If you follow me here or on social media, you’ll quickly discover that I share a lot of what Sheila Wray Gregoire of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum writes. That’s because we have very similar views on sex in marriage, and her wisdom is well worth my readers’ time.
Not to mention that we’re friends. Which is one of major bonuses of doing what I do — getting to meet like-minded people who are smart, fun, and Christ-like.
It’s my pleasure to share her with you today! Sheila’s here to talk about how libido works — for women, that is. Because it’s not how many of us were taught that sex drive works. And now…Sheila.Have you ever noticed that movies and TV shows make women’s sex drives look just like men’s?
Here’s what happens, pretty much every time: the couple’s together, and they start to pant. So they fall into each other’s arms and they begin to kiss. Then the clothes come off. And then they end up in bed.
They pant, they kiss, they take off their clothes, and they end up in bed.
Pant. Kiss. Clothes. Bed.
If this is what you see, over and over, you may begin to think that’s natural.
So there you are, at home with your husband, and you’re waiting to pant.
And nothing happens.
So you figure, “I guess I’m just not in the mood”, and you return to browsing Pinterest or you go and make another cup of tea.
But what if that whole portrayal of women’s and men’s sex drives is wrong?
Rosemary Abbott of the University of British Columbia did a study a while ago that found that while men tend to be aroused BEFORE they started to make love (that’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?), most women are not aroused UNTIL they start. They’re not panting at all!
Instead, they make the decision to make love, and then once they start, they relax enough and tell themselves, “I am going to have FUN tonight!” It’s only then that their bodies kick in.
For women, our sex drives are primarily in our heads. If our heads aren’t engaged, our bodies won’t follow.
But that also means that we have a great deal of power when it comes to our libidos! Instead of waiting to feel in the mood, we can tell ourselves positive things about sex: “I am going to enjoy this tonight.” “I am going to sleep so well after this!” Or even, “I am going to rock my husband’s world!”
Unfortunately, many of us don’t quite understand this. We figure that our bodies should kick in if he does the right thing, romances us the right way, or touches just the right place. So we start making love, but while we’re doing that we’re also composing shopping lists in our heads, trying to figure out if there’s enough milk in the fridge to get us through breakfast, and planning our errands route for tomorrow. So sex feels lousy. And it must be his fault, because he’s just not doing it right!
Now, there’s no doubt that husbands often need to learn what makes wives feel good (because many husbands don’t understand foreplay, for instance!). But it’s also true that one night he could do something that has you in raptures, and three nights later he’s doing exactly the same thing, move for move, and you’re lying there thinking, “Will you just get over with because I want to get to sleep!” It’s not about what he’s doing; it’s about what you’re thinking!
That’s why great sex isn’t about panting beforehand and it isn’t JUST about him doing the right thing. It’s also about us concentrating and putting our brains to work for us!
When you make love, ask yourself, “What feels good right now?” That makes your brain cut off that shopping list and concentrate instead on your body. And you just may find that it does feel good, after all!
God made women so that our response isn’t as automatic as men’s sexual response tends to be.
We have to make the decision that we want to make love. We even have to make the decision that we’re going to have a good time! But I think there’s a logic behind that. Because we need to make that decision, then both husbands and wives have an incentive to work on feeling intimate outside of the bedroom, too. We have to build goodwill towards each other to even want to make love in the first place. If our sexual response was always automatic, then our relationships could be quite shallow.
Instead, when things work well, we get the best of both worlds. We feel close to our husbands, and we feel great in the bedroom. But ultimately it’s up to us: will we decide to jump in and take the initiative, or will we sit back and wait for the panting to happen?
Personally, I’d suggest jumping in. Sex helps you sleep better. Sex helps you feel closer. Plus great sex feels amazing! It’s too great a gift to leave to chance. So decide to have fun tonight, and see what happens!
Sheila is the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex and 31 Days to Great Sex. She blogs everyday at To Love, Honor and Vacuum.
Come on over and download her free ebook, 36 Ways to Bring Sexy Back to The Bedroom!
Thanks, Sheila! I love this wise advice.
