Can 72,3000 Wives All Be Wrong?

Published February 7, 1985. Not long ago, Ann Landers wrote a column that caught the attention of many men and husbands. Ann asked her women readers to respond to the question “Would you be content to be held close and treated tenderly, and forget about ‘the act’?” The women were asked to answer either YES or NO and to indicate if they were over (or under) 40 years of age.

Much to her surprise, Ann received nearly 100,000 letters from women throughout the United Sates, and what do you think were the results?

Seventy-two percent, or approximately 72,000 women, said YES, they would be content to be held close and treated tenderly and forget about the act. Of those 72 percent who said yes, 40 percent were under 40 years of age, which was surprising to Ann and many of her readers.

Ann’s survey was of particular interest to me because of a similar survey I did in this column over three years ago.

Some readers may remember that, in the fall of 1981, I invited wives to write in and tell me what their husbands had done that they most appreciated. I received nearly 100 letters and from these letters began to see some consistency in what wives appreciated most about their husbands.

From these 100 letters I identified 20 items in what I called “A Profile of a Loving Husband.” Once again, in my Deseret News column, I invited wives to write in and get a copy of the Profile, fill it out and return it. I was interested in not only finding out if the selected items were valid, but I now wanted to determine the ranking order. That is, of all the things that husbands do, which ones do wives appreciated the most?

During the fall of 1981, 200 wives who read this column wrote in, filled in the Profile of a Loving Husband, and returned it. I asked another 100 women in my marriage classes and seminars to fill out the profile as well. So all totaled, approximately 300 women responded.

     What were the results of my survey? Following, in ranked order, are the 10 characteristics of a loving husband that the respondents deemed most important. They were:

  1.  He communicates effectively with me by both talking and listening.
  2. He expresses his love both by word and action.
  3. He expresses affection by touch without sexual overtones.
  4. He takes an active part in rearing and disciplining our children.
  5. He helps me attain my spiritual needs.
  6.  He is concerned about my changing intellectual, emotional, social, and physical needs. 
  7. He encourages rather than discourages my individual endeavors.
  8. He often spends time alone with me without interruptions or distractions.
  9. He gives genuine help around the house without being asked and without complaining.
  10. He helps me attain sexual satisfaction in our relationship.

Now, Ann Landers fans, carefully note #3 and #10 in my survey. The item, “He expresses affection by touch without sexual overtones,” was consistently ranked higher by our Deseret News women readers than was item “He helps me attain sexual satisfaction in our relationship.” And this is precisely what 72,000 women wrote and told Ann Landers.

In summary, wives seem to be indicating to husbands that intimacy or closeness includes sexuality. But it is not limited to it. Most husbands today, however, can only be intimate by being sexual. They should, therefore, rethink and relearn their concept of closeness. By so doing they would unravel one of the great mysteries between men and women.

So, wives, the next time you want to cuddle a bit, clip out this article and put it under your husband’s pillow. If he does not understand your need for closeness, refer him to the results of the surveys.

After all, can 72,000 Ann Lander’s readers and 300 Utah women be wrong?

And remember, you first read this in the Desert News, over three years ago.

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