If You’re Turned OFF Sexually by What Turns Your Spouse ON, What Should You Do?

It’s a dilemma.

And more often than not, it’s a dilemma for wives, whose husbands want to do something sexually that really turns the wife off.

Just to be clear, let’s remove from the picture anything that biblically would be off grounds.

I’ve talked before about what’s okay sexually.  As long as exclusivity is maintained (no third parties real, portrayed or imagined), neither spouse is getting hurt (physically, emotionally, spiritually), and the Lord doesn’t expressly forbid the sex act in question, then I think married couples have tremendous creative liberty in their marriage bed.

Even within permissible sexual creativity, though, it’s not surprising that some couples can’t agree.

What turns one on sexually is a big turn off to the other one.

For example, a husband may be turned on by giving oral sex, but his wife doesn’t like it.  It’s not that she thinks it’s off limits biblically; it just doesn’t turn her on.

Or a wife is really turned on by receiving oral sex, but her husband doesn’t like giving it.

Maybe a husband is aroused by seeing his wife in lingerie, but she can’t stand putting it on — feels self conscious or objectified, even if that’s really not his heart’s intent.

Or a husband loves the feel of his wife’s breasts on his penis, but she doesn’t care for this.

These are pretty tame examples.

I’m sure if we bantered at length over coffee (you know, in your average everyday roundtable talk), we could come up with countless specific things that turn one spouse on, while turning the other spouse off.

If you reflect on your own sexual intimacy and see a few scenarios that would fit this dilemma, what should you do?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

1. Is our sexual intimacy a unique blend of giving and receiving?

Sex in marriage should never be about one spouse’s sexual desires and requests always superseding the other spouse’s.  One of you can’t hold all the cards of being able to deny something or desire something.

That’s just not mature. And it’s just not fair.

As a married couple, you have to learn a dance of sexually giving and receiving.  Ultimately, that is how you reach a place where you both enjoy sex and pursue it.

Maybe you could share this blog post with your spouse, and the two of you together could humbly look at your intimacy in a new light.

2. Do we have reasonable expectations?

If it turns your husband on to have you lick his testicles, his request isn’t necessarily unreasonable — unless he expects you do this every time you make love and/or he’s never willing to take steps to make the experience more tolerable for you (like taking a shower before sex).

Another example would be you as a wife desire your husband use a vibrator on you, yet your husband is turned off by this. How can you arrive at good middle ground where the vibrator is included in your lovemaking some of the time, but not all of the time?

I think the only way to reach reasonable expectations in sexual intimacy is honest communication.

So, if there’s something that really turns you on, don’t be vague in your desire about it or wait for your spouse to read your mind.

Express your desire maturely and compassionately.

And if your spouse shares with you something they would really like sexually (that isn’t off limits, as we’ve already clarified), make your best effort to hear them and honor them.  You gain great marital harmony with the words, “I wouldn’t mind trying that every now and then, but not every time.”

Key to all this is respect.

If you say you don’t mind trying it every now and then, you need to make intentional effort to indeed include it every now and then.  And do it with a generous heart, rather than doing it begrudgingly.

Doing something sexually with a chip on your shoulder is a real mood killer.

3. Am I turned off because of pre-marital promiscuity?

Dig deeper as to why something is a turn off for you.  Sometimes, if something was part of your or your spouse’s pre-marital promiscuity, it can take effort to grasp that context means everything.

For example, if you are turned off by oral sex or sex in the car or sexual play in the shower simply because those were things you did before you were married, I encourage you to entertain a new perspective.

The same sexual experiences in the context of your covenant marriage are rich with possibility of sweet and sacred sexual oneness.  You are married. Sex is no longer a forbidden playground.

4. Have we asked each other what turns us each on?

Sometimes it’s just a matter of learning new ways to arouse each other. You can do this either by asking and/or by simply trying new touches, techniques or ideas.

The more you focus on what you both like, the broader your sexual repertoire when you crawl beneath those sheets.

What is surprising to some wives and husbands is that they didn’t even know something was a turn on until they tried it.   This is certainly the case with me and my husband. I’m not going to share the details, but there are things we’ve done sexually that I never would have imagined would have been so arousing.

