Wives, Your Voice Matters (in the Bedroom & Beyond)

Last week, I asked wives to answer a simple question: Why don’t you comment more often? The answers I received were enlightening. And a little surprising.

The Results of My Survey

Among the reasons were lack of time, agreeing with what was said and having nothing to add, and a few issues with some male commenters. But what caught me off guard was how many women said they did not comment because they didn’t know who would want to hear what they had to say.

Consider these examples:

  • I often write a comment … and then don’t post it because I figure I’m not an expert so I doubt my two cents is actually worth anything.
  • I generally feel that my words could come across wrong or are not useful as I often speak bluntly.
  • I tend to not comment because I always catch myself with “why would my opinion matter?
  • Much like [another commenter] I often wonder why my opinion would even matter, which I know is a little weird considering I don’t have that thought about the comments of others.

While I don’t believe gender differences completely explain this viewpoint, research has shown women are less likely to exhibit boldness than men.

What the Research Shows

According to a commonly cited internal report from Hewlett Packard from the 2010s: “Women…applied for a promotion only when they believed they met 100 percent of the qualifications listed for the job. Men were happy to apply when they thought they could meet 60 percent of the job requirements.” Further studies showed that women didn’t lack confidence in themselves as much as confidence in the system being willing to hire them if they didn’t meet every qualification.

Men have also been shown to be bolder in dating apps, initiating more contacts than women, not by double but four times the number of messages. Certainly some of this is cultural, in that men tend to initiate relationships more often, but it still indicates a bias toward men just going for what they want.

And then there’s the study showing that at meetings where both men and women attend, women speak 25% less than men. Moreover: “Participants who held the floor for a greater percentage of the group’s deliberation were more likely to be seen as influential by the other members of the group. Thus the active use of voice translates into greater perceived influence, as we expected.” Even more discouraging, perhaps, was the researchers’ conclusion that women fare better in homogeneous groups, meaning all women.

So are we ladies really supposed to exist in a world where we only express ourselves fully when in the company of women?

What Are We Missing?

Look, I’m a big fan of gathering into all-female groups at times. I co-host a podcast with that framework, Sex Chat for Christian Wives. I also have a higher-drive wife group on Facebook, comprised exclusively of women whose libidos are higher than their husbands. And when I speak, I primarily teach women’s groups.

However, I’m really bothered that some of us gals don’t feel like our opinions, our beliefs, our desires are worth expressing, even in mixed company.

And I’ve seen this play out with wives in the bedroom, who have sadly absorbed the message that their sexuality and/or sexual pleasure doesn’t matter as much as their husbands’. When nothing could be further from the truth.

Yet, we have promoted this belief in our culture, both Christian and secular, by talking much more often about the male sex drive, by telling wives their role is to meet their husband’s sexual needs, by presuming that male sex arousal is the sexual cycle for all people (see our “Women’s Sexual Response” episode), and by using scriptures about the mutuality of sexual intimacy to argue that a wife can never say no.

Instead, I want to say unequivocally right now to all of you wives out there: You matter.

The Importance of Women and Their Words

What you feel, what you think, what you believe … is important. What you want, what you need, what you dream about … is valuable. Who you are … is precious.

Just ponder these verses:

  • Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26
  • See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16a
  • Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7
  • So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

And in a society that discounted a woman’s testimony as unreliable in court, our Lord Jesus appeared first to women, making them the initial eyewitnesses to His resurrection (Mark 16:1-8). What a message about how He values the words of women!

What This Means about Your Bedroom

I often feel in my ministry as if I’m balancing two disparate concepts I want wives to understand about their sexual intimacy:

  1. We must lovingly care for our spouse’s sexuality.
  2. We must speak up for what we need and desire.

Some might say it’s a weaving selflessness and selfishness in the marriage bed. But I think of it as other-focus and self-awareness—an approach that values both of you as equally worthwhile partners in intimacy.

