A Letter to the Low Drive Husband

I’m not sure how many low-drive husbands read my blog, but I know quite a few high-drive wives read it. Sometimes they comment or email me about the issues in their marriage, and I personally lament how few resources there are for couples in this scenario.

Today it’s on my heart to write not to the high-drive wife (though I have done that and will continue to do so), but to the low-drive husband because that’s also a tough position to be in.

Blog post title + woman's hands writing a letter

Dear Low-Drive Husband,

You live in a frustrating world. All around you, the message is that men want sex constantly, that their appetite for sex — particularly with the woman they love — is nearly unquenchable. It’s a message you grew up with, so much that it seems like masculinity itself is linked with a high sex drive.

And while you’ve got the equipment and it works, you’re just not that needy for sexual encounters with your wife. Sure, you like them. But on any given day, you’re not busting out of your pants zipper at the thought of sex, or even the thought of your sexy wife — as gorgeous as she is. And plenty of nights you long for sleep as much or more than you do sex.

Confessing this to other guys, however, might get your Man Card revoked. So you haven’t gone around asking how it’s going with others or seeking resources for your “issue.”

Even admitting it to your wife is difficult. Especially if your wife is high drive and wants sex more than you expected her to, or than you feel like. In fact, something about how much more she wants sex makes you feel like you don’t measure up.

As someone who has studied and written on married sexuality for almost seven years and hears from higher drives wives almost every week, let me see if I can explain a few things.

You’re all man.

Totally man. Completely, thoroughly M-A-N. A more passive sex drive doesn’t make you any less male. If you’ve got the package and you know how to use it, rest assured you’re good to go. God knows what He made, and he made you XY — man. In fact, this is a big factor in why your wife wants you so much. Because she’s very into you being different from her and how you fit together as male-female so perfectly.

Please don’t listen to the messages that equate masculinity with unbridled sex drive. They aren’t from God. Rather, principles of biblical manhood within marriage are controlling sinful appetites, providing for one’s family, and servant leadership.

Pay attention to these words from King David: “When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. ‘I am about to go the way of all the earth,’ he said. ‘So be strong, act like a man,…’” His next words were not, “And show off your sexual prowess, thus getting lots of high-fives in the men’s locker room.” Rather, David finished his instructions this way: “and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses.”

Also, consider what the Apostle Paul said: ” As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience” (Titus 2:1-2,  NLT). These are pictures of biblical manhood.

You’re not alone.

You’re not the only one out there whose sex drive isn’t in high gear 24/7. You’re in the company of 15-30% of other husbands. Let me break that down for you. In terms of the U.S. population, that’s about 22 to 45 million men. If we’re talking world population, it’s 0.57 to 1.13 billion men. So while some may make you feel like a stranger in a strange land, you’re not.

While it seems risky, if not dangerous, to admit to another guy that you have a lagging sex drive, there are resources for you. Some have written about low-drive husbands, and you can also take many married sex articles, books, resources and just reverse things in your mind (if they say the wife is lower drive, but you are in your marriage, then pay more attention to the advice on that side).

That doesn’t always work, which is why I have a chapter in Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design about higher-drive wives and the men who love them. And I’m also working on a whole book about higher-drive wives, mainly aimed at women but there will still be information for you.

You need to take action.

Dude, your wife is hurting. I hear from higher-drive wives all the time who question their desirability, their marriage relationship, and even their husband’s love, because they feel like the weird one whose husband doesn’t want them sexually. Even more importantly, God intended for you and your wife to have regular sexual intimacy in marriage.

You have a biblical obligation to engage in the marriage bed: “The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs” (1 Corinthians 3:5). Now that doesn’t mean that you should schlep to the bedroom with duty, duty, duty playing through your head. The second part of that verse, and so many other places in the Bible, show us sexual intimacy in marriage is for both spouses and should be pleasurable and connection-building.

