Tag Archives: differences in sex drive

Q&A with J: “I Want to Find a Wife Who Can Fulfill My Sexual Needs”

Today’s question is from a young, single man who is wondering about the sexual intimacy he’ll one day have in marriage. His query is filled with issues I want to address, so let’s get started.

I struggle with guilt about wanting regular sex in my future marriage. My sex drive is unfortunately very high to the point where I crave intimacy on a daily basis. I am hoping that if I get married one day, that I will end up married to a wonderful Christian lady who has a higher sex drive like mine and would want it on a daily basis, or at least something close to that like 1-4 days a week (ideally everyday, I REALLY want it everyday). I know there are women out there who would want it on a daily basis, but they seem to be unfortunately very rare as men generally crave sex more than women. I could ask God for someone who would want sex on a daily basis, and I often do, but I kind of feel like why should I expect to get that lucky, considering that most guys don’t? I really want someone who can adequately fulfill my needs. I don’t want to spend a vast majority of my marriage masturbating, I want to be having sex with her. I already masturbate everyday just to get my arousal out, but I still want sex with a real woman and feel that it would be much more fulfilling. Again, when and if I’m married, I want to end up having sex with my wife more often than I masturbate, but I’m afraid that cannot happen. Sometimes I get in really bad moods at the thought of not getting enough sex in my future marriage. I feel that maybe it is due to a porn addiction that I have been (unsuccessfully) trying to quit on and off for two years. I was hoping that marital sex could help me to stop looking at porn. I could use help in that area too. I need help. I’m desperate. Any counsel you could give, regarding what I have written here, would be greatly appreciated. I just ask that you be gentle and understanding about it. Thank you for your time and God bless!

Blog post title + with smiling couple in bed (illustration)

I will certainly aim for “gentle and understanding,” which I try to do on most Q&A days, but sometimes I “tell it like it is.” And as I read your question, I couldn’t help but think that you’ve been sold some malarkey. Believe me, you’re not the only one. But I’d like to correct a few beliefs here, which should give you more hope.

“I struggle with guilt about wanting regular sex in my future marriage.” Of course you should want regular sex in your future marriage. It’s sad to me that there are Christians who feel guilty about having what God wants them to experience in marriage; yet I know it happens.

Unfortunately, sex is sometimes mentioned in the Church, if it’s spoken of at all, only when it involves remaining abstinent outside of marriage and not sexually sinning (like adultery or porn). We leave the impression that sex itself is a problem, rather than Satan’s attempts to twist sex into something God didn’t intend it to be.

Let me be clear: God wants you to have regular sex in your marriage.

Let me be clear: God wants you to have regular sex in your marriage. Click To Tweet

1 Corinthians 7:3-5 says:

The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (NLT)

And He made sure that there’s an entire book in the Bible devoted to marital, sexual love. It’s called Song of Solomon. God is sex-positive! So please don’t feel guilty for wanting to experience the gift He desires you and your wife to someday have. Of course, what He wants right now is that wait for marriage.

I know there are women out there who would want it on a daily basis, but they seem to be unfortunately very rare as men generally crave sex more than women.” Actually, high-drive wives are more common than you think. I don’t know exactly what the numbers are (though I’m researching), but I’ve heard estimates that in 15% to 30% of marriages it’s the wife who has the higher libido. Given my email inbox and comments on this blog, I tend to believe that’s about right. And that doesn’t account for marriages in which the husband has the greater sex drive, but the wife is highly responsive.

I’m not saying that couples don’t have sexual frequency conflicts; plenty do. However, we’re primed by our culture to believe that husbands always want sex and women rarely do. And it’s just not true. So let’s replace the phrase “very rare” with the reality that a majority of husbands desire more frequent sexual intimacy than their wives, but a fair percentage of wives desire more sex and many other wives are certainly willing.

“I really want someone who can adequately fulfill my needs.” Are you equally concerned about meeting her needs? What’s good for the gander is good for the goose, eh? Marriages thrive when you are both concerned about meeting each other’s perceived needs — whether that’s sex, affection, respect, conversation, emotional security, etc. If you want to find Mrs. Right, your focus should be on becoming Mr. Right.

