Tag Archives: high drive wife

Q&A with J: What If Hubby Is Passive in the Bedroom?

Today’s question is from a wife who’s been married for a while, and they’re encountering an ongoing problem. Despite making sex a regular part of their marriage, they’re still struggling:

Please address the topic of a passive withdrawn husband. Mine never initiates, asks, nor jumps in to ravish, nor does he do foreplay, nor sexual talk, nor sounds.  Our sex live has been unsatisfying for us both. He believes God has told him that His will is for married couples to have sex everyday. We have tried this for a while. He liked it, but I still never felt connected.

We both understand that often a women’s body will warm up sexually after her mind. That the couple starts foreplay, and then in a while, she will get turned on. Only thing, with him being so so passive, and not doing anything, nothing much happens. He often is too limp to proceed, or even though I’m not ready, I let him penetrate just so he can quickly climax and go to sleep. I have been very clear, that I am interested to make love, but I need him to make a direct move, pass…..not be like a 90 year old man shuffling down the hall with his walker.

Q&A with J- What If Hubby Is Passive in the Bedroom- with illustrated couple in bed

Let me start with this tidbit: We’ve got this idea that 99.9% of men are ready, eager, and assertively pursuing sex in their marriages. It’s been conveyed directly, indirectly, and through both secular and religious messages. But it’s just not true.

Sometimes the passive, lower-drive, or even disinterested mate is the husband.

Sometimes the passive, lower-drive, or even disinterested mate is the husband. Click To Tweet

It could be that something’s amiss, or it could be his biological makeup or personality. But I just want wives reading this, and those dealing with something similar, to understand that perhaps 15-25% of marriages have a higher-drive wife who longs for more frequent and intense sexual intimacy.

And now, the question when one spouse isn’t interested or active in the marriage bed is why. Why is this person not grabbing hold of this gift of sex in their marriage? It’s quite possible something has gone awry, so here are some possibilities for your husband:

  • Low testosterone
  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • Shame about sex, based on poor teaching or past experiences
  • Porn use (past or present), which interferes with the brain’s arousal mechanisms
  • Depression/anxiety disorder
  • Relationship conflict or discontent
  • Prior inability to perform, affecting his confidence
  • High stress, and the resulting body chemicals that block arousal

The only way to know what’s going on, and thus how to proceed, is to communicate about your sex life. All too often, though, what we do is start that conversation with a complaint about our own dissatisfaction with sex. Instead, I challenge you to open yourself up more, create a safe atmosphere for him to share, and dig deeper by asking questions and really listening.

If his body simply isn’t cooperating with libido or responsiveness … well, that’s a very different issue to deal with than if he’s secretly watching porn. Dealing with depression calls for a different answer than relationship stress. Once you find out what’s going on, you can better address the challenges.

All that said, it’s possible nothing’s particularly wrong. If your husband is passive in other areas of life, he might be passive in the bedroom too. I’ve talked to wives whose husbands were shy in flirting, asking them out, popping the question, and so on … and then, not surprisingly, those men are shy in the marriage bed. They are timid by personality, and expecting him to suddenly unleash an assertive lover is likely unrealistic.

But you can help him be more assertive in lovemaking in the moment.

Communicate what you like. Speak up for what you want. Or move his hand where you want it. Show him what you like and then encourage him with sounds and compliments for what feels good to you. Make your marriage bed a place of freedom to express what you desire.

Ask what he wants. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right? Besides, if you outright ask what he would like to try or do, you might discover something that arouses him more than what’s been going on. This attitude also demonstrates that you are interested in satisfying him sexually, which itself can be a turn-on.

Be the assertive one. Nothing says you can’t take charge and be the assertive one. Pull him closer toward you. Get on top and get things going. My book, Hot, Holy & Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, also has ideas on what to do with your hands, your legs, and your hips to be more active in lovemaking.

Have intercourse less often. Did anyone ever think I’d write those words on my blog? I sure didn’t! But you’ve been married for a long time (info from the email, but not the question above), which means you’re bound to be older, and you’re still trying to have sex everyday. Some couples can do that, but if he’s struggling to get or maintain an erection, he may need a longer refractory period. You can certainly engage in other forms of sexual intimacy—like he could pleasure you—but maybe go two to three days in between intercourse.