Do you discount your sexual desires? Do you tend to believe his pleasure or climax matters more than your own? Do you hesitate to speak up for yourself and what you want? Do you lack boldness in your bedroom?

Maybe it’s time, or well past time, to value your opinions, express yourself, and create more mutual conversation and sexual intimacy in your marriage.

And hey, comment more here! I’d love to hear what you gals think.

Ad for Pillow Talk: 40 Conversations About Sex for Married Couples

Sources: Harvard Business Review – Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified; Forbes – Act Now To Shrink The Confidence Gap; Forbes – The Confidence Gap In Men And Women: Why It Matters And How To Overcome It; The Daily Free Press – Men’s online dating habits more bold than women’s, study finds; Enterpreneur – Head Into Your Next Male-Dominated Meeting Ready to Contribute by Following These Tips; American Political Science Review – Gender Inequality in Deliberative Participation

57 thoughts on “Wives, Your Voice Matters (in the Bedroom & Beyond)

  1. Brian

    I’ve read all of this same research, and I do find it very strange. In my work environments women have seemed to be more talkative and outspoken, not less so. Either way, women that have well informed opinions should speak up, especially in an anonymous forum like this one. If you don’t, you might be depriving another woman of your wisdom, and that woman might really need to hear it.

    As a side note, I’ve actively stepped away from commenting.

    Reply
  2. Lianna

    I would comment, but most of the posts are close to comments because they are old. Which is sad and frustrating because it really limits the conversation.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      By “most of the posts,” you mean posts older than a year. THAT is all I archive, because after 850+ posts, I forget what I’ve written in a single post, so if someone comments on a post from, say, 2016, I have to re-read my entire post and the comment before I can reply. I am sorry for those who feel limited by that, but it is just not a wise use of my time when I could be tending the Facebook communities, answering questions I receive, and putting out new posts and resources to help sex in marriage. Thanks for understanding.

      Reply
  3. Kristina G

    I need to work on this. I think that, in my effort to “be a good wife”, I’ve swung too far to the side of prioritizing my husband over myself too much. I think this stems from my lifelong insecurities and need to please people in general. Thankfully, I think this can be corrected in our marriage fairly simply, because I don’t think too much damage from my attitude has been done yet. I was just thinking about this this morning, so this post was very timely for me!

    Reply
      1. Dena

        Kristina, I could have said those words myself! The narrative in my head that I often fight is, “Getting married and having kids has taught me that I don’t matter.” How pathetic does that sound when I ACTUALLY type it out?!? Gah… Long distance prayers for both of us to pursue something different. <3

        Reply
  4. Kay

    I attend a church that my FIL pastors that makes it very hard for women to believe that their voice matters, let alone is wanted. He is in the camp that women cannot teach men because they are too easily deceived, and so we once had an entire Sunday School class on whether women should be allowed to talk (talk, not teach) during Sunday School. You cannot hear teaching like this over and over and avoid eventually soaking up the idea that your voice is not welcome; in fact it’s dangerous to the men around you. It’s “better” for everyone to just keep my mouth shut. (My FIL also believes women must have long hair as a sign of male authority over them, because they are not the same image of God as men. )

    Add in regular teaching about how much husbands need sex and it’s a woman’s job to give it to him, or else he won’t feel loved and will therefore be tempted to sin, our voice in the bedroom doesn’t count there either.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Oh my. I am open about being definitionally complementarian, though many who claim that philosophy are in effect authoritarian toward women. And that doesn’t reflect Scripture. How frustrating for you!

      Reply
    2. Terry

      I was going to suggest that the Biblical view (or misinterpretation) of a woman’s role in the church and home may contribute to the idea that our ideas and words don’t count. I am of the complementarian persuasion as well, but my speaking up in a couples’ class does not constitute “teaching” men – and obviously in any case my husband is there to correct any wayward theology, at least later in private. Perhaps we need to clarify what it means for a woman to have a “quiet” spirit, and to what extent the culture of Paul’s day was relevant to his writings. As for a woman’s influence in the home, one of our teaching elders commented to the congregation once after being encouraged by his wife to preach on a particular passage, “Men, we are FOOLS if we do not listen to our wives!”

