Tag Archives: christian sex

Sex Struggles in Marriage: Are You Part of the Problem?

Twice in the last two weeks, I’ve screwed up with readers and had to apologize for making assumptions I should not have made. If I explained each situation, you’d understand why I assumed what I did, but that doesn’t excuse my blunder. The fault rests squarely on my shoulders.

Even as I write that, it’s hard to admit, hard to feel the disappointment in myself, hard to fess up to my part.

Why do we struggle to say we’re sorry? For whatever part we had in a conflict? Why do we struggle with it so much in marriage? With it in our sex struggles in marriage?

Self-Preservation

All organisms possess self-preservation, “a natural or instinctive tendency to act so as to preserve one’s own existence” (Merriam-Webster). For humans, that existence includes our sense of self. When we feel attacked, we react in defense.

Interestingly, the two primary motivators of self-preservation behaviors are pain and fear. “Pain motivates the individual to withdraw from damaging situations, to protect a damaged body part while it heals, and to avoid similar experiences in the future,” while ” fear causes the organism to seek safety and may cause a release of adrenaline” (Wikipedia, self-preservation).

I’ve seen this time and time again regarding sexual problems. The pain and fear of what’s happening, or not happening, attacks a spouse’s sense of their self. Rather than ask where or how they might have contributed to problems in the marriage bed, they react defensively. It’s an understandable instinct of self-preservation — to protect themselves from experiencing further damage or to seek safety from the pain and fear they feel.

Defense Mechanisms

We all employ defense mechanisms to preserve ourselves. But we have individual tendencies to use certain ones more often than others.

Before you read on, think about the biggest problem you have regarding sex in your marriage. It may be a huge disconnect that has caused intense conflict or a smaller one that you both want to address. But as I outline six common defense mechanisms, consider that issue and ask which defense mechanisms you relate best to.

Do NOT try to identify your spouse is on this list. At least not yet. Work on yourself first!

1. Denial

“What problem? There’s no problem. I don’t know why my spouse thinks there’s a problem.”

Few people living in denial about sex problems are currently reading this blog post, because the Kings and Queens of De-Nile are unlikely to visit a Christian sex site. However, you may be denying other issues in the marriage that contribute to sexual problems, like relational conflict or porn use.

2. Compartmentalization

“Everything else is great in our marriage. It’s only the sex part that’s an issue.”

This could be true, if you’re dealing with a temporary downturn in intimacy or a physical impediment you need to address. But compartmentalization also happens when someone says the marriage shouldn’t be affected by a lack of sex or that spirituality and sexuality have nothing to do with each other. Truth is, sex struggles may tap into pain or fear, so it’s easier to simply set sex aside and close it off.

3. Projection

“I’m not the one with a problem. My spouse is the one with a problem.”

Again, this could be true if you have a deeply selfish or abusive spouse, but most of us don’t. (If you do, see Are You in an Abusive or Destructive Marriage?) Instead, projection is when we contribute to the problems or feel things we don’t want to feel, and instead of addressing those, we project them onto our spouse. One example is the unfaithful spouse who accuses their mate of cheating, but it could also be something like a refusing spouse who projects onto their spouse the accusation of controlling the marriage bed.

4. Rationalization

“It’s entirely reasonable for me to feel and react the way I do. Because…”

You can recognize rationalization when the sexual problem comes up in conversation, and you immediate have an answer that could be introduced with “Yeah, but…” Then you go on to explain the circumstances that warrant your feelings, actions, and reactions. For example, of course you don’t have more sex because it’s messy and takes too much time. (Concerns which can be addressed, by the way.) Another form this takes is whataboutism, where you rationalize your behavior by pointing out a separate failure of your spouse.

Confession: In a conflict, rationalization and I are practically besties. Sigh. #WorkInProgress

5. Overcompensation

“So our sex life isn’t great, but I do all these other awesome things.”

Compensation is a positive defense mechanism if used as a way to make up for weaknesses with strengths. For instance, I have a sign in my kitchen that reads, “I kiss better than I cook,” to remind my family that my cooking weakness is compensated by my affection for them. But it becomes a problem when we overcompensate, meaning we play the game of “don’t look here, look over here.” We point to what we want our spouse to see, without regard to the problem that matters more to them. This happens with sexual intimacy when a spouse says that they don’t want to have sex but they are a wonderful parent, house manager, breadwinner, etc. Or let’s say he’s demanding in the sack, but he gives his wife a lot of orgasms — whether or not that’s what she cares most about.