46 thoughts on “How Libido Works: For Women, That Is”
Great post Shelia! As a husband I feel it is part of my responsibility to help my wife “think about sex” since it is not her normal routine.
I think about our sexual interludes, much more often than she does so if I want more and better sexual fulfillment, I need to help her be considering a rendezvous with her and invite her to join me!
Heartfelt texts, emails or even a letter sent to her at work, carried to her desk by her boss, is a fun to let her know I am thinking about her. BTW, even if the card gets “accidentally opened” I use our code words to invite her for some hot time with me later! Actually, as a woman, I am sure you can appreciate that even getting a completely “tame card” which expresses my love and commitment to her, has her thinking of me all day.
J, I enjoy reading your emails and appreciate your guest hosts! Keep up your great encouragement for married couples.
thank you! that explains A LOT!
Great points as always Shelia. I’m so glad you are breaking the stereotype that is set in movies. It doesn’t usually happen that way for sure.
This is how it works for “most” women. But not me. And this statement here is why I feel so abnormal, so very broken:
“God made women so that our response isn’t as automatic as men’s sexual response tends to be.”
I feel like I’m not a normal woman. I think about sex with my husband all the time. Too much, in fact. I should play hard to get, make him chase me, do the whole “not tonight honey” thing – but I just DO NOT feel that way.
Also his response is NOT “as automatic as men’s sexual response tends to be.” Which makes me feel MORE abnormal, and unattractive.
No need to reply. I’ve shared my feelings too many times and everyone’s been very supportive. I just need to learn to repress my own sex drive and be thankful for the times when my husband is in the mood. But these are the exact articles that are abundant and make me realize how abnormal I am. And the fact that today was a great day and I was looking forward to being alone with him, he is asleep and I’m just sitting here reading.
Honestly, I WISH I could do the opposite with my mind. Maybe I should focus less on my husband and more on my grocery list. I’m not even kidding.
Can you replace the word “abnormal” with “different” or even “special”? The labels we use in our minds matter. You may have a different experience, but that doesn’t make it weird or wrong. You’re perfectly normal, but you — like most spouses — have some challenges.
J, I actually laughed when I read this. I doubt you were trying to patronize me, but really? I think we all know that in this particular case, words like “different” and “special” are a politically correct way of saying “odd” or “abnormal.” I appreciate the kind gesture, but my situation is anything but “special.” It might be as equally challenging as other marriages, but the situation itself is abnormal, and thus makes ME feel abnormal, unworthy, and just plain old not attractive, sexy or loveable enough.
Nope, not patronizing AT ALL. Entirely serious. You’ve got to change your thinking here! You’re not abnormal, unworthy, or any of those other things. And what I’m saying is basic cognitive therapy — which works.
I guess I would encourage you to avoid the words “normal/abnormal” and think/say something like “other couples may have a more typical or average desire pattern, but ours is still a variation of normal.” Because it really, really is. You share a desire style with around 20% of women. Your husband shares a desire style with around 10% of men. That’s hardly “odd,” much less the freakshow-level of “abnormality” you seem to think it is. It represents millions and millions of people around the world, sis.
Besides which, you share something with literally every couple in the world: the fact that your desire pairing is unique to the two of you, and in order for you to both feel loved, it requires communication and negotiation. I’ve been married less than a year and my husband and I have ALREADY had dozens of conversations about our desire styles — I’m right there in the 20% with you, and he’s right there in the 10% with your husband.
I’m praying for you right now, dear sister, that you will know the depth of how loved you are by your eternal savior, and that you and your husband would be able to do whatever it takes to love each other better and better in the coming months.
B, I’d highly encourage you to read “Come as you Are” by Dr. Emily Nagoski. She is not a Christian but she has so many good things to say about normal ranges of human sexual expression. You are a variation of normal. Between 5-20% of women are just like you, and between 5-20% of men are just like what’s described here as being a “woman’s libido”.