Rather, this is a call to action. If you’re not currently fulfilling your wife’s sexual needs, you need to work on why and what to do about it. How can you create a situation in which you both desire sexual intimacy? I don’t know what your issues are, but I’ll throw out a few possibilities:

  • Your body chemistry is off
  • You had/have a porn habit
  • You have sexual baggage
  • You were taught that sex = sin
  • You’re not attracted to your wife (see note below)
  • You have self-doubts
  • You’re super-stressed
  • You’re just a passive guy

This is a really long letter now, playing right into the stereotype of the talkative female (which I totally am). So I’m going to hold off on explaining each of those issues and some fixes until next week. But it’s my prayer that you will find something here to take steps in the right direction. You might need to see a doctor, seek help to deal with your porn problem, study more about what the Bible says about sex, etc.

And if your wife shared this blog post with you, maybe it’s time to take a walk together hand-in-hand or sit across the kitchen table and have an honest conversation about sex in your marriage.

Because she wants you — all of you. And I suspect, once you work out a few things, you want her a great deal too.

Note on “not attracted to your wife”: High-drive wives will likely read that as physical appearance, but men tell me it’s almost always things like feeling disrespected or ignored that makes her less appealing to him.  You, dear woman, are beautiful, but relationship issues can tense men to the point that they don’t feel as drawn to their wives. I’ll cover that more next week, but I really didn’t want to leave the wrong impression!

26 thoughts on “A Letter to the Low Drive Husband

  1. Anonymous

    I don’t consider myself high or low. But we’re coming up on 11 mouths anniversary of no sex.
    Not by my choice. Approaching 60 I’m starting to get concerned of my own ability if she change her mind.
    I’ve never come close to this length of time since I was 15 and I’m not handling it well.

    Reply
  2. Doug

    Great post! It’s easy for a man to think just because he can’t get or sustain an erection he can’t fulfill his wife’s sexual needs. This is bologna. Men are commanded to love their wives regardless of drive. When God closes a door He opens a window. Husbands should seek alternative routes. If the problem is as you said, “men tell me it’s almost always things like feeling disrespected or ignored that makes her less appealing to him,” then these men need to read up on how to become an Alpha-Male. A disrespectful wife can easily be blamed for what in reality is the “Betaization” of a husband, a product of our modern society of ease.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Yes, men certainly can seek alternative routes!

      And I’ve personally discovered that using the terms alpha male or beta male creates varied connotations in people’s minds. So I get what you’re saying, but I think these days I’m more inclined to talk about being a Christ-like man. Christ was strong but meek, protective but sacrificial, and so on.

      Reply
      1. Doug

        Christ-like definitely. The terms alpha/beta are no doubt secular, but I find secular authors tend to be more vivid and straightforward when it comes to this subject. Christian authors tend to push the beta man, as if Christ were Mr. Rogers. Yet secular authors will be blunt: women find comfort in the beta man, but it’s the alpha they want to have sex with. Christian authors for the most part are too tame. Sometimes we men need a shot of 100 proof whiskey, not a wine cooler if that makes sense. Lol.

        Reply
        1. J Post author

          I agree that we sometimes stress the meek part of Jesus’s character, without paying attention to his strength and assertiveness. This guy was our savior and sacrificial lamb, but he was also a carpenter, which required some major physical strength in those days, and he didn’t mince words with those opposed to His mission. Honestly, when I wavered in my faith in my early 20s, it was reading the Gospels myself that made me realize the picture of Jesus provided by many of my Bible classes was incomplete. Jesus was, as one might say, a “man’s man,” not a pushover. But He was also entirely in control of His power and emotions. So yeah, I get the whiskey comment.

          Reply
  3. Debbie

    I don’t consider myself as high drive, but hubby is no drive and has decided to be asexual – no I was not asked or considered during this decision making process, yes I am hur, yes I am angry, yes he knows this, yes we are in therapy though separately, thanks for this article though I won’t be sharing it because he will see it as a DUTY ( capitalized, highlighted and underlined ) but I am also very sad 🙁 thanks for your articles and podcasts

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Hubby has decided to be asexual? Yeah, I think not. I’d definitely be pursuing help and even intervention in that case. Many blessings! I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. Praying hubby has a change of heart.

