I grew up as a conservative church girl in the south. A bit of a prude, I guess you could say.
Sex was something I knew should wait until marriage, but other than the message of “wait!”, I didn’t hear much more about what it was I was waiting for. My mom, a faithful woman of God, did more than her part to encourage me along the way. But I still didn’t ask much about the topic. It was just too awkward, and too scary. What if I hated what I heard? What if it was all unavoidable bad news? I think that was one of my biggest fears.
As I grew up, I did however, hear the occasional whispered conversation between older married women. These conversations indicated that their husband’s sex drive was a burden, to say it mildly. I remember when I was in college hearing one (beautiful, fit, and well-manicured) Christian woman say smugly, “I’d rather eat a cheeseburger, than have sex”. Another woman’s whispered comment was laced with a frustrated laugh when she said, “I would like affection, without erection, please”.
Their “jokes” made it clear that their husband’s need for sex was a burden, a drag, a bother, and an inconvenience.
I’m sure these women meant no harm. They were probably shut down, tired, or discouraged.
There is no blame here.
But their comments were also no help for this young bride who was grappling with how to be a great wife, and how to see and embrace sex as something good; something other than the “big dirty secret” that no one in the church seems willing to talk about, except to make fun of it or complain about it.
It was clear that when I got married at the ripe age of 20, I had a lot of learning to do on the matter. And a lot of “unlearning” as well.
After nine years of loving and struggling and fumbling and “sowing” into our marriage, I have realized this:
My husband’s sex drive is not a burden, but a blessing.
It’s a blessing because it drives him to me. It binds us together. It reminds me of a real need in his life that I alone am uniquely called to honor and satisfy.
Excuse my language (southern girl blushing here…but…) my husband’s sex drive reminds me that on the other side of that “erection” is the affection I crave. And the more consistent our sex life is, the more consistent the “affection without the erection” can be. Because our emotional closeness is directly linked to our sexual closeness.
It’s all connected, and it’s supposed to be that way.
I love my husband’s sex drive because it’s my chance to communicate to him, in a way no one else has the license to say, that he is safe with me, he is loved and he is highly cherished.
This recovering-prude of a southern church girl is learning slowly but surely that sex is not just about “the act”. Sex is the physical act that opens up the door for a deeper level of emotional and spiritual intimacy. Sex in marriage is not dirty or kinky and it is most definitely not a burden or an inconvenience.
My husband’s sex drive a gift, and even when fighting the currents of exhaustion or frustration, I pray for a growing perspective and grace to cherish this sacred space of intimacy, not live annoyed by it.