6 Tips for Inspiring Your Lower Drive Spouse to Say Yes to Sex

One of the gentlemen in our recently launched KHS Community asked an interesting question. Essentially, he wanted to know what I and other higher drive wives have learned about “how to more effectively inspire your lower drive husbands to say yes to sex.”

Based on my personal experience and the reports of others, let me share what I’ve learned. And I believe these tips can help both higher drive wives and husbands.

1. Ask your spouse for sex.

Instead of or as part of initiating, directly ask your spouse if they’re interested in having sex right then.

Too often, we expect sexual intimacy to unfold naturally as one mate feels desire, moves toward the other, and the next thing you know they’re tumbling into the bed together. Cue passionate music, heavy breathing, and extreme pleasure. You can picture that based on some movie you saw or novel you read, right? Or even the way we talk about sex generally.

But over here in Real Life, it’s a good idea to simply ask a lower interest spouse if they’re interested or might become interested through affection and arousal. And no, such a request is not unromantic or dispassionate.

Indeed, to a lower drive spouse, asking can come across as honoring their choice in the matter, rather than insisting on your need, your desire, or your timing.

2. Respect your spouse’s responsiveness.

Don’t expect they have or should have the same drive you do. Lower desire spouses tend to have more responsive sexual interest.

That physiology or personality is not an indication of their love for you. They would likely be that way no matter whom they’d married. But of course, your spouse chose and married you.

Now it’s difficult for some higher desire spouses to appreciate responsiveness, because their love genuinely drives them to seek out physical connection. They just can’t comprehend loving their spouse and not wanting to do it often and well. But your spouse being different doesn’t make them wrong or broken or unloving.

Remind yourself that responsive sexual desire is still sexual desire. Choosing to engage and experiencing sexual intimacy is what really matters.

Remind yourself that responsive sexual desire is still sexual desire. Choosing to engage and experiencing sexual intimacy is what really matters. @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

3. Help your spouse get in the mood.

Among the common reasons a lower desire spouse doesn’t engage? Too busy. Exhausted. Stressed. Distracted. Not in the mood.

Why not help your spouse remove obstacles whenever and wherever you can? This is why “choreplay” works—not because it’s earning sex. Of course not! That’s not God’s design for physical intimacy. But coming alongside your spouse to ease their burden and help them prioritize sexual intimacy is entirely biblical.

Find out what facilitates your spouse’s sexual readiness, then do what you can to assist. If that means putting the kids to bed so a wife has time to shift roles from exhausted mommy to hot mama, become the best bedtime daddy ever. If that means learning how to touch his body in the morning to “awaken his manhood” just right, perfect your moves. If that means setting the stage for lovemaking with low lighting, music, and a massage, head to the bedroom and get to it.

What actually helps your spouse get in the mood is specific to them, so ask what they need or want—and then deliver.

4. Initiate more often than you expect to have sex.

Prepare yourself going in that there will be more nos than you would give, and that’s okay. Your lower desire spouse may not say yes every time, but aren’t there things you pass on from time to time?

Not sex perhaps—if you’re usually ready or rarin’ to go—but shouldn’t it be all right for a spouse to pass on joining their spouse for a conversation or an activity now and then? It hardly means you don’t love your spouse if you’re not up for something at a particular moment. The same may be true for your spouse and sex.

In a good marriage, the initiation success rate shouldn’t be low, but allow that you may need take more swings than you’ll get hits. You two can still round the bases plenty if your sexual intimacy is otherwise healthy.

5. Request the rain check.

This is an important point. Star this tip.

If your spouse says no, don’t leave it there. Ask when would be a better time. Would later today work? How about the morning? Does it need to wait until the weekend?

By calmly following up, you let your spouse know your sexual interest doesn’t just disappear with a no from them, you show respect for their input on when to best have sex, and you settle your anxiety about when it will happen next.

But make sure you ask for that rain check calmly. Don’t poke and prod and pester about getting your sex fix. Simply ask what works for your spouse, inviting your beloved into intimacy at a more conducive time.

