Hot, Holy & Humorous

Q&A with J: Should A Higher Drive Spouse Lower Their Expectations?

Today’s question comes from a lower-drive husband (yes, there are many of them!). The husband started his email saying that his wife could have sex almost daily, while he’s fine with once a week or so. They’ve settled on 2-3 times a week, but their mismatch in drives still seems to be a point of contention.

Here’s his question for me:

I’ve been reading through all your posts about high-drive wives, trying to seriously take to heart any advice you have for husbands like myself. I am committed to trying to make things work ….

Your recommendations seem to be that the husband such as myself needs to see her needs and step up my game, and that the wife shouldn’t be ashamed of her desires and needs. Yes, I do see you talk about both spouses trying to meet the other where they are, and find a happy medium where both are satisfied, but that usually appears to be more in the context of significantly differing libidos like 4 times a year versus wanting sex every day. In our case, yes there’s a difference in drive, but it’s not that drastic, and we still have regular, not infrequent sex.

So I guess my question is this—from your perspective, am I in the wrong, or do we need to talk about the possibility of my wife lowering her expectations in regard to frequency? I just feel stuck.

Let’s start here with an important principle: Sex should be mutual in marriage. It should be mutually prioritized, mutually agreed upon, mutually pleasurable, and mutually satisfying. That’s how God designed it, and if any one of those is an issue, the couple should address it.

(If you want specific text proof, head over to 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, which I’ve cited numerous times. And that passage is less about rights than mutuality, by the way. Also, all of Song of Songs.)

But in practice, most marriages have one spouse who wants sex more than the other. Here, it’s a wife, which is more common than many think with 15-30% of marriages having a HD (higher drive) wife. Whoever is higher or lower, though, there will inevitably be times when one spouse wants sex and the other not as much. How do you negotiate that?

Let’s look at some commonly recommended options.

Never Say No?

This advice has been given to wives for I don’t know how long. But usually some well-meaning older lady tells a young fiancee or wife that to keep her husband happy, she should never say no to sex. Meaning whenever the HD spouse wants it—in this case, the man—they get it.

That could mean sex once a week. It could mean sex every day. But whatever the HD spouse desires, that’s what sets the pace of sexual frequency for the marriage.

This approach at least denies the legitimate reasons to say no to sex sometimes. If you don’t feel well, if you need to care for the children at that moment, if you simply can’t see straight because of how tired you are, it should be perfectly fine to take a rain check. Also, “I’d really rather try this tomorrow when I’m more refreshed” is a perfectly reasonable answer.

Saying otherwise makes it seem like one missed chance will sink the whole sex life. But our sexual intimacy is made up of numerous moments within marriage, and sometimes intimacy is even increased by a spouse understanding the other’s current reluctance and passing on a sexual encounter.

So yeah, you should be able to say no sometimes. That’s not depriving your spouse; it’s saying “not now.” Your feelings and desires matter too.

Only when you’re “in the mood”?

On the other hand, plenty say you should never be asked to participate in sex unless and until you are “in the mood.” If you don’t feel like it, you have carte blanche to wave it away without a worry. It’s your right to say no, and say no you will.

Take that viewpoint out of the sex arena for a moment and ask when this is ever a good idea. Your wife wants conversation, but you refuse to talk to her unless you feel the need yourself to discuss something. Your husband wants to save money for a trip, but you spend like a Kardashian until you suddenly feel like shoving a few dollars into the kitty. You both want to move to a house, but you don’t agree where, so you stay in your crappy apartment until one of you feels inspired to surrender. Does that sound like a good marriage?

Look, we do owe something to each other by virtue of saying “I do,” and that includes trying to meet one another’s emotional needs. Since sex is important not primarily as a physical release but as an emotional connection, it should be pursued regularly and generously.

Moreover, we should understand that “sex drive” sounds like your engine is revving before you put it into gear, but that’s not how libido works for many. Some have what has been phrased a “responsive” libido, meaning that you don’t get into it until you’re into it. That is, you can become aroused and enjoy lovemaking, but your desire begins with a decision to engage. Your sexual interest looks like this:

Which means you aren’t going to be “in the mood” until that second stage when your body awakens to arousal and begins to enjoy the experience. Once you know this about your desire, you might be willing to engage more than you originally thought.

