Lately I’ve been giving interviews on Christian radio stations and podcasts about my recent release, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design. One of the questions that has come up is about the most common questions I’ve received since writing about sex. I thought it would be interesting to let y’all know the top two queries I receive from husbands and wives each and then the top one I receive from all spouses.
This is by no means data I’ve collected and analyzed; rather, it’s my general feeling — though I think an accurate one — that the following five are the most prevalent queries I receive.
1. Why doesn’t she understand how important sexual intimacy is to me?
This one basically has three possible answers. She doesn’t get it because:
- She doesn’t feel that way so she has a hard time imagining the sexual-emotional link you feel;
- You haven’t explained it to her in terms she can understand; and/or
- She’s been told most of her life that sex is a purely physical act.
Of course, within each of those categories are a myriad of possibilities. For instance, she might not feel the same way because of hormonal issues, pain or discomfort during sex, past sexual abuse, etc. So the specifics on what to do depend on your situation. Which is why I strongly suggest trying to get to the core of the issue and addressing the underlying problem.
That said, my second reason here is something you can control. So listen up, guys: Do not talk about your desire for sex in terms of physical needs or release. Don’t tell her you have “blue balls.” And certainly don’t threaten that if she doesn’t give you sex, it makes you more ripe for frequent masturbation, porn, or an affair. I completely understand that the longer you go without, the more physical and intense the need for sex feels. But your wife needs to know it’s about intimacy with her, not just a physical release. Whatever you can say to help her understand that you want her not just sex will go much farther toward getting you both.
2. Why doesn’t she believe me when I tell her she’s beautiful?
Another one with three possible answers:
- She’s inundated with constant messaging that her beauty isn’t good enough;
- She looks in the mirror and doesn’t see herself the way you see her; and/or
- She doesn’t like how she looks because she knows she could do better.
Trust me on this one, hubbies: You don’t know how much pressure there is in our society for a woman to be beautiful. I absolutely believe men have their own challenges, areas in which society pressures men in unrealistic and even destructive ways. But if you look at advertising geared toward women, the model/celebrity industry, and how often we’re told that you guys are all visual, you’ll begin to understand how many messages are thrown at us gals every day to be more and more beautiful.
This tension can be exacerbated by my third point above, when a wife knows she could do better with the body she has. It can be a vicious cycle for a woman to watch her body lose some of its shape over time…and then you give up and wallow in a pint (or gallon) of Ben & Jerry’s, and then you’re disgusted with yourself all over again. Or you’ve looked and looked and looked and cannot figure out when in your busy work/house/mom schedule you can exercise.
Your reassurance, guys, can really help. It might feel like you’re fighting a losing battle when you tell your wife she’s beautiful to you and she dismisses your comments. But keep going and let her know that you are not a liar, but the man who adores her more than life itself. And you have really good taste, right?
You’re not responsible for her learning to feel beautiful. (Which is why I talk about this subject often on my blog primarily for wives.) But you can be supportive and encouraging.
3. How can I feel good about having sex?
My answers to this one are:
- Adopt a godly perspective of sex;
- Deal with the baggage from your past;
- Learn more about your body, his body, and sexual pleasure; and/or
- Become a more savvy lover.
If you want help with these, wives, I’ll direct you to Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design which has biblical and practical answers for all of these. Also, I’ve written about dealing with baggage from your past here and here.
And keep reading my blog and others (like Intimacy in Marriage; Awaken Love; To Love Honor and Vacuum; The Forgiven Wife and Bonny’s Oyster Bed, which are both for low-drive wives), which address these subjects. Most importantly, seek out what God has to say about sexuality in His Word.
4. Why doesn’t my husband want me?
More and more, I hear from higher-drive wives who struggle with husbands who don’t want sex as much as they’d expected. The wife would like to increase frequency, excitement, and intimacy. And the husband is the one dragging his feet to the marriage bed, if he gets there at all.
For this one, I’m just going to list all of my posts for high-drive wives:
She Wants, He Doesn’t Want
Wives Want Sex: Link Up
He Doesn’t Wanna, But I Do! Help for Higher Drive Wives
He Doesn’t Wanna, But I Do! Be the Brownie
One More & I’ll Go Insane!
I Am the Higher Drive Spouse (or Yes, Rejection Hurts)
Can Sex-Driven Wives Be Godly Wives? for Christian Wife University
Two Words Your Higher-Desire Spouse Needs You to Hear
Does Your Husband’s Rejection Make You Doubt Yourself?
Confessions of a Higher-Drive Spouse
3 Things Higher-Drive Spouses Long For
Q&A for J: How Can I Help My Husband Be More Adventurous In Bed?
Q&A with J: “I Feel Rejected All the Time”
Q&A with J: Why Doesn’t He Want Sex?
Q&A with J: When It Comes to Sex, My Husband Says I’m “Too Much”
And let me add that in my own marriage, we’ve been matched in our sex drives, then he was the higher-drive and I was the
no-drive low-drive spouse, and now I’m the higher-drive spouse. So I’ve experienced all sides of this. I understand the feelings of a spouse who doesn’t want to engage sexually and the disappointment of your spouse not being eager or even willing to engage. I have compassion for your situation, and I believe there are answers.
In fact, one of my goals for 2017 is to write a book specifically for high-drive wives. If that’s something you’d like to see, please pray for me and that endeavor. If it’s God will that I write that book, it will come together.
5. How can make my spouse _________?
This is likely the number one question I get: How can I make my spouse _______? You can fill in that blank with anything from “have more sex” to “try new things” to “fulfill my sexual fantasy.” And I also get the periodic How can I make my spouse leave me alone sexually?
The answer to this question is simple: You can’t. You cannot make your spouse do anything. God gave him/her free will, and you need to honor that. Demanding or forcing sexual activity on your spouse, or trying to make him/her think exactly like you do, isn’t what God had in mind when He designed sex. You can’t have sexual intimacy without respecting the intimacy part of the equation. And there’s nothing intimate about “Gimme sex, woman, or else!”
You can, however, influence your spouse in many, many ways. Which almost always starts with changing yourself. If you change what you do, then his responses will likely change. If you stop playing your role in a dysfunctional dynamic, you will have changed the system, requiring him or her to adapt.
Because we’re creatures of habit, you might find that when you change what you do, you won’t see immediate results. Indeed, you’ll probably get push-back. But stick with doing the right thing, and you might find the dynamics changing after a while. As Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
And remember that God will bless you for doing the right thing. The blessing may not come in the way you expect, but I’m living proof that He works in our lives when we let Him. I believe that principle wholeheartedly.
So that’s it: The Top Five. And some general answers for each. I’ll be back next week with a specific question from a reader and my response. If you want to send me a question, head up to that Contact tab above and click Contact J. Then fill out the form, and I will receive your email. I am unlikely to respond right away, but I do read all messages and get to as many questions as I can.