photo Relationships Work women and sex what men need to understand

“She used to love sex. When we were in college we’d have sex three times a week. She truly enjoyed it. She initiated as much as I did. I don’t know what happened, but it’s not the same. Can’t we get back to that? Why did things change?”

This is a common complaint we hear from men. In the beginning of the relationship, sex was frequent and extremely pleasurable for both partners. As the relationship grew and the couple married and started a family, physical intimacy changed. In our practice, we hear men say:

  • She’s just not into sex like she used to be.
  • She no longer initiates.
  • I hear “no” more often than I hear “yes.”
  • It seems like a chore to her.
  • She must not be attracted to me anymore.
  • I feel like she has sex out of obligation, more than desire. I want her to enjoy it.

It’s vital that men know how women feel about sex as life progresses. Here are five important things men need to understand about women and sex:

1) Women desire sex; but, not when they are overwhelmed and tired.

Most women feel burdened by all the chores and “to-dos” on their endless lists. They are wired to “take care” of the family, regardless of whether they work 40+ hours per week. There’s a general feeling of being responsible for ensuring the family system runs smoothly.

What You Can Do: Take some chores off her list. Ask her, “Honey, what can I take off your plate?” Or say, “You relax tonight. I’ll do the dishes and get the kids ready for bed.”

2) When women feel emotionally connected, they want sex more.

Most women need to feel close to their partners as a prerequisite for sex. Men may be able to have sex after an argument or being apart for a time, but it’s not like that for women.

What You Can Do: Remember the romance. Do small things that make a big difference. Leave her a love note. Bring her a rose or her favorite candy. Give her a back rub. Communicate your caring by listening actively.

3) For women, sex begins in the kitchen.

Foreplay is vital for women, and I don’t just mean in the bedroom. Women need a prelude to feel connected. You can’t just dive right in.

What You Can Do: Touch her lovingly during the day. Give her a 10-second hug or a kiss that’s more than a peck. Tell her she looks beautiful and sexy.

4) Sex for women is a great stress buster.

Men usually feel their desire and then have sex. For women, they may not feel aroused to begin with, but once they “get into it” they are glad they did. It relaxes them and provides a sense of intimate closeness.

What You Can Do: Encourage her to relax and remind her that sex relieves some of the tension and stress. It takes the two of you away to another reality.

5) Women need their partners to make them feel desired.

As women age, and especially after having kids, they need their partners to let them know they are still beautiful and sexy. Women are extremely aware of changes to their bodies as a result of age and child bearing, and may become very self-conscious. It’s vital for a partner to make her feel desirable.

What You Can Do: Tell her how sexy she is. Give genuine compliments. Buy her a negligee. Plan an overnight or weekend trip and take her away from the stress.

More than anything, partners need to communicate about their relationships, emotionally and sexually. Make a habit of “checking in” with each other and asking how to best “love” each other. One simple question, “What makes you feel loved by me?” may make all the difference.

If you are in a relationship that hurts and feel disconnected, have difficulties communicating, and/or are experiencing a crisis, we can help. Call us at 410-363-2825 or email

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