Got your attention I see! Men in monogamous relationships often lament that they aren’t getting enough of that precious commodity: sex.

The Internet is full of stories of men going to drastic measures to try to get their wives’ attention. Making charts and texting it to them, keep track in a journal, joking about it in front of their wives in public, enlisting their wives’ best friends to talk to them about it, threatening to find girlfriends. The list goes on and on.

What strikes me about this issue is that for the men, it seems to be always what they want. They need sex, and women aren’t giving it to them.

The whole problem could be avoided if women would just give in to them. And the passive aggressive ways that men try to subtly, and not-so-subtly, get this point across are truly amazing in their creativity and stupidity.

Communication is key

This can’t be said enough. Communication is key to a healthy sex life, and it needs to start early in your marriage (or even during pre-marriage counseling). When a relationship is new, the hormone-driven urges and the anticipation are enough to make you both explode with barely a touch.

It doesn’t take a lot of work on the man’s part, and if he even notices, he probably assumes it was as good for the woman as it was for him. Maybe it was. Maybe she was lying.

Despite what the tabloids may tell you, the average woman is not an overtly sexual creature. Yes, she can and does enjoy sex. Some women are even very enthusiastic. It differs from woman to woman. But what the tabloids don’t tell you, is that a woman will start out wanting to please her man before herself. This is her nature.

It’s part of the nurturing instinct. She won’t tell you she didn’t orgasm, or that her needs aren’t being met, because she doesn’t want to diminish your enjoyment. She is protective of her man’s self-esteem and of the new relationship.

The Sacrificial Lamb

Sounds like a bit of a sacrifice. And it is. She may still enjoy the sex, but she pushes her other needs way down deep, out of the way. She harbors a lot of hope that things will get better, that her man will meet her needs someday. She is OK taking the backseat for a few years. Then those years tick by, and nothing changes. Resentment builds, or a lack of desire, because she has given up on her needs being met. And all her man can do is throw in her face the fact that his needs aren’t being met.

Humans crave intimacy. But where men display their intimacy through sex, women communicate their sense of intimacy in other ways. It’s not that they don’t need sex, it’s just that their other intimacy needs are often withering on the vine, while their men beat their chests and yell “Me want sex now!”

Mars vs. Venus

Back in the early 90’s there was the book published called “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,” by John Gray. There is a great quote from the book that says, “Men are motivated when they feel needed. Women are motivated when they feel cherished.” Let that sink in. Men want to feel needed, especially in bed. But for women, feeling cherished extends beyond the bedroom.

The book explores many of the differences between men and women, including hormone and chemical differences. One key difference is that men’s sexuality is driven off of testosterone, while for women, oxytocin is the key.

Oxytocin is released when a woman feels safe and cherished. Cuddling, talking, intimacy without being pressured for sex builds trust, a sense of safety, and is pleasing to a woman. It communicates to her that you are interested in ensuring all of her needs are met, and not just the consummation of intercourse.

Completing the Circle: Communication

The problem is that few men learn to investigate below the surface, to ask questions, listen to the answers. To be fair, women aren’t always that forthcoming with the answers, either. But this is not an area to be reticent. Couples need to communicate on every level, including intimacy, so don’t give up. Keep trying. Find out what turns her on.

Find out what makes her tick and what makes her toes curl. Find out how she wants to be cherished. Cuddle. Make her feel safe and build her trust. The sooner you start to do this, the better. Before the chaos of kids, and the stress of jobs, and the exhaustion of living. Start communicating in meaningful ways, early. It’s not in a guy’s nature to do this. It will be difficult, but worth it.