Tag Archives: higher drive wives

How the Sexually Disinterested Spouse Feels

Earlier this week, I shared responses from higher-drive wives asked what they feel about the lack of frequency and/or quality of sex in their marriage. Today, I want to share their responses to a different question.

76 Responses

From a research standpoint, these answers aren’t as useful, because they involve conjecture. While we can express what we’re feeling, it’s more difficult to know what someone else is feeling — unless they tell you.

Even so, the responses are eye-opening and likely accurate. They represent what I’ve researched and heard from sexually disinterested spouses.

Take the vow

Once again, let’s make a promise that:

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.

I’m sharing all this, in hopes that we will recognize how a big gap in sex drive can take an emotional toll on both the higher drive spouse and the sexually disinterested spouse. Indeed, a mismatch in drives is the #1 sexual problem reported by couples.

A mismatch in drives is the #1 sexual problem reported by couples. @hotholyhumorous Click To Tweet

That gap isn’t a problem if you can negotiate the differences, use the opportunity to display empathy and generosity toward one another, and pursue regular sexual intimacy for your marriage. It may be that one of you gets less than their ideal and the other participates more than their ideal, but couples who’ve worked through the mismatch report overall satisfaction with their sex life.

Where it becomes a problem is when the gap is enough that one feels deprived and the other feels pressured or inadequate, two words that show up in the 45 emotions my respondents named.

Without further ado…

Here’s the list

Question: What primary emotion do you believe your HUSBAND feels knowing that you want higher frequency/quality of sex than he is currently giving?

Accepting

Annoyed

Apathetic

Apologetic

Avoidant

Awkward

Broken

Burdened

Clueless

Disappointed

Discouraged

Emasculated

Empathetic (some)

Exhausted

Failure (like a failure)

Fearful

Frustrated

Guilty

Inadequate

Incompetent

Incredulous

Indifferent

Insecure

Insufficient

Irritated

Justified

Lacking self-confidence

Lost

Moody

Obligated

Oblivious

Overwhelmed

Pitiful

Pressured

Pushed away

Remorseful

Resentful

Resigned

Sad

Shamed

Sorry

Stressed

Tainted (by porn use)

Tested

Unsure

By and large, the most common statement from these higher drives wives was something like “he feels like less of a man.” The emotion named was emasculated. (See A Letter to the Low Drive Husband.)

That’s not what you’d hear about sexually disinterested wives, but the other emotions listed above apply — like burdened, obligated, resentful, and sad.

But aren’t sexually disinterested spouses obligated?

Sometimes a husband or wife (usually husband) writes me with the request that I demand their spouse have sex with them. Because after all, “they’re commanded to do so in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5.” I then point out that this passage is about mutuality not selfishness, that their situation is not easy on their spouse either (see emotions list!), and that you get a lot more lovin’ when you approach your spouse with love! Agape love specifically.

We need to put ourselves in the other’s shoes and imagine the situation from that angle.

  • What if having sex made you feel desirable and cherished, but your spouse refused to have it with you?
  • What if you received little pleasure from sex, but your spouse demanded it regularly?
  • What if you became moody and sad during sexual dry spells in your marriage?
  • What if your spouse seemed to only meet your emotional needs when they wanted sex?
  • What if you felt your spouse’s lack of desire indicated that you were “less than” —less than attractive, less than worthy, less than loved?
  • What if you didn’t want sex because of your bad past experiences, but you didn’t know how to tell your spouse?
  • What if…

I don’t know your marriage’s “what if,” but all too often we don’t know for our marriage. We haven’t asked how our spouse feels about the situation. Or we asked, got a shallow answer, and stopped pursuing more. Or we got an answer but didn’t like the answer or didn’t let sink in and elicit empathy.

What’s the solution?

Here’s where my SEO and book sales would go up if I said: YOU CAN SOLVE THE SEXUAL DESIRE GAP IN YOUR MARRIAGE WITH THESE 5 EASY STEPS! And then I outlined the steps and made them sound quick and doable like a Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days commercial. Fortunately — or unfortunately for my pocketbook — I’m much more interested in telling you the truth.

