Professional Christian Counseling
It’s physically impossible for your husband to completely suppress his desire for intimacy; his body simply won’t let him forget about it.
— Dan Seaborn
The Magnitude of Desire
Why Men and Women Must Not Match
For testosterone enriched husbands who may periodically experience the testicular pain of blue balls, they may question just how wonderful God’s design really is. It is quite apparent that most males have excess biological sexual desire and capability—so we see―redundancy in action. Every design engineer knows that the actual strength of something must far exceed the load placed on it in order to make allowances for unanticipated contingencies. God has done the same with human sexuality. Consequently, many husbands wonder why they have been created to have so much more appetite for sex than their wives generally do. In understanding why this must be as it is, we need to understand the reasons for the male’s sexual redundancy.
The Redundancy of the Male Cycle
When couples come to me with problems of intimacy, as I begin illustrating the Genesis 2:24 Cycle of Intimacy on the whiteboard in my office, complete with sketches of blue and pink bathroom door figures, I often ask them to tell me how many times per month two days is. They sometimes look dumbfounded by my question. I know it sounds like a trick question to them but it really is not. What I am asking them to do is to compare the magnitude of the biological appetites for sex that men have with those of women. In order to be able to do that, the figures we must work with have to be put into the same units. In this case, due to the fact that a woman’s cycle is monthly, it is best that we convert the number of days she is biologically sexually available into the number of times per month that is true for her. To calculate a woman’s sexual appetite, we have discovered (due to her ovulation) that two days per month is equivalent to two times per month. Even though ovulation lasts for only twenty-fours (which is technically one day) and because ovulation is divided by sleep into portions of two separate days, we must consider that her sexual appetite is elevated for two days instead of just one. Even though her ovulation covers only portions of two separate day times, the effects of testosterone likely starts building in her body sometime before ovulation and continues to linger for sometime afterward.
For men, who exhibit a fairly constant sexual appetite, they are prompted biologically every seventy-two hours. That means they have an appetite for sex every three days or on average ten times a month. When we compare the male appetite of ten times per month with the female appetite of only two, we discover a huge difference between the two genders. The difference is that men possess at least a five times greater appetite for sex than women do. Furthermore, because of what we now know about testosterone, men can also be five times more aggressive in obtaining the sex they are biologically predisposed to want.
Usually At this point in our conversations of the marriage cycle, couples often ask why God would design men and women with such vastly different appetites in this way. Elyze Fitzpatrick asks the same question in her book Helper By Design: Gods Perfect Plan for Women in Marriage. She writes that “Frankly these differences have baffled me in the past. I’ve wondered, If the Lord wanted us to enjoy our sexuality together why didn’t He make us the same?” To help couples understand why this must be so, we have to look at two things. First we must understand what God’s purpose was for designing the male and female bodies to work this way. Later we will be discussing what He has done to make their differences more palatable for both partners.
In understanding God’s design, in our last section entitled His Love Gauge, we discovered that sperm has a relatively short shelf life of only three to five days and that it needs to be replicated fairly frequently for the best genetic transfer during conception. Thus, part of a man’s three day cycle is for the benefit of his children, which gives his sexual patience a very noble purpose. Beyond eliminating birth defects there is another important thing to consider in why women have a much lower appetite for sex than men typically do. In understanding God’s purpose for that we must find the answers to two questions about desire.
Our first question is this, what would the world be like if neither gender had any desire for sex at all? Obviously without any desire that would mean that sex would not take place. As a result, women would not be getting pregnant. Apart from any coitus ever, the human race would eventually become extinct. This scenario would be counter to God’s stated goal for mankind found in Genesis 1:28, where He tells the man and woman to, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” Without sexual desire there may not be any children. Thus God uses sexual desire as the impetus that moves mankind toward procreation and away from extinction. Had early church father Augustine gotten his way—who taught that sexual intercourse transmitted original sin and was bad apart from being used only for procreation―Satan may have succeeded in destroying humanity through that flawed way of thinking. While extinction would definitely represent great harm to humanity, the antithesis of having zero sexual desire would be just as harmful.
