In my graduate counseling program, I took a class about diagnosing and treating various psychological disorders. When we reached the section on eating disorders, I distinctly recall the professor saying something like, “You cannot put bulimics and anorexics in the same support group. To the bulimics, the anorexics are successful weight-losers, so they end up feeling worse and more compelled to starve themselves.”
Now my actual experience in working with eating disorder clients is zero. So I cannot attest personally to that wisdom, but it made some sense to me that there are just some groups you don’t want to put together. It’s too tempting to make comparisons, feel worse about yourself and your situation, and draw conclusions that harm you more in the long run.
This is how I sometimes feel about high-drive wives and high-drive husbands reading each other’s comments on my blog.
I can’t tell you how many times a higher-drive wife has said something like, “It’s so discouraging to read about all those husbands who are eager to have sex in their marriage when I can’t get my husband interested in me.” And the same from higher-drive husbands too.
Faced with comments from high-drive spouses of the other gender, when you’re struggling with your own low-drive spouse, it can be easy then to do one or more of the following:
- Feel even worse about your circumstances
- Believe your spouse doesn’t really love you
- Push your spouse even harder to meet your sexual needs
- Imagine there’s something seriously wrong with you or your spouse
- Fantasize about being with someone whose libido matches yours
- Throw up your hands and give up
Not a single one of those options is a positive development for your marriage, but I understand why you might go there. It’s tough to be struggling and see that others have it not only easier, but seemingly really easy.
What can you do when you read comments like those? How can you avoid having a swarm of negative emotions rise to the surface? Let’s talk about some options.
1. Recognize it’s just one area of life. Obviously, I believe it’s an important area of marriage, or I wouldn’t spend most of my time here writing about sexual intimacy. However, sex isn’t the only kind of marital intimacy. And marriage isn’t the only thing going on in your life either. I know couples with great marriages who’ve dealt with ongoing stress and emotional pain from caring for a disabled family member, grieving the loss of a child, facing financial hardship, and much more.
When you’re struggling in an area where someone else seems to be doing well, it can appear that everything is unicorns and rainbows in their world while you’re living through a personal apocalypse. That’s just not true. Everyone has problems, and you don’t always know what challenges someone else is facing in their life.
2. Be grateful for what you have. This is the flip side of encouraging you to not focus all the time on what you don’t have. Rather, seek out and positively reinforce the good happening in your life and your marriage. Very few things are all bad or all good; rather, we have helpings of both. Look for what’s working and celebrate that.
Indeed, by focusing on the good in your spouse and your relationship, you might encourage an atmosphere in which you can start dealing with your challenges in sexual intimacy. We all tend to be more successful working problems from a place of strength and encouragement. And if after searching and searching, you can’t find anything in your marriage to be grateful for, then it’s time to go talk to a Christian counselor.
3. Pay more attention to the low-drive comments. If you’re a higher-drive wife wanting to get a husband on board with more sexual intimacy, what you need are ideas of how you can reach out to a lower-drive spouse. Focus in on what low-drive spouses say about why they don’t want sex as much. Could some of those issues be present in your marriage? How could you address them?
Recalling the testimonies I’ve heard, I can’t think of a single marriage bed that improved without one spouse making an effort to understand where the other one is coming from. What often happened is one spouse went first in becoming more sympathetic, and the other followed. Read the other side for low-drive spouses and start building your sympathy for what your own spouse is going through. Develop a better understanding of what’s happening so you can address the issues.
4. Stop reading comments. If you know that reading the comment section is going to sink your heart and make you feel worse about your marriage, why do you do it? You could do other things with your time, like read other informative blogs or marriage books or take a walk or go sit with your husband and watch a show.
I know you’re desperately looking for answers. I want so much to give you help and hope, but if you’re not getting it here in the comments section, or even in my posts, maybe you need to try something else. Blogs are one part of marriage ministry, but there are many other resources and maybe something else would work better for you. (Also see Should You Be Reading My Blog?)
One final note to high-drive husbands. I want to address something I’ve seen ongoing on my blog and Facebook page, when high-drive husbands say something like, “I can’t imagine a man not wanting sex as much or more than his wife” or “If your husband doesn’t want sex, something’s wrong with him.” I know you’re speaking from experience and trying to help, but it’s really not helping higher-drive wives and lower-drive husbands.
I rarely hear from low-drive husbands, because what guy is going to risk having his Man Card taken by confessing that he doesn’t have a high libido? Too many men are not getting help and addressing a mismatch of sex drives in their marriage because they are embarrassed to speak up.
The truth is that in the majority of marriages, the husband is indeed the higher-drive spouse, but a substantial minority of marriages, estimated at 15-30%, have higher-drive wives. That’s millions of men whose wives want more sex than they do. So please don’t treat it like it’s a rare disorder or a lack of masculinity, because it just isn’t. Thank you.
Remember that we all see our world from our own lens. Let’s get rid of the smudges of comparison on our lenses and look at our own marriages clearly, positively, and hopefully. As Theodore Roosevelt or Dwight Edwards (depends on who you ask) said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” In turn, I believe hope is a bringer of joy. Focus on hope.
And be sure to listen tomorrow to our next Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast episode on Mismatched Sex Drives.
57 thoughts on “Why High-Drive Spouses Get Frustrated Reading Comments”
Hoo, is it SOOO wonderful since my dear wife has the same high sex drive! My wife is in her 70’s and I’m in my 80’s and we’ve been married almost 50 years but we still, at least twice a week, make intense love. It’s almost all oral sex now, but, boy, are we good at that! Both of us experts by now, I believe. We had an hour and a half making love so satisfying just this morning and I’m still in a daze from it. I know I’m a very lucky man and I love my dear wife with all my heart, soul, and body!
It’s lovely to hear that an older couple has remained sexually active! Too many people think sex withers away as you age, whereas the elderly I know say it changes but it can still be very good. Many blessings!
Thank you for this. As a higher-drive wife I really needed to read this today.
Very important essay!
I’ll admit, happily, to being a low-drive dude. There are two reasons of which I am aware:
1) Sex is not physically comfortable for me. Leaves be feeling ill and tired, and it hurts.
