When the Sex Drive Is More Intense

Blog post title with "Sex" in flame fontI wrote last Thursday on What’s the Aim of His Sex Drive? and made the case that the majority of husbands aren’t just after the sex. Rather, sex is a way to be intimate with their wives. Their goal is less the sex (although, sure, that’s a big part of it) and more the connection with this woman they love.

Not surprisingly, I got a bit of push-back. Which got me thinking about when the sex drive is more intense.

A male friend once stated that the longer it’s been since sex happened, the more the drive itself is focused on the sex. And I think that’s likely true.

It’s like anything else that you crave. If you know it’s in abundant supply, you can savor the thing itself — whether it’s good food, great music, or sexual intimacy. But when you feel this deep need that goes unmet for a long time, it becomes far more like a hunger or even, for some, can become almost an obsession. Thus, the higher-drive spouse who seems to be all about the sex, and the lower-drive spouse who feels like an object.

Yeah, I get it.

And neither one of those roles is a good place to be. In this case, it’s hard for the higher-drive spouse to keep that focus where it should be. Their physical need seems so intense, it’s like pangs of hunger and a growling stomach. Sure, you want to be able to take your time, let things unfold, and savor that lady (or man) of your dreams, but at some level you just need a cheeseburger from the drive-thru, so to speak. And no, no, no, I am not comparing any spouse to a cheeseburger. Heaven forbid! It’s simply an analogy to make a point.

Meanwhile, for the lower-drive spouse . . . well, who wants to be a cheeseburger? That’s just insulting. Especially for women who’ve already coped with being ogled pre-marriage by at least a few idiots, we hardly want that kind of groping-eyes-and-hands thing happening with the guy who’s supposed to treat us like we’re a princess. Or princess-like, at least.

So what’s the answer here? What about when that sex drive is so intense that it leans toward being more about the sex itself and not quite as much about the deep love for this person you’re with?

Since you can only change yourself, you have to ask which spouse you are in this scenario. Are the higher-drive spouse? Or the lower-drive spouse? Because each of you can make some changes to effect a better outcome.

Higher-drive spouse. In all honesty, you’re where I currently reside. If I go a long time without, I definitely feel the absence. And my desire for sex becomes even more need-like.

Here’s the advice: Take a chill pill, as they say. Back it up and remember what your real goal is. Remind yourself that a purely physical relationship is pleasurable, but not satisfying. And you’re not willing to settle for less than God intended. (No, really, you’re not!) You can make some real strides toward better intimacy by focusing on your mate. Consider their needs.

What in that moment would make him/her feel loved? How could you bring pleasure or happiness to them? What would reassure them of the love underneath your longing?

Dwell on those thoughts and cultivate those feelings that foster a unique attachment to your spouse. Our minds can be powerful actors on our bodies. Pray for God’s view of your spouse. Show patience and self-control when needed (Galatians 5:22-23). Remember to give your spouse honor (“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” — Romans 12:10).

Of course you can ask for and pursue sex, but seek intimacy in all areas of your marriage.

Lower-drive spouse. Yes, I know you don’t need sex as frequently as your mate desires, and it can be a bit of a bother to engage so often. But — still using that inadequate, but useful food analogy — it’s easier to relax when you know where your next meal is coming from. That is, your spouse may relax a bit about the sex thing if you regularly communicate and cooperate with sexual intimacy.

Look for possible ways and times to engage, rather than putting your energy into avoidance. If you can’t have sex when he/she asks, suggest a better time (and then follow through). If can create some consistency, that could help you both avoid that situation in which he’s pleading and you’re resisting and everyone ends up in a bad mood.

Also be willing to express what you need to make it a more meaningful experience. If you want it to feel less rushed and climax-driven, go ahead and ask for the massage or the time in the bubble bath or a slow dance before you begin. You may find that your beloved is willing to add some romance and flair to the moment when they know what you want — that they actually enjoy the full experience more than an off-to-the-races, get-er-done approach.

What ideas do you have for helping both sides experience deeper sexual intimacy? What helps your sexual encounters move from merely physical to a more meaningful connection between husband and wife?

18 thoughts on “When the Sex Drive Is More Intense

  1. Jaime

    I can relate to this post. I used to be the lower-drive spouse. I’d find myself making excuses, and even pretending to be asleep just so I didn’t have to have sex with my husband. I was hurt when I found out he was watching porn. Instead of using that as another excuse, I decided to focus on changing ME. I started reading blogs, like this one, and I started to realize the things I was doing wrong in my marriage bed. I was not being the wife God instructs me to be. So, I started to make myself more available to my husband. And you know what, our sex life improved. Our marriage has improved. Our communication has improved. All things I had been praying for! Just a few months ago I made the decision to start sleeping nude, and again, our frequency increased! Our sex life, marriage and communication have all improved! To all the lower-drive spouses, I find that when you have more sex, you want sex more! At least it works for us!

