Wife Wants to Know – Why is Passionate Sex is so Important to Men?

I received an email from a wife who complained about how I’ve written here, and elsewhere she’s seen in comments, that just offering sex is not enough.

If the wife is at least not turning down her husband, then she’s technically meeting his needs, is what the wife argued.  I understood what she was talking about was what is commonly called, “duty sex.”  Duty sex can be good, if the wife actually gets into it and is passionate and gives her husband good, loving sex, but that wasn’t what she was talking about.  Just doing it should be good enough for a husband, because he’s still getting his need for sex met.

I’ve never – even when I was in my teens and a virgin until my husband, believed that men didn’t need passionate, crazy wonderful sex from their wives.  It’s what my mom taught me, even down to what women should wear regarding sexy/beautiful underwear and lingerie for their husbands.

I was plainly taught it’s selfish not to wear nice underwear for your husband to see, or to hide your naked body from him, etc.  Yes, you can teach virgin daughters all these things without them getting into trouble.  My mom did, and I’m planning on teaching my daughter all of the same things about sex, men, and relationships as well.

I went into marriage with clear expectations of what 99% of men would want and be very very happy with, and it made things (in my opinion) probably a million times easier because the more passionate sex a couple has in marriage, the closer they feel and are in every single way!

“But what about in times of pain or pregnancy?  Shouldn’t there be caveats as to a wife just, “faking,” it or doing it just so that her husband has his needs met?  Doesn’t SHE also have needs?!?! You only care about men’s needs it sounds like.”

I’ve gotten this before, usually in comments here or at other places.  Obviously if a wife is in physical pain due to just having had a child, or some other medical problem in her nether regions, then normal sex won’t work.  But there are other ways to be sensual/sexual with your husband – sex or pleasing each other, doesn’t have to be off the table completely.  And a good marriage (a good wife) will find ways to still have fun, be funny, or enjoy her husband (herself) in other ways.

I DO NOT believe it is good, or helpful, for a wife to just offer up passionless duty sex or, “star fish,” sex.

I think that kind of sex kills the soul of the man whose having sex with you… he’d rather be doing anything else than having sex with a woman who he clearly can tell isn’t into him.  You may feel good about yourself because you tell yourself you’re, “meeting his needs,” but a man’s sexual needs usually go much deeper than just the physical when it’s his wife.  He wants a real connection that can only happen when there’s passion and love there.

When a wife only offers duty sex, or makes her husband feel bad for wanting sex, she’s doing more harm than good – she isn’t doing him any favors.

We’ve been married over 12 years now, so this is a topic I understand and have had to work around myself; I’m not talking from inexperience here.  Right now the nausea during this pregnancy is and has been, SO INTENSE that if I don’t remember to take my medicine, I start violently vomiting by noon and it gets worse during the evening.  BUT even with the strong medicine they prescribed me for the nausea, the horrible feeling of nausea hasn’t gone away yet for over 6 weeks!  We still have lots of sex, we just try to plan it for when it’s possible, and my husband distracts me from the nausea with his charm 😀 ❤   I’ve found that I need the sex and the closeness it brings us afterward.  Amazingly, the nausea actually disappears when we’re having sex, so it’s like God’s granting us that time to connect as a couple, and we need it so much!  If I let the nausea get in the way and miss a couple of days of experiencing him, I feel sad, lonely and a little depressed.

In other words, even if you have a situation where it’s less than ideal, you can still either find ways to connect sexually, or just force yourself to connect anyway and try to enjoy it, because having sex/being sexual with your husband is also meeting YOUR needs as well.

Hopefully that helps clear up my position on duty sex or sacrificial sex.

No, it’s not enough to just, “do it,” you need to have your heart in it also.  It’s the same as what God wants of us, see below from God’s Holy Word, 








  1. I don’t quite remember how you feel about adult material, but I’d like to post this link to my “recommended posts” page where I have pointed out some of my posts regarding what men want regarding sex and how women, especially christian women, can understand why men want great sex and what they can do to get in on the action, so to speak. Please remove if it’s not in line with anything you want to promote. Thanks.


    Otherwise, great post. Its true men want more than just “duty sex” just as women want more than “duty date night”. I’ve known plenty of women who reject gifts or dates because they felt their husband/boyfriend was doing it “because you have to not because you want to”. There is a difference, and that same attitude definitely carries over into sex.

  2. I feel like this is true for everything in a relationship… either you are in or you are out. It’s like trying to have a conversation with someone who is simultaneously scrolling through social media or responding to emails. The message the other person gets is that you do not value them enough to make a contribution or be involved. It’s hurtful.

