Tag Archives: sex drive differences

Should You Track the Frequency of Sex in Your Marriage?

How often do you have sex? It’s a question some spouses can easily answer, and some not so easily.

If you read my short story, “After the Baby,” in Behind Closed Doors: Five Marriage Stories, the main character is a husband who knows exactly how long it’s been since he and his wife made love. Because it’s been too long. And I get that in comments and emails from time to time — a spouse who can state with absolute accuracy how many times they’ve had sex with their mate in the last month or year.

Yet maybe we think we know, and don’t. Spouses are not always on the same page about how often sex is happening in their marriage.

I found it interesting that Jimmy Kimmel Live has grabbed couples off the street and asked how many times they’d had sex in the last month. Check out one clip from the show:

One couple matched each other’s answers, but the other didn’t. Why the discrepancy?

It made me think about the suggestion I’ve heard that a spouse track how often they make love in their marriage. Is this a good idea?

Calendar being marked with a pencil

I used to think probably not. Because this practice is often suggested by someone who thinks they’re not getting enough, and they’re basically looking for evidence (translation: ammunition) to make the case that they’re being cheated.

But I then I decided to test it out myself. Unbeknownst to my husband (Hi, love! Are you reading this?), I marked on my calendar the days we made love for about a month. And you know what? It was more often than I thought it would be.

As the higher-drive spouse right now in our marriage, maybe I was a little more focused on when it wasn’t happening than when it was. And isn’t that really a bit short-sighted? Perhaps even selfish?

Now that I have a better sense of our routine, I can relax a little more. Yes, I sometimes want a higher frequency of sexual intimacy, but we’re doing pretty well. And putting those instances on the calendar, I could connect what might have gotten in the way of us making love or, better yet, what made it a good time to make love.

My general conclusion was that loaded calendar days kept us from connecting in many ways, including physically, while quality time together often ended with lovemaking. Hardly a stunning revelation, but it was helpful to see in my own life.

If you can approach tracking the frequency as an interesting experiment, perhaps it would be worthwhile to see how often you’re making love. I suspect what would happen is what occurred in the video. Some couples would find that they’re having sex about as often as they thought, and then they can decide whether that’s enough for their marriage or if they need to make some calendar changes.

Other spouses will discover a discrepancy — probably because lower-drive spouses think they’re doing it more often than they are, and higher-drive spouses think they’re doing it less often than they are. For this second couple, it could be eye-opening to discover the truth of what’s happening in your relationship. And it might pinpoint an attitudinal or behavioral change you need to make for the wellbeing of your marriage.

Having actual data could help you avoid making unfounded accusations about what’s happening in your sex life. After all, one of the Ten Commandments is “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). And let’s face it: Some spouses have falsely accused their spouse of pursuing more or giving less sex than they actually are. If you’re tracking to uncover the truth, maybe this idea would work for you.

Have you ever tracked the frequency of sex in your marriage? Were you surprised by the results? Do you consider this a good or a bad idea?

Related Post: How Often Should You Have Sex?

Q&A with J: Why Did God Make Sex So Hard Sometimes?

Today’s reader question is a short one, with a longer answer.

I had (what I hope is) a quick question. I’ve read that for men, arousal tends to follow desire, whereas for women, desire tends to follow arousal.

Do we have any thoughts on why God created things this way, assuming it was not by accident?

Q&A with J: Why Did God Make Sex So Hard Sometimes?

My first thought is that God has quite the sense of humor. Not only do we have to get naked and get into these awkward positions to have sex, we have to figure out the one we love and all those ways they’re different from us. We plan for our sexual intimacy to look like a passionate love scene from a romance novel, and sometimes it ends up feeling more like putting together an IKEA bookshelf unit with no assembly instructions. (Not that I read the instructions anyway.)

It reminds me of this Yiddish proverb: We plan, God laughs.

We plan, God laughs.

However, God did not design us this way just to have a great big belly laugh, especially not at our expense. He is generous and wise, and I think He created such differences for a higher purpose.

That higher purpose is to make us more like Jesus. Yep, I really believe that.

