More on Wife’s Low Sex Drive

Q&ALast Monday, I answered a question from a reader about her low sex drive, providing a checklist for possible causes so that the libido issue can be addressed. Another reader asked a similar question in my Q&A for J at HHH post. Here it is:

My husband and I have been married for almost 4 years. We were great friends for years before, have known each other since we were kids, and have lots of fun together. We did not have sex until we were married (he had before me though). I have always heard about great sex lives, and how much people love it, and how amazing it is, but honestly, I just don’t get it.

I have practically no sex drive to begin with (we have sex maybe a couple times a month, and we are in our 20s)–I know this hurts him. So when we do have sex, it often feels like it’s a chore for me. I have been told many times by other Christians that it is my wifely duty and I have to…I can’t always be turning him down just because I don’t want to. When we do, he is willing to take his time, etc., but I just want to get it over with as soon as possible so I can go to sleep. I rarely enjoy it. Honestly, I only enjoy sex if I have had a few drinks, and I don’t do that often. I don’t want my sex life to be based on alcohol making it better.

I feel like I could go forever without sex and be just fine. I just don’t want it and when we have it, it’s nothing great. I have wondered several times what the big deal is. Add to all this that I just feel AWKWARD and so uncomfortable. My husband likes to play around and grab me, etc., but I hate it. I feel like I am being groped by someone who is just a good friend, not my husband. And when we have sex, I am uncomfortable–it just feels awkward to me. It doesn’t feel intimate and loving–it just feels like sex. Nothing more. And afterwards, I usually feel so strange about it too.

I’m sorry this is so long. We have struggled with this for years. I have told my husband I just have no sex drive (it actually broke up my parent’s marriage bc of my father being that way, so maybe it’s genetic?) but I know he wants more. I always feel guilty or used when it comes to sex, and only satisfied if tipsy. Any help??

Don’t you have compassion for this couple? I do.

Since I posted my two cents about this subject last week, I wanted to come back and offer more resources this week. There are plenty of fellow marriage bloggers who have addressed the issue of a wife’s low sex drive as well. If this is a problem for you in your marriage, check out one or more of the following resources (and this is by no means a comprehensive list):

One Flesh Marriage: Do I Want the Libido Fairy to Visit?

One Flesh Marriage: Sexual Intimacy: Journey from Broken to Beauty

Marriage Gems: Possible Solutions for Low Libido

Do Not Disturb: Sex Drives: Libido Saboteurs

To Love, Honor & Vacuum: Reawaken Your Body

The Marriage Bed: Lack of Desire

Winning at Romance: Where Oh Where Did My Libido Go?

Intimacy for Marriage: 5 Things I Learned from My Failed Marriage

Pearl’s Oyster Bed: Where Did My Sexy Go?

Let me clear that while I believe that 1 Corinthians 7:5 instructs spouses that they have a sexual duty to one another, God doesn’t want you to approach sex in your marriage as a chore. Rather, the Bible talks about godly sexuality in marriage as:

Becoming one flesh (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:18, 1 Corinthians 6:16, Ephesians 5:31).

Satisfying (Proverbs 5:19).

Delightful (Song of Songs 1:2, 2:3, 4:10).

Pure (Hebrews 13:4).

If you do not feel these things in your marriage, try to figure out why. I often hear from couples who went from floundering to flourishing sex lives in their marriage. It may take some effort on your part to find out what’s happening or not happening and then address it; however, it is worth the effort to strengthen this area of your marriage.

Finally, I want to suggest talking to your husband about how you feel about sex now and how you want to feel about sex. Attaining quality sexual intimacy in marriage should be a joint endeavor. Most husbands would be happy to do whatever they can to help you awaken your desire.

One last thing: If you are a wife who went from flailing libido to flaming libido, please comment below on how you got there. What was the issue and how did you address it? You might be able to help someone else if they are experiencing a similar problem.