    1. J Post author

      Thanks so much for sharing, Jaime! I’m thrilled you chose to take steps yourself to help your marriage.

      (And yeah, I sure hope that man put away the porn. He’s got the way better thing with a beautiful and willing wife!)

      Blessings!

  2. AfricanQueen

    Hi, Im 26 and still a virgin. Saving this special gift for my Husband! I would like to know,
    HOW CAN I KNOW IF I HAVE/WILL HAVE A HIGH SEX DRIVE or LOW SEX DRIVE??
    I really want to know if i will have a high or low! is there signs that i watch for??

    Please Help me out 🙂 God bless you very much!

    1. J Post author

      You could be both. That is, it’s not just that you have a high sex drive or a low sex drive all of your life, because various factors can affect it. You could have a high sex drive early in marriage and it lowers post-childbirth, then picks up again, and goes down around menopause, or whatever. Libido is also impacted by life circumstances, stress, medications, health issues, etc.

      When you get married, you’ll know which of you has a higher drive, and then you deal with it. By the way, one of you having a higher libido doesn’t meant you’re bound for problems. It’s when the drives are extremely different and/or spouses are selfish about their own perspective that problems arise. If it’s just a bit different, you negotiate and find what works for your marriage.

      Blessings to you! And prayers that you maintain your purity!

    2. Rachel

      AfricanQueen,
      I think that you will find out soon enough, whether while in your relationship/engagement with your to-be-husband, or pretty soon after you get married! I don’t think you will have to go looking too far to find out who is the higher/lower-drive spouse 🙂
      I highly recommend to not stress about it now! I think that once you get married you will have these issues to go through with your husband, so save it for then 🙂
      Blessings
      Rachel

  3. Amanda

    I am the higher drive spouse, its been three almost four months. We have several issues one of which he says my weight is a turn off for him. Each time I initiate I am turned down with an I am tired or maybe this weekend. I get tired of being low on the totem pole. I love my husband and want us to have that intamacy and yes it becomes a need kind of like water.

    1. OlWill

      Amanda,
      I don’t know if this is allowed because this is not a health/nutrition site but here is my advice – bearing in mind I know nothing of your physical health status other than you say you have a weight problem. I am certainly not a medical professional. I merely want to acquaint you with some information that I believe is helpful and healthful.
      I recommend a carbohydrate-restricted diet otherwise known as Low Carb-High Fat. If you Google ‘lchf for beginners’ and click on the top result, you will be taken to a very good introductory web page. This site is operated by a Swedish M. D.
      An easy to remember rule is to eat nothing that cannot be eaten raw. It doesn’t have to be raw but it cannot be edible raw. That eliminates all grains, potatoes and beans and products made from them. Peanuts fall into this category.
      I lost 30 pounds using this diet concept and I wasn’t even being particularly strict about it.
      Exercise: I don’t think exercise is very helpful for losing weight but it is good for toning your musculature which results in better posture, fewer aches and pains in your joints and elsewhere. It is also good for improving your outlook on life. I recommend resistance training (rt) over aerobic type training because rt improves your cardiovascular fitness while it brings tone and strength to your skeletal muscles.
      If you aren’t already exercising, you need to know that it takes very little exercise to make great improvements in your ability to do your daily tasks. Start with body-weight (low-cost, at home – no gym fees) exercise. Fifteen to twenty minutes, two to three times a week. If something starts to hurt, lay off for a week, fall back a bit with the intensity and start back. Don’t give up but don’t act like you are in a race to achieve a certain goal or in a contest to see how much you can do. “I want to dead lift 250 pounds by Christmas” is not the idea. Just go at your own pace and avoid injury. Also, don’t worry about bulging muscles. Most women, doing a moderate amount of rt, will never come close to looking like Arnold.
      A good website with all kinds of exercise routines including body weight routines and beginner’s routines with explanations and videos is: http://www.benderfitness.com/ If you go to this website and click on one of the tabs it looks like nothing has happened. You have to scroll down a bit to see the new page’s information. The tabs at the top look exactly the same regardless which page you are on.
      I’m not saying you shouldn’t walk for exercise but I just consider that sort of thing to be a supplement to the resistance training. Having said that, swimming is a full body exercise that’s in a category all its own.
      If you can get your husband interested in resistance training also, he might find that he’s not so “tired” so often.
      If you are interested, look at these websites, mull over the information and make your own decisions about what to do, given your unique circumstances. If you have health problems, you might consult a doctor who is familiar with nutrition and exercise before you make any changes.
      Sorry about the many words.