      Reply
    3. Ben Tebbens

      Wow K, oh my goodness, I’m pretty much just speechless and smh, smh. I can’t even imagine attending such a place, I just don’t even know what to say. Sheww, I’m so, so sorry. I sure hope this type of thinking, to possibly not even let women “speak” in church, Sunday School ect, just blows my mind and I can’t get my head around it and guess glad I can’t. Darn, I’m so, so sorry and God bless you young lady, wow, wow. God give you strength and I know he has, is he amazing or what. God bless you young lady, God bless ya.

      Reply
  5. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    I hope that you will tell me clear
    just what is on your mind.
    Please believe that I will hear
    for love’s not deaf, it’s blind.
    Your thoughts and feelings really matter;
    your cares are my life’s work.
    Yes, sometimes I thought them chatter,
    and yes, I was a jerk.
    I’ll try to do this better now,
    and hope to earn your trust again
    but only you can show me how
    and I need to hear it plain.
    I know it’s late for all of this
    but it’s YOU that I don’t want to miss.

    Reply
    1. Cassandra

      I really like this! As a women it confronts me to be careful with my words, to pray for this kind of attitude in my husband, as well as for my perception to believe that my husband could see me like this. Thank you for sharing!!

      Reply
  6. Tiffany

    I didn’t comment on your survey but can totally relate to the studies. I am often interrupted by men or told that my opinion is wrong. I didn’t think opinions could be wrong??? My circle of friends is more men than women because some of my interests are things that typically attract men more than women. One event is a bi-weekly game night. I frequently find some of the men advising me on how to play a game or what my next move should be. I repeatedly have to tell these men (my husband included) that I can think for myself and on a few occasions when that didn’t get the point across have been so blunt as to ask if they thought I was stupid. Yes, I can be bold when I need to be. The other women who play don’t give me advise or tell me how to play like the men do.

    When it comes to the bedroom I do speak up about what I like our don’t like. But again it seems my husband doesn’t typically listen. There are things I have repeatedly asked him not to do (I’m very ticklish which for me just halts my arousal) that he just keeps doing. I’ve explained to him why I want him to stop but he just doesn’t. But he typically does the things that I say I enjoy so he does get some of it.

    Reply
      1. Brian

        Also, women seem to think that men only do it to women. Not true at all. Men do it to each other just as much.

        Reply
        1. J Post author

          Yes, they do. We tend to each communicate to the other gender in a way that our own gender would be okay with…but that’s not always a good idea. 🙂

          Reply
  7. Mamak

    After 5 years + of trying to make sex mutual trying to communicating, being very specific, slower, lube please , harder etc…trying to read books, spice things up, figure out how to orgasm I have given up I even matter. Though the last 6+ months he has realized he has not been a very thoughtful lover. So now hes trying and I just dont have the care anymore. It took a lot to kill my libido and now his is revved up. I feel so deflated and frustrated. Almost 17 years and orgasm seems so close but never there. I think I have had a couple blip ones, small and disappointing and I think what is the big deal with stupid orgasms.

    Reply
      1. Mamak

        Thank you!! And thank you for your blog, it has been a huge resource and great when I need to feel not alone.

        Reply
    1. Just Care

      I’m so, so sorry, I was just telling my buddy this morning while riding to a job something very similar…it’s been so long for us that I hate to say it but I’m not sure I even have the desire anymore for my wife in bed…I guess because I have a hard time fathoming it anymore. I sure hope that’s not the case and would assume if she did ever have desire in the future that I’d be ready and able but it truly does concern me…God heal your heart, God heal your heart, and give you faith to try and step out. I’m so, so sorry.