27 thoughts on “More on Wife’s Low Sex Drive

  1. Anonymous

    I was a low drive wife for 9 1/2 years. I can’t believe I wasted so much time! There are so many factors as to why it was this way, but the main one was my weight. I felt so inadequate and undeserving of a rich intimate sex life with my wonderful husband. One day, though, I had a thought that changed everything-“If he loves me, and desires me, then who am I to say no?” I began to ask the Lord for help with my low drive, and He began leading me to these wonderful, pure blogs about sex in Christian marriages. I love it! I have learned so much about myself, my husband and about the Bible in this area. Another factor in my “awakening” was that hubby had to make a pretty big decision. The Lord showed me that hubby could make a more sound decision if his mind were clear and his sexual tension were low. It worked! I am enjoying the new me (that’s what hubby calls it) and truly, we are closer now more than ever. Praise the Lord!

    1. J

      I agree that how we wives feel about our bodies can really impact how we approach intimacy with our husbands. Thanks for sharing your story. Praise the Lord indeed!

  2. HappyWife70

    I have usually had a reasonably high sex drive, but for awhile it floundered pretty bad. What helped me tremendously might seem a little odd, but it worked. I have shared this with close women friends and have gotten rather extreme reactions from “great, I’m going to try that” to “what kind of weirdo are you?” Anyway, what I did was start praying for my husband during lovemaking. I got pretty graphic in my prayers. At first I felt awkward talking to God in this manner, but I figured that since He invented it, then why be embarrassed? As I began praying for my husband, somehow I felt closer to him and God, and lo and behold, sex wasn’t a chore anymore, it was more… I don’t know the right word. Worship? Communion? Anyway, it was fabulous.

    Another thought: at four years of marriage, you might still be in the “practice makes perfect” stage. The more you engage in lovemaking, the less awkward it should feel. I should know, I’ve been “practicing” for nineteen years with the same wonderful man.

    1. J

      HappyWife – It feels awkward for most people at first, but bringing God into the bedroom through prayer and reading related scripture, etc. can definitely have a positive impact in the bedroom. Thanks for sharing. Congrats on 19 years!

      Kevin – LOL.

  3. Anonymous

    We have been married for about four years as well. Actually, our anniversary in on Thursday! 🙂

    When we first got married, we had sex regularly, 1-2 times per week, but it wasn’t as fulfilling as I expected. It wasn’t something I desired or thought about outside of when we were actually doing it. I knew it was something that was hurting my husband, and he was able to talk to me about his feelings in a loving way and we tried to come up with solutions. But I really didn’t know what to do because I just didn’t want it very often.

    Eventually, we decided I would go off hormonal birth control to see if that helped. And let me just say, that was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life! 😉 Once we started, we haven’t stopped, so to speak, ha. I also believe that once we started engaging more frequently, seeing my husband’s response has reinforced my enthusiasm. His love language is touch, so he has been very delighted to say the least (ha), so seeing that has continued my enthusiasm.

    If you are on birth control, I would definitely talk to your doctor about methods that don’t decrease libido.

    1. J

      This has probably been the biggest eye-opener for me since starting this blog–the stories of women who report significantly lower sex drive on oral contraception. It seems that doctors had long just prescribed the pill as a one-size-fits-all, and it is not. It may be great for some and problematic for others. (I was personally a fan of the diaphragm.) Thanks for the info!

  4. Lisa

    Looking into medical reasons is a valid place to start. But there are other emotional things that can play a part in this, too.

    The first thing I thought of was “history”. You mentioned that your wedding night was not your husband’s first time, but it was yours. My mom and dad had a similar situation, and I know that it bothered my mom for years. She always felt like no matter what she did in bed, he’d compare her to others, and that made it very difficult for her to let herself enjoy their relationship.

    My husband and I were both “first timers” when we got married. And I’ll admit, I did not enjoy sex at first. As a matter of fact, it hurt for the first 6 months at least. I was so discouraged. But one thing that kept our love life alive was that I *wanted* him to want ME. Even if it wasn’t that great for me. Even if I never climaxed. Even if sometimes I almost dreaded “having” to do it. The fact remained that I’d rather give him the pleasure than have him look elsewhere. This was something only I could give him. It took a while and lots of communication and tons of patients on my husband’s part, but eventually the pain decreased and the pleasure increased. Now I’m one of those women who wants it more than her husband does. 🙂

    I’m no expert, but thought I’d share my own experience. Hope maybe it can be an encouragement.

