Tag Archives: Low drive husband

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Please address the topic of a passive withdrawn husband.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 New Sex Studies (Including One Which Will Make You Laugh)

I love to peruse the internet for recent studies that involve sex. While God’s Word remains the foundation of my perspective on sexual intimacy, we have learned a lot about His creation and how things work in the bedroom from well-conducted research.

My last stroll through the web for interesting reports yielded five studies I want to share with you. A couple of them have important implications, a couple are simply interesting, and one is guaranteed to make you laugh.

5 New Sex Studies (Including One Which Will Make You Laugh)

Does having sex make men more spiritual?

Duke University researchers tested two groups of men by administering oxytocin to one group and a placebo to the second group. They then surveyed the men regarding feelings of spirituality and discovered that those who took oxytocin were more likely to answer questions about spirituality in positive ways. For instance, they said that “spirituality was important in their lives and that life has meaning and purpose” and agreed more with statements like “There is a higher plane of consciousness or spirituality that binds all people.”

What’s particularly interesting about this study is that oxytocin is a chemical produced by our bodies that has been labeled the “love hormone.” It’s been linked to feelings of bonding, trust, and satisfaction. And it’s released during breastfeeding, prolonged physical contact (like a long embrace or holding hands), and sex. Indeed, at sexual climax, men in committed relationships get a huge rush of oxytocin into their system. The upshot is that having sex may make your husband feel not only connected to you, but to the spiritual realm — and our Heavenly Father. So the next time your husband claims making love with you confirmed that there is a God, he might really be reporting his mountaintop-like experience.

Source: Duke Today: Oxytocin Enhances Spirituality, New Study Says

Is sex bad for his heart, but good for hers?

A federally funded study led by a Michigan State researcher looked at the link between frequency of sex and cardiovascular health. Participants were between 57 and 85 years of age, and information was collected once and again five years later. For those who had sex one or more times a week, men had a higher risk of cardiovascular events (like hypertension, heart attack, etc.), while women had a reduced risk of hypertension. So basically, more sex seemed to be bad for his heart, but good for hers.

But wait… The bigger question is why: Why are men at greater risk for heart conditions just by having more frequent sex? It’s not clear that it’s the sex, because older, sexually active men are also more likely to use medication to boost sexual function and could be straining themselves more to reach an orgasm that isn’t quite as easy to attain as it once was. Maybe the takeaway is that we need to let our sexuality mature with us — take our time, don’t sweat it if the orgasm doesn’t happen, and enjoy the vast array of sexually intimate acts. And if that doesn’t work, I know plenty of husbands who’d simply say: “I don’t care if having sex increases my risk of heart attack, because what a way to go!”

Source: MSU Today — Is Sex in Later Years Good for Your Health?

Should you turn on the lights?

Research conducted by the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress studied 38 male participants with disorders characterized by a lack of interest in sex. They gave them half of them light therapy (exposure to light that mimics the sun’s rays and is used with seasonal depression) and half of them exposure to much dimmer light. The men who received bright light therapy showed increased sexual satisfaction three times higher as well as a jump in testosterone production.

Honestly, this matches one of my theories of why more men have lower sex drives these days. I believe that since many men aren’t spending time outside and in manual labor, they aren’t doing things that used to maintain their testosterone levels and decrease their stress. Whether my theory’s true or not, it appears that sunlight or light therapy would be a good idea for men whose libidos aren’t where they, or perhaps their wives, would like them to be. For you higher-drive wives, maybe you could suggest a daily walk or time together outside more days than not.

Source: Popular Science — New Research Shows How Bright Light Could Wake Up Men’s Sexual Desire

Why should college students have all the fun?

Researchers at the University of South Dakota surveyed 706 college students and discovered that having sex in a parked car remains a “fundamental coming-of-age phenomenon.” Sixty percent reported having experienced parked-car sex, and although men reported a higher rate of satisfaction, a strong majority in both genders viewed the experience positively.

Why am I talking about this to married Christians? Because hey, you can do it your car too! Frankly, as you get older, your car is usually bigger and more conducive to having sex without getting jabbed by a gear shift or slammed into the dashboard. You might well own a garage so that maintaining privacy is an easy goal to meet. And you’d probably be surprised how much your body can still bend and move when romance and libido run high. Some of us even own trucks, meaning we have an actual “bed” in our vehicle. Doesn’t that mean we should use it as the word intends?

Source: The Daily Beast — Science Says: Car Sex Is Still a Rite of Passage

Is polyester killing your sex appeal, guys?

Cairo University Professor Ahmed Shafik dressed lab rats in pants of different fabrics, then studied how they affected the rats’ sex drive. He discovered that rats in polyester pants got less action than those wearing cotton or wool — a finding that once-and-for-all confirms the 1970s were the worst fashion decade.

Image result for rat in pants

So throw out your old leisure suits, husbands, because that polyester look is not helping your sex appeal! Go with cotton or wool (or even a mixed blend, I suppose). Although I wonder how those rats would have fared in satin boxer shorts. Do you think they would have become “love machines”? Maybe, maybe not. But you could give it a try.