Pursue other forms of intimacy. Finally, you might need to attend to other areas of intimacy in your marriage. Believe me, I’m all in favor of consistent, spicy sexual intimacy and believe sex is an important ingredient in a healthy marriage. That said, your husband believes it’s important to have sex every single day, but are you pursuing other intimacy-building activities with that regularity? Sex itself is not the be-all end-all for your marriage, but rather one component of intimacy.

Sex itself is not the be-all end-all for your marriage, but rather one component of intimacy. Click To Tweet

You might need to invest more in times away from the bedroom to really feel that heat and excitement in the bedroom.

Pray for change. I say this all the time, but that’s because it’s such a good idea. And it’s not because I think you’ll pray to God that your husband will suddenly become assertive and voila! he’s a tiger the next time you tumble into bed. You know what really happens when you pray openly and humbly about marital issues? You change. And if you let God change you, He’ll bring you a better perspective, resources to help you, and patience as you work on the issues. In turn, that might well cause your husband to make changes too.

Given your own issues with arousal, I also think you could both learn more about how to get things going and what feels good. Thankfully, I wrote a whole book about that! Hot, Holy & Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design is essentially a how-to manual for wives with ideas for getting your body cooperating, revving, and stimulated in the marriage bed. What I haven’t covered here, you can find there.

Do You Personalize Sexual Rejection?

To those who get sexually rejected by your husband: Hearing no hurts.

I get it. Some of you hear a no now and again, and some of you hear it a lot. But either way, you experience a strong desire to be physically and emotionally connected to your beloved, you approach your spouse with high hopes, and you get brushed off — your longings left unfulfilled.

But something often happens next. You ask yourself why.Do You Personalize Rejection?

Why does your hubby not respond to your sexual advances? Why do other husbands seem to want their wives but your husband doesn’t? Why isn’t your beauty the kind that stops traffic, or at least makes your husband look up from his TV show? Why does he say he’s too tired or too busy or too fill-in-the-blank? Is that really the reason, or could it be something else?

Given how quickly our female minds jump from one thing to another, it could be mere moments before you settle in on what you’re sure must be the truth: He just doesn’t want you.

Not only this time, but generally speaking. You believe there’s something wrong with you or your relationship or your beauty or your worthiness or … And the list goes on. We personalize the rejection.

I’ve talked before about the many reasons why a lower-drive husband might not be as interested in sex as you (and sometimes he) would like him to be. They include such issues as low testosterone, depression, sexual baggage, porn habits — even from his past — that make it hard to respond properly to in-person arousal, and the heavy burden of stress. Just getting older can also decrease a man’s sense of urgency for sexual interaction; believe it or not, some older men might choose sleep over sex from time to time.

But when we personalize that rejection, we don’t see those factors. A wife ends up feeling like her husband isn’t saying no merely to sex, but to her. And not because of some issue within him, but because he’s rejecting her personally. When that’s probably not what’s going on.

Why do we do this? Maybe for one of the following reasons.

Women are relationship problem-solvers. Men are often seen as the problem-solvers — the ones who, when you explain a problem, skip right over sympathy or commiseration to “how can this be fixed?” That stereotype holds some truth, especially when the problem is well-defined.

However, when it comes to relationships, I think women are more likely to be problem-solvers. When we see something amiss, we jump in to assuage hurt feelings, correct misunderstandings, resolve differences, and mend the cracks. We don’t like cracks in our relational bonds, and we try to putty over those as fast as possible.

Being rejected sexually feels like a relationship crack. And if we can’t fix our husband, the immediate place we go to is fixing ourselves. Clearly — a wife thinks — I must be the problem, and if only I can fix that… Fixing ourselves is within our sphere of control.

So we try to do better, look better, be better. And, while I believe in becoming your best self, this can veer off into becoming someone who isn’t you. That is, you minimize your value, your desires, your beauty — trying to become someone you think your husband wants.

When most of the time, his lack of drive isn’t about that. And he already has who he wants — you.

Women are constant comparers. If I had a nickel for every time a woman in my midst compared herself to another woman’s homemaking, mothering, or appearance, I wouldn’t be writing this blog right now — I’d be sipping a paper-umbrella-decorated drink on the beach of my private island. Wives are constantly measuring how we’re doing by checking in on how other women are doing, and then drawing (often erroneous) conclusions.

So what happens when you hear how often other wives are getting “hit on” by their husbands? When the messages you’re getting are that “all husbands want is sex,” but that’s not your experience? When it feels like all other husbands are raring to go at the snap of a bra opening, and that’s not happening in your marital bedroom?