6. Talk about what sex means to you.

Often we list “talk about it” first, and you may need to have a conversation. But make it an ongoing practice to express gratitude for those moments that sated your desire for intimacy with your spouse. This is not the whole “wham, bam, thank you, ma’am” plan. Speak instead with honor and grace.

Letting your spouse know how much the sexual encounter fed your heart or soul can make the next experience more likely and more enjoyable.

Letting your spouse know how much the sexual encounter fed your heart or soul can make the next experience more likely and more enjoyable. @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

Those are the six tips for inspiring your spouse to say yes. It may be worth taking this list to your beloved and asking where they feel you could improve.

40 thoughts on “6 Tips for Inspiring Your Lower Drive Spouse to Say Yes to Sex”

  1. I do all those things and 50 more, and the quality and frequency get worse and worse. “Chore play” or anything similar I am admonished for and she doesnt believe me when I tell her what it means to me. I fear the end is near and it sucks.

      1. Hi
        I’ve completely given up on ever having sex again. We “saved” ourselves for each other for the wedding night and starting out, sex was OK. Fast forward to 2 babies (weight gain, stretch marks, varicose veins) and sex slowed to a crawl. She had her legs “stripped” but they became bad again. Our current MD just winces at them now. Fourteen years ago, she lost both breasts to cancer and has a scarred chest as a result. Reconstructive breast surgery was totally out of the question so as to avoid clot-causing operations. So I have been celibate since that time. No touching of her legs or chest, undress in the bathroom, turn off lights and hide beneath the sheets. I’ve been in a Christian marriage for forty-four years, no sex life the last fourteen and no hope that things will ever change. Maybe God can take away my libido to make it tolerable. Hopeless!

          1. Yes, sex cessation was also due to pain. She couldn’t be on the pill so we used the diaphragm—-messy, a nuisance which killed any romantic mood. She would climax and then get really bad pelvis cramping so orgasm was painful. Sex basically ceased.

          2. Oh my! I used the diaphragm quite successfully—loved it. But of course, people are different. The pelvis cramping is disconcerting and should have been brought to the attention of a physician. At least point, I’m thinking that contraception is not the issue so much as now a pattern of no sex and the mental block she has from past pain and discomfort. If those could be worked through…

          3. Melissa Mulkey

            I’m not sure if it’s been addressed here or not, but wanted to add I personally think all couples should be working towards more sex, mutually, not less. Yes, of course we shouldn’t always expect a yes to everything request to be intimate and respect the lower drive spouses boundary. But on the other side of the coin is safe guarding our marriages from temptation and even more important, the requesting spouses heart. Always feeling like you have to ask and then getting denied often feels like rejection. It can build resentment. It can cause a person to feel like something is wrong with them, they are unattractive, unloved etc etc. I believe the lower sex drive spouse should be trying to bridge the gap, if at all possible, to meet the higher drive spouse,within reason. Not saying every single day either. There’s a few places God says sex often is a good thing. I know He also uses marriage for our sanctification through our spouses too so that both can become more Christ-like and the sex issue is a great vehicle where this can occur for both. My point is, sex is good, it’s a gift and it’s to celebrated often. We do good to pursue all roadblocks that prevent more sex for both.
            My two cents as a wife of a lower drive hubby.

          4. I agree with you entirely. I recently read a study on new parents that pointed out they “were more sexually and relationally satisfied when their sexual desire was more aligned and higher, compared to when their sexual desire was aligned but lower.” Indeed, all the evidence—biological, relational, and biblical—indicates that regular sexual intimacy is good for a marriage.

      2. Andrew Francis

        Tip numbers 2 and 3 are huge
        I’m a lower drive husband. My wife believes in that mythic all men are microwaves nonsense. Not this man. I desire for her to respect my responsiveness instead of putting me down for not being as ready on the dot when she is. She’s made comments to her girlfriends in front of me that she want to “man up” more often.
        That ties into number three for me. I can get in the mood. Since I’m not a microwave it takes some time for me. Some touch. Some flirtation. Pursue it rather than expect it. I do want it. I do like sex. I want to have it. Im just not the mythical on/off switch. I primary care give our kids and work 8 to 5 and do all the sports/activities driving. She works longer hours and travels alot for work. When she gets home from a trip sometimes I just want to rest a little before we have sex. She says being on the road has made her hot and ready.
        I can get there. I just need some time!

