Are you a wife who wants sex more than your husband? This can feel so isolating. Not only are you not getting your sexual intimacy and emotional desires met, you also may feel incredibly alone among most or all of your women friends. Their husbands, it seems, want sex all the time, right?
When a casual conversation about sex comes up at a gathering of your gal friends, they more than likely are lamenting about their husbands who constantly want to have sex. Meanwhile, you try to fake a smile, as if to convey, “Yeah, I know what you mean.”
In reality, though, you don’t know what they mean. You silently are suffocating beneath unbearable pain, unable to share about the circumstances in your own home. You want to have sex with your husband. You really want to. And it’s not just about sex. It’s about wanting to feel emotionally and physically close to the man you married. It’s the whole one-flesh dynamic.
Try as we may to say it’s really no big deal, it really is. Sex matters. And your husband seems either indifferent or downright resistant. The anguish and confusion leave you feeling sad and frustrated. Maybe even steaming mad.
And the pain can be quite spiraling. You begin to wonder, “Why doesn’t my husband desire me? What is wrong with me? What is wrong with him? What is wrong with our marriage?”
If you find yourself swimming in this murky pattern of thinking, take heart. First, receive some affirmation from me, another Chrisitan wife who cares deeply about your circumstances and who also happens to really appreciate sex as well.
1. It is not wrong to desire your husband sexually. Contrary to some false myths that have been perpetuated among Chrisitan circles, it is not lustful or promiscuous for a wife to desire her husband sexually. 1 Corinthians 7 clearly conveys that God’s intention for sexual intimacy within a marriage is that neither a husband nor a wife would withhold their body. Desiring sex is part of God’s design for marriage. I know that you may already know this, but I wanted to say it anyway. You wanting sex is a good thing. You initiating sex with your husband is a good thing.
2. God cares about your pain. You may be rolling your eyes right now because the last thing you want is some pat answer about God being acquainted with your pain (about sexual intimacy nonetheless). But it’s true. And it doesn’t hurt to hear it again — that you can pour your pain out to Him and know that He too is grieved about your husband’s indifference. We all need allies in our worst struggles, and God is definitely your ally. Sex was His idea, after all.
3. The “reasons” why your husband doesn’t want to have sex likely don’t have to do with you. Let’s chat more about this.
As much as society wants to portray men as these simple creatures who need nothing other than a yummy cheeseburger, a TV remote, and ample sex, the truth is that they (like us) are more complex. Obviously, I don’t know your husband, but here are some possible reasons “why” your husband is not showing interest in sex:
1. He’s stressed and tired. If he is feeling overwhelmed or is questioning his ability as a provider, husband or father, then his interest in sex may be on the back burner. Or not even on the stove. Or maybe not even within the vicinity of the house. You get the picture. If he is stressed out and tired, he is likely consumed with thoughts of responsibilities rather than thoughts of pleasure. And it’s real easy to get in a rut with this. One week of no sex turns into one month turns into several months and so on.
2. His testosterone is low. Testosterone is the hormone responsible for libido (sex drive). Both women and men have it, and if it it takes a plunge, an obvious result is that interest in sex takes a dive as well. Fortunately, a doctor can check testosterone levels and offer a prescription to raise these levels.
3. He is afraid he won’t be able to get or maintain an erection. If he has struggled with impotency even once or if he is concerned about the effects of aging on his ability to get an erection, then he may simply avoid intimacy all together. Yes, I know, it’s a weak reaction. Honestly, though, we all have found ourselves reacting in poor ways when we are afraid.
If we take to heart that our battles are spiritual ones, we know that Satan delights in lying to us — partnering with us in our fears, to the point that we feel paralyzed to walk a different path. Add to this the fact that Satan really doesn’t want you enjoying sex with your husband, and wow — lots of variables are playing into the scenario.
If your husband is questioning his ability “as a man,” then he is likely feeling incredibly vulnerable and afraid. What do we do when we are afraid? Sadly, we often retreat, rather than turning to our spouse for comfort and reassurance.
4. He has medical conditions that can affect sexual intimacy. If your husband is overweight or struggles with diabetes, cardiovascular issues, breathing problems, mobility, etc., then it could be his health that is taking a toll on your sexual intimacy. Again, this is an important reason to visit a doctor.
5. He has unresolved issues either from his past or within your marriage. Again, I know we like to think that things just don’t get to men the way they get to women. A better approach, though, is to recognize that possibly there are relational issues that are rooted in pain he hasn’t shared with you. Instead of opening up, he is withdrawing.
6. He is wrestling with sin. I share this with a word of caution, because obviously the last thing I want to do is add to your anxiety. But I’m all about being real, and the reality is that some people (men and women) withdraw from sexual intimacy with their spouse because they are seeking sexual release elsewhere. The most obvious situations are infidelity and/or pornography. Certainly, I would encourage you to explore all other possibilities before considering this possibility, especially if you have no reason to suspect such circumstances.
Okay, that’s a lot of info. Take a deep breath.
So what should you do with all this information?
First, pray. Bathe everything in prayer (obviously a good rule in general, but particularly with regard to marriage struggles). Second, try to talk to him when you both are well-rested and have some time to really talk. I would not initiate such a conversation in a sexual setting, such as right as you are going to bed or right as you are at odds about whether you should have sex in that moment. Tone means a lot, so as with any difficult conversation in marriage, approach with a tone of compassion, respect and patience.
Here are some conversation initiators:
“I know our intimacy has been a struggle. I just want you to know that I desire you. Can we talk about this?”
“I realize that you have a lot on your mind and this could be why we haven’t had sex much lately. I want you to know that I am here to listen. You don’t have to keep your concerns to yourself.”
“I don’t have all the answers as to why we don’t have sex as much as we used to. But I want you to know I love you and I am committed to us together working through this.”
“Please share with me why you think sex is a struggle for us.”
The key to all of this is staying in a place of not getting defensive. If you have said and/or implied that you are “a safe person” with whom he can bare his soul, then you need to strive to really hear him and ask calmly for him to receive you as well.
“So,” you may be thinking, “what if all that doesn’t work?”
My deep heartfelt encouragement is this… that you continue to seek the Lord, pray, rely on His Word and find at least one woman Christian confidante who will genuinely listen.
Some of the difficulties of marriage are not easily resolved. They are not wrapped up in a neat package, like a one-hour talk show. Sometimes, marriage feels a lot more like a pile of loose ends rather than a neatly-woven tapestry. This sucks. I know. In the valley of struggles, it can help to have a good female friend to lean upon — someone who will listen even when solutions seem few or non-existent.
The optimist in me leans toward hope, though. I lean toward healthy changes and renewed possibilities. I have spoken to women who have found themselves hungering for more sexual intimacy with their husbands, and over time and with concerted effort, have seen their husbands become more responsive.
If you are a wife who has wanted more sex, what advice would you give other wives? If you don’t want to post a comment, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will compile the comments anonymously and post them on the blog. Thank you…