Few things sabotage sex in a marriage more consistently than low sex drive of one of the spouses.
Frequency of sexual intimacy becomes a battleground, where a husband and a wife have extreme difficulty finding common ground.
Bonny Logsdon Burns of Bonny’s Oyster Bed does an amazing job today looking intimately and thoroughly at this issue of low sex drive.
Though the blog post is about low sex drive, I think the post is full of nuggets of relationship gold that you won’t want to miss.
Bonny’s post is part of my ongoing guest blog series on things that destroy sex in marriage.
Once the bird seed and bubbles of newlywed bliss settle, most marriages discover that a husband and wife don’t quite agree on the frequency of love-making.
Then arguments build, and pretty soon you have a full-blown battle.
A shiny new marriage usually has plenty of physical urgency coming from both spouses.
So, what happens?
Biochemically, the tingles of first romance putter out after 24 months and one spouse is less motivated to be sexual than the other.
Low sex drive can affect both wives AND husbands.
The low-drive spouse no longer can rely on the lust cocktail of brain chemicals to trigger physical urgency to connect in the bedroom.
The high-drive spouse starts to feel short-changed. Their need, which at first was vigorously met, is slowly brushed to the side and finally lands low on the priority list.
The low-drive spouse starts to feel objectified as the high-drive spouse tries to persuade, cajole and convince their mate to meet them in the bedroom.
Low-sex drive can absolutely destroy sex in marriage.
Having a sexless marriage (sexual encounters less than 10 times per year) can lead to destruction of the entire relationship through adultery. And yes, the straying spouse bears much blame for their wrong choice. However, a low-libido spouse must take the higher-drive needs of their mate seriously.That’s part of selflessly loving like Christ.
I’m here to tell you low-libido is not a permanent condition.
It just takes finding what replenishes the desire for sexual intimacy outside of the physical “gotta have you now.”
A low-libido spouse has to more fully rely on the spiritual and emotional nature of intimacy in order to desire to connect through sexual intimacy.
This is the blessing of the low-libido challenge. To improve low-libido, it usually involves growing as a couple.
Here are three basics that helped change me from, “No way!” to “Okay!”
First of all you must know that it is absolutely OK to pray to God about your sexual relationship with your husband. Just because the church at large cringes at talking about sex, God gives it a big ol’ nod!
When I first started praying about my marriage’s sexual conflict, I prayed for God to increase my sex drive. That didn’t work. So, I prayed for God to decrease his. That didn’t work either.
Then, I simply prayed for understanding. This was the prayer God answered (Matthew 7:7, James 1:5, Daniel 2:21).
Love pours into me through conversation. I eventually understood that love-making was my husband’s most intimate conversation. For my high-drive spouse, touch said what words could not. Love pours into the high-drive spouse through sexual intimacy.
God placed resources in our path to improve other aspects of our marriage. I came to see that my low-drive was partly from a physical place, but it also had emotional reasons.
Pray for wisdom to know how to connect more fully with your spouse. When you figure out how to connect emotionally with your spouse, you will both feel more “heard.” Feeling understood will help a low-drive spouse tap into another libido, the emotional libido.
Sexual intimacy has been compared to the type of relationship God wants to have with us through Christ (Ephesians 3:8-12, Ephesians 5:32), an earthly symbol of a heavenly reality. Pray that you both grow in spiritual maturity to understand this as you walk with the Lord.
And finally, work towards praying with your spouse about your marriage bed. This will help the low-drive spouse tap into the third and most important dimension of libido, spiritual.
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
It only takes one little decision.
Decide to try meeting your high-drive spouse in the bedroom. That one little decision will spark a change in the entire atmosphere of your marriage. I can 98% guarantee it.
When I finally made my decision to go “all in,” I began to do a little studying. At the time, blogs weren’t on the radar and there were only a few books on sexual intimacy written by Christian authors.
I bought every one of them and spent a little time each night learning about God’s approval of “gettin’ busy.” Studying God’s ideas about sexual intimacy helped me get rid of skewed ideas that remained from pre-marital baggage and understand that I could give myself permission to be a sensual creature.
One little decision led to another little decision to visit the doctor. Which led to other little decisions about medical and scientific research. Which led to another little decision about being actively engaged during each rendezvous.
God’s path for your rejuvenated libido may not look exactly like mine. However, if you make the decision to start seeking. He will answer.
Spend Most of Your Non-Work Hours Together
If a marriage is spiraling downward, some spouses run away from each other. I get it. You’ve been hurting each other with words and you want to avoid being hurt. If you’re not in your spouse’s presence, you can’t be hurt.
However, the answer is to run toward each other when things get tough. Don’t look outside of your marriage, especially with a person of the opposite sex, for any kind of emotional validation.