Right Down the Middle?

Hopefully, we’ve established that it’s okay to say no, but it’s also good to say yes sometimes when you don’t think you’re in the mood, because you might get in the mood. But this husband asks specifically about frequency, and that’s an overall view of how much sex you should be having in your marriage.

Let’s say she wants sex four times a week, and he wants sex twice a week. Well, the obvious answer is to have sex three times a week, right? It’s a number right down the middle, so everyone should be reasonably happy. That’s a good solution, if you ask me (which you did).

But what if she wants sex four times a week, and he wants it once every three months? That’s a difference of 17 times versus 1, and the middle ground would be 9, or sex every 10 days. Do we think she’s going to feel satisfied with that? Do we even think sex every 10 days is enough in marriage?

Both the Bible and research would say no. To receive the intimacy and health benefits of sex, a couple should be engaging at least once a week.

To receive the intimacy and health benefits of sex, a couple should be engaging at least once a week. #marriage @hotholyhumorous Share on X

Now in reality, if a spouse only wants sex once every three months, or even once a month, there’s an issue that needs to be addressed. That’s not typical or good for your marriage, and whatever obstacle is in the way of sexual desire or satisfaction needs to be tackled together.

But you can see how a strict middle-ground approach may not work for all couples either.

Who Gets to Decide?

Having covered some common advice on this topic, let’s get back to the question itself: “From your perspective, am I in the wrong, or do we need to talk about the possibility of my wife lowering her expectations in regard to frequency?” In this scenario, their difference is small, and they’re having regular sex, but she’s still pushing for more.

Should he come up to her expectations? Or should she lower them?

As the higher drive spouse in my marriage, I can honestly say that I’ve lowered my expectations. If I was completely in charge, we’d have sex more often than we do. But I’m not unsatisfied because we also have sex more than we would if my husband was entirely in charge.

Did we negotiate out a specific number of times? Nope. We just discussed what we each wanted, what saying yes or no means to us, and what challenges we had to engaging more frequently. It wasn’t a single conversation either, and I’m not going to pretend that each of those conversations was conflict-free. But we kept communicating, kept making love, kept working on our parts of the equation.

Indeed, our frequency went up a few months ago, and I mentioned to my husband that his sex drive had apparently increased. His response? “It hasn’t gone up. I’ve just been initiating more because I know what it means to you.” Swoon, right?

What Does Love Do?

When it comes to negotiating sex drive differences, ask this question: What does love do?

When it comes to negotiating sex drive differences, ask this question: What does love do? @hotholyhumorous Share on X

And not love as in “ooh, I feel heat in my nether regions when you come near!” I’m talking about agape love as described in the Bible:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

What does that look like in practice when it comes to mismatched drives? Well, the HD spouse isn’t self-seeking their own perfect number of times to have sex, easily angered by missed opportunities, or keeping record of all the times they didn’t get any. Instead, they’re patient, kind, protective, hopeful, persevering.

Likewise, the LD spouse isn’t self-seeking their own perfect number of times to have sex, easily angered by their spouse’s higher drive, or dishonoring of their beloved’s emotional need. Instead, they’re kind, joyful, trusting, and hopeful.

Honestly, a lot of advice I’ve given to HD and LD spouses pressuring for what they want in marriage could be summed up like this: HDs, back off. LDs, step up. And that’s really what I’d say to this couple. Yeah, she should lower her expectations a little, especially since he’s stepped up more. Though it’s probably a topic that will continue to be discussed and negotiated through various seasons of their life.

But ultimately, my answer is a question: What does love do? Once you define that, you can figure out how to address the mismatched drives in your marriage.

51 thoughts on “Q&A with J: Should A Higher Drive Spouse Lower Their Expectations?”

  1. This is all so fraught, so difficult, so personal, has so much potential to wreck and is so poorly understood. I have handled this HD/LD situation so poorly in the past and there is so much emotional baggage that there is no hope for us to have a good sex life. I have evolved as a grown up far enough that I just don’t want sex with a mentally absent/reluctant partner. I won’t pursue it. I don’t think my spouse would register a want if it had been years so the challenge really is to attempt to maintain some level of optimism about the marriage as a whole and to be a good and loving person in spite of this giant landmine right in the middle of our lives.

