When it comes to sexual intimacy, I’ve had an interesting journey. I’ve been the virgin, the “technical virgin,” the so-not-a-virgin, the redeemed bride, the lots-of-sex newlywed, the no-libido wife, and the higher-drive wife. Sometimes I wonder if God allowed me to be put in all of these scenarios so that I can have compassion for people in different circumstances.
As 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
Although every situation is unique, there’s something about the general been there, done that which makes you understand someone else’s struggle just a bit more.
So believe me when I say that I’m very sensitive to those wives who read, hear, and see the constant message that men are incredibly eager to have sex … yet their experience doesn’t bear that out. As a high-drive wife, I remember falling into conversations with other Christian women and feeling like a penguin in a tropical forest — the only one of my kind and completely out-of-place. Was I the only wife who wanted more sex in her marriage?
On Monday’s post, I responded to a comment thread about a higher-drive wife with the following:
When we’re going through a tough situation, it’s so easy to feel like everyone else is doing okay in that area and you’re alone in your misery. But…this isn’t some freakish thing for a wife to be the higher-drive spouse or for a husband to be less interested in sex. As I read and study this issue more and more, I’ve become convinced it’s maybe 1/4 of marriages. That’s hardly a small number!
Look at it this way: As of 2014, there were over 59 million married women in the United States. If 25% of those are higher-drive wives, that 14.75 million women whose husbands aren’t pawing at them all day long. Even if it’s 10%, that’s still 5.9 million wives. Hey, just imagine I’m completely wrong, and it’s 5% — still almost 3 million women. It just might help to put this into perspective and realize that, while a difference in sex drive can be a challenge that needs addressing, being the higher-drive wife doesn’t make you as rare as a dodo bird — far from it.
Today, I just want that to sink in for all of you higher-drive wives. There are millions of women like you. You are not alone.
I know that doesn’t solve your problem of libido differences with your husband. But sometimes we need start by recognizing some truths about what’s normal. So let me speak five truths to you higher-drive wives wondering a few things about yourself:
1. You are normal. You cannot find me a Bible verse, a biology textbook, or a quality marriage expert that says there’s anything wrong or weird about the female having the higher libido. Frankly, I’m thinking we should move away from talking about what’s typical or normal versus atypical and abnormal, and instead talk about what’s healthy and unhealthy. And desiring your spouse sexually is absolutely healthy.
2. You are not a “nympho.” Well, admittedly, someone out there might be. But overall, wanting sex more than your husband doesn’t make you a crazed sex fiend or a “slut” or any of the other labels that might float through your head from time to time. Would you ever let a friend call herself such awful names? Then why would you let your inner voice call you any of those wrong, hurtful names even one more time? Speak the truth about who you are.
3. You are not ugly. Given the ongoing messages about men being driven to have sex, and women being less interested, when you discover your situation is different, the first question often asked is “What’s wrong with me?” You wonder why he doesn’t want you the way you expected any red-blooded male would dive into the opportunity to have sex. But there are only a handful of times I’ve heard of sexual rejection being appearance-based. And if your husband is rejecting you because you gained a few pounds or whatever, then you’ve got bigger issues than a mismatch in sex drives.
4. You are not alone. It’s not true that no one else in the world understands your heartache. Other women in similar situations need your encouragement, and you need theirs. My hubby and I took the popular Marriage Helper course twice, and the first time I was the only woman in our small group who listed Sexual Fulfillment as one of my top marriage needs; the second time around, there was a like-minded wife in the class (bless her!), and it was affirming to have another wife who understood. Thank goodness we were both wiling to speak up!
5. Your sex drive matters. In marriage, both of you matter — his sex drive and yours. Ideally, you work together to find physical intimacy that pleasures and sates you both. If the lower-drive spouse isn’t there yet, it doesn’t mean the higher-drive spouse should squelch their natural desire to be sexually intimate with their beloved. You may have a bigger hill to climb to get to where you want to go, but start walking. Because your sex drive, and your sex life, matters — to you and to your marriage. God wants you to both enjoy satisfying sexual intimacy, and that’s a goal worth pursuing. You will likely need patience, wisdom, and perseverance, but aren’t those qualities we always need when we’re stretched to grow in our lives?
I hope you can hear these truths, and remind yourself of them often. I have a whole chapter in Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design just for higher-drive wives, with specific ideas on how to proceed. But start with knowing who you are — a healthy, desirable wife, who simply has a challenge to be addressed. And then pray to know that next step.
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