The truth is that the solution depends on:

Your specific situation

Is the sexual disinterest due to relational problems? Medical issues? Past abuse? Something else? Is the HD spouse reasonable in their expectations? Pressuring for unwanted activities? Using porn? Something else?

The specifics of why there’s such a big gap matter. A proper diagnosis is needed for proper treatment.

Your and your spouse’s willingness

One spouse can have great influence and encouragement for a marriage to get on track. But eventually, you both have to be willing to work on your sexual intimacy.

You simply cannot make your spouse do something they don’t want to do. (If you do, that’s called abuse, by the way.) That said, you making changes could push things in the right direction.

Your understanding of God’s design

If you believe myths about sex, you’ll prescribe the wrong solutions and not get anywhere. Or your gains will be short-lived. (See our podcast episodes on Lies Women Believe: Part 1 and Part 2, Myths from Pop Culture.)

With the foundation of the Word of God and the truths about sex as God intended it, however, you can begin to see what a loving response would be to your particular situation. Moreover, you’ll know what you’re aiming for and the benefits of having that level of intimacy with your spouse.

Your resources

Access to necessary or useful resources can make a big difference. For instance, if a sexually disinterested spouse experienced childhood abuse, being able to see a trauma counselor could be the most important piece for building fresh intimacy. Likewise for porn recovery programs, Christian counseling or sex therapy, or a medical specialist to address physical issues.

Many couples don’t require that level of intervention. Rather, they need resources like mine, that help you understand God’s design, communicate more effectively, and experience greater pleasure in your marriage bed. Or they can use my resources to supplement those other interventions.

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Take the first step

Regardless, the first step is talking to your spouse about the gap in sexual desire. For those who say they’ve talked about it a whole lot already, I suggest you clear the air and start over. That is, tell your spouse you know it’s been a point of contention and the topic makes both of you tense, but you want to start over and really understand their viewpoint better.

And then … do that. Ask questions and spend more time listening than talking. My book, Pillow Talk, can help with that, but you may need to introduce the conversation on your own before getting your spouse on board with going through my (fabulous) book. (You can download a sample here to see and share with your spouse what it’s like.)

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Now that I think about it, maybe your first step should be prayer, followed by opening up that conversation. As I write this, I’m saying a prayer for you — that you can address the big gap in desire in marriage, listen and show empathy, and figure out what the next step should be.

And I pray that that many more couples will begin to describe their sexual gap with emotions like optimistic, hopeful, contented, and loved.

As the sexually disinterested spouse, did you relate to any of this list of emotions? If you’re the higher drive spouse, did any of those emotions surprise you?

High-Drive Wives Are Not Crockpots

Have you heard the saying that, when it comes to sexual intimacy, “Men are microwaves, women are crockpots”?

The message is that men heat up quickly, while women take longer to warm up and reach readiness. Now some have argued this is a poor analogy since it assumes the woman will heat up, which isn’t always true for low-drive wives.

But it also misses the high-drive wives by a mile. Thankfully, we have a new appliance that captures the high-drive wife perfectly!

Sketch of a crockpot with blog post title

In fact, I discovered this quite by accident. I recently established a closed Facebook community for higher-drive wives, and as I was going through requests (yes, I’m behind), a number of them were also part of a Facebook group called the Instant Pot®­ Community.

If you haven’t heard of an Instant Pot, first of all, where have you been? Secondly, it’s much like a slow cooker in shape and plug-in, but it performs several tasks—among them, warming, sautéing, slow cooking,  and pressure cooking. That’s it—the perfect metaphor for the high-drive wife!

She has higher sexual interest than her husband, but she still has sexual responses typical to a woman. It’s not that every single second she’s zapping with sexual energy. Rather, she goes through all of these.

Warming.