    1. I’m totally with you and get it, being right there myself and have thought through so much of these same thoughts… but I know that just can’t be the answer, the right thing, the right way, yet I totally know what you mean. The begging after years and years of it and the rejection is just almost to humiliating to do anymore and they somehow think we’re ok, that it’s ok, that we must have some how grown up or gotten more spiritual, thining we don’t need it anymore. How far from the truth that could be and how destructive it actually is. The phases of bitterness, anger from continual rejection and lack of any concern for us…it is just wrong. I’ve thought of a phrase recently and am hoping to post to rejecting spouses, and you know I don’t mean those who here and there but those like we apparantly have, but I hope the phrase stops and makes them think…becuase it can be so true, and it’s just not right…so here it goes…””Who will be your spouses lover”…they think that becuase we’ve stopped the begging, even the discussion finally now after all these years that we’re finally ok…yet they have no clue, God help us…sometimes I fear it’s like an earthquake below…we never know when it’s going to errupt and I know it could be so dangerous and I’ve varely rarely heard of a “good” earthquake…and this is one that could very well be avoided, if they just cared enough…We all just want to be loved and no “doing” of things takes the place of them, them giving of themselves…there is just no substitution of intimacy and love. God have mercy on us and help us…do we, maybe we need to try and have the conversation again…but why would we think it be any different than the millionth one we had a few years back…Who will be your spouses lover…I hope it’s you.

  2. J,

    I think when one spouse has a higher drive than the other, there doesn’t necessarily need to lead penetrative intimacy every time. (though I’m sure men with a higher may not always see it that way) I wonder how many times couples avoid cuddling and touching their partner’s intimate area because they think it always end in penetrative intimacy.

    I think for a woman with a higher drive, the man can still cuddle, hold and touch her. He may need to realizing that her body is covered in skin and it shouldn’t matter the location of his fingertips are touching,, right?

    So if eventually his fingertips begins to feather touch her most sensitive intimate area enough to bring her pleasure, even when he and she knows that the likelihood that penetrative intimacy isn’t going to happen in certain times he is touching her. He can feel more relaxed while she is also feeling relaxed.

    It might pose a similar circumstance for a woman with less drive than a man, if both are cuddling, holding and touching and penetrative intimacy isn’t going to occur, shouldn’t stop her from touching his most sensitive intimate area.

    I think professions can also effect the drive of one over the other. One works themselves into near exhaustion and may not have the energy to do basic touching and other doesn’t have a labor intense job and is revved up and ready to go, can be a dilemma.

    Over all, however I think touching with no expectations of full blown penetrative intimacy, makes touching more enjoyable even for the spouse with a lower sex drive.

    1. I like most of what you say — which is essentially that there are other ways to provide pleasure and intimacy. However, I would take issue with this one: “I think for a woman with a higher drive, the man can still cuddle, hold and touch her. He may need to realizing that her body is covered in skin and it shouldn’t matter the location of his fingertips are touching, right?” Uh, location does matter! And penetrative sex feels different from other options, so if that’s what she wants…

      Anyway, just want to be clear about the reality that HD wives can ache for intercourse too. And if not, at least an orgasm.

      Thanks for your comment!

  3. As the HD spouse, I chose to back off. To me, there are more important things in marriage to seek a compromise. Yes, someone could classify my marriage as sex-starved (from the HD’s point of view). However, I can celebrate many parts of marriage…such as being married almost 40 years, wonderful children and more than 10 Grandkids!

  4. I wonder if part of the problem is that low drive spouses don’t seem to step up long term. In my own life and in reading others comments (which I know is only one sided) it seems as though it gets more frequent for a short period of time, usually after a difficult and stress filled conversation and then it goes back to default. As a high drive spouse I think you get to the point of just being done and saying I don’t care anymore. For all the low drive spouses out there that is not a good sign! It means the high drive spouse is figuratively and sometimes literally packing it in. I had a friend who was shocked when her husband left. He had fought it for two decades, she would “give in some” and have sex once every week. It wasn’t enough. He gave some but couldn’t live like that. For the last three years he stopped begging for more. It wasn’t worth it. So he left. I just wonder what this reader means by frequency. Is he like my friend at once a week? My spouse would probably say our differences aren’t drastic. They are!

