One More & I’ll Go Insane!

The Snake Pit (1948) scene - screaming woman

from The Snake Pit (1948)

That title should read “one more mention of high-drive husbands and I’ll go insane!” A wife recently commented to me about her frustration that, while it’s great that churches and ministries now discuss sexuality, it is painful at times for wives who don’t experience the norm.

The most common scenario described here, and on other blogs, is that of the eager beaver hubby and the sexual sloth wife. To be fair, that is the typical make-up of many marriages: A husband with a higher sex drive than his wife. However, it hardly represents the whole of marriages.

Many wives out there are in marriages where they are either the higher drive spouse or the only drive spouse. What about the marriages where a wife desires physical intimacy, but the husband gives little or none? Do we too easily overlook the hurt these wives experience? Do blogs like mine even do a disservice to such women, making it seem like they are the only ones not being pursued in their marriage?

Certainly, that is never my intention. I have blogged about wives whose husbands are not “putting out.” One of the struggles of any marriage ministry blog is knowing that oftentimes the spouse you need to reach isn’t the one reading the post. I often encourage wives to become willing participants and even initiators of sexual intimacy in their marriage . . . because some of those women are reading my blog.

For those husbands who are denying their wives, I wish I could steer them over to a blog that would make them understand the deep and lasting pain they are causing their wives and the strong likelihood that their marriage will break down at some point. It’s beyond hard to stay in marriage where you don’t feel loved.

However, I am aware that these women feel neglected. Who can they turn to? If they speak up among friends to admit that their husband doesn’t desire them, those friends may dismiss their concerns with stupid comments like, “I wish my husband would stop pursuing me” or even “Lucky you.” There is nothing lucky about being ignored in your marriage.

These women may wonder what is wrong with them. Why doesn’t their husband want to make love with them? Are they unappealing in some way? Do they not measure up? I want to assure you . . . 99% of the time, that isn’t it. Unless you have totally let yourself go to the point of being mistaken for an extra in The Walking Dead, the cause is not your looks or appeal.

These women may wonder what is wrong with their husbands. That’s a more likely scenario. Men who have depression, past sexual abuse, or issues with impotence may not want to make love. If they are struggling with work or relationship stress, this can affect their willingness to have sex. Also, the percentage of couples who struggle with a non-willing husband has gone up with the prevalence of porn. Consistent porn users reconfigure their brains to become aroused by visual cues instead of personal interaction. They almost always masturbate while looking at porn, even several times a day, such that they have nothing left to give their wife and the thought of friction inside a vagina may even strike them undesirable.

But even if the wife knows the cause, she cannot make her spouse address the problem and move toward a healthy sex life. She can pray about the situation, talk to her husband, work on other relationship areas, and pursue resources that help her cope.

Much of the advice given to other wives, however, won’t work. For example, throwing on skimpy lingerie and heels and traipsing into the room with bedroom eyes may be a recipe for disaster with a completely disinterested husband. Having made yourself sexually vulnerable, it can be deeply painful to be rejected.

Indeed, I’m not even sure whether I like the term “higher-drive wife.” It almost implies that these wives are somehow out of sync with the norm — like their libido is higher than it should be.

My message to wives who desire to have lots of sex with their husbands: Good for you. God created us to desire intimacy with our mate, and sex is the physical expression and nurturer of that connection. No matter what anyone says, believe that a high libido is a good thing for a wife to have. For those women who are married to a low-drive husband: Difficult for you. Your husband needs to address why he is unwilling or unexcited about making love. You can help with how you talk about this topic and treat him in general, but ultimately it is his decision whether to engage.

In the meantime, I will be thinking more about how I can reach out to these wives and include them more in the conversation about Christian sexuality. You might also want read some articles from other blogs that have dealt with this topic. Here are just a few:

Spice and Love: Having the Talk

To Love, Honor and Vacuum: When Your Spouse Isn’t Interested in Sex

Intimacy in Marriage: Wives Who Want More Sex and Aren’t Getting It

Are you in this situation? How do you handle having a higher libido than your husband? Do you think the church and ministries have failed wives who struggle with this issue? What could we do better?