But wow.  Just wow!

And I’m not just talking about him arousing me, but also what it feels like to bring sexual pleasure to the man I love in new and creative ways.  Turning him on is a turn on for me, even if the particular act wouldn’t be my first choice.

When all is said and done, you have to decide mutuality is a foundational cornerstone to your sexual intimacy.  If what turns your spouse on turns you off, don’t let that be the end of the conversation.

There’s more sexual ground to explore to better nurture your intimacy.  Like I said, you might be pleasantly and shockingly surprised at the turn-ons you discover along the way.

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

26 thoughts on “If You’re Turned OFF Sexually by What Turns Your Spouse ON, What Should You Do?

  1. Joe says:

    I’m late 40’s and extremely introverted. I am not comfortable with a lot of things and even just reading your post made me uncomfortable. Even things like a couples day at the spa with massage is a serious turn off. The thought of somebody else massaging me is not good. I’ve tried and its traumatizing.

    Ideas that have been brought up by my wife are couples sex-based devotionals, games, role playing etc.

    I just can’t. The simple act of intercourse is about all I can muster. How is it fair to force somebody so far past what they can deal with? Isn’t the simple sex act itself sufficient? I’m not comfortable with anybody exploring my body and that includes the doctor!

  2. Kim says:

    My husband and I are in our late 40’s and have been married for 24 years. I’d love to do more than just standard missionary. I bought the devotional Songs in the Key of Solomon hoping it would start something. He looked at some of the devotions and said this was not something he’d do and this is not Biblical. The book upset him enough that he stopped even initiating the little that he does.

    He’s very conservative and reserved in all aspects of life. He’s also not interested in sex as much as I’d like.

  3. Lindsay Harold says:

    In both of the above comments, I wonder if perhaps the problem is a misunderstanding of God’s plan for sex. Many people grew up with the idea that sex is inherently dirty or sinful or gross and may engage once in awhile in the bare minimum, but don’t really think they’re supposed to enjoy it or desire it or seek new things.

    That’s simply not what God says about sex, though. The Bible teaches that sex is a wonderful thing between husband and wife and encourages married couples to enjoy a wide variety of sexual pleasures together. Sex isn’t wrong or dirty inside marriage, as long as the exclusivity of the marriage bed is maintained and both are generous and loving toward one another.

    Getting over engrained ideas about sex isn’t always easy though. But it’s important to subject our ideas about life to what the Bible says. The Bible calls this the renewing of our minds. We need to seek to view everything according to Biblical truth, and that will often mean throwing out our own ideas – and even ideas we learned in church.

    If this is the root of the problem, learning Biblical truth on the matter and making it a priority to purposely obey what the Bible says even where it might initially make us uncomfortable is very important. It’s okay to take it slow and learn gradually. It’s not okay to reject the Bible’s teaching on sex in favor of holding to our preferences or comfort zone or what we’ve always believed.

  4. Larry B says:

    Lindsay notes preferences and comfort zone. She is correct that these should not keep people from following the Bible on married sexuality.

    If a married couple (or a reluctant spouse) can look beyond or stretch their mental comfort zone, they can find that they are free to experience a richer, more varied, more pleasurable and, yes, more emotionally intimate sex life with their spouse. It is worth making the effort.

  5. IntrovertedOne says:

    I’ve been married 24 years now and have always been on the reserved and introverted side. As I get older I find I’m becoming stronger on my introverted feelings. I have never been a wild person and I have never been daring. It’s simply not who I am and being forced into situations out of my comfort zone make me physically and mentally shut down.

    Tell me why I should have to endure situations that put me in such stress? I should have to go to counseling or therapy because of my personality type? God made us all different and we are each special and have special gifts. By making people such as me change to fit what YOU want is only shifting your frustrations and anger to them. Now you are happy but I am not. How is that right or OK? God would not have made a personality type such as mine only to tell me it’s bad and you need to change and become more “open”.