If you want to find Mrs. Right, your focus should be on becoming Mr. Right. Click To Tweet

Also, it’s really hard right now not to view your sex drive as physical tension that demands release. But if you say to your wife, “I want you to meet my sexual needs,” you’re honestly treating her like a means to an end. As I say all the time, your spouse is not your sex toy. She isn’t there to just satisfy your sexual craving. What God wants instead is for you both to pursue intimacy through sexual connection. When you’re both focused on meeting one another’s needs and becoming closer through the exchange of pleasure, that‘s when the sex gets really good.

I already masturbate everyday just to get my arousal out…” I hear ya, but you’re probably making things worse. I don’t believe masturbation is inherently wrong, but it’s unwise to stoke your sexual desire day after day with self-satisfaction. For one thing, the average refractory period for men (time they can easily go between orgasms) is about 72 hours. But if you’re ejaculating daily, your body adapts to anticipating daily release. So you’re basically making your body even more sex-needy.

Also, masturbation involves a feedback loop that you cannot get in marital lovemaking. You are both pleasuring yourself and feeling the pleasure, so you can quickly make adjustments that bring you to climax quickly. Some frequent masturbators then find that having sex with a woman is frustrating, because it takes longer to reach orgasm. Men who masturbate with porn can find that they actually cannot orgasm with intercourse, because their body has been so primed to the hand job.

You really should decrease your self-satisfaction, so you can keep your body’s sexual energy aimed at the ultimate goal — beautiful lovemaking with your someday wife. I have talked about options for when you cannot have sex with Sexual Release Without Sinfulness and What To Do with Sexual Desire Before Marriage.

“I feel that maybe it is due to a porn addiction that I have been (unsuccessfully) trying to quit on and off for two years.” That surely contributes. And to be fair, why should a woman enter marriage with a man who cannot beat this habit? Look, my heart is filled with compassion for men who struggle with this terrible temptation. It’s everywhere, and Satan knows exactly how to target men. (He’s got other ways of targeting us women too.) I’m thrilled you want to quit porn. Thank God you see that it’s both a sin and a terrible habit that can affect your marriage. That’s a terrific first step!

But I wonder what “trying to quit” means to you. Have you taken concrete steps? Installed porn-blocking software? Told a mentor or your pastor about your struggle? Found an accountability partner? Visited the XXXChurch or Fight the New Drug websites for resources on how to successfully quit? Many men have tried to quit on their own and haven’t. Those who succeed set goals, enlist help, and follow through. Believe me, God is on your side on this one — 100%.

“I was hoping that marital sex could help me to stop looking at porn.” While it may help, plenty of married men having regular sex still look at porn. Being happily married is indeed one factor that helps men stay away from porn. According to the General Social Survey of 2000, conducted by the University of Chicago, happily married men were 61% less likely to look at porn. However, in a 2014 survey by The Barna Group, 55% of married men reported watching porn at least once a month, compared to 70% of single men. (See Covenant Eyes Porn Data.) You need to make the decision ahead of time to quit porn. Because while being married can help, it’s no guarantee.

And as gently as I can say this: If a woman contacted me and said she was thinking about marrying a man who’d had a porn addiction for two years and couldn’t seem to quit, I’d tell her to hold off. Neither of you needs that baggage in your marriage. Because porn really can hurt your sex life. But take heart: You can gain victory. Others have done it, and you can too.

What I really want you to walk away with is an understanding that:

  • God wants you to experience amazing lovemaking in your marriage. Sex was His idea, and He knows its best context is marriage. But it is His generous gift to you and your future wife.
  • Great sex awaits you. And it’s not about sexually compatible sex drives, but rather both of you understanding that it sex is a priority and it is worth the effort in your marriage.
  • The best way to make sure you attract a godly, sexy wife is to work on yourself. So focus on sex as a future intimacy-builder and a way to give something beautiful to your wife, not just to meet your needs. And take specific steps to rid your life of porn, so that it won’t damage your future marriage.

What other tips do my readers have? What would you tell singles desiring to have wonderful sexual intimacy in their future marriage?

Q&A with J: Do Women Like Sex?

I had to pare down the reader question today. There was some more background, but I included enough to get to the core of this husband’s question:

My wife and I have been in marriage counseling for almost a year with little progress. There are several issues in our marriage but one of the most disappointing is that we only have sex once or twice a year. Several of those years have gone by without any sexual contact at all. The longest we have gone is over a year and a half. This has gone on for 37.5 years. You are probably wondering why I would allow this situation to go on so long. The only answer that I can give you is that our relationship has been the perfect storm

I want you to know that I am doing and have done everything I can think of or that either therapist suggests to make this marriage work. I love my wife and have no intention of leaving my marriage unless she drives me off.

