What a rough year 2020 has been. These past couple of weeks, I’ve had my heart in throat as I’ve processed current events (specifically, the Floyd killing and repercussions).
One of the best things I’ve absorbed in that time is the testimony of Christian conservative David French, who had his eyes opened after he and his wife—both white—adopted a black girl from Ethiopia. What he wrote made me think not only about racism, but why I get push-back sometimes on what I say about sex on this blog.
Let me first share his words, and then I’ll explain:
Let’s perform a thought experiment. Let’s optimistically imagine that only one out of 10 white Americans is actually racist. Let’s also recognize that—especially in educated quarters of white America—racism is condemned and stigmatized. If this is the reality, when will you ever hear racist sentiments in your daily life? The vast majority of people you encounter aren’t racist, and the minority who are will remain silent lest they lose social standing.
But imagine you’re African American. That means 10 percent of the white people you encounter are going to hate you or think less of you because of the color of your skin. You don’t know in advance who they are or how they’ll react to you, but they’ll be present enough to be at best a persistent source of pain and at worst a source of actual danger. So you know you’ll be pulled over more, and in some of those encounters the officer will be strangely hostile. The store clerk sometimes follows you when you shop. A demeaning comment will taint an otherwise-benign conversation. Your white friends described in the paragraph above may never see these things, but it’s an inescapable part of the fabric of your life.
This is how we live in a world where a white person can say of racism, “Where is it?” and a black person can say, “How can you not see?”David French, The Dispatch – American Racism: We’ve Got So Very Far to Go
If those perpetuating a problem represent a minority, and you don’t have personal experience with that minority, it can be easy to debate, downplay, or dismiss that it’s happening at all.
Now this post is not really about racism, but rather my specialty: sex in marriage.
You see, sometimes when I talk about a subject within the arena of sexual intimacy, I get told it doesn’t exist or represents such a small minority that it’s hardly worth covering. Want examples? Well, okay.
1. Sexual Harassment and Assault
When #MeToo hit, I addressed it. I’ve shared my own story of harassment. I’ve discussed my even deeper concerns about these issues and cover-ups within the church. But even before that, I was disturbed how prevalent sexual assault and harassment are in our personal lives and politics.
Believe me, I received comments and messages from readers who said I was overstating the problem, misrepresenting truth, targeting men unfairly, etc. Mind you, I agree that false allegations happen and some definitions of sexual assault are problematic, but that doesn’t take anything away from the large problem we have with harassment and assault.
You see, a single perpetrator does not harass or assault a single person; they can have dozens or hundreds of victims. Film producer Harvey Weinstein had 95 accusers, and US Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar had 265 accusers. Those are egregious examples, but those two horrible males impacted at least 360 lives!
Even if it’s not a crime we’re talking about, that one slimy guy who ogles women, says inappropriate things about their appearance, sidles up too close without invitation or consent represents a number of bad interactions. This is why I can easily say that most men are not jerks but most women (and many men) have been assaulted or harassed.
2. Waiting Until Marriage
My secular friends were convinced my son and daughter-in-law were having sex long before marriage. They simply couldn’t fathom a couple being in love and not taking those feelings to the bedroom. I didn’t argue with them, but I trusted my son and his future wife to wait if they wanted. I believed it was more than possible.
Yet many people, including Christians, don’t believe it is possible. Or at least it doesn’t happen in real life.
Now let me first assure you that having sex before marriage is not a nail in the coffin of your spiritual or sex life. (I didn’t wait.) God specializes in forgiveness, redemption, and blessing! Also, contrary to what some have heard, having waited until marriage doesn’t guarantee a perfect sex life. But the question is whether anyone actually waits, and while a large majority doesn’t, plenty still do.
Statistics vary, but let’s look at the CDC’s National Survey of Family Growth data:
Nearly 90% having premarital sex seems like a whole lot—and it is—but that’s still 1 in 10 who wait. And considering how many people over 15 have never married, the statistics on how many in that age range are in the US, premarital sex percentages, etc., I did a bunch of math and came up with at least 6.6 million Americans who hold out until marriage.
So yeah, people wait—6.6 million or more. It’s simply not a given that couples will give in.
(If you didn’t wait, check out Entering Marriage with Sexual Baggage and/or Why You Feel Worse Than He Does about the Premarital Sex. And talk to your spouse about any residual feelings.)
3. Higher Drive Wives
I heard perhaps the most heartbreaking statement on this topic this past week: A podcaster was sharing that a male friend had told her, “You show me a woman whose husband isn’t going for her, and I’ll show you an ugly woman.” I vacillated on whether to repeat that statement here—concerned that a high drive wife might worry it’s true—and then I realized we HD wives have already heard that before, in one way or another.
