Tag Archives: higher-drive wives

A Letter to the Low Drive Husband

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

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

Blog post title + woman's hands writing a letter

Dear Low-Drive Husband,

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

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

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

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

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

You’re all man.

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

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

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

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

You’re not alone.

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

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

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

You need to take action.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Prayer for Higher-Drive Wives

Blog post title + female praying handsThose of you who read my blog often know that I have a tender spot for higher-drive wives. They aren’t the majority of wives, but rather represent 15-30% of marriages. However, that’s still millions of women! And unfortunately, a lot of marriage resources presume a higher-drive husband and a lower-drive wife, leaving couples that don’t align with this expectation feeling like abnormalities or even freaks.

Today, as part of my Saturday prayer series, I want to offer a prayer for higher-drive wives to bring their concerns before God. Lower-drive wives, I promise to write a prayer for you as well soon.

Dear Lord,

It’s hard to have a higher libido than my husband. At times, I feel like I’m not good enough or that something is wrong with me.

When I undress, he doesn’t pause and gaze the way I wish he would. When I initiate, he sometimes postpones or even dismisses my advances. While I long to be sexually intimate with him more frequently, he doesn’t feel this burning desire to be with me. And while it leaves me physically feeling empty at times, more often my heart is wounded.  I ache to have all the things You, Perfect Creator, designed sex in marriage to be — experiencing pleasure, deepening intimacy, and expressing covenant love.

Lord, lift me up into Your arms and comfort me. Give me Your eyes to see myself and my marriage as You see them. Help me to feel deep down that I am beautiful, worthy, desirable.

You, Lord, knit me together in my mother’s womb and created my inmost being, which includes a healthy sex drive. I will not denounce or discourage my higher libido, because You placed that in me and Your works are wonderful, including our sexuality (Psalm 139:13-14).

Likewise, help me to accept where my husband is with his sexuality. He is also Your creation. If there are obstacles keeping him from desiring and enjoying sex, please help me to support him in discovering and addressing those issues. Give me wise words and loving actions that unite us in facing our challenges together.

Take away the negative feelings I sometimes have toward him and replace them with Your view of this man, your son. Remind me of all the good in him and the love we share. Strengthen me to be his helper and partner, as you intended me to be (Genesis 2:18).

Soften my husband’s heart so that he can see my desire to support him, to grow closer, and to thrive in our marriage. Help him to overcome his own insecurities about having a lower drive and to pursue a better sex life for both of us and our marriage.

Help me to always communicate that my husband is all man to me — the man I love — and that his sex drive is only one part of him. But let him also see that sexual intimacy is a blessing You want us to have in our marriage, regularly and enthusiastically.

Awaken our physical love for one another and show us both how to drink not only to end our thirst, but to be intoxicated with love (Song of Songs 8:4, 5:1).

Lord, sometimes I don’t initiate well and my frustration can come through in my tone or my facial expressions. Calm my heart, give me Your joy and peace, and grant me the right words to invite him to our marriage bed (see Song of Songs 7:11-13). And in those moments, Father, I ask that you awaken his physical desire for sexual intimacy.

When sex doesn’t happen, keep me from storing up resentment in my heart. For I know that godly love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). Instead, help me to trust, hope, and persevere in pursuing the best for my marriage (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Keep me from making comparisons and thus coveting what others have (Exodus 20:7). It’s hard when wives around me talk about their husbands desiring sex more often than they do, when my own husband doesn’t seem to have this strong desire. But You, my God, know the state of my marriage, the secrets of our hearts, the hope of our future. Calm my anxious thoughts and help me to respond in ways that aid marriages, including my own.

Surround me with the support I need — the right resources, the encouragement of others, the wisdom of mentors. Speak through them to me, so that I know what steps to take and remain on the right path.

Lord, above all, bring to mind how Your own son Jesus knew rejection, even from those closest to Him. Yet He always pursued Your truth and your glory, and never His own selfish aims or insecurities. My husband is not rejecting me as the Messiah was rejected, but his actions have brought me emotional pain. Let my response be Christ-like. Mold me into His image. 

When I waver in my resolve, in my positive outlook, wrap your arms around me tighter, dear Father.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Q&A with J: Why Doesn’t He Want Sex?

My inbox currently has several messages with the same theme — a wife longing for her husband to desire sexual intimacy as much as she does. It seems to be increasingly common. Here’s a sample of what these wives say:

#1 – 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. . . . 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.

#2 – When we got married, I was a little taken back by his lack of interest in intimacy. . . . I avoid talking to him about our sex life because it only frustrates him and he says “I just don’t know what’s wrong!” I understand this is completely out of our control, so I try to dismiss it and not let him know it bothers me. It brings up feelings of rejection when I “make a move”  and he isn’t in the mood, it brings up insecurities and feelings of being unattractive.

#3 – I honestly don’t know if we’d ever have sex if i didn’t initiate it. Still to this day, I almost always have to initiate. And it drives me crazy! Thankfully, your blog has helped me learn how to communicate a little better how i feel and what i want. But i feel like we have the same conversation over and over again. I have told him that I need him to initiate more often, and he’ll do it like once but then if I don’t do it the next time I feel like it would be forever before we’d do it again. I try to wait and let him initiate but then he doesn’t and i am just left feeling disappointed.