2) Perhaps more telling…for awhile I worked in the most demanding profession of all, hunting ‘game’ that was perfectly happy hunting me right back. The skill sets I had to acquire,and the experience of the work itself, changed me. It made both more and less than human; I had a goal and purpose that superseded sexuality. Past the game, I kept myself ready to deploy again, and now that I am dying of pancreatic cancer, these qualities have kept alive for four years past my expected date-of-death. I have no ‘man card’; I’m a finely honed instrument of national will, and I am blessed beyond measure to have a wife who understands that. She knows that the fistbump I give her at dawn and evening contains my whole heart.
Great article. I love the first point, which is one I struggled to live out of for years. Had way to many pity parties because my wife did not match my horndog levels in my 30’s. She’s a great wife in so many other ways and I set my mind all too often on this one area.
I just experienced a dry spell where Hubs and I weren’t intimate as often as I prefered. I was sooooooo frustrated and wondering what I should do and praying about it constantly and hating my body and assuming the worst……and then I was sitting next to him on the couch and it clicked. I thought “he is such a great hsuband and sex is only one area of our wonderful marriage” and while I firmly believe it’s very important, it’s not the ONLY component or the ONLY good or worthy quality about my man! I love so much about him. I took a deep breath and let go for awhile.
I went and made myself pretty then snuggled up to him, smiled, laughed, flirted. As soon as I was able to let go and surrender my frustration, a weight lifted off my shoulders and we were able to reconnect outside the bedroom. And guess what?! Last night was very steamy and hubs has been on cloud nine, back to his normal self and his “aw, you have clothes on?!” *winky face*
It made me wonder how much of our “lack of intimacy” was a result of my attitude and the way I was acting towards him because he had failed to meet my expectations several days in a row.
Sometimes we stonewall our husbands in some way and as a result they don’t feel able to approach us to initiate sex. Definitely worth a check!
So much truth to what you’re saying, J! Thank you for the encouragement!
Ooh, interesting story. Thanks for sharing that one. And glad you got your steamy night! 😉
First, it is just one area of life, but it is an important area when it is not right between the two. I have been married for 35 years and it has never been close to being equal. She has hangups and won’t discuss them in any way with any one. That makes it impossible to deal with. Without sounding like a complainer, she is also a gatekeeper and a wall builder. I have just learned to deal with it. I have taken up hobbies, keep myself in shape and found other things to do. I will tell all of the LD spouses here, if you ignore it long enough, you will lose it. It may take a while, but it will happen. Your body and mind will adjust. I have stopped reading the comments altogether. They won’t change anything in my marriage anyway and she/he won’t change, period. At this point in my life, I have lost all interest and she does not understand why I don’t chase her anymore. I got tired of running. But, not my problem. My motor was idling for too many years. I appreciate your spirit and intent J, but in all reality, for most of us, this IS what God has intended. We are here to do other, more important things in his name.
This still breaks my heart, though. I wish someone/something could reach your wife for her understand what you’re missing, what she’s missing, what your marriage is missing. Praying.
Tongue firmly in cheek. 🙂
You wake up at one point having an enormous nail driven through your foot into the floorboards.
1. Recognize it’s just one area of life (e.g. other limbs are just fine).
2. Be grateful for what you have (e.g. sunsets, acquaintances , ZuZu’s petals, …)
3. Pay attention to comments from random hammer-wielding passerby.
4. Stop listening to comments from passerby / stop searching desperately for solutions.
In all seriousness, the bulleted list delineated at the top of the article was helpful; it means my experiences/reactions are not abnormal.
Lol. If you have a nail driven in your foot, grab the phone and call for help! And then be grateful that it’s just one area of your life. 😉
Well the other more logical response would be to realize the high-rise wife / husband who’s comment is upsetting you is literally in the Exact. Same. Boat as you. Her/ her high drive doesn’t do his/ her spouse any good because they too have a low drive. The person writing the comment is just as frustrated as you and their spouse is just as frustrated as your spouse. The gender of the commenter isn’t relevant in this instance. Getting upset because a person of the opposite gender is having the same issue as you doesn’t make any sense. Your problem is both wide spread and universal. That should make you realize that you are not abnormal and give more sympathy for the commenter.
And yeah. If your right eye gives cause you to stumble… Not reading comments/ a post is significantly easier than plucking out an eye. Just saying.
It may not make logical sense to you, but I can tell you that many spouses are coming from a place of deep hurt and they have a visceral reaction to those comments. They’re not choosing to feel bad; they just do. What I’m suggesting is in line with cognitive-behavioral ways to readjust one’s perspective. I think you’re trying to suggest another way of looking at things as well, which is great.
But I can tell you right now that saying to someone “your feelings don’t make any sense” does not change their feelings. And might upset them more, because in addition to feeling bad, now they’ve essentially been told they’re foolish too. I like what you’re saying, but I am pushing back a little on how to say it. 😉
I was on my twitter or something and saw a book that Sheila G has out and not sure but the name of the book – “9 Thoughts that can change your marriage”.
I am in a mismatched relationship that seem to have plateaued and as I am the more -‘high drive’, always praying for restoration and am sure my wife is too. Am always fearful of sharing how it affects men especially after reading shortly a post by Sheila about a Netfix film on the abuse in a Catholic Church – The Keepers series – Who killed Sister Cathy? I have not seen it but read the post by Sheila, comments that were excellent on how the spouse had cared for wifes who had been abused. There was only one comment where a wife was not a victim and became the hero in that marriage. It is hard for men to share abuse and one usually remains in one’s own Silence that is hard to shatter except through prayer etc, and a survivor network I share with other men. Feelings and intimacy are a difficult thing when one is born into a illiterate emotion family. Thus when intimacy becomes a problem with your spouse, your own abuse sporadically, tv, films etc that I hardly watch but hard not to be completely immune from life,etc. I when go into a cycle of memories, it is usually when wanting to be intimate but because of a problem my spouse has – is then I go into a cycle that you go into a victim triangle. First – Victim then prayer and become a Rescued victim, and then return to a perpetrated Victim. You learn to operate in and out of it, and men find it hard to share these things. Can you recommend the book, mentioned.
I read both Sheila’s book and that post, but I am not familiar with the book she mentioned. Abuse is more common in marriages from husband to wife, but it does happen from wife to husband. However, I’m not sure if you’re saying there’s other abuse or if you’re saying that sexual gatekeeping is abuse. I would not go as far as the latter statement, but I do believe that sexual withholding in marriage is wrong and needs to be addressed. It’s certainly hard on the one who longs for sexual intimacy and feels rejected time and again. Something is obviously going on with your wife, and I wish I knew what. Maybe you can try to help her get to the bottom of it. I wish you all the best! Blessings.