Our second question in understanding God’s design is this. What if both men and women had the same sexual appetite that men do? Dr. Bernard Apfelbaum, PhD, a well respected author in the field of sex therapy, has cited cases where some men obsessed with sex want it not just every three days but are capable of easily ejaculating three times a day. That equates to a whopping ninety times a month which is significantly larger than what the average American adult male actually gets. The average man, from young to old, has sex just eighty-one times a year. Numbers such as ninety times per month suggest that men could actually be about twenty-five times more sexual than women. This seems very reasonable. God seems to have stretched the magnitude of difference between masculinity and femininity to generally about twenty times. As mentioned earlier women are about twenty times more emotional than men and men are about twenty times less empathetic than women. It appears that the magnitude of difference in their sexuality is about that much as well. This also indicates that men are probably about twenty times less adept at Verbal Intercourse than women are.
Sex three times a day, while astonishing, is probably not the full extent of male capability nor is three significant conversations for a woman. Assuming that a sexual episode takes conservatively an average of an hour to perform, along with a one hour refractory period, a man could theoretically have sex some six to eight times a day during the hours he is awake. That number is far above what his biological pressures present him with every three days. Instead of just ten times a month, the true male potential may be an astounding 180 to 240 times! While this may be an exaggeration of the male libido, it does help us to see something.
If men had this kind of appetite and women did as well, what would you suppose the world would be like then? As for me I could easily envision a world where sex would become the main focus of everyone and become relatively indiscriminate. People would be doing it whenever, wherever and with whomever they could find. A state of social anarchy would ensue. That much sex would require massive amounts of time and energy that would take away from other essential life activities like; providing shelter; gathering food and caring for the growing number of infants that would be born. It would be mass pandemonium! Some husbands quip when we talk about this that they, “sure would like to try it for awhile.”
The obvious negative consequence from this type of scenario would be an explosion in population with no effective way of caring for such a large group of people. No one would be taking the time to: invent ways of providing the ever-expanding population with clean drinking water; search for better forms of agriculture in order to feed such an enormous population; or design high-rise housing and wastewater treatment facilities. To say the least, this type of world would not be a good place to live.
Now armed with an understanding of the two extremes, if you were God examining your blueprint for humans, how would you balance the extremes of either extinction or of an unregulated population explosion knowing that human fate weighs in the balance? Give them each too much desire and the population could outpace technological advances? Give each of them too little desire and run the chance of extinction? Given the fact that women have biologically induced appetites for sex only two days a month suggests that God has chosen to regulate population growth on the fulcrum of female sexual desire. Since He has made males to be sexually available most anytime, population growth is certainly not controlled through them. Instead, the limit to population growth seems to come strictly through the female body. Her high levels of estrogen place limits on her eagerness to crawl into bed with just anyone. My guess is that God has given women the greatest amount of sexual desire that He could give them for the purpose of sexual bonding with her mate while at the same time maintaining population growth at manageable levels so that technological advances and human endeavor could keep pace with each other. Too much desire on her part could cause the population growth rate to heat-up and outpace societies’ ability to provide for everyone being born. Less desire could teeter on equally disastrous results with looming human extinction. Presently Hong Kong appears to be facing such a crisis of this proportion. In an article published in 2014, the sex drives of women there are being blamed for a steady drop in births over the past thirty years. The 1981 birth rate of 1,933 births for every 1,000 women has dropped nearly in half to only 1,285 births per 1,000 in 2012. Governments bank on rising populations rather than on shrinking ones because it allows them to offer retirement and social programs for those who cannot work due to the fact that there are more workers than non-workers in a younger growing population. The U.S. Baby-Boomer population is beginning to cause a similar crisis here in America due to a time when the population over-heated after WWII. America may soon have to deal with a crisis of its own where more people are drawing from the system than those paying into it.