    1. AM,

      My spouse would say things are ok too. It isn’t all about the frequency either. She will give me a one-sided, get this over with as quickly as you can event twice a week. Why do I still feel lonely? Because my spouse doesn’t really want to be there and that is why I have slowed way down in pursuit. I can get everything I can get from her, all on my own. I guess the first step is having the self-respect not to lick the crumbs off the floor.

  5. Anon,

    The problem with that is, if the situation is like mine, I’m not only HD for sex, but also other forms of intimacy, romance etc. So, I am locked in a deep freeze.

  6. I like the compromise advice, but at the same time it is husbands that are called to be lovers not wives. I once heard a man at my church claim he wanted to be a better man, all the while his wife suffered publicly from zero affection. He would not even sit by her in church at times. Her own testimony was that sex was non-existent. This emotional abuse at church and at home had led to his wife’s emotional suffering such that she was put on medication. As men, we should be praying that God would make us better lovers, not better men. That means we seek to satisfy our wives in the area of romance and love.

    1. I like what you said about how husbands should treat wives! But I don’t understand this: “husbands that are called to be lovers not wives.” God created wives to be lovers too.

      1. Husbands are specifically commanded, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Wives are never specifically commanded to love their husbands, although love in general is expected of all. If we are to truly seek to model Christ and the church in our marriages, husbands are the ones who should be leading in love and going the extra mile if need be in the area of sex and romance. Love should be our driver, not libido.

        1. Glad you clarified. I agree on husbands taking the lead and that both husbands and wives, even simply as Christians, are commanded to love.

        2. Doug,

          The verse you are referring I think is an over-looked verse.

          I think many are more focused on “wives submit to your husbands” and don’t go on to the next verses “to love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”

          I take literal in that Christ actually served us in the greatest capacity..

          We are suppose to serve our wives. (also submit)

  7. Interesting read.
    For me, my libido is high for one week straight every month… The rest of the time I couldn’t care less. Hubby likes more regular, few times a week!

    1. For me and my husband, this helps to know that there are other people who have similar experiences and it’s going to be a great thing to talk about.

  8. Yes J. I kind of insinuated that when the man is holding, cuddling and feather touching her most sensitive intimate area enough to bring her pleasure. (as in bring her to climax)

    I also agree that a HD man or woman is still going to ache for intercourse. (I think ache is a nice descriptive word)

      1. Interesting that you should list all those words. I have an upcoming post about emotions that HD and LD spouses feel regarding their mismatch. Soon as I can get to it. (Which in my overly busy world is a little like saying, “As soon as I can make it up Mount Everest. 😉 )

        1. Lol, all in good time J, yes mam 🙂 all in good time. Just glad you know those words truly are true and fit so well. So glad your here. Thank you J for all you do, in his time, we know it’ll be perfect. As you may have seen in my response above and maybe this is coming from one of those words and maybe it’s the one despair but I had a thought that maybe some could think about and maybe the light would come on but I know, that’s hight hopes but here it is lol and hope you don’t mind, ok. “Who will be your spouses lover”…I know it should be Jesus of course for our souls but we should be each others lovers I think and if the rejecting spouse has chosen that “I” don’t need that anymore…I fear that someone else God forbid may take that spot…the lack of concern for our spouse just opens doors that never should have seen the light of day. Of course we’re as the rejected spouse responsible to keep ourselves but it sure doesn’t help when we feel and I guess here’s one of those words again, when we feel so “unloved”. Thank you J for your patients and all you do, Ben.

  9. I am definitely the HD spouse. Sex and other forms of intimacy and romance have been and still are at the bottom of my wife’s list of priorities for the almost two decades of our marriage. We definitely have a statistically sexless marriage. When I try to bring up a conversation about our sex life, she gets upset and makes me look like the one with the problem (e.g., “It is never enough for you.). I have tried to convey that sex is not just a physical need but and emotional need. It just falls on deaf ears. I am at my wits end. I truly do not know what else to do.