It happens on my site too, with husbands who comment and say they (1) don’t believe that higher drive wives exist much if at all, and/or (2) there must be something seriously wrong with him or her. That perspective comes from not having experienced it ourselves or personally knowing others who have.
Actually, you do know a husband out there with a lower sex drive than his wife. However, comments like the ones above hardly invite him to share his story. (By the way, LD hubby, this post is definitely worth checking out: A Letter to the Lower Drive Husband.)
Meanwhile, I’ve been researching how prevalent HD wife/LD husband is, and I’m fairly confident it’s around 20% of marriages. Now imagine sitting in church, looking around at all the married couples, and admitting to yourself that 1 in 5 of those has a higher drive wife. It’s real, y’all.
4. Turned Around Sex Lives
A few times a week, someone tells me they don’t believe that sexual intimacy in a marriage can or will turn around. I’m not talking about those who say they haven’t experienced it yet but continue to pray, look for answers, and communicate as best they can with their spouse. Feeling like it’s hopeless in the moment doesn’t mean you don’t think it’s possible.
Rather, some argue that change is so unlikely that I and others are full of guano to even suggest it can happen. Instead, they believe I should change my message to telling spouses it’s okay to divorce someone who doesn’t have regular sex with you or to get your jollies elsewhere, or simply telling those withholding spouses they owe their mate sex!
Believe me, I’m not unaware of the difficult road many of you face. My marriage nearly fell apart several times before we found our way out, and even that took years and continues to require maintenance. That’s why my site doesn’t boast 10 Tips Guaranteed to Change Your Sex Life! or Do These 3 Things and Get All the Sex You Want! I won’t lie to you about the challenge you face. But I also won’t lie and say it’s not possible, because I’m 100% certain it happens.My site doesn't boast 10 Tips Guaranteed to Change Your Sex Life! I won't lie to you about the challenge you face. But I also won't lie and say it's not possible, because I'm 100% certain it happens. #marriage via @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet
Not only do I have my own turnaround-in-marriage story, I receive regular testimonies from couples who did a one-eighty in their marriage. Over the 9½ years I’ve been blogging, writing, speaking, podcasting, I’ve heard it again and again and again. It’s not nearly enough couples, because it’s not all couples. But it happens!
It could happen to you.
What sexual issue have others denied or downplayed that you know is real based on your experience? This is not an invitation to rant or blame, but rather tell your story so others can better understand.
33 thoughts on “4 Sex Issues Some Believe Don’t Happen Much, Yet They Do”
When I was about to get married, my Dad’s secular co-workers were highly skeptical of the idea that Allie and I weren’t having sex. They insisted to him that I was just lying. Not a bit. Waited until we were married. It just seems unthinkable to some people because we equate sex with love too often. After all, the moment we’re supposed to wait for in the sitcom or drama is when the couple finally has sex together.
Thanks, Nick! There’s a testimony right there. 🙂
I’ve wondered how I might respond to the same type of accusation if the topic came up, even though my husband and I have been married for 20+ years. On the one hand I might like to point out that it IS possible to save oneself for marriage as we dated for 5 1/2 years before getting engaged and it was another year before we were married. (Not that we would be believed…”Yeah, yeah, admit it…you were having sex back then! Admit it!”) On the other hand, my or anyone else’s sex life is nobody’s business, and I wouldn’t want to set ours forth – or even the lack thereof – for public scrutiny. Some things should still be private even if they largely aren’t anymore.
I appreciate this. As a white man married to a black woman for 26 years, we of course have had plenty of discussions about black-and-white and other peoples.
And while race doesn’t even make our top 20 of whatever issues we deal with, on any given day, it is definitely relevant in our marriage, and worth considering as far as impact on the more intimate – yes, sexual – aspects and issues we have. You’ve given me more to think over than you realize.
Or probably more than I myself realize.
And that’s good.
What’s interesting is the responses we’ve gotten from people we’ve met. Usually, one of two things is assumed: either, race is such a non-issue these days that we just continue as any ‘normal’ married couple (yeah, I wish. That wasn’t even the case before George Floyd was taken from us.) Or, that we still deal with a lot of hostility, and possibly violence. That’s not really the case either, thank God. Only in recent months have I had to seriously raise my guard – and consciousness – as a result of a near-incident on vacation not too long ago. Both as a man, and one married to a black woman.