I love reading your blog but have to admit to being somewhat jealous reading about high drive wives. Not sure what happened in our marriage at first our drives were equal but after seven years she acts like it is a distasteful chore and much like you post on sexual memory when we do get together she does have a good time. I’m not sure if there is anyway to get her back on track.
Seven years? I know that seems like forever, but may I give you some hope that I hear from couples who suddenly had a break-through after 10 years or more. Not sure what would help your specific situation, but pray for guidance and aim for baby steps to make things better. Blessings!
Paul spoke about being content in either scant or plenty.you can apply that to whatever you find an area where ther is supply and demand issues taking place. More people will love you for your kindness,laughter and joy in any given moment than intimate moments in life. I too have found scant intimate moments with my wife in marriage and lately holding her so close that time seems to stop and listening to the noise of the world whistle by can be more extraordinarily good as any thing we like to call sex.
Points 2 and 3 describe my situation perfectly. My husband (the higher drive in the marriage) isn’t focusing on anything else in the marriage. I have been making improvements in our sex life but nothing I have done has been acknowledged. All I hear is what I’m still doing wrong or not doing at all. I have talked to him about my struggles. They most stem from my mom’s negative view of sex which she raised me with and my husbands affairs and porn use. All some pretty big obstacles to overcome. We were seeing a marriage counselor for a while but stopped because she kept focusing on him and what he needed to change and how he needed to respond to me. He felt being attacked when we went and even though at first it helped it got where it was making things worse. He saw her as “siding” with me not as someone who was trying to help him deal with his part in the marriage.
It would be nice to be acknowledged for what I’ve done and to have some of the good in the marriage and myself pointed out. And to feel I am truly being listened to and that he is trying to understand when I share with him my struggles. But all he seems to see is what isn’t happened and what is wrong.
I’m trying to stay positive and make the changes I can make and hope that one day he will respond and start changing too like I keep reading will happen from so many blogs. But after years of working on it I am getting frustrated and wonder if I’m just wasting my time on a man who doesn’t care.
I’d be very clear in saying something like, “I want to make these positive changes, but I need some help from you. Could you positively reinforce when I’m doing things you like? And also, things will improve more quickly if you do X, Y, and Z.” Set some reasonable standards, and let him know what will work for you.
Yours is a tough situation. Hang in there! Praying for you.
Thank you as a higher drive wife, I really needed to read that! I think we put so much focus on what our spouse is not doing we fail to recognize all that they do!
J, I like your number 2 point–being grateful for what you have. The Apostle Paul even told us to be content in all things. We sometimes focus too much on what we don’t have than what we do have!
I’m a very low to no libido wife. Sex has become very difficult for me since menopause. I come to this blog to seek encouragement to remain sexual for the sake of my marriage.
From a low libido perspective, reading the comments from the high drive spouses is rather discouraging and depressing. I understand the hurt, resentment, and frustration they are feeling but it only adds to my feelings of guilt and inadequacy, which does nothing to help bolster a positive attitude toward change.
Therefore, I take what I need and leave the rest, which often means skipping the comment section.
J, Thank you for encouraging those of us with issues. We are not all ogres.
I am a higher drive wife, and I have just a few things to say.
1. I was interested to hear other HD wives chime in here. Forever I felt like I was the only one. People said I wasn’t alone, but there aren’t many others who comment.
2. While the idea of reading the comments from low drive spouses and focusing on what they say the issues are is a good idea, it’s not totally practical if you’re a wife. There are almost no low drive husbands who comment.
3. It is so true that it’s hard to read comments from low drive wives and not be jealous. Oh to be desired!! Oh to know what it feels like to have a normal female sex drive, where the man wants you and does the pursuing! It’s so hard to read the wives lamenting about how much their husbands want sex and not wonder “what is so WRONG with me, that MY husband doesn’t find me desireable, let alone irresistable?” I think the real problem is the comparison. I’m trying hard to learn to stop comparing. Just because my husband doesn’t love or desire me as much as the average guy does his own wife, doesn’t mean we can’t have a decent marriage.
4. I totally get it that we all see through our own lens. But I still can’t understand why any low drive spouse feels badly when they have all the power and all the control. They call all the shots and wield great power over how their spouse feels about themselves – at least in my marriage. I wonder if the lower drive spouses would disagree, and if so, I’d love to hear their reasoning. I know I shouldn’t care how my husband feels about me, or at least not let his feelings effect how I feel about myself, but I do.
Great post! A lot of food for thought.
I can only speak for myself and my husband. I don’t feel it’s me he desires. It’s sex. And his affairs prove that it’s doesn’t matter who that sex is with. That one thought is always on the vback of my mind. It leads to so many thought: Who’s he thinking about with me? How was this (whatever we are doing at the moment) different with another woman? Is he enjoying sex as much with me or does he want someone else? Is he wanting to do this because he enjoyed it with someone else? I think that especially when he wants to try something new and has recently been on a business trip since that’s when he had (prayerfully using past tense) his affairs. Then I have all the negative things my mom always had to say about sex. My father also had multiple affairs so that maybe why she views sex the way she does. I know it changed it for me.
So I feel exactly where you are coming from when you wonder why you aren’t desired. Some men do simply want more sex and it’s not about desire. That’s not a blanket statement so please no negative comments about that. The men in my life, father and husband proved to me that is true. Some men don’t know how to show that they desire their wife. Maybe the way they learned about sex taught them is was all physical and they don’t want to be that guy who only seems to want sex so they suppress it and become the opposite.
And then of course an issue I’ve haven’t seen mentioned in any of the comments. It’s possible there is a medical condition or medication he is taking that is causing low drive. Maybe gently talk about getting a good physical including hormone levels tested. He could have low T.
Wow, TB, you’ve had a lot of challenges in this area. I pray that your husband can demonstrate faithfulness and commitment to you. But I do understand that your experiences have painted both men and sex in a bad light, and that’s a tough situation to overcome. Praying for you both.