Ok, so here is my question, my sister-in-law is an RN and she and my wife are good friends. She is upset that I am making waves and has said that since I tolerated this behavior for more than 37 years I should just continue to tolerate it. Besides, she claims, that woman do not like sex and only do it because their husbands demand it. She says that sex should be quick and that anything over 30 minutes is much too long. Our therapist has commented that in the context of sex, I think like a woman stereotypically thinks and my wife thinks like a man. I am a hopeless romantic who prefers long love-making sessions that include lots of touching and kissing. I didn’t get much touch when I was little, at least not the good kind. She shows me very little affection or tenderness which, I have told her are my top two needs.

In your experience, is my sister-in-law right?

Q&A with J: Do Women Like Sex?

I’m going to digress a bit, but hang in there with me because I’ll connect the dots in a moment. As much as I love history, I don’t know how I could have lived before indoor plumbing. If I had lived in the days when outhouses were the norm and that’s what I’d known for 37 years and then one day someone said, “Hey, you don’t have to squat down in a stinky wooden shack in the backyard with bad weather seeping through and insects or snakes threatening. You could just shuffle down the hallway from your bedroom and use a bathroom closet which will flush away what’s left behind.” Well, I can guarantee you that I’d not spend another day steeped in the smell of poop in last year’s latrine. I’d install an indoor toilet immediately!

Which brings me to this: So what if you did something that stunk to high heaven for 37 years?! If you find out there’s a far better option — something God Himself wants you to have — why wouldn’t you pursue that alternative? Saying “you put up with it before” is not an argument for continuing. Step out of the stink and shoot for the intimacy you and your wife should have!

I’m not saying there are guarantees that you’ll get everything you want, or as soon as you want. But it seems wholly preposterous to me not to desire a deeper connection and to foster that intimacy as best you can.

Yet you asked a more specific question: Is your sister-in-law right? Is it true that women don’t like sex? That wives only do it because their husbands demand it? That 30 minutes is more than enough for a sexual encounter?

Let’s put those assertions up against what God said about sexuality in His Word.

“Women don’t like sex.” Just a few verses into Song of Songs, the wife says this: Take me away with you—let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers” (1:4). That sounds to me like a woman eager to get to her marriage bed. Later she says the following:

  • “How handsome you are, my beloved! Oh, how charming! And our bed is verdant” (1:16)
  • I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love. Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love. His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me” (2:3-7).
  • “Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages. Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom—there I will give you my love” (7:11).

I could go on. But a whole bunch of women have also commented on this blog, written me in emails, and spoken to me personally about how much they enjoy the sexual act in their marriages. Plenty even have a higher drive for sexual intimacy than their husbands.

And lots of gals are orgasming out there. *waving at grinning wives* Not everyone, of course, which is why there’s a whole orgasm chapter in my book, Hot, Holy & Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design. But enough to know that a fair amount of women like sex, want sex, enjoy sex.

So no, one-half of the population does not automatically dislike sex simply by virtue of being female.

“Women have sex because their husbands demand it.” Deuteronomy 24:5 says: “If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.” This has often been interpreted, and I agree, as one year to build intimacy in your marriage, including sexually satisfying your wife. Indeed, the traditional Jewish viewpoint of sex in marriage is that it’s the woman’s right and a husband should do his duty by providing sexual intimacy and making it pleasurable for her.

And in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 says that wives have the same conjugal rights as husbands. Why bother stating that husbands owe their wives sex if the wives wouldn’t ever want sex?

Then, there’s the issue that husbands shouldn’t be demanding sex. No, no, no. There’s nothing Christ-like about that approach. Would God create men to demand sex and then instruct them, “Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:28-29)? Or how about this outright command? “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:19). Unwanted sex is pretty harsh.

Rather, God created sex to be a mutual experience, desired and enjoyed by both husband and wife. Will they desire it exactly the same way, or with the same frequency? No — perhaps because having to work at it a bit forces us to get past our own selfishness and act in love toward our mate. A higher-drive husband should pursue activities that make his wife feel cherished and desirable, and a lower-drive wife should commit to making sexual intimacy and pleasure a priority.