      Reply
  8. Happily Married

    I guess as a woman my whole life is centered around service and, in a sense, keeping the family together and happy, working in ministry, looking after our friends, opening our home to others, etc. By the time I get done I’m exhausted. We have sex because we enjoy it and it’s good for us, but I often don’t have time to process how I’m feeling, what I want, and why…does that make sense? Being somewhat of an introvert means it takes me awhile and lots of quiet time-especially when I feel burned out. So that’s just the very last of the very last thing on my survival list. It’s not that my thoughts wouldn’t be valued by my husband or others, I just don’t have the head-space to form them and would just rather not say anything if it’s not well thought out. Lol

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Well, maybe you can think about it more? I know it’s hard, but even a few minutes a day can help change things around. I do have a devotional book with that in mind, with each chapter only taking maybe 10 minutes to do: Intimacy Revealed.

      Reply
  9. workerbee

    Is the closed high drive women’s group still available on Facebook?
    I was never approved.
    If it’s no longer available on Facebook, do you have something else available?
    Being the higher drive spouse is difficult.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Yes, let me check with my assistant. She goes over requests, and if she cannot confirm that you are a real person and married through your FB profile, we don’t approve. But I’ll ask.

      Reply
  10. Mel

    What do you do when you do try to express your desires and your husband doesn’t believe you or says that’s just not how he’s wired? I’m not talking kinky weird requests…I’m talking making out for a few minutes before or using hands to stimulate since he’s uncomfortable w/ giving me oral. When I do express my desires, he gets “hurt” or “offended” and then I get the cold shoulder. I don’t want to refuse giving him oral or sex altogether until I get at least a little of my needs met b/c I’m pretty sure he’ll stop initiating altogether and then we’ll be completely sexless.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      “That’s just not not how he’s wired?” Well, you can point that you are not wired the way he wants…so you’re just going to have to negotiate. (By the way, this might be worth his reading: The Lamest Excuse)

      And I’ve said it a lot, but honestly, the book BOUNDARIES (or BOUNDARIES IN MARRIAGE) by Henry Cloud and John Townsend might be worth you reading.

      Reply
  11. Anonymous

    I don’t respond because if my husband sees it then he might give me a hard time with what I say or be offended by it. Sometimes being free to answer isn’t there for some. I have typed something then erased it because I feared him. I could say the simplest thing and he would turn it around. Isn’t worth it to me.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      You “fear” your husband? That’s a problem. If you’re in an abusive marriage, physically or emotionally, I strongly encourage you to reach out to someone you can trust and get help.

      Reply
  12. SM

    I’m a woman and have a dominant personality. So I don’t shy away normally from anything. I am learning to be more focused on my husband. My hubby is a very selfless person and is great at meeting my needs, but has finally learned how to ask for what he wants. I often find in our marriage many of our traits are reversed. We had a great conversation yesterday about what his needs and wants are and he’s pretty easy to please and has simple desires. I am much more complicated and desire more variety. So we talked about what that means for our sex life. It was nice because we are coming out of a very hard year so it’s been good to refocus and discuss what we want. We’ve been married 16 years and it’s been good to talk about this periodically to stay on the same path and work through when we aren’t.

    Reply
  13. Cat

    I agree women need to speak out more. We are just as important as our male counterpart. When it comes to asking for what I want in the marriage bed sometimes I think my H tries to give me what He thinks I need instead of what I really need. At times I have to get rather stern for him to take me seriously. But I just keep after it because after many years of feeling like my sexuality didnt matter I realise that it really does!