I think the idea that the lower drive spouse has all the power is a strange one. When it comes to any decision in a marriage, someone’s opinion stands, someone’s is pushed aside. In almost every other area in life, married couples come to a reasonable compromise, but sexually that is not acceptable. You say low drives have the “power” because their low desire dictates when sex takes place. I say my high drive husband has the power because, regardless of my thoughts and feelings, regardless of my ability to actually enjoy the experience, I owe him sex whenever he wants it. If we compromise and wait a day, he secretly views me as sinning (this is what he had told me). So, I am expected to somehow let him use my body for his sexual pleasure, “because he loves me so much”, and yet he knows there is no pleasure in it for me. How is that even an expression of love?! You often say women like me are more loved than you, but I just fail to see how my husband’s sex drive (which he is happy to use me to fulfill) shows me love. What it shows me is hormones. Love would be patient with me, love would be kind, love would be tenderhearted (and, before I sound too harsh, my husband does strive to show me love in those ways, just not in our sex life).
You want to have sex with your husband whenever you feel like it. I want to have sex with my husband only when I feel like it. Both of those are a desire for control. Both of those, if exercised without loving consideration of our own spouses’ desires and physical ability, are gatekeeping. It can go both ways. A spouse can gatekeep by either denial or demand. Except, as a low drive spouse, I am the one whose is considered to be “sinning” if, perchance, I don’t feel up to sex (which, by the way, does not at all reflect my love for my husband. It reflects my body’s hormones).
The key is in our individual viewpoints, which vary widely. How can we bring our life lenses into a better perspective of true reality? Of biblical reality? How can we view our spouse with compassion and understanding? I think this is what J meant about reading the low drive comments to gain better understanding of your own spouse. I know that your comments have given me a much better understanding of a high drive, and the struggle it is for my own husband, the pain, the effort, the loneliness he must experience. I wish heartily that he could gain an understanding of my drive.
And, as much as gender seems to be an issue, it really isn’t. Low drive women -and men! – find sex to be hard work. Low drive women AND men feel embarrassment at their like of desire. Low drive women AND men feel used by their spouses, rejected because their spouse is not happy with what they can offer. Both men and women struggle to find the intimacy in it because of the pressure to perform, and because, if it was about love, wouldn’t it be about their desires too, not just getting sex? They both feel like a means to a sexual end, not a deeply loved spouse. And the crazy thing is, the embarrassment, the rejection, the feeling of being unloved or used… Those are the exact same emotions expressed by high drive spouses in these comments! And this what I think J was saying. We can learn so much about what makes our loved one tick and most especially we can learn compassion for them, by reading these comments. I know you have helped me see my husband in a better light because of your comments, and I am grateful for that! I hope something I have said can help you better understand your man.
Thanks for this thoughtful response. I really appreciated this:
“You want to have sex with your husband whenever you feel like it. I want to have sex with my husband only when I feel like it. Both of those are a desire for control. Both of those, if exercised without loving consideration of our own spouses’ desires and physical ability, are gatekeeping.”
I hadn’t thought about it that way, but you make a great point.
@FourUnderFour, I’m glad if any of my comments have ever helped you, and yes, yours is helping me a little. Although I still have the mental block that for you, a female, being the LDS is normal, expected, and feminine – while me, a female, being the HDS is abnormal and pathetic, and makes me far less feminine.
I’m so sorry if your husband sees you as sinning if you need to wait a day for sex. I don’t feel that way when my husband refuses me, nor have I ever said that to him. I’m sorry, that is hard. I wonder if your husband really feels that way or is speaking out of frustration.
I understand your comment about gatekeepping and control going both ways. But I don’t demand sex from my husband. I used to initiate most of the time, but when I started reading about marriage and realized that was not normal, I stopped. I didn’t want to be the wife who had to beg for sex. I’ve gotten over some of those feelings, and I’ve gone back to flirting and even hinting, and I’ve gone out on a limb and initiated again a few times. But this past week I’ve been flirting a lot and a few days ago I even plainly said, “I really want to have sex with you sometime today.” He smiled and said “I love it” – but did anything happen? Nope. Still hasn’t, and that was TUESDAY. He just doesn’t feel the level of love, attraction, or intimacy for me that I feel for him. His lack of interest makes that incredibly clear. I haven’t “demanded” anything for him, or even brought it up since Tuesday’s rejection. I just try to keep busy and forget about it. And sadly, what happens often is, I will work so hard to squash my desire for him, that when the time finally rolls around that he decides he wants to be with me, I won’t be that interested. I’ll still do it, but I won’t enjoy it nearly as much now that I’ve spent so much time squashing my desires.
You know how there’s all these blogs for women about how to increase your libido, think about sex more often, wear lingerie, feel beautiful…all that stuff to help your libido? Well I guess it works, because I do the opposite of everything they say in a desperate attempt to squash my overactive libido, and it kinda works. I enjoy sex a lot less than when I thought my husband loved me and found me attractive.
One thing I will never understand is my husband’s desire that I sleep in bed with him. He loves to snuggle and IT. IS. TORTURE. Being so close, being held, knowing nothing is going to happen, that he sees me as a cuddle-thing, but not good enough to make love to? Not sexy enough, not whatever enough. But he wants me there even though I desire intimacy with him SO much and he doesn’t feel the same way for me? But when I started sleeping on the couch to give him space (since there was no reason for me to be there anyway and it made it easier for me to sleep without having to deal with my desire for him) – he didn’t like me not being there.
I’d like to comment more, but I’m running out of space. Thanks for your reply!
Hey, B! “while me, a female, being the HDS is abnormal and pathetic, and makes me far less feminine.” Okay, I literally calculated this the other day. And based on the percentages experts say about how many marriages have a higher drive wife, it’s somewhere between 9 and 18 MILLION wives in the United States. Are you saying that 9-18 million wives are abnormal and pathetic? Surely not. So you aren’t either!
Think about it this way. Would you say that left-handed people are abnormal freaks? No, but they are only 10% of the population. How about red-haired people? Nope. But they’re just 1-2% of the population. While higher drive wives are 15-30% of marriages! If I can convince you of nothing else, I am determined to get you to understand this: Higher-drive wives are normal, desirable, and good for their marriages.
Yes, marriage resources have traditionally addressed the majority of marriages in which the husband is the higher-drive spouse, but in doing so, they overlooked the very substantial minority of marriages where that just isn’t true. The failure, therefore, isn’t on those marriages that don’t represent the stereotype; rather, we need better resources to address both kinds of marriages. We’re doing better with it, but we still have room for improvement.