      Reply
  4. Ads

    Great post! I was just wondering about something. How come so few Christians talk about asexuality. Even if it’s not super common it still seems to be a thing. And even if not many encounter it, shouldn’t someone talk about it? Maybe there are more spouses then we think that are asexual. Asexuality as I have understood isn’t really a choice, it’s something that you’re born with. It’s one thing to not like sex because of abuse or trauma or something else but from what I have read it seems that people who are asexual are just born that way. Sadly very few talk about it and few people know what it is. I mean in Christian circles asexuality can be well hidden. If you meet someone and the person doesn’t want to have sex, you would probably think that it is a godly person, you would never think that the person is asexual. That’s maybe why some after they get married notice that theire spouses aren’t interested in them. So I definitely think this should be talked about. I mean how many wouldn’t have to go through the suffering they are going through if theire was an honest talk about this. If a person before marriage could tell theire partner that they think they are asexual and really discuss what it would mean for theire married life.
    What do you think?
    Please don’t erase this comment. I’ve tried in another blog but for some reason the blogger didn’t want to post my question. I am. It saying that spouses should use asexuality as an excuse to not have sex or work on other reasons I just think that just as we need to talk about spouses who struggle with same-sex attraction , we need to talk about asexuality.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      So the “born that way” thing? Despite what you hear, it’s not at all black-and-white. Sure, we can discuss but I suspect the asexuality thing is a very uncommon problem. And honestly if that’s where you are, I’ll just say it: You shouldn’t get married. Because sexual intimacy IS a part of marriage as God intended.

      Reply
      1. Ads

        I only mentioned the born this way thing because that’s what I read. And why couldn’t that be? Im not saying bhomosexuality is something your born with but Im still unsure, because of the fall of man it may be so but that can be restored in Christ. With a sexuality it’s different. If someone is not interested in sex that person isn’t doing anything sinful so it may be that the person was born that way. I don’t know how many struggle with this but how can we know. There is such pressure on people to be married and have sex. Especially in Christian circles. Believe me I am not asexual I was thinking if that could help someone. We as Christians sometimes don’t want to talk about those things that are uncomfortable. Like people who struggle with same-sex attraction, i know you have Written about it but maybe more people have to discuss it because it can really be a problem but who do you tell about that in a Christian community? Again I am not saying this because I struggle with this but because I just wanted to lift a perspective that maybe people don’t see. The same with sexuality. You say that if in asexual I shouldn’t get married. But what about the person who never understood he or she was asexual but still was looking for companionship and someone to love? Wouldn’t it be helpful to finally know what’s up and for the spouse to understand and maybe start working in this. I read about an asexual women and her husband. She told him early on she was asexual. They talked it through and she says they work in trying to have sex because she understands it is important for him even if it doesn’t do anything for her. So that’s why I mentioned it. I’ve seen so many people on blogs suffering so much because of theire spouse lack of interest in sex and I am aware that many struggle with past abuse and other things that make sex hard for them but maybe it’s time to learn more and talk about asexuality too. Just a thought

        Reply
        1. J Post author

          I agree that if you get married, not understanding your sexuality, that you have to work on it because you made vows. I also know that the prevalent view is the “born this way” theory, but it’s truly not borne out by proper research. I believe there are propensities, but other factors as well, one of them being choice to move in the direction you want. Yes, of course it’s a struggle for some, so I’m right there with you on addressing it! Indeed, we should. As God’s people, we should not shy away from any such struggles, but rather show how Christ can illuminate the way for any issues you have. Blessings!

