Tag Archives: high libido

Q&A with J: Sexual Release Without Sinfulness

Our question for today comes from a wife who is currently separated from her husband, fighting for her marriage, and trying to deal with her restless sex drive. Here it is:

Our sex life has been amazing from day one. I have a very high libido and I just enjoy sex and trying new things, etc. However, we are currently separated due to him falling into an international affair. I am fighting hard for my marriage and I’m praying the Lord will grab his heart and turn him from his sin…

My question is this: I’m 31 years old with a high libido and I feel trapped in how to how to honor the Lord with my sexuality right now. How can I get a release without indulging in anything sinful? I believe masturbation is okay, especially in my situation, but it has become really hard to climax without having a scenario in my head. I believe erotica can erode a marriage, but are there certain types of erotica that can help people people in my situation?

Blog post title + woman under bed covers with arms raised

First off, I’m praying for your marriage too, and I invite my readers to do the same. Obviously, the best answer is for this marriage to be not only restored but brought to a place of thriving.

Yet whatever happens, you have to deal with this high libido that was awakened in marriage and now has no place to be satisfied. I feel for you. Your sex drive doesn’t just go away when your spouse is gone; it can be a hungry little beast when not properly fed.

You essentially have three ways to deal with a restless sex drive.

1. Release it.

That’s where your question heads to: “How can I get a release without indulging in anything sinful?” You say that masturbation is okay, and I’ve laid out my own position on this blog before. A summary of my perspective would be that masturbation that brings you and your spouse closer together is okay and masturbation that draws sexual energy away from your spouse is not okay.

Long physical separation from your spouse could be one of those times when it’s beneficial to “take the edge off” so that you can remain focused on your husband and your intimacy with him and not be tempted by another’s man attention, get cranky with your husband because it’s been way too long, etc. But imagining a scenario in your mind that doesn’t involve your husband takes sexual energy away from him; it’s inherently detrimental to your relationship.

If you’re imagining anything other than your hubby in your mind, you’re in sinful territory. And that’s what erotica encourages you to do. Jesus said, “But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28, NLT). Of course that also applies to a woman looking, or imagining, a man with lust.

Ideally, if you’re masturbating to be able to withstand a long physical separation from your spouse, you’re doing so with their knowledge, support, and even presence (yes, some married couples Skype and simultaneously pleasure themselves). In your case, however, that’s not possible. So you need to be careful about how you engage in this physical release.

Look at your motives, your heart and your mind, and what will best keep your sexual energy on your marriage. Prayerfully ask those questions and listen for God’s answers.

2. Channel it.

You don’t have to use sexual energy sexually. That pent-up feeling can be channeled toward other activities. For instance, physical exercise can help diffuse that tension. It’s another way to be active, experience body chemical highs, and end up with that level of fatigue you sometimes feel at the end of sex.

I’m sure you’re also missing that physical touch that comes with sexual connection. You can refocus your desire for sexual affection to other forms of affection and other relationships. Spend more time with family. Volunteer in your church’s nursery. Head to a convalescent home and hold hands with an old woman, who might also have some wise life advice to share while you’re there.

Check out these and other ideas on what to do with your sexual energy when you’re not attached in this post.

3. Ignore it.

You’re probably thinking, I can’t! It’s impossible to ignore. But hear me out. In psychology, there’s a principle called extinction. In behavioral therapy, we know that linking a stimulus and a consequence causes people to expect the latter when the former shows up. The classic experiment is Pavlov’s dogs who heard a bell before being fed and thereafter drooled for food whenever they heard the bell ring. But if you de-couple that stimulus and consequence (bell → food), eventually the conditioned response (drooling) goes away. That’s extinction.

Right now, your hungry little beast — aka, your sex drive — wants to be fed. But it doesn’t literally need to be fed. You don’t have to have sex for your heart to keep beating. So it’s possible to use a bit of extinction in dealing with your drive.

I don’t believe your libido will completely go away, because our sexuality is an integral, God-given part of our humanity. But if you constantly shove juicy morsels at that beast, it will keep coming and coming, demanding to be fed. If you ignore it, eventually your drive will diminish. Enough to be more manageable.

Lest you think I’m being completely unrealistic, my husband and I did not have sex for about four months when expecting our second child. I was right in that high-libido part of my pregnancy when my doctor announced that health risks precluded intercourse. I did a lot of ignoring my drive, and so did my husband. Over time, it got less demanding. So I believe it can be done.

(By the way, for those who are in a marriage where you should be having sex and one of you has been practicing extinction, this might help to explain why it’s hard to get going again. But you should, for the sake of your marriage.)

Which of the three options should you choose? Each of them — releasing your sex drive, channeling it, ignoring it — could be beneficial depending on the motives, circumstances, and goals. But ask serious questions about what would honor God and your marriage when deciding what to do.

Once again, I’m praying that your marriage will be saved.

