A big welcome to the Kentucky Colonel from A Grown Up Marriage. His blog is both thoughtful and challenging as he addresses how to grow up in marriage, rather than grow apart. As he says, “Marriage will expose your immaturity and selfishness faster than anything on earth . . .”
Today the Kentucky Colonel is addressing sexual appetite. Take it away, KC!
Appetites vary. A football player needs more calories than the average person to maintain their size and strength. Some men are meat and potatoes guys and others are more eclectic in their tastes. The same can be said of husband’s sexual appetites; they are varied. Some husbands want sex more often than their wife, some less often. Some want sex more varied than their wife, some less varied. The question for the wives is where does MY husband fall in that spectrum and what can I do to improve our sexual intimacy so that it is something that blesses me, my husband, and my marriage?
This probably isn’t going to be what you expected. I’m not going to tell you that ALL husbands are the same. We ALL want more sex than our wife is giving us and we want it in more varied ways than our wife is willing to give us because THAT ISN’T TRUE. It’s a lie. There are marriages where the wife wants more sex and more varied sex than her husband. It’s a fact.
So, what I’m going to tell you is that you are married to a flawed man and your husband is married to a flawed woman. Every marriage consists of two sinners. No more. No less. Every person in every marriage is in need of grace from the person to whom they are married. You need grace from your husband and he needs grace from you. You each have wants, needs, desires and expectations and to borrow from Dr. Eggerichs who wrote Love and Respect, you are likely withholding what your spouse needs, wants, or desires in the expectation that you’re withholding will open their eyes to your own unmet wants, needs and desires. STOP! It isn’t going to work. Likely they’re already doing the same thing that you are. They’re withholding what you want, need, desire in the expectation that you’ll wake up and give them what they want, need and desire. It isn’t working for either of you. It’s time to try something more mature.
Now that that’s settled, let’s talk about one of my favorite topics, marital sex. Most of the women reading this are frustrated for one of two reasons; you aren’t satisfied with your sex life or your husband isn’t satisfied with your sex life. Sure, a few of you may not be in either camp but you’re the exception, not the rule. Some of you want to know how to decrease your husband’s sexual appetite and the others want to know how to increase it. That puts me in a tough spot, don’t you think?
Here’s what I am willing to do: I’m willing to give you some ideas that might actually work to bring a more satisfying sexual experience to your marriage. Here’s the catch, though; you’re going to have to be willing to change because you cannot change your spouse. You control you. You do NOT control your spouse. If you’re trying to control your spouse, STOP! If you’re trying to manipulate your spouse, STOP! The changes have to begin within you or the changes are not going to build intimacy between you and your husband but the attempts to control and manipulate him are likely going to destroy the intimacy.
What is the right amount of sex for a marriage? I think there is only one right answer to this and that answer is: Enough so that both spouses have their sexual desires fulfilled.* If your spouse isn’t satisfied with your sex life then you have to step up. If you aren’t satisfied with your sex life then you have to be willing to let down your guard and address that with your spouse. In either case that might mean that you need personal or couples counseling. If your own efforts aren’t making the changes needed in your marriage then it might be time to get a professional, third-party involved in helping you work together to improve your marriage.
These types of issues do not solve themselves, unless you consider less intimacy, more distance, living as roommates, or divorce as solutions. I hope that none of you do. Happy and fulfilling marriages take concerted effort, proper prioritization, and commitment to better ourselves.
Now let me talk to those of you whose husbands want more or more varied sex. This may be overwhelming to you because it will likely take you out of your comfort zone. Since he wants more sex or more varied sex, this places you in the position of control. Whether you want it or not, because you want it less you control it. The only way this changes is if you are willing to allow the change. If you are not, then you are still in control and your husband is still unsatisfied with your sex life. No one has changed. No one has grown.
If you are a wife that would like more or more varied sex then your husband is the one with the control over this. You cannot wrest that control from him. It is likely that he doesn’t know that he controls it or, if he does, wishes he didn’t. That’s just the way it is. It is likely as overwhelming to you as well but for another reason. For things to change you’ll have to tell him what needs to change and that’s risky. If you don’t, you’ll remain unsatisfied and no one will have changed and no one will have grown.
Please don’t stop growing until sex is a blessing to you, your husband, and your marriage.
That gets a hearty amen from J! Thanks, Colonel.
The Kentucky Colonel blogs at A Grown Up Marriage about moving from those immature expectations toward a more healthy and grown up view of what marriage should be. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.
* See 1 Corinthians 7. “Fulfilling sex” should be within reason. What is reasonable should be discussed between the spouses. Personally I’d consider anything up to once a day as reasonable. As far as variety I’d suggest the article, Sexual Relationships Always Consist of ‘Leftovers’, by Dr. David Schnarch.