    1. Somehow EB, somehow they either really don’t understand that it is truly more than a physical need or truly don’t care. After what seems to sound like the same length of time as you, I think it’s the later. Maybe that’s the slight bitterness that’s trying to creep in while we put on an amazing front to the world that everything is peachy keen…it’s terrible knowing that it isn’t and we feel like such hypocrites as tears fill my eyes. You’re not alone and he will never leave us or forsake us although it seems our spouses just don’t care.

    2. Have you heard this one? Didn’t we just do that last year? Sure, you’re the one with the problem…

  10. Great post! I am a high-drive wife married to a lower-drive guy. One thing I really struggle with is not feeling desired or pursued. Like, if I know my husband is initiating “just for me” and not because he really wants sex, it hurts my feelings a little bit. Is that unrealistic? The quality of our physical intimacy is great… he has always been just lower drive.

    1. I don’t know if you are being unrealistic.

      I do absolutely relate to the feelings. It’s like the old saying, “he’s so ugly he has to tie a porkchop around his neck to get the dog to play with him. ”

      I experience this same feeling about my wife and sexual desire and I don’t know what to do with it.

      Supposedly a mature, well-adjusted man would just embrace the differences but I haven’t figured it out really.

      I know there is growing I need to do and work on it but I don’t think it’s all a matter of me growing up. Welcome to gridlock. The good news is that it is culturally acceptable for a wife to pressure a husband for sex. The obverse is not culturally acceptable.

      1. “The good news is that it is culturally acceptable for a wife to pressure a husband for sex. The obverse is not culturally acceptable.” It doesn’t matter what is largely acceptable in culture; that doesn’t work in marriage. For one thing, pressure isn’t good regardless. But also, HD wives have no more success with that tactic than HD husbands.

  11. J,

    You misunderstand my point. A HD wife, not having her needs met generates far more sympathy than does a man wanting more sex.

    Kind of like the differences in Mother’s day and Father’s day sermons.

    1. drew-averagehusband

      I think you’ll find on this site, equal sympathy. As a HD guy, I’ve always felt very represented, understood and respected in all posts and most comments.

  12. “The good news is that it’s culturally acceptable for a wife to pressure her husband for sex. The obverse is not culturally acceptable.” I think the opposite is true! If you’re a guy who wants sex more often than your wife, at least you’re in good company. Other guys empathize with you. Whereas when it’s the wife who has the higher drive, and her husband is not interested, it’s assumed she must be fat, or bad in bed, or her husband is gay. Seriously, before I found J’s blog, I thought I was the only woman on the planet with a higher sex drive than her husband. It’s not talked about. I would say it’s definitely not culturally acceptable!

    1. Not certain I accept your logical progression completely, though I am certain you feel especially rejected considering the stereotypes.

      I can relate. I am the HD for sex, conversation and romance. So, a romantic, relational guy with a deep freeze of a spouse is a similar feeling, I suspect.

  13. drew-averagehusband

    I absolutely love the end of this article. The Biblical soundness and practical simplicity are fantastic.

    While I understand it’s difficult in situations where the mismatch is stark and intimacy is rare (one /month or less), it’s still a guiding principle to use in addressing a situation that needs to change.

    1. Thank you! I always try to remember what God calls us to, even though it can be difficult…but He will help us if we ask. Blessings!

  14. Thank you for this post and as always the balanced discussion.

    As a long-married HD spouse I will just add that I have no idea what my preferred frequency is – except that we never seem to reach it. (I”m guessing it might be 2-3 times a week. A few times we’ve hit 2. I don’t think we’ve ever reached 3 in twenty years of marriage.) Meanwhile, the LD spouse presumably has a better idea since they are more in control and can decide what is “too much.” The LD partner also has more control in deciding to participate in any non-penetrative activity as a halfway compromise, or just shut that down too. They need to at least acknowledge that control and that they have a veto over EVERYTHING.

    So instead of thinking in terms of frequency, what I really want is to feel that I have at least some control over my/our sex life rather than being in a constant begging position. I can go for a week without sex or any kind of sexual activity or touching (and do, all the time). What I hate is being told this is all I can ever hope for, and if I have a problem with that….well just too bad.

