Tag Archives: low drive wife

Sex Tonight? What Does Your Magic 8-Ball Say?

Magic 8-BallWhen I was growing up, there was a toy that many of us played with called a Magic 8-Ball. Manufactured by Mattel, it looked like a pool table 8-ball but had an icosahedral (20-sided) die inside. When you asked a question and then shook the ball, one side of the die would show up through a window to give you an answer.

I never had one myself, but I played with others’ magic 8-balls. It was fun to ask random questions and then see such answers as: “Without a doubt”; “Cannot predict now”; and “Don’t count on it.” It was all a game, of course.

But I was thinking about how we often have a set of ready answers when it comes to having sex in marriage. It’s like we have our own internal magic 8-balls and whenever our husband asks, “Do you want to have sex?” we shake up the ball and spit out one of the preprinted replies.

The original possibilities for the magic 8-balls included 10 positive responses, five wishy-washy, and five ain’t-happening:

● It is certain
● It is decidedly so
● Without a doubt
● Yes definitely
● You may rely on it
● As I see it, yes
● Most likely
● Outlook good
● Yes
● Signs point to yes
● Reply hazy try again
● Ask again later
● Better not tell you now
● Cannot predict now
● Concentrate and ask again
● Don’t count on it
● My reply is no
● My sources say no
● Outlook not so good
● Very doubtful

Those aren’t terrible odds. If your hubby approached you to make love, it might be a nice deal if half the time he got a positive response, one-quarter of the time he got what amounts to “you can talk me into it,” and only one-quarter of the time was a no. Of course, it would be even better if the nos were fewer and the yeses or maybes higher, but for some marriages and some seasons in marriage, a 75% success rate of experiencing sexual intimacy when a higher-drive spouse initiates is a decent result.

But you know what? I bet a lot of us wives have an internal magic 8-ball stacked with negative responses. Maybe half of the time, your set-point is no. Or maybe it’s just a whole lot of maybes — with your willingness contingent on all of your to-dos getting done and the stars aligning just so.

And yes, I know, it could be you with the higher desire and your husband whose magic 8-ball could use a substantial adjustment.

Refusal of sexual intimacy isn’t a game to the one who’s asking. If the higher-drive spouse wants to make love, it’s usually not about physical release or recreational enjoyment. As I’ve often said, if it was just about the orgasm, they could get that done without you. Rather, the desire to make love, and the rejection felt when the nos pile up, run much deeper.

Maybe like me, you toyed with a magic 8-ball when you were young. You asked questions like, “Will we have a pop quiz tomorrow?” “Am I smarter than my sister?” or “Am I getting the gift I want for Christmas?” The results you got were interesting or even funny, but they didn’t really matter. However, perhaps you also asked relational questions like “Will I get invited to prom?” or “Does the guy I have a crush on like me?” Remember how you felt when the negative answer kept coming up over and over? Even though we knew it was a toy — just a silly way to pass the time — we longed for a positive answer and felt a sense of disappointment when it didn’t happen.

Now imagine that’s real. Your husband approaches you for sex, you shake up your magic 8-ball, and a negative answer spits out time and time again. What kind of disappointment does he feel?

I recently shared one of my archived posts, Be His “Sure Thing”, on social media and received several positive comments and shares. Because I think this is one of those game-changing ideas in marriage, that saying yes to sexual intimacy should be the response that our spouse most hears. As I said in that post:

There is a deep warmth that comes from knowing that your spouse is your “sure thing” — the one who will talk with you when you need conversation, who will embrace you when you need to be held, who will make love when you need to feel that one-flesh physical connection.

In marriage, we’re supposed to be there for our spouses in all those ways that make us feel loved. Your way might involve more affection or conversation, but his way might focus on mutual sexual pleasure. Or vice versa. And that’s a completely legitimate way to express love in marriage. It’s God-made and Heaven-endorsed.

I’m not saying you can never say no. I think that’s a legitimate answer when circumstances force sexual intimacy to take a temporary backseat to other needs in your lives. (Although I highly recommend rain check sex.) But how’s your internal magic 8-ball? How many of your possible answers are positive? Do you need to rewrite a few?

Q&A with J: Getting Over Your Baggage

I feel like I’ve been answering a high percentage of questions lately from newlyweds. But I’m happy to do it, and I’m sure today’s question applies to plenty of wives in various stages of their marriage. Read on:

I’ve so enjoyed your blog thus far and am grateful for your spiritual guidance. I am a newlywed and want desperately to have a deep sexual relationship with my husband. I’ve found it so difficult to be in the mood though for a number of reasons: 1. My body image is a mess. This is the worst I’ve felt about my body in a long time and I hate being aware of it. How can I be naked and let someone touch me when I hate my body so much? 2. I had an abusive ex that still haunts me and creeps into my thoughts. 3. I was raised really devout Catholic and I still feel guilty for the “dirty” parts of sex. For some reason I can’t get out of this juvenile mind set.