    Reply
  14. LC

    I am going to be married in 25 days, but this post still resonated with me. My fiancee gets frustrated sometimes by my lack of opinion. I don’t mean to be such a colorless person, but I’ve lived this way for so long. I think domineering types at home and in church have pushed the thought process that I must be “meek and mild” to the point that my personality has been smothered. My fiancee has been very sweet and understanding of this, but it is hard to adjust my thinking after 37 years of living this way. This is actually one of the areas that we’ve discussed (carefully…we both are still virgins and intend to be that way until we are married) for our coming nuptials. He wants me to understand that my joy and pleasure is his main focus. He also wants me to understand that he desperately wants me to have what I enjoy and do what brings me happiness in other areas of my life. I’ve struggled to figure those things out, but we are working together to help me overcome my thinking errors.
    I don’t think that I can make a blanket statement saying that this is caused by Christianity’s thinking, but so many women in my church (including my mother) pushed this. They actually were anything but themselves, yet they drove in this thinking into all of the girls’ minds. Consequently, I get walked on a lot in my job and in other areas of life. I desperately want to change and be that carefree young girl again who didn’t worry about what everybody was thinking of her. Praise God for a godly fiancee who loves me, sees my struggles, and is happily and patiently willing to help me.
    Also, thank you for the reminder that I’m not alone in my struggle. I really appreciate your ministry with this blog and your podcasts. They have actually been helping me to speak up with my fiancee and talk about what is going in inside.

    Reply
  15. Colleen

    I focus on myself too much some times. I went over a year without climaxing then my husband and I focused on it feeling good for me. Now I realize sometimes I need to focus more on him as well. But in all honestly I’m 23 and he is 25 but my sex drive is way higher than his….at least in this stage of life.

    Reply
  16. Sheri

    I find it quite difficult to ask for what I want in the bedroom or to feel like what I want even matters when my husband only has sex with me 6-8 times a year. I have tried talking, explaining, text messages, audio messages, crying, pathetically begging, counseling, sex games, sex toys, videos of myself, etc, and he is completely disinterested. How can I ask for more when it’s hard enough to get the minimum from him. I imagine we would have such even less frequently if there was additional pressure attached.

    Reply
  17. Sheila Wray Gregoire

    Awesome, J! I love it. We women do need to speak up, and we really do matter. What I find so interesting is that if you say women should matter, often people get upset, as if you’re saying men SHOULDN’T matter. No, not at all! Women can matter and at the same time men can matter, too. We can ALL matter. I wish we could talk about how women should matter without it being seen as an assault on men, because all too often it is.

    Great post today!

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Absolutely! And isn’t that Jesus’ message? That we all matter to our Father, as His beloved sons and daughters! Thanks, Sheila.

      Reply
  18. Becky

    It’s honestly hard to not live like my husband’s needs matter more in the bedroom. I’ve struggled with sexual dysfunction for our entire marriage, and while I’ve finally managed to get mostly past the pain factor after two rounds of PT, between fighting that and 3 rough pregnancies (currently in the last), I just don’t know how to get past the mental block of sex being only for him. My husband is generally very patient with this, and doesn’t push me to do more than i’m comfortable with. But for me, foreplay only feels good up to a point, I’ve never had an orgasm despite his repeated efforts, and intercourse does nothing for me physically because I have to focus on just relaxing enough that penetration doesn’t hurt. So if I don’t treat it like something he needs and downplay my own frustrations and sense of missing out on what it was meant to be, it would never happen. (It’s been quite infrequent lately anyway, see rough pregnancy.) So that’s why I tend to lurk on these sites, there’s generally nothing that I can say when my body just doesn’t work right.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      This is always my first question, and here I go again: Have you talked to your doctor about all of this? If not, please do.

      And I’m also going to refer you to get in touch with Dr. Jessica McCleese, a psychologist and certified Christian sex therapist. You can find her at Be Fully Well, and you can learn more about her approach by listening to this Sex Chat for Christian Wives episode: Christian Sex Therapy.

      I’m sorry for what you’ve been through, but I truly believe there are answers for many women who struggle if we’ll seek them. Praying for you.

      Reply
  19. A Hero's Wife

    In my case and a lot of others in sure, the lack of wanting to speak up comes from childhood. Some of it comes from influence while others come from person experience.

    For example, I watched my mother and other older women, no speak up in their lives over issues (Influence). I also had times where my voice was either not heard or I knew better than to say anything because it would either make a problem worse or cause one (Experience).

