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.
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.
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).
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your marriages.
16 thoughts on “He Doesn’t Wanna, But I Do! Be the Brownie”
Here is another book recommendation for this problem: The Sex Starved Wife by Michelle Weiner Davis
That’s one I haven’t read, John. But I have heard of the book and need to check it out. Thanks!
Boy does this bring back memories!!!
I was totally sexed starved for many years in our “early years” of marraige. Could not figure out “why” he did not want it as much as I did.
Many years later the light came on ~ I was a bossy, controlling, knew how to do everything and told him how to do everything, often angry, very moody wife.
NOW ~ I see why I had more sex drive than he did. He will tell you, now that I have admitted the problem, he loved my body but could not get past the attitude I carried.
Wives beware! Do an inventory, see if this might be your problem…….
Cindy ~ 41yrs narried 🙂
Hmm, great articles … not sure how it applies to me … my hubby has been diagnosed high blood pressure and has two meds he has to take which has led to ED … yes we have a prescription for Vitamin V — as we call it … Viagra … thankfully, it is available and yes it does work …every time … the problem for me is the lack of spontaneous sex … I just don’t like him rattling the bottle at me as he heads up for a shower … and I”m to give him a yes or no to that … I have told him we have got to come up with some other way of asking each other … one time he went up for a shower and so I sneaked in and left a Vitamin V with his razor … he came down from his shower with the biggest “smile” i have ever seen … he loved that I took the initiative and wanted it also … he tells me he hates to “ask” as it seems like he’s pestering me or bothering me … I keep telling him how many times have I told you NO? Um … NEVER … lol … we will keep working on communicating our desires … I know I finally did have a discussion with him about the feelings I would get when he would just roll over thus stopping any action from me … and he didn’t realize how that was coming across to me and how badly it hurt my feelings … so now at least we can “talk” more about “it” and are working towards each of getting what we each need … it just sucks sometimes that I want/need it more than he does ;(
Tonight I will put on some courage and be a brownie. I tired txting him a sexy message but got no response..sigh. Here goes nothing. =/
This is a great post… several things came to my mind while I was reading this that I need to work on. Thank you J! 🙂
My husband and I have been married a year since yesterday and we used to struggle with me wanting sex more frequently. After talking to other wives, my husband and listening to Dr. Gary Chapman in “Five Love Languages”, I have learned that several things could contribute to the issue.
Here they are:
Low self-esteem (perhaps not having a job or discouragement or not hearing encouraging words from his wife)
Certain medications he might be on
He wants her to take the initiative
Lack of good communication about or during sex
Not feeling loved (Is his love tank full? Are you loving him the way he needs to be loved?)
Pressure to reach climax
It takes a lot of work, communication and unrelenting love.
Wow, what a great post! I have had a huge awakening in the past year – after 10+ years of a mostly sexless marriage – and was trying to turn the ship around by hounding my DH about it,and wanting to talk about it all of the time. Which of course has just made things worse – but I felt so desperate to do something to fix things. Thank you so much for ideas that may actually work!
My parents are in the sexless marriage group. They had sex once and that was enough to make me. My mom is a Christian but my dad isn’t. Why arent they having sex like a normal couple?
Women are so much more verbal than men (on the average, not all). Men don’t process verbal very well, because of brain chemistry. Your suggestions of NONVERBAL communication are spot-on! Great suggestions for a sensitive subject.
I wish I had read this earlier in my marriage. It took a lot of tears and altered expectations to reach a happier status quo. It was so painful to read the few resources for higher drive wives saying to up the sexy factor. If that worked I wouldn’t have been reading them in the first place! Lol.
Loved your tips for non-sexual ways to be the brownie! I’ll have to try them. Maybe my husband will want to be the ice cream to my brownie. 😉 Mmm, yummy. I could go for that any day!
My husband and I have been married for 9 months now, we both saved ourselves for marriage. We are living with his parents until we save up for a place of our own. He works 12 hr. shifts with a day off of the week. Even before this job his sex drive wasn’t really high and now it’s even worse. He sometimes tells me we will make love tomorrow then when the time comes he is too tired. I feel extremely hurt by this because,I never thought my intimacy with my hubby would turn out like this. I am there to listen to his problems at work,give him support, I try to cuddle but eventually he says goodnight and that he is tired. Before we got married we would kiss passionately and I thought he and I would have that atttaction in the bedroom when we got married and were able to give ourselves to each other but, sadly I feel he isnt intrested in sex like I am. I am at a loss on what to do because, I have tried a lot of ways to entice him but with hardly no success. We have sex now only when he feels like it.
I’m in that situation myself. We have six children, but that’s because the few times have been just at the right time. We’ve been married for ten years. I have learned to accept it. My keys were (1) get a good spiritual guide; (2) stay busy with lots of activities; (3) we are a homeschooling family, so I joined a support group where I’m around other Moms and their kids so I can avoid other men (this is a huge temptation factor for me, any man who is even courteous to me sets off tremendous struggles for me); (4) this should probably be #1: AVOID OTHER MEN. This is a huge one; I cannot emphasize enough that you simply have to avoid other men. It WILL get better, trust me. You eventually will have your drive lowered. Get lots of things to do. Get busy and stay busy. I suppose it’s obvious that you don’t have any children; I am so sorry. When you have lots of kids it’s easier to try to do this. It has all ended up with us “doing it” at just the right enough times to get me pregnant. When you have a lot of kids it’s easier. Just get really busy. It’s the only way and the only safe way. Otherwise you will only get yourself in major trouble.
I disagree about “accepting it.” Yes, I do agree that you ultimately cannot change your spouse’s behavior and that you shouldn’t try to force things. I also agree with your advice, Anon, to avoid other men. However, God desires us to have healthy sex lives in marriage, and we should continue to pursue that in whatever way we can–whether it is through finding resources to help us or having conversations with our spouse or simply prayer. We shouldn’t settle. We should be patient and wait on the Lord, but continue to pray, pursue, and seek God’s blessing of physical intimacy in marriage.
Thank you for these posts. I actually feel like I have a starting point. God used this to open my eyes to some poor timing and selfishness on my part. Yes, it hurts when he doesn’t even want to talk about it or work on it and some of the things that I suspect are behind our issues are gut wrenching and yes, it feels so unfair that this is the nature of my 5 month long marriage but I am a doer and an “identify the problem and do what it takes to fix it” person and I can see where I’ve compounded the problem rather than helping it. Again, THANK YOU!!!
Hope it’s not too late to add this comment – when my husband and I married 10 years ago after being divorced, he had only been a Christian for a few years, me a lot longer. It was hard to wait for intimacy while we dated but we both wanted to do it right this time. So you can imagine my surprise when shortly after the honeymoon, he backed way off and acted pretty disinterested for a while. I was very hurt & confused but prayed about it a lot and several months later his interest began to gradually increase and now it’s all I can do to keep up with his drive (10 years later). We were finally able to talk about it & he told me that he had to work so hard to change the way he looked at sex & women from his old life prior to becoming a Christian that it just took him a while to let himself go and enjoy sex the way God intends for it to be between a man and wife & that it was ok for him to lust after his wife and enjoy her as the gift God intended for her to be. I’ve heard this can be true of newly-wed Christian virgins too. Prayer & patience can get you through & the best is yet to be. 😉 Love this blog!
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