For Men Sex Is Totally About Connection

I’ve mentioned several times that sex is a form of connection for men. Just as you need to feel connected to have great sex, he needs to be sexual with you to feel truly connected.

For Men Sex Is Totally About Connection

I know this to be true both from personal experience and from talking with many men. This is how men function, and I’m convinced we function this way because God made us this way. And yet, I was surprised by the results of our Pleasure, Release, and Connection survey. When asked the relative importance of pleasure, connection, and release from sex, 61% of men said connection was the most important! Given how much men enjoy the pleasure of sex and need release from their sex drive, this is an amazing number. 

Rather than saying more, I’ll let some of the men speak through the comments they left on the survey:

  • I feel like my emotions are unlocked, and can flow easier when my wife and I have connected sex.
  • Hard to have one without the other. But I enjoy connection at the end very much.
  • If it had only been about release and pleasure then masturbation would have been satisfying, but it was not.
  • My wife thinks it is only for the release not understanding my need to be close to her.
  • I’m a man and it’s all about connection.
  • It’s clearly the connection is the first and most important.
  • As I mature I am more aware of the significance of connection.
  • [I]t really all seems shallow without the close, personal connection I share with my wife.
  • After this many years of marriage it feels so good to be connected to one another.

By the way: Our current survey is Do You Lube? 

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I want and need more with my wife than sex, but sex is an important part of how I get there.

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45 Comments on “For Men Sex Is Totally About Connection

  1. This is interesting. Don’t worry, I’m not going to make my usual “woe is me” comment, although I do wonder why my husband doesn’t seem to need this kind of connection. He loves to connect in other ways. He loves taking me out for dinner, and he loves holding my hand, and cuddling. I know those things would thrill most women, but for me, it’s torture. It’s actually painful to be cuddled by someone who you want to be with sexually, so badly. Having him that close, wishing he would be more interested in making love, wanting him so badly, it can actually feel like torture. All the while wondering “what is wrong.”
    Yesterday, he actually came on to me. I’m pretty sure it was just pity because we’d been calmly discussing things the night before. I’m trying to learn to be happy on the rare occasions he does initiate, but knowing he is pitying me, or perhaps he saw a woman he actually found attractive and that got him interested, those are painful thoughts. I’m really not sure what to think. I’d love to be connected with him, but I’m not sure he wants the same thing.

    • @B – I would say his enjoyment of holding your hand and cuddling is huge. These are not things one does with someone they don’t like or desire. Some guys try to do more of this to get sex, but that’s clearly not your husband. He does these things because of how he feels about you.
      I don’t know why he has a low interest in sex, but from what you say it seems clear to me he has a high interest in you.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Friday Flashback: Oral Is Not the Ultimate Sex Act!My Profile

    • FWIW, B, my husband rarely cuddles (only if I ask and only for a minute) and has started holding my hand less often (again, about half the time I take his hand first). At least your husband has spontaneous affection for you!

    • I would shy away from inserting pity into the concept. As a man who had a very high drive and now is rather low drive (probably due to some medical issues that doctors are now trying to address), I can tell you that men have a tendency to operate out of “I didn’t think about it until she said something.” more than “Oh, she is feeling bad. I feel sorry for her.”

      Has your husband always been this way? If so, are you sure of his past? If not, can you pinpoint a time when it changed? He could be naturally low drive. It could be that his chemical balance shifted. It also could be that some traumatic event took place in his life. Some men grow up with a “fear” of women and expect rejection after a certain point unless they are given a blatant “go ahead”. Some learn it from their spouse in the early years. Any and all of these could be factors.

  2. Agree 100% with this. I can be doing everything in the world with my wife and we can spend all our days around each other, but if sex isn’t taking place, I feel like I’m on the other side of the world. It’s really hard to know how to function when I have this strong need to be close to my wife and I can’t get that connection. Meanwhile, once I get that connection, it’s easier to focus and do everything else. It’s not enough to just have affectionate cuddling and such, as nice as that is. One needs the full treatment.
    Nick Peters recently posted…Atheism and the Case Against Christ Chapter 11My Profile

  3. I would say my husband’s sense of connection via sex looks like a volatile stock’s market value over time. We have sex and he feels very connected and a few days later he feels very unconnected. Then we have sex again and he feels very connected and a few days later he feels very unconnected. Over time, the degree he feels connected increases very slowly.

