What Are YOUR Sexual Responsibilities?

I thought I would finish up a week of posts on responsibility by discussing a wife’s sexual responsibility. 

This is not going to be a rant about how horrible women are for not giving their husband everything he wants in bed… or the backyard, or wherever he wants whatever it is he wants. (BTW,  I recently addressed that with the men in She’s NOT Responsible For Your Sexual Satisfaction.)

The Bible does tell us we owe our spouses sex (1 Cor 7), but it does not go into detail. So, for what it’s worth, here are my thoughts on that.

I would say we are responsible for meeting our spouse’s reasonable sexual desires as best as we can. That statement has a couple of important qualifiers.


I would address this in terms of quantity and variety. Three weeks ago in Is His Sex Drive Is In Overdrive? I said there are good reasons to think a majority of men want and need sex (meaning ejaculation) four or five times a week. If he is demanding more than that, I would say he’s not being reasonable. If he wants more and you’re happy to do more that’s fine, but it’s above and beyond (and, ah, generous). 

Variety is a trickier issue. I think most people have a valid desire for variety in many areas of life, with sex being one of those. But this doesn’t justify a man (or a woman for that matter) continually pushing for a sex act their spouse finds wrong, gross, or not enjoyable. If your sex life has variety, or at least you offer variety, I think you have met reasonable needs.

Then there is the intersection of quantity and variety. If he says only intercourse with you both wanting and enjoying it counts, he’s not being reasonable. No one enjoys “wake me when you’re done” sex, but there is nothing wrong with offering a handjob if it’s done with some level of interest and involvement.

As Best As You Can

This is rather open ended. It includes everything from you just gave birth to you are exhausted to you are dealing with the fallout of sexual abuse in your past. All kinds of things affect our ability to function, and because sex is so relational and emotional it is easily messed up.  

The real issue, in my mind, if how frequent and long-running the limits are. We each have a responsibility to deal with anything making sex difficult. That might mean giving something up to get more sleep, finding someone to help us get through something in our past, or figuring out a way to do something sexual despite some physical limitation. 

If you’re making a good effort, don’t feel bad if your husband expects something you can’t or shouldn’t do. There will be times you can’t meet his valid needs because life happens and a reasonable man is disappointed but understanding.


The “why” for this post is I want to be clear about what I think is and is not required of both men and women sexually. I’ve seen plenty of men suggest things that seem beyond both what the Bible requires and what seems wise or loving.


I parenthetically mentioned generosity above. I’m all about generosity, and sex is a particularly good place to be generous to most men. But generosity must be given freely, not compelled or forced. Figure out what is reasonable first, then be as generous as you like.

Goose and Gander

Finally, yes this goes both ways. If you’re the higher drive spouse, your husband is responsible for meeting your reasonable sexual desires as best as he can. I realise saying that doesn’t make it so, but it is the truth.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’m married to The Generous Wife! ;-)

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4 Comments on “What Are YOUR Sexual Responsibilities?

  1. Great post, Paul. I’d add one thing that might fall under “Best you can” in your post above. When hubby and wife are in one of those seasons where everything is “go, go, go!” and most, if not all opportunities for intimacy are when one or both of you are exhausted, there can be a tendency for one spouse to exclaim “I’m SO exhausted!” right before lovemaking starts. It’s hard for the other spouse to not fall out of any mood they were in when those words escape. It’s understood by both that they are tired and it’s hard to find the time to be together, so saying something “obvious” out loud right before lovemaking puts a burden on the other spouse: “Am I being selfish?” “Is he/she saying that, hoping I will back out?”

    • @closertothe heart – I would like to add that I unknowingly did this for years. I would say I’m tired or exhausted (because i was) and my hubby thought he was being kind by not initiating sex those nights. This became a bad habit because I thought he didn’t want me and he thought I never had energy for him. The reality was that I was exhausted but still needed to be close to him and a quickie would have been great. We finally started talking about things and i realized what I had done. Now if I’m tired I still tell him, but follow it up with an offer for a quickie or a promise for tomorrow. Now i see part of my responsibility is to communicate clearly.

      • @Grace – This is especially likely if the husband has some fear his sexuality is bad or an imposition to his wife. Hearing things through this filter means he hears things that were neither said nor intended.
        Paul Byerly recently posted…Accept It Or Try To Change It?My Profile

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