You look at those wives … you look at yourself … and you decide there’s something wrong with you. What else could be happening? Well, a lot of things actually. But it’s easy to ignore all the other reasons for a difference in sex drives and personalize that rejection. You can end up thinking if all those husbands are chasing after their wives, then your husband must simply be unhappy with the wife he chose.

But that’s rarely the issue. More often, it’s something going on inside him. And playing the comparison game isn’t helping your situation.

Men are bad communicators. Okay, not all of you guys. I promise I’m not trying to be mean here. But from the female perspective, you guys can be hard to figure out because you often don’t tell us what’s going on inside you!

Now I live a house of three men. Typical answers to “how are you feeling?” include hungry, tired, stressed. To me, those aren’t feelings. Feelings are discouraged, grieving, depressed, sullen, heartsick — and those all just describe sad. If you listen long enough, I can also give you full description of where I feel this sadness in my body, why I think it’s there, and metaphors or similes to describe what I’m feeling (“It’s like I’m tethered to the ground”). Look, I know some of that is because I’m a writer, but some of it is because I’m a woman. We express our thoughts and feelings!

Sure, plenty of marriages contradict this pattern, but it’s not uncommon for a guy to keep his feelings close to his chest, or even be unable to define or describe what’s happening inside him. So when he doesn’t have a high sex drive, what’s he supposed to say? He likely says as little as possible, because most guys don’t like to talk about their bad emotions.

So wives fill in the gaps, imagining what he’s really thinking. Even figuring the only reason he isn’t saying something is because it’s bad and about us. So yeah, it’s not just poor communication of some husbands, but also the overactive imagination of some wives.

But what if the explanation “I’m tired” or “I need to finish this job for work” really is the reason? What if you’ve complicated the whole thing because, as a woman, you wouldn’t have communicated it that way?

Honestly, ladies, men are fairly simple. If he says, “I think you’re sexy, but I’m not up for it tonight,” what he probably means is, “I think you’re sexy, but I’m not up for it tonight.” No, really. I didn’t believe it at first either, but further investigation has led me to conclude that men are not lying. They really can say in 15 words or less everything they’re actually thinking. And if they’re feeling more than that, they need time to process and figure out how to express it.

So if the rejection isn’t personal, how can you stop believing that a no to sex indicates some flaw in you?

Ask yourself some questions and really think about your answers. It’s easy to react with your default settings, but consider an alternative perspective.

  1. What if the reason he gives me really is the reason? To fix a problem, you have to diagnose it correctly. If you expend a lot of effort thinking the problem is you, you’re expending effort in the wrong area. Instead, you could be helping to resolve the actual issue.
  2. Would he behave this way if he was married to someone else? I’m not trying to get you to imagine him married to someone else, but this one helped me with other issues in my marriage that I once thought were personal. Instead, I realized he’d be doing what he was doing no matter who he lived with, so it clearly wasn’t personal.
  3. What if he’s frustrated too? One reason you don’t hear more from low-drive husbands is that they’re often frustrated that they aren’t like those other husbands they hear about too. They wonder what’s wrong with them, and might even feel bad for not being able to sexually satisfy their wives. A little compassion for a husband in this situation can help you both deal with the real issues at hand.
  4. How would I feel if he took personally those times when I did something he didn’t like that wasn’t about him? You can personalize almost anything in marriage, like believing that him leaving the toilet seat up is an intentional disregard for your health and safety. (It’s not.) Most of us can remember a time when we were just in a bad mood that had to do with work, kids, hormones, whatever … and he thought it was a slight against him. But it wasn’t. Remember how that irritated you more? Don’t do that to your man regarding his sex drive.
  5. What could I do to be more positive and encouraging of sexual intimacy in our marriage? Hint: Personalizing rejection isn’t positive or encouraging. Being a safe place to talk, addressing real issues in your marriage, and seeking help when you need it is positive and encouraging. Remind yourself that yes, he is tired, stressed, and/or dealing with physical issues. Choose to believe him when he says that he still finds you attractive and loves you. Look for more conducive times and ways to approach him with sexual advances.

This is one instance when “it’s not you, it’s me” is usually true. But in marriage, me becomes we. So instead of spending your time personalizing the rejection, try to identify the real issue and tackle it together. Many couples with mismatched sex drives have figured it out, but only by being one another’s support.

