Have you ever had the feeling that everyone “wants a piece of you?” I certainly have! I am positive as mothers of preschoolers and young children, you probably feel this numerous times a day. My neighbor, Heather, who has three children under the age of 5 years old, shared that she often feels like there’s not enough of her to go around. “With small children and a husband who works long hours as a physician—by the end of the day how can I muster the strength to then meet his needs—especially in the bedroom?”
I’ve thought about this over my twenty-two years of marriage to Greg. We have been through different seasons of marriage, parenting, work, life and each has presented its own challenges for me personally to meet my husband’s needs—especially when it comes to making love. Each season has left me tired and exhausted at the end of most days, however, when we crawl into bed at night, I know that there is an amazing opportunity awaiting us. As a matter of fact, sexual intimacy is one of the most precious gifts given to us in marriage. But, why then, do I consistently not pursue him, knowing it is a great need for him and also brings great benefits to our marriage relationship? Because---I’m tired. As I am sure most of you are. You have held, wiped, blown, cleaned, changed, bathed and fed all day. This has an uncanny ability to leave a woman exhausted.
A Change of Heart
I feel like the world has told us that “a man’s greatest need is in the bedroom” and we as wives are subsequently left with a lot of responsibility to meet this need. Yes we are different creatures when it comes to sex—a man is like a microwave and a woman is like a crockpot. Men can engage in the experience quickly and as women we need to warm up to the experience. In one study in which men and women were asked to rank how important sex was to them, sex consistently ranked 1, 2 or 3 to men. Women, on average, ranked sex in the number 13 slot —right behind “gardening together,” which came in at number 12. Really, pulling weeds was more important? However, ladies, I want to change your perspective on intimacy with your husband—because although it may not be at the top of your list for many reasons, such as exhaustion, I was thrilled to recently come across some amazing benefits that sex has for a woman. Yes, we desire to give this gift to our husbands and to our marriages, but let the truth be known that there are also amazing benefits to you as well. Here are a few:
1. It Might Make You Thinner. Sex can burn between 75 and 150 calories per half-hour. Especially great for the days you didn’t get your workout in!
2. It May Improve Your Heart health. Eating a balanced diet (because of course we never eat chicken nuggets with the kids), keeping your cholesterol levels and sodium levels low and having sex can improve your heart!
3. It Can Help You Get a Better Night’s Sleep Sex may help you sleep better—especially on those nights you are worrying or stressed (and as moms we know we “never” do that!)
4. It Can Boost Your Immune System Amazingly, sex has been found to boost your immune system! And with all the little noses we wipe, we need this! So, remember to wash your hands and take advantage of a bedroom date with your hubby!
5. It Can Improve Your Mental Health Sex can improve your overall mood. It can also help fight depression and anxiety.
As a mom, I couldn’t think of a better time to benefit from many of these—it makes me healthier, happier, and skinnier! So, in the long haul, although, we often think that sex is just one more thing that we have to do for someone else—it is also a gift we can give ourselves! There are not only amazing benefits to us personally, but also to our marriage. So, next time you are feeling the “have to” complex try to remember that actually “we get to” and embrace all of the benefits to everyone involved!
Erin Smalley is the mom to three girls, ages 6, 16, and 19, and one son, age 12. Erin was a labor and delivery nurse and then returned to school to earn a Master’s in Clinical Psychology. Although Erin thought she had sent her last child off to kindergarten, she and her husband, Greg, were blessed with their youngest child through the gift of adoption. She works very part-time at Focus on the Family in the Marriage and Family Division, while attempting to balance life at home with four kids. She has co-authored three books, her favorite being, Grown-Up Girlfriends—Real Friends in the Real World. You can reach Erin at www.smalleymarriage.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.