Sexual Struggles in Your Marriage? You May Need To…


If there is one thing I have learned in all the years of speaking and writing about sex, it is that sexual struggles in marriage are often painfully complex.

Or simple.

Sometimes the reasons are painfully simple and easy to overcome.

Wherever you fall on that spectrum with sexual intimacy struggles in your marriage, consider the below 10 ideas on what you may need to do.

Do any of these cause your heart to pause? If so, my guess is that is where you will find profound answers.

If sex is a struggle in your marriage, you may need to…

1.  Finally deal with past issues you’ve been avoiding.

I know full well that some of you reading this suffered greatly at the hands of others who sexually abused you in your past.

Or possibly abuse wasn’t your pain, but rather your pain came from your own choices of sexual promiscuity. Too many lovers for all the wrong reasons.

Or maybe just one lover, but you have difficulty moving past that you lost your virginity before your wedding day.

Or maybe you are struggling with regrets and grief about a past unplanned pregnancy.

I don’t know your story of past sexual pain, but I do know God wants to speak into that pain with healing and compassion and grace.

He hungers for you to not allow that past pain to destroy sex in its right and holy context of your marriage.

It is heartbreaking that you have suffered, but it is equally heartbreaking if such devastation is still laying claim to your heart and bed — wreaking havoc on the sexual oneness you could be having with the person you love.

2. Stop believing lies about sex in marriage.

Did you ever hear things when you were growing like “sex is wrong” or “sex is gross” or “sex is bad” or “sex is just for making babies” ?

For so many Christian women, going from maintaining sexual purity in singleness to pursuing sexual passion in marriage is just too big of a leap.

All they ever heard was they should say “no” to sex and now they are in a situation where God (and their husband) wants to hear an enthusiastic “yes” to sex.

If you are struggling seeing sex as good because all you ever heard was that it was bad, then I encourage you to dig into God’s Word and heart, as well as other helpful Christian resources, to help you embrace a more truthful perspective on sex.

3. Acknowledge that your orgasm matters.

God designed orgasm for both husbands and wives.  The clitoris serves no other purpose than your sexual pleasure.  None.

And yet, so many wives downplay or disregard all together the importance of their climax.

Do you see value in your sexual pleasure?  If you don’t, you probably aren’t overly enthusiastic about sex. Ever.

If you struggle having an orgasm, consider checking out this page on my site where I have numerous blog posts specifically about orgasm.

Suffice to say, your sexual pleasure matters to building healthy sexual intimacy in your marriage.

4. Say “no” to some of the things depleting your energy for sex.

You can’t do it all.  You are not an endless reservoir of energy.  Are you giving all the energy you have to everything but your marriage?

Hey, I’m not saying prioritizing is easy.  But it is worthwhile, especially when the health of your marriage is at stake.

Don’t commit to quite so many volunteer opportunities.  Have more reasonable expectations about how clean and organized your house really needs to be.

At some point, you have to put your marriage near the top of the list, rather than consistently on the bottom of it.  Say “no” once in awhile (maybe even often) to the things that are overcrowding your schedule.

Check out this post I wrote on margin.

5. Plan sexual intimacy with your spouse.

Don’t like the idea of “planned” or “scheduled” intimacy?  Think it will rob you of the spontaneity of the moment?

You gotta get over that.

Spontaneity is not the hallmark of amazing sex.  Intention is the hallmark of amazing sex.

For most married couples who have healthy sexual intimacy, their sexual encounters are a good mix of “planned” and “spontaneous.”

There is nothing wrong with you and your husband intentionally blocking out some calendar space so you can have sex.

Put those kids to bed early and go make love to your husband.  Everyone will be happier in the morning.

6. Ask for what you need sexually.

Do you need more foreplay?  Do you need more kissing?  Do you need a back rub?  Do you need more caressing?  Do you need his hands and mouth as much as you need the rest of his body?

What do you need sexually?

Don’t make him guess.  Don’t assume he knows.  Ask for what you need sexually.

And while you’re at it, ask him what he needs as well.

7. Stop making your kids the number one priority in your house.

There is a quote hanging on my fridge that says, “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” (Theodore Hesburgh)

If I could, I would add to the quote that the most important thing a mother can do for her children is love their father.

I know a quote on a fridge doesn’t wrap everything up in a bow.  Life is messy, and it is especially messy when you are coordinating it with another person.

BUT.  In too many homes, when children arrive on the scene, sex takes a hike. It becomes an occasional “luxury” at best, and an outright forgotten privilege at worse.

Those kiddos you are pouring every ounce into? Well, they need a mama and daddy in love way more than they need homemade snacks for every school gathering or gleaming white baseball pants for every game.

Be intentional about nurturing your marriage and your sexual intimacy. You’ll be giving those kids a foundation that is difficult to replicate any other way.

8. Visit a doctor and/or counselor.

Some sexual struggles are indeed physical issues that a health care professional can help you navigate and sometimes even eliminate.

And in the same regard, a professional counselor can play a vital role in your mental wellbeing and outlook.

If health struggles (mental or physical) are sabotaging your sexual intimacy, be proactive and do what you can to tame or alleviate those struggles.

9. Be willing to add some variety to your sexual intimacy.

I am not saying you need to succumb to sexual demands that fall outside God’s boundaries for healthy intimacy.