41 thoughts on “One More & I’ll Go Insane!

  1. Anonymous

    Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, just for acknowledging this. After 5 years of marriage, I really haven’t figured out how to deal with this yet, but it is very painful to feel like some sort of nympho freak because our marriage doesn’t fit into the mold. I don’t think marriage blogs are doing women like me a disservice by addressing the typical high drive male/lower drive female. That is just as legitimate an issue as mine. But it can be frustrating to rarely see this addressed. And often when it is addressed, the assumption is that he’s into porn. I don’t doubt that’s the case for many men, but sometimes he just has a lower drive. And amen to the lingerie comment. It is incredibly hurtful to get myself all sexed up, waltz into the bedroom, and barely get a raised eyebrow. Growing up in the church especially, I was taught over and over again that all guys want is sex, and women are constantly having to fight off their advances. Just look at TV sitcoms…the men are always super horny, constantly looking for sex and willing to do ridiculous things in order to get it. My husband seems like he could take it or leave it. He doesn’t deny me…he’ll do it if I initiate. But it doesn’t feel like he’s doing it because he really wants me. It’s like he’s doing me a favor. Sorry to vent. I don’t really talk about it to anyone, because I get those insensitive comments like you mentioned. “Oh, lucky you! I’d give anything to have a husband like that!” While I would give anything to have a husband who desired me and couldn’t keep his hands off me. Anyway, thank you again for addressing this, and I look forward to reading the comments. Hopefully someone else will have some advice I haven’t heard/tried.

  2. looking for love

    I was one of those wives as well. It’s not that I wanted sex all the time it’s just that after I got pregnant he wanted nothing more to do with me. Period. The situation didn’t improve after my daughter was born either. Apparently mothers don’t do that sort of thing. On top of that, he had no desire to do anything about it. Needless to say, the marriage failed. Looking forward to the day that God sends me a man who knows how to love me, in every sense of the word.

  3. Amanda Chance

    Thankyou for sharing your thoughts on this, in our marriage I am the spouse with the higher drive as well. I have been given those responses as mentioned in your post. Women who have husbands with sexdrives are lucky in my opinion. Ways I have begun to cope with it is to realize its not me its something going on on with him. I am not sure if it is healthy or not but I have decided to pour myself into hobbies and interests instead of constantly pursuing him only to get rejected. I also pray for his drive. And the hardest part is giving to him without expecting him to reciprocate!

  4. Paul Byerly

    J – Great post!!!

    I agree with you that “high drive” is an insult, be it applied to a man or a woman. I get all the men who tell me they have a “high drive” and the truth is the vast majority of them are normal, they are how God intended them to be. In fact, some who think they are high drive actually have a lower than normal drive.

    The problem is we are basing drive on how it fits with our spouse. If I want more, I am high and you are low. If you want more you are high and I am normal.

    Science is slowly finding that a lot of sex (and in particular monogamous intercourse) is very healthy. It can literally add years to your life, and give you a better life physically, mentally and emotionally. Three times a week is the minimum for most of the health benefits, with many having greater benefits at higher frequencies. Anyone who does not want sex at least ever other day is failing to desire something that would make them healthier and happier – and it seems to me that is a problem.

    My heart goes out to the growing number of women (at least 20% of wives I think) who have a husband who is less interested in sex (with them) than they are. My guess is that porn is the primary reason for this – I have no doubt it is a contributing factor in the majority of marriages where they woman is frustrated. In some cases hubby is no longer viewing, but he is like a dry drunk in that he is still thinking and acting like he is viewing.

    Enough ranting – thanks again for this post!

    1. Dave

      I wonder if the 20% refers more to all marriages as a group. David Schnarch and Michelle Wiener-Davis in their books have both said that, among their clientele (those who are frustrated enough to pay someone a sizable chunk of money to get help), the percentage is about 50% where the woman is the frustrated “higher drive” spouse.