(By the way, I still cook and try to make it good. Sometimes, it’s quite good!)

6. Repression

“I don’t know why I’m this way. I just am.”

Repression is difficulty to identify because by definition it’s the unconscious blocking of unwanted thoughts, painful memories, or irrational beliefs. You don’t know you’re doing it, but that buried baggage is still affecting the sexual intimacy in your marriage. It could be as serious as childhood abuse you haven’t addressed or a less severe issue like sexual myths you absorbed. But if you’re having problems with sex and can’t identify the issue, it’s worth asking what you might have repressed for the sake of self-preservation.

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

7. Other Defense Mechanisms

These common defense mechanisms address many struggles I’ve heard, but there are other defense mechanisms, including sublimation, regression, intellectualization, undoing, and more.

If you want to explore further, here are three good lists:

PsychCentral – 15 Common Defense Mechanisms
healthline – 10 Defense Mechanisms: What Are They and How They Help Us Cope
verywellmind – 20 Common Defense Mechanisms Used for Anxiety

Beyond Self-Defense

So we often avoid owning our part of a sexual problem in our marriage through defense mechanisms meant to achieve self-preservation. But is that God’s ultimate calling?

  • “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21).
  • “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” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).
  • “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
  • “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others”(Philippians 2:3-4).
  • “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10).
  • “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

Look, God wants to preserve us. But He’s concerned with preserving the best of us and our unity (see John 17:22-23). In marriage, that unity is called “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:6).

As Christians and spouses, we must be willing to confront our pain and fear and seek deeper intimacy with one another. That requires honesty, vulnerability, and owning our part.

As Christians and spouses, we must be willing to confront our pain and fear and seek deeper intimacy with one another. That requires honesty, vulnerability, and owning our part. @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

I’ve messed up in my own marriage more times than I can count. But I can also see times when things were bad and I made them worse by setting up defense mechanisms to preserve myself at the expense of our relationship. In the end, I created more pain for both of us than we would have had just addressing the problem together, head-on.

Perhaps you can relate?

If you see yourself in this description, start with these two words: I’m sorry. You may be responsible for 90% of the issue or only 10% of the issue, but own your part.

Then begin figuring out how to do something different. What first steps can you take to improve the sexual intimacy in your marriage? Not what can my spouse do (remember projection?), but what can I do? Then pray for God’s wisdom and guidance as you do just that.

4 Research-Based Tips for Better Sex

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been clearing out emails (ever so slowly), including ones I’d received from Google alerts on sex research. I shared a few findings recently with What Research Says You Need for Better Sex), and I’m sharing more today!

Here are four more tips for improving your married sex life.

Clean the House

Last time, I addressed making your bed. But a survey of 1,000 people looked at how the state of their whole home affects their sex life. Apparently, “choreplay” is a real thing. According to researchers: “Over 50 percent of people said they’re more likely to have sex with their partner after they’ve completed household chores, and just over 60 percent said a clean, organized bedroom makes them more likely to have sex.”

How does that work? A good while ago, I wrote a post titled Is Vacuuming Foreplay?, in which I said my husband performing household chores turned me on. I’ve gotten pushback on that idea at times, but the point is not that his cleaning is itself arousing or that I’m “rewarding” my husband with sex like a bartering program.

Rather, hubby cleaning up clears that task to-do off my list, thus reducing my stress levels and making me more likely to get in the mood. Plus, both of us taking care of the house reminds me we’re a team in life — and make a good team in the bedroom too. That perspective is what I’ve heard from many other wives as well. And a few husbands.

Perhaps you should clean up and see how things go.

Source: MBG Relationships – The Surprising Thing That Gets Couples Turned On At Home

Talk (or Make Noise) During Sex

It’s crucial that you and your spouse be able to discuss your sex life away from the bedroom so that you can voice your desires, navigate obstacles, and troubleshoot problems together. However, a study of 398 people also linked sexual satisfaction to verbal and non-verbal communication during sexual activity. Which all boils down to: speak up or make some noise!

One caveat: The study also showed that your partner’s response to your communication style — non-verbal, verbal, moaning like a hyena in heat, whatever — impacts sexual satisfaction. “Given that individuals may be especially vulnerable when engaging in partnered sexual activity, the consequences of a negative partner reaction may have more impact than a negative reaction in a less vulnerable situation.”

