In my opinion, anyone who watches movies gets the message that men and women have sexual needs and desires but that they are not the same.
In the movie For the Love of the Game, Billy Chapel (played by Kevin Costner) and Jane Aubrey (Kelly Preston) meet and hook up sexually. Because Billy travels as a professional baseball pitcher with the Detroit Tigers, they make a deal. Jane says, “So, when you’re away, I’ll live my life and you’ll live yours. And none of this ‘why didn’t you call me?’ crap. And what you do when you’re not with me has nothing to do with me, and vice versa. No questions asked, no worrying, no obsessing.”
But, of course, she falls in love with him and there comes the telling moment when Billy feels the pressure that she requires more from the relationship than sex. He asks her, “What about the whole deal thing?”
Jane Aubrey:What deal?
Billy Chapel: You know, you do what you do, I do what I do.
Jane Aubrey:You believed that? I was lying. I was trying to be the man. And I was doing a damn good job of it until you invited me down here. You were right. I was afraid. I was afraid you were gonna break my heart into a thousand pieces.
What a line from Jane Aubrey: “I was trying to be the man.” For a woman, that relationship strategy never works. Because for her, being in a relationship with a man is about the heart, not about being in heat.
Even Hollywood recognizes what women need: love, not just sex. And the women in their stories live in fear that the men with whom they are sharing their latest intimate relationship will only be in it for sex and not to love them.
Later on, Jane Aubrey captures her womanly perspective when she asks Billy, “What if my face was all scraped off and I was totally disfigured and had no arms and legs and I was completely paralyzed? Would you still love me?”
This is the perennial question from every woman in every culture throughout every generation: Do you love me for me—unconditionally?
However, when it comes to marriage, does the emphasis on unconditional love mean wives do not want sex? As long as they feel loved, do they have no desire or need for sexual intimacy with their husband? Absolutely not! Wives and husbands mutually need and desire sex, but that need and desire are not the same among the genders.
Oh sure, like Jane, for a time she can get on board with sex and nothing but sex, but it will not be long before she chooses to jump off the sex-only ship. Jane exemplifies this. For women, relationships are about love. Women want to love and be loved. Why wouldn’t they? Within their nature, they nurture. They care. To use a double negative, they “cannot not” care. They forever tend and mend someone, or at least they want to. Furthermore, it is about unconditional love. It is about being loved after being disfigured in an automobile accident.
To a woman, if sex should be an expression of love, and arousal sexually comes when feeling unconditionally loved, then how meaningful is sex when someone does not love you unconditionally and only wants you for sex? Countless women have told me, “I feel like a prostitute.”
Could Hollywood convey this any better? Yes, they will portray the woman on the hunt for sex (definitely the pornography industry spreads that fantasy), but most commonly Hollywood portrays the woman who longs to connect in love with a man, and shows the man coming around like Billy Chapel. Hollywood knows what women feel, and what they want men to feel.
For sure, in marriage wives need and desire sex, and some want it several times a week. However, a wife must first be assured that she is loved unconditionally by a husband who will always C.O.U.P.L.E.: be close, open, understanding, peacemaking, loyal, and esteeming—the six biblical ways God reveals to a husband to love his wife. (I devote a chapter to each of these concepts in my book Love and Respect.) When she does not have these needs met, she will feel deprived sexually. How so? She will feel her husband does not fulfill his duty to approach her in the ways that God designed her to be turned on sexually.
Think with me a moment about the working definitions of C.O.U.P.L.E. As you read the following, ask yourself this question: If a husband acts on C.O.U.P.L.E. will these two things happen? One, will she feel understood and secure in his unconditional love, enabling her to be sexually aroused and to find pleasure in sexual intimacy? Two, will she wish to respond to her husband sexually to meet his needs and desires?
Closeness—Because a husband is to “cleave unto his wife” (Genesis 2:24 KJV), his face-to-face time with her causes her to feel emotionally connected and energized.
Openness—Because a husband is not to be harsh or bitter (Colossians 3:19 NIV), he must counter any tendencies to be angry and withdrawn, making her think he is mad and closing the door of his heart to her.