Sometimes the sexual interest of a high-drive (HD) wife is simply on warm. She’s not heated up and “ready to serve,” but rather she’s resting in that state of could be interested. For most higher-drive spouses, the sexual interest is rarely gone, but rather it hums in the background.

For most higher-drive spouses, the sexual interest is rarely gone, but rather it hums in the background. Click To Tweet

It’s warm, but not eager. Ready, but not antsy. There, but not prominent.

Slow Cooking.

Even if she started out warm, sometimes an HD wife still needs to be “slow-cooked” in the bedroom. That is, having higher sexual interest does not mean her body necessarily cooperates with where her mind and desire are.

Many wives have more reactive than proactive sexual responses. That is, when the sexual cycle was originally proposed, it considered the male experience:

Desire → arousal → plateau → orgasm → resolution

But for many women, things can be less straightforward. For instance, this isn’t an unusual experience for wives:

Desire → arousal → arousal → arousal → plateau → orgasm → plateau → orgasm → resolution

As you can imagine, it can take longer for the wife to get there than the husband. Even if she started out with more sexual desire than he had. It’s often a good idea for husbands to slow down the arousal phase, even if she’s generally excited about making love.

Steaming.

An HD wife knows what being “steamy” feels like. Sexual awareness hangs over her like late-summer humidity by a Louisiana swamp. Sights and sounds and smells of her husband can trigger desire and even arousal.

These moments might coincide with hormonal peaks in her cycle, but that’s not necessary. The warmth she typically feels has risen to full-on heat, and she can be ready to initiate or respond in the same 5-7 minutes it takes to steam broccoli.

Sautéing.

Sautéing takes about the same amount of time as steaming, but it places the food closer to the heat and adds a little oil. While I’m sure I could draw some analogy from the inclusion of oil (oh, the possibilities…), I’m going to bypass that one and stick with the heat.

But this is when HD wives are very likely to initiate. They feel heated up, eager to make love, and want to sizzle in the marriage bed. Eagerness and excitement underlies sexual interest, and arousal is right behind or even taking the lead.

Pressure Cooking.

Slow cooking pinto beans takes about five hours, while pressure cooking them takes about 25 minutes. How does pressure cooking work? It keeps water and steam consistently above a boiling point, substantially shortening cook times.

Likewise, HD wives can reach the pressure cooker point when it’s been a while between sexual encounters. The steam and heat have built up, and they long for a release. This isn’t to say that lovemaking is merely physical for them, but oftentimes the longer a higher-drive spouse goes without sexual contact, the more they experience a physical urge. There’s an intensity and urgency to their sexual desire.

Now I recognize you all can tear apart my analogies if you feel so inclined, but the main points I want to make in this post are:

  1. HD wives (of which they are many) often do not fit neatly into certain stereotypes about female sexual desire.
  2. HD wives often do fit into other stereotypes about female sexual response.
  3. HD wives have varied responses, just like those multicookers we call Instant Pots.®

Does that make HD wives complicated? I suppose. But then aren’t all women a bit complicated? If you didn’t want complication, hubbies reading this, you should have gotten a dog. Mind you, it won’t care for you when you’re sick, you’ll have to pick up its poop, and you definitely aren’t getting sexual intimacy, but Fido will be easier to figure out.

Frankly, most husbands think the puzzle of their wives is worth it. Especially when you both enjoy all kinds of intimacy in marriage.

For more on HD wives, check out the following posts:

I Am the Higher Drive Spouse (or Yes, Rejection Hurts)
Confessions of a Higher-Drive Spouse
A Letter to the Low Drive Husband
3 Things Higher-Drive Spouses Long For

For those wives who are lower drive, please don’t feel that HD wives have it easy. Every marriage has a lower drive and a higher drive spouse, and the couple has to work through that. And if you’re really struggling, please check out Sheila Gregoire’s Boost Your Libido course and/or Bonny Burns’s Unlock Your Libido book.