    For me it’s just the very slow steady increase. I don’t feel significantly connected via sex nor do I feel significantly disconnected without it. I’m thankful he is not troubled by this difference in our experiences.

  4. And I asked my husband about this – and he laughed saying that sex is a physical thrill only and does nothing to make him feel closer to me….but finished by saying, “Well except maybe to feel more relaxed around you and appreciate you more and not feel so uptight and happier, but it’s a pure physical thing. Sounds like that guy is teaching other guys good lines to use. I can see how telling chicks that we’ll love you more if you give us sex would work great. What kind of Christian blogs are you reading? Maybe I should take this guy’s advice. There was a long pause followed by, “You know, I think maybe I was wrong. What are you doing right now? Maybe a science experiment would help convince me. Let’s try it.” When the experiment was over, he told me, “Didn’t work. We better try it again.”….

    Paul – I thought you’d find that funny….

  5. For my husband and I, I’m the one who seems to feel more connected through sex. On the rare occasion we’ve had fairly frequent consistent sex I’ve felt a real close connection to him. I’ve even said to him that I feel a disconnect when we’re not intimate very much and although he sort of agreed, he really doesn’t seem to want or need sex like I do.
    A couple years ago when he had two weeks off work he actually was the one to initiate daily sex for a whole week and I was in heaven! We were so close, we both had these smiles on our faces and would almost giggle at each other when we passed by, it was wonderful. Then he went back to work and that never happened again.

    We stay physically ‘connected’ a lot when together by holding hands, cuddling while watching tv, his hand on my leg while driving, always being close together. But as much as I love all that and desire it, I feel sad when it doesn’t often lead to sex. It doesn’t seem to get him going like apparently it would for most guys. I’m not saying he doesn’t enjoy sex when it happens, but he doesn’t seem to want or need it that often and is content with just cuddling and hand holding.
    Amy recently posted…Hidden abuseMy Profile

      • Yes, I agree that less stress and less exhaustion can sometimes bring about more desire on his part, but he’s had time off like that since and sex is often last on his list of things to do. If we have an evening to ourselves when he’s not too tired or busy and someone calls inviting us out for beer and pizza, he’s all over that and doesn’t understand why I’m not so excited going out with others.

        After that week of bliss, he actually said to me, “There, now you’ve had the honeymoon you didn’t get!” because we didn’t have any time off work after we got married. His comment kind of deflated my bubble since I was thinking he really wanted to make love that often and was excited to finally have the time, and although I’m not saying he didn’t enjoy it or reap the benefits from it, what he said made me feel that he only did it for me because I was really expressing at that time how unsatisfied I was with the infrequency of sex we were having. I really thought after that week things would continue, maybe not that frequency because it’s just not possible with his work, but at least his playfulness and showing desire for sex more.

        But I know my husband loves me, I know that my sex drive is higher than his, I know his horrible work hours make it hard for him to desire sex very often, and I know that if I just communicate my needs with him he listens.
        I’ve come a long ways in how I used to handle this by stewing about it, shutting down and making both of us miserable. LOL Now I share my feelings and accept that his lack of desire for sex does not equate his lack of desire or love for me. And that helps to keep me from becoming resentful and bitter over it.
        Amy recently posted…Hidden abuseMy Profile

  6. My thoughts on this are a mixed bag. I agree that I feel more connected after a mutually satisfying intimate encounter, but if not mutual (I’m the only one who orgasms), it actually fuels the feeling of disconnection. IS comment about her husband feeling of connection fading over time makes perfect sense to me, as much as if a wife’s sense of connection would fade if her need for communication hadn’t been met for a few days.
    I think the key to this is that we as men, need to feel desired sexually to be really secure that our wives love us, regardless of what they may say or do otherwise. For me, I know if my wife doesn’t look at sex as something she enjoys, and usually orgasms, no matter how many times she tells me it’s not me, it comes across as her trying to spare my feelings. So really it is my fault. There’s all sorts of things that contribute to this- social media, culture , upbringing, just to name a few. But bottom line is, as a man, the natural conclusion is that, if my wife doesn’t have sexual desire for me, and is satisfied when we are together, it’s my fault regardless of what she may say to the contrary. I think this is true for most men, though most would never admit it.

