Q&A with J: No Interest in Sex & Meeting Emotional Needs

It’s Q&A day again! Today, I’m tackling two questions: one about a lack of interest in sex and the second about meeting emotional needs in marriage. Let’s get to it!

Blog post title + illustration of bed with question marks above

1. No Interest in Sex

I’m in a strange predicament. I relate to the term “demisexual”, which basically means someone better be my best friend if they want a prayer of me thinking they’re attractive. I lovingly refer to this as “the most convenient orientation”, but it has had its inconveniences as well.

Growing up, I was unable to relate to my friends who seemed to fall in love so quickly. I rarely thought about sex until I got serious (staying pure till marriage- no worries!) with my fiancé. Sex seems like fun! I’m looking forward to it and I want to be as experimental (now that I know you can be! Lol)

The hardest part, though, is that both my fiancé and I have a mutual concern. I don’t think much about sex. I am not interested in it as much as the normal person. I don’t understand why sex sells and I am a businesswoman and a performer. I am mortified that my wiring is going to ruin my marriage. Heck, it took me two years to kiss the poor boy. He is the most respectful and patient and loving man I have ever met, but I feel so guilty and like this aspect of me is going to be a curse on our relationship.

What advice do you have to give to women who just don’t have much active interest in sex? Or couples with different libidos?

Let me first say that I don’t think all those terms (“demisexual,” “asexual,” etc.) are all that helpful. It’s a label that makes it seems like you’re different in a way that doesn’t seem all that weird to me. A lot of people aren’t that interested in sex with someone unless and until they feel deep companionship and connection.

A lot of people aren't that interested in sex with someone unless and until they feel deep companionship and connection. Click To Tweet

In addition, not being interested in sex isn’t the kiss of death to your intimacy either. Many — really, the majority of — women have libidos that are more responsive than proactive. Such wives can have wonderful sexual intimacy if they prioritize sex in their marriage, decide to engage, and then surrender to the pleasure of the experience. They may not ever have an independent urge to have sex, but from memories of how good it made them feel before and how sex keeps them connected to their husband, they continue to enjoy ongoing affection and sexual pleasure throughout their marriage.

All that said, a nonexistent libido or inability to respond sexually could be a problem. One question I’d have is whether you experience physiological arousal at any time. That is, do you experience lubrication and swelling in the genital area at any time when you’re with your fiancé? Women often aren’t as aware of their arousal, but if their bodies are physiologically responding, it’s a good sign for future sexual engagement. If that’s not happening, you should visit a doctor to check on hormone levels and any other factors that could influence your sexual physiology.

I also highly recommend a video course recently released by fellow marriage and sex author Sheila Gregoire titled Boost Your Libido, which you can find HERE.

If you get married and continue to have problems, I’d suggest seeing a counselor to determine what else might be going on. God really did create us to be a sexual beings, and while our libidos can run the spectrum, having zero sexual interest or response isn’t likely without some underlying reason.

Related post: What Is Sexual Interest? Why Should I Care? from OysterBed7

2. Meeting Your Spouse’s Emotional Needs

This has less to do with sex and more with maintaining a healthy marriage.

My husband and I are similar in many ways but words of affirmation is an area where we are not. He is a tender, humble, hilarious husband! I have nothing but good things to say about him—to others. But when it comes to expressing appreciation and love, in a deeper, heart-to-heart way, to HIM, I stink! I feel so uncomfortable!

My husband is an ESFJ, if that means anything to you, so feeling valued and appreciated is very important to him. He truly NEEDS to hear affirmation–a LOT. For me, as an ESTJ, I can go without words of affirmation for a long time and be totally fine. Sometimes his constant need for praise feels like insecurity and can be annoying to me. At the same time, I hit the jackpot in regards to husbands and am overwhelmingly grateful most days.

Any insight on how I can become more comfortable in being verbally affirming?

For those who might not recognize the label, that’s a four-letter personality type based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a test I’ve taken, administered, and interpreted. I’m a big fan of the MBTI.

But emotional needs have also been identified through other resources like The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman and His Needs, Her Needs by Willard F. Harley, Jr.  Regardless of which approach you use, you’re likely to discover that you and your spouse are not the same person. Surprise! You express and experience love in different ways.

You're likely to discover that you and your spouse are not the same person. Surprise! You express and experience love in different ways. Click To Tweet

Now most of us expressed love in just about every way possible while courting, because the experience of falling in love does that to a person — makes you gush out your feelings through every pore they can find. Once married, or past the honeymoon phase, we tend to fall back into the habits our personality type is comfortable with. That’s a good thing, because it means we’re maturing in our love. But it’s also a bad thing if we let go of an action that was particularly meaningful to our spouse.

What’s the answer? Well, you can keep your personality type and still meet your spouse’s emotional needs. You will have to do some changing, but it won’t be that painful. Really. Here are my suggestions for meeting the emotional need of verbal affirmation, but the principles can apply to meeting any emotional need for your beloved spouse.

Recognize it will be awkward at first. Whenever we’re setting up a new habit, it feels unnatural at first — because it is. But over time, it will become more natural if you keep at it and let the new habit sink in.

Set up a routine. Make a point of saying something affirming when you wake up, when you leave, when you get home, or whatever triggers work for you. Even set up reminders on your phone to share something positive with your husband.

Write it, if that’s easier. Some people feel weird saying compliments aloud, but find it easier to write them down. If that’s you, then buy some cute post-in notes or stationery and make it a habit to write a word of affirmation and plant it where you husband will see it (e.g., in his lunch bag, on his computer screen, on the bathroom mirror).