A low-libido spouse must connect emotionally and spiritually with their spouse. Emotional and spiritual libido substitute for the lack of physical urgency.
The way to connect is simple. Spend lots of time with your spouse outside of the bedroom doing fun stuff and having conversations. Optimally, 2 hours a day with just the two of you. But, I realize with young families, that’s not easy.
In whatever way you spend time together, avoid being snarky, disrespectful, sarcastic, demanding, threatening and angry.
Author Michele Weiner Davis states, “A more loving marriage may be the only aphrodisiac your marriage needs.”
It is possible to regain the birdseed and bubbles of newlywed sexual craving. It just might be in a way you hadn’t contemplated before.
Pray for resources to help you through the maze of low-libido. Decide to see your marriage as a relationship worth fighting for. Spend more time with your spouse being the person your spouse married; fun, happy, and friendly.
If you do all these things, not only will your libido come out of hiding, but your spouse will probably return all the love you are investing.
I’d like to place a resource in your view right now.
Written for the low-libido Christian wife, Unlock Your Libido: 52-Week Sex Drive Transformation, will help you uncover little known aspects of her lost inner sensuality. Ramping up lagging libido doesn’t happen by magic. However, it can be an easy journey with profound results by following along with this 52-Week guide.
Although not a Bible study, its foundation is God’s Word. Based upon a 2012 French study, the blend of science and scripture helps wives re-discover their sensual hidden nature, covering not just physical, but also emotional and spiritual aspects of libido.
Each week, a commentary sets the theme. The key is consistent thought and prayer revolving around the theme. It only takes 5 minutes a day.
Bonny Logsdon Burns writes to encourage the low libido wife at www.OysterBed7.com. She and her husband, David, are candid about their struggles and victories revolving around sexual intimacy. She is passionate about empowering and equipping hurting women through God’s Word and practical tools. They have three sons, like to try new foods, laugh at corny jokes, and dance to their own music. (You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.)
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Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.
19 thoughts on “Is Low Sex Drive Destroying Sex in Your Marriage?”
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In a few words, yes! My wife has a very low drive and the problem is the less we enjoy sex the less we both desire it. she is in menopause so I have understanding but the problem still exists and is getting worse as this situation continues.
The point is that there are couples who contribute to low libido of their spouses, for instance, a woman whose marriage is threatened, who is not sure of her husband’s love, whose husband keep beating up may develop cold attitude towards having sex with the man. thereby developing a low sex drive.
Again, a man whose wife abuses most of the time, whose ego is at its lowest ebb because his wife dealt a deadly blow to it may develop a low sex drive towards that woman.
We should, therefore, try and identify what is causing our spouse low sex drive, and try to help our spouse to overcome it.
Unfortunately, many spouses honestly do not see his/her low sex drive as a problem. These low drive spouses just tell the other spouse that it should not matter, and they should not think about it. It’s sad that some people don’t take the concerns of a spouse seriously.
Thanks for a very informative post. I honestly don’t know which of us has the higher drive, but I still struggle with guilt over wanting intimacy. Your part about what to pray for to resolve the situation was the most eye-opening. Thanks again.
Over the years, I have become more accepting of my wife’s low drive. Her low drive controls our sex life and there is nothing that I can do outside of prayer. She has repeatedly said to me that I am the one with the “problem”. It is a weakness (my high sex drive) that I have to overcome. Nowadays, I channel my sexual energy to other things, such as investing in our grandkids.
I agree with PrinceVinco and Sean. 1) The spouse who is complaining about the lack of sex in marriage should highly consider if their OWN behavior is contributing to their spouses low-libido. For example, a husband who basically acts like another child that the wife has to take care of, is not a very “attractive” man at all. What wife would want to give herself to such a man?
However.. let’s say that a husband has recognized and eliminated all his unattractive qualities and it has no-effect on her low sex-drive… what then?
I’m a woman, and I pray to lose my sex drive. But it never works. It’s so demoralizing, especially with all of the articles you read about all the perfect wives whose husbands pursue them endlessly. And some of theise wives just brush them off. Oh how I’d love to be so desired and so confident.
My husband says he loves me, and he drives me insane by being kind, cuddling me, trying to kiss me, flirt with me, etc. But he’s not interested in me sexually. He always says he is, but he’s not. Every night he falls asleep and nothing ever happens. Maybe once a week, but seldom anything else. I wish I wasn’t so attracted to him. It’s incredibly painful to constantly feel so rejected and repulsive – especially when he flirts and says romantic things. I’ve stopped letting myself believe any of it. He’s like a male tease, and it hurts.