    • @Ted – If sex were her laying there waiting for it to be done, then I would feel no real connection. But sex can be mutual and intimate without her having an orgasm, and if she wants the sex and not the orgasm then there is plenty of connection.
      Of course, if it’s always that way that would become a problem. I don’t know where the line is, but I’d think it would become a problem if she was climaxing less than half the time.
      As a guy, I struggle to understand how a woman can really want and enjoy sex and not feel a need to orgasm. I’ve heard it often enough from enough women that I believe it can be true. But I also know there are women who say that but are not really into it (sparing his feelings) and women who want and need orgasm every time.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Friday Flashback: Oral Is Not the Ultimate Sex Act!My Profile

      • There may be reasons a women prefers no orgasm. She may find it disturbing, confusing, frightening, traumatizing and feel safer, more loved and more connected without orgasm. She’s not sparing his feelings. She is sparing her feelings.

        I don’t expect conversation to make my husband feel connected to the extent it makes me feel connected and I’m thankful he doesn’t expect sex to do for me what it does for him. If I felt obligated to orgasm so HE could feel connected, I would probably struggle with resentment.

        • @IntimacySeeker – Ideally both conversation and sex become a source of comfort and connection for both spouses. For that to happen there has to be healing, change, and growth, but it can happen.
          I have a pretty good understanding of why a woman might not want to orgasm. Most of those reasons come from a place of brokenness. That in no way invalidates the reason, but it does mean dealing with the brokenness remove the reason. I also think most of the reasons men shy away from real communication come from a place of brokenness. And again, dealing with the brokenness will remove the reason.
          Paul Byerly recently posted…These Are Not Your Parent’s Sex Toys!My Profile

          • Women have typically no problem whatsoever having an orgasm when masturbating. It takes women alone about as much time to come to orgasm as it takes men when inserting their penises in us—about 5 minutes. The problem is the definition of sex. It’s skewed towards male orgasms, utterly and completely. See, for men, penetrative sex = orgasm. For women, clitoral stimulation = orgasm, and sex = something that feels good but is not orgasmic. So in other words, for men, sex = orgasm. For women, the two are different things. By making the activity that results in female orgasm denigrated as “foreplay,” by definition we are saying female pleasure is unimportant. By making sex all about the penis, what results is women feeling lukewarm about is, because she knows her clitoris will likely be pretty much ignored. It’s not that she “doesn’t want” to orgasm. It’s that the male ego just doesn’t seem to understand that his penis is not the source of her climax and never will be. Sorry guys.

        • Regardless of why a wife does not enjoy sex or orgasm during sex does not change how it makes a man feel. I stated that a man needs to feel desired by his wife. As long as the mindset is along the lines of what’s the minimum required to satisfy him,that will never occur. If you stop and think about it , would you really want your husband to communicate the bare minimum to keep you feeling connected to him? When I think of the title of Paul’s blog for men the name states how both partners to be towards each other’s needs-generous. Not how little can I get away with, but how loved and connected can I make them feel?

            • I do understand that, it’s the consistent pattern that creates a problem. As you said once in awhile not getting there doesn’t create the problem, it’ a pattern of constant non-interest that leads to feelings of disconnection. Even a wife working on sexual intimacy, simply for her husband’s sake without it leading to her own increased desire for intimacy gets to be emasculating after awhile.

              I admit that right now, I’m torn as to what to do in this area right now. After 40 years of marriage you would have thought, as many times as we’ve “discussed”this issue, we would have resolved it, but we haven’t. Bottom line, I can’t make her desire me love me, or respect me, but it doesn’t make me feel any better to tell me it’s not me. When I’m the last person she seems to ever think about, then it comes across that it IS me.

              • Ted,
                May I recommend the book “The Female Brain” by Dr. Louann Brizendine MD?
                It will explain how a woman’s hormones change over her lifetime and the effect those changes have on a woman’s brain and sexuality. It may help you understand your wife a little better.
                It would be a good read for your wife also.

