I like to know, “Why?”
And I lean toward the scientific side.
When my libido did a Houdini and disappeared, I wondered whether I’d ever again physically yearn for sex and questioned why a libido was necessary? I went as far to question why sex was even necessary. My husband and I were done pro-creating by mutual agreement. Sex was important to him, but was it necessary? Why is it so important to most men?
Yes, the Bible counsels it to be so:
“…Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come back together again so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say this as a concession, not as a command,” 1 Corinthians 7:5&6.
Why do most men have this innate need?
“Their brains are wired differently,” you may answer.
Yes, but HOW??
Thus began my quest in understanding a few why’s about sex.
Male/female brains share the same structure and chemicals. However, male brains contain a different ratio of chemicals and different sizes of structure. These differences in large part, explain the basic natures in men and women; why men like hunting, sports and military video games and why women nurture young and enjoy conversation.
For example: The Corpus callosum connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain. The Corpus callosum helps the two hemispheres ‘talk’ with one another. Women have 6 or 7 language centers in both hemispheres to process and verbalize. The male Corpus callosum is 25% smaller than the female’s. He also only does language in the left hemisphere, in part because the smaller Corpus callosum doesn’t communicate as effectively.
The amygdale is larger in men. Part of the amygdala’s function involves aggression.
The hippocampus is smaller in men. Part of the hippocampus’ function involves retaining new memories and their emotional responses.
It was in the chemical arena that I found my answers!
Male brains feel the effects of oxytocin less than women because estrogen ramps up the effect of oxytocin and women have lots of estrogen. Men also have less serotonin. Both are calming and bonding chemicals. Oxytocin is divine, drenching us in feelings of calm, happy and connected. It is because of the lower response to oxytocin (due to less estrogen in their bodies) that it takes a man longer to form emotional bonds.
For women, conversation is a key distributor of oxytocin. If she talks out her troubles to a friend, her brain releases oxytocin. However, for a man conversation can be frustrating. Most men, not all, find other ways to relax.
However, at the time of male orgasm, oxytocin is felt more strongly. At the time of orgasm, our men feel complete bonding with us. At the time of orgasm, their brains are happy as clams!
That’s all I needed to know. Libido and sex are important because that’s how Mr. Muscle bonds with me. Maybe God designed sex for connecting?
This epiphany was another confirmation to me of how our Lord knows us and loves us. He gives us mandates for our benefit.
“Praise the Lord, my soul, all my inmost being praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desire with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s,” Psalm 103:1-5.
At the time I was researching this, neither my husband nor I felt safe, secure, or significant to the other at the time. We were living separate lives. I desperately wanted to feel connected on a deep level with him.
With this new information, God was healing our marriage and at the same time satisfying my desire. He was helping me understand a little secret. Sexual intimacy is the mystery Paul was explaining in Ephesians 5:32. Isn’t Christ connected to his church? That’s the kind of connection sexual intimacy creates between husband and wife.
As crazy as it sounds, having this biological understanding of sex made me a better person. I became more empathetic. I held less disdain and became more empathetic to male sexual need (but not condoning acts outside of God’s guidelines).
Sex is more than a physical union, there is a spiritual and emotional aspect. But, it helped me immensely to see the underlying physical processes.
This may all sound very clinical, but it screamed romance to me!
Now, I began to wonder, if oxytocin had benefits for him, perhaps there were some benefits for me, as well? What could sexual intimacy supply me spiritually and physically? Could sex be for me, too?
Thus began my libido resuscitation, as I tried to figure out why sex was a problem.
Are you trying to jumpstart your libido? I found mine and would like to help you find yours. I wrote a book to help you. It is called, Unlock Your Libido.
Read more about the marvelous male brain, “What Can He Be Thinking?” by Michael Gurian.
Hear what average guys say sex means to them on the podcast, Sex Chat for Christian Wives. Episode 12: Guy Talk – The Importance of Sex.