Tag Archives: higher sex drive

Q&A with J: Do Women Like Sex?

I had to pare down the reader question today. There was some more background, but I included enough to get to the core of this husband’s question:

My wife and I have been in marriage counseling for almost a year with little progress. There are several issues in our marriage but one of the most disappointing is that we only have sex once or twice a year. Several of those years have gone by without any sexual contact at all. The longest we have gone is over a year and a half. This has gone on for 37.5 years. You are probably wondering why I would allow this situation to go on so long. The only answer that I can give you is that our relationship has been the perfect storm

I want you to know that I am doing and have done everything I can think of or that either therapist suggests to make this marriage work. I love my wife and have no intention of leaving my marriage unless she drives me off.

Ok, so here is my question, my sister-in-law is an RN and she and my wife are good friends. She is upset that I am making waves and has said that since I tolerated this behavior for more than 37 years I should just continue to tolerate it. Besides, she claims, that woman do not like sex and only do it because their husbands demand it. She says that sex should be quick and that anything over 30 minutes is much too long. Our therapist has commented that in the context of sex, I think like a woman stereotypically thinks and my wife thinks like a man. I am a hopeless romantic who prefers long love-making sessions that include lots of touching and kissing. I didn’t get much touch when I was little, at least not the good kind. She shows me very little affection or tenderness which, I have told her are my top two needs.

In your experience, is my sister-in-law right?

Q&A with J: Do Women Like Sex?

I’m going to digress a bit, but hang in there with me because I’ll connect the dots in a moment. As much as I love history, I don’t know how I could have lived before indoor plumbing. If I had lived in the days when outhouses were the norm and that’s what I’d known for 37 years and then one day someone said, “Hey, you don’t have to squat down in a stinky wooden shack in the backyard with bad weather seeping through and insects or snakes threatening. You could just shuffle down the hallway from your bedroom and use a bathroom closet which will flush away what’s left behind.” Well, I can guarantee you that I’d not spend another day steeped in the smell of poop in last year’s latrine. I’d install an indoor toilet immediately!

Which brings me to this: So what if you did something that stunk to high heaven for 37 years?! If you find out there’s a far better option — something God Himself wants you to have — why wouldn’t you pursue that alternative? Saying “you put up with it before” is not an argument for continuing. Step out of the stink and shoot for the intimacy you and your wife should have!

I’m not saying there are guarantees that you’ll get everything you want, or as soon as you want. But it seems wholly preposterous to me not to desire a deeper connection and to foster that intimacy as best you can.

Yet you asked a more specific question: Is your sister-in-law right? Is it true that women don’t like sex? That wives only do it because their husbands demand it? That 30 minutes is more than enough for a sexual encounter?

Let’s put those assertions up against what God said about sexuality in His Word.

“Women don’t like sex.” Just a few verses into Song of Songs, the wife says this: Take me away with you—let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers” (1:4). That sounds to me like a woman eager to get to her marriage bed. Later she says the following:

  • “How handsome you are, my beloved! Oh, how charming! And our bed is verdant” (1:16)
  • I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love. Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love. His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me” (2:3-7).
  • “Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages. Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom—there I will give you my love” (7:11).

I could go on. But a whole bunch of women have also commented on this blog, written me in emails, and spoken to me personally about how much they enjoy the sexual act in their marriages. Plenty even have a higher drive for sexual intimacy than their husbands.

And lots of gals are orgasming out there. *waving at grinning wives* Not everyone, of course, which is why there’s a whole orgasm chapter in my book, Hot, Holy & Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design. But enough to know that a fair amount of women like sex, want sex, enjoy sex.

So no, one-half of the population does not automatically dislike sex simply by virtue of being female.

“Women have sex because their husbands demand it.” Deuteronomy 24:5 says: “If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.” This has often been interpreted, and I agree, as one year to build intimacy in your marriage, including sexually satisfying your wife. Indeed, the traditional Jewish viewpoint of sex in marriage is that it’s the woman’s right and a husband should do his duty by providing sexual intimacy and making it pleasurable for her.

And in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 says that wives have the same conjugal rights as husbands. Why bother stating that husbands owe their wives sex if the wives wouldn’t ever want sex?

Then, there’s the issue that husbands shouldn’t be demanding sex. No, no, no. There’s nothing Christ-like about that approach. Would God create men to demand sex and then instruct them, “Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:28-29)? Or how about this outright command? “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:19). Unwanted sex is pretty harsh.