All of this combines to make me not in the mood. Like ever.

I love my husband so much and I want our marriage to be a successful one. Any advice to work through my baggage I would very much appreciate. And so would he.

Other wives, did you see yourself in there somewhere? This reader did a great job of separating out the topics, so I’m going to deal with them in that order.

Q&A with J: Getting Over Your BaggageMy body image is a mess. This is the question so many wives ask themselves: “How can I be naked and let someone touch me when I hate my body so much?” I’ve tried to answer this question in so many ways and enlisted other wise wives to help:

Don’t Touch Me: I’m Ugly!
Facts and Figures
3 Practical Tips for a Sexier You
Husbands, Help Us Feel & Be Beautiful
Feeling Beautiful: A Wife’s Goal for 2015
Feeling Beautiful: From His Perspective
Feel Beautiful in 2015: Fight The Frump!
Feel Beautiful: Dust Off Your Exercise Shoes!
Feeling Beautiful: 8 Things I Learned While Shopping
How Do You Feel Beautiful? with Sheila Wray Gregoire
Put Your Body to Work to Help You Feel Beautiful with Gaye Groover Christmus
Feeling Beautiful Beneath the Sheets with Julie Sibert
Feeling Beautiful Starts in the Mind with Keelie Reason
Permission to Feel Beautiful with Bonny Logsdon Burns
4 Ways to Feel Beautiful When You’re Not Really Feeling It with Jolene Engle

I also deal with this issue several times in my devotional book, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriagewith scriptures and focused prayer.

But today as I leaned back in my office chair wondering if there was anything else I could add, I paused to listen to the background music coming through my earphones. Was it a coincidence that Casting Crowns’ “Voice of Truth” was playing? Maybe, maybe not. But here’s the conclusion of the chorus:

Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe
The voice of truth

I encourage you to go through those posts and my book, which include wisdom and tips about feeling beautiful. But Casting Crowns is right: It’s ultimately about training our minds to agree with God’s perspective of us. It won’t happen overnight. But we can choose to listen, we can choose to believe, we can choose to rehearse the truth in our heads: You are “remarkably and wonderfully made“! (Psalm 139:14 HCSB).

I had an abusive ex. I’m not clear on what type of abuse this entailed: verbal, physical, or sexual. Or even all three. But I’ve seen the damage that domestic abuse causes, the open wounds it leaves in the victims, the pain they have to heal from. Domestic abuse can be caused by a woman or a man, but statistically it is more often the male — and I believe this is Satan at work. As usual, the accuser creates nothing, only twists what God created.

Overall, God made men biologically better equipped to be a physical protector. Man’s physical strength should be used to keep others safe, but Satan turns that on its head and convinces some men to use their might to abuse others instead. It’s a horrible thing, and if you’re being abused, you need to get out and get out now. Your situation is extremely unlikely to change, and will likely get worse, unless and until you break the cycle by pulling away.

Thankfully, this reader is out of that situation and now in a marriage where abuse is not occurring. God be praised! So what about the baggage left over from that awful experience? Once again, it’s about retraining. That was then, this is now. So here are some straightforward tips on getting past the bad memories:

  • Remind yourself that your husband is not that guy. Over and over and over. As many times as you need to. To protect ourselves, our bodies learn which stimuli signal danger and react accordingly. For abuse victims, this can mean that male hand touching you can cause you to tense up, even if it’s a different hand than the one that struck you. You’ll need to do some self-talk to distinguish this stimulus from that one. It will take some time to decouple the stimulus-response, but you can make it happen.
  • Let your husband know what triggers your fear. Communicate clearly which activities cause the bad memories to leap to the forefront of your mind. Explain how he can best touch and arouse you in ways that won’t cause you emotional pain. And look, if there are certain things that need to be off-limits, at least for the time being, tell him. For example, if a young girl was forced to give a man oral sex, she can take that off the sexual menu with her husband, because it’s just too close to the original event. Over time, her comfort in the marriage bed could improve enough that they can revisit that topic, but it’s not reasonable to push optional activities that send you reeling.
  • Have the agreement that you can pause and regroup as needed. If you’re in the middle of lovemaking, and something happens that evokes your fear response, you can call for a momentary break. Just say something like, “Hold on, I need to breathe for a moment.” Then take deep breaths, do your self-talk, and guide your husband on what you need, whether it’s slowing down, touching you elsewhere, or reminding you how much he loves you and will protect you.

