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Read Letter

The Sex Issue

My dear Jil, you married a young man in his prime. His sexual demands are in consonance with his age. It is not for nothing that the God who created the sexes says couples should not deny each other sex. I suspect that was coded more for the benefit of the man than the woman, and you’ll see why.

Paul, an authority on marriage says “Sexual drives are strong”. But he says marriage is strong enough to contain them. So powerful is the sexual urge that Paul advises that for abstinence for spiritual ablutions, there must be mutual consent. And after the fasting period the couple should immediately resume sexual liaison, Paul counsels.

It’s not wise to deny your husband sex. You’re not containing his drive and you are toying with a primitive and primal force. The truism in Paul’s sex advisory is that copulatory engagement is the default in a marital union. That sexual denial can only proceed on “mutuality”, and for special purposes. Such must have a fixed time frame.

Mutuality has three components: (a) Communication. (b) Cause or rationale. (c) Agreement or consent. The mistake we make in our marriages is that we don’t apply the rules of mutuality to denial of sex. When we rebuff our husbands with a brush off of the hand like a fly whisk, that’s not Paul’s advice! When sex intimation is met with a turn-of-the-back orientation, it’s not Paul’s advice either. Every time we don’t follow the rules of mutuality, there’s ALWAYS a problem. We produce hurt feelings.

Common rationale for denial of sex include “I’m not feeling well”, “I’m tired”, “We just fought!”, “I’m healing”. It’s important to communicate rationale for sex denial. Rationale should always be communicated. Don’t assume or insist the man should know, or ought to know. He may indeed know you’re not happy and still demand sex. Men are wired differently from women.

How do you get your husband to agree with you on deferring sex with him? A lot depends on attitude and composition of statement. How about “Darling I’m a bit tired. Tough day. Can I make it up to you in the morning? Is that okay?” You’ve expressed your rationale, communicated verbally and obtained tacit consent with that statement. And you’ve also set a date for resumption of liaison with the rain check issued. Fully on fours with Paul’s advice! Your husband will of course be disappointed but he won’t take it bad. He’ll switch to occupy himself, say watch TV. Even if your rationale for denial is a quarrel you’ve had, tell him! That’s what we never do, male and female!

Note that the make-up of man is such that he can fight one minute and want sex the next. He tends to just move on, to separate issues, to compartmentalise. Your verbal communication helps him to link his compartments. Makes him consider. Don’t refuse to talk; or say, “How can you want to have sex when we’ve just quarreled!” Or any variant of that. “I don’t want to have sex! You hurt my feelings!” is better than remonstration, silent rebuff or physical brush off. It’s an opener for him to say “I’m sorry!” especially if the tone of your complaint has no air of finality to it. Most likely he’ll apologise and explain his point of view. He wants to have sex! Then you can have make-up sex. But if you physically rebuff him or just turn your back on him, things will fester.

By morning it’s another thing entirely. You have to make up your mind whether you want to win an argument or have a beautiful marriage. Listen to Paul: ‘Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out.’ He gives advice on the sexual experience itself: “The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality – the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband.” It’s unwise for couples to punish each other with sex. Creates anger, bitterness, lust for vengeance and depression. Let me take you further into the man’s sexual psyche. I assume you want things to improve in that department.

Sex for the man can be importunate. When he wants to have sex he wants to have sex. When you push him away he feels hurt and powerless. In a man’s mind you amassed power and exercised it. You can’t push him away and hours later decide you want to have sex with him. The moment is gone for him! He might oblige you but it doesn’t mean he’ll enjoy it. It’s functional and dutiful sex. Ejaculation is no proof a man enjoyed sex. It’s just the mechanical aftermath of stimulation. What I’m saying is, you can’t just switch a man off and switch him back on. The man is not electricity. Women say that about themselves but it applies to men too… the switch thing.

Now, if your mood is “not interested” over a prolonged period of time, the man will start using a mental abacus. He’ll begin to count how many times you have sex in a week or a month. He’ll date when you last had sex. Many women get defensive about this and that’s not the way to go. You’ll turn a simple solvable issue into a fight. You’ll go on “defensive offensive.” A defensive offensive is a complaining and argumentative explanation. Anger sets in for the man. And men think punitive alternative when they’re angry. They think empty comfort.

Why does your husband always want sex in the morning? It’s the hormone thing. It’s testosterone. It’s more abundant in men than in women. By far! x10! Though produced during the day, the bulk of testosterone production is done at night. Right before REM, part of sleep cycle. It’s why men have erection in the morning, why they desire sex in the morning. Testosterone is what makes men, men. Aggression, drive, the shapes of our bodies during puberty… that’s testosterone. A man’s hormone cycle is a 24-hour cycle whilst a woman’s cycle is 28-days. His testosterone is highest in the morning when he wakes up and gets lower and lower as the day goes on.

There’s also something called “testosterone burst”. It’s produced by a number of factors: If a man watches a sexually explicit movie, there’ll be a 35% increase in testosterone for 60 – 90 minutes afterwards. Talking to a babe also creates an increase in hormone level, though slight. When a man smells an ovulating woman, his hormone level increases too. Yes, our noses are that sophisticated! His testosterone level also rises when he drinks alcohol or caffeine, sees an action movie or plays video games. And when he works out in the gym or exerts himself physically, there is a testosterone increase.

Now you know why Men’s Health Magazine sells! And why the guys in the gym feel like Gs! Oh Testosterone!

I wish you a sexually fulfilling marriage.

Your mentor,



©Leke Alder 2014

Tags : Marriage, Sex, Mutuality

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