I know that’s a long response to your blog, which is not really about race per se, and I hope you don’t mind my commenting on it in order to gain further clarity for myself, and us, as to the effects on the subject you do specialize in – our sex lives.
So thank you.
Actually, Wayne, I really appreciate your comment. I’m eager to hear people’s actual experiences so that we can better understand what’s happening and find solutions to our remaining problems regarding racism and bias.
And this whole situation has made me think so much about this same prescription I’ve often given for marriage: how important it is to listen, to acknowledge your spouse’s experience and feelings, to be on their side in finding answers, to hold together in hard times. It’s a good way to simply do relationships, personally and communally.
Many blessings to you and your beautiful wife! Thanks for reading and sharing.
Feelings mutual. Blessings to you and Spock, and all who come here seeking answers, and in the right spirit.
Putting a name to that 1 in 5 HD wife.
I’d be happy to have more fun in the bedroom. Ideally 3-5 times a week. My husband seems to be happy with 1-2 times a month.
@Jennifer. Yes, I totally agree! We’ve been married 23 years this month & I’ve finally learned to accept his LD. In our early years, I’d cry myself to sleep because I couldn’t understand why this masculine football coach didn’t want me. I’ve never been a confident woman & it was emotionally devastating not to be ‘wanted’ & I wondered if something was wrong with me. I have made peace with our sex life but it would be wonderful to have sex more than 3-4 times a year. Thank you J for your enlightenment on the topics you present. It’s comforting to know that others deal with the same issues.
I have never snubbed someone because of their race but I have been snubbed by others of a different race. Multiple times. Guess I should specify, I’m a white woman.
As far as the sexual issues, spot on! Just because you haven’t experienced it doesn’t mean it’s not real.
So that first part of your comment: As a white woman, I’ve also been snubbed at times by other races/ethnicities, but (1) pointing that out right now equates to whataboutism, and (2) that shows my very point—that just because you have never snubbed someone and instead you’ve been snubbed doesn’t mean that racism against people of color isn’t real and far too prevalent.
That’s why I felt like this topic lent itself to some conclusions about marriage, which I’m glad you agree with!
I definitely see the parallelism on point 2. But I would say my comment, rather than whataboutism, points out that the ugliness and hurt goes both ways. That was my intent anyways.
And it lends to a sense of fear for me. I’m always afraid I’ve offended someone.
Anon has a point, and she made it well. Rejection hurts, whether it comes from one of “our own”, or from across racial lines. My own experience as far as dating-leading-to-marriage has been virtually the opposite. My wife is the only black woman I ever dated; I have been close friends with a few white women in my time, but only one who I had a closer, longer term intimate relationship with. That didn’t last.
I take J’s point to be mostly about the timing of could be construed as whataboutism, with literally everything so volatile right now. I have certainly experienced hostility from non-whites both spoken and unspoken, and my wife would back me up on that. And we’re free enough in our own relationship that we can be honest about our own and each others’ biases, and deal with them.
From where I sit, it was easier twenty years ago to dismiss someone for “playing the race card”, and I don’t even sense a need to backtrack those occasions when I have. The difference today is this: an imperative need to hear what my black relatives, friends, and the community are really saying. And making as sure as I can that I’m not taking real cases of racism and bias
and wholly legitimate accusations personally, as in “you’re just another racist.” Not that my wife would stand for it! 😉
I suppose it’s hard to imagine how much past experience clouds perception, in racial and sexual issues. Reading Anon’s comments, I was reminded of an incident that left me feeling like an accused racist, and that Americans neither invented racism nor hold a monopoly on it. I was looking at peppers in the produce section of the grocery store, and as there was a woman standing next to me I casually asked her (without really looking at her) if she knew such-and-such about “x” variety. She replied, “I don’t know; I’m not from Mexico.” and walked away. I had asked her because she was standing there, not because of where she might be from, Latin America or otherwise. But her a)assuming that I was stereotyping (latino = knowledge about peppers) and b)being offended at the perceived implication that she was Mexican – which is apparently considered “bottom-of-the-barrel” by other Central/South Americans from what I understand – showed me that even innocent remarks can be taken in the wrong light, and that one does not have to be white to be racist. Then again (and to bring the topic back around to perceptions), this woman may have been especially sensitive due to past experience or being lumped in with all the illegal immigrants, and had our positions been reversed I might have responded the same way.
Maybe, I’m wearing out the term thought provoking, but the topics you are covering are deep. Even Wayne’s comment is deep.
