That title should read “one more mention of high-drive husbands and I’ll go insane!” A wife recently commented to me about her frustration that, while it’s great that churches and ministries now discuss sexuality, it is painful at times for wives who don’t experience the norm.
The most common scenario described here, and on other blogs, is that of the eager beaver hubby and the sexual sloth wife. To be fair, that is the typical make-up of many marriages: A husband with a higher sex drive than his wife. However, it hardly represents the whole of marriages.
Many wives out there are in marriages where they are either the higher drive spouse or the only drive spouse. What about the marriages where a wife desires physical intimacy, but the husband gives little or none? Do we too easily overlook the hurt these wives experience? Do blogs like mine even do a disservice to such women, making it seem like they are the only ones not being pursued in their marriage?
Certainly, that is never my intention. I have blogged about wives whose husbands are not “putting out.” One of the struggles of any marriage ministry blog is knowing that oftentimes the spouse you need to reach isn’t the one reading the post. I often encourage wives to become willing participants and even initiators of sexual intimacy in their marriage . . . because some of those women are reading my blog.
For those husbands who are denying their wives, I wish I could steer them over to a blog that would make them understand the deep and lasting pain they are causing their wives and the strong likelihood that their marriage will break down at some point. It’s beyond hard to stay in marriage where you don’t feel loved.
However, I am aware that these women feel neglected. Who can they turn to? If they speak up among friends to admit that their husband doesn’t desire them, those friends may dismiss their concerns with stupid comments like, “I wish my husband would stop pursuing me” or even “Lucky you.” There is nothing lucky about being ignored in your marriage.
These women may wonder what is wrong with them. Why doesn’t their husband want to make love with them? Are they unappealing in some way? Do they not measure up? I want to assure you . . . 99% of the time, that isn’t it. Unless you have totally let yourself go to the point of being mistaken for an extra in The Walking Dead, the cause is not your looks or appeal.
These women may wonder what is wrong with their husbands. That’s a more likely scenario. Men who have depression, past sexual abuse, or issues with impotence may not want to make love. If they are struggling with work or relationship stress, this can affect their willingness to have sex. Also, the percentage of couples who struggle with a non-willing husband has gone up with the prevalence of porn. Consistent porn users reconfigure their brains to become aroused by visual cues instead of personal interaction. They almost always masturbate while looking at porn, even several times a day, such that they have nothing left to give their wife and the thought of friction inside a vagina may even strike them undesirable.
But even if the wife knows the cause, she cannot make her spouse address the problem and move toward a healthy sex life. She can pray about the situation, talk to her husband, work on other relationship areas, and pursue resources that help her cope.
Much of the advice given to other wives, however, won’t work. For example, throwing on skimpy lingerie and heels and traipsing into the room with bedroom eyes may be a recipe for disaster with a completely disinterested husband. Having made yourself sexually vulnerable, it can be deeply painful to be rejected.
Indeed, I’m not even sure whether I like the term “higher-drive wife.” It almost implies that these wives are somehow out of sync with the norm — like their libido is higher than it should be.
My message to wives who desire to have lots of sex with their husbands: Good for you. God created us to desire intimacy with our mate, and sex is the physical expression and nurturer of that connection. No matter what anyone says, believe that a high libido is a good thing for a wife to have. For those women who are married to a low-drive husband: Difficult for you. Your husband needs to address why he is unwilling or unexcited about making love. You can help with how you talk about this topic and treat him in general, but ultimately it is his decision whether to engage.
In the meantime, I will be thinking more about how I can reach out to these wives and include them more in the conversation about Christian sexuality. You might also want read some articles from other blogs that have dealt with this topic. Here are just a few:
Spice and Love: Having the Talk
To Love, Honor and Vacuum: When Your Spouse Isn’t Interested in Sex
Intimacy in Marriage: Wives Who Want More Sex and Aren’t Getting It
Are you in this situation? How do you handle having a higher libido than your husband? Do you think the church and ministries have failed wives who struggle with this issue? What could we do better?