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The #1 Thing Men Want More Than Sex—But Women Have a Hard Time Giving

By the time we become adults, we’ve already been battered and bruised by the world of competition and rejection. We long for that safe harbor where we don’t have to pretend to be something we’re not in order to be chosen. We long for someone who sees us for who we are and wants us anyway, who can hold us and touch, not just our body, but our hearts and souls.

“Always wanting sex” is part of the male persona we wear to show we’re manly. What we really want is a safe harbor where we can take refuge, relax, and be cared for. In other words, we want the feeling of being nurtured that most of us didn’t get enough of when we were children. But admitting these needs makes us feel like little boys, not big strong men. Better to be manly with our sexual desire and then once we’re inside her body, we can relax, be ourselves, and be infused with love. That’s the hidden desire we have when we have sex.

One of the things I love getting from my wife, Carlin, is to lay in her lap and have my scalp rubbed. This is one, wonderful, safe harbor. I don’t need to have sex in order to have this need satisfied. I just have to ask for it. Here, I’m being touched deeply, accepted completely. I don’t have to perform or prove myself. I just must be willing to be deeply vulnerable.

Just as it’s difficult for men to ask to be held, nurtured, and touched; it’s often difficult for women to give that kind of intimacy. There are three main reasons, which are often subconscious:

  • First, women have their own conditioning about men being men. If he doesn’t want sex, they worry that they may not be attractive enough.
  • Second, a man wanting to be held and nurtured triggers feelings that they are dealing with a boy, not a man. I can’t tell you how many clients I have who say things like “It’s like I’ve got three children in the house. There’s our two sons, and then there’s my husband.” Women want a man but worry they have another little boy.
  • Third, women fear men who don’t feel manly. They know that the most violent men are men who feel weak and powerless. They’ve often had experiences of men allowing themselves to be gentle and vulnerable, only to have them respond with anger and rage later.

It takes a lot of time and maturity for men to admit to themselves that they need a safe harbor where they can be nurtured and embraced by a woman. It takes a lot of courage to let his woman know he may want sex, but more important is his need for security, love, and nurture. It requires a level of wisdom to know that allowing ourselves to be as vulnerable as a child may be the manliest thing a man can do.

For a woman, she must also go beyond her own conditioning and be open to a man who is making himself vulnerable in new ways. She must have a great deal of self-love and self-confidence to accept being a safe harbor. She must also have the strength to protect herself when his shame at being vulnerable turns to anxiety, anger, or depression. It isn’t easy for men and women to take these kinds of risks, but the payoff is a lifetime of deepening love and intimacy.

I look forward to hearing your comments and experience. Please leave a comment here and join the discussion or email me.

**This piece originally appeared on MenAlive.com.

Jed Diamond
Jed Diamondhttp://menalive.com
Jed Diamond, Ph.D., is the Founder and Director of the MenAlive, a health program that helps men live long and well. Though focused on men’s health, MenAlive is also for women who care about the health of the men in their lives. Jed is the author of 14 books including his latest: The Enlightened Marriage: The 5 Transformative Stages of Relationships and Why the Best is Still to Come.

Toddler is Sick With Mystery Illness for 3 Months When Doctors Finally Discover What’s Lodged in Her Nose

A mom from the UK is sharing her story after her toddler suffered for three months with a mystery illness caused by an object unknowingly lodged in her nose.

Candace Cameron Bure’s Dreamy Family Vacation in Italy: ‘Take Me Back’

Candace Cameron Bure, loved for her roles on "Full House" and "Fuller House," recently took to Instagram to reminisce about her family's dream summer vacation in Italy.

Chip and Joanna Gaines: 11 Godly Secrets to an Epic Marriage and Family

Chip and Joanna Gaines are teaching us important lessons about marriage and family as they walk away from their HGTV show for the sake of their family.