  5. another J

    I agree with Anonymous that you should go off the Pill if you’re on it. That made a HUGE difference for me.

    1. J

      I keep hearing this now. I had no idea way back when I was on oral birth control. I did eventually get off (for other reasons) and loved using the diaphragm instead. Thanks for the advice, J!

  6. Gaye

    Just want to chime in on the hormonal birth control “bandwagon” – if the wife who wrote about her struggles is using any form of hormonal birth control, she should strongly consider going off it and using another method. The hormones do not affect libido for every woman, but they did for me and I have heard many others say the same thing. The other thing I would encourage her to do is to be purposeful about improving her interest in sex – read encouraging books (Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman is one), read sex-positive blogs for Christian woman, get to know your own body, talk to your husband about wanting to develop a greater interest in sex, keep in mind how important a healthy sex life is to your marriage and how very much your husband wants you to be interested in (and enjoy) sex, and pray – in general, work toward becoming a woman who enjoys sex with her husband.

    1. J

      SHEET MUSIC is one of the most often recommended books about Christian sexuality from readers. I also think it was quite good. Marla Traviano also has a good book about wives and sex, and of course Sheila Gregoire’s recent Good Girl’s Guide book is wonderful. Thanks so much for the tips, Gaye!

  7. Paul Byerly

    The fact that she enjoys sex after a few drinks is significant. It means she is able to enjoy sex, but normally something is keeping her from doing so. I could venture all kinds of guesses about why this is, but she needs to find the why for her situation. When she finds it, and deals with it, she will find 1) that sex becomes easy, and 2) that she starts to want it.

    My prayer is that this women, and the many others like her, will make an effort to find the problem so they can go beyond “providing” sex for their husbands and start enjoying the sex life God intended them to have.

    1. van Rooinek

      The fact that she enjoys sex after a few drinks is significant. It means she is able to enjoy sex, but normally something is keeping her from doing so.

      The obvious solution is to have a glass or two of wine with dinner. Indeed that can be a ritual for you and your husband. Text him at work: “I bought a bottle of wine for tonight…”

      Yes, figure out the issues, and yes, get healed of those. The “guilty/used” feeling is wrong, and is usually indicative of some sort of wounding. But don’t let your marriage shrivel on the vine in the meantime, while you’re trying to sort it out. Besides, the “issue” might simply be the stresses of life, for which there is no fix.

      BTW… the first miracle of Jesus was to make water into wine….at a wedding.

    2. J

      While it would be tempting to just indulge in a glass of wine or more to get things going, that isn’t a healthy option, especially long-term. It’s not a good idea to link sex and alcohol each time. Personally, I would start to wonder if my spouse only wanted me when he was under the influence–not very complimentary. Alcohol does decrease inhibition, so that statement is telling. Thanks to you both.

    3. van Rooinek

      Hi J

      I suppose I’m biased by my positive experiences with wine. We saved sex til the wedding night… and spent a big chunk of our honeymoon touring the Napa Valley, LOL.

      Perhaps a woman would be insulted if her hub only wanted her after a glass or two. But men don’t feel that way. Men have known for centuries that wine gets a woman in the mood, and far from being upset, have gladly exploited this fact. Indeed, with the stresses of modern life, opening a bottle of wine may be the ONLY way she’ll be able to forget about laundry, dusting, tomorrow’s homeschool assignment, etc., long enough to get into the mood. Unlike men, women have REAL trouble letting all that stuff “go”, and the disinhibitory effect of alcohol can really help.

      (As I noted on Sheila’s blog, women tend to overdo the housework at the expense of marital relations, hence, the appeal of 50 Shades of Grey is that, “if she’s tied to the bed, she can’t do any needless dusting!”. Well… alcohol has the same effect, it helps her forget the housework for an hour or so, and a much stronger biblical case can be made for wine than for S&M).

      Obviously I’m not advocating alcoholism. But in terms of long term health, moderate drinkers do live a bit longer than total abstainers.