Rather, God created sex to be a mutual experience, desired and enjoyed by both husband and wife. Will they desire it exactly the same way, or with the same frequency? No — perhaps because having to work at it a bit forces us to get past our own selfishness and act in love toward our mate. A higher-drive husband should pursue activities that make his wife feel cherished and desirable, and a lower-drive wife should commit to making sexual intimacy and pleasure a priority.

“Sex should be quick.” Song of Songs 2:16-17 says: My beloved is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies. Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the rugged hills.” Translation? “We did it all night long.” Hmmm.

Hey, I’m not opposed to quickies. They have their place in marriage. However, a diet of quickies would be like eating fast food all the time. It might take off the hunger edge, but it’s not the delicious experience you should have from dining out.

When I looked up the typical time for women to reach climax, the averages reported ranged from 4 minutes to over 20 minutes. Not sure which studies to believe… However, women I’ve talked to say it rarely happens in less than 10, and several take 30 minutes or more. Whereas lots of guys can get it done quicker, although hubbies tend to last longer as they age. Even so, this isn’t like going from zero-to-sixty in a sports car where less time is more impressive. It’s not how quickly you can make sex happen; it’s what length of time fosters real intimacy.

And most couples need time to build anticipation, romance, and desire. Physically speaking, it takes time to arouse a woman enough for her to even be ready for intercourse, since she must be well-lubricated and her inner vaginal lips swollen to 2-3 times their usual size. Then there’s the vulnerability and wonder of being naked together, viewing and touching one another’s bodies. Not to mention the act itself, which can take a bit of time to pull off. If you rush all that, it can feel rote and impersonal. Couples should devote enough time to sexual intimacy for it to actually feel intimate.

Now all of this doesn’t fix where you are in your marriage. I have a bunch of blog posts about how to approach your lower-drive wife and dealing with sexual problems in marriage — so many that it feels a little overwhelming to list them here. I encourage you to use that search tool at the top right of this page and see what you can find. May God heal you, your wife, and your relationship!

HHH coverIn Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, author J. Parker gives candid advice for wives on everything from kissing to oral sex to orgasm to sexual positions all from a Christian perspective.

Ebook:

Amazon / Kindle | Christianbook.com | Kobo | Barnes & Noble / Nook

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Q&A with J: Why Doesn’t He Want Sex?

My inbox currently has several messages with the same theme — a wife longing for her husband to desire sexual intimacy as much as she does. It seems to be increasingly common. Here’s a sample of what these wives say:

#1 – 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. . . . 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.

#2 – When we got married, I was a little taken back by his lack of interest in intimacy. . . . I avoid talking to him about our sex life because it only frustrates him and he says “I just don’t know what’s wrong!” I understand this is completely out of our control, so I try to dismiss it and not let him know it bothers me. It brings up feelings of rejection when I “make a move”  and he isn’t in the mood, it brings up insecurities and feelings of being unattractive.

#3 – I honestly don’t know if we’d ever have sex if i didn’t initiate it. Still to this day, I almost always have to initiate. And it drives me crazy! Thankfully, your blog has helped me learn how to communicate a little better how i feel and what i want. But i feel like we have the same conversation over and over again. I have told him that I need him to initiate more often, and he’ll do it like once but then if I don’t do it the next time I feel like it would be forever before we’d do it again. I try to wait and let him initiate but then he doesn’t and i am just left feeling disappointed.

#4 – I am by far the higher drive spouse, and it has caused some strain in our sex life. . . . usually whenever I initiate anything it just makes everything worse because I end up crying too much (I know, it’s bad) and he ends up so stressed about it that he wants it even less. So, can I just adapt to his timetable and suck it up or would it be a bad idea to suppress myself?

I’ll deal with each of these specific emails in the future, but I wanted to cover the subject as a whole of why doesn’t he want sex?

Q&A with J: Why Doesn't He Want Sex

If you’re like me, and 99% of other women, you grew up believing that men wanted sex. Like really, really, really wanted sex. They craved it like a parched man in the middle of the Sahara desert.

Many of us had personal experience to back up this notion: Guys scanning you inappropriately, making suggestive comments, hitting on you, even pressuring for sex.

Even most Christian resources about sex emphasize the husband’s biological need and emotional desire for sex.

So when a wife gets married and her husband’s just not that into sex, she can find herself feeling the sting of rejectionwondering what’s wrong with him, wondering what’s wrong with her, dealing day after day, night after night with disappointment. Why doesn’t he want sex? And, more importantly, why doesn’t he want sex with her?

Let’s lay out some options for why he isn’t interested. Because I agree this is happening in marriages more and more.