Don’t stop being intimate. Because what eventually happens with bad baggage versus our marriage bed experiences is the scales tip. If you put baggage on one side, and your marriage on the other, you can eventually get so many positive experiences of sexual intimacy with your husband that you reach a tipping point. And then sex truly feels like a positive thing. Not that you don’t remember what happened to you, but it no longer defines your view of yourself, men, relationships, and sexuality like it did before.

I still feel guilty for the “dirty” parts of sex. I’m not sure what the “dirty parts” are, but it sounds like maybe it’s the whole kit-and-caboodle. Church tradition really did a number on our perspective of God’s gift of sex. It’s a shame really, but I do see many Christian voices — both in the Protestant and Catholic communities — now trying to correct the fallacies.

I keep coming back to Satan, but really I think that’s where this thing comes from: the effort of Evil to convince us that bad things are good and good things are bad. But read Isaiah 5:20:

Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter.

Sexual immorality is evil. Sexual intimacy in marriage is good. Let’s not confuse the two.

Sexual immorality is evil. Sexual intimacy in marriage is good. Let's not confuse the two. Click To Tweet

Much of what I said earlier about self-talk, listening to the voice of truth, and tipping the scales applies here. But I’d also suggest that you do an exercise of listing what you believe about sex, then searching for the biblical truth about that subject and the real conclusion. For instance, you might write:

Good girls don’t have sex. Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my beloved among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love. Song of Songs 2:3-4 Good wives delight in sex with their husbands.
Good girls don’t initiate sex. Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits. Song of Songs 4:16 Good wives invite their husbands to have sex.

Once again, Intimacy Revealed is an excellent resource for helping you view sex the way God designed it to be — as an intimate expression of love between husband and wife.

But if you don’t know what’s okay and what’s not, talk that out with each other, remembering the consent that matters most is your Heavenly Father’s. And He smiles on husband and wife sharing the intimacy and pleasure He gifted to marriage.

You have a process to go through, but your mind and your experience can be turned around. Take one small step today, another tomorrow, and so on and so on. Together, you can grow your marriage bed into a beautiful place you both anticipate with delight!

Q&A with J: “He Wants It Every Night…Several Times”

Today’s question is a doozy. It’s from a wife whose husband is rather insistent about his especially high sex drive:

What do you recommend for wives who do not become aroused during love making? My husband has a very high sex drive. He wants it every night and would like it several times a night not just once. We have been married almost 40 years. I [used] to enjoy sex but in the last 10 years I have found it impossible to become aroused. We still have sex even though he knows I get nothing out of it. I am just going through the motions. I try to keep him happy. I spoke with my Doctor but he didn’t have any suggestions as to why this happened. I am beginning to feel used because my husband doesn’t seem to care as long as his needs are met and on his days off hounds me for sex all day long even if we had sex the night before. If I give in, he then starts in a couple of hours later wanting sex again. It seems the more sex he has the more he wants. I am at the end of my rope. I want him to be happy but I don’t know how much more I can take.

Q&A with J: "He Wants Sex Every Night...Several Times"

Honestly, my first reaction was: Of course, you’re not aroused during lovemaking! You’re exhausted, honey. And he’s not considering your needs and desires.

Upon further thought, my second reaction was the same. But let’s break this down further. Because that thought — true as it may be — doesn’t lead to solutions.

His extra-high sex drive. One of the tough things when you’re dealing with an issue that feels off in your sexual intimacy is knowing what’s normal. You think to yourself, Is this how it should be? If you get your information from media (please, don’t), you’d think that everyone is either having sex constantly or that they experience a complete death of their sex lives upon saying “I do.” Neither of those scenarios is anywhere close to true. But you’re hardly going to take up your own research study and ask around about everyone else’s sex lives until you have a statistically significant sample and then draw conclusions about what’s healthy and normal.

But I’d read a lot on this subject, so let me assure you that a husband at his age who expects several times a day is atypical. Yes, men can continue with high libidos well into their elder years. But by this time, the desire is not usually as frequent and urgent. I wouldn’t be asking simply why your body isn’t aroused, I’d want to know why his body is on overdrive. For instance, is he on testosterone supplements and needs his medication adjusted?

It may not have a physical/hormonal cause, but I’d sit down with my hubby and explain that, while I respect his desire for frequent sexual intimacy, several times a day is just more than you can handle and more than men of his age typically want. Ask why he thinks his sex drive is so strong, and talk about ways he can release some of that pent-up feeling that doesn’t involve more sex than your body can take. I’m not talking about masturbation, but rather physical activity or meditation or a hobby that gives him something to do. If you think there could be a physical component, ask him to see a doctor and request to go with him for support and understanding.