Q&A with J: When It Comes to Sex, My Husband Says I’m “Too Much”

Two weeks ago, I focused on some reasons why a husband might be saying no to sex in his marriage. In that post, I featured portions of three questions from higher-drive wives. Today, I want to cover one of those questions in more detail:

Please can you help me with learning how to cope with my husband who has been telling me “no” to sex? Can you tell me how I can understand why he acts uninterested and says he is tired? I know this is common now. Wives having the higher drive.

My husband said to me tonight no to sex because he is tired and that we just had sex last night. I am getting upset because we are in our early 30’s. I am 30 and just recently in the past 6 months have been more interested in sex. Six months ago, I initiated a whole conversation about making time for sex and increasing frequency. He seemed to try but now I see him saying no again and saying he is tired if I want it “too often.”

I can’t help but to feel unsexy, fat and undesirable even though I am somewhat back in shape I just had a baby turn one year old.  How can I get my husband to see my side of this? That I don’t like his attitude towards sex that he is not excited for it. Mainly he doesn’t seem to want to increase frequency. He says I am too much. It seems the tables have slowly turned and now I am the one who has to seduce him and initiate sex. I just want to feel wanted and loved.

Q&A with J: When It Comes to Sex, My Husband Says I'm "Too Much"

When a higher-drive spouse is dealing with a lower-drive spouse, perhaps the hardest step is simply getting that person to agree that the lack of sexual intimacy is a problem that must be addressed.

Most lower-drive spouses admit there’s a problem — but they often think that problem is you. If their higher-drive spouse would simply lower their expectations, douse their desire, and leave them alone, they think things would be much better. Therefore, many conversations about sex tend toward them either complaining about your “overdrive” or rebuffing the topic altogether.

But what you want is to somehow invite the lower-drive spouse to actually address the issue with you — to see that it’s a problem for your marriage. Start with that goal in mind: You’re aren’t trying to immediately raise their sex drive, but rather get you two on the same page of feeling that you have to work together on the problem.

I don’t have all the particulars of this situation, but here are a few tips that might help.

Talk about us, not me. Higher- or lower-drive, many spouses approach the issue by talking about how they are affected. “I’m not getting my sexual needs met.” “I don’t feel desirable.” “I can’t take this anymore!” Those are entirely legitimate feelings, but expressing those to your husband puts him in defensive mode. Especially if this is your go-to method of discussing sex in your marriage. You may have unwittingly contributed to this topic being an off-limits discussion, because your spouse emotionally shuts down the moment you bring it up, knowing they’ll be criticized.

You have to talk about us, in terms of the physical intimacy you want your marriage to have, the pleasure you want to experience together, the concerns you have about the obstacles he’s facing regarding sexual intimacy. In every way you can, address the issue of lack of frequency as a we problem in your marriage, and communicate that you are on his side.

Talk about goals, not grudges. Even though we’ve heard that love “keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5), many of us spouses have a difficult time turning off our long memory of being slighted by our mates. When contentious topics arise, we could easily tick off our spouse’s infractions one-by-one to build a case of why we’re right and he’s wrong.

You may have years of solid evidence that your hubby has been neglectful about sexual intimacy. I have enormous sympathy for your pain, and God knows your pain far more than I do. Yet He tells us, “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” (Ephesians 4:31-32). Tough stuff, huh?

Replace your longing to vent about your understandable hurt and consider your end goal. Do you want him to feel bad for making you feel bad? Do you expect to somehow establish your right to marital intimacy? Do you hope to win him to your side through forceful persuasion? You absolutely have rights to marital intimacy (1 Corinthians 7:3-5); however, your goal is for your husband to desire marital intimacy as well.

So talk about your goals of more connection in your marriage, shared passion, and sexual intimacy that honors your Heavenly Father. Set the first goal of you two being united in mind: “Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).

Talk about what you will do, not demand he will do. Grown-ups understand they can’t change others, but they can influence others. That means you can make decisions that positively influence in your husband in the right direction. Getting into your specific situation, let me suggest a few things:

Build your own self-confidence, without relying on his reassurance. Most husbands who don’t desire sex still believe their wives are beautiful; the lower libido isn’t about your appearance. While it’s important for husbands to help their wives feel beautiful, ultimately we wives must nurture our own sense of beauty. I’ve had a whole series on Feeling Beautiful with that in mind.

Feel free to let him know that you feel good about yourself, that you are taking care of your body, that you believe you’re a desirable woman. Confidence is sexy, and whining about our appearance . . . not so much.

Don’t believe the “too much” line. In fact, if he gives that line, I might well retort, “My sex drive may be higher than yours right now, but I think it’s healthy that I desire you so much.”

Hey, I lived with a cloud over my head for years because I enjoyed sex more than the church ladies I grew up around would have approved, and I wondered if maybe I was a bit much. No, ma’am! In Song of Songs, couples are urged to “be drunk with love” (5:1). Other translations say “intoxicated.” The point is that, when it comes to sex in marriage, God gives us full permission to aim for “too much.”