What I am saying is that God does give you and your husband a lot of freedom within the exclusivity of your sexual relationship to thoroughly enjoy sex.  Maybe try some different positions or techniques or touches.

If you find you and your husband are struggling sexually, it could be because your sexual encounters always look the same.  Add some variety.  Pursue each other in new ways.

10. Strengthen your friendship with your spouse.

I write and read a lot about sex, and people are curious what I think is the “secret” to amazing sex in a marriage.

They tend to be surprised when I say “a strong friendship.”

It’s true, though.  Authentic friendship trumps just about everything else when it comes to building passion with the person you married.

But authentic friendship doesn’t happen on its own.  You have to head in that direction.

How you spend time together and treat each other when your clothes are on will reveal a lot about what is going to happen when the clothes come off.

Sexual struggles do not have to have the final say in your marital intimacy.  

More often than not, couples can overcome their sexual struggles.  You will have to DO something though.

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Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

Never want to miss one of my posts?  Subscribe via email on this page.  And be sure to join my more than 9,000 followers on my Facebook page and 10,000 followers on Twitter.

9 thoughts on “Sexual Struggles in Your Marriage? You May Need To…

  1. Chip says:

    Painfully complex here! in addition to every issue imaginable add denial and a difficult personality. After 22 years of jumping through hoops and trying to push all the right buttons I come to the realization of sexual hopelessness. Completely stopped initiating 3 years ago, no sex since. Surprisingly, I’m happier! I don’t drag myself along daily depressed as before. She hasn’t even noticed a change. I Just struggle with that covet thing.

  2. Charles says:

    Excellent post Julie.
    Chip, I can relate to your pain and frustration. After the first 15 years of very limited sex followed by 20 years of no sex I finally decided to get counseling. Sadly my wife didn’t want to go, so I’m doing this on my own but I believe in the end it will help.

  3. David says:

    I’m six years older than my wife and although we have a friendship, I really wish I would have evaluated her friendships with others before we were engaged.

    She rarely initiates contact with her friends and whenever they wanted to include her in things it always had to be convenient and if it wasn’t she would then invent an excuse to justify why she couldn’t. Needless to say, they didn’t include her much.

    Then she does something like drive four hours to visit her college roommate (whom I’ve never met or talked to) of about 8 years ago when the roommates mom passed away only to spend 30 minutes with her and then drive four hours back home.

    She has a friend she grew up with who lives two hours away who had a baby last year (her first) and she has made no attempt to visit her and her husband (I know them both relatively well).

    My wife is a terrible friend to others, so I shouldnt be surprised that she is a terrible friend to me. It also isn’t a surprise that our sexual relationship is horrible just the same.

    I thought I was marrying the queen from the movie 300 and instead ended up with the oldest lady from the show Downton Abbey. It’s obvious to me that my sexual experiences are much more broad than hers and being six years older helps. But I also have a better idea of how to treat people and value relationships. She talks a good game, but she doesn’t back it up unless it is convenient FOR HER. It’s rarely convenient.

    Anyway, just some advice for those before they get engaged: Carefully evaluate how your future spouse values her relationships before you get married because you can be certain those values will spill over into your relationship.

  4. Robin2014 says:

    IMHO the most important idea in the above post is #10, without a good friendship with your spouse the other 9 ideas will not work.
    Doing anything without feeling emotionally connected to your spouse feel only fester into a resentment and feeling used.

  5. Josh says:

    Another great post,

    It is very frustrating get in this situation. I remember many years ago before I got married, I used to have a girlfriend, no matter what I tried to do or change in our intimacy she was not happy.

    After several months we decided to end that relationship.

    What can I say for those who are struggling is to get counseling support.


  6. libl says:

    I have talked with, shown, asked, even begged for what I want sexually and he refuses. We still have sex regularly, and I get to climax at least 33% of the time (masturbation during PIV), but foreplay is almost non existent. He won’t touch me down there and refuses all oral sex. I have told him a hundred times over that constant thrusting does NOT bring me to O, yet he’ll keep at it until I am sore and bored trying to get me to O. If I don’t O, he just shrugs it off as my problem for not focusing enough or being a difficult “broken” woman. His answer is to leave me alone to masturbate all by myself.

    It isn’t a hill to die on, but it kills me none the less.

  7. HopefullyHelpful says:

    @libl: Prayers are with you.
    You are correct. It is not a hill do die on. Hills are not to die on, they are to lie down comfortably on the soft grass with your husband, looking up at the beautiful sky in your beloved’s arms.

    What mostly bothers me is the verbal and emotional abuse you are receiving after he has pleasured himself (I assume he finishes,) so worse than dying, you are being tortured on that hill.

    The fact that you are not cutting him off is most admirable, but how are you holding out emotionally? Are you two still “connected?” The man has issues he needs to correct. Other that sexually, are you satisfied?

    What are you looking for?

  8. Christian Husband of 38 yrs says:

    Julie: You might also add to your list the reality that as our bodies age, we sometimes have to deal with physical problems and issues that younger couples don’t have. These need not be insurmountable obstacles, but it does take a lot of mutual understanding, mutual love and patience, open and honest communication, openness to trying new and different things, and if need be the willingness to seek medical assistance.

  9. Esther says:

    What do you say about a Christian woman masturbating because she is denied sex by her husband. Sometimes he is away for long and even when he returns he does not have sex with her.
    Is that a sin? What should such a woman do?

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