! There’s a vulnerability there that is easy to break, and extremely important to bolster. It’s kind of like how women and men are different regarding employment. Sure, a woman may truly love having a job, and it’s nice – often necessary – to have that income; but our egos aren’t tied up in it. If we lose a job, well, maybe we’ll be stressed about money, but we don’t feel like we’re no longer a woman. For a man, a job is almost part of his identity. To him, having a job and being able to provide for his family is part of what makes him a man; and if he loses that job, and has no income to provide, he feels like less of a man – he may even feel worthless. He’s still just as much of a man, he just feels like less of one.
Genesis 2:15 – The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
Genesis 3:17 – To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
Our jobs are so tied to who we are because that is one of the major roles God set aside for us. It was designated before the fall, and reinforced afterwards even though it would become “painful toil” sometimes instead of a “joy to work” sort of work.
I think sex is sort of the same, we men seem to have been given the mandate to procreate, though our wives bear more of the actual “labour” (sorry, bad pun) in procreation. That is not to say that women can’t have a higher drive, or that there is something wrong if they do! But as you say, it doesn’t often carry the same “weight” to their self (again, exceptions exist).
Exactly. For a look at the other side, as a woman it is extremely important to me that my husband desires me (sexually, but also to be his best friend and life-mate), and thinks that I’m beautiful, and that he doesn’t reject me. But that’s more because of the deep need God created in me, as a woman, to be loved and cherished. (And my love language is physical touch!) God did create both of us to feel deeply connected to one another through sexual intimacy, so that beautiful thread is the same. 🙂 And I know that it’s very important to him for me to desire him to be more than just a sex partner – he needs me to listen to him talk about things that are on his mind (and to give him space after a stressful day, sometimes), and to be excited when he tells me about things that he’s interested in, to be his biggest fan and most ardent supporter, his best friend, and life-mate. Marriage is a wonderful thing. So much closeness all rolled up into one relationship.
Thank you for your perspective from the other side.
I think you hit it on the nose with that “to be his biggest fan and most ardent supporter”.
Hmmmmmm… I don’t agree that men think about sex more than women or that sex is more important to a man in marriage… I think that women think about sex just as much and it’s just as important but in a different way. I not only believe that men and women are mutual about how much they think about sex and how important it is to them, but I also believe that women can be just as visual as men! I really believe that it’s not about gender with being visual but it’s about how that particular person is wired [if they are pre-dominantly right or left brained]. I’m glad you said that this is your perspective *warm smile*. We’re all learning and changing and growing. <3
Now, I’d argue that my perspective is shared by most of the science community on this topic and by the vast majority of couples I’ve had the opportunity to discuss this with. Some statistics are available at WebMD.
So, I respectfully disagree. The overwhelming evidence I’ve seen is contrary to your perspective.
A long time ago I read a secular book on affair-proofing your marriage. I wasn’t saved at the time but I had two previous boyfriends, at separate times, who both cheated on me. It didn’t matter how loyal I was in the relationship. I was starting to think all men were pigs. Then I met my husband who turned out not to be a pig. Back to the book, it was a eye opener when the book said to NEVER refuse sex to your spouse. I wanted a successful marriage was willing to do what it took, for success. So, that’s what I did. It’s been decades since we first married. At the beginning, my drive was medium high. I have to admit that now my drive exceeds his (overdrive). That’s right gals, your sex drive will eventually turn up, way up. You will be glad that you never turned him down. It’s not too late to turn from your rejecting ways. I shake my head when I hear women talk about turning down sex with their husbands. Nobody else on this planet can satisfy his needs but you. I repeat, when you are older, you will be begging for sex. The tables will turn. How was the first 20-25 years of your marriage? Get ready for the next 20-25. It will either be marginal from refusal, or fantastic because you always were there for him. You decide. IMO