    Compromise is in order. You won’t get everything you want but I’m also having to do things I don’t want. The way I see it is I have strong limits but you have endless wants. I get frustrated with the constant pushing and you get frustrated with the word NO. Neither of us is going to get all we want but this is adult life. This is the real world and its not always or ever easy.

    What I have read in many of the posts on this site is the theme all will be happy if you each open up and do it all. It’s does not work that way for a great many people. We have already opened as much as we can.

  6. John says:

    IntrovertedOne – the problem is that, I would say most, if not all, situations like yours ends up with the lower-end person (in this case, you), always ends up getting their way. There never is a compromise. the other person always loses out on everything they want or need.. If she needs level 100 and you insist that you will only do level 1, do you end up at level 50? My guess is you end up far far closer to level 1/what you want than to what she wants. Or even anywhere near the middle.

    If your wife is gracious and loving, she might be willing (maybe she isn’t) to give up and go down below the middle/compromise, and move downwards closer to what you want (or dont’ want, in this case). That is well and good, if she wants to do that – it exhibits a loving, patient attitude. But how far do you make her go? Level 40? Level 30? Level 20? level 10? Are you making her give up 75% of what she would like? 80%? 90%? I have seen, that its always the low end person who gets their way. Its never a compromise or in the middle. I have rarely seen the low-end person say “Ok, I want to compromise so I’ll do 50% of what you want, and be happy about it, and strive to do that. Whats more, I will do 70% of what you want as to be even more to be gracious and giving to you” In fact, I’ve never seen it – its usually, “Not only will I not do what you want, but I won’t even do half of what you want. What I want is just fine, so learn to live with it.”
    You say “compromise is in order” – but my guess there isn’t a compromise between you 2 – I would guess if you we asked your wife she would say there isn’t much of a compromise at all.

    I mean, come on. Don’t you love your wife? Don’t you want to apply some grace to her as well? Ok, so don’t compromise perfectly, right in the middle. Can you meet her even close to the middle? From your attitude, I doubt it.

    Here’s another thing that I want you to think about. You say:

    “God made us all different and we are each special and have special gifts…. God would not have made a personality type such as mine only to tell me it’s bad and you need to change and become more “open”.

    If your “specialness” or “gifts” or “personality” directly opposes what God says in his word – then He didn’t make you that way – YOU did. God will never, ever, contradict His word. And His word says your body does not belong to you, but to your spouse. Neither does her body belong to her, but to you. You are to both give each other free access to each others bodies. You are not to deprive each other, except for a specified, limited time, for a specified, limited purpose (prayer and fasting), and only if you both agree to it. (1st Corinthians 7:1-5)

    Now, it also says, in many other places in the bible, to give grace to each other. It is obviously difficult for you to do this. If your wife is a believer, she should be gracious about this. Loving, patient and kind. Be willing to work with you, patiently, with a long-term viewpoint to overcome this issue.

    On the other hand, if you are a believer, you have a responsibility to do whatever is necessary to meet her needs. If that means going to counseling (my guess is you haven’t even tried it), so be it. If that means a daily struggle with your introvertedness, so be it. Even if that means some kind of medication, so be it. Its called “Dying to self”,and in fact, is a direct command from the Lord to husbands. Does that mean you reach 100% of what she wants? Probably not right right away, and maybe never. But it sure means moving to the middle, and it sure as heck means trying to do so! Of course, if you are not a believer, then you are not held to this – but then why are you even at this blog?

  7. oldermarried52 says:

    I agree with John on this. Introverted One’s introversion is not at all his wife’s problem. She’s just inherited the problem by marriage to a person that doesn’t like sex.

    She is who she is, and he is who he is.

    I like the use of numbers John uses: He’s a 1, and she’s a 100. That’s a compromise of 50, correct? It never is, because it is easier to stay the same than change. The wife is expected to curb her enthusiasm, to deny her very real hormonal/ emotional/ physical need to Make Love.

    For his wife, the frustration must be huge. She has to deny her feelings of physical longing for her spouse–while remaining faithful to him.

    Problem is, a lot of low drive spouse’s get married, without ever even thinking about sex. (And that may be one of the main things the high drive spouse is thinking of.)

    Marriage is a contract: financial, social recreational, and reproductive. But it is also a contract to be sexual with one’s spouse.