You’re his wife, not his sex service. You say, “I am beginning to feel used.” I immediately wondered why you’d only just begun to feel that way. It sounds like he’s treating you as his sex service, more than his wife. Healthy sexual intimacy in marriage isn’t about either one of you being at the other’s beck-and-call. It isn’t about relieving pent-up stress with a “fix.” It isn’t about one person’s pleasure to the neglect of the other person’s pleasure.

While you have an obligation in marriage to have sex with each other (1 Corinthians 7:3-5), you also have the right to set boundaries. I can’t remember who said this first, but that scripture has been explained something like this: Yes, your body belongs to him, but his body belongs to you. Thus, he might expect your body to be up for grabs one night, but you could turn around and say, “Fine, but your body will treat my body in this way.” Bluntly put, he has part ownership of your vagina, but you have part ownership of his penis. He doesn’t get free rein with his body parts to subjugate your body parts.

Now I believe that if he only wanted a physical release, he knows he could take care of that on his own. He does want you, because he’s not simply pursuing sex, but sex with you. However, he may think that you’re not supposed to be as into this as he is, and thus it’s okay to treat your body the way he’s treating you. And it’s just not okay.

I hope you’ve explained calmly but firmly how his constant advances make you feel. If not, sit him down and talk about the kind of intimacy you desire for your marriage. Talk about that verse in the Bible and what it should mean in your marriage. Open up the Song of Songs and read together — seeing how mutual the sexual pleasure was for this married couple.

If he responds, great! If he doesn’t get it, set some boundaries. You don’t have to say yes every single time he proposes sex. And you can make suggestions back to him, like “I need time to mentally and physically prepare” or “Can we reschedule until the morning when I’m feeling better?” If he starts treating you like your his personal love doll, you can stop things right there and say, “I want to cooperate and enjoy this, but you have to respect me as a person and how I feel.” Be aware that when you set boundaries with someone, you will likely get some pushback — because you’re changing how things work — but if you can calmly stick with it, you can get the point across over time and alter the pattern of behavior.

Your arousal and satisfaction matters.Twice you said how you want him to be happy, and that’s great. Oftentimes that’s where we need to start with improving our sexual intimacy — a desire to give our spouse delight. But sex in marriage isn’t about one spouse being happy. God intended sexual intimacy to be a mutually satisfying experience.

You say: “We still have sex even though he knows I get nothing out of it. I am just going through the motions.” And your initial question was: “What do you recommend for wives who do not become aroused during love making?” I recommend you speak up and ask for what you need in the marital bedroom.

You say that you used to enjoy sex, so you know what arousal and enjoyment feel like. But you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling because your arousal and enjoyment has not been prioritized in your marriage. Your husband obviously has no problem requesting (again and again) for what he wants in the bedroom. There’s nothing wrong with you advocating for your sexual pleasure.

Want examples?

“Honey, I’m open to making love tonight, but I cannot just go through the motions. I want to feel pleasure in your arms. I need you to slow down tonight and help me feel truly aroused before we begin intercourse.”

“I remember enjoying sex so much in the past, and I want to enjoy it again with you. Can we please work on helping me climax? I think that would increase my enjoyment a lot.”

“I want you to be happy with our sex life together, but I’m not happy with the lack of pleasure I feel. I need your help to get my body back in the game. I promise we can make love later, but for now, can we focus on what makes my body aroused enough to crave sex with you?”

You should also feel free to speak up in the moment with comments on what feels good, where you’d prefer he move his hand, what sexual position you’d like to try, etc. Take charge sometimes so you can learn what you like and he can see that you’re trying to get involved but you won’t settle anymore for sex not feeling good.

Get your own body checked out. Usually, I start with this one. But given your story, I think the more likely cause of your lack of sexual responsiveness is the dynamics in your marriage. However, it’s worth asking your doctor again if everything’s going the way it should. We ladies can have issues as we age, especially with dryness. Make sure your hormones are balanced and your vaginal walls are secreting properly. If your doctor waves it aside, be a little more insistent. Tell him this is causing issues in your marriage, and you want to know without a doubt that everything is fully functional.

As you can see, a lot of what I say here equates to being your own advocate. I believe God intended you to have a beautiful experience in the bedroom as well. While we should absolutely serve one another in our marriage beds, sometimes the balance shifts so drastically, the neglected spouse needs to speak up. I think that’s where you are in your marriage, and I pray that you find the godly wisdom, the right words, and the loving actions needed to make healthy changes in your sexual intimacy.