        1. Thanks for speaking up on this! I think this is quite true of many “lower drive” spouses—that their desire just needs a little more time and effort to be stoked. I hope you can convince your wife of the importance for that, as well as the need to speak respectfully about one another. Praying!

    1. Yep. Just did. Its like you have a camera in my marriage and my soul. Your six tips? Do’em. Daily. Suggested counseling, she laughed at me. I try and flirt, date, get a sitter, suggested overnight getaway, have asked for specific examples of what she wants and expects(got none). I DID get the blank look of terror though cuz any and all efforts by me are presumed to only be about getting laid. Explained its NOT sex, if so I would get some somewhere, its closeness. Im at the end. Truly.

      1. May I then suggest that you pursue counseling for yourself and get some tactics on how you deal with your end of things? You may also want to read the book Boundaries in Marriage by Drs. Cloud and Townsend.

        1. I found Scnarch much more beneficial to me than Boundaries.

          I agree with Schnarch on how big a part of marriage sex is – when things are going ok it’s about 10%, and when they are going badly it’s about 90%.

          1. Okay, that’s a diagnosis, but what’s the prescription? That is, Boundaries suggests some things to actually do. Honestly, I’ve read some of Schnarch (and he’s got some great stuff), but not all…so I’m not sure what his suggestions are for fixing the problems, particularly when one spouse doesn’t see it as that big a problem.

  2. As born-again Christians, are we sinning as husband and wife if we haven’t had sex for 14 years and never plan to? Perplexed!

    1. I’ll answer this way: Q&A with J: “What If Neither of Us Desires Sex?” I know that’s not your situation, but it answers the question of whether a marriage should go without sex. The answer basically being no. But at the same time, you can only control your part of the equation, and God prioritizes how we treat one another in marriage, not demanding or forcing another person. Praying for you!!!

      1. Since I haven’t been able to sit and think through how to answer your Schnarch question, I will use boundaries.

        If a spouse is involuntarily celibate, they should absolutely not be unloving. They also should not make it easy for their spouse to continue with that status quo.

  3. Pingback: Episode 3: Why Can't She Focus? - Knowing Her Sexually

  4. The worst part of marriage that no one ever talks about : Women’s interest is sex disappears at menopause. Men’s slow with age, but it doesn’t stop. Since our culture has programmed women very thoroughly with the idea that men are occasionally likable idiots, who need to be denigrated at every possible occasion. the idea of doing something compassionate for your husband even though she isn’t interested will NEVER occur to her> (Don’t believe me??Just watch commercials, they are short, so they get right to the point and you see the message sooner than with other forms of media)

    If you plan on staying married,( I’m old fashioned, I believe in keeping my promises) you are going to have to live without sex after your wife hits her early forties.

    It really surprises me the number of guys who just live with this quietly, only mentioning it to close male friends of similar age. I understand, because there is no solution to the problem. Your options are divorce or just suffer, and each is worse than the other.

    Thoreau was right: Most men live lives of quiet desperation!

    1. I vacillated on approving this comment because of phrasing like “Since our culture has programmed women very thoroughly with the idea that men are occasionally likable idiots…” which is really not what I as a woman see. I know what you’re talking about, but there are many competing messages to that as well. Regardless, I did want to answer your assumption that sex disappears at menopause.

      Sorry, but that’s just untrue. Menopause can impact women in various ways, and plenty of wives experience an increase in sexual interest after menopause. Others remain the same. Others do have a dip. Physiologically, there are some real challenges to sexual engagement, particularly vaginal dryness and atrophy, but they can usually be overcome.