    2. Paul Byerly

      Dave – I think women are more likely to go for help, so that skews the numbers. I’ve seen it given as 15% to 33% by various folks who should have a good handle on it.

  5. Anonymous

    Well,
    I thought I was in this type of marriage.
    One of the biggest things that I had no idea about until just a few months ago was my husband felt like he was in a between a rock and a hard place.
    We have been trying to do Natural family planning and wanted to wait until school was done to have kids. Well, my first was born ten days after our first anniversary, and 14 months later number two came. He suddenly felt like he could either have sex with me and get me pregnant or he could avoid me and we would be safe. I had no idea this was how he felt until just a few months before number three entered this world, shortly after our fourth anniversary. So, he would avoid me, not initiate, turn me down, and then after 2-3 weeks of that I would finally lose it enough at him we would have sex for a couple days and the cycle would start all over again.

    Shortly before he finally figured out how to tell me what was going on in his head I had a super huge God moment in my life. God basically asked me if I was in the marriage to get what I wanted or if I was in it because I was supposed to be loving my husband how God loved me, unconditionally. Was I willing to show God’s love to my husband and be a witness of His love no matter what, or did I just want what I wanted?
    It was a very painful pill to swallow but it has totally changed my attitude in my marriage an actually towards basically every person in my life.

    Also he was able to recently tell me he is overcoming some of the scars cause by some porn use before we were married. He said he is finally able to get over negative thought patterns regarding sex, and having proper images of me to enjoy and being free of guilt in that area.

    These three huge areas have really changed our sex life. He is finally free from guilt to enjoy me and our times, I am aware of his struggle with family planning and we can openly talk about it and feel more “together” on that issue, and I am more giving and relaxed on days he just doesn’t want too. When he started giving a little more, I was able to feel more relaxed and not so uptight so he felt freer to give and say no both. We are much better matched now and both a lot happier. Sorry I wrote a book, just trying to share our story so others might get some ideas.

  6. Anonymous

    Guys, if you fulfill the romantic non-sexual touch need she has, she will fulfill your need…think about it. If you only touch her when you are in “the mood” she will feel used, and justifiably do. After 23 years one thing I know is that you have to be able to give her the sense that she has a value higher than sex. Treat her as the partner God intended not the plaything this world thinks she is….

    1. Anonymous

      if you fulfill the romantic non-sexual touch need she has, she will fulfill your need…think about it.

      Nope.

      Been there, done that, didn’t work.

      If she has a negative attitude toward sex. If she believes “good girls don’t”, then NOTHING you try will work because you are not the problem.

      If “give her what she needs” was all that was necessary, then this and other marriage blogs wouldn’t exist.

      My wife’s sexuality is a lot more complex than that. Mine, on the other hand…. 🙂

    2. Kentucky Colonel

      I’m sorry but this type of suggestion is as hurtful to the husbands who have tried EVERYTHING as the “wear sexy lingerie” is to the wives who have tried EVERYTHING. This may be a good place to start if there aren’t other issues, but, too often, there is NOTHING a higher drive spouse can do to coax their lower drive spouse into desiring sex with them.

      I wish it were that easy. It’s not.

    3. J

      The original suggestion does work in many marriages, but for those who have completely unwilling spouses, it doesn’t. For instance, if someone is struggling with childhood sexual abuse or depression, non-sexual touch will not simply resolve that issue.

      I’ve learned here to encourage people to look beyond their own needs and desires and meet their spouse’s needs and desires, and usually that has a very positive impact on the sexual realm. However, sadly, it isn’t a guarantee.

    4. Big T

      The idea is to meet “her needs” it may not be nonsexual touch. It may be acts of service, whatever it is; find it and fulfill it. Be selfless and tell her/him your need. Open communication, deal with things as a couple. Sometimes a pastor/ elder/ counselor tell the spouse that its ok to enjoy sex is a eye opener.