    It is easy to keep the first four while denying that you have a sexual problem. The marriage looks fine from the outside: Living together, pay the bills, even hold hands in public. Such a lovely faithful couple.

    But, a person often expects unlimited, passionate, unbridled sex. You finally don’t have to just hold hands and kiss goodnight.

    But then, you find out that your spouse really just doesn’t care, or they have such a low libido, that they would go for years with no sex and be perfectly fine.

    The final point I would make is that the church often teaches nothing about sex (Other than DON’T before you’re married) and assumes you’ll “pick it up” after you wed. Doesn’t happen. Then two diametrically opposed people marry for life–one who wants the physical promises of marriage–and one who masquerades and then says, “Just kidding, I really don’t want THAT aspect–I’ll take the rest: security, the social acceptance of being a wife or husband, even possibly children. But don’t ask me to unite with you sexually.

    This is one of the biggest myths of modern life: Stay a virgin. Sex will take care of itself. A lot of people know much more about buying a car than they do the wife or husband they pick. (And you aren’t supposed to talk about sex before you marry. There’s time for that later.)

    Then they drive the “car” home and realize that they have bought a Model T for life, when they hoped for a Ferrari.

    Then they are stuck.

  8. Brad says:

    I want to start by saying that IntrovertedOne never gave any indication of their gender.

    To IntrovertedOne, saying that God would never give you a certain personality only to ask you to change is a dangerous argument that I have heard from many alcoholics and homosexuals. I have a hot temper but it doesn’t prevent me from being commanded to control my tongue when I’m angry.

    That said, compromise is a cornerstone of marriage. If you have identified the limits of your comfort zone, it is your spouse’s duty to respect that. That doesn’t mean saying “you’re right, this is my limit too.” It means not guilt tripping them for not doing what you want and maintaining dialogue on the issue.

  9. oldermarried52 says:

    Yeah, I missed that Brad. I assumed a guy, but it could be a gal.

    Does it matter, really? I was just trying to make a point about the irony of the biggest worldly decision you will make in our earthly life: Who are you marrying?

    When two people get together– if they are following Christian principles, they often really don’t know each other at all, as far as sexual practices go. They remain virginal, and possibly don’t talk about sex and its role. They may not even know enough about the subject of sex to ascertain the role of sex in their future lifelong committed marriage. If they’ve never had sex, how do they know how much or what kinds of sex would be desirable?

    They may realize how one another feel about finances, about family, about the need to maintain and extend social relationships, about their desire to have a family even, but there seems to be a barrier in understanding what role sex will have in the marriage. I really don’t know how to close that gap: If you don’t know what you don’t know (to quote Julie), how do you make a good decision?

    To extend the analogy about cars, and I don’t mean to belittle the marriage covenant… A lot of people just don’t know what they are promising to another person for life, when they marry. They DO know, or should, about their car payment, gas mileage, features, etc., on their car.

    But not their hubby or wife. (notice I didn’t include gender this time.)

    If you’re married, did you and your fiancee really discuss physical intimacy? Do modern couples discuss this? Having been married a LONG time, I can assure you, this topic was avoided like the plague.

    Example discussion questions: How many times a week is enough? Is physical affection that doesn’t lead to intercourse a need? (In other words, is one of you a toucher?) How about sex when one spouse isn’t interested? Is there a place for accommodating the higher desire spouse? I could add fifty more!

    And then couples are asked to compromise. I still agree with John. The 1-100 need scale, while exaggerated for emphasis, is accurate in that the lower need spouse will ALWAYS “win”, no matter what price the other spouse pays.

    Seems unfair.

    I do like your point, where I think you are saying that the writer should compromise “up” and the spouse should be willing to accept compromising “down”, and no guilt for either point of view should be incurred.

    And couples should definitely be aware of moving their needle closer to the other’s desire. It’s what makes marriage worthwhile. How can I help her or him to be what God wants? (And one spouse should never assume that he / she knows what God wants for his / her mate!)