We need acceptance and encouragement to express ourselves fully. So make sure you also reassure your spouse and let them demonstrate their pleasure vocally in their own way.

Sources: Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy: Show or Tell? Does Verbal and/or Nonverbal Sexual Communication Matter for Sexual Satisfaction?; MBG Relationships – Why Couples Should Talk More During Sex, According To Science; Explore Health – The One Thing That Leads to More Satisfying Sex, According to Science

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

Eat Chocolate

Ooh, aren’t you glad this one made the list?! Though specifically, it’s dark chocolate, not milk chocolate bars.

Dark chocolate has been shown to promote the release of phenylethylamine and serotonin, two body chemicals that improve mood. In addition, chocolate with 70% or more cacao may lower stress levels and inflammation—thus raising sexual interest and performance.

So why not invest in your sex life with a few nibbles of dark chocolate? Even better, feed each other as part of your sexual encounter! Dark-chocolate-dipped strawberries, anyone?

Sources: Medical Daily – Chocolates For Enhanced Libido: Why And How It Works; Express UK – Low libido: Eating this one thing can help increase your sex drive – what is it?

Run, Cycle, or Swim

Exercise leads to better sex? No shocker there. But a good reminder nonetheless.

Researchers surveyed 3,906 men and 2,264 women who were cyclists, swimmers, runners, and/or multisport athletes about their exercise habits and sexual function. Men who exercised more had less erectile dysfunction, while women who exercised more reported increases in arousal and orgasm.

How much is enough? Well, the biggest gains came with more than I plan to do — 10 hours a week of cycling. But improvements were significant in lesser amounts, particularly at the point of 6-7 hours of moderate cycling per week for men and 5.5 hours per week for women. The likely reason is simple: Exercise yields healthier arteries and better circulation, and that makes for your parts working as they should.

You don’t have to cycle, of course. The study also looked at swimming and running. Though if you see me running, you should run too — because we’re being chased by something we don’t want to catch us. I’d prefer to dust off our bikes and get back to riding together again.

Sources: Bicycling – How You Can Ride Your Way to Better Sex; The Journal of Sexual Medicine – Exercise Improves Self-Reported Sexual Function Among Physically Active Adults

A Quick Word on Research

If you see a sex study reported on a blog, website, or news source, don’t just go by the headline. Believe me, sex studies are not all equal. It’s important to look into who they studied, how the study was conducted, and what cautions are given as part of the results.

Who sponsored the study can also be important information, as commercial entities will sometimes finance research that benefits their bottom line. That doesn’t mean all results from such studies are wrong, but they should be more carefully scrutinized.

All to say: Be cautious. “Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways” (Proverbs 4:26).

Wrapping It Up

Here are the four tips in a nutshell:

  • Clean the house
  • Talk (or make noise) during sex
  • Eat dark chocolate
  • Run, cycle, or swim

Pick as many as you’d like and see how it goes!

And gentlemen, don’t forget to sign up for our upcoming webinar. Hosted by four female marriage and sex bloggers, you’ll get the inside scoop on Understanding Her Sex Drive for only $5! If you can’t make that time, no worries — replay is available.

How the Sexually Rejected Spouse Feels

Not long ago, I posed a simple question in my higher drive wife group.

Over 100 Responses

The 111 answers I received reveal a lot about how a spouse regularly rejected in marriage feels.

Of course we’re not talking about the occasional no or not-now answers that are entirely reasonable within the course of a marriage! Rather, these are emotions experienced by spouses who see a pattern of sexual refusal or disinterest from their spouse.

Instead of writing a lot about their responses, I simply want to share the list of emotions, in hopes that:

  1. Frustrated, higher drive spouses will recognize they are not alone.
  2. Refusing or gatekeeping spouses (not just lower drive, which is normal) can see how emotional sex is for the HD spouse.

Related posts: Is Sex Disconnected from Love for Men?, Do You Personalize Sexual Rejection?

Take the Vow

One caveat, though: We higher drive spouses will now raise our hands and promise the following:

I will not use this post to feed my resentment or anger, but rather to grieve through my own situation and sympathize with others. Moreover, I will not use this post to challenge or berate my spouse for not giving me sex.

Later this week, I will share what those same HD wives believe their LD husbands feel about their situation. Because a big gap in sex drives affects both spouses emotionally. And it’s important to also consider the feelings our spouse is experiencing.