There is a definite problem with the way people communicate with each other in public and within a marriage. Being polite or loving one another isn’t emphasized enough even in our schools. (probably because morals is controversial)
I remind myself that two different couples can be in the same exact situation when a mistake occurs. One couple can discover a non toxic solution and maybe see humor while the other would magnify the mistake bigger than it is and then turn the mistake into a full blown crisis.
No wonder why there are so many divorces in this world, right? Rather than putting the effort to discover solutions, a couple fights to the end and breaks up. Until I finally meditated and prayed to God and shook some sense into me. I would honestly say I fit the “magnifying the mistake” narrative.
You explained the difference of sex and connection and how they eventually merge, very nicely.
You reminding us that we live in a world inhabited by those that don’t have a clue what it means to be emotionally connected, make love, be in love, or not giving up on each other means society has some work to do.
First instead of being self-aware, the shallowness that some practice by making excuses of the physical features of their spouse affecting their own intimate sex drive, probably happens a lot. Case in point, the podcast dude whose own views of a woman’s looks determines whether a man’s sex drive is high or low makes him ignorant and mentally ill if he thinks that degrading a women is going to salvage his ego. (might happen with either sex)
I think he has emotional and physical problem to “rise” to the occasion, so why say something hurtful? Why be mean? When if he realized sexual fulfillment is still possible between the two, but more importantly realizing that mental connection is what keeps the marriage alive. Being emotionally vulnerable with our spouses in any circumstance causes us to emotionally surrender to them.
I’ve mentioned before that agreeing to remind one another to instinctively step on the brakes before stress levels begin to rise, actually strengthened my own marriage. We laugh at mistakes. (in fact we don’t always look at a mistake as a mistake, if that makes sense?)
My lack of communication skills, made my marriage more difficult than it should’ve.
This is so good, J! One thing people have told me is “newlywed sex is the best sex.” It’s really hard when it’s a single person I am talking to because I want them to have healthy and positive expectations but also be ready for adjustments.
That’s such nonsense.
There’s no conceivable way that even makes sense. It took me 18 months before I even had my first orgasm.
I like the anology in “Sheet music”. Apparently the man hands a couple a violin and tells them to play it. If they try, it comes out terrible, which is of course what everyone expected. He then asked if they expect to have amazing sex the first time they try in the light of the experience they just had.
You do realize there was no shooting in the George Floyd death? It was hard to take anything serious after that huge flub.
Wow, huge mistake on my part. Thanks for the heads-up. I changed “shooting” to “killing.” But the rest of the post, the content in my wheelhouse, is well worth taking seriously.
Were those that either condoned, celebrated or participated in the riots, looting and trivializing David Dorn’s death, practicing “whataboutism”?
I believe in my heart, that 99% of all Americans of all races are not about that, sure maybe 5 to 10% peaceful marches. But some of those “peaceful” marches young adults were getting away of being disrespectful to innocent police officers
Reagan said it best: “We must reject the idea that every time a law is broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual for his actions”
Great article about everything.
Again, my post is not about racism. But since you bring it up…David Dorn’s killer was arrested and charged with murder, no bond. (By the way, George Floyd’s killer was given a bond amount.) And yes, some protesters have been disrespectful and even violent to police officers, while some police officers have been disrespectful and even violent to citizens. Let’s definitely deal with lawbreakers, whether they are an average citizen or a cop. Also, the vast majority of protests have been peaceful, and I’ve been in favor of arresting rioters/looters and letting law-abiding citizens simply wanting to exercise free speech and assembly to do so without risk to themselves or law-abiding police officers.
I just wanted to thank you J for opening my eyes about the existence of HD Christian wives. I have heard about secular women who love sex and wanted a lot of it. But among my Christian male friends, we admitted that it was difficult to convince our wives that we needed and want sex. Sex is the last thing on our wives’ list….
Your other 3 myths were never a myth to me. Thank you again for your ministry. Even after 40+ years of marriage, I still hope that our sex life will do a 180 degree turn (I would even settle for 45 degree turn).
I hope for you too! Deeply.
I’d like to see a post showing why you believe that 20% of marriages have a higher-drive wife. It might help persuade others if they see the evidence.
Honestly, I have that info in the book I’m writing. But I’ve heard 15-30% lately, and what I could confirm through good studies is not as high as some have, but rather around 20%.
