Ladies/Wives: Sex Is A Physical Need

#2 in this series of Understanding physical and relational needs between men and women. Enjoy these because we have!

Three Passions


A man’s sexuality has a tremendous impact on his emotional, marital and spiritual well-being.

One of the biggest differences between you and your husband is the fact that he experiences sex as a legitimate physical need. Just as your body tells you when you’re hungry, thirsty, or tired, your husband’s body tells him when he needs a sexual release. Your husband’s sexual desire is impacted by what’s around him but is determined by biological factors, specifically the presence of testosterone in his body.

Immediately after sexual release, men are physically satisfied. But as their sexual clock ticks on, sexual thoughts become more prevalent, and they are more easily aroused. The physical need for sexual release intensifies as sperm builds in the testicles. The body continues to produce and store sperm, although sperm production fluctuates based on levels of testosterone and the frequency of sexual release.

The best way for a woman to understand this dynamic is to relate it to another physiological need. If you’ve had a baby, you may relate to the experience of milk building up in your breasts a few days after giving birth. The buildup of breast milk becomes annoying (and even painful) until the milk is expressed. You may have even had the embarrassing experience of leaking breast milk when it was not expressed. A male’s semen buildup is sometimes released through nocturnal emissions if it is not otherwise relieved. Just as with breast milk, sperm production tends to “keep up with demand.” The more often a man has sex, the more semen his body is likely to produce.

As women, we don’t experience the physiological drive for sex in this same way. There is no buildup that demands release. Instead, hormonal fluctuations drive our sexuality. Female sexual hormones are largely determined by two factors: the female reproductive cycle (menstruation, ovulation, pregnancy, menopause, etc.) and a part of the brain called the hypothalamus.

A woman’s sexual desire is far more connected to emotions than her husband’s sex drive is. A man can experience sexual arousal apart from any emotional attachment. He can look at a naked woman and feel intense physical desire for her, while at the same time he may be completely devoted to and in love with his wife. For most women, this just doesn’t compute. A fundamental difference in the wiring of male and female sexuality is that men can separate sex from a relationship while for a woman, the two are usually intertwined.

In today’s culture, girls and young women are becoming more involved in casual sex. Terms like hooking up and friends with benefits are code words for guys and girls engaging in sex outside the context of a romantic relationship. Women are also becoming more involved with Internet porn, obviously seeking a sexual experience outside the boundaries of relationship. Even in these scenarios, a woman’s desire for sex is still linked to an emotional or relational need. For example, porn geared toward a female audience has an intentional relational component that doesn’t exist in male-oriented porn. A young girl who engages in oral sex with a stranger may still be motivated by a desire for love and acceptance.

Although the physical need for sex can be compartmentalized in a man’s life, his sexual behavior still has ramifications for every other part of his life. Many women make the assumption that because sex is a physical need for their husbands, it doesn’t have an emotional or relational impact. Nothing could be further from the truth. A man’s sexuality has a tremendous impact on his emotional, marital, and spiritual well-being.

From No More Headaches, published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. © 2009 Julianna Slattery. Used by permission.

Cover of "No More Headaches: Enjoying Sex...

Next article in series:
Sex Is an Emotional Need

4 thoughts on “Ladies/Wives: Sex Is A Physical Need

  1. i agree with parts of what is said here . however it is nice if the times i have a sexual urge are similar to those of my lady i find it more enjoyable. if she is going through menstruation to me that is no problem i will still want her and to go all the way with her

    • I agree with you Tony. Old testament times said that women were unclean during their menstruation. Jesus says that “everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial”. My take is that things like pork, sex during menstruation, and other things that God layed out to keep people clean were there because Jesus hadn’t come yet to cleanse all the rules and requirements to be clean. Now that Jesus has cleansed sin it is our time to accept that cleansing or not. But we all are able to eat pork but for some people it can be damaging to their health while for others it is a healthy option. Same with the other things. I have prayed about this one a while ago and came to this conclusion after praying for some time about my own relationship with my husband. Things that we do in bedroom may not be beneficial for others in theirs.
      Thanks for the comment!

  2. This is a lovely blog; first the design, colors, and implementation are readily easy as well as the navigation properties. Superb writing as demonstrated by Dr.Juli Slattery. As a Christian male I am so in tune with the relaxation of morals, ethics, and values in out country. “Friends with Benefits” literally surrounds me, as does sex with multiple female partners, of which is a bit too much for me. Now then on to my question:

    Homosexuality, between two males is absolutely repulsive to me. I mean so repulsive that the gag-reflex goes off on me whenever I am witness to public displays of affection between two or more males.

    However, I don’t feel alone in this asking this question: In most circumstances albeit whatever the particulars may be such as television, film, movies, fashion shows, Happy Hour, and especially cocktail parties whenever I see two or more ladies engaging in acts of sex it does not phase me, other than acute arousal.

    I have believed for the longest time that women are far more in touch with their own sexuality and especially those of their female partners. I am of the understanding that this is status quo for most males and now seems to popping up on prime times television. Any suggestions, comments, or citations are greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • HI Jon-Paul. Thanks for commenting. As far as the difference between male-on-male affection and female-on-female affection here’s what I have learned… God made men factual, articulate, and logical and He made women for relational and it is just more pleasing and normal to see women having affection then it is men. Most men (before becoming born-again liked the idea of having two women sexually because it is more pleasing to the eye, I am talking those that know they are heterosexual. BUT God says that we are not to Lust after anyone unless it is our husband/wife. Even if we lust after people when we are not in a relationship we are still committing adultery against God. I am not saying arousal is bad because obviously God put that in us for a reason but we are to guard our hearts and be careful with what we put in front of us and what we accept as ok. Knowing what is right is different that what we feel because we can be deceived. That is why God left His Word for us to always turn to in those times when we question the line. Thats my take on male-male female-female thing. Again thanks for posting!

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