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Why High-Drive Spouses Get Frustrated Reading Comments

In my graduate counseling program, I took a class about diagnosing and treating various psychological disorders. When we reached the section on eating disorders, I distinctly recall the professor saying something like, “You cannot put bulimics and anorexics in the same support group. To the bulimics, the anorexics are successful weight-losers, so they end up feeling worse and more compelled to starve themselves.”

Now my actual experience in working with eating disorder clients is zero. So I cannot attest personally to that wisdom, but it made some sense to me that there are just some groups you don’t want to put together. It’s too tempting to make comparisons, feel worse about yourself and your situation, and draw conclusions that harm you more in the long run.

This is how I sometimes feel about high-drive wives and high-drive husbands reading each other’s comments on my blog.

Blog post title + woman sitting at laptop, screaming, and holding hands on other side of head

I can’t tell you how many times a higher-drive wife has said something like, “It’s so discouraging to read about all those husbands who are eager to have sex in their marriage when I can’t get my husband interested in me.” And the same from higher-drive husbands too.

Faced with comments from high-drive spouses of the other gender, when you’re struggling with your own low-drive spouse, it can be easy then to do one or more of the following:

  • Feel even worse about your circumstances
  • Believe your spouse doesn’t really love you
  • Push your spouse even harder to meet your sexual needs
  • Imagine there’s something seriously wrong with you or your spouse
  • Fantasize about being with someone whose libido matches yours
  • Throw up your hands and give up

Not a single one of those options is a positive development for your marriage, but I understand why you might go there. It’s tough to be struggling and see that others have it not only easier, but seemingly really easy.

What can you do when you read comments like those? How can you avoid having a swarm of negative emotions rise to the surface? Let’s talk about some options.

1. Recognize it’s just one area of life. Obviously, I believe it’s an important area of marriage, or I wouldn’t spend most of my time here writing about sexual intimacy. However, sex isn’t the only kind of marital intimacy. And marriage isn’t the only thing going on in your life either. I know couples with great marriages who’ve dealt with ongoing stress and emotional pain from caring for a disabled family member, grieving the loss of a child, facing financial hardship, and much more.

When you’re struggling in an area where someone else seems to be doing well, it can appear that everything is unicorns and rainbows in their world while you’re living through a personal apocalypse. That’s just not true. Everyone has problems, and you don’t always know what challenges someone else is facing in their life.

2. Be grateful for what you have. This is the flip side of encouraging you to not focus all the time on what you don’t have. Rather, seek out and positively reinforce the good happening in your life and your marriage. Very few things are all bad or all good; rather, we have helpings of both. Look for what’s working and celebrate that.

Indeed, by focusing on the good in your spouse and your relationship, you might encourage an atmosphere in which you can start dealing with your challenges in sexual intimacy. We all tend to be more successful working problems from a place of strength and encouragement. And if after searching and searching, you can’t find anything  in your marriage to be grateful for, then it’s time to go talk to a Christian counselor.

3. Pay more attention to the low-drive comments. If you’re a higher-drive wife wanting to get a husband on board with more sexual intimacy, what you need are ideas of how you can reach out to a lower-drive spouse. Focus in on what low-drive spouses say about why they don’t want sex as much. Could some of those issues be present in your marriage? How could you address them?

Recalling the testimonies I’ve heard, I can’t think of a single marriage bed that improved without one spouse making an effort to understand where the other one is coming from. What often happened is one spouse went first in becoming more sympathetic, and the other followed. Read the other side for low-drive spouses and start building your sympathy for what your own spouse is going through. Develop a better understanding of what’s happening so you can address the issues.

4. Stop reading comments. If you know that reading the comment section is going to sink your heart and make you feel worse about your marriage, why do you do it? You could do other things with your time, like read other informative blogs or marriage books or take a walk or go sit with your husband and watch a show.

I know you’re desperately looking for answers. I want so much to give you help and hope, but if you’re not getting it here in the comments section, or even in my posts, maybe you need to try something else. Blogs are one part of marriage ministry, but there are many other resources and maybe something else would work better for you. (Also see Should You Be Reading My Blog?)