“higher drive wives are normal, desireable, and good for their marriages.”
I think the problem is my use of the word normal. I don’t necessarily mean abnormal, in terms of being weirdos (though I feel that way quite often). I mean “not in the majority” or “not typical”.
As for desireable? Maybe some HD wives are desireable. But I really struggle to feel that way when my husband doesn’t seem interested. Comparison really is the thief of joy. I’m living proof of that. But when the majority of women are pursued by their husbands, and I’m not – it is very, very hard to feel worthy as a wife, let alone desireable.
And good for their marriage? Maybe. But I’m not sure I’m strong enough to fulfill this role. If I try to stop being upset and look at this more openly I could say this: well, if sex is good and right in a marriage, and it bonds you closer, and is a way to strengthen intimacy, and is God’s intention for a man and wife – and my husband struggles with a low drive – then yes, maybe God made me high drive so that we have a decent sex life rather than no sex life. In that respect I guess being a higher drive wife could be good for a marriage.
But the selfish side of me still struggles with self pity and the longing to have a man (preferably the husband whom I love) find me attractive and desireable. That’s where I need prayer. It’s so easy for me to focus on his lack of desire and waste a lot of my energy wondering what makes me so unattractive to him.
I know, I know. Countless people want to say, “his low drive has nothing to do with how attractive you are” – but that’s a really tough thing for me to believe. So often you’ll read stuff from other husbands along the lines of “my wife isn’t a supermodel but I’m still so attracted to her” or “my wife gained a lot of weight but she’s still beautiful to me”. That’s fantastic and beautiful for those couples. But selfishly I’m jealous, because I try very hard to stay in good shape, and my husband STILL isn’t attracted to me. He says he is with his words, but his sex drive says otherwise.
So is my high drive good for our marriage? Maybe it’s supposed to be, but my selfish attitude gets in the way. I’d just love to be good enough (well not just good enough, but special to him) just one day in our marriage. I’d love to know what it feels like to have someone desire me, and that’s why I get so frustrated with wives who ARE pursued by their husbands and then blow them off.
I need to learn to be satisfied in Christ and rest in Christ’s love alone. I’m working on it. I’m not as bitter as I was. But I’m still selfish and sad at having this stupid high sex drive when I’d prefer to be what I consider “normal”. And I also wonder, is my drive too high, or is his too low? Or both?
You know, this sexual intimacy thing is a tough one.
You said, “He just doesn’t feel the level of love, attraction, or intimacy for me that I feel for him. His lack of interest makes that incredibly clear”.
Please ask yourself if that is a true statement and why.
What I’m hearing you say is that, if your husband loved you, found you attractive, and felt intimacy toward you, he would feel horny and not be able to keep his hands off you. Wanting and desiring sex seems to be your definition of expressing love.
Please ask yourself if that is true (not ‘should be’) for everyone and why.
As a LDS (envious of high drive wives) I can categorically tell you that is NOT TRUE for EVERYONE. Sex drive (interest in being sexual) isn’t always or automatically fueled, stoked, and ignited by love, attraction, and caring. For some of us, finding or conjuring up an interest in sex is hard work. It takes energy, focus, and faith along with a lot of other stupid idea’s to try.
Your husband’s sexuality is obviously different than yours.
Why is your sexuality more valid than his?
You go on to say, “Being so close, being held, knowing nothing is going to happen, that he sees me as a cuddle-thing, but not good enough to make love to”. For an LDS, there is No Higher Complement!!!!!!!!
You see being a HDS as abnormal and pathetic. I see it as being what every LDS wishes they could be. You are lucky to feel your sexual, sensual energy. Some of us feel pretty dead in that department. There is Nothing more powerful than true female sexuality! Embrace it with pride.
Now, you just need to figure out how to Dance your Dance with a husband who has two left feet. My prayers to you both.
Thank you, Jolie. Your comment was kind and well communicated, but I disagree with most of it. I think that’s due to the “seeing through different lenses” thing.
First, I think a HDS, especially a wife, is the LAST person a low drive spouse should feel envious of. It’s not fun or exciting – it’s almost a curse. (Maybe not if both spouses have a high drive, but a high drive wife to a low drive husband, at least in my case, is very upsetting.
I waste hours wondering – should he have married his girlfriend before me? Was he more attracted to her? What if I was shorter, thinner, brunette, Italian, had a bigger butt, bigger teeth, green eyes, sang Country (his favorite) instead of Classical, was less athletic and more demure, was shy instead of outgoing, was better at hiding my true feelings, laughed less, was more mysterious, had curly hair, was petite, etc. The list goes on!
So through my lens, if your husband has a higher drive for you, then be happy! Be thrilled! He loves you, is attracted to you, desires you, desires to love you in every way. What a huge blessing, to be so loved by someone.
I do believe my husband loves me – the same way he loves his sister or his grandmother. But what I long for is that exclusive, man/wife, love of your life kind of love.
Yes, I equate sex with love. Almost every article written trying to explain to wives why their husbands want sex so much says that it’s not just about the physical, but that it is how a man feels loved and expresses love. Therefore if my husband doesn’t have much of a drive, doesn’t it logically stand to reason that he just doesn’t feel that much or that kind of love for me? I think so. I think LD women can feel love without the strong sex drive because they are women. I don’t think it’s the same for men. Maybe I’ve been brainwashed by society, but that’s how it seems to me.
You said “there is nothing more powerful than true female sexuality”. I could not disagree more. Maybe if my husband felt the same way for me as I feel for him, then maybe I’d see it as something to be happy about. But because my sexuality causes friction, I see it as a huge hindrance to our marriage. I don’t want to question God and I don’t know why he made us this way, but most days I don’t know if I’m strong enough to fill this role.
I get that this is incredibly selfish, but just once I’d love to know what it feels like to be pursued, not pacified. To have my husband woo me, and not concede. To have him back up all of his empty “I love you” and “you’re so pretty” comments with actions. But if he can’t, he can’t. I need to accept that and be happy for the friendship we share, and I’m trying.