A big gap in sex drives affects both spouses emotionally. @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet
Ad for Pillow Talk: 40 Conversations About Sex for Married Couples

Here’s the List

Question: What primary emotion do you feel as a result of not getting the frequency and/or quality of sex you desire in your marriage?

Adrift

Alone

Angry

Anxious

Apathetic

Ashamed

Betrayed

Bitter

Brokenhearted

Bummed

Cold

Dead inside

Depressed

Desperate

Devastated

Disappointed

Disconnected

Embarrassed

Empty

Fearful

Frustrated

Glum

Grieved

Heartbroken

Helpless

Hopeless

Hurt

Inadequate

Irrelevant

Irritable

Isolated

Jealous (of others)

Lacking confidence

Lonely

Misunderstood

Naïve

Needy

Neglected

Numb

Overbearing

Oversensitive

Pushy

Replaced

Resentful

Resigned

Robbed

Sad

Self-deprecating

Self-doubtful

Selfish

Tearful

Trapped

Ugly

Unaccepted

Undesirable

Undesired

Unimportant

Unloved

Unwanted

Unworthy

Weird

Worried

Don’t Give Up

Those are heavy words to process. But I want to leave off with the encouragement that many couples who’ve been in this place found their way up and out. We hear success stories in that higher drive wife group too, as sexual intimacy in marriages begins to improve with love, intentionality, prayer, and perseverance. The road isn’t always easy, but it’s a path worth taking.

As the higher drive spouse, do you relate to any of these emotions? If you’ve been a reluctant sexual partner in your marriage, did any of these emotions surprise you?

What Research Says You Need for Better Sex

Long ago, I installed Google alerts, a service that culls content for the user according to given parameters. In my case, I asked for phrases like “sex research” and “higher drive wife.” And for nearly two years, I’ve gotten daily emails with links to relevant articles—as well as a lot of irrelevant articles because false positives happen a lot.

As I’ve been going through them, I decided to summarize some of the more interesting ones; particularly those that don’t warrant a full blog post. So here we go!

Embrace New Experiences

This isn’t about new sexual experiences, though you can have those too. Rather, a study of long-term couples published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that when each partner had an opportunity to have novel experiences or develop new skills/perspectives, they had more sex and reported greater satisfaction with sexual intimacy.

The researchers called these “self-expanding activities” and noted the benefits continue. “The benefits of self-expansion for relationship satisfaction are sustained over time, and…effects cannot be attributed solely to increases in positive affect, time spent interacting with the partner or closeness during the activity.”

So go out on the town. Take that trip. Enroll in a class. Explore local nature. Do a Bible study together. Read my Pillow Talk book. Find something where you can learn together and embrace new experiences!

Sources: APA PsychNET – Broadening your horizons: Self-expanding activities promote desire and satisfaction in established romantic relationships; MBG Relationships – Couples Who Do THIS Together Have A Better Sex Life, Study Shows

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

Be a Conscientious Lover

Ruhr University researchers surveyed nearly 1,000 couples about their personalities and their sex lives. For personality, they used the Big Five Framework that measures extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. One trait in particular was correlated to fewer sexual problems and higher sexual satisfaction: Conscientiousness.

The correlation was even higher for women whose male partners were conscientious. “Men who are thorough and dutiful may feel the need to satisfy their partner sexually, which may in turn lead to better sexual function of their partners.” Gotta love that word thorough!

Conscientiousness people are described as organized, reliable, and ambitious. They tend to be intentional and to plan, as in scheduling sex. They take time to get it right. How are you faring on conscientiousness? Need to up your game?

Sources: Inverse – “Big 5” Personality Trait Predicts How Good Sex Is for Couples in New Study; Quartzy – Turns out the best sex actually doesn’t come from hot-blooded passion

Use Cannabis…No, Don’t!

Hey, I want to be honest about the research out there, and if I’ve seen one article, I’ve seen 12 saying mild cannabis use is linked to higher sexual frequency. But notice first the word mild and then ask why this result occurred. Hmm, let’s see… What a shocker that studies showed a substance that relaxes you relates to more willingness to have sex! (And every frat party attendee ever says, “No duh.”)

I included this point because because I want to accurately represent current research, while also showing how we must ask good questions about the results. If cannabis usage is related to more sex, you still have to ask: Should I do cannabis? My recommendation is no, because we have other ways to get that relaxing effect that don’t have some of the drawbacks of cannabis. For example, cannabis may well lower sperm count and affect embryos fertilized from that sperm.