It’s true that for many husbands, arousal follows desire. He wants sex; then sees, thinks about, or touches you; and bam! he’s ready to go. Yet for many wives, desire follows arousal. Which is why some wives feel they don’t have a sex drive, but if they choose to engage and become aroused . . . their libido kicks in. One way isn’t better than the other; they’re just different. Getting you both on the same page to feel arousal and desire together can be a challenge.

But if husband and wife approach sexual intimacy and satisfaction differently, then they must display traits characteristic of Jesus to get in harmony and experience the best in their marriage. The Bible says that’s how we should conduct ourselves in our relationships with each other, including marriage:

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

The passage following (Philippians 2:6-11) is quite possibly a hymn sung in the early church about Jesus’ humility and servant-mindedness as he left the throne of Heaven, became a servant on earth all the way to the cross, and was then exalted by God to the highest place — where He belongs.

And the verses before this one tell us about several Christ-like characteristics we should pursue:

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,  then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:1-4).

Did you see those traits? Tenderness, compassion, like-mindedness, love, unselfishness, humility, consideration of others.

I can’t assume my husband will approach sexuality the same way I do, so I have to make an effort to understand him, honor him, arouse him, and satisfy him. And he should make that effort for me. As we display that kind of tenderness, compassion, love, etc., we become less selfish and more like Christ.

Our sexual intimacy better mirrors the relationship we Christians have to our bridegroom, Jesus. We understand more about our spouse, but we also understand more about Christ and the loving, intimate relationship He wants with us.

I’m not saying that you can never pursue your own pleasure in the marriage bed. Jesus fed others, but he also ate and drank plenty, including at supper at people’s houseswedding celebrations, and a dinner in his honor. It’s okay to want the good stuff for yourself, but you must also attend to what your spouse needs.

God making us different forces that equation.

But it acts like a cycle too, where honoring one another’s different sexuality brings us more pleasure in the end anyway. Satisfying one another becomes satisfying for ourselves. I know that in the throes of ecstasy, when my husband is rockin’ my world with a capital R-O-C-K, I feel especially motivated to turn him on even more. Turning him on, turns me on. Turning me on, turns him on.

Sex often doesn’t start that way. It can be a choice one spouse makes to engage and allow their arousal to follow — often the wife, but it can be the husband who has less independent sex drive. And that higher-drive spouse — often the husband but not necessarily — needs to be patient and considerate of their beloved’s need to warm up more slowly.

Your mismatch in drives and arousal could be a big problem, but they could simply be a difference — a difference that pushes us toward being like Christ. Even in the marital bedroom.

So I don’t think God’s trying to make sex harder for us. He’s trying to make us better for one another and more like Him. Our calling is to embrace the sex drive we have or can cultivate and trust His generosity.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

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?

I Am the Higher Drive Spouse (or Yes, Rejection Hurts)

"I want you to want me." - Cheap Trick

Last week, I posted that just because he has stopped asking, that doesn’t mean he has stopped wanting physical intimacy. Within the post and in my tweets about it, I acknowledged that it could actually be SHE who has stopped asking and still wants. Statistics vary, but in perhaps 20-25% of marriages, the WIFE is the higher drive spouse.

Currently, my marriage is in that 20-25%. I’ve experienced all three possible situations: My husband and I have been equally matched in libido; then my libido took a massive drop, and his remained high; and more recently, his has decreased, while mine has increased. So that now, I desire sex more frequently than my husband.

Which means that I’ve been on the rejection end.

Let me clarify that my marriage’s sex life is solid, and that our “rejections” are more like passes until a better time. (See Rain Check Sex.) I know that some, or perhaps even many, of you have received harsh refusals of your advances, and that pain is particularly deep.

However, I know how it feels to get yourself all geared up and feel that fire in your belly and want to express your love for your mate in sexually intimate ways . . . and get a “not now.” It stinks.

In that moment, I sometimes wonder if it was my presentation. Like maybe my belly fat really has crossed the line over into my being unattractive physically to him. Or maybe I came on too strong. Or maybe I worded my desire badly.

I’ll wonder if my timing was off. Would he have been interested 30 minutes earlier? In the morning? Right when he got home from work?

I’ll wonder if there is something wrong with me. Am I too interested in sex? Should I be able to tone it down? Shouldn’t the husband be pursuing the wife?