5 Truths for High-Drive Wives

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?

5 Truths for High-Drive Wives

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 Dynamic Marriage 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.

Reminder: Check out details about my fabulous September giveaway by clicking HERE.

Sept 2016 Giveaway 1

Q&A with J: “How Do I Get My Turn?”

Today’s question is from a young wife frustrated that not only is she not having orgasms, her husband doesn’t seem to understand her sexual needs and desires:

I’ve been married 2 and a half years now and have struggled to experience orgasm with my husband since our wedding night. . . . I realized after our honeymoon that the female orgasm was harder to come by than I thought it’d be, but I tried so hard to stay positive and to wait for it to happen. But to date, I’ve never climaxed with him. I don’t think I’ve ever even come close.

I bought us a vibrator about 6 months ago to make it easier and quicker for him to stimulate me and he’s only used it a handful of times, all at my request. I may have had small orgasms during using the vibrator, but I’m not totally sure. And I made it a point to tell him a couple of times that I really enjoy using the vibrator because it wakes things up down there and allows me to get the full sensation of everything he does after that. That’s why I feel like we should use it more than we do.

I’ve talked with him about my difficulty responding physically 4 or 5 times – I’ve tried to be very sensitive – “It’s not you, I just need a lot of extra stimulation.” “I really enjoy being intimate with you, but I really need help learning to be physically responsive.” Things change for a couple of encounters and then go back to the way things were.

How do I get him to be interested in going the extra mile for me? He’s a great guy, but I’m just so unsatisfied in the bedroom and I really long to be able to share what he’s having (it really looks like it feels great) and I want to be able to make him feel like a stellar lover. Why do men feel like their orgasm is the closer for sex?? I feel like he doesn’t even think that I have sexual needs. I go to bed all worked up sexually while he’s snoring next to me most nights we make love. I hate to sound selfish, but how do I get my turn?

Q&A with J: "How Do I Get My Turn?"

Let’s start with making sure things are working the way they should with your body. Since this wife did have an orgasm on the wedding night, we know it can happen, but some physical issues could still be obstacles. Just so you know what’s “normal,” your sexual response should include heightened sensitivity of your genitals, lubrication (although you may need to add some), and swelling of your inner vaginal lips to 2-3 times their usual size.

But if you’re low on estrogen, you may not lubricate properly. If you’re on oral contraception, it could interfere with your sexual response. And there are other potential issues that could be hindering your body’s full participation. Talk openly with your doctor about your concerns and ask for a full physical exam and, if needed, options for birth control.

Assuming everything’s on the up-and-up with your body’s responses, you two still have to learn how your body works. Unfortunately, watching Hollywood scenes, reading magazine articles, and even hearing all the sex hype from happy married couples can make it seem like revving up the sexy is a fairly straightforward endeavor with guaranteed pleasure. Not so.

You may have experienced orgasm early on in your marriage because everything was awakened then and your body overloaded, so to speak. (Though some couples report more of a pfffft experience their first time.) But one orgasm does not a sex life make. And you want to want have that excitement again and again.

That means you have to figure this thing out . . . together. Perhaps your husband didn’t expect to have to work so hard at getting his wife to climax. He may feel that if you’re not responding quickly, like the gals do on the movie screen or in porn (just about every guy by the time he’s married has either watched it willingly or been shown porn by others), it’s not worth the effort. He may conclude he’s a poor lover, and who wants to do something over and over that you’re bad at doing? Or that the problem lies with you, and what can he do about that?

The point is you two need to go back to ground zero and figure this thing out together. And sensitivity is great, and I’m all for that! But I think most men respond even better to fun. That is, sometimes we are so concerned with our hubby’s feelings and so we talk it out and try to make him feel better and…la la la. When maybe your guy is more of an action speaks louder than words sort. Go with me for a minute here and think about team sports: Guys get in a locker room together, get a short, rousing pep talk, then take the field — which tells you something about what gets a guy motivated.

Think about what you can do to pep up your guy and make him excited about exploring your territory. That could be everything from leading up to sex with suggestive texts, flirting, fondling, etc. to drawing a treasure map on your body that he has to follow to get to the booty (literally and figuratively). Consider what your particular husband would respond to, and see how you can paint this exploration time as something exciting and fulfilling for both of you.