    5. Paul Byerly

      This is always a starting place, and if it’s not being done it will be a problem. Sadly, there are often far bigger and deeper issues that need to be dealt with.

  7. Pearl

    This should be addressed more. Thanks for reminding me that this group of ladies feel neglected, I will be more sensitive. Absolutely, it is just as valid a concern as the low-libido wife. My blog’s focus is on the low-libido wife, so I’m not that much help, normally. I am incredibly proud of Spice and Love for stepping up to the plate for the high-libido wife with her blog. (I think high-libido is a term equal to low-libido, I hope no one is offended by it.) I pray for all marriages who are hurting because of unequal needs for sexual fulfillment.

    1. J

      By the way, I think there is a real need for blogs that address specific issues, such as affair recovery, the problems with porn, or low libido. There is definitely an audience for what you do, Pearl. I just want to be sensitive here where I talk generally about sex in marriage.

  8. Anonymous

    Thank you for your care and sensitivity in addressing this issue. I cried myself to sleep again last night, actually the second night in a row from rejection. I’m a good wife, if I wasn’t I would own my own stuff. However, I’m married to a man who is makes work his god and by his own admission is sexually selfish. The church has failed miserably with the issues of sex and married relationships as a whole. However it has especially failed with regard to this issue of wives who are not loved and pursued sexually. I feel like I have a pretty normal sex drive, thank you for addressing the “high drive” term as well. I truly love sex and I love being with with my husband. Sometimes I’ll feel like we’ve turned a corner and things are getting better and then they don’t. I think the most difficult part of all of this is having nowhere to turn. I don’t want to leave my marriage but I don’t know how to live this way forever.

  9. themrs

    J,

    Thanks for the link up, I have had a whole lot of new communication today from other “spicy” wives, and it has created a lot of great traffic on my blog. Praying the Lord continues to bring women who are on the “other side” of the usual sex-drive picture to a place of wholeness, healing and life in their marriage beds!

    Thanks for posting this & lots of blessing to your ministry from this “high drive” wife! 🙂
    themrs

  10. Anonymous

    In the first couple years of our marriage, I cried myself to sleep more times than I could count because of rejection.
    Sadly, the only thing I was ever told before marriage was that he would want to have sex more than I, probably all the time for a while at least, and that I had to whether I felt like it or not.
    Nothing prepared me for a low-drive guy, and sadly, that seems to be all too common.

    Thanks J, for addressing this.

  11. happywife

    My heart goes out to women who are not receiving sexual love from their husbands. That must be very painful. I do want to caution about comparing your marriage to others though. Everyone has painful struggles. Wives are struggling with husbands with addictions, husbands who are not strong leaders, husbands who are unemployed, emotionally unstable, terminally or chronically ill, etc, etc. While my husband is always willing to love me sexually, he does have his issues that have impacted our marriage and caused me great pain. I’m not at all saying “suck it up, everyone has problems” but I want to point out that just because the gal next door is getting regular sex, it doesn’t mean that she is in a pain-free marriage. In fact, the sex might well be one of the few positive things going on in her marriage. I have also come to realize that God uses my husband’s shortcomings to purify me, cause me to cry out to Him, and make me holy. I would not be the woman I am today without walking the painful road that I have walked in my marriage. Only God can meet our every need and He has an abundant life for us to live in His power and mercy. This has been a slow lesson for me to learn, but I am learning it.

  12. Anonymous

    Someone should tell young new wives about another scenario. Guys peak much younger than women do. My wife had no need for more than once a month 15 years ago when I could’ve used twice a day so she doesn’t take it personally that my drive has dropped with age even tho hers has jumped. Build up some bedroom favors now ladies cuz you’re going to want to call them in someday. It really is for your own good, not just for him.