Now I don’t wonder such things at other times because, as I said, solid sex life. My husband and I have fostered our physical intimacy in a way that satisfies and honors God. But in those moments when the “not now” happens, I know that heart-sinking feeling of rejection. I know the frustration of feeling pent-up with no immediate outlet for your desire. I know the doubts that creep into your mind.

I haven’t walked a mile in your moccasins, but I have tried them on.

Reading the comments from last week’s post, it was clear that rejection hurts whether experienced by the wife or the husband. The saddest statements were from those who wished that their sex drive would simply go away so that they could avoid the pain of rejection and simply enjoy the remaining areas of their marriage. That is not God’s intention for marriage! But I could hear the heartache in the way these spouses explained their feelings of frustration and loneliness.

So what is the answer for the mismatch in drives?

Well, there are really two scenarios:

1. Spouses are willing to work together to meet each others’ needs. There are plenty of marriages in which one spouse has a stronger libido than the other, but it works out just fine. Perhaps the lower-drive spouse participates anyway and enjoys the intimacy, even if they don’t desire for it beforehand. Perhaps the couple negotiates an amount of sex that is higher than the lower-drive spouse would choose, and lower than the higher-drive spouse would choose, but both are satisfied. Some may choose to have sex less, but for longer periods of time. Or more frequent, but for less time each encounter. Some may use lubricant or marital aids to get things rolling for the lower-drive spouse. Neither is depriving the other of marital intimacy, and both are considering the others’ needs (1 Corinthians 7:4-5; Philippians 2:1-4).

Whatever works here, as long as it works, the mismatch in drives is well-managed and results in two happy spouses.

But then, there is . . .

2. Lower-drive spouse refuses and won’t listen to the higher-drive spouse’s desire for intimacy and pain of rejection. That’s a whole other ball game, folks. At the core of the problem here is selfishness — and it can be from either side or both sides. The lower-drive spouse may refuse sex because they don’t personally want it, but they also refuse to see how their actions negatively impact the other. They may brush off the advances, make excuses, participate so little in sex that they say they are meeting the need but really aren’t, or even mock their spouse’s libido level. OR the higher-drive spouse may demand sex, pursue constantly, ignore the lower-drive spouse’s need for atmosphere or foreplay to get in the mood, or even cite scriptures and appeal to a sense of duty to get what they want.

But selfishness is the culprit here. Thus, the question becomes less about how to avoid or get sex than how to foster communication, understanding, and unity. How can the two become one flesh, even in their approach to sexuality in marriage?

I admit that #2 is harder to solve. What I have heard from couples is that various methods have cracked through the barrier to satisfying marital intimacy. Examples include marital counseling; one spouse hearing a sermon or reading an article that finally awakened them to the hurt caused by their actions; an extramarital affair or near-affair jolting the couple into addressing these issues.

However, I want you to take heart. If your marriage is currently one in which your drives are mismatched, there are answers. Couples who can communicate and work with each other can find solutions to address the libido difference, and couples who cannot currently communicate and work together can find healing in the future.

While I read tales of pain and heartache in marriage, I also read stories of hope and joy. Check out these comments:

Please don’t feel ‘relieved’ when your HD spouse stops pursuing you . . . I speak from experience! I never realized what depths of pain I was causing my husband . . . It is only through the grace, mercy and love of God that we are still together and thank goodness I finally “saw the light” so to speak. Our sex life is now better than ever and I see what a difference ‘ministering’ to my husband in that way makes.

My wife and I experienced a sort of re-awakening of our whole relationship about 3 months ago, including dramatically increased sex. We went from an average of about twice a month (for many years) to, I kid you not, twice a day . . .  Oh, btw, I’m 56, wifey is 51. I’m hoping to keep up this pace for another 20-30 years.

Hi, this is the wifey of Mr. Anonymous. What he didn’t tell you is that we’ve been married for 30 years . . . “by chance” through wandering around on Pinterest (praise God for Pinterest!!) I found Sheila Gregoire and her blog and read this post and man! my eyes were opened to how my husband truly feels about sex. I was so thrilled to have discovered this post, as it revolutionized our marriage . . . That post and others in her series, and eventually Sheila’s e-book 31 Days to Great Sex opened up a whole new world to me/us and we are experiencing true intimacy on every level and amazing sex! And with the help of male bloggers like you, Paul, and J on the women’s side we are learning so much good stuff to enhance our relationship.