A couple more notes (specifically for the hubbies reading this post): First, he needs to ease slowly into lovemaking. Even after 20+ years, sometimes I still have to remind my husband that hugging, kissing, and touching me are surefire ways to shift my brain and body into gear. You can help him get the point by simple things like asking for him to massage your body with lotion or oil or suggest a slow dance (naked?) before you make love. And secondly, for orgasm to happen, he’s got to learn what a clitoris is and what to do with it. All orgasms are caused by either direct or indirect contact with her clitoris. Hubbies would do well to treat their wife’s ever-so-sensitive part like their favorite instrument and master playing it well. Guys, stop playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band and instead learn to strum your wife’s goodies to her heart’s delight.

One of the ways many married couples stimulate the clitoris is with sex toys. You mention using a vibrator a handful of times, but your husband is resistant to the idea. I think you should ask whether the sex toys are helping.

On the whole, I have a mixed view of sex toys. On one hand, I believe they can help couples that need an extra boost or deal with sexual arousal and erection issues, so they can engage more fully in sexual intimacy in their marriage. On the other hand, I think our culture is becoming more reliant on batteries and kink than relationship and intimacy. Some people using sex toys are looking for shortcuts — and they found them. I’m pretty confident a vibrator can get most women to climax faster than their husband’s hand. To me, the question when deciding whether to use a sex toy must be whether it increases intimacy or detracts from it.

When one of you is not on board, it could be detracting from intimacy. I know that’s not entirely fair, because if he’s going to balk about using a vibrator, he should step up and figure out how to help you climax himself. But have an honest discussion with him about it, asking what he’d be willing to try and what makes him uncomfortable. Respect his feelings on this, and then ask for solutions you could both accept. Maybe he could commit to trying longer to get you aroused, or maybe you could peruse some online Christian intimacy retailers together and find something you’re both willing to try.

And finally, you are not selfish for wanting to experience the height of ecstasy with your husband in your marriage bed. And he needs to understand that too. Hubby may have grown up with the oh-so-mistaken notion that sex is primarily to meet the man’s needs. To which I say, Hogwash! And a very large number of wives agree with me.

God gave you more nerve endings in your genitals than he gets in his. Your clitoris has a singular purpose — to give you pleasure. Your body is capable of multiple orgasms, while he’s got the one full-blast option (until he passes a refractory period). So nobody tell me God isn’t interested in her having a fabulous time in the marriage bed!

If you’re like many wives, you may have tentatively suggested this or that, asked for something more, and hinted at your dissatisfaction. I suggest you look your husband in the eye and say something like, “I love you so much, and I want to have a fantastic orgasm in your arms. I will do everything I can on my part to make it happen, but I need you to get on board. What can we do to make this a mutual goal for our marriage?”

Some other posts that might help your situation are Preparing Yourself for Sex, Manual Play for Her, and Orgasm: If Only I Could O. Also, my book Sex Savvy: A Lovemaking Guide for Wives has a lot more tips on revving up your drive and savvy in the marital bedroom. That could be a good resource for your marriage.

know I didn’t cover everything I could say, and I’m sure my readers will have more to add. But maybe something in here will help you get moving in the right direction. In the meantime, I’m saying a prayer for your and your marriage. Because yeah, you deserve a turn.

Q&A with J: “I Feel Rejected All the Time”

Today’s question comes from a wife whose heart is broken by her husband’s rejection. As I often do, I pulled out the relevant parts of her question and left out some details. However, I’m sure other wives, specifically higher-drive wives, can relate to the emotional pain described by this reader:

What to do if my beloved husband just isn’t willing to change anything sex-wise?

We got married one and a half a year ago. At first, we used to make love like twice a week. This was okay with me, though I felt I wouldn’t mind a bit more. . . .

Now it’s been almost a year that we have stuck to this exactly once a week routine. And this is just not enough for me. I’m always longing to connect with him in a deep physical and emotional way, and it hurts so much that he doesn’t. . . . Whenever I ask him why he doesn’t want to make love more often, he just goes ‘ok, sweetheart, I’m sorry I hurt you. We’ll change it.’ and then he changes…the topic, and starts to speak about something else. And we stick to once a week. And whenever I tell him I feel totally undesired, he just says ‘come on, I do desire you.’ but what if I can’t feel it at all? (by the way, when we do have sex, he is  passionate and loving, and it feels heavenly for both of us.) 