J, as important as this info is, the issue I have with articles like this is that, in an effort to normalize the majority, they tend to ignore and even marginalize the sizable minority. It’s noble to want to tell women with responsive desire that they’re normal, but SO ARE OTHER WOMEN. God didn’t “make women” this certain way in some universal sense, like all women are like X and all men are like Y. He made humans in a huge variety of ways with a huge variety of sexual desire levels and preferences and expressions — I think so we would have opportunities to bear with and love and sacrifice for each other. B’s desire is a variation of normal, my desire is a variation of normal, a woman who experiences one kind of desire sometimes and another kind sometimes is a variation of normal.
To sum up: Humanity is awesome! Human sexuality is awesome! We aren’t broken because we’re different, we’re each another beautiful, important variation of normal.
I don’t disagree — this is absolutely normal! But having done this for a while, it’s near impossible to write a blog post that reaches everyone. There’s a role for different kinds of posts, to reach different people, and it’s best to read blogs accordingly.
Sure. But I also think there’s room in almost every article to say something like “how libido works for most women” or “this is true for around 80 percent of women (with the other 20% being slightly different)” or “this isn’t everyone’s experience, but I’ll address you ladies in another article.” Acknowledging diversity of desire and experience is a loving choice, IMO, even when you’re talking about/to the majority.
I think you generally do this really well! I mainly wanted to express solidarity with B — the way this article is worded (especially the title) definitely gives the impression that this desire style is basically universal to women, and we know that that is not true.
@a. nony, thank you for your reply. I looked at that book, and read the sample. It seems a little too secular for me. And while the author does seem to stress that everyone is normal, she seems to lean very heavily in the direction of making low libido women feel normal, which we already know they are. It might be a great book, but I don’t think it’s for me at this time.
I understand, too, that J can’t make every post apply to every person. I was just pointing out that the majority of the posts on most blogs, the blogs themselves, and almost every article I read tends to focus more on men with a normal healthy sex drive and the lovely women they pursue and love. I think I need to focus less on trying to feel normal, and more on just accepting my abnormalities and shortcomings for what they are, and making peace with it all.
I used to think I was weird, my husband was weird, our situation was weird (we struggle with different issues to you!), but what I have realised now is that ‘we ALL got problems!’ There is NO point in looking at someone else’s situation and wishing for what she has…
A different way of thinking about this might be, instead of thinking of how different your situation is, think instead on how your situation is the same – ie, you, and the women addressed in this article, are ALL struggling with a spouse with a DIFFERENT level of drive.
I am married to a man who isn’t a Christian, and it is SO tempting to take the mindset that ‘everything would work out so much better if he would just believe the same as me’, but then I read so many comments on J’s and Sheila’s blogs written by women who have believer husbands, and I have realised that just because both spouses are Christian doesn’t stop them having issues.
I now take the view that ALL couples have issues, in fact, ALL people have issues, and wishing for a different situation really just equals wishing for a different set of issues!
I haven’t read the book, but have heard some great reviews and podcast episodes about Lysa TerKeurst’s book Uninvited, Living Loved when you feel less than, left out and lonely. From what I understand, it is about feeling ‘weird’ or ‘different’ and ‘awkward’. It is not a ‘sex book’. But perhaps it might suit you? It’s definitely on my ‘to read’ list!
“I now take the view that ALL couples have issues, in fact, ALL people have issues, and wishing for a different situation really just equals wishing for a different set of issues!”
Just beautiful ! Thank you.
Completely agree with your take in this thread, a nony.
And B, you’re not alone. We (and one of our admins is a woman) have on our platform many women who are in your shoes, who would roll their eyes at some of the generalization that are made regarding women that seem to “silo them” into certain categories.
My take on why you are ‘abnormal’ as you call it is because you crave and want your husband to act like we think all men should act. So when he’s not chasing you around wanting sex ALL the time or acting like he can’t stop thinking about sex all the time like how we have labeled men, you as the woman feel hurt, undesirable and constantly think about it because you crave sex with him so much.
I get that. My husband, as wonderful as he is to me and as wonderful as our lovemaking can be when it happens, just doesn’t fit the typical stereotype of men in regards to how they respond sexually. He truly doesn’t seem to the put the same emphasis on sex as I do. It’s not that he doesn’t enjoy it, but for him it’s not needed as often and that often leaves me feeling undesirable and desperately wanting him to chase me and act more in the mood. I’ve often said to him, even if you are too tired I sometimes just need to know that if you weren’t you would want to.