This is a sampling of what I’ve seen on my blog and others. I have had a glimpse of the pain of rejection. I know some husbands and wives experience far more. But don’t relinquish hope.

More and more Christians are speaking up about godly sex in marriage. As this movement of reclaiming sexuality as God designed it spreads, more lower-drive spouses will hear the message, take it to heart, and discover a reawakening in their marriage.

Rejection hurts. But healing happens.

Continue to pray. Continue to hope. Continue to love.

He Doesn’t Wanna, But I Do! Be the Brownie

Arrow up (his & her drive)Last Monday, I began to tackle the subject of He Doesn’t Wanna, But I Do! Help for Higher Drive Wives. This post was in response to several reader questions about what to do when the wife wants to get it on more than the hubby does. (Okay, okay, I hear all of you jealous husbands wondering what is wrong with these men.)

The reality is that about 1/4 of the time, the wife is the higher-desire spouse. In fact, it’s the secret that never gets discussed because:

1. What husband wants to admit he isn’t a normal, sex-craving man?

2. Wives who express their desire for more sex are often shut down by other wives with statements like, “I wish my husband would lay off” or even “You’re lucky.”

3. We tend to discuss all topics from the point of view of the “typical.” Don’t believe me? Read a parenting book. If only my kid was the “average,” my child would have slept through the night within weeks, stayed in time-out after three tries, and potty-trained at age two. But no person or marriage is “average” or “normal” in every way, and some marriages have a higher-desire wife.

But today, we are talking about it here. Last week, I covered Internal Factors that might affect a husband’s lack of interest in sex and gave some tips for bringing up the subject without starting a wildfire in your home.

A few of you said that he won’t listen no matter what. If that’s your situation, here’s my advice: Stop talking about it. “Wait!” you say, “How are we going to solve the problem if we can’t even address it?” I’m not saying to stop addressing it, I’m saying to stop addressing it with words. If the subject is so volatile in your house, you both need time to diffuse. Lay off for a while — 3-6 months maybe. In the meantime, communicate — but not with words.

For both those marriages where the husband will listen and the husband won’t, there are external factors that might increase your mate’s interest in sex. As I stated last time, I eat when I’m hungry (internal) and when someone places a brownie in front of me (external). By the way, you church potluck cooks are brutal with the brownies! Too many, too chocolaty, too delicious.

Anyway. While talking with your spouse can help reveal and address internal factors, you can also influence your husband externally. Let’s take a look at this approach.


Your words and actions can be external factors (like brownies) that make him more likely to want to have sex (eat). You want to be the kind of wife that would draw a husband closer. In essence, you want to Be the Brownie.


“Be the Brownie.”
Photo credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

Note that I say be a particular kind of person, not just look sexy, throw yourself at your husband, etc. I’ve heard some suggest that the way to get an uninterested husband’s sexual attention is to don a lace teddy and stilettos, call him “Big Boy,” and offer to live out some sexual fantasy.

Hey, I’m not opposed to such things, but they are the toppings not the cake. You might get a guy to have sex with you by looking like a Cosmo cover, but that’s not marital intimacy. Ultimately, you want a sex life with substance and intimacy, so you have to invest in the relationship cake before you add a little icing.

Moreover, you can end up feeling worse if you decorate your bedroom like a love den, put on candles and music, show up in your sexiest get-up, and he ignores you or outright refuses you. You don’t want to end that night with him snoring and you dripping tears into your pillow as you wonder what’s wrong with you.

Let me help you out with that issue too: There’s almost certainly nothing wrong with you. Some of the couples I know who have amazing sex lives are people who would never get a call from a modeling agency or were poster people for the geek club in high school. It’s a fallacy to think that rock stars and Victoria’s Secret models are the ones with high sex drives and satisfaction. Maybe, maybe not. Most wives don’t need to look like Jessica Rabbit to get their hubbies hopping. The problem most likely lies within your husband.

But getting back to the subject at hand, how can you “Be the Brownie”?