I can relate to #2 and #3– husband and I dated 4.5 years, and we waited until marriage. I had my own place, he had his apartment, we had little accountability, no one would have known. And yet we mutually chose to wait. We didn’t tell anyone because it was no one’s business, no one even knows now. But I am so glad we did! And I am definitely the high drive spouse, and no I am not ugly 😉 if you saw me in real life you would think my husband can’t keep his hands off me, when that couldn’t be farther from the truth. He is just a lower drive guy who is happy with once a week, when I could go close to every day. There were lots of tears and hurt feelings of rejection from me, and lots of marriage counseling that helped me adjust my expectations, and he is stepping up more for me even when he is not in the mood… it helps that we have spectacular sex when we do have it, it’s just not as often as I like or what I’ve been led to believe that men desire. I hate to say this but there are several popular christian marriage blogs (Not this one) that hurt my marriage because of how they paint men to be all the same. I honestly believed something was wrong with me because my husband did not desire sex every day. And it’s definitely not talked about because NO guy will admit to being lower drive! That’s like admitting that you are less of a man (though that is not the case). So thank you to the other high drive wives raising their hands and speaking up — we are out there and are not alone!
Tory interesting comments. But once a week and you are not happy?? Dear girl, I’m a HD wife and it was try once every 4 months by my 21 yr old LD husband!! I was devastated to say the least. I have very poor self esteem anyways. To me, I was “not very good at it”, extremely ugly and just plain awful as a wife. It has taken me literally 33 yrs to make some sort of peace about this. LD husband has never once explained why and won’t apologize or even talk about it. I have cried, prayed and sobbed to a counsellor more times then I care to remember about this situation. I keep trying to keep my marriage vows in the front of my mind but it has been a long hard slog. I would have been so keen on my LD husband being a “once a week” man especially when we were younger. It just kills me to write this but I guess some of us just aren’t cut out for marriage God’s way. Having said that LD husband is now trying to be more enthusiastic but I can’t help but think it’s too little too late. Best of luck to you tho.
Oh, this breaks my heart! It isn’t about comparing to others, but obviously you have had a difficult marriage, particularly when it comes to sex. I’m glad your husband is trying more now, and I pray that you experience a revival of intimacy. May God heal your heart. I’m saying a prayer for you right now. ♥
I will be praying for you Straw. My husband is the same way and it can feel so very lonely. It may not mean much when things are bad but know that you aren’t alone, there are a lot of high drive wives out there.
Hey J, thanks for a great post. From my humble perspective racism/prejudices have existed since sin entered our world and reflects the broken world we live in. I have been guilty of this and my prayer for years has been to expose any areas in my heart which do not reflect His heart. It’s time to stop defending ourselves and to start making a difference through our own speech and conduct. My daughter is married to a black man and he has received racist comments and attitudes from other black who aren’t as black as him as well as from others who vary in their colour of skin.
Regarding waiting till marriage, my 2 middle kids both waited until they were married before enjoy sex together. To take it a little bit further, my son kissed his wife for the first time on their wedding day! My eldest child? Not so sure and my youngest is still single.
I always believe there is hope, no matter the situation. My wife has always been the LDS is our marriage but we were determined to make our sex life work. Maybe I should say she was determined? She never denied me and I tried to never force her and we probably enjoyed sex 2-3 times a week. Because of our commitment to try and never let our drives become the focal point or reason why we were able to freely talk about our sex life. When we became separated because of covid-19 my wife decided to spend some time with the Lord to work out why and what regarding her low sex drive. She started reading blogs, she attended an online ladies course, she openly shared with me and together we journeyed how to navigate this long time of separation. My wife came to the conclusion that her major hurdle lay in her mind. She is a fiercely determined woman and so she embraced on a mission to love and embrace sex. The upshot of all this is that she now loves sex. I was able to take a repatriation flight to be with her (after nearly 3 months of separation!) and I can honestly say, she is a changed woman, a different woman. We actually decided to face the challenge of 100 days of sex and are currently completely our 17th. It’s been an incredible journey. We are learning so much about each other, our communication has increased exponentially as has our sense of intimacy and connectedness.
So J, sex lives can be turned around and my wife is living proof of that. I did NOT coerce her, force her, strongly encourage her or even hint to her that she should change. I simply sought to love her as she was. Now I’m loving what she is becoming! 😉
Wow, what a great story to share! Thanks.
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With regards to “waiting until marriage” before having sex, let me confess, I did.
Was it hard?
Would I do it again and recommend it to my son? YES.
Still biblical to wait! So many more blessings come from waiting. if not… God wouldn’t have told us to do so.
He knows best!
I entirely agree! I did not wait, and while God redeemed and brought about beauty and joy and holiness, we had obstacles to overcome that would have not been there but for our choices. Kudos to you!
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