  13. Anonymous

    Ok I’m fessing up! I’m the guy. The one who has turned down his sexy wife in lingerie and heels that wanted to have a romping night of fun. sadly, she has cried herself to sleep many nights while I lay fuming on the other side of the bed because I wasn’t “in the mood.” That lasted for 7 years. I had to own this problem in our marriage. I went to a sex therapist just once and it really helped me find freedom. My problem wasn’t low drive but GUILT. It was my sexual guilt from my past that was hijacking our marriage bed. We have a blast now although I still battle with guilt from time to time. Here is some practical help if this sounds like you:
    1.make her your ONLY sexual outlet. Don’t snack on twinkees all day when you have a steak dinner waiting at home.

    2. Speek truth statements to yourself (make a list of your own)-“I’m not who I use to be” “I am cleansed of my past” “God has blessed me with a really fun sexy wife and wants us to have a blast!” “He made me the sexual person that I am” “Great sex with my wife is a gift from God”

    3. Own it! keep track of your sex life by checking off the days you make love – I keep it on my calendar so I don’t let too many days go by without pursuing her. This helps both of us as we can look back at months of lovemaking and see what awesome lovers we have been!

    4. Pray together often before sex this will kick those guilty thoughts out of your mind and marriage bed

    5. Be creative,experiment and have lots of fun!

    Our marriage is healthy now,my wife’s “other guy” dreams have stopped and I am not sexually frustrated anymore.we have had sex on average of every other day for months -she’s a happy girl now!

    1. Big T

      Thanks for sharing. I am glad you have gotten through your issus. I know few men who would admit to having issue that they were suffering from not wanting sex. I hope our Lord will bless you for years to come.

  14. Dave

    Maybe it is time to stop putting “his” and “her” faces on the issue? I know we often like saying that men and women are from different planets and other ways of stereotyping men vs. women, but sometimes I think we miss how similar we are when we do this. When I first started the journey to turn around my sexless marriage, I ended up on about.com, where I found two pages (amongst others): one for men who were frustrated and one for women who were frustrated. Maybe because men are less expressive, but there wasn’t a lot on the men’s page. What I found interesting was that the feelings and frustrations expressed by the women who were being refused were very similar (certainly more similar than different) to my feelings, even though I’m a man. Even still, when I see comments coming from sexually refused wives (refusal makes me feel unloved or what have you), I’m nodding my head saying that I feel the same way. I’m coming to wonder if we wouldn’t do better on this issue if we stop talking in his and her stereotypes and simply talking about the issue as humans. I’m sure there will be the occasional issue that will still be gender specific, but we also might find that, even when facing sexual refusal, some of the perceived differences are tied up in these stereotypees.

  15. J

    Thanks so much for sharing your stories. I know it’s helpful just to know you’re not alone when you are struggling.

  16. Anonymous

    Let me further explain my “guilt feelings” – The guy who “fessed up” – for some it may be difficult to understand why a man would feel guilty about having sex with his wife. As a Christian man who had years of sexual promiscuity before marriage, sexual pleasure and guilt were almost inseparable (one of the reasons i’m sure God’s word says to stay pure till marriage). I had no idea that after I got married I would deal with these feelings. If I ever felt really turned on and excited and enjoyed our sex time somehow I felt like it was sin. I felt like anything erotic or really exciting was sinful. So i was compelled to try to “tame” our sex life and keep it “holy”. I was hoping that these feelings were wrong and that they would somehow go away. They were very real and would wreck my emotional state for days. Not wanting to deal with this pain caused my sex drive to be suppressed. The pain was so great that I began turning away from being sexual with my wife. Psychologically, the pathways in my brain had linked sexual pleasure with guilt and It has taken a lot of effort, prayer and time to undo this. There is freedom and hope! Seeing a sex therapist really helped me put some of my guilt to rest and helped me see my desires and sexual identity as ” in the norm”. If negative thoughts still try to come into my mind I speak more truthful thoughts to myself. I have had to theologically change my thoughts of how God feels about sexual pleasure,seeing That it is a gift from him and it is his desire for us. My sweet wife has fought long and hard with me to win this battle. It can be won! This journey to find freedom is what lead me to blogs like this. Thanks J! Please let my testimony further fuel your pen. Your blog really helps us guys too!