                • Actually, I prefer “What Do Women Want?” It is considered the seminal book on the subject of female pleasure, and it destroys nearly every illusion about female sexual desire out there, as opposed to The Female Brain, which supports those same illusions [women seek security and fuzzy-wuzzies, women are not visual, women aren’t inherently sexual]. Read What Do Women Want if you really want to learn about women. Read the other if you want to maintain a false dichotomy.
                  Kira Jahn recently posted…When He Just Needs ReleaseMy Profile

                • I apologize for even going as far into this as I have. I originally only intended to add some insight into the blog post, and somehow got sucked into all the other stuff. And you’re right, there’s a lot more to this than I’m saying. It may be true that my wife loves me in her own way but not in any way that I find meaningful. And I really don’t blame her for her lack of desire and respect. I think there is a very strong correlation between genuine respect and sexual desire. Some label respect as admiration , but really they are the same thing in different degrees. Anyway my marriage is what it is, and I don’t believe one more book is going to make any difference. And it is my fault, and Ill leave it at that.

              • Ted,
                I’m assuming your wife is post menopause.
                If so the book will help you understand that a woman’s body changes.

                My husband and I have had to deal with this issue.
                My hormones are very low especially my testosterone.
                What happens is that without the hormones to fuel a sexual response in the brain and in the receptive sexual organs, a woman cannot physically respond the way she used to. It has nothing to do with respect, love, admiration. It’s physical.

                I admire and respect my husband more than any other person on earth.
                My admiration for him is Not going to flood my body with testosterone and estrogen to rev my sexual engine. I don’t have those hormones anymore. I can’t produce them out of nothing. I have had to come to the stark reality that my body is aging. My clit isn’t sensitive to touch anymore. I can’t become aroused as easily anymore. I no longer orgasm no matter how hard I try.
                It sucks but it is what it is. It’s a physical shut down….thats why they call it menopause.

                It’s like asking a car to run when it’s out of gas, asking a violin to play beautiful music without a bow,
                asking a deaf person to hear, or asking a limp penis to rise on command. And then telling them that if they don’t or can’t do that, you no longer can feel loved by them.

                My husband has had such a hard time not taking my physical sexual changes personally. It’s probably because he still has plenty of testosterone and his body still responds sexually. He doesn’t get it. Plus, he has done what many men do, he has internalized my sexual responsiveness to him with my feelings for him. That works fine until the sexual responsiveness changes due to physical shutdown.

                My opinion only, when couples start to get into their ‘golden years’ a husband may be faced with the fact that his wife’s body has changed physiologically and he may actually need to LEARN how to feel love from his wife in ways other than the sexual response system. I believe it’s possible, we just haven’t nurtured other forms of intimacy as we probably should have all along the way.

                Please don’t take her aging personally. She can’t do anything about it. Her body is getting older. So is yours. It’s just another chapter in the book of life.

                PS: I have never understood this sexual desire/respect concept. Would love some enlightenment on the subject.

                • @Jolie “PS: I have never understood this sexual desire/respect concept. Would love some enlightenment on the subject.”
                  I think it’s because most men can’t comprehend loving someone and not wanting to have sex with them 24/7. If you really liked, respected, and wanted to be with me, you would be horny for me all the time. Since you clearly are not horny for me all the time, you must not love/respect/want to be with me.
                  Of course, it’s not just men, we have at least a few women here who feel the same about their low sex drive husbands. And both men and women do it with other things. We think others are like we are, with the same drives, motivations, and thought processes. So we take an end result and backtrack it to what it would mean for us. Far too often that process gives a wrong answer.
                  Paul Byerly recently posted…The Best and Worst Gifts You’ve Given HerMy Profile

                • I struggle with understanding the desire/respect/love thing too. It can seem very selfish. “If you don’t react exactly the way I want/expect you to, I won’t believe you and nothing else you do matters.” (I’m referring to situations where the spouse is trying to meet expectations but is falling short and is not given grace.) Expectations are huge. They can cause so much unhappiness. And, they tend to become a moving target.