One final note to high-drive husbands. I want to address something I’ve seen ongoing on my blog and Facebook page, when high-drive husbands say something like, “I can’t imagine a man not wanting sex as much or more than his wife” or “If your husband doesn’t want sex, something’s wrong with him.” I know you’re speaking from experience and trying to help, but it’s really not helping higher-drive wives and lower-drive husbands.

I rarely hear from low-drive husbands, because what guy is going to risk having his Man Card taken by confessing that he doesn’t have a high libido? Too many men are not getting help and addressing a mismatch of sex drives in their marriage because they are embarrassed to speak up.

The truth is that in the majority of marriages, the husband is indeed the higher-drive spouse, but a substantial minority of marriages, estimated at 15-30%, have higher-drive wives. That’s millions of men whose wives want more sex than they do. So please don’t treat it like it’s a rare disorder or a lack of masculinity, because it just isn’t. Thank you.

Remember that we all see our world from our own lens. Let’s get rid of the smudges of comparison on our lenses and look at our own marriages clearly, positively, and hopefully. As Theodore Roosevelt or Dwight Edwards (depends on who you ask) said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” In turn, I believe hope is a bringer of joy. Focus on hope.

And be sure to listen tomorrow to our next Sex Chat for Christian Wives podcast episode on Mismatched Sex Drives.

5 Truths for High-Drive Wives

When it comes to sexual intimacy, I’ve had an interesting journey. I’ve been the virgin, the “technical virgin,” the so-not-a-virgin, the redeemed bride, the lots-of-sex newlywed, the no-libido wife, and the higher-drive wife. Sometimes I wonder if God allowed me to be put in all of these scenarios so that I can have compassion for people in different circumstances.

As 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Although every situation is unique, there’s something about the general been there, done that which makes you understand someone else’s struggle just a bit more.

So believe me when I say that I’m very sensitive to those wives who read, hear, and see the constant message that men are incredibly eager to have sex … yet their experience doesn’t bear that out. As a high-drive wife, I remember falling into conversations with other Christian women and feeling like a penguin in a tropical forest — the only one of my kind and completely out-of-place. Was I the only wife who wanted more sex in her marriage?

5 Truths for High-Drive Wives

On Monday’s post, I responded to a comment thread about a higher-drive wife with the following:

When we’re going through a tough situation, it’s so easy to feel like everyone else is doing okay in that area and you’re alone in your misery. But…this isn’t some freakish thing for a wife to be the higher-drive spouse or for a husband to be less interested in sex. As I read and study this issue more and more, I’ve become convinced it’s maybe 1/4 of marriages. That’s hardly a small number!

Look at it this way: As of 2014, there were over 59 million married women in the United States. If 25% of those are higher-drive wives, that 14.75 million women whose husbands aren’t pawing at them all day long. Even if it’s 10%, that’s still 5.9 million wives. Hey, just imagine I’m completely wrong, and it’s 5% — still almost 3 million women. It just might help to put this into perspective and realize that, while a difference in sex drive can be a challenge that needs addressing, being the higher-drive wife doesn’t make you as rare as a dodo bird — far from it.

Today, I just want that to sink in for all of you higher-drive wives. There are millions of women like you. You are not alone.

I know that doesn’t solve your problem of libido differences with your husband. But sometimes we need start by recognizing some truths about what’s normal. So let me speak five truths to you higher-drive wives wondering a few things about yourself:

1. You are normal.

You cannot find me a Bible verse, a biology textbook, or a quality marriage expert that says there’s anything wrong or weird about the female having the higher libido. Frankly, I’m thinking we should move away from talking about what’s typical or normal versus atypical and abnormal, and instead talk about what’s healthy and unhealthy. And desiring your spouse sexually is absolutely healthy.

2. You are not a “nympho.”

Well, admittedly, someone out there might be. But overall, wanting sex more than your husband doesn’t make you a crazed sex fiend or a “slut” or any of the other labels that might float through your head from time to time. Would you ever let a friend call herself such awful names? Then why would you let your inner voice call you any of those wrong, hurtful names even one more time? Speak the truth about who you are.