Nevertheless, once husbands come to understand God’s elegant plan for regulating population growth through their wife’s body, her unequal yet significantly lower level of sexual desire should be a little easier for them to swallow. It does help people to know that there is a valid reason for why things have to be the way they are, especially when conditions are not the way we want them to be. That does not intend to imply however, that there is no hope for men. It just means that they probably need to adjust their sexual expectations of their wives somewhat. To help make the husband’s sexual appetite more palatable for a wife, we should consider the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:22 ff. where he compares human marriage to a relationship with God. Your husband’s huge appetite for sex is supposed to be an enduring and everlasting symbol of God’s insatiable desire to indwell the human heart. Our bodies are His temple (cf. 2Cor 6:16), and like a priest, our bodies are where He wants to reside and minister. Just as God uses the male appetite for sex as a symbol, so He has designed the wife’s appetite for conversation to be symbolic of the never ending conversation and intimacy He wants to share with us. Because of the way He designed humans, both appetites point to God’s desire for an intimate relationship with us.
God’s Plan for Sex
To illuminate God’s design for sex even further, let’s say that a woman plans her wedding for the second day of her ovulation. Following the ceremony, as is often the case, a honeymoon would most likely ensue. Granted that her testosterone levels are still high from having just ovulated means that her appetite to be sexual with her new husband would continue to be elevated too but, having just finished ovulation would also mean that her fertility has ended as well. Consequently her honeymoon could yield a great sex-filled experience with her husband but also fail to result in pregnancy. Detecting her high-octane sexual excitement fueled by testosterone, her husband would likely respond by being thrilled with her sexual prowess thus becoming even more bonded to her. Because sex with her was a wonderful experience, which keeps him coming back to her for more, he eventually becomes addicted to her. Assuming that this couple does not use some form of contraception, their continued love-making holds an 80 to 90% chance of resulting in a pregnancy within a year of their honeymoon. That is, when their sexual appetites and fecundity eventually converge on a day when the wife can become pregnant.
Why a year? Some of the time it takes for a couple to get pregnant is due to the abstinence from sex that they will experience during her period. Some of that length of time may be due to the genetic viability of both sperm and ovum. Because population growth is designed to be governed through the female appetite, much of the time required to get pregnant must be attributed to their offsetting appetites for sex. All three of the things mentioned have to match perfectly in order for a child to be conceived.
In regard to offsetting appetites, because the husband’s appetite follows an odd number of days and the wife’s is based on an even number of days, it will take a while for the couple to land in bed on a day of the month that is both a factor of two and a factor of three. Days six, twelve, twenty-four and thirty for example, are all divisible by either two or three resulting in a whole number of days. In a couple’s first month together their appetites may be three days apart while the next month they are only two days apart. The following month, while their cycles may coincide, something may become more pressing than sex, or there may be some genetic defect or reproductive malfunction that prevents fertilization, which of course—delays their alignment a few more months.
Apparently God has built into his system of marriage a one year childless period for most couples such that they can make love enough times in order to build a strong sexual bond with each other before pregnancy occurs. Looking back at the Biblical marriages of ancient Israel, Deuteronomy 24:5 emphasizes the importance of exempting a newly married man from serving in the army or from having any other duty placed on him other than to bring happiness to his wife―for one year. Evidently a year is an important amount of time for a newly married couple to solidify their relationship not just sexually but also emotionally through verbal intercourse. Because, after children are born, their presence has a huge impact on these two aspects of intimacy in marriage.
Studies of marital satisfaction indicate that a couple’s satisfaction is highest in the beginning of a marriage; takes a large dip when children come along and then gradually rises back to near original levels as children leave the nest., &  This does not mean to suggest that couples should shy away from having children. The Bible refers to them as both a blessing and a heritage (cf. Psalm 127:3). They are well worth the effort even at the expense of some marital stress and happiness. It must also be noted that for couples who want children yet are unable to conceive any that they may also experience poor marital satisfaction. & Their marital satisfaction may decline not from the demands of caring for children, but from the disappointment of not being able to have any.