Set up a plan for sexual intimacy. Tell him you’d like to have sex a certain number of times a week/month. Aim lower than you want, but higher than you’re getting. Talk about how this could be accomplished. Would he prefer to initiate when he feels up to it? Would he rather set a certain day each week that you can count on? Would he like for you to initiate?

Then follow through. If he doesn’t initiate, don’t demand that he meet the standards you set. Instead, initiate yourself, and if he balks, remind him that you waited for his initiation but you’d like to go ahead. Sometimes when lower-drive spouses know it’s coming, that anticipation helps them to prepare better than spontaneous advances.

Talk to God and trusted others. Lay your burdens before God. He knows your aching heart, and He binds up the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3). Consider getting Christian counseling to help you sort through what’s happening. It may help to have a counselor, pastor, or mentor listen to your feelings and give you wise advice on what you can do.

I appreciate you letting me be a “trusted other.” So I encourage you to also read some of my posts about higher-drive wives with various specific ideas on tackling this oh-too-common problem.

Let me assure that you can walk through this dry season and find lush, evergreen sexual intimacy in the future. I pray that future is very soon.

Confessions of a Higher-Drive Spouse

I’m currently the higher-drive spouse, although we’ve flip-flopped in my marriage. For all I know, next year my husband could be chasing me through the house and suggesting more frequent romps.

But for the time being, we both know that my sex drive is higher than his.

I was thinking about how desiring sex more than your spouse affects your thinking and behavior. And I decided to share a little of what goes on in my head and heart, with the hope that lower-drive spouses out there might “get it” a little better.

So here I go!

Woman peeking out from bed + blog post title

Yes, I think about sex a lot. No, it’s not all I think about. I am fully capable of going minutes and even hours without once considering sex. (Albeit it’s especially hard for me, given what I do here . . . ) I dare say I could go 24 hours without once thinking about the fabulous, marvelous intimacy I have with my husband. But just because I could doesn’t mean I do.

Sex pops into my mind at various times and in various ways. Maybe it’s a memory of the last time we made love. Maybe it’s a stray thought about his body. Maybe it’s simply the vague sense that I want my husband intimately close to me. Most of these thoughts are just that — thoughts. They don’t go anywhere. Except they do provide a steady beat in the background from which the music of sexual intimacy later swells when my husband and I are able to engage in physical intimacy. What you dwell on in your mind is often where you set your heart.

Sometimes I can’t help it — I stare. One of my favorite times of the day is when my husband is dressing — or better yet, undressing. I’m even more attuned than I used to be to his attractiveness. No, it’s not that his body’s so great he’s getting callbacks to star in the next superhero movie; it’s that his body appeals to me in its familiarity, masculinity, and intimacy.

If I’m reading a book in bed, and he comes in and yanks off his shirt, I sometimes find myself peeking over the top of my book’s cover and admiring the view. Even more revealed gets even more admiration. And then I sometimes think, What. Am. I. Doing? Um, yeah, I’m staring. Sorry, I kinda can’t help it.

I want to touch him, like all the time. Affection ranks in the top two of my love languages. That said, I’m even more affectionate when my sex drive is on overdrive. And it might seem like my touches are about getting something started, but sometimes they aren’t. There’s a bit of genuine satisfaction in touching my husband with a long embrace, a soft kiss, or a snuggle on the couch.

From being on the other side of the sex drive fence, I know higher-drive spouses can seem overly touchy and needy. It’s easy to feel that brushing off their touches will halt the advance of their seemingly endless sex drive. But that’s not how I’m experiencing it from this side. Yes, intimate gestures of affection can awaken my desire, but they can also sate it a bit. As if these touches hold me over, so to speak.

Innuendo can strike at any time. Well, not any time. But when you’re really in the mood, a phrase can easily be read as a sexual advance or intimate wordplay. Now imagine you’re in the mood a lot. Yeah, my brain just goes there more often than when I was the lower-drive spouse.

And yes, I think some of my turns and twists of phrases are clever, even hilarious, and should be rewarded — like with sex. (Did you hear that, hubby?!) But logically, I know that even clever innuendo has the potential to become annoying. So it’s better to keep some of my amusing thoughts in my own head and release the ones I think my husband will appreciate.

When he initiates, I internally celebrate. I know some couples have one spouse who always, or almost always, initiates, but my husband and I are pretty balanced. Even so, given where my drive is at the moment, there is a bit of rejoicing that goes on inside me when he takes charge of getting things going. Perhaps it’s because I already know I want him, but having him show how much he wants me puts us on the same page.

It really isn’t enough for your spouse to schlep to the bedroom, drop their underpants, and oblige your urges. What a higher-drive spouse wants is to get their lover up to their own level of arousal and excitement. My goal isn’t merely to satisfy my own sexual desire, but to have my husband sharing that sexual desire for one another. And if he arrives with that “I want you” look in his eyes, I know we’re in sync. And it’s going to be a wonderful night.

So are you the higher-drive spouse? What “confessions” do you have to help spouses understand what’s going through your head and heart?