Can we please invite wives to the sexual joy and intimacy they can have in their marriages?

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?

Image credit | Christianpics.co

Let's give good advice for the marriage bed.

 

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16 Thoughts on “Why “10 Minutes and Lube” Is Horrible Advice

  1. Thank you for this great post! Yes, it’s time to stop making sex all about the husband’s orgasm and unfortunately, even well-meaning Christian marriage bloggers do this time and again even if in very subtle ways.
    The message is always somewhat the same: wives, you better attend to your husband’s sexual needs otherwise if he doesn’t get it often enough, 1) he’s going to be in extreme discomfort/pain from infrequent release, 2) he’ll be more tempted to look at porn or 3) he just won’t be able to emotionally bond/relate to you.

    Sex is for both husband AND wife, and I realize that sometimes it is the wife who just doesn’t care about sex and that leaves the husband craving more frequency which in turn can lead to the wife agreeing to a ‘hurry up and let’s get this over with” approach.

    But I think if women were reading the very clear message that sex is for them too, that it can be an amazing bonding time with their husbands and that orgasms do matter, perhaps there would be a shift in wives making the time for sexual intimacy with their husbands.

    🙂

    • I’ve often encouraged lower-drive wives to have more compassion for higher-drive husbands because that was my experience–but that compassion shouldn’t be the goal. It should be a first step toward full and joyful intimacy. I’ve been struck more and more recently by how many wives hear the “just do it out of obligation” message instead of a message that invites them into something wonderful.

  2. Rev. Jerry W Harris on July 21, 2017 at 7:02 pm said:

    As always you are on the straight and narrow with God’s Word and man’s (generic) experience. Have tried many times to get my wife to read your posts, no success yet. Probably too late for me anyway.

  3. This is a great post, Chris. Such an important message about something that so many Christians are viewing from the wrong perspective.

  4. John on July 24, 2017 at 2:56 pm said:

    I hate the “sex is mutual” mantra. I’m my experience, and mostly everyone I speak to about it, “Sex is mutual” is always used to mean “Sex should only happen when we both want to do it, and we only do what we both want to do”. So Low-libido spouses use this as an excuse: “I shouldn’t have to if I don’t want to, and since I don’t want to most of the time – tough luck. And even when I do, I only want to do it in 1 or 2 ways, so if you want anything different or new – since I don’t, you’re out of luck too.”

    For low-libido people, mutual=only if/when/how they want to. And if you differ, too bad.

    For me, there is no “mutual” in the bible. For me its my body does not belog to me. Its my wife’s. Therefore, if she needs/wants/desires sex, I OWE it to her. And if I don’t, I’m stealing from her. I believe that’s what it says in 1 Cor. 7:1-5. I should give fully, frequentl, and wholeheartedly with love and joy (incorporating other biblical aspects of service with joy and wholeheartedness).

    Low libidos will always refuse to do this, and frequently use “mutual” as an excuse.

    • I hope it is clear–if not from this post, then from the entirety of my blog–that I do not use “sex is mutual” in the way you describe. Not all spouses with a lower libido refuse sexual intimacy or use “sex is mutual” as an excuse. I’m sorry that has been your experience.

    • How sad that in your experience the phrase “sex is mutual” has meant little to no sex and only on your wife’s terms, at least that is the way I interpret your response.

      To me sex should be mutual, mutually satisfying. It should not be solely about the husband’s orgasm and if the wife gets there great, but if not she can still have a satisfying experience just by being sexually present and helping her husband achieve total satisfaction. And unfortunately, that is the message I hear too often. Women don’t need an orgasm to feel sexually satisfied and yet men need one quite frequently or they will be in agony. What a sad twisted view of the marriage bed.

      And I believe 1 Cor 7:1-5 is the perfect example of sex within marriage, as God designed it, should be mutual. A husband and wife belong to one another and are to meet one another’s needs. Sounds like mutuality to me. 😉

      • Great response, Amy! That mindset is how I viewed sex for many years in marriage ( that I didn’t matter in the equation). It led to duty sex in my part and years of low libido! God desires sex to me mutual in all ways! This blog has helped me SO much!

  5. Libl on July 24, 2017 at 6:52 pm said:

    I don’t mind scratching his itch from time to time when a more lengthy session isn’t possible, but I am endlessly frustrated that I never receive something for me. I don’t mean tit for tat or keeping score, but when the scale is forever unbalanced, one notices and feels it. Even if for every 5 quickies I could get oral sex, or even a decent back or foot massage, I would be happy(ier).

    I have mentioned it to hubby, but all he offers is a mutual session in which he more patiently waits for my climax and offers a little more hands on to help me along before gunning for his climax.

    There’s this idea that I, as a woman, should be sufficiently satisfied sexually by solely satisfying hubby’s needs. If I keep him happy, my sexual satisfaction is the by-product. Even my own orgasm is more for his pleasure and ego than for my own pleasure. There’s also this idea that men are owed quickies even by higher drive or equally matched drive wives because by nature it takes us longer and more work to climax and it isn’t fair that he has to work harder than we do to achieve orgasm. Lastly, there’s the archaic idea that a man’s orgasm is necessary because it provides sperm whereas a woman’s orgasm offers little to no reproductive necessity, thus it is just “extra.”

    • Although there should be some satisfaction in lovingly taking care of a spouse’s needs, that doesn’t replace our own needs. We should strive for mutuality and balance.

      • Likewise , they could on occasion make it just for us, too, right??

        • Yes, they should! In fact, that can be a good way for a husband to help his wife’s efforts to enjoy sex and her sexuality.

        • I agree, Mindy! If I read one more marriage blog which states somewhere about wives making it all about him tonight, I’m going to scream. Why not make it about both spouses?
          I often wonder why it is these men seem to have a wife who doesn’t want sex. I mean, Chris has an awesome blog which speaks to it from her personal experience, and I have a pretty good idea why from my own personal experience in my first marriage. A lot of the time a wife is totally into acting more sexual if you will before marriage, and I’m not talking about having sex per se, because things are obviously new and exciting, and I think too it’s because the man is most often making real efforts to please her in loving considerate ways — buying her flowers, making her dinner, taking her to the movies, etc as a way of wooing her. Then marriage happens and suddenly there is a real lack in that area. And even if a husband decides to start doing those things again after a while, I think in my case it then starts to feel like he is only doing it because he feels he has to. Whereas before marriage those little gestures were totally from him and he knew they weren’t going to lead to sex, kwim?

          Anyway, I am grateful for the message Chris brings about marriage and sexual intimacy.

  6. I have been married almost a year, and in that time we have had one quickie. To say my husband is amazing would be an understatement! That’s not to say that I O every time, but we do make it good for both us and he certainly makes my pleasure a priority. When I don’t O, it’s a decision we make them–I just feel like I can’t get there, and we know we’ll have many more chances.

    That’s not to say that we don’t use lube. I’m on the pill and honestly am just dry sometimes. Coconut oil makes everything so much better for both of us.

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