    Finally, I would encourage anyone with a “low” libido, whatever that means, to check out your health. I have noticed that the more health problems I have or my spouse has, the lower the libido. Hormones, stress, lack of exercise, diet? They all affect libido, and if one spouse suddenly dips, there is an indication that intervention is necessary. This is physical rather than attitudinal, but one affects the other in amazing ways. I’ve experienced it myself and have seen it in my spouse.

    God bless you all, John, Brad, Julie and Introverted One. I hope you find in your marriages what I have found in mine!

    To meet my gal at age 17 and still be humming on at 64–pretty good.

    Please don’t take my ramblings for any trained psychologist. I just have always thought, “Wow, we discussed EVERYTHING else…but not sex.” And that is so true for so many couples who marry as inexperienced people, just from talking to friends.

    Again, God bless!

  10. e2 says:

    Allow me to issue a caution about the benefits of compromise in marriage. Compromise is a business concept, used to resolve disputes when there is disagreement. In my career, I know I have found a good compromise when both sides are equally unhappy.

    If a husband and wife compromise on sex, then one of them will be unhappy because s/he is getting too little or too mild sex and the other is unhappy because s/he is putting out too much or too wildly.

    I suggest that compromise is too easy. Marriage is not a contract; it is not a partnership; it is not a business relationship. Marriage is a union, a oneness. Compromise is a fallback solution when oneness is lost or cannot be achieved. Rather than settling for compromise, may we pursue oneness.

  11. Rejected30 says:

    I like the car analogy. The problem is that I bought a Ferrari ! It still looks like a Ferrari but now drives like a Model T. My wife has lost all interest in sex. She is really into bible study and Jesus but hasn’t touched me in a year. We had obligatory sex maybe a year ago and I’ve given up. I take care of business myself . Her religious activities seem so hypocritical. We are just married roommates and it sucks. I’m a good husband and provider. I help around the house willingly, she can by just about anything she wants , I’ve always genuinely been involved with our kids. I guess she has chosen the lord over me. I fell completely rejected and alone. I guess I have to choose between loosing my material wealth or finding another companion. If I do that, I will be perceived as the villian. They will say how I could leave such a wonderful attractive dedicated women? It’s very tough to not be desired. I’m been told I’m not unattractive. I work out to stay in shape. If there is a god , maybe he can set her straight in the end and maybe in heaven I’ll get an apology. The church is pretty worthless now. I’ve given up on that also. She is such a good Christian woman. Ask anyone. Praise the lord— ignore your husband. Great. If I leave I’m going to find a nice atheist.

  12. Deflated says:

    I have tried many sexual things my husband has been anxious to try. I haven’t found many that do much for me arousal wise. The one’s I have the most trouble revisiting are the one’s that turn me off just at the thought of him thinking it is arousing.

    I think it’s great to try and push oneself past their comfort zone. I’ve pushed myself over and over again hoping for that magic. It gets kind of depressing when he keeps wanting things that do nothing for me and I only have a couple of things that turn me on.

    Makes me feel abnormal and sexually inadequate. Sex has been the hardest part of my marriage. Wish it were easier to enjoy. Wish it weren’t so important.

    Wish I would have known I would have felt this way Before I got married.

  13. ItsallGod's says:

    I am sorry if things I say have already been said…

    1st, I love the article. Spot on.

    Opponents to this kind of article/web site are actually missing out on some real truth here. They are unwilling to dig for treasure. I’ve been married for 25 yrs now & wife & I have rarely been on the same page sexually, until the more recent years. Both of us have changed the context of sex, in our marriage, because we both changed in our heart & mind.

    I’ve never been one to accept, “that’s just the way I am.” We fool ourselves into thinking we are good the way we are. We stand against, & we give in, too. All the while, it’s about me. I don’t care who you are, we all have exceptions to our rules. Staunchly, we declare we won’t put ourself in an uncomfortable position. However, we all pay bills we’d rather not pay. We go to the dentist. We visit the in-laws. Somewhere in our lives we do in one area what we swear we’ll never do in another. Parents catch their children in this all the time, & it’s high-time we adults got over ourselves & realize we do it. Headaches seem to be a common reason not to have sex, but it doesn’t keep us from watching tv, talking with a friend, or going out to be entertained. We are unwilling to look at our double standard.