          Reply
  5. Maggie

    Thank you so much for this article. Having been a high-drive wife with a low-drive husband has been a crushing, heartbreaking thing in my life for years. He gets upset and defensive and hurt whenever I bring it up, but as a result he “tries harder” for a little while, and then back to a constant state of intimate drought we’d go! I eventually just gave up. Now I basically just live in constant self-doubt, with feelings of inadequacy and being unattractive. I do crazy diets and works and wear makeup and try so many things to make him notice me, but he never does. Now I feel like I am broken and a big part of my soul is just dead. I have had to stuff down my sexual feelings for my husband so much, it’s hard to revive them when the stars do align enough for him to be interested in me. I wish he had a friend to show him this article. I wish there were more resources like this available for guys.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I pray that some low-drive husbands, even yours, read your comment and begin to understand how wrapped up sexual intimacy is with our sense of being loved. Sex isn’t everything, but it’s a big thing in marriage and an area of intimacy that should be nurtured. Yes, it’s hard sometimes for the lower-drive spouse, but the answer isn’t to therefore shut down but to figure out how to make it easier, so that you both take pleasure in the marriage bed.

      Also praying specifically for you right now, Maggie.

      Reply
  6. Amy

    I was the higher-drive wife for so many years and cried myself to sleep too many nights to count. My husband was eventually diagnosed with low testosterone, is receiving treatment, and it has completely changed our marriage.

    However, the reason I’m responding to your post is because this is the best post I’ve ever read about low-drive men. You reassured men that they are still masculine, yet still asked them to take action for their wives. Thank you. I pray that many wives will share this letter with their own husbands, that it will be well received, and that it will be the springboard to the action that is needed to restore their marriage beds.

    Thank you again.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I’m so glad y’all found the source of the issue and dealt with it! Many blessings to you and your marriage.

      Reply
  7. S

    I am the higher drive spouse and have been our entire 14 year marriage. My husband’s drive got lower and lower and I suspected low testosterone, he had it tested and it was very low for a man in his early 30s. We discussed him getting hormone therapy, but we may want more children and we were cautioned by multiple Drs to hold off on the hormone therapy treatment until after we are done having children.
    It has been a struggle, but he has been taking extra supplements and vitamins that help and he got a new position at work that is less stressful and his cortisol levels have decreased. It has helped some, but I am still the higher drive spouse by a significant amount. I do wonder what it would be like to have a husband who is hot for me all the time. We mostly have a good sex life now (we still have way less sex than is ideal for me). For years it has taken a toll on my emotions. He would have sex “for me” or because I wanted to. And I just wanted him to be enthusiastic about it. Once we would start to have sex he would enjoy himself, but it was getting him to where he wanted to do it that is difficult. It hurt that he didn’t want me. I have cried myself to sleep feeling unloved and unattractive. Even though he tells me I am beautiful and treats me extremely well. He even checks me out and comments on my body when I’m wearing something he likes or when I’m naked. He just doesn’t have thay desire to jump into bed. We have talked at length about this on mamy different occasion. We mostly understand where each other is coming from now. We are both meeting in the middle. It is still hard. I still struggle with feeling unloved and undesired at times. I wish I was having to fight him off with a stick like my friend’s do with their husbands. I have been open with my friends about him having the lower drive and how it makes me feel. They are all understanding, but they don’t really get it. But at least they are willing to listen. I feel like a totally freak sometimes, but I realized that my sweet husband does too. We love each other and are committed to having a successful relationship.
    Thank you for this letter. It is on point. I cried while reading it because this is such an emotional subject for me and it has many layers of emotions. I’m sure I could write an entire blog, but I’ll stop here. Hah!

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Bless you for sharing your situation. I’m sure it mirrors where some others are. And your story is so hopeful in showing how you can communicate respectfully and lovingly and make progress. In the future, you might be able to also add more testosterone to the mix, but for now it sounds like you’re in a pretty good place. Just recognize that some sex drives are more responsive than assertive, and that’s okay if you both enjoy intimacy in your bedroom. Blessings!

      Reply
      1. S

        That is something I am still learning and you make a great point. Some drives are more responsive, it is good for me to keep that in mind. Thanks!!