  17. Anonymous

    I struggled with this about a year ago in my marriage. My husband went from always wanting to have sex to wanting it WAY less than I did. We are newly married, so I wondered if I hadn’t lived up to his expectations and if he was disappointed that he’d married me. I was raised in a Christian household and was a virgin before marriage, so I had no experience to draw from, and was under the impression that men always want sex. I would cry and feel very upset if 1)he didn’t initiate as often as I thought he should or 2)he said he was too tired or not in the mood when I initiated.
    I took a few steps back from the situation, and tried to actually think and pray about it without letting my emotions run things, and some things became clear to me. First, I realized that my overly emotional and crying response was NOT helping things. My husband already felt bad about denying me, and me having an extreme reaction just made him shut down more. When I calmed down and turned down the emotions, we were able to have real conversations about the issue. Secondly, because we were able to actually TALK about our feelings, I found out that my husband’s horrible job (he was on a schedule of 4am-12pm 5 days a week, but got called in at 12am at least 3-4 times a week and had to fill in on a lot of weekends with very little job fulfillment) was affecting his mood and feelings, and was the main cause of his lower sex drive. I am blessed with a wonderful husband who actually hears what I say and cares about my feelings, so when I calmly and kindly let him know that I was feeling insecure and unwanted, he let me know that I was very wanted but he was feeling tired and discouraged due to work, but would try harder to separate work and home. And things really did get better. I calmed down and made an effort to keep the emotional response in check AND to realize that if he is too tired once in a while, that’s ok! And he made an effort to initiate more. We don’t have any issues now, we have sex almost every day 🙂

  18. Jay Dee - Sex Within Marriage

    I know how you feel J. As a fellow blogger, I worry about these marriages too, I try to make an effort to be clear that the roles in many of my posts could easily be reversed (some can’t). Unfortunately for the people in these “reverse stereotype” marriages, most of us bloggers in the Christian marriage sphere are in stereotypical marriages and thus, that is what we write about, because that is what we know.

    I’m so sorry to the wives who read it and get frustrated that their husband isn’t “normal”. That is one of the pitfalls of reading marriage blogs. You see things in other marriages that you want. It is a short jump to coveting.

    On the other side of the fence, we share the same frustrations. It seems the bulk of the marriage bloggers are women, and we, who read a lot of marriage blogs, are constantly bombarded by these wise, godly women who have learned to submit and even enjoy sex with their spouse with higher than average frequency. We even do come across some wives who have higher drives than their husbands, and then we get to experience that “grass is greener over there” thinking as well.

    It is crucial to learn to be content in your marriage without being complacent. Always strive to grow, but in the mean time be happy where you are. That is the secret. One I am still trying to learn.

  19. Anonymous

    Is it possible that your primary love language is Physical Touch? I was struggling with some of the same things as you speak of for the past few years, and discovering the book The Five Love Languages has really changed our marriage! After reading it, I suggested to my husband that we take the test together, for fun. He agreed and we learned each other’s love languages and got the book so we would have suggestions on how best to speak our spouse’s language. It was a lightbulb moment for both of us! He came to understand that the reason I wanted physical interaction so much was because that is how I feel loved. It is the loudest way he can speak his love to me. Now, he reaches out to me all the time in physical ways, and does it with great joy and enthusiasm! He wants to speak love to me, and this gave him a very definitive way to go about it. Likewise, by learning his love language, I have been able to better speak love to him so he feels more fulfilled in our marriage, and it is just one continuous beautiful cycle. We are more in love, and closer friends than we have ever been! I don’t know if this will help your situation, but I wanted to throw it out there in case it is something you haven’t tried. Don’t give up! God can help you both through this time, and the victory on the other side will be SO sweet!! 🙂

  20. Anonymous

    In my marriage, I long for sexual intimacy far more often than does my hubs. Currently, he has had no interest in me for 3 weeks. He is very affectionate and literally tells me he loves on about every 5 minutes. It’s a habit for him to say it. I have no idea when/if he really means it.

