Dr. Mark Laaser, PhD. and Debbie Laaser, MA, LAMFT address six myths of men’s sexuality that are not uncommon to hear, both in the larger culture and when men are dealing with sexual addictions / compulsions / obsessions. The Laasers speak from a professional, personal, and spiritual viewpoint. It’s not just addicts who believe these myths, but they are control points that are sometimes used by addicts to justify their addiction to or obsession with or demand for sex or sexual release.
Being aware of these myths can help couples who are not affected by addiction as well. Healthy intimacy transcends just the physical aspect of sexual union and transcends the men vs. women elements of sexuality that are often perpetuated in our culture. Have you ever found yourself thinking any of these things?
1. “Men want sex and women want to talk.” The Laasers discuss how this both oversimplifies men and women and also pigeonholes them and risks pitting a husband and a wife against each other, in a “his needs vs. her needs” kind of way.
2. “Men always have higher sex drives than women.” Again, this is a myth that generalizes far too much and can even cause shame for men or women who somehow don’t fit these ‘stereotypes.’ Sex drives for men and women can vary for various reasons, and can vary throughout different stages of life.
3. “If men don’t have [frequent orgasm] they won’t be able to stay sexually pure.” This both puts too much responsibility on the wife to somehow ‘save’ or ‘protect’ her husband from sexual sin, and can also rob men of the responsibility and opportunity to be spiritually and emotionally healthy…a critical foundation for having an intimate relationship that is healthy and whole in every way, not just physically.
4. “If men can’t get enough sex from their wives, they will have no choice but to seek it elsewhere. [They include masturbation as a way of seeking sex elsewhere. Dr. Laaser explains in another article why masturbation is not healthy for men and their sexuality or their spirituality]
5. “A man’s sense of self-esteem is directly tied to whether his wife will take care of
his sexual needs….” The Laasers pose the question, “Is that really what men want, to have their self-esteem tied into their sexual activity?” They also point out that such a viewpoint can create resentment in a marriage.
6. “Emotional and spiritual intimacy will develop if a wife submits to sex….” The Laasers reverse the order to what they (and we) believe is the order consistent with Biblical teachings: “What is true is that God calls couples to be emotionally intimate first, best friends. … Then sex becomes an expression of it. That is the right order.
When we get the order of intimacy right certain passages of Scripture like Paul’s teaching in I Corinthians 7 and Romans 5 make more sense. We are called to marriage for many reasons one of which is to withstand the sexual temptations of the world. The way to do so is not to have lots of sex, but to be companions in the journey of intimate marriage.
That last insight is interesting, and I’d like to take it a step further to say that understanding the divine purpose of sexual intimacy in a marriage can help debunk the myths swirling around us.