You’re not abnormal, you’re a normal sexual being as God made you. For whatever reasons your husband doesn’t respond sexually to you is on him, not you. This is where open communication is crucial so you are at least on the same page. I know the reasons my husband doesn’t respond like I think he should and although I still crave more frequency and at times let it get me down that he doesn’t seem as interested, I know why and I know I can communicate my feelings to him.
Hi Amy, thanks for replying. It’s not that I want him to chase me around ALL the time, or think about sex ALL the time, I just wish he’d chase me, ever. Or think about sex with me, without me having to suggest it. I’ll wait and I’ll wait and I’ll wait until I can’t take it anymore, and then I’ll finally say something and he’ll claim “I was thinking about you all day and was going to come on to you but… (Fill in the blank: there was baseball practice, you were at the dentist, my stomach hurt, I fell asleep, etc.) any excuse will do. Then he gets upset when I don’t believe him. I honestly believe he is determined NOT to initiate sex. Or he just hates sex with me that much, that he will avoid it, but doesn’t want to lose me so he will give in when I can’t take it anymore. I don’t want someone who feels they have to “give in”. I want someone who desires me and loves me the way normal men love their wives, maybe I’m selfish, but it’s what I long for.
We are in love. There is so much good in our marriage. Sex is the one major stumbling block. He is an excellent provider, I’ve never met anyone who works harder. He always says he loves me. He loves to “cuddle”. It’s like we are backwards. Like he’s the one who likes to say and hear “I love you” and I’m the one who feels loved through sex.
The one sentence you wrote that stabbed me was “For whatever reasons your husband doesn’t respond sexually to you is on him…” That’s the problem! I’m supposed to feel worth as a woman and yet I cannot get my husband to respond sexually to me? What does that say about me? That I’m not woman enough, pretty enough, short enough, sexy enough, something! There’s something wrong and when I beg him to tell me what it is, he simply won’t. Or he says “there’s nothing wrong.” Do we live in the same house?? On the same planet?
Reread the post above. Most men who love their wives crave them, and strongly desire to have sex with them, while the wives have to work themselves up to it. It’s not that way in my marriage. Regardless of what anyone tells me, that is not normal. I took statistics. If I have to be an outlier, wouldn’t it be nice if I could be a high drive wife with a husband who was actually into sex with his wife? I think that would be easier.
But maybe it’s not supposed to be easy. Perhaps this is God’s plan, or perhaps He is using this to grow me in some way, or teach me something. I’m starting to realize the complaining is doing no good. It’s not changing anything. I need to accept the fact that I’m not what my husband desires, I’m not attractive enough to turn him on like a normal wife, and I have to make peace with that. I need to try to understand what God is trying to teach me through all of this, instead of trying to make it “better.”
Guess you didn’t really read my comment, because I don’t need to reread the post, I’m a woman like you who craves sex and yes, even feels loved though sex. I don’t often need to warm up to crave sex, I crave it a lot.
Just because a man doesn’t crave sex like his wife for whatever reason doesn’t mean he doesn’t love or desire her. My husband loves me dearly, I truly know this and believe it, but sex is not top on his list. And there are reasons for this which I know.
And my statement of your husband not responding sexually to you was not meant quite as it sounded or you took it. I meant more of, your husband not being into sex as much as you. And that is on him, not you.
My husband not wanting to make love as often as I do is NOT because I’m not attractive enough or sexy enough, it’s because he is exhaustive from his terrible work hours, living out of town 5 days a week and dealing with age-related and med-related issues.
Perhaps instead of asking “what is wrong” it would be better to start a dialog with him. Start by letting him know what all you love about him and let him know how much making love means to you, how it makes you feel so loved and cherish. Let him know you crave more of that and want to figure out how to make that happen. Ask him what he likes about making love with you, how often works for him, etc. Have a dialog, a discussion with him instead of just asking a dead end question.
I pray you find a resolution to what seems to be an ongoing issue.