                  Paul, your explanation makes sense, but I still think it’s very sad. It seems like there’s a misconception about becoming one flesh. Do most people think this is just about sex? It seems so. Why aren’t people talking about oneness as a whole in marriage? If people truly felt a sense of oneness with their spouse, would they still make these false connections as often?

                  We didn’t have sex for a long time, but we had oneness. It made all the difference in the world and allowed us to weather the storm much easier.

                • My two cents on the desire/respect thing. Maybe it’s not so much respect as it is that I want my wife to desire ALL of me. When my wife totally refused me sexually for four years, I was unbelievably lonely. The other things I brought to our marriage (companionship, financial security, parenting, home repairs, etc.) could at least theoretically be “farmed out” to other people, not even necessarily other men. But the one thing that was my special privilege, sexual intimacy, was being denied. I felt that I was to some degree expendable, and that said to me in unmistakable terms: I don’t respect you enough to really need you.

                  Men generally are eager to please, wanting to make a good impression for someone important (like my wife). As C. S. Lewis said of one of his characters, “There was a good deal of the spaniel in him.” When we lose the respect of our wives, we’ve lost just about everything.

                  Now that we are back to a healthy sexual relationship, I know that my wife desires me. Partly she desires my body, as I do hers, but mostly we each desire deeper intimacy, in all aspects of our marriage.

                  I believe it’s no accident that in Ephesians 5, Paul sums it up with: Husbands, love your wives, and wives, respect your husbands.

          • Feelings are very powerful and “knowing” they don’t make sense does nothing to diminish them. My husband’s arrogant attitude and boastful comments after sex trigger some very painful feelings. Too high a price for a few seconds of physical pleasure.

              • I think everyone is getting hung up on the whole orgasm thing,and that really isn’t the problem. When my wife and I talked briefly today she jumped to the same conclusion. The problem is more that, as I said, i seem to be at the bottom of her priority list. It bleeds over into all areas of our marriage ,but is most painful in our sex life.
                I don’t blame her as I said, because of things I’ve done she has every right to be this way. That doesn’t make it hurt any less.

  7. I think that a man has a tough time FEELING connected if his physical desire is screaming from a lack of frequency. When he is having enough sex, he will much more likely be aware of the connectedness. On the other hand, just because he doesn’t feel it doesn’t mean that its not happening, and that he doesn’t benefit from it. After being married to the same woman for over forty years, I’m beginning to believe that a man’s desire for sex is more emotional than we ever realized.

    • @Charlie O – Absolutely! It’s like being served a 7-course gourmet meal when you’re starving. You’d eat it so fast you couldn’t appreciate the flavours, and you’d get upset at the breaks between courses. In the same way our need for release can get in the way of our need for connection because the release screams louder.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…These Are Not Your Parent’s Sex Toys!My Profile

  8. Two recent experiences clarified to me how much I need to be connected with my wife sexually, and how connection shapes the sexual experience.

    Not long ago we received some news from one of our sons that filled us with sadness. We talked and tried to comfort each other, but there was a pit of grief and sorrow I just couldn’t get past. The thought popped into my head “Have sex with your wife.” I pushed it away, thinking that it wasn’t a worthy thought, that it wasn’t “spiritual” enough. After several hours of this, it was almost as if God said “One of the reasons you need your wife is for comfort. Go to her.” I explained to her that I needed to be in her, and she, wise woman that she is, knew that something was going on that neither of us understood. It wasn’t what I would have called lovemaking before, and it certainly wasn’t about sexual pleasure. But the release broke through the knot of sorrow that was consuming me, and I was able to begin to deal with the situation. I found that I had to have that connection with my wife in a time of real emotional pain.

    The second experience was a recent time of lovemaking. I was exhausted, but our schedule had been crazy and it was “now or never” for a few days. I found I wasn’t able to climax through intercourse, mainly due to being too tired, so she finished me manually. While it took care of the sexual release, upon talking about it the next day, we both felt disappointed and cheated with it. We both realized that the deep intimacy of intercourse was what we both craved for connection, and we decided that barring unusual circumstances, we both wanted my climax in her.