Source: Polyester pants dampen rats’ sex appeal: Ig Nobel prizes honor weird research

What do you think about these research studies? What surprised you or shed light on your situation?

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?

Q&A for J: How Can I Help My Husband Be More Adventurous In Bed?

Today’s question is from a higher drive wife:

I am the higher drive spouse in my marriage, though not by a big gap. I love finding helpful sexual advice from HHH or similar sources, but often have to invert the advice for husbands and wives, since I am higher drive. After some thought and occasional conversations with my wonderful man, I think one of the reasons I’m struggling is that he’s so content with “same as usual” sex. If I do not take the initiative to put on lingerie, set the mood, flirt, etc, then he is fine with getting into bed with the lights off and initiating sex with me quietly, pretty much out of nowhere, and what I would call “bread and butter sex.” I would prefer more. He is always happy when I make the effort to make it more of an encounter, which I do several times a week, but I’m longing to feel pursued in the bedroom, not just responded to…

He’s often willing to try something, but I have to take the lead. Can you suggest some ways I can help my husband be more adventurous in bed and help him initiate more?

Q&A with J: How Can I Help My Husband Be More Adventurous in Bed?

Do you feel like you have a “lazy lover” in bed? You’re having sex, but each time is pretty much like the last and, to be honest, the last one only scored about a C+.

You’re getting fed, sure, but you’re missing out on the feast of sexual intimacy in your marriage! Yet you wonder when you’ll experience that biblical phrase: “Drink, be intoxicated with love!” (Song of Songs 5:1, HCSB). How do you get your guy to raise his goblet and drink his fill? Or pour out a goblet of goodies for you that fully satisfies?

Talk about your desires. Have you talked outside the bedroom about what you’d like to see happening inside the bedroom? Like any other goal in our marriage, it often takes intentionality and conversation to decide together what we want to attain.

Explain what you’d like your sexual intimacy to look like. That can include the build-up toward sexual encounters, how often you each initiate, what practices you’d like to try, what feelings you want to evoke, and the overall mood of sensuality in your marriage. Avoid complaining about the past or the current situation, focusing instead of nurturing sexual intimacy and adventure in your marriage bed.

Just as important, listen to his desires. Ask how he views your sexual intimacy and what he’d like to see happen. If he tries to brush it off saying he’s happy with the status quo, you could tell him you appreciate that, but you’d like to know what would make him even more eager to make love and feel “intoxicated” with your sex life. Be willing to attend to what would make him feel loved. There might be an area of neglect you didn’t know about, that you can then remedy, which could embolden him to engage more.

Turn to helpful resources. If you’re tired of initiating, maybe you can turn up the heat by introducing some love-stoking resources into your bedroom. Get a sexy board game or offer to play Strip Poker or Battleship. Go through sex-focused books for married couples, like Sheila Gregoire’s 31 Days to Great Sex or Kevin Leman’s Sheet MusicAlthough written primary for Christian wives, you could also go through Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Your Marriage together to spark conversation and sexual intimacy in your marriage.

Purchase some lovemaking coupons or make custom ones. See if he’s willing to try out a new coupon with a fresh idea each week. Make a list of locations or positions you’d like to attempt (I say attempt, because some don’t work out like you’d think…), then refer to the list when you’re ready to make love. (For more specific positions with no explicit pictures, you can check out Christian Friendly Sex Positions.)

Make a point of assessing how things are going, by letting each of you rate the new “adventure.” By the way, I’ve learned with my cooking that the best way to rate recipes is for my family not to say things like, “That was too dry” or “It was too salty” or “Blech,” but rather give a thumbs up or down on whether it’s worth repeating and provide suggestions for making it better next time. I suggest trying that with your bedroom activities. Keep things positive: Ask if it’s a repeat and talk about what you might want to tweak next time around. You might discover some adventurous activities among these ideas that he enjoys and eagerly anticipates repeating.

Pursue deeper answers if needed. If after trying to stir up the sexual fires, his flame is still burning low, you may need to dig deeper and find out why he’s not willing to do more in bed. There are a number of possibilities — ranging from low testosterone levels, to poor teachings about sex that make him feel guilty for being adventurous even with his wife, to past or current porn use that makes arousal more difficult face-to-face. If there’s an underlying reason why he isn’t more engaged in sex, you need to find why and then get on his side to help him through it.

Men typically have a tough time revealing the obstacles they’re facing and asking for help. But open a conversation and encourage him to reveal what’s going on. Let him know you are a safe place for him to dump his concerns, and that you’ll support him in figuring things out and becoming more involved and excited about your sexual intimacy.

I often counsel wives to introduce difficult topics through shoulder-to-shoulder conversation, rather than face-to-face. We women usually want to look each other in the eye, but men often reveal more when you take a side-by-side walk or drive somewhere together or just sit on the couch facing forward. Let him look somewhere else if it helps him talk through what you need to know.

If there are underlying issues preventing him from engaging, resolving those will likely open up your marriage bed to greater adventure. And if you’re the one who needs to be more adventurous in bed, here’s a post to get you started.

Now for my readers, how have you been able to increase your spouse’s sense of adventure in the marriage bed? What has worked well for you?