Thus, God’s plan for sexual desire involves regulating population growth as well as for establishing a foundation of marital satisfaction for the purpose of bonding a couple together, such that procreation eventually happens, with an eye on leveraging the marital bond in order to ensure joint-parenting. All of these are important reasons for why God made men and women so differently and why we must see these aspects of gender as a blessing from Him rather than as a curse.
Please check back again soon!
Helper By Design: Gods Perfect Plan for Women in Marriage, Elyze Fitzpatrick, Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2003. (pp. 101-102).
Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make us Happy?, Gary Thomas, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000. (p. 203).
 Retarded Ejaculation: A Much Misunderstood Syndrome, Chapter 8, Bernard Apfelbaum, In Sandra Leiblum and Howard Rosen (Eds.) Principles and Practice of Sex Therapy, 3rd Edition, New York: The Guilford Press, 2000. (pp. 206, 227-228).
 The Best Reason to Have Sex, Philip Weiss, Retrieved 11/6/2015 from: http://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/health/the-best-reason-to-have-sex-20121001#ixzz3qitpNuwP.
 Women’s low sex drive blamed for Hong Kong’s falling birth rate, Timmy Sung, 2014., Retrieved 12/23/2015 from: http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1599699/womens-low-sexdrive-blamed-falling-birth-rate.
 How to Have a Baby: Overcoming Infertility, Aniruddha Malpani, MD and Anjali Malpani, MD., Malpani Infertility Clinic, Retrieved 12/4/2015 from: http://www.drmalpani.com/book/chapter1a.
 Assessing the relationship between quality of life and marital and income satisfaction: A path analytical approach. R. E. Berry and F. L. Williams, Journal of Marriage and the Family, 49, 1987. (pp. 107-116)., In R. Kail, and J. Cavanaugh (Eds.) Human Development: A Life Span View, 2nd Ed., Belmont: Wadsworth Thomson Learning, 2000. (p. 381).
 Affect in intimate relationships: The developmental course of marriage, L. L. Carstensen, J. Graff, R. W. Levenson, and J. M. Gottman 1996., In. C. Magai, and S. H. McFadden (Eds.), Handbook of emotion, adult development, and aging, San Diego: Academic Press., (pp. 227-247)., In R. Kail, and J. Cavanaugh (Eds.) Human Development: A Life Span View, 2nd Ed., Belmont: Wadsworth Thomson Learning, 2000. (p. 381).
 The marital happiness of remarried divorced persons, N. D. Glenn and C. N. Weaver, Journal of Marriage and the Family, 40, 1978. (pp. 269-282)., In R. Kail, and J. Cavanaugh (Eds.) Human Development: A Life Span View, 2nd Ed., Belmont: Wadsworth Thomson Learning, 2000. (p. 381).
 The transition to parenthood: Is having children hazardous to marriage?, M. Clements and H. J. Markman, 1996., In N. Vanzetti and S. Duck (Eds.), A lifetime of relationships, Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole., (pp. 290-310)., In R. Kail, and J. Cavanaugh (Eds.) Human Development: A Life Span View, 2nd Ed., Belmont: Wadsworth Thomson Learning, 2000. (pp. 381-382).
 Infertility and involuntary childlessness: The transition to nonparenthood, R. Matthews and A. M. Matthews, Journal of Marriage and the Family, 48, 1986. (pp. 48, 641-649)., In R. Kail, and J. Cavanaugh (Eds.) Human Development: A Life Span View, 2nd Ed., Belmont: Wadsworth Thomson Learning, 2000. (pp. 381-382).
Magnitude of Desire Page
Mikel Kelly, MA, LMHC
September 24, 2015
The Genesis 2:24
Cycle of Marital Intimacy
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
Genesis 2:24 — NIV
CYCLE OF INTIMACY
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 The Necessary Nine: How to Stay Happily Married for Life!, Dan Seaborn & Peter Newhouse with Lisa Velthouse, Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2007. (p. 54).