#4 – I am by far the higher drive spouse, and it has caused some strain in our sex life. . . . usually whenever I initiate anything it just makes everything worse because I end up crying too much (I know, it’s bad) and he ends up so stressed about it that he wants it even less. So, can I just adapt to his timetable and suck it up or would it be a bad idea to suppress myself?

I’ll deal with each of these specific emails in the future, but I wanted to cover the subject as a whole of why doesn’t he want sex?

Q&A with J: Why Doesn't He Want Sex

If you’re like me, and 99% of other women, you grew up believing that men wanted sex. Like really, really, really wanted sex. They craved it like a parched man in the middle of the Sahara desert.

Many of us had personal experience to back up this notion: Guys scanning you inappropriately, making suggestive comments, hitting on you, even pressuring for sex.

Even most Christian resources about sex emphasize the husband’s biological need and emotional desire for sex.

So when a wife gets married and her husband’s just not that into sex, she can find herself feeling the sting of rejectionwondering what’s wrong with him, wondering what’s wrong with her, dealing day after day, night after night with disappointment. Why doesn’t he want sex? And, more importantly, why doesn’t he want sex with her?

Let’s lay out some options for why he isn’t interested. Because I agree this is happening in marriages more and more.

Physical issues. Like low-drive wives, low-drive husbands might be facing physical issues that prevent their bodies from responding as they should. Some of the common culprits include low testosterone, depression, diabetes, and obesity. This is why the first step I typically recommend is seeing a doctor and discussing libido. It’s not going to do much good to request a lot more sex when his body simply won’t cooperate.

What’s particularly difficult for the male side of low libido is the stigma many men attach to seeing a doctor and/or admitting their low sex drive. But if you can get him to recognize the problem could be physical and easily resolved, he might get on board.

Pornography. The prevalence is porn seems to be a primary reason why many husbands are less engaged sexually in their marriages. It’s not that men suddenly want to look at naked women; rather, it took a lot more effort to do so in the past, and now it’s a couple of clicks on your phone or your computer . . . and you’re there. Now the greater effort is not seeking porn, but avoiding it.

Now the greater effort is not seeking porn, but avoiding it. #marriage Click To Tweet

Viewing porn retrains your brain to respond to imagery rather than experience. It’s also quicker and easier to achieve climax with your own hand. Unfortunately, this means there are too many husbands who learned sexual arousal through images and masturbation. Some continue this practice in marriage, but even those who don’t may feel like sex in marriage is a bit of a letdown — because they were wired for it to look and feel more like porn.

How do you combat the porn effect? The biblical prescription for change includes confession, remorse, requesting Divine help, repentance (changing direction), and adopting positive thoughts and actions. (See Psalm 51 for a great example — when David repented of his sexual sin). That means admitting the porn has had a negative effect, committing to no more porn, asking for God’s help, retraining your brain to the better habits of true sexual intimacy, and having accountability. (The accountability part is also in Psalm 51, at the beginning when it says Nathan confronted David.) It can take some time to turn things around, but husbands who have shed the porn trap and sought true sexual intimacy in marriage have no regrets — they know the superiority of God’s design for sex.

Stress. Since I started writing about higher-drive wives, I’ve decided this is actually a big part of the problem for low-drive husbands. It’s not that we have so much more stress now in our world. We just don’t have the same outlets men have historically had. Whether we gals understand it or not, men are built to engage the world in a physical, vigorous, adventurous way. Sure, these are stereotypes, and there are exceptions, but there’s some deep-down truth to it. Just ask a bunch of moms who’ve raised boys, and we’ll attest that even young boys tend toward more roughness and physicality.

Now put all those guys in schools or homes or workplaces with little opportunity to move around in big, hearty ways. How are men supposed to release their pent-up stress?  You’d think they might engage in the physicality of sex. But there’s effort and gentleness required in marital sex that many of today’s men don’t have the capacity to give. The stress simply wears them down. Frustration and fatigue set in. They might even turn to virtual ways of relieving stress, like shooter video games.

The lack of physical activity also affects testosterone levels (see physical issues above). Many societies simply don’t require husbands to exert the physical activity that would release his stress and fuel his masculinity. What’s the answer? Regular exercise is a start. Looking for ways to support his adventurousness might help. Little by little, increase the opportunities for him to flex his physicality.

Wives are freer to want sex. Here’s the last thing I want to point out: Some of the shift in drive is attributable to women feeling freer in our society to express their sexuality. In many eras and cultures, the standard message was not only that men wanted sex more, but that women weren’t supposed to want it all that much — certainly not good women. Thus, many women suppressed their sex drive, consciously or unconsciously. When she didn’t want it so much, he obviously wanted it more.