When we’re going through a tough situation, it’s so easy to feel like everyone else is doing okay in that area and you’re alone in your misery. But Amy points out something important — that this isn’t some freakish thing for a wife to be the higher-drive spouse or for a husband to be less interested in sex. As I read and study this issue more and more, I’ve become convinced it’s maybe 1/4 of marriages. That’s hardly a small number!
Look at it this way: As of 2014, there were over 59 million married women in the United States. If 25% of those are higher-drive wives, that 14.75 million women whose husbands aren’t pawing at them all day long. Even if it’s 10%, that’s still 5.9 million wives. Hey, just imagine I’m completely wrong, and it’s 5% — still almost 3 million women. It just might help to put this into perspective and realize that, while a difference in sex drive can be a challenge that needs addressing, being the higher-drive wife doesn’t make you as rare as a dodo bird — far from it.
I think God is using this. To show your toxic thinking patterns.
What is it that makes you so desperate to be “normal”. Why do you think your life would be so much better if…? You know, that is the start of a never ending spiral. Say your husband does initiate once a month, then you’ll just say “if only he initiated every week”, if he were to do that you can just say “if only he initiated every day” or twice a day. Do you see what I’m saying? There is no end. It’s one of Satan’s insidious traps. There is always more. There is always that one thing that can keep you from contentment, or joy, or gratitude or having healthy self-worth. There is no “if only this” that will fix your life. Only Jesus can do that.
Look, I’m not saying you shouldn’t want to work on your marriage. I’m not saying your feelings are not real or not valid and painful. What I am seeing though is that you are deliberately choosing wrong, false, toxic thoughts and stewing in them. What if you saw this article and thought “oh maybe this is how my husband works. Maybe his drive is reactive. What can this mean for our marriage” or “oh maybe my friend needs this information” or “oh this is a cool article, lets check this Sheila woman out” or “this is of no use to me, moving along”. Instead your thoughts are “see, this proves I’m ugly and awful and my husband hates me” even though YOUR HUSBAND has told you this is not the case. Can you see how you are making this much worse than it needs to be?
Ultimately, if you don’t learn to control your mind, you will never be happy. No matter what. There is always a cloud to the silver lining. There is always something you can grab on to, to prove to yourself that you are inferior or ugly or bad or unloved. This is exactly what Satan wants. You cannot help others when you are perpetually trapped in misery. Ask me how I know.
2 Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
This is but a small sample of scripture concerned with your thoughts. Why do you think God cares about this?
Praying for you
I’m going to de-lurk for this.
I’m a regular reader both here and at Sheila’s website (though I very rarely comment), and even while reading the post thought, “This is true for most women, but not all.” I’ve recently read Emily Nagoski’s “Come As You Are” and learned a great deal from it, then I discovered a. nony had already mentioned it.
Dr. Nagoski talks about Spontaneous vs. Responsive desire, similar to the concepts Sheila is talking about here. It’s true that many women experience Responsive desire, and many men experience Spontaneous desire, but NOT ALL. And this is normal.
Think of a bell curve and statistics for pretty much any behavior. Obviously the middle of the curve is more common, but if you’re towards the edges of the curve, you’re just as normal. It’s just that it’s not as typical. If there were no outliers at all, that is the thing that would be abnormal.
There are areas where I’m an outlier as a woman: I love to camp, I prefer teenagers to babies, I read science fiction, I’m the disciplinarian in my house. I am the higher-drive spouse. And I’m NORMAL. As Christians we do ourselves a disservice when we have rigid boxes for what it means to be female and male. God loves diversity.
B., I’ve read your comments here and ached for you. Boy, I can relate to what you’re going through. Been there myself. You are nowhere as alone as you think you are, trust me. In my marriage, things have finally improved, and are still improving, but it took decades. God truly cares about this part of our marriages, and has helped my husband change. There is hope.
Please be gentle with yourself. There is nothing wrong with you.
Hi Di, thanks for taking the time to comment. I, too, am an outlier as a woman in many ways. For one, I don’t cry much. I see it as weakness and manipulation. It was drilled into me as a child that crying is bad and we do. not. cry. I was surprised as I grew into an adult at all the women I met who cry at the drop of a hat.
