“I need to have sex.”
“I need sex more than my wife does.”
“My wife should understand and provide for my need for sex.”
“My wife needs to fulfill all of my sexual needs.”
“If my wife loved me more, she would have sex with me whenever I want.”
These are statements that I lived by. I believed them, I collected evidence to support them, and I acted on them.
I was a husband who believed that I needed sexual release in order to be more happy, focused, calm, and connected. If my wife did not have sex with me when I wanted, I blamed her for my anger, my frustration – because, after all, a man needs to have sex to be happy, right? And isn’t my wife supposed to fulfill that need for me?
I decided I couldn’t trust my wife to make me happy, or to fulfill my needs. I decided that she could not be trusted with my deepest secrets, my desires, or my happiness, because she didn’t truly love or understand me – she couldn’t, otherwise she would give in to this little thing that I needed. It was so important to me, and she just wouldn’t give it.
This went on for years, building and growing inside of me. This belief that I had a need that my wife couldn’t, or wouldn’t, provide for.
Our brains keep us alive by acting on evidence. We collect evidence based on the beliefs that we hold – evidence that SUPPORTS THE BELIEF, no matter what the belief is.
I believed that I NEEDED sex to be happy, so I gathered evidence that if my wife didn’t have sex with me, she didn’t want me to be happy.
I believed she didn’t want me to be happy, so I gathered evidence that if she did something that wasn’t what I perceived as loving, she must not truly love me.
I believed that she must not truly love me, so I gathered evidence that other people must love me more, because they were willing to give me what I thought made me happy.
See the pattern?
Regardless of the time she spent with me, the gifts she gave, how often she did her best to make me comfortable and happy, even when she started having sex with me more often, I could only see what she wasn’t giving me. Where I wasn’t being fulfilled. Where my “needs” weren’t being met. The evidence not to trust her seemed enormous to me, because that is all I chose to see.
Hurt, anger, frustration, distrust. That is what sex was for us. For many, many years that was all we experienced when it came to sexual intimacy. We were disconnected, and unhappy, because I was never satisfied with what she had to give.
I decided to trust other women to understand me, and fulfill my needs. I turned first to pornography and masturbation for the release I wanted. I gathered evidence that allowing myself to release in this way was healthy and normal – it was good for me.
Instead of being fulfilled, my “need” got more intense. I sought out women who would say the words, and do the things that my wife wouldn’t – because I “needed” it, and if my wife wouldn’t fulfill it, I was justified in finding another way to.
No matter how it hurt my wife and children, no matter how wrong I knew it was, I had convinced myself that it was the right thing to do, that it was the only way to find the happiness and fulfillment I wanted. I continued turning to addiction and infidelity, because the smallest attention or physical pleasure seemed overwhelmingly better than what I was destroying – because that is what I had chosen to believe, and the evidence I had gathered supported that belief – even though it was destroying my world.
Everything changed when we came to the edge of divorce.
My wife came to me and told me she loved me, and she knew what I was doing. She knew about the women, and the lies. She wanted to stay married to me, but not to the addiction. Not the distrust. Not the pain.
That is when I chose to act against the evidence I had gathered, and look for new evidence. I chose to trust in my wife – even though she had not changed how she showed up. My choice to trust her changed the way I behave in our marriage – and I did it without any expectation that she would fulfill that trust. I changed my belief, and as my actions followed suit, I gathered new evidence.
I chose to believe that sex was not the need I thought it was.
I chose to believe that intimacy exists separately from sexuality.
I chose to believe that I can be just as happy without sex as I am with it.
I chose to change how I showed up for, and with, my beloved wife, when it came to our sex life.
As I began living these new beliefs, I gathered evidence that supported them. I let go of my perceived “biological need”, and stopped expecting her to want to have sex every time I did. I learned that Marianne always, always loves me, and always wants to be intimate, and that her saying “no” only means that sex is not the form of intimacy she needs.
I learned to be unconditional. To allow Marianne to say “no”, and still stay present. I would stay emotionally, mentally, and physically engaged with her, so that I could show that it is HER I want – not her vagina and breasts. Not the sex. I want her.
I chose to be happy, no matter how she responded.
I have stayed true to my choice, because I believe I made the right choice, even on the days when I feel like my body will explode unless we have sex.
I believe that Marianne is worth giving my trust, and worth waiting for, whether or not she reciprocates, however long it does or does not take.
I believe that whether we have sex once a day, or once a year, it is enough.
I patiently, and lovingly, stay true to myself and my commitment, and I grow in love for her, and for myself. Day by day, I become the man I need me to be.
And every day, I gather more evidence that supports these beliefs, and they become more true.
Restoring the intimacy in our marriage has been a journey. Sex is now a beautiful, fun, and emotional way to connect with my wife, because it is based on the correct foundation. Marianne and I share the most passionate physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy, as often as either of us wants, because we have chosen a bottom line: We love each other. We honor each other. We are always connected in love. And we live in the way that makes it true, every single day.
Expecting sex to be the source of the emotions I was looking for left me hollow, disappointed and resentful. Learning to connect with myself, my body, and my wife WITHOUT sex is what creates the happiness, focus, peace, and connection I want in our marriage.
When I want to have sex, we have sex. Or we don’t.
Either way, I am just as happy.
Because in the end, sex is the RESULT of ultimate connection, intimacy, and happiness in marriage – not the source. And in this kind of relationship, there is never a feeling of lack – because I want HER. Not sex.
That is what making love really is. That is what intimacy in marriage looks like.
And that is a belief that I will keep finding evidence for.
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