3. You are not ugly.

Given the ongoing messages about men being driven to have sex, and women being less interested, when you discover your situation is different, the first question often asked is “What’s wrong with me?” You wonder why he doesn’t want you the way you expected any red-blooded male would dive into the opportunity to have sex. But there are only a handful of times I’ve heard of sexual rejection being appearance-based. And if your husband is rejecting you because you gained a few pounds or whatever, then you’ve got bigger issues than a mismatch in sex drives.

4. You are not alone. 

It’s not true that no one else in the world understands your heartache. Other women in similar situations need your encouragement, and you need theirs. My hubby and I took the popular Marriage Helper course twice, and the first time I was the only woman in our small group who listed Sexual Fulfillment as one of my top marriage needs; the second time around, there was a like-minded wife in the class (bless her!), and it was affirming to have another wife who understood. Thank goodness we were both wiling to speak up!

5. Your sex drive matters.

In marriage, both of you matter — his sex drive and yours. Ideally, you work together to find physical intimacy that pleasures and sates you both. If the lower-drive spouse isn’t there yet, it doesn’t mean the higher-drive spouse should squelch their natural desire to be sexually intimate with their beloved. You may have a bigger hill to climb to get to where you want to go, but start walking. Because your sex drive, and your sex life, matters — to you and to your marriage. God wants you to both enjoy satisfying sexual intimacy, and that’s a goal worth pursuing. You will likely need patience, wisdom, and perseverance, but aren’t those qualities we always need when we’re stretched to grow in our lives?

I hope you can hear these truths, and remind yourself of them often. I have a whole chapter in Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design just for higher-drive wives, with specific ideas on how to proceed. But start with knowing who you are — a healthy, desirable wife, who simply has a challenge to be addressed. And then pray to know that next step.

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Q&A with J: When It Comes to Sex, My Husband Says I’m “Too Much”

Two weeks ago, I focused on some reasons why a husband might be saying no to sex in his marriage. In that post, I featured portions of three questions from higher-drive wives. Today, I want to cover one of those questions in more detail:

Please can you help me with learning how to cope with my husband who has been telling me “no” to sex? Can you tell me how I can understand why he acts uninterested and says he is tired? I know this is common now. Wives having the higher drive.

My husband said to me tonight no to sex because he is tired and that we just had sex last night. I am getting upset because we are in our early 30’s. I am 30 and just recently in the past 6 months have been more interested in sex. Six months ago, I initiated a whole conversation about making time for sex and increasing frequency. He seemed to try but now I see him saying no again and saying he is tired if I want it “too often.”

I can’t help but to feel unsexy, fat and undesirable even though I am somewhat back in shape I just had a baby turn one year old.  How can I get my husband to see my side of this? That I don’t like his attitude towards sex that he is not excited for it. Mainly he doesn’t seem to want to increase frequency. He says I am too much. It seems the tables have slowly turned and now I am the one who has to seduce him and initiate sex. I just want to feel wanted and loved.

Q&A with J: When It Comes to Sex, My Husband Says I'm "Too Much"

When a higher-drive spouse is dealing with a lower-drive spouse, perhaps the hardest step is simply getting that person to agree that the lack of sexual intimacy is a problem that must be addressed.

Most lower-drive spouses admit there’s a problem — but they often think that problem is you. If their higher-drive spouse would simply lower their expectations, douse their desire, and leave them alone, they think things would be much better. Therefore, many conversations about sex tend toward them either complaining about your “overdrive” or rebuffing the topic altogether.

But what you want is to somehow invite the lower-drive spouse to actually address the issue with you — to see that it’s a problem for your marriage. Start with that goal in mind: You’re aren’t trying to immediately raise their sex drive, but rather get you two on the same page of feeling that you have to work together on the problem.

I don’t have all the particulars of this situation, but here are a few tips that might help.