      1. J Post author

        I don’t know much about these websites, but I decided to go ahead and approve the comment. I appreciate your own story, OlWill! I will say that consistent exercise has helped me lose weight. I personally suspect that most of us have a pretty good idea of what we should do to eat better, get moving, and get healthier. For me, the problem is the discipline to do it. And do it consistently.

        And Amanda, if weight is an issue for your husband, it’s often not the only issue. But it’s always a good idea to pursue health for your own benefit, for personal self-confidence, and yes, as a gift to your husband.

  4. Jeff

    Wow. You are right on the mark. As a higher drive husband my desire is always to connect with and please my wife through intimate sexual contact. If circumstances do not allow for connection it rapidly becomes more of a need for pure sexual release. In those situations my desire to connect is not lessened but it is very much overrun by my need for release. I then need to focus myself on when, where and how can I make our next connection meaningful for her and TIMELY for me.

  5. Keelie Reason

    You have made some really amazing points here. I have had so many conversations with women, especially, that give me the impression that sex is a bother to them. They are pretty much feeling like the cheeseburger you described. I really hate that anyone in a marriage feels that way. Since it keeps coming up over and over in conversations that I have, I really wonder what can be done about that mindset. I really think that awesome people like you who blog about these issues will be of great help to other couples. Especially in church environments, so many people feel like they can’t talk openly about their struggles with sex.

    If I had any advice to through in there for those with a low sex drive is this: become more intentional about having sex. If you always wait to be propositioned by your spouse, there are going to be plenty of times when you end up saying no. Instead of that, make it up in your mind that you will have sex X number of days a week, and then intentional work toward that.

    For the individual with the high sex drive: I suggest they put some planning into their sexual encounters. This partner probably wants it to come more spontaneously, but the low sex drive person really needs some time get in the mood.

    That is really about it. 🙂

  6. Missy

    I feel like I have worn both shoes, although I was often accused of being the lower drive spouse in my first marriage. It was frustrating because I really wanted to make love, to be intimate, to enjoy this aspect of husband-and-wifedom. However, as early as our honeymoon, I was criticized for expecting too much sex. I became so hesitant to initiate. My (then) husband would get irritated if I reached out to rub his back or get up and move if I snuggled on the couch, so I couldn’t conjure up the courage to initiate sex. The rejection in so many lesser areas felt too raw. We went months without intimacy.

    As we attempted to reconcile our marriage and went through several years with a therapist, I learned to express when I felt rejected so that he was more aware of how his actions outside the bedroom affected my ability to come to him with my sexuality. I committed to initiating sex twice per week and did so for more than a year. Sometimes he felt like it, sometimes not. He initiated about once a week, as well, and in my heart I committed to never reject him because I knew the internal patterns that established in me. I never shared this with him and wouldn’t recommend this unless it is simply a personal choice.

    I felt we were making good ground in this area. One evening after a spontaneous romp on the living room floor, I was content inside and grateful for God’s goodness. Our marriage wasn’t perfect, there was a lot of history that included pain, but I was hopeful and content. Three days later I discovered he was also enjoying another woman.

    That discovery, following my attempts to be available, pursuing and enjoying my husband hurt me in places where I will forever be tender. It was confusing and disorienting and our marriage did not survive that blow after the previous years of difficulty (which included rage, porn, and other women, also). Yet through the divorce and paid of disentangling lives, I knew I gave my very best effort.

    All said, I would encourage the higher drive spouse to provide safety outside the bedroom in order to increase desire. The lower drive spouse I would encourage to empower yourself and to honor your own sexuality … it really IS in there! Taking control (for me, that was initiating a certain number of times per week) allowed me to feel the choice was mine and not that I was at the beck and call of my mate.

    I’m now remarried. It’s a whole different experience this time around where intercourse and sexual experiences in general are so much more other-focused. It takes a lot of communication and openness about our pasts, and that tenderness from previous wounds comes up from time to time.

  7. Brian

    Here is a great tool that can help in the constant dance of high drive/low drive marriages. It is called the Bead Method. You do not have to buy the book (it helps) or the kit (make one, a lot cheaper) but it is a way, if both buy into the solution, to greatly help with the issue of when to have sex. Quick premise of the method; you commit to 40 days of sex but those 40 days are in actuality 40 beads. The higher drive spouse places a bead in a bead catcher (whatever you want to use, maybe a bowl) and the lower drive spouse has 24 hours to fulfill that requests. Yes, you can put some conditions on the terms but the point is to do sex on purpose and that the lower sex drive spouse can plan and anticipate sex. If you don’t fulfill within an agreed time that will cause a problem. Planning and scheduling sex in and of itself for many people is a turn-on. It also allows one to prepare mentally for love-making. The main thing is, BOTH have to buy in and commit for this to work. While this might not be for everybody, I think it can work for many. Just a thought.