  3. I need to be honest – I agree with everything you’re saying, but for the last year or so I have had to force myself to have sex and have faked my way through all of it. My husband is awesome, and is great in bed, but I feel like my brain and my body have become totally disconnected. I completely understand how important it is, which is why I’m working so hard to have creative and passionate sex with him. I have no idea what to do. I would love to be able to enjoy sex again, but I’m having to work so hard at it and keep up an “act”, and it is making sex feel like a chore, and I’m starting to really resent it. (Maybe this isn’t a comment to post, but I would really value any suggestions you have, for a Christian woman trying to do right by her husband)

  4. I’m trying to find a good answer in for you , Proprioceptive, but you really may need to go to a good counselor and see what’s bothering you about sex. There’s probably a psychological reason… did you feel sexually attracted to your husband before you married him for instance?

    There’s a lot of science behind the fact that if we show affection and behave in loving ways to our spouses, the feelings follow. And sexually, most women who start out having sex (and aren’t fully turned on) *get* turned on after a couple of minutes. It could be your hormone levels, which your primary Dr would have to check. Basically, it’s not normal unless you married him knowing you weren’t attracted to him.

  5. Other psychological reasons could be having been sexually molested growing up (most men who don’t have much sex with heir wives fall into this category, doubly so if Catholic), or if you had a terrible sexual experience before your husband (not necessarily rape), etc.

  6. Well said. My older daughters are starting to date, and when I discuss matters with them–they want my feedback at times, miracle of miracles–my take is to note that their boyfriends are Christian men who take church seriously and have good prospects, and that leaves the question that I can’t answer; are they attracted to these gentlemen? Otherwise, there is a huge risk of “starfish sex” that is little more compelling than a blow-up doll.

    (for women who don’t get why that’s obnoxious, consider the old cliche about the man who reads the newspaper over meals instead of interacting with his wife)

    For those unable to enjoy….wow, question beyond what I can answer. There is attraction, and then there’s things like sexual abuse and depression. Probably a bunch more.

  7. Just a suggestion, but, think about what you are doing to PREPARE for sex. Anything? Are you thinking about it, reading about it, watching something that will get you “in the mood” for sex? A lot of women seem to say this same thing, that their “brains and bodies are disconnected”, but it seems like a lot of women who say this don’t really do anything to bring the two together. I would recommend, if you don’t find it offensive, some short and sexy stories that you could take five to ten minutes reading some time before your husband is home from work, or even after he gets home from work while he is doing something else.

    I won’t post any links here unless Stephanie gives the thumbs up, but there are several sites online that will allow you to receive a custom story via email after filling in a few questions. I’ve had them sent to my wife before and she enjoyed them, perhaps they can help. A simple Bing search should generate some results, just do a search in privacy mode.

    That’s my 2 cents. Hope it can help, for both you and your husbands sake.

  8. Thanks Snapper! If anyone else reading along has any ideas for her, feel free to post, too. Or if a wife is reading who has experienced this, feel free to comment with suggestions or advice – I’m sure she’s not alone in feeling that way, I just don’t want her to *stay* at this place. I don’t think it’s a good longterm plan to just do nothing about it.

  9. I’ve heard women say that they didn’t want to get too passionate with their husbands, because it might give their husbands too much power over them! (maybe actually meaning give THEM less power over their husbands, I think)

    Don’t know if this has anything to do with the email writer’s problem, or Proprioceptive’s, but it is going on in some cases.

  10. Sorry your comment was waiting so long, Laurel, my ob-gyn sent me to the hospital with symptoms I was having that seemed like pregnancy heart problems. Everything was fine, just very very bad morning (all day) sickness.

    Your comment makes sense, I’ve heard that, too.

  11. I’ve heard what Laurel says as well–regrettably from my brother-in-law’s soon to be ex-wife. I think part of the “fix” is what Shakespeare describes in vivid (if horrifying to modern ears) detail in “The Taming of the Shrew”; the man must make it clear to his intended/wife that she isn’t calling all the shots–and that she’s going to be happier if she doesn’t. I don’t even need to go full complementarian/patriarchal to say this–isn’t it a basic issue of fairness that one person doesn’t rule over the other with an iron fist?

    The women I know that “need to control” also have broken homes in their past. If Dad left Mom (or never married her), it would follow that daughters would see the need to not trust a man too much. So fix #2 to the problem is to provide security in a way she understands, and sometimes help her to understand security in a way she doesn’t yet.