I also prefer teenagers to babies. I used to sub and if they asked me if I wanted to teach kindergarten or high school I picked HS every time. It’s just the age I work best with.
I have often wondered if I have too much testosterone for a normal woman. While I look very much like a woman, I have a womanly figure and beautiful hair, there’s a lot of ways I’m not like a normal woman. I have big breasts, but small hips and no butt. I am awesome at sports, even now. I am a great fighter (as in kickboxing), and as we all know by now, I love having sex with my husband and have a much higher sex drive. As these are all manly characteristics, I’m suspecting too much testosterone for a female. Although I sing well and I sing soprano, so who knows. But I’ve been googling ways to suppress my sex drive. I’m more of an all natural gal, so I’m too scared to go the pharmaceutical route, but I’ve found some great herbal remedies to lower sex drive that I’m going to try. I think my husband will be relieved and much happier if I can just learn to forget about sex altogether.
You don’t have “too much testosterone.” You have clearly female characteristics!
“As these are all manly characteristics”
So Deborah in the Bible, a great warrior, was manly?
The Shulamite woman was manly because she desired sex with her husband?
I think you’re confusing true godly femininity with a cultural lie that says all women are this way and all men are that way. Women are not just un-men. You can’t just look at cultural stereotypes about men, flip them upside-down, and conclude that women are like that.
What a. nony said. (Seriously, last night when I read your comment I thought, “So are we saying Deborah was manly?”) B, you are confusing cultural norms, which change from society to society, with Godly truths. Are you aware that in the Middle Ages everyone “knew” that women were more sexual than men? It was the basis for the argument that we were less logical than the guys.
Also, I looked up high testosterone in women. If you’ve got excess hair on the face and chest, male pattern baldness, excessive muscular development, a deep voice and no periods, those are symptoms of excess T. If that’s the case, I’d get tested for PCOS and adrenal issues. But being tall, slim-hipped, good at sports, not prone to crying and liking sex have nothing to do with excess testosterone. Nothing.
Brown eyes are the most common eye color, green are the least common. Do we say that green-eyed people are abnormal because their eye color occurs less? Of course not, that’s absurd.
I have to agree with J on this, it’s important for you to change your self-talk in this area. I’ve struggled in the past with depression and had to re-learn how I viewed myself. In my experience the Holy Spirit has a harder time whispering truth through the noise of me beating myself up.
Again, be gentle with yourself. You are not along.
Your absolutely right. God made women to think and desire sex even more so than men. I don’t understand why society denies us women this fact. Why is society threatened by highly sexed women?!
I was sad to read your post! I’m not married anymore, but wish I had seen this blog when I was married!
have you tried “mixing it up a little, positions, locations, fantasies, “playing’? just a thought! apparantly some men like a lot of variety- it could spice up your love life! (did you know there are almost 400 different positions?- 100+ w/ slight variations- according to the internet?)
I always find the “women sleep better after sex’ baffling. My experience is the complete opposite. It causes insomnia. Perhaps this is linked in with the fact that any exercise just before bed can cause insomnia. I need to wind down with a good book before sleep. Sex just revs me up and I can’t sleep.
Not sure why women were created to not respond to sex as readily! Is this perhaps why sex is often promoted as being something men enjoy more than women? Men find it effortless whereas so many women struggle with it.
It revs me up too! At least for about an hour, then I sleep better afterward.
I personally believe that the differences in sex drive (whether gender-based or something else in a particular marriage) force us to consider our mate and work together to create an us experience, instead of just a me experience. Not all men find sex drive to be effortless (you should read my email), and while many wives do struggle to get there, we get some really great perks, like the ability to orgasms in more than one way. So it’s a complicated thing, if you ask me. But yeah, I agree we have gotten the idea that sex is for men partly because their drives are more evident.
If there’s such a thing as an aphrodisiac for low-libido wives, it’s a dozen fresh roses. They cost about $18 at Sam’s Club here in Michigan, though I’ve ocassionally seen them on sale for $7.95 at supermarkets. My wife melts all over the floor when I bring them home planning for a time of love making, for a couple of reasons, apparently. More expensive than carnations or daisies, they seem to signify my love and appreciation more emphatically; and like all women, she appreciates beauty, and an orange or yellow rose, for her, is the epitome of beauty.