  8. Bek

    We have only been married for 3 months, and our problem is not so much differing sex drives (although if I had to choose which one of us is higher drive that would be me), the issue is more that he seems to have a long refractory period (once every 24 hours seems to be his limit most of the time) so that he cannot orgasm more frequently and his erections are weaker, which makes more frequent sex frustrating for him. Despite frequenting a few good Christian sex sites, I’ve never seen anyone tackle this issue (other than articles about impotence, which is not quite what we are dealing with). What do you do when you want sex, but attempting it only makes it frustrating for one (or both) of you?

    1. J Post author

      I really had to mull this one over, Bek. And I did a bit of research myself. You’re right: There’s little about this subject, other than reporting typical refractory periods. So here’s what I think:

      1. We too often limit our view of “sex” to intercourse and climax. So maybe you use one sexual encounter to jump headlong into that excitement, and the next one is a quieter exploration of one another — perhaps with only one of you reaching orgasm. Sex is the whole enchilada, and when a married couple starts to see it more broadly, they can experience greater pleasure with a greater number of activities available.
      2. If it’s frustrating to him that he can’t reach climax, is there some way for him to simply feel fabulous at what he can do to YOU? Honestly, there are times when my husband or I might forgo the orgasm, but we walk away feeling pretty darn good about the pleasure we brought to the other. Hey, if he stimulates you into fits of unbelievable ecstasy, the man should be STRUTTING around the bedroom with a big smile on his face! 😉
      3. He should ask his doctor about this issue as well. Longer refractory periods are common as men age, but if he’s young or it’s causing real problems, he could be low on a particular hormone. Why not at least ask? If it’s an easy fix, wouldn’t you like to know?
      4. Some suggest shortening refractory periods by stimulating the husband almost to climax, then having him back off. Repeat this several times before he climaxes. This presumably helps with greater control and shortening that time between ejaculations.

      Hope something here helps! Blessings.

      1. Bek

        Hi J,

        It’s several months on from my previous post. I am happy to report that things have gotten better! We did get my husband checked out – all normal. We are still learning, and what all the books say is true – sex just gets better with time (and experience). We have discovered a few things;

        1) Much of his hesitancy surrounding sex (which inhibited his erections and thus climax) was because of the way he had rigorously taught himself to not think about sex as a single man. He bounced his eyes, he bounced his thoughts and thus was a real gem in guarding my purity pre-marriage. We did not kiss until our wedding day – his first ever kiss. That was great for us, since I am a pastor, and desired that our dating life be above reproach (important for ANY Christian, not just pastors), but what it meant was that he had real trouble “flipping the switch” from sex is not ok to sex is more than ok!

        2) We do have mismatched desires. In this and in a few other areas we are gender flipped. What gets him going is a long heart to heart, whereas for me if he drops his pants I am ready to go, well ready to begin warming up – like most women I still need time, it’s just that desire comes quickly and easily. When I read sex books, I relate to the chapters that are written for the men, yet I am still very feminine. Negotiating the differing drives forces us to keep offering each other grace, and brings opportunities to understand and know each other better. After we married I could not understand why he wasn’t like all the men I read about in the books, and I was. I’ve learned to stop comparing him (and myself) to the stereotypes. God made us this way, and was pleased to do so. And…

        3) He does have a long refractory period for a 30 year old, but we’ve worked out a rhythm that mostly works well for us.

        Why am I telling you all this? I guess I just wanted to encourage you that your posts do help. Your reply encouraged him to get medically checked out, and the original post, among others helped me to realize that I am not the only woman out there with a high sex drive. I was a virgin for 30 years until marriage, yet no-one ever talked to me about sex, or when they did in the lead up to the wedding it was always with the old “he’ll want it, try to give it to him” story. You can imagine how alone I have felt both in dealing with a high sex drive and being single for a long time, and then being the one in our marriage who always wanted it yet having a hesitant man. Thanks for being a safe place to get information and to talk about this sacred and vital part of marriage!

        Bek

        1. J Post author

          I’m so glad you shared your story here! I suspect it will also help another wife who’s questioning what’s going on. I especially appreciate your encouragement to stop comparing yourself to the stereotypes. It’s true those stereotypes exist for a reason, because there are more higher-drive husbands than wives…but that doesn’t mean all by any means! And it’s not abnormal to be different — just, as you said, the way God made you.

          Many blessings! So glad you’re working through these things, so your marriage and sexual intimacy can thrive in the long run.

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