Physical issues. Like low-drive wives, low-drive husbands might be facing physical issues that prevent their bodies from responding as they should. Some of the common culprits include low testosterone, depression, diabetes, and obesity. This is why the first step I typically recommend is seeing a doctor and discussing libido. It’s not going to do much good to request a lot more sex when his body simply won’t cooperate.

What’s particularly difficult for the male side of low libido is the stigma many men attach to seeing a doctor and/or admitting their low sex drive. But if you can get him to recognize the problem could be physical and easily resolved, he might get on board.

Pornography. The prevalence is porn seems to be a primary reason why many husbands are less engaged sexually in their marriages. It’s not that men suddenly want to look at naked women; rather, it took a lot more effort to do so in the past, and now it’s a couple of clicks on your phone or your computer . . . and you’re there. Now the greater effort is not seeking porn, but avoiding it.

Now the greater effort is not seeking porn, but avoiding it. #marriage Click To Tweet

Viewing porn retrains your brain to respond to imagery rather than experience. It’s also quicker and easier to achieve climax with your own hand. Unfortunately, this means there are too many husbands who learned sexual arousal through images and masturbation. Some continue this practice in marriage, but even those who don’t may feel like sex in marriage is a bit of a letdown — because they were wired for it to look and feel more like porn.

How do you combat the porn effect? The biblical prescription for change includes confession, remorse, requesting Divine help, repentance (changing direction), and adopting positive thoughts and actions. (See Psalm 51 for a great example — when David repented of his sexual sin). That means admitting the porn has had a negative effect, committing to no more porn, asking for God’s help, retraining your brain to the better habits of true sexual intimacy, and having accountability. (The accountability part is also in Psalm 51, at the beginning when it says Nathan confronted David.) It can take some time to turn things around, but husbands who have shed the porn trap and sought true sexual intimacy in marriage have no regrets — they know the superiority of God’s design for sex.

Stress. Since I started writing about higher-drive wives, I’ve decided this is actually a big part of the problem for low-drive husbands. It’s not that we have so much more stress now in our world. We just don’t have the same outlets men have historically had. Whether we gals understand it or not, men are built to engage the world in a physical, vigorous, adventurous way. Sure, these are stereotypes, and there are exceptions, but there’s some deep-down truth to it. Just ask a bunch of moms who’ve raised boys, and we’ll attest that even young boys tend toward more roughness and physicality.

Now put all those guys in schools or homes or workplaces with little opportunity to move around in big, hearty ways. How are men supposed to release their pent-up stress?  You’d think they might engage in the physicality of sex. But there’s effort and gentleness required in marital sex that many of today’s men don’t have the capacity to give. The stress simply wears them down. Frustration and fatigue set in. They might even turn to virtual ways of relieving stress, like shooter video games.

The lack of physical activity also affects testosterone levels (see physical issues above). Many societies simply don’t require husbands to exert the physical activity that would release his stress and fuel his masculinity. What’s the answer? Regular exercise is a start. Looking for ways to support his adventurousness might help. Little by little, increase the opportunities for him to flex his physicality.

Wives are freer to want sex. Here’s the last thing I want to point out: Some of the shift in drive is attributable to women feeling freer in our society to express their sexuality. In many eras and cultures, the standard message was not only that men wanted sex more, but that women weren’t supposed to want it all that much — certainly not good women. Thus, many women suppressed their sex drive, consciously or unconsciously. When she didn’t want it so much, he obviously wanted it more.

The new paradigm is that women want sex too. It’s refreshing that wives can express their sexuality more fully, although sometimes we’re drawn into bad messages about sex as well — like the Fifty Shades phenomenon. But no longer do many women feel “slutty” for having strong sexual desires; rather, they see it part of their natural physiology. When these women get married, they’re eager to finally have a place where they can fulfill their sexual longings.

And maybe some of those expectations are not realistic. For instance, these wives often expect a sexual happily-ever-after based on romance stories they’ve read or seen. Real-world sex in marriage is far better in the long run, but it does take some effort. Flex your sex muscle, sure, but recognize that there are two people involved in this relationship, and that means it won’t always be perfectly synchronized.

Like I said, I’ll deal with these wives’ specific questions later, but I wanted to clear up some reasons why I believe more and more marriages have higher-drive wives and lower-drive husbands.

Do you have any reasons to add? Do you have any wisdom on what has worked in your marriage to resolve the sex drive difference?

