I’ve seen the advice in various places for years. It goes something like this:
All it takes is ten minutes and some lube to make your husband happy.
Or five minutes. Or fifteen minutes. Or one hour a week.
It varies, but you get the idea.
The advice is given—often by other Christian women—as the solution to wives frustrated by a husband’s frequent requests for sex.
Most of the time, I think the “ten minutes and lube” advice is given from a place of good intention.
In a way, I get it. I’ve even said it myself a time or two in specific situations. When I believed I had too much to do to take time for sex, sometimes it was helpful to remember that the actual amount of time it took was minimal. But honestly, most of the time when I said that I didn’t have time, time wasn’t really the issue—and I think that’s probably true for a lot of women who say they don’t have time.
As general sex advice for Christian wives, “ten minutes and lube to keep your husband happy” sends a horrible message.
This advice says:
- The purpose of sex is the husband’s orgasm.
- Her arousal and pleasure are unnecessary and irrelevant.
- Quickies are sufficient.
Sex Is Mutual
The Bible tell us that sex is mutual, that it is for both husbands and wives.
“Ten minutes and lube to keep your husband happy” says that the primary purpose of sex is for the husband to have an orgasm.
Nowhere in the Bible is marital sexuality described in this way.
The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:3-5
Sex clearly is for both the husband and the wife–not just for the husband.
The “ten minutes and lube” advice promotes an attitude of “let’s get it over with because he wants it” rather than an attitude of enjoying and loving each other.
Most women need more than ten minutes to experience sexual pleasure. When we tell a wife “ten minutes and lube,” we are telling her that her sexual pleasure is unimportant. “Have sex long enough to give him an orgasm,” we say, “but if it takes you longer than that that, it doesn’t matter.” When we say to use artificial lubrication, we are telling her that even her own arousal is unnecessary.
Not only are we saying that her sexual pleasure shouldn’t matter her, we are saying that it probably doesn’t matter to him either—and that simply isn’t true!
Many husbands report that their wife’s sexual pleasure is more fulfilling than their own. It is where they experience the deepest intimacy. “Ten minutes and lube” so he can have an orgasm may give him the physical relief from sexual tension—but it isn’t fulfilling. It may make him content for a few minutes, but a steady diet of the “ten minutes and lube” approach will not keep him happy. Read What a Quickie Taught Us About Sexual Intimacy to see what I mean.
Frequent sexual activity sometimes can help a woman boost her libido (use this affiliate link to get to Sheila Gregoire’s Boost Your Libido course). If all she ever does is “ten minutes and lube,” she may find that her own sexual desire increases because of frequency—but if it’s only ten minutes, every time, she might not have an opportunity for her own orgasm. She’ll just be getting started when he finishes and it’s over—over and over and over again.
If she is deprived of what she needs to have an orgasm, how does that make either husband or wife happy? Oh, wait, it doesn’t.
Sex Is for Intimacy
The Bible tells us that the purpose of sex in marriage is to create unity and oneness.
When we read about a man having sex with his wife in the Bible, the Hebrew word yada is translated as “to know.” Knowing someone implies intimacy and connection far beyond one spouse’s orgasm.
“This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Genesis 2:23-24
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Mark 10:7-8
The Bible doesn’t tell us that God created a separate being from scratch to keep Adam company. He created someone who was Adam’s same flesh. The very creation of the first marriage demonstrates oneness.
Our intimacy and connection matter to God. They should matter to us, too.
Women’s sexuality is not like men’s (yes, I know I’m generalizing here). If a majority of a wife’s sexual encounters with her husband are of the “ten minutes and lube” variety, she will never be able to fully explore her sexuality with her husband. Both husbands and wives will miss out on this special opportunity to build intimacy, connecting, and a full knowing.
Mutuality in the marriage provides a unique place where full intimacy—physical, emotional, and spiritual—can be nurtured and grow.
So Much More
I have nothing against an occasional “ten minutes and lube” quickie to give a husband an orgasm. Sometimes our husbands really do need a physiological release, and ten minutes and a dollop of artificial lubricant can certainly meet that need. It can be a way to lovingly bless our husbands.
Unfortunately, this advice frequently is offered as blanket advice for how to improve a marriage. However, it does nothing at all to improve a marriage. All it does is get a husband to stop complaining about the lack of sex in his marriage. Really, that’s the marriage advice we’re giving? Here’s how to stop having to listen to your husband complain?
Why do this, when we can invite wives to so much more?
Wives who avoid sex do so for a variety of reasons—mainly sexual trauma, premarital baggage, relationship problems, negative messages about sex and sexuality, and a misunderstanding of God’s design for sexual intimacy in marriage.
“Ten minutes and lube” advice doesn’t address any of these areas.
It is advice that helps a woman avoid her struggles rather than ask God to help her conquer them.
It chains her to her husband’s sexuality rather than inviting her to the freedom and joy of a marriage bed that unites his sexuality with hers.
I’ve been privy to the heartache that grows when sexual intimacy is a struggle in a marriage. I’ve heard from couples who are trying to heal from this heartache. I caused that same pain in my own marriage.
A “ten minutes and lube” approach might help address the lack of sexual frequency in the marriage bed—but it isn’t until we truly work on our own issues or address problems in the relationship that our marriages can improve.
It is only when we invite God into the process of healing and growth that our marriages can begin to grow toward His design for mutuality, oneness, and unity in the marriage bed.
Let’s just stop with the “ten minutes and lube” advice, okay? Sex is so much more than an obligation in marriage, and it is more than a husband’s orgasm.
Instead, can we please invite wives to the sexual joy and intimacy they can have in their marriages?
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