Invest in the friendship. Sheila Gregoire has pointed this out well in her book The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex. You want to be the kind of wife your husband wants to be around generally and then you can move toward being together sexually. When the relationship is stressed, it is harder for most people to engage willingly and become vulnerable in the bedroom.

Do everything in your power (knowing that it doesn’t all rest with you) to be an appealing person to spend time with. Are you a nagging person? Do you disrespect him with your words or your body language? Is your home always a place of tension or mayhem? What negative issues might you need to address?

Have you forgotten how to play and laugh with one another? Do you make time for a date night — even if it’s hot cocoa and conversation on the couch after the kids have gone to bed? Do you ask about his job, his interests, his friendships, and then listen and support his answers? Do you find activities that you both enjoy to do together?

You spouse may be more willing to discuss the issues and/or engage with you physically if he feels accepted and valued emotionally in the relationship. Make sure you haven’t neglected this area. You want him to be your friend, right? Be his friend too.

Focus on affection. While friendship is an important aspect of marriage, sexless marriages often look like roommate arrangements with friends. I don’t know about you, but I have friends who would make easier roommates than my husband. Some of my girlfriends can cook like Paula Deen, aim at the toilet more successfully, would watch chick flicks with me, etc., and I’d never have to clean facial hair out of the sink again. But I didn’t get married simply for a roommate. I want the other goodies too.

But even if you aren’t getting the main event, you can get more than you would from a roomie. I don’t snuggle with my BFF, but I do with my husband. Physical affection is a precursor to more intimate physical affection. Hold hands, kiss (check out my post on kissing), hug, stroke him lovingly, etc. All without expectation of it leading to the bedroom.

The paradox is that ongoing physical affection without the expectation of sexual reward more often leads to sexual reward (see Must It Always Lead to Sex?). Moreover, an embrace lasting longer than 20 seconds can cause a release of Oxytocin — the body’s bonding chemical which is also released by men at sexual climax. So that affection may begin to awaken the physical arousal side of your husband and introduces loving touch in a low pressure context.

Engage in skin-to-skin contact. Beyond simple physical affection, try to engage in skin-to-skin contact. There is something about having your skin brush up against your spouse’s that can tap into inner arousal. Go to bed wearing as little as possible without being obvious that you want sex. For instance, keep the lace teddy in the drawer, but wear a cotton cami and undies to bed. Play footsie under the table at breakfast. Offer to put lotion or oil on his tired muscles or give him a massage. Ask for lotion or a massage yourself. Whatever gets you touching each other may help to reawaken his natural desire for physical intimacy.

Change your timing. Some people struggle with feeling stressed or tired by nightfall and having enough energy for lovemaking. You might try the morning since a man’s testosterone levels are highest at that time of day, and men typically awaken with a “maintenance erection.” I know a couple who has sex like clockwork every Saturday morning; that happens to be the best time for them to engage. My hubby and I have found that an afternoon or early evening are often better for us. See if you have better results at a different time of day.

Once again, you can do all the “right things” and still have an uninterested spouse. Your sex life does not all depend upon you; your spouse must make the decision to engage. But be assured that I hear stories quite often of married couples who had poor sex lives for years and then a turn-around occurred and they are livin’ it up in their bedroom now. Those couples are glad they didn’t give up.

Also, if you are in a sexless marriage, you may reach the point of needing to invite intervention from a godly mentor. Your spouse does indeed have a duty to you and to the marriage (1 Corinthians 7:3-5). You are supposed to be “one flesh” — emotionally and physically. Once again, I turn to Sheila Gregoire who did a fabulous post on this: When Your Spouse Withholds Sex.

Are there guarantees? No. Is there hope? Absolutely. God desires you both to have a healthy, fulfilling intimacy, and He can redeem any situation (see The Gospel in the Bedroom and My Personal Testimony).

I know I have included a LOT of links in this post. But I’m happy to provide other resources if they might help, so here are a few more:

From Kentucky Colonel of A Grown Up Marriage: Wives Who Are Sexually Refused

From Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage: Wives Who Want More Sex and Aren’t Getting It

From Sheila Gregoire of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum: When Your Spouse Isn’t Interested in Sex: Communicating Your Needs

From Paul Byerly of The Generous Husband: High Drive, Low Drive: A Harmful Dichotomy

My thoughts and prayers are with you in your marriages.