    Even if your not in the same boat where you had a partner who will listen to you, it’s hard to then feel open to talking about things. I’m not saying that as an excuse or that women shouldn’t work on it, we should; our voices matter! Just that some if the patterns are so embedded that it’ll take time to work on it. And for those who see that in themselves and try, if your partner is not willing to listen, it only continues that cycle eventually as overtime eventually she’ll give up; which will make someone feel resentful and unimportant.

    Add trying to talk about sex in there, and it could feel impossible.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Yep, all true. It can be tough to make changes in this area, but it is worthwhile. Praying for you.

      Reply
  20. A Hero's Wife

    To clarify, I’m not saying that my partner isn’t will to listen but I’m saying my struggle with expressing myself comes from influence and past experience.

    Reply
  21. RAH

    Almost afraid to comment because I’m a guy, but just a thought. Despite sharing these type of Christian blogs regarding sexuality, my wife will not proactively seek them out and sometimes won’t read even if I forward. It would be interesting to know the # of women subscribed vs the # of men subscribed overall and somehow compare to replies / feedback, etc. Is it just that there are more Christian men actively seeking this type of information vs. women? IMHO it goes back to a lot of of women who don’t think anything needs to change, therefore don’t seek out these valuable resources, whereas many men are just more proactive at looking for answers to better improve our sexual relationships with our wives…..don’t shoot the messenger, just being honest. I’m here because I continue to try to learn things that might improve the sexual relationship with my wife. I think your doing great things with this blog!!! Keep it up.

    Reply
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  23. Anonymous

    Well, I’ll accept your invitation to leave a comment.

    I come here periodically to boost my motivation to remain sexual. I don’t comment because my experiences are somewhat depressing.

    I’m old. I’m 10+ years post menopause, been married 35 years, and have yet to enjoy sexual intimacy. In the new relationship excitement, sex was ‘ok’. After children it became more of a burden. I didn’t need sex for me, but husband still needed sex for him. I had no energy for sex for me, yet husband had boundless energy for sex for “us”.

    You speak of being selfish regarding sex and asking and speaking up for one’s wants and desires. Knowing my personality, I would be more than willing to do that, if I had any idea what my wants, desires, and/or likes were. I’m completely at a loss.

    I’ve had so much sex for him, I don’t even have a clue as to what might feel good to me. I’ve had 2 orgasms in 35 years (and it’s not because of lack of trying) and since menopause, any hope of arousal seems to be dead in the water.

    I’m not sex negative, but I have very little to cheer about regarding sexual intimacy. 35 years of non-rewarding sex. So, if I knew what would make me sexually selfish, I’d try it. I’m pretty good at sex for him, but I’m reaching my limit as to achieving a sexual awakening for myself. I’m actually pretty darn sick of sex.

    Thank you for being here. Thank you for keeping the positive motivation and Thank you for leaving little carrots for those of us with sexual issues to strive for.

    Just know, that even though some of us (I’m hoping I’m not the only one) don’t comment, it might be because we have nothing uplifting to say. But please, please, keep on doing what you’re doing. It’s encouraging and therapeutic, even for those of us who have almost given up hope.

    Blessings

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      Oh, bless your heart. I feel for you, truly. I am wondering if you’ve ever listened to our podcast, because we have real compassion for wives who don’t know what they want and how to figure that out. Maybe take a listen? You can find us at forchristianwives.com.

      Reply
  24. Jacquie A. Bradford

    J, I appreciate your encouragement to women to see their value. Sometimes we just need to remember it’s not about us, regarding voicing what is on our heart. So much of what we are called to is about others, and if there is a chance that what I have to say will encourage another, I take the opportunity. The Word tells us that no one knows what resides in another’s heart, which tells me I’m not able to know if what I have to contribute will help or not, so why not share? Thank you for opening discussions that minister to the heart. Blessings ♥

    Reply
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