He most wants to be admired by the woman he loves.
One proof is that the most devastating thing a woman can do to her man is to hold him in contempt. That is so devastating to a marriage that, over time, it is often more toxic than an affair. I am fairly certain that more marriages survive an affair, as difficult as that is, than contempt. Of course, this goes in both directions, but when a woman shows contempt toward her man, his very manhood is called into question.
My father and mother were married 69 years. As my brother and I have heard countless times, “She put me on a pedestal” was the quality my father most often cited in describing what a wonderful wife my mother was. She admired him, and to him, that was everything. On the other hand, in describing her love for my father over all those years, my mother never once said, “He put me on a pedestal” (despite the fact that he constantly praised her). Rather, she always spoke of what a “great man” he was, how “brilliant,” etc. Of course, this is just one example, but I think it applies to the majority of men and women.
The obvious upshot of this thesis is that in order to gain a woman’s love, a man must make — and keep — himself admirable.
Boys know this instinctively. Studies that have observed boys and young men reveal how much harder they work at anything — sports comes immediately to mind — when they know girls are watching them.
That is why many single men in our society (often erroneously but understandably) place so much emphasis on what car they drive: They want to impress women. Yet, men couldn’t care less what car a woman drives. In fact, for most men, a woman arriving on a first date in a relatively inexpensive car renders her more desirable than if she showed up in an expensive luxury car — unless the man is looking to be supported by a woman. But few women are attracted to a man they know in advance they will have to support.
So, although the Internet jokes are right about men wanting sex, it isn’t sex men most want from their woman. They want to be admired — and sex is one manifestation of a woman’s admiration for her man. When a man is regularly denied sex, in his eyes that means that his wife does not hold him in high esteem. Worse, he actually feels humiliated as a man. That, not the sex per se, is why regular denial devastates a man.