  15. closertotheheart

    In our case, if I don’t lower my expectations, I’m in for a lot of emotional pain. I’m constantly mentally preparing myself for less than I’d hoped for. I know that she’s only capable of so much frequency, after that it becomes very obviously “just for me” and even if she follows through, she’s not invested, which is the thing I crave most. When she’s invested and enjoying herself, that’s the best. But if she pushes beyond that, it’s basically just for me. It’s better than masturbating, but not at all what I hoped for in marriage.

    1. Exactly. I could have said the above almost word for word. It seems to always be about lowering my expectations. When I try to voice how I feel, no matter how gently or respectfully, it usually end in tears or screaming. It feels like she has all the power and I have none.

      To give credit to the husband in the original post, it sounds like he is trying hard to meet his HD spouse’s needs, and just wants permission to stand up for his own LD level of need. Very different and I admire his sacrifice.

    2. In the movie “Belle De Jour,” Catherine Deneuve comes across to her gentle husband as a frigid, low drive wife, rarely in the mood for sex. In reality, she wants her husband to aggressively take her, she’s just afraid to openly convey this to him. She wants forceful passion, not a teddy bear. While I’m sure this is not the case with all LD wives, I suspect it may be the case for some. Conservative Protestant women in particular have faced a church culture that makes them hesitant to be open about this desire, even with their husbands. I would be interested to hear J’s take on this, since there’s a thin line between passionate force secretly desired and what some would call marriage rape. Wisdom would be necessary to understand the nature of one’s wife.

      1. I have actually written about that too, Doug–women who want their hubbies to take a stronger lead (and it’s one of the posts I got some flak for). But there’s a big difference between taking charge and taking what someone doesn’t want to give. For those who don’t seem to understand the difference, all I can say is no means no! If she (or he) resists, back off, regroup, and figure out what’s what. Wrote about that too. Anyway, here those are: Man Up & Take Me! Alpha Male or Beta Hubby?, Can You Be Raped in Marriage?. (See also Sexual Assault and Marriage and Q&A with J: “My Wife Gets Aroused from Abuse Fantasy”.)

        1. Just read _Man Up & Take Me!_ Spot-on post! In it you mentioned Rhett Butler in _Gone With the Wind_. I do think the older movies did a better job of portraying men like this. I’m thinking John Wayne in _Angel and the Bad Man_. Also, _The Quiet Man_. I’m sure many women would agree with Lady Gaga, Lol.

          1. I found out later how many people object strongly to that scene with Rhett & Scarlett. I personally think it’s clear from the rest of their interaction that she wanted him but was being petulant in that moment, but I also understand how bad it looks for him to carry her up the stairs while she beats at his chest. Mind you, I have NOT read the novel, so I have zero idea what the portrayal is there.

  16. Higher drive and lower drive are not the same thing as high drive and low drive. In our marriage, I have a very moderate drive and my wife is borderline asexual/no drive. And she was also told by an elderly woman at church never to say “no.”

    I told her that I didn’t want her to say “yes” if she was going to resent it. I will take an honest “no” over a begrudging “yes” any day. I want enthusiasm. I want reciprocity. I want to be wanted as much as I want her. But I will settle for a little kindness. If she doesn’t want sex just say “no” instead of rolling over and groaning and complaining. If she doesn’t want to give me a blowjob then offer something else as an alternative instead of getting angry and acting grossed out.

    She doesn’t have to give me sex whenever I say I want it. Just work with me on setting a reasonable schedule that we can both live with and I will accept it. But no schedule and no commitment means no sex until I work up the courage to ask again knowing that I risk being given an angry, resentful response.

    And I absolutely refuse to debase myself by groveling for sex. If she can’t work with me to make it happen on a reasonable schedule then forget it. If she can’t be nice about it I won’t pressure an unwilling person to do something they clearly want no part of. I can take matters into my own hands and she can go right on watching the Hallmark Channel.

    1. I have been reading this and similar blogs in the hope of figuring out what to do. We have been married for over 44 years. Our sex life was “normal” and not a source of conflict. About 10 years ago, frequency started falling off. Our situation now is so much like others I have read: I have an occasional drive and she has…none. Her work, house cleaning obsession and being overly tired leaves no time or emotion for anything else. I feel that perhaps I am being selfish and this is perhaps not so important. Yet, I cannot shake how badly it makes me feel having no intimacy.
      Just writing this and I am too ashamed to continue. Thanks for listening.