The new paradigm is that women want sex too. It’s refreshing that wives can express their sexuality more fully, although sometimes we’re drawn into bad messages about sex as well — like the Fifty Shades phenomenon. But no longer do many women feel “slutty” for having strong sexual desires; rather, they see it part of their natural physiology. When these women get married, they’re eager to finally have a place where they can fulfill their sexual longings.

And maybe some of those expectations are not realistic. For instance, these wives often expect a sexual happily-ever-after based on romance stories they’ve read or seen. Real-world sex in marriage is far better in the long run, but it does take some effort. Flex your sex muscle, sure, but recognize that there are two people involved in this relationship, and that means it won’t always be perfectly synchronized.

Like I said, I’ll deal with these wives’ specific questions later, but I wanted to clear up some reasons why I believe more and more marriages have higher-drive wives and lower-drive husbands.

Do you have any reasons to add? Do you have any wisdom on what has worked in your marriage to resolve the sex drive difference?

Two Words Your Higher-Desire Spouse Needs You to Hear

If you’re a higher-drive wife who read Monday’s post on The One Sex Tip I Give Husbands Over and Over, you were probably thinking: Slow down? Are you kidding me? If my husband moves any slower toward the bedroom, he’ll fall asleep halfway there!

While other wives are trying to figure out how to get their sexual mojo going, you’re on sexual overdrive and wondering why your husband won’t get in the race car with you. “Slow down” aren’t exactly the two words you most want him to hear.

For you — and for higher-drive hubbies out there — your spouse needs a different message: something to get them off the couch and into the bed, something to help them understand what you really want, something to launch a new era of satisfying sexual intimacy. So here are those two words for lower-drive spouses:

show up.

Once again, this isn’t the whole of the matter but a good starting place.

But “show up” isn’t only a matter of “Here I am.” Just as I did with Monday’s post, let me explain more specifically what I mean by these two words of advice.

Show up with your presence. Comedian and filmmaker Woody Allen once said, “Showing up is eighty percent of life.” He’s got a point. You have to show up to your job, show up to buy groceries, show up to study your Bible, etc. You can’t accomplish anything in life if you aren’t actually there.

God’s pretty clear that you’re supposed to show up to your marriage bed. Have you read 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 lately? “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer.”

You have a “marital duty” to your spouse, the same kind of duty as feeding your children or working your job or going to church. “Do not deprive” means don’t stay away from the marriage bed for too long.

With this admonition, many low-drive spouses imagine being at the beck-and-call of a sex-addicted spouse. Nope, I’m not saying that. But consider that job again: You can call in sick sometimes, right? But if you call in sick over and over and over, eventually you don’t have a job. If you “call in sick” with the marriage bed again and again, eventually you won’t have much of a marriage. You might feel a-okay about things, but for your higher-drive spouse, your continual refusals to be present in the marriage bed feel like refusals to show up to the relationship at all. Trust that sex has a deep emotional impact for your spouse, and start showing up.

Show up with your whole self. I won’t name names, but one of my family members is currently having difficulty understanding that sitting in a desk at school isn’t a sufficient amount of showing up to actually learn anything or earn good grades. (Ah, parenthood!) Sometimes being present isn’t really showing up. Sure, you’re physically there, but everything about your attitude, your expression, your focus indicates that you’d rather be elsewhere.

And that’s how some spouses have treated 1 Corinthians 7. “Hey, I showed up. What more does my mate want?” Actually, quite a bit more. You wouldn’t like enjoy your spouse showing up to a conversation or a date night with a sourpuss attitude and no engagement in the experience. Likewise, it ain’t enough to give minimum effort to your sexual intimacy. If your spouse only wanted a physical release, he/she could do that on their own. Your spouse wants you — fully present and engaged and enjoying the encounter. Moreover, God intended sex as a gift to both of you.

Decide to be present — heart, body, and soul. Decide to cast off distractions and concentrate on physical sensations and close body contact. Decide to prioritize this moment and give yourself fully to it. Show up with your whole self. And you might be surprised how much more you’ll enjoy sex.

Show up on your own. No one likes having to drag their loved one to an event. Sure, some spouses do it (see that poor guy slumped in a chair outside the store dressing room?), but it’s not really enjoyable for anyone. Much more loving is to offer to accompany your honey when you know an event’s important to them. So your hubby likes to fish? Offer to go out on the boat with him. So your wife loves to quilt? Offer to escort her through a quilting show. So your spouse likes to salsa dance? Offer to take lessons together. So your higher-desire spouse wants to have sex? Offer to show up.

Yes, I mean initiate. Maybe you don’t have an independent desire for sexual intimacy. That’s okay. You can remember back to that time when it felt really good — those physical sensations and the embracing of your bodies — and let that inspire you. Or imagine how pleasurable it could be if you spoke up about something you’d like to try in the bedroom. Then prepare yourself as best you can your sexual event by removing distractions and setting the scene and awakening your senses.

Step outside your comfort zone now and then and initiate. Your willingness to show up on your own will go a long way toward making your spouse feel loved.

Now higher-desire spouses, what do you have to add to my encouragement that lower-desire spouses show up? And lower-desire spouses, what would help you to show up to the marriage bed more consistently and more fully?