    God tells us that we should not think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Since we are the created we really have no say in it. Especially, when we are made to be with eachother. Some comments of that’s you, not me, is kind of like saying to God, “No, I’m not going to forgive! I’m not able.” Then why would God tell us to forgive, if we are unable? We lie to ourselves. Like a child sitting in the middle of the dirty room crying, “I can’t clean up my own room! Will you do it for me? Please?” Our sin, our flesh, has conditioned us to be pain free & safe, as much as possible. While sin & self find safe haven, hidden in our take on what is good, bad, or God. American living has led to a preferred lifestyle. However, God isn’t about lifestyle. It’s about Him.

    When we demand our satisfaction, we will end up hurt because we are not the only ones living here. Anger & excuses multiply the more people push. God, says that we live by His Word. It’s what works, but we don’t want to dig for that treasure. We’d rather be comfortably numb. We’d rather be left alone to our life of complaining, thinking that if people were like us life would be a whole lot better. God wants better for all, not better for just you.

    So, God said to have sex. One word He uses to describe it is, intoxicating. It’s funny what we get high on. Entertainment, pot, cigarettes, yard work, alcohol, shopping, even friends. We all have something to escape with. God says to have intoxicating sex with your spouse, but we work at escaping reality & our marriages suffer for it. God has reasons for sex just like He has reasons for us to work a job. Which spouse will step up & say it’s ok that we don’t work another day, the rest of our lives? None. If you are withholding sex out of personality excuses your life is suffering right now. Just as if it would if both you & your spouse never worked another day at a job.

    You don’t HAVE TO go to counseling. You do HAVE TO change though. Selfish to selfless. Get over yourself & do what needs to be done to be a real person to the one you vowed your love to. You might ask, “What if they don’t change?” Who cares, make the change to please God, not them. Jesus laid out a path to the cross. If you follow it, life changes. How do you think I am able write about how wife & I have changed?

    It works. God promises, & so do I.

  14. Mumma of 6 says:

    I am one of those people that on the scale of 1-100 is at a 1. I’ve always had a fairly low drive but have pushed it for my husband. As the years have gone on it’s gone down further, and I’m now suffering anxiety at the thought of going to bed together. The idea of him touching me turns me off incredibly, so every single thing that we do in bed is a push for me. I find nothing enjoyable and most of the time find sex incredibly uncomfortable and sometimes painful. I’ve given up trying to make it good. I have tried and tried for 10 years and never really enjoyed it.
    My poor husband is really struggling with this which is quite understandable! I want to want him. I want to be free and comfortable in bed. I want to enjoy myself. Why don’t I?
    We have 6 children aged 7 and under. My youngest child is only 3 months old. Clearly we’ve actually been having sex lol. I am touched all day by my children and I wonder if this is a contributing factor. But I didn’t really enjoy myself a lot before we had kids.
    I have been to councilling from a sex therapist. She basically blamed it all on me being in a marriage where my husband was in charge and blamed a lot of it on him. Then she said I should be working outside the home. I stopped going as I didn’t like how she was making me think about my husband, and I do not want to work outside the home, nor do I feel it would be appropriate at all in my case.
    My husband is attractive to me, though he has put on a little weight and doesn’t shower as often as I’d like, it doesn’t matter so much to me because I love him greatly inside and out. But it doesn’t make me want him.
    I can keep pushing myself and trying to get to that 50 mark, but I’ve been doing that for 10 years and it’s getting too hard now. If sex wasn’t painful it would be much easier, but I end up nearly in tears after every time. It’s not anything he’s doing, it’s just me. At this point I honestly don’t know anything that I can do to fix it. Maybe with time, if I don’t have any more children, things will get better. But that sounds like a cop out, that time will just fix it.
    Does any one know what I can do to improve things?
    Please note that we talked plenty about sex before getting married, though waited for marriage. We don’t have bad viewpoints on it from church or our upbringings. Also, I was in a relationship pre becoming a Christian that was abusive in a sexual manner. This affects certain specific things that I can not do in bed, and may contribute to the anxiety. But I honestly very rarely ever think of it and am over it. We could have a perfectly happy sex life without those specific things I am sure, there’s plenty else to do!