Understanding—Because a husband is to live with his wife “in an understanding way” (1 Peter 3:7 NASB), he needs to be attentive to her womanly concerns (even though he may not share her interests) because he wants her to feel he knows, accepts, and values her femininity.
Peacemaking—Because God said, “The two shall become one flesh” (Matthew 19:5 NASB), a husband must always seek ways to “be at one” with his wife, to always live in peace, which includes his apologies for his part in any rift or argument between them.
Loyalty—Because Scripture says, “She is your companion and your wife by covenant” (Malachi 2:14 NASB), a husband is to have eyes only for his wife and make her first in his life, reassuring her of his devotion to her and to God.
Esteem—Because a husband is to grant his wife “honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7 NASB), it behooves him to affirm and respect her equality with him in the eyes of God, and to never, ever have a condescending and contemptuous attitude toward her.
When a husband loves his wife according to C.O.U.P.L.E., doing so consistently, he will be hitting on all cylinders her premier aphrodisiac.
Again, she needs sex like she needs water, but like a person needs first to prime the pump in order to get water, love must be present to prime her sexual pump. I know this analogy sounds crude and mechanical, but God hardwired a wife to need love in order to enjoy sex. A husband who neglects God’s design will not be taking the preliminary action of love toward his wife that God intends in order for sexual intimacy to feel fulfilling to both.
Ever since the Hollywood spotlights were first lit up, its productions have fully recognized the vital key ingredient for a woman to enjoy sex to the fullest—her assurance of unconditional love! Time after time, Jane Aubrey types on the silver screen cry out, “Do you love me? Will you love me no matter what? I cannot keep hooking up without love. I cannot do this like a man might do this.” A wife needs love to enjoy sex, and when she desires sex she needs assurance of her husband’s love.
Isn’t it amazing that Hollywood—who is merely interested in selling movie tickets—has unknowingly tapped into what God’s holy Scriptures have given us as the blueprint for male-female relationships (my acronyms C.O.U.P.L.E. and C.H.A.I.R.S. in my book)? When Hollywood makes a movie that reflects those components, people buy tickets for it! If Hollywood was off-base, the movies wouldn’t be popular. Women would be up in arms saying, “WAIT A MINUTE!!! THAT’S NOT WHO WE ARE AS WOMEN!!!” So the Hollywood machine unwittingly supports God’s design.
What about husbands? Do they only want sex and no love? What do we need to understand about a husband’s sexual drive and the lack of sexual drive? We will address that in part 2.
- Have you ever known or been a part of a relationship that began like the one in For Love of the Game? Was there still an unexpressed desire for love from the woman, despite the “casual” agreement?
- Emerson wrote, “This is the perennial question from every woman in every culture throughout every generation: Do you love me for me—unconditionally?” Do you agree or disagree? Explain.
- If for women the overwhelming desire in a relationship is love, not sex, then why do you believe so many enter into sexual relationships that are not with men they love nor with men who love them?
- How would you respond to the following statement: “Men use love to get sex and women use sex to get love”?
- Have you noticed in your relationship a correlation between feeling loved unconditionally and desiring sex?
- The man who does not apply C.O.U.P.L.E. may still respond to the call to meet his wife’s sexual needs, but how likely is it that he will do so in a way that is romantic and pure? In situations like these, how come his wife’s sexual needs being met do not help fulfill her more pressing need of feeling loved unconditionally?
- For the husband to consider for himself. Few wives are interested in sexual intimacy when emotional and spiritual intimacy has been dismissed. A wife is turned off sexually when her husband continually conveys:
C: “I don’t want to talk face to face about the same stuff week after week.”
O: “I am spitting mad at you, even resentful.”
U: “I cannot empathize with all the things that worry you as a woman; it’s too much and not reasonable.”
P: “I will not apologize just because you feel hurt and offended.”
L: “I will look at women but that doesn’t mean I am lusting, and if I do look at porn, I am not actually doing it.”
E: “Until you show me more respect, I am not going out of my way to honor you.”