    I found through the total refusal of sex for several years, that what I really wanted was to be connected with my wife more deeply, and I had to have that sexual connection. But at the same time, I learned that I also love to connect with her more deeply through talking, doing more things together, and sharing more of my heart with her, while learning to listen better to her heart.

    The bottom line for me is that I need the sex to feel connected, but even the best sex is not about the great feelings and the release. It’s about wanting to be closer to my wife.

    • @Bobthemusicguy – Sex as comfort is very valid. Also biblical – David did it for Bathsheba after the death of their child.
      I’m with you on the importance of intercourse. Physically speaking I’ve had some great sex that didn’t include intercourse, but all the best sex we’ve had included it.
      As for dead tired, we’ve had some incredible sex when I was so tired I almost passed on it. I think the slowness of the body allows for other aspects to come out more fully.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…These Are Not Your Parent’s Sex Toys!My Profile

  9. My husband doesn’t need sex for connection. He is starting to see the value of sex for connection, but it’s not what gives him the most sense of connection. This may be due to him suppressing his sex drive for so long.

    He feels connection most by spending time together. This is also one of the main ways he demonstrates his love. He makes a point to spend most of his spare time with me. He is disappointed if he has extra time or a day off and we can’t be together. He purposefully plans his schedule around mine when possible.

    He also seeks connection through cuddling and other forms of non-sexual physical touch. This wasn’t true when he was refusing sex. At that time, virtually all physical contact other than holding hands on occasion and little pecks for kisses had disappeared. He connected most physical contact with sex, so he avoided it. Now, he feels very connected when we snuggle. It doesn’t need to lead to sex for him. For me, at times it is very difficult to cuddle when I know sex isn’t going to happen. I’d say snuggling currently gives him the second highest sense of connection. Far more so than sex does for him.

    • @K – It sounds like both of you are growing and you’re finding ways to make your marriage mutually enjoyable.
      Your comments on the difficulty of touch when you know it won’t lead to sex sound like many men. It’s not that they don’t enjoy them, and it’s not that sex is the only touch they care about. But the other touch nudges their pent up sexuality which makes them hurt all the more. So they avoid touch other than sex to avoid pain.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…It’s Not the Secrets, It’s the Marriage that Allows ThemMy Profile

      • As I stated in my original comment, I 550% agree about the difficulty of touch when you know it won’t lead to sex. I’m the wife, but I can totally understand how frustrated men feel regarding the touch thing. If my husband doesn’t want sex, I’d rather he not touch me at all. The touching is a tease. It is like torture, as his touch just winds me up further, only to leave me wanting and it makes the wanting even worse. I do not see it as loving, I see it as some sort of cruel game he plays.
        It’s the same when he says he loves me. I feel like the words are empty because there is no desire behind them. Therefore, I feel he loves me no differently than a sister or a good friend. I’d rather him not say it at all, then say it and leave me wondering “then WHAT is the problem?”
        He can’t seem to understand this, and actually acts hurt when I ask him to stop saying he loves me if he doesn’t truly mean it, and to stop torturing me with his teasing. Either love me or don’t. Want me or don’t. The middle ground is more hurtful than nothing. It blows my mind that a man as intelligent as he is has such a hard time understanding this simple concept.

        • @B, I would love to meet you in a person. The first thing I’d do is give you a giantic hug and tell you are worthy and loved. The second thing I’d do is share my entire story with you. The parts you haven’t heard here. Things about how my husband treated me regarding sex (hint: it was really BAD) and how he loved me during that time (hint: it was really GOOD). Why I was able to believe in his romantic love, the love only shared between husband and wife during all of that time. Why I would choose to be married to HIM in a sexless marriage over anyone else in a sex-filled marriage AGAIN if I had to make that choice.

          Reading your comments makes me realize how I could have easily tortured myself. Your comments could have been my comments if my life experiences and perspective had been different. It’s possible I would have felt like he didn’t desire me, and perhaps even love me. Although, I shutter at the thought of ever not believing he loved me.