But I also tell her she’s beautiful naked (she is!), and she get’s that, too, though she claims she’s not!
And BTW, I’ve learned from experience, NEVER, EVER purchase a bunch of roses that’s begun to wilt. Even if the blossoms look good, if you pinch at the base of the petals, if it’s soft, the roses are over the hill.
Great idea! But it’s a situation of KNOW YOUR WIFE! If my hubby regularly brought home a dozen roses, I’d tell him to stop it and instead buy me a book or hand lotion or something more useful in my mind. 🙂
LOL. Well, J, if she can’t bake beans from scratch, buy her a can opener!
I appreciate all of your input, I truly do. I’m starting a new comment because replying to them all is making me feel like I’m bouncing all over the place. 🙂
As far as the statistics thing, I get it. I’m really not so much worried about what’s normal, majority, etc. as I am about WHY I’m not in the majority. What makes the majority of women so much better at being wives? What makes them so much more attractive to their husbands? WHAT am I doing wrong? There has to be an answer. And statistics aren’t really a valid answer. Look at obesity. (And I am not picking on obese folks, just making a point). Something like 35% of Americans are obese. Does that make it “normal”? Maybe statistically. But quite frankly, I don’t want to be part of that 35%, even if it is considered normal. If I were in the obese category, I would try to figure out why and what I could do to change it. I wouldn’t just sit around and be like “oh well it’s normal so I should just not worry about it.”
@a. nony, I do believe that God is in control and wants my husband and I together. But I don’t always understand. It seems (to my limited human brain) that it would have made more sense for a guy with such a low or “responsive” sex drive to be paired with a normal woman. (Which is why I think learning to squash my own desire for him will make him much happier). Or, for a woman like me, who enjoys sex, to be paired with a higher drive husband. Life would be so much easier. But it’s not meant to be easy, right? (And then these thoughts make me feel like a “bad” Christian. Good Christians don’t think this way.) Although, if we are being honest, I still strongly believe that it has everything to do with me, and that if I were more attractive to my husband, more his type, he would have a much more typical desire for sex. Read almost any article, anywhere. Most men would be thrilled with a wife who enjoyed sex. Just not mine. I believe my desires actually make him feel badly. He is constantly telling me how much he loves me, like it almost makes him sad. Which leads me to…
@Amy, my husband SAYS he loves me all the time. But I’m not sure why it’s hard for other folks to understand why his lack of desire equates to a lack of love in my mind. Shouldn’t married love be special? I mean, he loves his mom, his sister, his aunt Jane. What makes me any different from any of them? I didn’t sign up to be aunt Jane. I want a deeper, more intimate, more romantic relationship.
I have tried talking to him, endlessly. It just ends with him getting sad or mad, or saying something like “I can’t meet your needs.” Um, yes he sure could if he wanted to! When he does want to (which is usually when I get tired of sitting around feeling sorry for myself and I come on to him), it is fantastic. That part we don’t have trouble with. It’s just that he doesn’t seem to be interested in it 1/10 as often as I am, and he has NO desire to come on to me, whatsoever. He would go forever just waiting for me to initiate and see no problem with it whatsoever. It’s like a sick, twisted punishment or control game or something, the way he can hold out on me. By the way, I NEVER rejected him. For the first 10+ years of our marriage I initiated almost every encounter. I didn’t realize back then how abnormal that was, how ugly he must have found me. I didn’t learn that until I learned how normal men think and how typical marriages work and how men who truly love their wives think and behave.
