Today’s question is from a higher drive wife:
I am the higher drive spouse in my marriage, though not by a big gap. I love finding helpful sexual advice from HHH or similar sources, but often have to invert the advice for husbands and wives, since I am higher drive. After some thought and occasional conversations with my wonderful man, I think one of the reasons I’m struggling is that he’s so content with “same as usual” sex. If I do not take the initiative to put on lingerie, set the mood, flirt, etc, then he is fine with getting into bed with the lights off and initiating sex with me quietly, pretty much out of nowhere, and what I would call “bread and butter sex.” I would prefer more. He is always happy when I make the effort to make it more of an encounter, which I do several times a week, but I’m longing to feel pursued in the bedroom, not just responded to…
He’s often willing to try something, but I have to take the lead. Can you suggest some ways I can help my husband be more adventurous in bed and help him initiate more?
Do you feel like you have a “lazy lover” in bed? You’re having sex, but each time is pretty much like the last and, to be honest, the last one only scored about a C+.
You’re getting fed, sure, but you’re missing out on the feast of sexual intimacy in your marriage! Yet you wonder when you’ll experience that biblical phrase: “Drink, be intoxicated with love!” (Song of Songs 5:1, HCSB). How do you get your guy to raise his goblet and drink his fill? Or pour out a goblet of goodies for you that fully satisfies?
Talk about your desires. Have you talked outside the bedroom about what you’d like to see happening inside the bedroom? Like any other goal in our marriage, it often takes intentionality and conversation to decide together what we want to attain.
Explain what you’d like your sexual intimacy to look like. That can include the build-up toward sexual encounters, how often you each initiate, what practices you’d like to try, what feelings you want to evoke, and the overall mood of sensuality in your marriage. Avoid complaining about the past or the current situation, focusing instead of nurturing sexual intimacy and adventure in your marriage bed.
Just as important, listen to his desires. Ask how he views your sexual intimacy and what he’d like to see happen. If he tries to brush it off saying he’s happy with the status quo, you could tell him you appreciate that, but you’d like to know what would make him even more eager to make love and feel “intoxicated” with your sex life. Be willing to attend to what would make him feel loved. There might be an area of neglect you didn’t know about, that you can then remedy, which could embolden him to engage more.
Turn to helpful resources. If you’re tired of initiating, maybe you can turn up the heat by introducing some love-stoking resources into your bedroom. Get a sexy board game or offer to play Strip Poker or Battleship. Go through sex-focused books for married couples, like Sheila Gregoire’s 31 Days to Great Sex or Kevin Leman’s Sheet Music. Although written primary for Christian wives, you could also go through Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Your Marriage together to spark conversation and sexual intimacy in your marriage.
Purchase some lovemaking coupons or make custom ones. See if he’s willing to try out a new coupon with a fresh idea each week. Make a list of locations or positions you’d like to attempt (I say attempt, because some don’t work out like you’d think…), then refer to the list when you’re ready to make love. (For more specific positions with no explicit pictures, you can check out Christian Friendly Sex Positions.)
Make a point of assessing how things are going, by letting each of you rate the new “adventure.” By the way, I’ve learned with my cooking that the best way to rate recipes is for my family not to say things like, “That was too dry” or “It was too salty” or “Blech,” but rather give a thumbs up or down on whether it’s worth repeating and provide suggestions for making it better next time. I suggest trying that with your bedroom activities. Keep things positive: Ask if it’s a repeat and talk about what you might want to tweak next time around. You might discover some adventurous activities among these ideas that he enjoys and eagerly anticipates repeating.
Pursue deeper answers if needed. If after trying to stir up the sexual fires, his flame is still burning low, you may need to dig deeper and find out why he’s not willing to do more in bed. There are a number of possibilities — ranging from low testosterone levels, to poor teachings about sex that make him feel guilty for being adventurous even with his wife, to past or current porn use that makes arousal more difficult face-to-face. If there’s an underlying reason why he isn’t more engaged in sex, you need to find why and then get on his side to help him through it.
Men typically have a tough time revealing the obstacles they’re facing and asking for help. But open a conversation and encourage him to reveal what’s going on. Let him know you are a safe place for him to dump his concerns, and that you’ll support him in figuring things out and becoming more involved and excited about your sexual intimacy.
I often counsel wives to introduce difficult topics through shoulder-to-shoulder conversation, rather than face-to-face. We women usually want to look each other in the eye, but men often reveal more when you take a side-by-side walk or drive somewhere together or just sit on the couch facing forward. Let him look somewhere else if it helps him talk through what you need to know.
If there are underlying issues preventing him from engaging, resolving those will likely open up your marriage bed to greater adventure. And if you’re the one who needs to be more adventurous in bed, here’s a post to get you started.
Now for my readers, how have you been able to increase your spouse’s sense of adventure in the marriage bed? What has worked well for you?