As Christians we need to ask about what we put in our bodies and whether it’s good for us. I plan to stay away from the cannabis. Although I enjoy a glass of wine sometimes—something I figure Jesus would be okay with, given that wedding miracle He performed.

Sources: My SA: Is Marijuana Good for Sex, Bad for Sperm? (I read plenty of others but didn’t keep their links.)

Note: CBD oil is not the same. These cannabis studies are essentially about marijuana.

Believe in Your Body

I’ve talked a lot about the importance of a positive body image, both for women and for men. We should embrace our inherent beauty for our own’s sake and to honor the Creator who crafted it. But research also shows it’s good for your sex life.

In a review of research literature, a study’s authors concluded that “women who are more satisfied with their appearance tend to initiate sex more often and report more orgasms during sex, while both men and women with a better body image tend to be more comfortable discussing sexual topics with a partner.” We also know that communication with your partner about physical intimacy increases sexual satisfaction. So for both genders, body image matters.

I know, I know—easier said than done. But if you’re not feeling great about your body today, take a step in the right direction. Find one thing about your body you’re grateful for—appearance, function, or health-wise. Write it down and read it several times over the next week. Then choose a relevant memory verse to meditate over. I’m a fan of Psalm 149:14: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Next week, do the same thing but with a different trait. And on and on. Begin to believe in the body you have and share with your spouse.

Sources: PsyPost: Positive body image linked to better — and safer — sex; Science Direct: A review of research linking body image and sexual well-being

Make Your Bed

In a study commissioned by a mattress company of 2,000 couples, researchers found those who made their bed had more sex per week (3 times/week) than those who didn’t (2 times/week). And even if you’re not a bed-maker yourself, if your spouse is, it’s a good idea to go with flow on this one. Why? Because 42% of bed-makers consider it a turn-off for their partner to leave the sheets untucked.

Mind you, the bed-makers were also found to be high-maintenance, but if you already married that person, too late. You’re in for a penny, in for a pound. Make that bed and maybe you can add another sexual encounter to your week!

Sources: Toronto Sun – Making your bed can boost your sex life: Study; Happy National Make Your Bed Day! See Our Survey Results

Summing It Up

There you go! Four things to improve your sexual intimacy:

  • Embrace New Experiences
  • Be a Conscientious Lover
  • Believe in Your Body
  • Make Your Bed

Do all of them or pick one to work on, and see how your sex life improves!

Get Off Your Screen & Have Sex with Your Wife

Your wife told me to write that. At least some of your wives.

Yes, this blog is primarily for wives, but today’s post is aimed at the husbands. Specifically, those husbands who are spending time with screens—phone, TV, tablet, computer, gaming systems—when they could be enjoying romance, intimacy, and sex.

Let me start first by saying that I’m not talk about watching porn on a screen. That is a big problem, but I’ve addressed that issue in other places like here, here, and here.

Instead, I’m talking about screen activities that are perfectly fine when used in moderation. It could be social media, video games, reading posts and commenting (yes, I see the irony), or online news—and all of those things are just fine. Except when they get in the way of something better: the intimacy in your marriage.

How much time do you really spend on screens?

Most people underestimate their screen time.

For example, in a recent study of 2,000 baby boomers and millennials—as usual, skipping us Gen Xers, but oh well, whatever, never mind—researchers concluded the average American spends 5.4 hours per day on their smartphone. Yet, 82% of respondents thought their personal screen time was below the national average.

Yet the average viewing time on Netflix is 71 minutes per day. Men spend an average of 96 minutes per day on video games, though “gamers” spend quite a bit more and also tend to watch videos of other gamers to improve their skills.

Do you really know how much time you spend on screens?

I wouldn’t know how to answer for myself, especially since my job has me on a screen for most of my day, and my flexible work schedule means I can be off-the-clock one moment and working the next. But I bet my answer would be less than the actual amount.

You know who might answer more objectively for all of us? Our spouses.

If your wife has said your screen time is excessive, it may be time to do an honest evaluation of where your focus is throughout the day or week.

If your wife has said your screen time is excessive, it may be time to do an honest evaluation of where your focus is throughout the day or week. @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

How much time do you spend with your wife?