B, I in no way meant that you are a gatekeeper,or demand sex. I was just pointing out that it can definitely go both ways, and that either way, someone gets to be in control. In your marriage, that is your low drive husband (although, if he responds to initiating, I really think you should go for it! I don’t have the sexually energy and creativity to pursue my husband even when he makes it super clear he wants sex, but I can usually respond really well, so maybe your man is just built that way). In my marriage, it is my high drive husband.
Anyway. I hope you can just let go of the idea that you are super weird because you have a high sex drive. You are not weird. God did not make a mistake when he made you, and He definitely didn’t make a mistake web he brought you and your husband together. Your man needs the passion you bring to the marriage! He really does!
Also, you often seem to equate sex to love, and that’s just not true at all! Sex is how you feel loved, but it is not a measuring stick for your husband’s love for you. People give and perceive love in so many different ways! He wants to snuggle with you because he loves you. It is not his fault his hormones aren’t raging, just as it is in no way your fault that your hormones are! He probably literally cannot understand the pain he causes you by his presence in bed when sex is off the menu, because he doesn’t naturally feel that. It is not a reflection of love, it is a reflection of who he is, how he was made. You could do him a world of good by accepting him that way. Accepting that he doesn’t feel a spontaneous sex drive very often. Accepting that he needs your initiation to get going. It has helped me tremendously when my husband realized I just work differently from him. And who cares if it’s not “normal”?! It can still be really good, better than a lot of so-called “normal” couples out there!
I really do appreciate your openness in talking about this, and really hope you and your husband find a good balance.
Thanks for this great response!
You mentioned: “God did not make a mistake when he made you, and He definitely didn’t make a mistake web he brought you and your husband together. Your man needs the passion you bring to the marriage! He really does!”
I agree God doesn’t make mistakes, whether I understand or agree or not.
However, you mentioned my husband needs the passion I bring to the marriage. But does he? Sometimes I think he’d be much happier without my “passion.” Then he wouldn’t feel so pressured. Then he wouldn’t have to act like he cares when I slip up and he finds out I’m sad that I’m not enough for him.
I think what he needs is a wife he feels passion FOR. Wouldn’t he feel more like a man if his wife stoked that desire in him? If he had a woman who’s beauty and femininity made him crave sex the way most men do? I feel heartbroken that I don’t do that for my husband. I mean, if I swallow my pride and initiate, he will usually get interested. But he never thinks it up on his own. He just doesn’t have those feelings for me. He says he does, but he never acts on them. So the words are meaningless.
I love my husband and want to stay married. But there is an ache in my heart that longs to know what it feels like to be loved and desired by my man. And I feel so sad that I cannot give my husband the feelings of desire that perhaps a more attractive woman would give him. He must be so sad not feeling strong sexual desire for me like most husbands do for their wives. I feel like I’ve let him down by being me.
Yes, he does need that! The passion, not the pressure. Think about it this way: Since he doesn’t have that independent desire (like many husbands), isn’t it good that he was paired with a higher-drive wife who can remind him, initiate sex, and pursue passion? Because you know God wants sexual intimacy to be a part of your marriage, and if you have two low-drive spouses, that’s not going to help you get what God wants you and your marriage to have.
“…if I swallow my pride and initiate, he will usually get interested. But he never thinks it up on his own. He just doesn’t have those feelings for me. He says he does, but he never acts on them. So the words are meaningless.”
So, do it! Swallow your pride and initiate like you used to so you can have a more fulfilling sex life which you’ve said once occurred when you took the lead.
And I would bet you anything that he does have desirous feelings for you, sounds like he loves you a great deal from the things you say and whether you are willing to believe on it or not, does find you attractive.
But here’s the thing — him not initiating sex likely does NOT equal his desire and love for you!
I know how you feel in wanting your husband to take the lead and initiate sex, I really, really do! Today is actually a hard day for me because it’s been over a week for us. But I know why my husband doesn’t initiate that often or always wants to have sex — he.is.exhausted!
Now I still wish he would at least make the effort to let me know he’s at least thinking about it, even if he is too tired to act on it. And I had this crazy idea one day to actually say that to him! No what happened? He will let me know he’s desiring me and wishes he wasn’t so tired. Now, I still have to lovingly remind him once in a while that I need to know his desire for me and that I need a long deep kiss and hug, even if nothing else is going to happen right then. And he does it! Do I wish he would just do that on his own without me asking? Of course! But you know what? I’d much rather get that kiss and hug, and be told of his desire for me, then not, and if that means me taking the lead and asking, then so be it!
I really feel you have come to equate love with sex, and while yes, a healthy sex life is important to a marriage just because your husband doesn’t fit into the high-drive mold doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you.
Keep asking for what you want and I pray that one day you can find contentment, and also see your worth and beauty instead of constantly berating yourself which whether you see it or not, has got to be affecting your marriage in a negative way.
Praying still for you, B.
@Amy, thank you for your thoughtful reply.
Yes, I do equate sex with love, and I’m not sure why that’s wrong. Especially since every blog post about “why your husband wants sex so much” mentions that it is because sex is how (most) men feel loved and show love.
I have a perfect example from today that shows why I am so incredibly frustrated on a daily basis. We were sitting on the back porch, talking. My husband says, “what do you want to do for dinner?” I saw an opportunity to be blunt and I said, “To have sex with you.” His reply? He lets out a sigh and says, “I love having sex with you, but I am so tired and so hungry.” Okay. I understand. But I told him, “you could have just said ‘seriously, I’m really hungry for dinner, what are we doing?'” Because really I didn’t need to be reminded that he wasn’t interested in sex with me.
So then later he’s going to get a shower. I’m in the bedroom as he’s undressing and he starts kind of showing off. It’s more silly than sexy, but WHY would you tease me like that when you know I’ve been wanting to be with you? So here’s our conversation:
Me: please don’t do that. You are making this harder for me.
Him: what? I’m just tying to be cute.
Me: You are cute. But showing off like that only makes it harder for me when I want you.
Him: I’m sorry. I thought you liked it when I was playful.
Me: I do! And I totally understand that you are very tired and hungry and not in the mood. But strutting around in all your hotness does not help me to calm my own feelings.
Him: sorry. I thought I was being cute.
Me: you’re being a tease.
Him: (smiling, still thinking it’s cute) I tease to please.
Me: no, you tease to tease.
(Fast forward to after shower)
Him: I’m sorry for before. I was just trying to make you laugh.