    He does have low testosterone, but is being treated for it. It’s been 4 years since I got too old/overweight/familiar/whatever for him. I have tried to talk to him about it but he literally doesn’t talk with me.

    His main reason is that he just didn’t think. And that really is true – he is passive to the point of immobility. I make all the decision, I take on all responsibility, if I don’t take care of something, it doesn’t happen.

    And he taught me early in our marriage that he doesn’t want me to initiate – he responds to me like you might respond to a cute 4 year old that wants to drive.

    I’ve given up my hobbies and individual interests because I simply don’t have time to do anything but run the home for both of us and the kids. I’ve given up being interested in sex because the neglect/rejection hurts too much to continue wanting what I know I won’t have.

    I think sometimes, the higher-drive spouse has to decide if it’s worth divorcing over. If it’s not, learn to live with it.

  21. Anonymous

    Thank you deeply for addressing this issue. It’s a total selfish act of withholding sexual intimacy from a spouse. I happen to be the crying wife full of despair and now immense self esteem issues. One year turned to another, now 20 years later I can honestly count the number of times we have been intimate…how does one “be happy where they are”…really?

    Counseling and threats of leaving can’t shake him….God is my only answer.

  22. Anonymous

    Thank you for writing this. I’m a newlywed and my husband and I both were *supposed* to have high sex drives. We both struggled with self pleasuring before marriage, but he had more control than me, through the grace of God.

    It’s not that it was horrible, but it was awkward and he didn’t like my, well, eau de woman. He admitted that he’d normally surround himself with the smell of perfume when he’d done things in the past, and it was just turning him off that I didn’t smell like roses. That made me feel horrible, of course. And he was like “Don’t worry! I’ll get over it!” but it made me feel like something that had to be endured.

    It was a week before he touched me down there with anything other than his penis, and it was only because I’d been begging him for days.

    About half the time I approach him, he rejects me for one reason or another. And half the time we try, it doesn’t actually complete. He will just stop being aroused halfway through. It makes me feel like so much less of a woman! All you hear all your life is that men are so sexually aggressive and I was looking forward to being pursued and instead I feel like I have to chase him down and when I make an advance and he’s obviously not into it, I feel like I’m molesting my husband or something. I feel so small.

    He did watch pornography in his past. He has repented, but he admitted some of the time he’s struggling because the images pop into his head and since he really is a godly man, that grieves his spirit, and so he stops enjoying the sex. But while I’m glad he’s loving God, I feel like I’m the one paying the price. After one day when we were reading our Bibles and praising God together, we had sex and afterwards he was so excited and he said it was “holy” and it comes to turn out that he didn’t have any images… which is great.. but it made me realize that this was the first time that’s happened for him. Which makes me both compassionate and weary. Because it’s just not practical for us to be worshipping for forty-five minutes before every time we have sex. And I *do* have a higher drive than most women, I don’t feel like a freak saying that. And I thought that was an awesome gift to my husband, but it’s obvious it’s more of a burden. (Okay I just started sobbing!)

    And I think a lot of the issue is not just the porn, but how hard on himself he had to be to gain self control before marriage. He is so used to denying himself sexually that I think he is struggling to communicate to his body “no, it’s okay this time” and that’s the main reason a lot of time we start and don’t get anywhere. He’s repressed himself so much he doesn’t know how to get past it.

    We are still very much newlyweds and he says be patient. And I am hoping about that. But I am also wondering if we need to seek out counseling. We are very poor newlyweds and I don’t think we can afford it, and I would feel very uncomfortable doing it with anyone we knew (like our pastor). I want to be loving and understanding of him… but I also do feel like he’s depriving me… and I hate accusing him of it. I feel so rejected. Deep inside I just keep asking myself “What is wrong with me?” and also “How can I fix him?” I tried to try other positions, but he was just like “I’m not ready for that.” I asked him what that meant and the sixth time I asked (different days) he finally told me it was my smell… which he had insisted he was past. So in reality, he still is repulsed by me. Because my smell is a part of me.

