Welcome back to Q&A with J. This reader’s email was longer and included some details, but I suspect several wives will relate to this wife’s feelings about sex in her marriage.
“The thought of having sex does nothing for me. It’s only when we start or get into it when I actually am ok with it or enjoy it. But up until then, it just feels like a chore…
“I just don’t know what to do. Even if I get close to being turned on or pursuing sex, I am so easily discouraged–a child who wakes up, a negative thought, a small tiny miscommunication. Why am I so sensitive to this? Why can’t I just open up and be free and realize that it’s good and almost always enjoyable? Sometimes I will think about it during the day and in a moment of being turned on I think, ‘Ok, let’s do it tonight!’ But then the night comes, he comes home, kids go to bed, and it’s the last thing I want to do or think about.
“Is something wrong with me?”
As to whether there’s something wrong with this wife, the answer is maybe. But I think there’s a lot right with this wife. She clearly wants the best for her marriage and wants to show love to her husband, but this issue is causing difficulty and heartache.
Following are a few things I want to point out.
See your doctor and explain your issues. Have your hormones, thyroid, etc. checked. If you’ve been on oral contraception, that can negatively affect your libido too. Just check everything out and see if there could be a physical component here. If there is, deal with it!
Your sexual past could also be a factor. Some wives can hold memories or resentments or bad teaching in our minds that then come out in unexpected ways — sometimes even years after. If you believe your history could play a part in this, you need to bring that subconscious to the forefront and tackle it head-on.
That could be simply by sorting through your feelings and thoughts on your own, seeing a counselor, working through a Christian intimacy book, studying the Word of God on the subject of sex, speaking with a mentor,…
What will work for you depends on your personality, resources, etc. Although really a combination of these would be best.
You don’t have to crave it beforehand to enjoy sex in the moment. You say, “The thought of having sex does nothing for me. It’s only when we start or get into it when I actually am ok with it or enjoy it.” That’s not so unusual. Too often, society and the media portray women’s and men’s sex drives the same; however, men have a tendency to become aroused and then engage in sexual activity, whereas women are more likely to choose to engage in sexual activity and then become aroused.
Once you recognize that, you can make that mental shift to: Okay, I don’t feel like having sex right now, but I’m going to set other things aside, get involved with my husband, and the intimate feelings will follow.
Figure out what makes sex not a chore for you. It sounds like sexual intimacy is a chore because it’s one more thing you’re expected to do. On a practical level, you need to figure out how to set your sex life up for success. That is, ask yourself what you need to be able to focus and enjoy sexual intimacy with your husband.
Do you need to take a few moments after he suggests sex to have a hot bubble bath, put on something that makes you feel beautiful, and light candles around the bedroom? Do you need to schedule sex one or two days a week, so you can mentally have time to prepare knowing it’s coming up? Do you need the grandparents to take the kids out for a night so you can have the place to yourselves (if properly motivated, perhaps he can make that happen)?
Sure, you can’t have a full-scale production every single time, but start thinking about what conditions make lovemaking more enjoyable for you and see where you can make them happen. Then you can approach sex not as something you must do, but something you look forward to doing.