What I found I liked most in Bonny’s post is that she hardly delves into the why’s and how’s (let alone who’s!) of the problems of low sex-drive, but focuses on how to cope with it.
“However, the answer is to run toward each other when things get tough.” she writes, and that’s a real nugget of truth.
sex and communication are the bedrock of every relationship. Talk about sex with your partner,do not be scared because it will help in your sex life.Tell him or her about your sexual needs and feeling,that way he/she would no what your needs are.
Everything can be viewed from both sides, and should. But assuming a good husband—-yes your wife’s constant refusals will likely lower your libido some. I think inner anger like refusal creates will do this.
@B: Have you approached him about his low energy level? Without linking it to sex, that is. Is it possible he really is tired? Have you tried a morning routine? If he is a healthy male he probably wakes up in a state conducive to your purposes. . . Just make sure you wake him about his usual time. Well, maybe a few minutes earlier. . .
It seems like you’re at your wits end with your husbands lack of sex drive (where it counts). I’d be looking to the kitchen to help him get in the mood, after all they say ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’. The same can be said for his libido too to a certain extent. Ginger for instance is root which has long been proven to stimulate blood flow and as such stimulate arousal. Why not stock up on and recommend some Ginger Tea or a Ginger supplement, it has many health benefits but the added bonus we’re looking for 😉 The same can be said for roots like Gingko Biloba and Ginseng. I recently read a study which came out of Texas which stated that, and I quote ‘…long-term GBE (Gingko Biloba Extract) treatment significantly increased sexual desire and contentment beyond placebo.” It’s worth a shot, it’s clear that your sex drive is fine, you just need to readdress the balance but people need a helping hand sometimes. Don’t pray to lose your sex drive, this God given urge is normal and enjoyable, it’s time you gave his body the kickstart it needs to rekindle the fire of sexual desire. I hope this helps, Jennie.
It is a very difficult to be in the position of not wanting to engage in relations with your husband especially when you are a Christian. We talk about it some = mainly when he is mad about no relations. It has gone on for several years. We are emotionally disconnected because, I think primarily, of a tight, difficult business venture that has gone on for way too long and is showing little signs of ending. I feel extremely guilty and responsible for our lack of intimacy. I do feel like I am disobeying God and frankly, I do not want to lose my soul over it. This is my greatest fear. Over the years as I did participate, my husband became tired of me not being into it and basically fullfilling my proverbial duty. For me, time and spiritual communication is the ticket. I am not the same person I was when we married. Who is? We have been married a long time. But again, my greatest fear is losing my soul over this. I do pray. But I feel like that even though my husband is a Christian, too, he is just not as in to the deep things of God as I am now. I am just different now. This is a venting moment. Counseling? We have considered it in the past few years, but he does not seem to be too serious about it. It is sad. All the talk about sex and the sex act and things are a big turn off. To me, it all should be an extension of your relationship. But we really don’t have one anymore because our circumstances sucked the life out of it. But that’s a bit of my situation.
Susan, be confident that Jesus atoned for EVERY sin. Including yours. By believing in Jesus and continuing to believe in Him. you will be in Heaven after your life is over, regardless of the sin you committed. That is the GOOD NEWS. Now go and sin no more. Be there sexually for your husband. He needs you.
Sexual activity and communication is a key to a successful marital relationship. Thanks for posting such a great writeup. Very much needed to understand the problem.
I am a woman with a high sexual drive. Although my husband has erections and can perform, and I’ve expressed my desires to have sex as many times as we can each week, he doesn’t. Basically I’m the man in the relationship begging his wife to have sex with him. He makes me feel ugly and undesirable, even though he constantly tells me I’m beautiful and how much he loves me. We spend all our free time together and have only been married for 3 years. I’ve done everything I can, I dress up, dress down, wear what he likes, take pictures, etc I’ve asked, told, sugggested, tried to initiate… when I was told to be more aggressive by him. I let my husband do ANYTHING he wants sexually, but again I’m not getting my needs met. It’s so frustrating. There is a bonding hormone that makes you bond with your spouse when you have frequent sex, and I’m not getting enough of it to feel connected. My husband says he needs intimacy to have sex, I need sex to feel intimacy. It’s hard to be unequally yoked.
Sexual activity and communication is a key to a successful marital relationship. Thanks for posting such a great writeup.
What is considered a low sex drive though? A lower drive might just mean a lower ,(but not unreasonable) need for sex. Working together and comprising is necessary. The lower drive spouse might feel overwhelmed if the higher drive spouse is being too demanding. I don’t understand what you actually mean by low drive and high drive. Surely it’s up to both of them to try to meet the needs of the other. It will probably mean the LD spouse having more sex than they want and the HD spouse having less.