Ten Reasons Men Who Love Their Wives Seek Other Sexual Partners

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Desire for extra marital affairs in common. A recent suicide is a wake-up call.

On August 24, 56 year old pastor John Gibson committed suicide.  Pastor Gibson taught at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.  For 25 of their almost 30 years of marriage Gibson and his wife Christi struggled with his sexual addiction.

John Gibson was one of the more than 30 million people whose names were leaked by hackers of Ashley Madison, the website designed for people seeking sexual relationships outside of their marriages. 

I have no idea how many among these millions loved their partners or even how many were actually married.  However, I do know that seeking/needing/desiring extra-marital sex by those committed to their families and devoted to them and their well being is far more common than most can begin to realize.  I have worked with individuals and couples facing the fallout from these strong drives for over 30 years and write to shed light on some of some of the reasons they exist.  An important first step to addressing them and solving all in a positive way is to seek help.  It is also essential to know that the following challenges are extremely common, part of the human condition, and those facing them suffer enormously, as do those they love, who also love them.  (Please note:  In this article I am speaking only of heterosexual men.  While it is true that men who do not want to face their homosexuality can turn to addictive affairs with women to deny their sexual desires, this is not the focus of this article.)   

1.  Many men are raised to believe that because marriage is a holy union, their wives are to be placed on a sexual pedestal, one where the purest of love, devotion, adoration, and child bearing are the essentials. They are extremely uncomfortable about their sexual drives and cannot turn to their wives for some of their overwhelming sexual needs and desires.  They cannot even begin to talk to them about these strong longings.

2.  For those who have sexual relationships before marriage, sex is often far freer and satisfaction more easily obtained before “I do” is promised.  The reasons for this are complicated, involving their past and present relationships with parents, how their parents view their marriage, how they viewed their parents’ marriage, as well as the sexual education and opportunities for discussion that have been offered.

3.  Sexual problems in committed relationships are very common.  Men avoid sex with their partners due to problems involving impotency and premature or delayed ejaculation.  They feel shame regarding this, and often find sexual expression and satisfaction easier with another.

4.  Many men find discussing their sexual problems and needs easier to discuss with those who will never become part of their day-to-day lives.  They “compartmentalize,” telling themselves that this relationship or series of relationships does not intrude on their marriage and family life.

5.  When wives become mothers, many men begin to sexually and emotionally withdraw.  Often a man is attracted to a partner because of the same qualities he has liked in his mother.  Or he finds a partner with the positive qualities he does not see in his mother.  How, he asks himself (either consciously or unconsciously) can I have sex with one who offers so much maternally (in other words with a mom)?  Also, a man who has known maternal rejection can (consciously or unconsciously) resent the time that his wife devotes to their child.

6.  Many men fear the intimacy that devoted loves brings.  They have not learned to integrate and find comfort, fulfillment, and excitement in the union of love and intimacy.

7.   Coping with the realities of the brutal world causes extreme anxieties.  Many can only release these anxieties with one there is not a true commitment to.

8.   Many harbor enormous guilt about actions, decisions, and choices they have made or seen loved ones make (that they feel somehow responsible for) and the only escape from this pain and anxiety is addictive behavior, commonly of a sexual nature.

9.  Many need to give all of their energies to their professional world, or sometimes their employers or those they serve demand it.  Fulfilling on going sexual intimacy with a partner requires time, investment, communication, and patience (and a sense of humor doesn’t hurt either!).   Many never saw this quality of love in their formative years, and as time passes long for a union with no ties or commitment.

10.  Far too many men do not discuss the burdens in their lives (both work and personal) with those who love them most.  When this happens, sexual desire fades.