    I feel very embarrassed and I don’t want to shame him by telling someone (hence why I am “anonymous” here.) I just don’t know what to do… I pray for him even during sex most of the time, that it’s good for him. It’s been good for me a couple times, but never great so far. I don’t know.

    1. J

      Sometimes I read a comment here that makes me want to pull the commenter into a big hug and let her weep while I pat her back and pray for her. That’s the effect this one had on me.

      Anonymous, it is good that you are upset by this because it means that you know in your heart of hearts God desires something far better for the sexual intimacy in your marriage. His design is for you two to explore, engage, and connect with each other through physical contact and pleasure. Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening. All too often, sex within marriage is a source of emotional pain rather than intimacy. That is not how it is supposed to be. Embrace that truth. And it is okay to grieve that you don’t have that right now.

      But I encourage you not to give up hope. Your husband’s willingness to talk to you and to admit sinfulness (the prior porn use) are good signs. He is probably very embarrassed himself and questioning what is wrong with him. He’s likely been given the same messages all of his life that men are supposed to be the sexual pursuers, and he is clearly not fulfilling that role. So continue to pray for him to be released from whatever is holding him back from enjoying physical intimacy and seeking the answers to his specific issues.

      I do think counseling would be beneficial. I suggest asking a church leader or your pastor if they know of professional Christian counselors who base their fees on a sliding scale. There may be an area church with a counseling center that charges a fee you could handle. Some churches also offer to assist couples financially who need help. You don’t have to explain your entire situation, but oftentimes church members don’t realize what help might be available if they just asked.

      On a more practical level, here are some things to think about. (1) Smell. I bet you smell just fine, but some people report being very sensitive to smells. You could try to bathe or shower beforehand, using a perfumed soap. And oddly enough, what we eat can affect the smell down there. For instance, I’ve read medical articles that citrusy fruits, especially pineapple, improve vaginal odor. Do I think this is a big part of the problem? Nope, not at all. But I wanted to address it since you mentioned it. (2) Losing erection. Your husband should talk to his doctor. Given your story, there seem to be more than physical issues going on here; however, it is possible that there is a physical component that could be addressed. This seems like an embarrassing thing for us, but doctors aren’t embarrassed. They’ve heard everything. If your hubby’s nervous, you could offer to go with him to be his supporter. (3) In the meantime. Your sex life has gotten off to a rocky start. It could be that the best thing to do is to press the reset button; that is, take the pressure off of getting the intercourse right and return to touching and kissing. Take time to explore one another and talk about what feels good and what might trigger discomfort. There may be clues about what’s going on with that information. And while you can’t worship everytime before sex, perhaps you could pray together before you begin.

      You are definitely in my prayers. I hope you feel my virtual hug. Hang in there, sweetheart. God is good, and I know He can redeem any situation! I am living proof.

  23. K

    We recently had a beautiful baby, and I’m thrilled to find that my life feels complete in the baby department and that I love being a mom! However it has been months since my husband and I have had sex and even after the go ahead he has not touched me. I know that if I initiate sex he would be willing, but I am the only one that initiates sex. This is heartbreaking to me, because I am still carrying baby weight and feel insecure about my body and on top of that he has no desire for me. We have become good friends, roommates and great parents, but have lost the intimacy. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time this has happened in our marriage, and I have spoken with my husband many times about my needs and it gets better for a few weeks and then he reverts back to no sex. I am fearful that we will repeat what happened to his parents. His father had no desire for sex and his mother sought comfort outside of the marriage because she felt she wasn’t getting what she needed in the marriage. I am a very strong Christian woman and will not divorce him, but I am not sure what I can do to improve this problem. This passed week I began praying for our marriage, marriage bed and my husband in a new way, and I hope that God will hear my plea. After yesterdays prayer I discovered your website, and began researching. I hope this is where God is leading me, and I also hope that simply praying for my marriage in a specific way that it will help also. Thank you for posting this, it is a comfort to know I am not alone.

Comments are closed.