          For now, I’ll leave you with these thoughts:
          —Everything you describe about how your husband treats you screams love. And, not the kind of love you have for anyone but your spouse.
          —From the way you have described your husband, it is clear he does desire you in every way. Sexually and non-sexually. If you don’t believe me, believe Paul and the other men who say it to you.
          —You are living out your fears. If you’re not careful, this could cost you dearly and leave you filled with regret for the rest of your life. (I’ve witnessed this with someone very close to me. They’ve lost what they always feared losing because of their own fear based actions.)
          —Your fears and self talk are lies from Satan. It is not the truth and not how God wants you view yourself, your husband or your marriage.
          —You think all the people on these blogs telling you differently than you feel are wrong. What if, you are the one who’s wrong? What is it costing you?
          —This last one is a thought about me for you to ponder. My biggest fear when my marriage was sexless was what would happen if something happened to me. I would want my husband to remarry if he could. I worried he’d reject his new wife sexually, and she may leave him. I feared he’d be left alone and she would have missed out on knowing an amazing love like his. I worried for both of them. Sounds a bit crazy, but true. When you describe your husband, I hear the same loving qualities my husband has for me. I worry about what you’re missing because you won’t allow yourself to see it.

      • It’s a bit of a Catch 22. Snuggling is extremely comforting to me. Over the years, I’ve missed physical touch a lot. Having him hold me without sex is very much needed and wanted. I enjoy it as much as he does, if not more. It means everything to me that he will hold me now. In fact, snuggling is more about connection for me than sex. Sex is definitely primarily physical for me although I know it can bring us closer on a deeper level. I’m just not there yet after so many years of sexlessness.

        When I said it’s difficult to snuggle when I know sex isn’t going to happen, I meant it literally. It often arouses me, if I’m not already, so it is hard not to follow through on the arousal. My sex drive is no where close to being responsive. Arousal is always bubbling on the surface. Ironically, I’m learning that my husband’s drive is sometimes more responsive. Guess, we just debunked that gender stereotype! There are times it is painful to snuggle without sex, but those are becoming less and less. And, most (all?) of those times are about our past, not our present.

  10. Some thoughts, if I may

    You mention that the 61% of men listed connection first result from your survey as surprising. I think I understand what you mean, but I might request clarification. Is it surprising because you expected it to be higher, or lower?
    I’m not sure if I am surprised by this number or not. 61% represents a majority, but not a super-majority. Perhaps the first “conclusion” that I draw from this is that our stereotypes that are feeding our expectations must be faulty if we are getting a result so close to the middle.
    One stereotype I see among among Christians is the “Sex is the primary way that your man connects to you.” If only 61% of men listed that first, does that suggest that this may not apply to all Christian men?
    A stereotype of “all men are selfish pigs looking out only for their own pleasure and release” is not supported, because more than half listed “connection” first. But a substantial percentage did lie release or pleasure first, so at least some men felt that connection was secondary.
    Along those lines, there is a certain “moralization” that we make for these three motivations. Sex for connection — great. As some of your “marital gnostics” might say, sex for pleasure — very bad. Your survey tried to list them as equally valid motivations for sex, but how many of the 61% answered with connection first because “that’s how a good Christian man would answer” — whether or not it was really true? How do we (not you specifically, Paul, because I think you have a good handle on this) feel about sex when it is primarily motivated by pleasure or release?
    In all of this, I will acknowledge that the survey question did not ask to choose “either 1 motivation or another”. I think the survey acknowledges that all three motivations are part of sexuality and sexual encounters. With all of that said, I think what I see in that 61% is that male sexuality is more complex, more nuanced, less “pigeonholeable” than many of our stereotypes suggest.

    • @MrShorty – I expected “release” to be higher because it’s such strong thing and without it sex is frustrating.
      Part of this is how I originally thought of the survey and how I eventually did it. My first thought was “of the three, which would you be most willing to not have?” In such a survey I think rather few men would be willing to go without release. I susepct pleasure would be the one most men would choose to forego.
      But I worded it more about what is important than what is necessary, and that gave different resutls.
      There is always the issue of people answering as they think they should or wish they felt. But we get plenty of folks admitting to porn use or adultery, so while I’m sure there is some of that, I don’t know if it’s a big factor.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Friday Flashback: Can She Be Once, Twice Three Times a Lady?My Profile

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