When he wants it, he does it, but when he doesn’t, I can’t do anything to make him want me. Strangely enough, we do express our love in a physically affectionate way. We kiss, cuddle, hold hands, caress each other several times a day. We can’t even fall asleep without him spooning me and holding me tight. So now I feel rejected all the time. . . I just cry and pray almost all night.

Q&A with J: "I Feel Rejected All the Time"

You know your hubby loves you, and you figure if only he understood how much you desire greater intimacy, surely he would put forth more effort in the marital bedroom. Yet no matter what you try, you end up night after night wondering why he doesn’t long for you the way you long for him.

You’ve talked and talked, and he still doesn’t get it — how important this aspect of your relationship is. For many lower-drive spouses, that’s the issue. They love their mate, they want things to be better, but they truly don’t understand what the big fuss is about. It’s like living with someone who has a completely different body temperature (which many of you do). One of you is always hot or always cold, and the other wonders why their spouse is freaking out all the time when the temperature is just fine.

How can you get your message across? I have some posts about communicating more effectively with your spouse, and that could be where you begin — with more directed, positive conversation about what you want in your mutual sex life. (See How to Talk about Sexual Problems with Your Spouse and Are You Sure You’re Communicating?)

However, the right choice could be to stop talking about it. Because it’s not important? No, of course not. It’s very important. However, when we hear the same thing over and over again and we don’t want to revisit the topic, we tune out. It’s a defensive measure many low-drive spouses seem to have perfected: You start talking sex, and they symbolically cover their ears and hum over your words. It’s become too painful a subject, so they build a wall and cower behind mild apologies or real excuses or mere silence.

If you can introduce the subject, focus instead on listening to him. Because for some reason, your mate is struggling. And whatever they’re going through sexually probably isn’t a personal rejection of you. Spouses uninterested in sex are typically responding to physiological issues, erroneous belief systems, negative past history, ongoing fatigue, etc. Of course, he’s (or she’s) married to you, but in a sense they would be uncooperative regardless of who they married. Because the issue resides with them, not you.

Move past their walls by making your relationship a safe environment for them to explore what’s going on, to ask for help, to pursue something better. Be his advocate and teammate in figuring out what issues are preventing him from enjoying God’s blessing of sexual intimacy in your marriage. That could include going to doctor appointments or counseling with him. Whatever’s going on with your spouse, it’s a we problem, because the two have become one (Genesis 2:24).

For yourself, consider these practical tips:

Accentuate the positive. Singer/songwriter Johnny Mercer said it way back in 1945: “You’ve got to accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. Latch on to the affirmative . . .” But even further back, there’s Ephesians 4:31-32: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Even if you have reason to be disappointed, frustrated, and hurt by your spouse’s actions, dwelling on them will make everything that much worse. When you’re tempted to unleash your mind and/or mouth about your hubby mistreating you, try instead to think of things about him for which you are thankful. Accentuate what’s positive about your husband and your relationship. That daily practice can help you view him in a kinder way — and your joyful attitude is likely to be more of a magnet to your husband in the long run.

Be willing to initiate, and accept that sometimes the answer will be no. Should he say no? I’m not a fan of no for your marital sex life, although I think not now can be a completely reasonable answer. However, when you’re dealing with a lower-drive spouse, you might need to accept that you will have to do most of the initiating, that you will make requests not demands, and that you will accept that sometimes the answer will be no. But hey, sometimes the answer will be yes. Your marriage needs intimacy — various kinds of intimacy, including sex. Give yourself permission to pursue that goal, knowing it won’t yet be everything you want, but it will be something.

Express your heart to God. I’ll be honest: I prayed a lot to God when things were going poorly in our marriage, and little changed. But most of those prayers were a litany of complaints about my husband, excuses about my own bad attitudes and behaviors, and a plea for God to fix everything . . . yesterday. I encourage you to pray about this situation, not with the notion that God will play genie and perform a miracle in your marriage. I’m not saying He can’t, but I think what changes most when we pray is ourselves. Express your fears and your hurt and your longings to God, then ask for His comfort, His wisdom, His strength, and His love for your husband. Your Heavenly Daddy wants to hear your heart and be there for His beloved daughter.

I wish I could play genie myself and fix your situation. But I can’t. No one can truly change someone else; it’s that person’s free-will prerogative. Yet I believe that when we do the right thing, when we pursue the best for our marriages, blessings will come. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).