“Sex should be quick.” Song of Songs 2:16-17 says: My beloved is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies. Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the rugged hills.” Translation? “We did it all night long.” Hmmm.

Hey, I’m not opposed to quickies. They have their place in marriage. However, a diet of quickies would be like eating fast food all the time. It might take off the hunger edge, but it’s not the delicious experience you should have from dining out.

When I looked up the typical time for women to reach climax, the averages reported ranged from 4 minutes to over 20 minutes. Not sure which studies to believe… However, women I’ve talked to say it rarely happens in less than 10, and several take 30 minutes or more. Whereas lots of guys can get it done quicker, although hubbies tend to last longer as they age. Even so, this isn’t like going from zero-to-sixty in a sports car where less time is more impressive. It’s not how quickly you can make sex happen; it’s what length of time fosters real intimacy.

And most couples need time to build anticipation, romance, and desire. Physically speaking, it takes time to arouse a woman enough for her to even be ready for intercourse, since she must be well-lubricated and her inner vaginal lips swollen to 2-3 times their usual size. Then there’s the vulnerability and wonder of being naked together, viewing and touching one another’s bodies. Not to mention the act itself, which can take a bit of time to pull off. If you rush all that, it can feel rote and impersonal. Couples should devote enough time to sexual intimacy for it to actually feel intimate.

Now all of this doesn’t fix where you are in your marriage. I have a bunch of blog posts about how to approach your lower-drive wife and dealing with sexual problems in marriage — so many that it feels a little overwhelming to list them here. I encourage you to use that search tool at the top right of this page and see what you can find. May God heal you, your wife, and your relationship!

HHH coverIn Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, author J. Parker gives candid advice for wives on everything from kissing to oral sex to orgasm to sexual positions all from a Christian perspective.

Ebook:

Amazon / Kindle | Christianbook.com | Kobo | Barnes & Noble / Nook

Print:
Amazon | Christianbook.com | Barnes & Noble

Q&A with J: Why Did God Make Sex So Hard Sometimes?

Today’s reader question is a short one, with a longer answer.

I had (what I hope is) a quick question. I’ve read that for men, arousal tends to follow desire, whereas for women, desire tends to follow arousal.

Do we have any thoughts on why God created things this way, assuming it was not by accident?

Q&A with J: Why Did God Make Sex So Hard Sometimes?

My first thought is that God has quite the sense of humor. Not only do we have to get naked and get into these awkward positions to have sex, we have to figure out the one we love and all those ways they’re different from us. We plan for our sexual intimacy to look like a passionate love scene from a romance novel, and sometimes it ends up feeling more like putting together an IKEA bookshelf unit with no assembly instructions. (Not that I read the instructions anyway.)

It reminds me of this Yiddish proverb: We plan, God laughs.

We plan, God laughs.

However, God did not design us this way just to have a great big belly laugh, especially not at our expense. He is generous and wise, and I think He created such differences for a higher purpose.

That higher purpose is to make us more like Jesus. Yep, I really believe that.

It’s true that for many husbands, arousal follows desire. He wants sex; then sees, thinks about, or touches you; and bam! he’s ready to go. Yet for many wives, desire follows arousal. Which is why some wives feel they don’t have a sex drive, but if they choose to engage and become aroused . . . their libido kicks in. One way isn’t better than the other; they’re just different. Getting you both on the same page to feel arousal and desire together can be a challenge.

But if husband and wife approach sexual intimacy and satisfaction differently, then they must display traits characteristic of Jesus to get in harmony and experience the best in their marriage. The Bible says that’s how we should conduct ourselves in our relationships with each other, including marriage:

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

The passage following (Philippians 2:6-11) is quite possibly a hymn sung in the early church about Jesus’ humility and servant-mindedness as he left the throne of Heaven, became a servant on earth all the way to the cross, and was then exalted by God to the highest place — where He belongs.

And the verses before this one tell us about several Christ-like characteristics we should pursue:

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,  then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:1-4).

Did you see those traits? Tenderness, compassion, like-mindedness, love, unselfishness, humility, consideration of others.

I can’t assume my husband will approach sexuality the same way I do, so I have to make an effort to understand him, honor him, arouse him, and satisfy him. And he should make that effort for me. As we display that kind of tenderness, compassion, love, etc., we become less selfish and more like Christ.