  15. Julie Sibert says:

    @Mumma of 6 — It does sound like you want this to be less of a struggle. The fact you want things to look better is a positive!

    I agree with you that it sounds like the counselor you went to wasn’t a good fit for you. But that doesn’t mean all counseling wouldn’t be a good fit. I encourage you to try someone else. I know this takes courage and time and effort, but I think it would be worth it. You say the past sexual abuse has no factor, but I wonder if that’s true. Maybe there are still some struggles that are contributing to your dislike of sex now. Just a thought. Also, have you and your husband done counseling together? I’m not talking about a sex therapist, but a professional marriage counselor, preferably someone who is Christian (although there are many good counselors who wouldn’t necessarily say they are Christian counselors). I definitely encourage you to give counseling another shot, but not from a sex therapist. I don’t think the struggles you and your husband are having are simply sexual struggles.

    Also, I encourage you to visit your OB/GYN about sex being painful. Sometimes this can be resolved by more foreplay, use of an artificial lubricant, etc. But sometimes there are more significant physical conditions going on. Vaginismus, for example, is an actual diagnosis that is the extreme tightening of the vaginal muscles, making sex painful. Your doctor could also do a complete hormone check to determine if, for example, your testosterone is low. (Both women and men have testosterone).

    Certainly I don’t want to minimize the effect that having six small children has on your energy level and desire to then later be touched by your husband. Many women with small children feel as you do — by the end of the day, you are tapped out. BUT, the reality is that sex is a vital aspect of marriage that God wants to be part of our marriage no matter the season we are in. And every season has its fair share of stressors and energy depletion, so if you don’t figure out how to nurture sex now, then when?

    People are regularly asking me what the secret to great sex is, and they always are surprised when I say great friendship between spouses. It sounds like from what you’ve shared that you and your husband do indeed have a deep love for each other. I encourage you to continue to work intentionally on your friendship, spending time together, being affectionate and appreciative of one another, nurturing honest communication, etc.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I understand e2’s comment about compromise being a business concept that sometimes makes both people feel like they have lost. (The more adventurous spouse gets more adventure but not enough, and the more reluctant one feels strained in what he or she is asked to do.)

    First, however, I would say this compromise isn’t a perfect solution; rather, it is working toward the oneness of which e2 speaks. I think it must please God when He sees two people lovingly move toward one another.

    Secondly, I think this can help a couple move toward a win for both. Can the high need spouse learn why the other is reluctant? Can the lower need spouse begin to understand the need for variety?

  17. ItsallGod’s says:

    This goes out to Deflated, Mumma, & any like them. My heart goes out to you.

    You are not the only one. You are not alone. You are normal. There is not one of us that doesn’t hurt or struggle. You have posted, that says to me that you care & that’s an abnormality as most will hide, & explain away. Thank you. You have inspired & encouraged me.

    Here in 2016 things are complicated. We all have a past, preferences, & a world trying to tell us what is normal. Then we have a church where some of us know & some don’t know what to do, to help. The problem with all this is that God isn’t allowed to speak. That is truly odd when the Word of God is the only salvation we have.

    Bible heroes are never without pain. A cross, lions den, Red Sea, fiery furnace, etc. Jonah had a a personality problem, so did Samson & David. There was even a lot of dysfunctional sex going on in the Bible. Yet, God & His children were still positive people. Characterized as joyous, peaceful, & loving in the hurricane of swirling good & bad. They were real with real heartache & pain. Sometimes negative & other times positive, but at the end of the day they were discribed as God’s. Powerful overcomers!

    What God has brought me through, in my marriage, is that I can be His in the dark & the light. Pain & healing. Hard & easy. God has a plan for us to be built on Jesus, from the ground up. With that foundation we can stand strong when the storms & floods come.

