It’s not just sex addicts, all men really want more sex
Yes, it’s official. Well, sort of…
In a quick scan of the subject I found that there is some skepticism about the extent to which men want more sex.
The answer seems to be “they do, but…” The “but” is as follows.
- Although men report thinking about having sex more times per day than women (19 vs. 10) women also have a strong sex drive. And women only exhibit mixed feelings due to social norms. (themanupblog.com)
- Men score higher on reported “libido” and “sex drive” and their sexuality is more directly tied to biology (as opposed to social factors) and more amenable to medication. (webmd.com)
- In a third of the cases of couples seeking sex counseling it’s the woman who wants more sex, so it’s not all that one sided. (psychologytoday.com)
- It’s a cultural issue for men because sexual prowess is the Holy Grail of manhood. Men just think they want sex all the time because it is “unmanly” to say no to guaranteed sex. (howaboutwe.com)
Sex addiction and marital sex
This is a multifaceted issue, one that is sometimes hard to untangle.
There is the question of the husband’s motives for wanting or not wanting marital sex.
Then there is the question of the wife or partner’s reactivity to sex from feelings of betrayal, vs. the urge to re-establish intimacy and meet the husband’s sexual needs.
Then there is the role that conflict over frequency of sex plays in the relationship and the meaning that sex or the refusal to have sex carries for each partner.
Addicts who want a lot of marital sex vs. those who want none
My male sex addict clients seem to fall into two camps. Some of them, while they are still undergoing treatment, want to have more sex than their wives or partners, and in fact seem to see sex with a partner as a “healthy outlet” for what they believe to be their very strong sexual drive. Other men in sex addiction recovery are resistant to sex with their spouse or partner.
Most addicts do not give up a life of sexually addictive behavior and move straight into a totally fulfilling sexual relationship with their partner. There are simply too many other things involved in learning to be honest and intimate and committed to a sex life with one person. This is bound to be a somewhat rough road for the recovering addict.
Men addicts who feel they want a lot of sex with their wives sometimes tell me they need a way to relieve tension. This may be true but it can be a by-product of their addiction or of withdrawal. In sex addiction sex really is “a thing you need,” a drug. In that sense it is not really personal but more objectified. (And a spouse or partner may not want to feel like “a thing you need,” at least not yet.)
Integrating sex and intimacy in a partnership
Part of the addict’s recovery will involve re-connecting sex and intimacy. They do not always have to be connected for the person to be healthy but for the sex addict they have never even been in the same neighborhood.
These are the recovering addicts don’t have much interest in sex with their partner. This is the other side of the same coin. The addict is still in the process of trying to integrate his sexuality into his life. He is unable to get interested in sex that does not have an addictive “high,” and he will have to do a lot of work to move into new areas.
The addict more so than people in general will have to look at what is going on with him and relational sex.
Is he using his wife for sex while running his addictive scenarios in his head?
Is he using sex with his wife as a way to feel accepted?
Is he using marital sex as a pain killer or a distraction?
The addict and the partner will have to take a long look also at the role of sex in their relationship. Often sex addicts have a history of falling into relationships that are sexually conflicted. This in turn justifies the addictive acting out behavior outside the relationship.
So yes, men may have a stronger sex drive, but we doubt the sex addict’s claim that “I’m not an addict, I do what I do because men are just more sexual,” or “I just have such a high sex drive…”