A couple weeks ago I tried talking about this again. I had tried talking about scheduling sex, and he got REALLY offended. I thought it was a good idea because then I could look forward to it instead of wondering, wondering, wondering. He did NOT like that idea. I think because then he’d feel obligated. So this time I asked him how often he’d like to have sex. He didn’t answer right away (typical controlling hold-out behavior) and so I told him I would like to be together every day, but I could be perfectly content with every other day. He then agreed that he could probably be in the mood every other day. Great, right? WRONG! It was a big fat lie. We had done it on a Thursday. I asked him this on a Friday. I reminded him that Saturday would be every-other-day. That night I joked with him about Saturday, and told him so he didn’t feel pressure to come on to me, I’d just “pencil him in” right then. He laughed and seemed genuinely happy. I was in a great mood Saturday. I looked forward to it all day. Did anything happen between us, NOPE! Because he simply cannot bring himself to want me. So I was in a very cranky mood all day Sunday, realizing that again, I will never be enough for this man, and he acts all perplexed and it takes him like two more days to realize what is bothering me? Oh come on! Nobody is that dumb, especially my husband who is extremely intelligent.
I told him today, I think I have finally realized that I am the problem. I need to grow up, accept things for what they are instead of what I wish they were. It is was it is. I mean, I can’t force him to feel things he cannot feel, right? He should have married someone he was attracted to. The few times I’ve told him that he acts all sad and claims but he loves me so much. Then he gets upset that I just can’t seem to believe that. It doesn’t jive.
And finally, @J, I think you’ll be happy to hear that we are going to try to get some counseling. He actually agreed to it. I think he has finally admitted that regardless of our sexual problems, his constant +10 stress level (work, mother, siblings, etc.) and his resulting anger is also unhealthy and contributing to our relationship troubles. The fact that we are probably both wrong and looking at things from skewed points of view is not helping. We have actually found a couple we trust through a friend who just happened to mention it to me. (I’m thinking that was a God moment.) I’m hoping it helps. Even if the problems are 100% me, something has to change. We have been trying for far too long to fix this problem ourselves and getting absolutely nowhere.
“we are going to try to get some counseling.”
Will you consider getting one-on-one counseling for yourself in addition to that? The way you talk about yourself is heartbreaking, and whatever else is impacting your marriage, I can guarantee your self-loathing definitely is.
Let me add that I expect, B, you’ll have some people praying for your counseling experience.
I’ll be praying.
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J, please can you respect that reading B’s comments, its clear she’s hurting. And that’s the only point I’ve been trying to make. She really did lash out at me on Sheila’s blog & was angry & nasty. Yet you & Sheila have turned this all around on me lashing out on B. I just don’t understand.
You seem a wise and caring Lady. But all of this has felt so unjust 🙁
Of course I respect that. I absolutely respect that people come to our sites with their own histories, perspectives, and even wounds. I absolutely want to encourage respect on my blog. However, I didn’t read B’s comment on Sheila’s blog the way you did, nor do I want to encourage a negative back-and-forth between commenters who would probably be friends if we knew each other in real life. I hope you can understand that too. Blessings!
There’s gotta be another “B” because I haven’t commented on Sheila’s blog in a couple years. So it might be someone else.
Wow, thank you for clarifying that!!!
Just like not every “J” is me. 😉
To B, I want to tell you you’re not alone. I don’t fit the stereotype either and have spent much time feeling like a freak.
B. Everything you describe is something that I am confident that every high-desire spouse in almost every marriage experiences to some degree. Although men are usually the higher desire spouse, this doesn’t have much to do with gender. In EVERY relationship, there is a difference in desire level for every type of intimacy. The bigger the desire difference, the bigger the pain for the higher drive spouse that is forced to accept less than they like.
I understand how you feel. I am a man, so maybe it doesn’t affect my self image quite as intensely. But a steady frequency of once per month for several years has been very, very difficult. I can say with near certainty that it has nothing to do with your attractiveness. It sounds like you stay in good shape. I know it’s hard.
Like you I sometimes find myself reading comments from wives like you and think, it seems so cruel that there are women with high drives and why couldn’t I have married one of THEM. I understand completely, but this is a dangerous pattern of thinking.
We may never know why we endure this struggle. Good luck. I hope you and your husband can find a solution.
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I love this article. It kind of describes how i am and it makes me feel ok with how i am. “For women, our sex drives are primarily in our heads. If our heads aren’t engaged, our bodies won’t follow.” This sentence is right on!
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