Be genuine. Don’t say stuff you don’t believe or “fluff” that you think he wants to hear. Look for something positive in your hubby that you really believe, even if it’s something small, and then comment on that.

Pray. Yeah, pray for the right words and the right attitude and the right reception from your husband. It seems to me that your desire to bless your husband in this way is entirely in line with God’s will, so surely He will bless you in this endeavor if you invite His guidance.

That’s it for today’s questions. More Q&A next week!

8 thoughts on “Q&A with J: No Interest in Sex & Meeting Emotional Needs

  1. Kay

    I am at words of affirmation gal myself, and the formula really isn’t that hard. Try something like “thank you for XYZ, that means so much to me. “ Or “I really appreciate that about you.” Try texting if that isn’t too lame. A text like that from my husband would probably make my week.

    Example: thank you for getting the girls to bed last night well I wasn’t feeling well. That means so much to me. I appreciate your willingness to jump on in.

    Reply
    1. E

      Yes! I am also words of affirmation, and I just feel the love when I am told that something I have done has blessed someone (like my husband), conversely, be very careful with using a harsh word when you are angry, because words of affirmation peeps tend to get wounded easily by words used against them.

      Also, I’m curious about your Myers Briggs, J (if that’s not too intrusive a question), I love me some Myers Briggs (I’m an ISTP)! Have you had anything to do with Enneagram numbers?

      Reply
      1. J Post author

        I’m a little familiar with Enneagram of Personality, but not much. While the MBTI is based on a substantial body of research, the Enneagram system is based in historical theories that haven’t been well researched or accepted by the academic and practician community. Other personality systems like CliftonStrengths (formerly Strengths Finder) and the DISC theory of behavior have much wider acceptance.

        By the way, the DISC system is analogous to the four temperaments (sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholy, and choleric), and Gary Smalley and John Trent used those to establish a fun little system matching personality types to animals.

        …and now you’ve seen what a bit personality type nerd I am! Lol.

        Reply
  2. Ashlee

    I relate to the person I the first question of about having no interest. Your answer is even more concerning because I am that person has lacks both desire to be sexual AND physiological arousal. My husband and I have been married 13 years and my body does not respond to sexual stimulation be it foreplay or intercourse or anything in between. I did not have sexual desires growing up either and never understood why people or how people enjoy sex because it doesn’t feel any different than washing my body. It’s just skin. I began pushing my doctor about it as I felt like I had been married and tried many many things to attempt to get an arousal response with out any results and I wanted answers as to why my body and brain was broken. It would be nice to be “into” making love with the same excitement and passion as my husband but that’s hard to do when you lack those desires and sensations. They tested my hormones and said everything was within normal range. I persisted more so they tried some topical hormone therapy. After 6 months of trying they still NOTHING happened except side effects like new thick hair growth where it was applied. I’ve read and applied Sheila book on good girls guide to sex and still nothing changes physiologically or with desire. I don’t have fantasies and sex is ever on my mind. I’ve spoken to 3 doctors and they don’t seem to know what else to do or try at this point so I feel hopeless. That I may never know what it feels like to be aroused or mentally desire sex much less something like the mysterious orgasm. It’s easy to get advice and try it but after years of trying this and that it’s just emotionally exhausting and the disappointment and dissatisfaction in my marriage bed for us both is disheartening to say the least. We both want so much to have a mutually great sex life of intimacy but he knows I don’t desire sex and he knows from experience that no matter how hard he tries and has tried to get me aroused all his efforts are fruitless and no matter how hard I try to mentally push my brain to think sexually it never produces fruit. There seems to be no good reason for my otherwise normal body to not work in this area of life that God designed to be good. Again this is a lifelong circumstance for me… so what advice if any is there for a woman like me. Who has the right heart attitude about sex and knows it’s value for a healthy marriage but just can’t physically or mentally get aroused which causes stress in our marriage bed on both parts. We have sex 1-2 times week typically because I know it’s important to him but I pray one day I will want it too and that one day I can feel some sort of pleasure from it beyond just mentally knowing it’s healthy for marriage. It’s like eating my green vegetables… I don’t care to have them and sometimes choke them down but I do it because it’s a healthy part of life and provides nutrients. Oh how much easier it would be if I truly loved eating them or craved them and felt satisfied

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Oh, bless your heart! I just want to pull you in for a big girlfriend hug. It does sound to me like you’re doing so much right. I’m not going to give you some platitude-like tips here. But I would encourage you to see a specialist in sexual health. Chris Taylor of the Forgiven Wife wrote a great post on her experience: An Embarrassing Post about Female Sexual Dysfunction (Plus 5 Tips!) Also, you might want to read Jennifer Smith’s story (the Unveiled Wife); she also went years without knowing what was going on, but finally found some answers. While I doubt you have the same issue, her journey might encourage you: https://youtu.be/Uv514hOj9bs

      Saying a prayer for your challenge.

      Reply
  3. Jodie

    Consider grabbing the 30 day husband challenge from Revive Our Hearts. It’s a fantastic resource for focusing on encouragement for your husband. Each day gives a different area to focus on. I could see this being a great resource for people who don’t know how to give affirmations naturally.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I’m not familiar with that resource, but when I looked up Revive Our Hearts, I recognized Mary Kassian from the site. I liked Stormie O’Martian’s Praying for Your Husband book too.

      Reply
  4. Doug

    Good advice for the unmarried woman who thinks she has zero sexual desire. To me, however, this raises a serious red flag. If her future husband can’t turn her on before marriage, I would not expect anything after. I would suggest the woman clearly communicate this to her fiancé before they marry. Her lack of desire may be attributable to the man.

    Reply

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