  17. I’m sure that there are so many reasons why the levels of desire/libido differ so dramatically between some couples. It would be impossible to pinpoint one thing and apply it to every relationship.

    I do know that it is easy to hear and believe lies. Lies like, “he doesn’t want me he just wants my body” or, “he/she doesn’t care about my needs.”

    Compounding these lies with a worldly view of what we thought sex would be like, and the silence of much of the church on the topic, and things can definitely go south.

    1. The church needs to speak and teach the truth about sex.
    2. The body of Christ needs to talk about it, and come alongside each other to bring redemption to marriages in this way.
    3. We all need to practice 1 Cor. 13 love, as you mentioned.
    4. We need to seek the truth and know it so well that we immediately recognize the lies.
    5. We need to teach our kids the truth about sex (age appropriately of course) because this epidemic will only get worse if we don’t.

  18. This is a great article. Relationships, especially in marriage, are often about comprises. I would love to make love daily, even after almost three decades of marriage. My wife is OK with a couple times a week, but knows how much it impacts our relationship in an incredibly positive way. I think the most important piece of advice in the article is how you decline your spouse if he or she is initiating and the timing isn’t good. First, assess whether or not you are needlessly putting your desires before your spouse. Then, be incredibly gracious and sensitive if you decide to ask your spouse to delay in making love. I can be easily crushed by a denial, even after so many years of marriage. Nothing seems to hit me as hard. It is a deep, personal, rejection. I have pretty thick skin, except in these instances. You should want to build up the your spouse and how you respond can have a tremendous impact on their confidence in the relationship.

  19. Rebecca Kepler

    I really feel for all the higher drive spouses commenting here who are struggling. I’m a higher drive wife and me and my husband definitely went through a time where we were barely having sex (in my opinion) like once a month maybe. And that lasted for almost 2 years. It was a super rough time, and I remember all those conversations we had about frequency and why it wasn’t happening, and you know, It was really frustrating. Sometimes I would leave in tears. I felt like our marriage was going to fall apart. For other reasons too. For me, I had to realize that I was part of the problem and there were things I needed to change. I started listening to marriage podcasts. I read books about marriage, I read articles like this. And after about a year of working on it our marriage is completely different. It took time, but we worked through it. Now that our marriage is healthier, our sex life is healthier too. It is the best it’s ever been. Maybe working on your marriage is the best way to start working on your sex life. That was my experience anyways. I really feel for you guys. I wish I could help more!

    1. Wow, thanks so much for sharing your story! It is one of hope, and I pray that it encourages others. Glad y’all figured things out. Blessings!

  20. As I read all of these comments, it seems the one common denominator in all these sad stories is a struggle for CONTROL. The LD is always fighting to control the marriage and the spouse. It seems they instinctively know where the HD is most vulnerable and they take brutal advantage of that knowledge in order to maintain their veneer of control. The HD is just expected to roll over and acquiesce. And virtually every article I read is aimed coddling the sensitivities of the LD while lecturing the HD what they need to “understand” about their “poor, victim” LD spouse, followed by the exhortation to work on a long list of changes designed to enable the LDs disfunction. Where are the articles that have the courage to say, “Hey LD. Pull your head out and take care of your marriage before you lose it! YOU are the one who needs to adapt!”

    1. How much of my site have you read? Because I constantly talk about the need to prioritize sex in marriage! I have actually said that withholding sex can reach the level of sin. I have a devotional book for wives encouraging them to get past their misconceptions and hangups and make love with their husbands (for their benefit, as well as their husband’s). I promote more sex through my podcast with three other wives.

      But I’m also a practical person who looks for real ways for higher desire spouses to make progress in their marriage. Being the HD spouse in my own marriage, I know how important it can be to be consider the “sensitivities of the LD” spouse so that you can troubleshoot those, resolve them, and create a sexually intimate life for both of you.

      If you want someone to browbeat your spouse into having sex out of fear of losing their marriage, I’m not your spokesperson for that. I think it matters not only that you reach your goal, but how you reach your goal.

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