Me: it’s okay. I just wish you’d understand. I don’t think you understand because you don’t have the same feelings for me.
Him: yes I do!
Me: no you don’t. If I came out here in nothing but my underwear, you’d be like “oh that’s cute” and then go back to your business and forget all about it, never to think of it again. I think about you constantly.
Him: that’s not true! I think about you all the time. You always think I’m not thinking about you.
Well, duh!!! Does he really not get it???? Or is he purposely trying to make me crazy?
And what’s worse is if I stripped and tried to be cute for him, he’d get all weirded out. He wouldn’t ogle or enjoy me. He’d peek and look away, peek and look away (probably wishing I’d go away). So he expects me to enjoy all his hotness all the while knowing if I put on the same show it’d gross him out.
Then later in the car he is like “I love you so incredibly much.”
Seriously? Is it any wonder I feel like I’m going crazy? I love the man, but he is the king of mixed messages.
B!! Your response brought me almost to the point of sobbing out loud as you so accurately describe my own experience as the HDS wife. It is overwhelming to sit back and realize how much of one’s self worth can be tied up to sex, but here we are, right? I struggle with this regularly and am just seeking God’s peace with this because while I know God made us this way, I don’t believe for a moment that He wants us aching this way either. Just wanted you to know that you aren’t alone but more specifically, you are far from pathetic-you are alive girl!!!!
Hi S, thank you. Finally, someone who understands! And you said it perfectly. I hate feeling blasphemous, like I’m questioning God. I know He knows best, even when I don’t understand. So I think you’re right, God made us this way, but it also seems right that He wouldn’t want us aching this way. And oh my, what an ache it is!
I have recently been made aware of the responsive (usually women) vs spontaneous (usually men) sex drive dynamic. While I do not like it ONE. LITTLE. BIT. it certainly seems that I might be the spontaneous one while my husband is the responsive one. Maybe this is true in your marriage as well. In my situation, I can’t say I find that comforting, but it certainly is one explanation.
I’ll keep you in my prayers!
This post really spoke to me as a higher drive spouse who used to spend way too much time reading marriage blogs which only led to becoming more and more frustrated in my marriage where sex just didn’t seem that important to my husband.
I’d find myself reading day and night, looking for answers I guess and becoming too consumed with the various blogs and comments. I wanted that type of sex life where my husband wanted sex all.the.time and wondered over and over why he didn’t fit the typical male sexual pattern which I read about. And then I wondered why he didn’t desire me and then I compared, cried and made myself, and my husband, miserable.
Then I stopped. I realized one day just how fortunate I am to have this man in my life, especially after living with abuse in my former marriage for 20 years where there was no love and certainly no mutually satisfying sex life. I started focusing on the positive in my marriage and really looking at WHY our sex life was not more frequent and if frequency was really the issue for me or if it was something else.
And what it came down to for me was quite simple: my husband works 12-14 hour days/5 days a week and is tired quite often; we only have the weekends and that limits us to about 1 day a week; he loves and desires me but is often just too tired for sex; and what I was really craving was to feel desired but I equated the amount of sex to his desire for me which turns out not to be true!
Over the 4th of July, we got out of town for a couple nights, and it was fantastic! We reconnected in a way we haven’t in a long time and talked, actually talked, about our sex life! And what it boils down to for him is the exhaustion of his work hours, not at all a lack of desire for me. He actually laughed when I said, “I hope I still turn you on”! He told me that he is still greatly turned on by me and he knows that I’m not always satisfied with the frequency of our lovemaking which he feels bad about, but he is just so tired some days he can’t even think about it.
And I’ve come to see some things about myself over the past few years from reading too many marriage blogs and causing frustration in myself, my husband and our marriage. The more I focused on the lack of sexual frequency the more upset I made myself and my husband too because he began to feel I was not happy or satisfied with HIM since I wasn’t getting what I desired. It became a vicious cycle, until the day I laid all that down and learned to be content with snuggling on the couch, having a long deep kiss before bed knowing nothing else would happen and knowing that the weekend would be here soon and learning to savor the sexual time we do have together.
The main thing I’ve learned is to speak up for what I want, let him know I desire him, flirt and act like we did before marriage even if it doesn’t lead to sex, and believe that he loves and desires me no matter the frequency of sex.
As you wrote, “…sex isn’t the only kind of marital intimacy. And marriage isn’t the only thing going on in your life either.” This is so very true! In my marriage we don’t make love every.single.day or even more than 3x a week like so many bloggers say should be happening. We have a crazy, busy life, and sex is not the only thing we do. 😉
And I would add, sexual frequency doesn’t not equal desire and love! But that is a common theme among higher drive spouses comments — “my husband doesn’t love or desire me because he doesn’t want sex very often.” This is most likely not the case.
I remember one time after I had gotten so upset over the fact we weren’t having more sex, my husband saying to me, “but you were so upset I didn’t think you wanted to make love!” That was an eye-opener!! I was like, WHAT?? Of course I want to make love, that’s why I’m so upset! But then I realized that the more upset I got the more he backed away.
So after all that rambling, LOL, I guess what I’ve come away with as a higher drive spouse is 1) sexual frequency does not equal love and desire, 2) it’s important to talk and tell my husband what I want and how I feel, and 3) my frustration will come across to my spouse that I’m not happy with him and likely contribute to the infrequency of sex.
Great takeaways! Thanks, Amy.
I speak from years of experience and some pretty solid counseling. If there are physical or emotional issues at work, that is an entirely different set of circumstances. But where one spouse has no legitimate reason other than LD, that is just wrong on every level. It is, in every single way, sinful. To promise yourself to another, before GOD, and then change your mind is just wrong and sinful.
What would happen to your marriage if your SO just decided, without discussion to quit their job and join the Peace Corp? It would change your life forever and you have nothing to say about it. If you had known that from the beginning, would it change your mind about marriage? Maybe, maybe not. I would like to think that if my SO were incapable of sex, and I had known that from the beginning, I would never give it a 2nd thought. But that is not the case. To just shut the other person down completely is just fundamentally wrong and not what God has intended.
The worst part is the lack of communication. I don’t think there is one thing in a marriage or relationship that cannot be solved by talking it over. If not, at least you know where you stand. But when one will absolutely not communicate, the other has no where to turn; no safe space in the marriage. Everyone needs a safe space from time to time no matter how thick their skin is.