Statistics on how much time couples spend together was oddly more difficult to find. However, the UK’s Office for National Statistics suggested an average of 2½ hours per day, and a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family in 2015 found that couples were exclusively together for about 2 hours on weekdays and 3 hours on weekends. Since those match up pretty well, I suspect 2½ hours is a good estimate for couples generally.

However, what’s interesting is the difference in how men and women view time spent together. Note this observation from researchers: “Women report spending about 20 minutes less per day with their husbands than men report spending with their wives, even when diaries show agreement between husbands’ and wives’ activities…. This implies different interpretations of what counts as shared time as opposed to differences in actual time spent together. Evidence shows that husbands would like to have more time with their wives, but women would like more quality time with their husbands rather than simply more time together.”

In practice, this means that if she’s sitting next to you on the couch while you’re on the screen, you may think that counts. But for her, it doesn’t. Your attention is elsewhere, so it doesn’t feel like time spent with her.

But honestly, if your wife told me to write this to you, you’re likely not even spending two hours a day with her. Why not? Didn’t you get married to spend time with this awesome woman who loves you and wants you and shares a toilet with you? (Believe me, as a wife and mom of two boys, regularly sharing a toilet with a man is a sign of love.)

What does this have to do with your sex life?

Well, for starters it’s hard for your wife to have sex with you when you’re not there. Not surprisingly, there’s even research on that count, with a 2007 study of 6,029 couples showing that the less time couples spend together, the less sex they have.

But there are other potential problems as well:

She can’t compartmentalize like you. Plenty of men can shut down the smartphone or video game, switch their mind to thoughts of sex, and engage. Many wives, including higher drive wives, cannot flip the switch that fast. They need time together to ease into lovemaking. So not only could you be less willing, but she may be less willing too, because the build-up time isn’t there.

You’re getting dopamine with screens instead of her. An intriguing study reported that gamers experience fewer problems with premature ejaculation than non-gamers. Sounds great, right? Except “gamers reported lower levels of sexual satisfaction and … one explanation for lower rates of premature ejaculation could be due to gaming’s ability to alter the brain’s reward system. In other words, men who play a lot of video games may be lasting longer in bed because they just aren’t that into having sex.”

What you see on that screen can impact your view of sex. It doesn’t have to be porn for your screen to be showing you something that isn’t good for your sex life. Look up the most popular shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime and you’ll see that most of them are rated MA (mature audience), meaning they feature graphic violence, foul language, nudity, or some combination of the three. Video games feature voluptuous females built nothing like your average woman. Social media can connect you with ex-girlfriends or show you eye candy. Point being that the world sends us messages all the time about what women and sex should look like, and if husbands take large gulps of those messages, they can start expecting their wives or their sex life to look like the fictional version on the screen.

You may be too pooped to pop. Screen usage is not a sport, and yet physical fatigue is a real thing. From eye strain and resultant headaches, to body aches from sitting in a particular pose or hunching over a keyboard/joystick, to muscle tension and consequent exhaustion, you may be wearing yourself out while on your screen. So much so that a tumble in the sheets is a draw on your last reserves.

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

How do you know if you’re on screens too much?

The answer to that question can’t be as simple as: You’re on the screen too much if your wife tells you that you are. Because yeah, some wives have unreasonable expectations or make exaggerations. Just because she says you’re on too much doesn’t mean you are.

But it might. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Has your sexual frequency decreased as your screen-time has increased?
  • Have you skipped or put off meals to stay on your screen?
  • Do you sometimes or often come to bed too late to engage in sex with your (now sleeping) wife?
  • Are you sometimes willing to have sex but feel “too pooped to pop”?
  • Do you regularly respond to your wife’s bids for attention with “just let me finish this” as you gaze at a screen?
  • Have you ever thought gaming or online activity was more enjoyable than sex?
  • Not counting work obligations, how long could you go without screens? (Be honest.)

And the question I asked myself when my husband (many moons ago) was practically addicted to a computer game called Myst:

  • If you died and your wife was asked to identify you, could she do so just looking at your face, or would she ask the coroner to flip you over because she would only recognize the back of your head?

Obviously, no one question—excepting that last one—means you’re definitely the problem. But think about it. Are you wittingly or unwittingly denying yourself and your spouse the pleasure and intimacy you should have because the draw of the screen is so difficult to ignore.

Well, don’t ignore your marriage anymore. Please, get off your screen and have sex with your wife. Like now. (Since you’re finished with my blog post anyway.)