I read a number of relationship blogs, and a while back I ran across something written by a woman commenting she didn’t want to just be a “receptacle for her partners sperm”. I have to admit, it made me laugh. It was kind of crude, but funny. And it got across the point of what she felt her role had been reduced to in the relationship.
I recently read another blog by someone talking about what she wants in a man. It was something along the lines of wanting a man who will love her for who she is. For her mind and her soul, being someone who would be willing to support her and grow with her, and not just want her for sex or her body.
I agree. Any man worth being with should want her for all of her, and want to be there for all of her. But guess what? He’ll still want her physically, and he’ll still want sex. And that should never be a bad thing. Actually, she would probably be upset if he didn’t want her.
Reading other blogs, this sentiment seems fairly common. There seem to be lots of women out there feeling some variation on the receptacle idea.
Somehow, somewhere along the way sex seems to go from being this special thing a couple shares that happens to feel good to almost being something bad. It seems to have become a chore or a duty for many women.
If that’s the case, it seems clear that there is some sort of a disconnect between how men and women are expressing our sexual needs as well as our understanding each of other.
Generally I don’t buy into gender differences. I think there are a lot of guys out there with “female” traits and vice versa. But maybe this is one area where we ARE fundamentally different. After all, if you think of the very act – we experience it in a completely different way. I know how it feels as a guy, but as a woman? I have no clue, and never will.
I’ve written in the past about the benefits sex has for a relationship, so I won’t rehash them here.
But here are a few facts:
- Sex provides many benefits to a relationship
- Sex drives between partners vary, and are not constant over time
- Sexual problems can spill over into the rest of the relationship
- Sexual issues are cited among the leading causes of divorce
How is it that something that should bring us together drives us apart? Some guys may be jerks, but I think most truly do care. So how can any guy make their partner feel like a receptacle for sperm?
Speaking Different Languages
My thought, maybe we just don’t understand each other. And maybe if we can understand each other better we can start to break down these walls of resentment that take what should be a special act and turn it into a cause of conflict. I don’t pretend to represent all guys here, but these my thoughts on the subject…
Sex is not about sex.
Let me explain…
Who do you have sex with? Random strangers? Unlikely. Your parents? If so, first – too much information. Second, ewww. Your buddies? Some people have “friends with benefits”, but generally that’s because they are not in a relationship and are looking for a regular outlet. In that case, yeah, I guess it’s about the act. But it still has a tendency to run into complications.
No, generally it’s reserved for a couple in a relationship. Why? And why is it that having sex with someone else while in a relationship is often defined as an affair, instead of having dinner with someone else or going for coffee with them? (Incidentally, I think it’s a huge misconception when people draw the line for affairs at sex. The line for affairs should be drawn LONG before that, and could potentially be extended to something as “simple” as dinner. But that’s a topic for another day).
No, sex is clearly different. There’s something special about it. But what?
Years ago one of my buddies caught me off guard when he started talking about his girlfriend and how beautiful and sexy she was when he saw her naked. There are all sorts of stereotypes of guys talking in the locker room about their “conquests”, or constantly talking about women. Maybe it’s just my peer group but we REALLY don’t do that, so it was a bit disconcerting to me when he mentioned this.
First, there’s the unwritten bro-code. You don’t look at or think about a buddies girlfriend/wife/whatever in a sexual way. That’s just not cool. So having him talk about her naked was awkward, as of course it meant my mind instantly imagined her naked.
Ahh!!! Brain what are you doing? Noooooo!!!
As my traitorous brain was processing these unwanted images, I was also thinking “dude, ummm, your girlfriend’s really not that attractive” (I didn’t say that of course). Everyone has their preferences, but for me? Even trying to be objective she didn’t do much for me.
But here’s a secret about sex and desire. Being sexy and beautiful has very little to do with your physical appearance – it’s mostly mental. Is it only young attractive people who desire each other? No (at least, it shouldn’t be).
Being naked with someone you love isn’t about admiring their “naughty bits”. It’s about vulnerability. You are being open with each other. It’s about safety, closeness and trust.
For years I thought sex was about sex. But it’s not. It’s about that feeling, that sense of complete vulnerability and openness. That feeling is intoxicating, and arousing, and will likely lead to sex. But I don’t think it’s the sex that we want, it’s the sense of connection.
The physical act is just insert A into B. The emotional act is one of wanting to connect with and give pleasure to someone you love in a way that is only shared by the two of you.
Because of this I actually believe sex in a long term committed relationship can be better than any other sex. “New love” may have sex more frequently, but it’s more lust than love at that point.
Young guys may hope they will be having sex all the time. As you get a bit older, you realize that it doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be happy to be having sex more frequently, but sex is just part of the relationship and the relationship is more important.
Drives fluctuate. It may be frustrating at times, but we get that. What really matters is that we feel valued, and feel as though our needs in the relationship still matter. There has to be a middle ground where the lower drive person isn’t constantly being pressured, but the higher drive person isn’t left feeling unfulfilled.