  8. Brandy

    A huge factor for myself in years past has been medications and/or birth control. My Gyno told me that birth control is designed to suppress your hormones/sex drive. Our solution…. He got a vasectomy. But we also had three kids and knew we were done. Another issue was my medication for anxiety and depression for PPD. It became such a problem that I went off it of, cold turkey – which I don’t advise. Our sex life during that year off of any meds at all was AMAZING. AH.MAY.ZING. However, a year or so later I found myself back in a counselors office needing to be put back on medication. This time I explained my situation…. We were at the point that if our sex life suffered again, on top of my extreme depression, it would seriously cripple our marriage. My doctor put me on a medication that has a very low rate of affecting sex drive. It’s not 100% but it’s better overall. I am able to harness my anxiety about sex and focus on that moment with my husband. Now. There are still times when my hormones are a force to be reckoned with and he tries to be understanding. Not every time is going to be fireworks. Haha!

    Understanding how my body responds to medications though has helped a lot.

    1. J

      Your point is wonderful, Brandy–especially that you may need to work with your doctor to find the right meds for whatever is ailing you + your sex drive. Too many people think it’s an either-or proposition when there are often alternatives. Great tip.

  9. Anonymous

    When I have trouble with my libido, it’s usually based on past demons haunting the bedroom. The fact is molestation is common, which means survivors are innumerable and seldom bring the topic up for discussion. Based on what she said, my first question would have been, “Has someone fondled you, before…against your will?” These things are usually only conquered through persistent counseling and loving support. If she’s hiding a painful scar, they need to face it and they’ll probably need a mediator.

  10. momma-lana

    I found myself in this same place in my late forties after nearly 30 years of marriage. I began to pray about it and the answer was to tell my husband that was willing and available everyday. When I told my husband that all I was thinking as it came out of my mouth was, ‘are you crazy? You don’t desire that!’ BUT as we all know God knows more about our bodies than we do since He made us. I found that after the third consecutive day of sex that I wanted it bad everyday. My husband was so blessed! We went on daily for many weeks and learned more about each other than we had ever known. We have grown to love each other deeply and even though we no longer have sex daily we do have sex very often and it is absolutely amazing in a way that it never was before.

    1. J

      “Everyday”? Wow. (Lucky hubby.) I agree that more frequent sex can cause a greater desire for…sex! When wives ask how often they should have sex, I say at least once a week; otherwise, your body gets acclimated to not having it. It would be like trying to do aerobics every two weeks; it wouldn’t feel good. Thanks for sharing, momma-lana!

  11. Anonymous

    I struggled for years with this issue – too tired, couldn’t get in the mood – although I would try for my husband’s sake. Now things are much better for us – here’s what worked for me: blogs like this which help me remember to think about sex – it’s very easy to get buried by all the responsibilities that women shoulder everyday. Also having sex right when we got home from work (we’re empty-nesters). That way I wasn’t too tired at the end of the day. I also got over my inhibitions & figured out what felt best to me and then showed my very-eager-to-learn husband – he still likes “refresher courses” on this – wink! The other thing that helps me get in the mood is thinking about new ways to “tease” or “distract” him. If he’s working outside, or on the computer or watching TV & I come in the room dressed for a fun time or not wearing panties, it’s very fun to see how quickly he turns everything off & follows me into the bedroom. I find it helps me get in the mood to think of new ways to “surprise” him & carry it out – sneaking in the shower with him, telling him I don’t have underwear on, whispering provocative things in his ear. We have more fun now & are more adventurous than ever & he loves every minute!

  12. Kimi

    Hi J

    I was very pleased to find this blog.I wanted to thanks for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post.

  13. Anonymous

    My wife has the same problem. Everything about our marriage is great except our sex life. She just doesn’t seem to care about or put an effort. Most of the time she just lies/ stands there waiting for me to finish. This is stressing me out and I’m beginning to feel more and more tempted into infidelity. I love my her and our son to death and am a responsible God fearing hub so this breaks my heart. We have had numerous conversations about it to no avail. We are both in our prime years (20’s) so it’s even more frustrating. What do I do?

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