By Jim R Harris MA
July 16, 2011
Who should initiate sex? Over the years in counseling hundreds of couples I have heard men complain repeatedly that their wives never or rarely initiate having sex. (In general it is men that complain, but every once in awhile the roles are reversed) The reason why they complain is based in two key misconceptions about initiation. Christian men can
improve their sex lives by understanding these misconceptions and by taking their role as the primary initiator.
Misconception #1. Initiation should be fair
Men believe that their wives should initiate sex more because they see themselves unfairly being called on to pursue their wives. “It would be nice,” they would say, “if my wife took some interest in me for a change.” This makes sense if you are taking turns. But, your role as the man is to always be taking the role of the leader not trying to keep things even. What this looked like in the “old days,” (I have heard) was that the man would go around the car and open the door for his wife. The wife on the other hand was never expected to go around and open the door for her husband. Although few people do this anymore the concept comes directly from Jesus. He said it very simply; “the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” If a man wants to be the greatest, he must be the least, the servant of all. This applies to all areas not just sex. Believe it or not, as the man you don’t get to demand that your wife serve you. It is the expectation that you as the leader will be the lead servant. Your approach should be the same as Christ and how he treats his church as his bride. Paul said it this way; “husbands love your wife like Christ loved the church, giving himself up for her…” How did Christ love the church? Not be counting his needs first, but by giving up everything for her. He did not wait for his church, he pursued her, and gave up everything for her. A 50/50 arrangement is not a Christian idea. It is a 100% situation. Although, at times a wife may pursue her husband, it is the role of the husband to be the primary initiator. Think of it like opening the door for her, or washing her feet like Jesus washed his disciples feet. (Remember, Peter didn’t want Jesus to wash his feet initially)
Misconception #2. Women should be like men
The culture today expects women to act like men. Turn on your TV and watch almost any sit-com. Men will be weak, passive, and sensitive while women will be strong, assertive, and insensitive. It is so common that we don’t even stop to question it. It is a theme that reflects a current negative attitude towards male attributes, while at the same time portraying women with very masculine attributes. Women are encouraged to take on masculine attributes while men are taking on feminine attributes. This is not to say that men cannot be sensitive or women cannot be fierce, but there is a general ambiguity when it comes to gender roles today. Although the expectation is that everyone play along with the new order, if you look beneath the surface men still want to be treated like men, and women still want to be treated like a woman. Men may want their wives to take the initiative, be aggressive, and to pursue them but, women are designed to be beautiful, to entice, even to invite when it comes to sex, but they are not created to be the initiator. Even the way God designed our bodies makes this fact clear and obvious. The man is designed to pursue, and the woman is designed to receive. This is true with our bodies as well as our natures. Man is designed to be strong, to pursue, to have what it takes. And, a Woman is designed to be beautiful, to entice, to be at rest.
A great resource on this for men is “Wild at Heart, by John Eldridge.
A great resource for women is “Captivating” by John Eldridge and his wife.