      I’m also amazed by how often men think they are the only ones suffering. It’s a minority, but it’s still substantial, in that I often hear husbands complaining that they aren’t getting the sex they want, society is against them, their wives should oblige them, and the only option is, as you say, “divorce or just suffer.” Those are not the only options, or I wouldn’t get emails with success stories from couples who turned things around. Moreover, if one’s attitude toward their spouse is constant resentment—even if they have good reason for feeling that way—that doesn’t make them an appealing sex partner.

      If your wife visited this blog, I’d tell her the same basic thing I’m telling you here: try to see things from your spouse’s point of view. I suspect she’s suffering too, but in a different way. Why is someone so resistant to sexual intimacy? There’s a reason, and that reason matters in figuring out how to address the situation. And how does it likely feel to that person to know they are not the person their spouse wants them to be? Oftentimes, there’s quiet desperation from gatekeeping wives who feel inadequate, guilty, insecure, and much more.

      I don’t know your particular situation, but I would encourage you, and others reading this, to grieve your situation—because no, it’s not fair—but then work on sympathy and problem-solving. Praying for you.

  5. Sex has been nonexistent for the past 14 months as we are in an in-house separation trying to restart the marriage. I have always had a very high sex drive, but due to some complications with our first-born’s birth, until my wife had it fixed, she was in pain during sex due to dryness for 17 years.
    Looking back, I wish we would have had the surgery for her right after our first-born’s birth because it created an emotional/physical wedge in my wife’s heart against me, leading to other major issues in our marriage.
    We are about to have (not celebrate) our 26th anniversary in June with no hope of breakthrough on the horizon. I pray that, somehow, someway, we can reconnect spiritually, emotionally, and – a VERY big YES – physically. I still find my wife extremely attractive, which is so very hard to still be in the same house yet not sharing the same bed.

  6. I’ll never forget my congressman’s comment that wives control the sex in a marriage—he’s since divorced!
    It takes two to tango and if the wife refuses sex then there will be no sex in the marriage. Sounds like a proverb, doesn’t it?

    1. Yes, but if the husband refuses sex, then there will be no sex in the marriage. And if either refuses ______, it will not be in the marriage. Unless you’re willing to force or threaten your spouse into doing something they don’t want to do, neither one can control the relationship. And biblically, sex is supposed to be mutual anyway.

      So love says you have to figure out how to work with one another to establish and nurture healthy sexual intimacy. One spouse has a lot of influence, but does not—and should not—have control.

  7. Hi
    What you are attempting with your blogs is so darn difficult and can only meet with limited success. It’s like trying to turn back time or make water run uphill. There is a new “default” setting ever since original sin. Before that, everything was perfect, including male/female relationships.

    Since, Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, the battle of the sexes began. God’s judgement foretold that a husband and wife would now battle one another for control. The wife would consider herself more valuable than the husband who would consider himself more important than the wife. Instead of being her husband’s helper, she would now be prone to being his nemesis Instead of leading his wife, a man would dominate her. I’m referring to Genesis 3:15 where the man is to rule over the woman but her desire shall be for her husband. This is not sexual desire but the desire to push him out of his place of leadership. A wife struggles to submit to her husband–against his God-given position of leadership and authority. Her heart will rebel against what God said is good. Seen from the wife’s perspective, a wife’s submission means that she must sinlessly submit to a sinful man. Very difficult but that is what God calls her to do! No wonder sexual relationships are so messed up.

    1. This is one interpretation of Genesis 3:15. But what you describe is essentially that we all became selfish, and with that, relationships became harder.

      However, a clarification with this statement: “Seen from the wife’s perspective, a wife’s submission means that she must sinlessly submit to a sinful man. Very difficult but that is what God calls her to do!” God does not call a wife to submit to a husband who is sinning. I know you said he’s sinful, not currently sinning, but I simply want to make it clear that we’re not excused from following someone into sin or enabling their sin, simply because they are in a position or role we would otherwise support.

      As far as my own thoughts on Genesis 3:15, what I write as part of this ministry is largely applicable to couples who call themselves egalitarian, complementarian, and everything in between. I have my own perspective, which is not quite where yours is, but it’s also not something I feel like tangling about. If people want to know what how to be a good husband or wife, I recommend not just reading Ephesians 5:21-33, but also Galatians 5:22-23 (Fruit of the Spirit), 1 Corinthians 13 (the love chapter), and Philippians 2:1-11 (Christ’s example).