Talk about us, not me. Higher- or lower-drive, many spouses approach the issue by talking about how they are affected. “I’m not getting my sexual needs met.” “I don’t feel desirable.” “I can’t take this anymore!” Those are entirely legitimate feelings, but expressing those to your husband puts him in defensive mode. Especially if this is your go-to method of discussing sex in your marriage. You may have unwittingly contributed to this topic being an off-limits discussion, because your spouse emotionally shuts down the moment you bring it up, knowing they’ll be criticized.

You have to talk about us, in terms of the physical intimacy you want your marriage to have, the pleasure you want to experience together, the concerns you have about the obstacles he’s facing regarding sexual intimacy. In every way you can, address the issue of lack of frequency as a we problem in your marriage, and communicate that you are on his side.

Talk about goals, not grudges. Even though we’ve heard that love “keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5), many of us spouses have a difficult time turning off our long memory of being slighted by our mates. When contentious topics arise, we could easily tick off our spouse’s infractions one-by-one to build a case of why we’re right and he’s wrong.

You may have years of solid evidence that your hubby has been neglectful about sexual intimacy. I have enormous sympathy for your pain, and God knows your pain far more than I do. Yet He tells us, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32). Tough stuff, huh?

Replace your longing to vent about your understandable hurt and consider your end goal. Do you want him to feel bad for making you feel bad? Do you expect to somehow establish your right to marital intimacy? Do you hope to win him to your side through forceful persuasion? You absolutely have rights to marital intimacy (1 Corinthians 7:3-5); however, your goal is for your husband to desire marital intimacy as well.

So talk about your goals of more connection in your marriage, shared passion, and sexual intimacy that honors your Heavenly Father. Set the first goal of you two being united in mind: “Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).

Talk about what you will do, not demand he will do. Grown-ups understand they can’t change others, but they can influence others. That means you can make decisions that positively influence in your husband in the right direction. Getting into your specific situation, let me suggest a few things:

Build your own self-confidence, without relying on his reassurance. Most husbands who don’t desire sex still believe their wives are beautiful; the lower libido isn’t about your appearance. While it’s important for husbands to help their wives feel beautiful, ultimately we wives must nurture our own sense of beauty. I’ve had a whole series on Feeling Beautiful with that in mind.

Feel free to let him know that you feel good about yourself, that you are taking care of your body, that you believe you’re a desirable woman. Confidence is sexy, and whining about our appearance . . . not so much.

Don’t believe the “too much” line. In fact, if he gives that line, I might well retort, “My sex drive may be higher than yours right now, but I think it’s healthy that I desire you so much.”

Hey, I lived with a cloud over my head for years because I enjoyed sex more than the church ladies I grew up around would have approved, and I wondered if maybe I was a bit much. No, ma’am! In Song of Songs, couples are urged to “be drunk with love” (5:1). Other translations say “intoxicated.” The point is that, when it comes to sex in marriage, God gives us full permission to aim for “too much.”

Set up a plan for sexual intimacy. Tell him you’d like to have sex a certain number of times a week/month. Aim lower than you want, but higher than you’re getting. Talk about how this could be accomplished. Would he prefer to initiate when he feels up to it? Would he rather set a certain day each week that you can count on? Would he like for you to initiate?

Then follow through. If he doesn’t initiate, don’t demand that he meet the standards you set. Instead, initiate yourself, and if he balks, remind him that you waited for his initiation but you’d like to go ahead. Sometimes when lower-drive spouses know it’s coming, that anticipation helps them to prepare better than spontaneous advances.

Talk to God and trusted others. Lay your burdens before God. He knows your aching heart, and He binds up the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3). Consider getting Christian counseling to help you sort through what’s happening. It may help to have a counselor, pastor, or mentor listen to your feelings and give you wise advice on what you can do.

I appreciate you letting me be a “trusted other.” So I encourage you to also read some of my posts about higher-drive wives with various specific ideas on tackling this oh-too-common problem.

Let me assure that you can walk through this dry season and find lush, evergreen sexual intimacy in the future. I pray that future is very soon.