    Example; the soon to be ex-wife sees security in terms of things, not freedom from debt or having good savings/investments. So part of it as well is to educate “this is real security–you can’t buy security, but you can buy poverty”.

    Side note; this might explain why many people report their best sex while intoxicated–when the worries of life do not intrude, one can abandon themselves to the act. Not that I encourage getting drunk, but it illustrates the principle.

  12. I never understood this concept, and it is certainly one pushed by pastors. God placed husbands over wives as His hand and authority. In the bible the only real restrictions to that authority is for a man to love his wife and his own body, to live with her with understanding and to not cause her bodily harm as with a mans servants. How much more power is there to give up exactly? Its like in ancient times when a representative of the king visited a city bearing the kings signet. No, he wasn’t the king, but he bore the kings power and the kings authority, and the people were to treat him with no less respect. If he chose to abuse that authority he would be punished accordingly, and more so than a normal man because he directly represented the king to the people. His poor actions sullied the kings name and good will, but you bet your bottom dollar that when that man said “In the name of the king…” it was the full power of the king behind those words.

    I think you are right, it actually weakens the wives position of perceived power over her husband (and I say perceived because, in the end, God is going to make it very clear who was in authority and why and what going against that authority will bring against the rebellious), and its really sad that the church supports the rebellion. The church should be teaching men to rule their households with the firm hand of godly love, not training women to keep their husbands in check with threats of governmental law.

  13. Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions! I’m starting to think my problem is physiological, at this point. I’m dealing with a lot of chronic pain related to my first pregnancy, and I’m exhausted a lot of the time because of my 2 month old’s sleeping (or not sleeping) schedule. I feel like by the end of the day my resources are totally tapped. My husband is an excellent leader, I am still incredibly attracted to him, and I want to perform well for him, I’m just concerned because right now it feels like I’m having to do it more intentionally than I did in the past, and it’s harder for me to get going even after foreplay and things that used to help. I still am not totally sure how I need to be dealing with this, as a Christian wife, but I appreciate hearing your input!

  14. Oh Proprioceptive, so you were *pregnant* practically the past year when you were referencing not feeling like you really wanted sex.

    I think that explains it. It’s totally normal for most women to not want sex when pregnant… being pregnant feels (for many) horrible. I feel like I have a virus I just cannot get rid of, and even if you don’t have the nausea, the body changes are unpleasant and you’re extra tired when pregnant.

    I feel that way (not in the mood) probably most of the time right now, it’s just one of the, “pleasant,” (NOT) things about pregnancy. One of the things that helps me is that the love for my husband is so much that I want to connect in that way, but I’m not dealing with chronic pain from the pregnancy. Was it your delivery (scarring?) that is causing this? There’s many things your ob-gyn can do to try to get rid of the pain… you shouldn’t just accept chronically painful sex for the rest of your life. Try asking your doctor what you (or they) can do. If it’s scar tissue, they can remove it pretty easily.

    So glad you’re getting something out of the comments, and I’ll turn off mod so that it’s not annoying everyone (sorry!) having to wait for me to approve comments.

  15. Proprio, that makes sense. One sanity check; make sure your husband knows your situation. If not, maybe simply apologize and note “this is where I am with all this pain and tiredness.” Five will get you ten he’ll not only understand, but also start thinking about how he can help you recover your–and his–joy in this part of married life. Challenges like this are, after all, an opportunity to grow.

  16. “I think that kind of sex kills the soul of the man whose having sex with you…” I lived this early in our marriage. Now that I (we) know how it can be, is supposed to be, I could never go back to that. It can’t always be like a carnival in the bedroom. That is unrealistic in relationship of 30 plus years, but duty sex as a rule is no longer acceptable. Great post Stephanie.

  17. It looks like this thread is about over, still, I had one other thing I wanted to say & I think it’s important. Men seem to need sex ESPECIALLY when they are under a lot of stress. Doesn’t work this way for women usually, at least not as much, so may not understand this.

    If a man is under a lot of stress, say at work, then his wife or girlfriend will do well to offer a lot of sex when he needs it, and not grudging sex, either. Even if she’s totally selfish (and I’m thinking of someone who seems to BE totally selfish, IMO) she would do well to do this just in her own self-interest.

  18. You might want to hold a class on this. Im not sure that this was taught anywhere else. Has the response to your words always been that poorly received? It seems like it was well written and you are alot more kind than many talk show hosts.

  19. Thank you! The reaction to my advice really seems to depend on the type of woman reading it… some hate it, some look for loopholes, and some joyfully agree.

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