Our sexual intimacy better mirrors the relationship we Christians have to our bridegroom, Jesus. We understand more about our spouse, but we also understand more about Christ and the loving, intimate relationship He wants with us.

I’m not saying that you can never pursue your own pleasure in the marriage bed. Jesus fed others, but he also ate and drank plenty, including at supper at people’s houseswedding celebrations, and a dinner in his honor. It’s okay to want the good stuff for yourself, but you must also attend to what your spouse needs.

God making us different forces that equation.

But it acts like a cycle too, where honoring one another’s different sexuality brings us more pleasure in the end anyway. Satisfying one another becomes satisfying for ourselves. I know that in the throes of ecstasy, when my husband is rockin’ my world with a capital R-O-C-K, I feel especially motivated to turn him on even more. Turning him on, turns me on. Turning me on, turns him on.

Sex often doesn’t start that way. It can be a choice one spouse makes to engage and allow their arousal to follow — often the wife, but it can be the husband who has less independent sex drive. And that higher-drive spouse — often the husband but not necessarily — needs to be patient and considerate of their beloved’s need to warm up more slowly.

Your mismatch in drives and arousal could be a big problem, but they could simply be a difference — a difference that pushes us toward being like Christ. Even in the marital bedroom.

So I don’t think God’s trying to make sex harder for us. He’s trying to make us better for one another and more like Him. Our calling is to embrace the sex drive we have or can cultivate and trust His generosity.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

3 Things Higher-Drive Spouses Long For

You might think the three things higher-drive spouses long for are sex, sex, and sex. But while I’m certain higher-drive husbands and wives would like greater frequency of sexual intimacy in marriage, I truly believe they want more. So here are three other, very important things higher-drive spouses long for.

couple sitting on bed, facing away from each other + blog post title

1. Recognition that their sex drive isn’t bad. When you want physical intimacy a lot, and your spouse doesn’t, you can get the feeling your sex drive is a bad thing. Sometimes, it’s just a feeling you have that you want sex more than you want to want it. And other times, it’s expressed by your mate with statements like, “Stop being so selfish,” or questions like, “Why do you want sex all the time?” — usually accompanied by a haughty tone and a sneer.

Rather than embracing your libido, you start to feel less-than, in your eyes and/or your spouse’s. And that’s a horrible thing to feel about something that should be considered a gift from God.

What does the higher-drive spouse want? Recognition from their spouse that this sex drive isn’t bad. It’s not inherently selfish or evil or disgusting. A strong desire to make love with your covenant mate is a beautiful thing.

2. Understanding that sex isn’t just about sex. Sure, I know some people who are completely into the physical side of sex and don’t understand the deeper implications. But I hear from many, many more higher-drive spouses who want sex not simply for physical satisfaction, but because it makes them feel connected, loved, and intimate with their spouse. If it was only about physical release — being candid here — the higher-drive spouse could take care of things on their own.

Instead, that husband or wife seeking more sex doesn’t see their mate as a mere tool for achieving a goal. No way! For them, it isn’t just about sex — it’s about so much more. Even if words fail them and they seem to default to talking about the sex itself, if you could dig deep and tease out what’s really happening, sex is powerfully meaningful.

They want the physical pleasure, but they want the whole package — physical, recreational, emotional, spiritual. And more than anything, the higher drive spouse wants to feel the love of their mate.

3. Commitment to try. The mismatch in drives can be frustrating, but what really hurts is a mate unwilling to even try. It pains the heart of someone longing to show love in the bedroom to be rebuffed and refused constantly, with no hope in sight of anything ever changing. What would help a lot is a simple commitment to try — try to talk about it, try to see another point of view, try to get in the mood, try to change things up a little now and then, try enjoying yourself in bed.

Most higher-drive spouses don’t expect an immediate turnaround in their less-willing mate. While it would be great to come home one day and find their lover with bedroom eyes, little on their body, and rip-raring to go, that’s not their expectation or intent. Rather, they long for the lower-drive spouse to love them enough to try to understand and meet their needs — just as you should each be doing in other areas of marriage. The higher-drive spouse isn’t looking for a quick change, but rather a long-term commitment to invest in sexual intimacy.

If you’re the higher-drive spouse, do you long for these things? And what else? If you’re the lower-drive spouse, in what way do you struggle with the desires or expectations of your higher-drive mate?

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?