If you say no one day, that’s fine. But when one person is consistently rejecting the other and shutting them down sexually then there is a problem.
For anyone who isn’t having sex with some regularity, I ask you this – what is the general level of non-sexual touching and affection like in the relationship. If sex isn’t happening, I’ll guess affection is at a shortage too. How about communication? How easy is it to talk to your partner? Can you tell them anything? Do you? When you are unhappy in parts of your relationship do you tell them? Or do you hold things in? Do you still tell them that you love them?
When there is limited to no sex, the affection and communication has also usually broken down. If affection and communication were still there, the lack of sex would probably be bearable. But then, if the affection and communication were there, chances are the sex would be too. They go together. Sex is simply the natural extension of that affection and communication.
As such, sex is about much more than the physical act. It is symbolic of all the closeness and affection that makes a couple a couple.
A Symbol of the Relationship
Guys see sex as symbolic of the relationship, and because of this a lack of sex can REALLY start to mess with them.
First, they start to question themselves:
- Is there something wrong with me?
- I desire my partner, what is wrong? Am I terrible at sex?
- Does my partner no longer find me attractive?
- Does my partner not desire me?
There’s a good chance that the lack of sex is at least partially because their partner isn’t feeling good about themselves. But this lack of sex results in both people feeling bad about themselves, and can start a downward spiral of negative momentum.
If the problem persists for any length of time, guys start to question the relationship itself:
- The person I committed to won’t touch me, do they not care about me anymore?
- Do they not love me?
- Is our relationship failing?
- My needs are being ignored here, what about me? Don’t my needs matter?
At this point, the sexual drought is spilling over and affecting the rest of the relationships. Chances are you got here due to poor communication. Unfortunately improved communication is what you need to get out, as over time this will do considerable damage threatening the relationship itself.
People say that they don’t want to be bothered for sex. But someone pestering you for sex isn’t a problem. It becomes a problem when they have stopped asking, because when that happens resentment has set in and they have given up hope.
All About Sex
I opened with the idea that guys seem to be making women feel like they are only wanted for their bodies, and that things are “all about sex”.
I’m pretty sure that’s not the intent. Making your partner feel that way is simply going to cause any sexual rift to deepen, and that’s not something anyone wants. So why in the world do guys do it?
Here’s my theory:
One of the biggest issues that couples face is they get to a point where they feel they have lost “the spark”. They feel like roommates, and maybe feel taken for granted. They no longer feel special when they are around their partner. And likely they ARE being taken for granted somewhat. It’s easy to get caught up in day to day life and let the relationship suffer, but it doesn’t mean someone loves their partner any less.
I think this is the stage where some people start to resent sex.
For guys, sex is symbolic of the relationship. They need it on a fairly regular basis (“regular” being different from person to person) in order to feel that things are alright. But without enough focus on each other, to the woman it starts to feel as though all they are wanted for is sex. After all, if you aren’t taking time to nurture the relationship (which is usually the fault of both members) but still want sex, then it does start to seem like you are roommates who happen to have sex sometime. No one wants that.
I’ve heard it said that women need connection for sex, and men need sex for connection. I don’t think that’s quite accurate. Instead, I think maybe for women sex goes along with connection while for men sex is symbolic of connection. But even for the guys it’s not actually about sex. It’s still about connection.
I think maybe men and women are both actually looking for the same thing. We both want connection, and to feel valued in the relationship. We are just speaking different languages, and becoming resentful as a result.
Keeping Love Alive
The worst feeling in a relationship is the sense that you have become just roommates, and the sense of being lovers is gone. When this happens, men often seem to think that sex is the way to rebuild the connection, while women want the connection before the sex.
Both approaches are probably wrong. Sex without connection will feel devaluing for both parties. But going long periods without sex while trying to rebuild connection will undermine your ability to rebuild connection. The relationship has to be the focus, but sex needs to be included as part of that.
For any ladies out there who are feeling like they are just wanted for sex, chances are your partner is not just looking for the act (alright, maybe sometimes but not usually). Instead he’s looking for everything it means to him. He’s looking for connection, and a feeling of closeness. He doesn’t want just anyone, and he’s not looking for a repository for his sperm. He wants YOU. He’s looking for feeling loved, and valued by you.
And he sees sex as a way of expressing all of that.
I don’t know if this makes any sense, or helps anything. But to any ladies out there who are feeling used solely for their bodies, please be open to the possibility that there is a lot more to us than just that.
You may drive us crazy sometimes (just as we do to you). But we do love you for who you are. We love your personality, your quirks. The way you can make us laugh and how just thinking about you sometimes can bring a smile to our faces. We want to be there for you emotionally as best we can (which admittedly isn’t always the way you want). And we do want to grow with you and have a life with you. We just need sex to be a part of it.