  8. Thank you for your post! Being the wife and the higher sex drive spouse was something that I was never prepared for in marriage counselling. My husband and I have been married almost 4 years and are expecting our second baby in September. I often feel rejected and not wanted when he refuses sex or doesn’t initiate. I came across this article this morning after spending some time crying and praying about this area in our marriage. Thank you for the encouragement it brings my heart. Knowing I’m not alone and that there are ways to combat it that I need to take control of helps me to change the attitude that I had learned through marriage counselling. Being told that men are the high sex drive and women are the low sex drive and mentally preparing for that before we got married only to find out that we were completely opposite really threw me for a loop.

  9. I’ve became a born—again Christian in 1971 while in college. I received a lot of good spiritual training from a campus parachurch organization and learned early on how to treat our sisters in Christ believing God had a right woman for me.

    Fast forward 20 years and I became a Deacon in our local Baptist Church. I’ve been involved in many meetings, Bible studies and conferences over the years and have never heard any man talk well of his bedroom life. Wives either didn’t want to talk about it, were a real disappointment in bed or simply controlled the amount of sex in the household. I can add that I’ve been sexless for 14 years without hope it will ever change. A God-honoring courtship/wedding and a hugely dissatisfied sex life!

    1. “[I] have never heard any man talk well of his bedroom life.” WOW. I barely know what to say, Rob. I have heard so many Christian couples speak well of their sex life at this point. Are there struggles? Yes, some have them. Are there sexless marriages? Unfortunately, yes. But are all Christians experiencing bad sex? Not by a long shot!

      Perhaps soon, I should consider a post just sharing success stories that come into my email. That might encourage some of you to embrace that good sexual intimacy in marriage exists and that some marriages that had sexual struggles, or even no sex, turned things around and ended up with healthy and happy bedrooms.

  10. Rebecca Kepler

    I think tip number 6 is huge. I ve recently learned the power of telling my husband that I enjoy sex with him. It makes him seem much more interested in sex in general. Trying to help him get in the mood has definetly been a learning curve(I really wasn’t expecting to have a higher drive than him!) but it s kind of fun to learn different things that turn him on. Making a rain date is something we have been doing lately too. And I think it helps the higher drive spouse to feel heard and not ignored! Thanks for sharing these tips I!

  11. My Husband is the high sex-drive spouse, while I am the lower. We were each other’s only sexual partners, have been married for 10 years, have 3 children with one on the way.

    Your tips took my Husband and me about 5 years to figure out, and it really wasn’t until my epiphany about a few realities did things change. Namely, 1) He can’t help his drive any more than I can help mine, so I can choose to work with it, rather than resent it; 2) it doesn’t hurt me to say yes, 3) by being available sexually I’m choosing to honor my Husband (and to be frank, rarely do I not enjoy myself as well).

    My rule of thumb is, if I’m not doing anything important, especially if he hasn’t asked in a while (usually 3-5 days), I usually say yes. If I’m busy or really not in the mood, I ask for a rain check the next day, then I make his patience worth it.

    In return, he’s gives me time to switch gears when he does initiate, and that when we do have sex making sure I have a good time is as important as much as fulfilling his needs.

    I can’t speak for men, but as a woman I can suggest that if we had a change in attitude, and saw sex with our Husbands not as an annoyance to put up with, but as a way to demonstrate our love and receive their love (as long as we are giving and receiving love in other ways), many marriages would improve.

    1. All I can say is bravo and your husband is the luckiest man in the world. What I would give to have a wife with your attitude.

    2. My best wishes to MissyK.
      Here’s my conclusion from her comment: The attitude and resulting behavior of the lower-drive spouse IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT than any tip on how to inspire sexual desire. The higher-drive could be the absolutely perfect lover and the lower-drive spouse may still have no interest.

      1. Well, yeah…free will and all. Which is why I often tell spouses to figure out WHY their mate isn’t interested. The why matters.

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