    I can attest that Jesus has a victory that lives, alive, whether sex is good or bad. Whether you are the only one trying or not. But, that lies in following Jesus, not saving your sex life. “Seek you first the Kingdom of God & His righteousness, & all the rest will be added…”

    P.S. Speaking to the sex of this article. Variety is in the eye of the beholder. Everything isn’t for everyone. Sometimes, more isn’t better. Maybe, instead of the couples seeking many different things, the couple could start back at step one. Don’t listen to everyone else. Start over with just God & the marriage. Step one could be the simplest act of manual stimulation to orgasm. Just a simple slow soft stimulation of the clitoris & penis. Talk. What works? What doesn’t? Then build from there staying in step one. Touch. Technique. Feel. Lube up. Go dry. Make it your own. Take your time. Don’t move to step 2 until you are both ready.

    Pray for yourself & your spouse. Pray to be like Jesus to your spouse & pray God’s will for them.

    Love you all.

  18. Brad says:

    I like ItsallGod’s commentary. I’m very new to this marriage business, I’ve only been a husband for 11 months, but I’m enjoying it. It is harder than I thought of course, but worth it.

    My wife and I did discuss sex before we were married and although I was surprised and a little disappointed that her sex drive seemed to diminish rapidly after the honeymoon. She was always in the mood when we couldn’t have sex, but once it was okay, once it was no longer taboo, she didn’t want it half as badly.

    Even so, when she does want it, sge enthusiastically does things that three years ago were hard “no, never, that’s disgusting”‘s. We compromised. I don’t pressure her when she isn’t in the mood and she makes herself available when I need (rather than want) sex. So far this is working for us.

    When she does have sex without being in the mood, she still has a good time and I make sure that I express my gratitude.

  19. Deb says:

    If my husband is completely turned off by something that I have a preference for, I have absolutely no interest in pressuring him past his comfort zone just for a few moments of pleasure for me. I would feel selfish pushing an issue like that.
    I would appreciate the same respect from him.

    I agree that trying new things is a good idea but if something doesn’t settle well with one of us, why not drop it and move on to something else.

  20. Lisa says:

    Deb, you are 100% correct and I am extremely concerned about the message this blog post is giving.

    Yes, there are times when we can choose to give our spouse a sexual experience that isn’t our favorite but that WE DON’T MIND DOING.

    However, doing a sexual act that you don’t like is how sexual aversions start. And once you stay down that path you are damaging your marriage in a very serious way.

    The website Marriage Builders has some of the best info on this topic, on how to help a marriage with mis-matched libidos, and when sex is painful.

    Please don’t take such advice from amateurs.

  21. Julie Sibert says:

    @Lisa … wow. You sound angry. I think you missed the point of the post, but thank you for taking the time to comment. Always appreciate the dialogue on tough topics.

  22. Al says:

    Lisa is spot on. My wife has wanted to do some things and I gave in and tried and hated every second and just kept thinking I want this done NOW. I finally stopped her and said enough. I’m done.

    Yes it increased my aversions and pushed me more reserved in sex and really killed my libido. I’m uncomfortable with that stuff and really detest it, so why should I be forever to be “open” or whatever. Why when I ask if “normal” sex isn’t enough I’m the bad person?

  23. NGal says:

    Lisa is speaking wisdom. No one should be blackmailed or forced into an intimate act they consider embarrassing or devaluing. if the other spouse cannot be ‘turned on’ without it, then – they have a deep ethical and emotional problem.

    There are edifying deeds and not-so-edifying deeds; it should not be rocket science to determine what is what.

  24. DedicatedToGod says:

    I think some have misunderstood the intent of this article. I happen to very much agree with it. If my wife wanted to try something different, within Biblical guidelines, I would at least try it. It is not all about me. If I were really repulsed, I would gently explain myself, and we could leave it in the tried but done category. There are some things I may never have realized I would enjoy if I hadn’t taken the time to be open minded and try it. There are also things that either spouse may not really be into, but they don’t mind and do so to bless the other. This is a beautiful part of marriage, the sacrificial giving of our time, emotions, and even our bodies. It should be a two way street, of course, where open communication not only allows a husband and wife to express their desires for pleasure, but also expresses their desire to selflessly give their spouse pleasure as well. This wonderful gift from God can only happen in the confines of marriage, ashe designed it.

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