        Reply
    2. Maggie

      I totally relate to what you said about him having sex “for you”… you want them to have sex with you because they think you’re attractive and they can’t keep their hands off you, not because they’re fulfilling some kind of duty, like taking out the trash. They ultimately like it, but it’s like the next morning there’s awkwardness and amnesia, like it never even happened. I also totally related to the frustration of having friends that complain like “my husband is always after me to have sex, why can’t he leave me alone and take a cold shower?!” and I am thinking “at least your husband still tries to have sex with you!”. I like your point about how we feel like the weirdos for wanting to have sex more, but our husbands must feel like that too, for being the opposite of what society expects men to be like sexually. My husband is an amazing man, and has so many wonderful qualities, I feel like a jerk complaining about this one issue all the time. Some people’s husbands hit them or cheat on them or spend all the family money on dumb stuff. I am honestly lucky.

      Reply
  8. Four Under Four

    Thank you for a great letter! Sex drive is not a button you can push whenever you want it, nor a switch you can turn off if you don’t, which makes it so hard to discuss high and low drives. But you di a great job of being understanding, kind and forthright.

    “S” says her husband would have sex “just for her” because he wasn’t really into it, and describes how that bothered her. As a low drive spouse, I am curious how to fix that problem? I can go along with it, just for my husband – and not be cranky and resentful – but I can’t always muster up that enthusiasm because it is physically just not there (just like he can’t pretend to not be interested). Sure, I could fake it a little bit, but that feels so shallow and wrong, somehow, and I suspect is not what a higher drive spouse actually wants. What am I supposed to do you both satisfy my husband and not make him feel hurt that I’m not really into it?

    Reply
    1. Jolie

      @ Four Under Four,

      Right there with you. Having a low drive stinks. It’s hard when sex doesn’t cary the same meaning for both partners. I just wish sex did for me what it seems to do for some many other people.

      It takes 2 to work on the (I won’t say problem) situation.

      Sex therapist Sandra Pertot, PhD. says, “Therefore, you want your partner to be gently understanding and supportive of any efforts you make to try to meet your partner’s wants and needs. Just as you need to focus on the reasons to have sex rather than to say no, you need your partner to focus on what you can bring to sex rather than what is missing.”

      The onus isn’t only on you. The high drive person needs to help make sex easy for you.
      Quit feeling guilty, you didn’t make yourself this way and guilt won’t help you think more positively about sex. Sex, for the low drive person, it just plain hard sometimes.

      *comment slightly edited in line with policy*

      Reply
  9. Pingback: What I Wish I Knew About Sex as a New Bride | Wow Plus

  10. Jim

    I’m 50. Very low drive now, actually zero. I have been battling low T and ED for nearly 5 years now. Even before then I really never was high drive. Once a month was totally fine by me. So on the low T I have tried T replacement. The gel, the shots, etc. Nothing worked, and in fact I get seriously sick. Vomiting, migraines, the works. Last time was so bad I was hospitalized. At that point I said I can’t do this anymore. Without T replacement I bounce from 80 to maybe 300 on my T levels on a good test day.

    We tried Viagra because I thought at least I could make her feel good even if I really don’t want to be doing this. Without the T, the entire act just is not an appealing idea. Unless you have lived with really low T you won’t understand. Back to the Viagra. Flop. In fact I thought I was going to die the headache was so bad and I had vision problems. I went to the eye doctors a few weeks after because my vision in one eye never really recovered fully. He did diagnose permanent damage had been done and it changed my prescription for my glasses.

    At this point I’ve told her sex is a thing of the past. I can’t keep doing this to myself. It’s not worth it and we have 2 kids still in school and I’m the sole bread winner of the family. I’m not going to risk changing the lives of my family by me not being able to work. I have offered to help her out or make her “feel good” but no more meds.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Oh Jim, how frustrating for you! And for her as well. I’m currently looking into natural ways to raise testosterone. If I find something worthwhile, I’ll definitely be sharing it on my blog. Praying for answers, healing, and connection in your marriage.

      Reply

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