It occurs to me as I write this, there is a safe space after all. Stand with God. Pray to God. Answer only to God. The Trinity will never abandon you.
It is still frustrating at times!
I agree that it’s wrong, but oftentimes there are physical and emotional issues at work. For those struggling, who are often unaware of why they don’t want sex, how does it help to essentially call them selfish and evil? Most of us respond better to invitation than judgment. So while it is indeed quite frustrating, love requires a tender approach and persuasion. In my mind, those spouses denying sex in their marriage are missing out on something important too.
But I wholeheartedly agree that it’s difficult, and the safe space is standing, praying, and answering to God. Blessings!
A tender approach. Yes, a thousand times yes. Love is patient and kind. Isn’t that what the Bible says?
When you say “no legitimate reason other than LD” are you defining LD as: mood?
No. I am not sure mood can be defined per se. Sometimes I am not in the mood either.
Our issues do include frequency, but they also include, in unequal parts, times, places, positions and passion, etc. No one wants to make love with someone that is just there out of a sense of duty. I abhor pity or duty sex. I will refuse it out of hand (no pun intended) No thank you. If you don’t want to be in the moment, then by all means, don’t. Marriage is not 50-50, it is 100-100. Be there, pay attention!
I can only speak for guys now, and not all of them either, but we really do not understand why you don’t find us as attractive or have the same level of interest as you did before we got married. That is as honest and as gritty as I know how to put it. It makes us feel unwanted and rejected. It also makes us feel like we were lied to before. Why can you not just tell the honest truth and deal with it? If you think we can’t deal with your words, think again. It is likely we are already thinking something close to worst case anyway.
To date and pretend you are something you are not is just lying. It sounds harsh, but it is. To determine how I will lead a part of my life is wrong. It is mine.
I am sure you have read the old saying; Men marry hoping she will never change, women marry hoping he will. What a sad commentary. True, but sad.
The truth will always set you free.
But what if her lack of desire is about her physiology and not you? I think that’s true for most low-drive spouses. So then the issue becomes figuring it out together. But yeah, the low-drive spouse has to be willing to say this is an issue worth working on.
Men have a slight advantage in the sexual arena of life: testosterone.
It makes it much easier to keep a heightened interest in sex. I’ve been told an average of about every 48-72 hours interest starts to brew.
“To date and pretend you are something you are not is just lying”.
Do you really think women are that mean and conniving? That is so sad.
If I may quote from the book: ‘The Female Brain’ by Louann Brizendine, MD
Page 69, “If we had an MRI scanner to view the brain changes that occur when a woman goes from a state of early romantic love to a state of long-term coupling, we’d see the reward-pleasure circuits and the throbbing hunger-craving circuits dim down, while the attachment and bonding circuits would light up to a warm yellow glow”. She goes on to say, “the downshift in love’s mania and sexual intensity seems tailor-made to promote our gene’s survival. It’s not a sign of love grown cold, it’s a sign of love moving into a new, more sustainable phase for the longer term, with bonds forged by two neurohormones, vasopressin and oxytocin”.
Now, you may argue the “more sustainable phase” issue, but, it is not deceit and mal-intent on the part of the female, it’s brain chemistry.
It does take an understanding husband and an enlightened wife to realize that things have changed and “content” for one doesn’t equate to “content” for the other.
As far as mismatched libidos? I’ve been working on finding my inner Tiger for years. Making sure what goes on in the bedroom is mutual has been the best foundation for my timid sexual enthusiasm. It might be a little boring for my husband but building enthusiasm is always a good thing, right?
My prayers to you, your wife, and building your foundation.
Mike, I’d also like to add that when you are dating or newly married there isn’t the stress of the changes that marriage brings. The switches that likely occur: apartment to house, no kids to kids, great demands as jobs as you or your spouse move up the ladder, aging parents to take care of. The list goes on. As we get older there are more demands on us and the caregiving demands often fall on the woman. I know when I had four little ones (4 and under) as the end of the day I was physically and emotionally spent. I was tires of being touched and pulled on. All I wanted was five minutes to myself. So it’s not a bait and switch it’s a natural transition of a changing life.
Sometimes I think marriage should be a renewable contract, and not just because of the sexual component; Just like a drivers license. Every 5 years, each party should show up and renew the contract or split and go their separate ways.
You have to admit J, monogamy is historically not how humans work. In the grand scheme of things, it is a relatively new concept. A person told me once, familiarity breeds contempt. I say that after 35 years.
So as for the monogamy/historical thing, I believe humans have both a desire to experience a variety of sex and a longing for a great love in their life. That’s what seems to be true in history.
And I heard from a friend the other day who told me that when she’d spent time with me and my husband about 10 years ago, she picked up on tension and contempt in the relationship (even though I was sure we weren’t showing it). However, now — at 20+ years of marriage — she sees that we are more fond of each other. Our familiarity has bred intimacy. We’re proof that it can be done. But I’m genuinely sad that it hasn’t happened for you.
I’ve been stewing on this for a while.
Yes, wouldn’t it be nice to renew every 5 years, then if things aren’t going as planned you can split and start over.
So, would we need renewable contracts for our children too?
If son John wants to be a scientist but I was hoping he’d be a football player, I could not renew his contract and pick up a new son who excelled in football. Then another parent who really wants a scientist son could contract with my old son John and all would be perfect in the world.
Why do we get married?
Just a brief comment on this statement…
“Believe your spouse doesn’t really love you”
As sad as this is, it is a very distinct possibility. I had to combine my W’s 6 years of sexual refusal, her insults to my penis, and statements that she could easily find a abetter husband, to come to the conclusion that even if she said she did love me, there was too much evidence to the contrary for her statement to be true.
I hope this is very rare, but it does happen. When I finally accepted that this could be a possibility, it was obvious. It was very painful to realize that the person I had taken care of for 28 years did not love me. But you cannot see a spouse in sexual misery and insult him while declaring love.
Yes, this does happen. I’m saddened to hear about your experience. But if that’s true, it’s not just a lack of sex in the relationship; you’d have other red flags. For instance, in your case, her saying “she could easily find a better husband” … wow, that’s terrible. And it shows that something else was going on. Yet again, I hate that this happened to you. I hope you’re in a better place now.
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