Q&A with J: What Long-term Sexual Refusal Does to Your Spouse

Today’s questioner asks me to cover the topic of long-term sexual refusal in marriage:

I was just wondering if you had ever considered doing a post about the long-term effects of refusal.  I have been refused completely for five years. The effects on my faith and my self-esteem have been devastating. I cannot tell you how horrible this makes me feel. Every time I have tried to discuss with this with my wife, she just insults me more. I really don’t know how long I can go on this way.

Q&A with J: What Long-term Sexual Refusal Does to Your Spouse

You can pick out a few words and feel this husband’s pain: refusal, devastating, horrible, insults. It’s certainly not only husbands who’ve experienced long-term refusal; many higher-drive wives report the same frustration and feelings. And their spouses either don’t get it or don’t care.

I believe the vast majority of refusing spouses don’t get it, mainly because their not caring is based on not understanding what sex means to their spouse, to their marriage, and to God Himself, the Creator of sex and marriage. They have bad theology, past hurts, annoyance with their own body’s lack of cooperation, an erroneous view of male or female sexuality, etc. that hampers their willingness to engage or even discuss the issue.

In many ways, I sympathize because they’re in a bad place and they can’t get beyond their own issues to see the greater gift available not only for their spouse but for themselves. In other ways, I’m frustrated enough to think: Oh my goodness, you’re killing your marriage! Find a way to fix it!

To address both sides, I want to outline damage wreaked by months and years of sexual refusal, but also benefits of sexual generosity. It’s not merely about not saying no, but truly saying yes to sexual intimacy in marriage.

Refusal breeds physical discomfort. Sexual intimacy promotes physical health and pleasure. God designed our adult bodies to desire sexual release. Male reproductive systems suggest sex every 2-3 days, while females tend to be more flexible with timing — typically wanting more sexual release at certain times of their cycle and having less interest during others. But an individual with a normal to higher drive can feel physical discomfort if they do not engage in sexual activity for a long period of time.

(By the way, if you’re single and this an issue for you — don’t go out and have sex. It’s discomfort, not agony. You can do something else with your sex drive for the time being, until the God-prescribed time to awaken that love in the proper context of a marriage covenant.)

For marrieds, the right outlet is sexual intercourse! Refusal in marriage breeds even more physical discomfort, because your remedy is right there and yet unavailable. It’s like being locked in a chocolate factory and told you can’t sample a single treat. Ouch!

Engaging in sexual intimacy, however, has positive effects on your body. Beyond relief for one’s sex drive, sexual intimacy can lower blood pressure, lessen pain, curb prostate cancer risk, improve sleep, and boost libido. Just Google “health benefits of sex,” and you’ll be surprised to find all the goodies God packed into this intimate act. He’s oh-so-generous that way!

Speaking of His generosity, how about the pleasure factor? Even if you’re not eager to get going, your body is designed to experience pleasure when you can relax, lean into intimacy, and enjoy the sensations involved in sex with the one you love.

Refusal breeds emotional pain. Sexual intimacy promotes emotional connection. For refused spouses, sex isn’t merely a physical release. (I’ve often said that if that’s all it was, your spouse could achieve that without you.) Rather, it’s about emotional connection. Making love, as God designed it, is incredibly intimate expression of love.

Withholding your body, your participation, and your pleasure from your spouse is like walling off a huge part of yourself — saying you don’t want to share, to trust, to unite with him or her. Consider Proverbs 13:12: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” For the higher drive spouse, it doesn’t feel like merely a rejection of the act, but a rejection of the person himself or herself. That emotional pain far outweighs any physical discomfort.

Sexual intimacy, however, nurtures emotional connection. Becoming vulnerable, trusting your spouse with your body, sharing what pleasures you and discovering what pleasures them, touching and kissing and fondling, letting go and experiencing a full-on climax — all these things bind you a special way. You can talk to others, spend time with others, laugh with others — but you share this intimate act exclusively with your spouse, and that makes it an emotional bond beyond any other.

Refusal breeds sexual temptation outside marriage. Sexual intimacy promotes faithfulness. Proverbs 5 is a warning against adultery, with plenty of advice on avoiding lust of the eyes, compromising situations, and extramarital temptation. But in the latter half of the chapter, the writer speaks to another important aspect: “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well . . . May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer — may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love” (v. 15, 18-19).

I’ve heard from so many refused spouses who ache so intensely for sexual connection that temptation taps them on the shoulder and digs in its claws for good measure. Most of them are resisting; they know what they really want is their own beloved in their bed. But it’s hard, because Satan is all over that — seeing how vulnerable a deprived spouse can be. Why leave your spouse so vulnerable to temptation?

Look, I know some people cheat anyway. Yet I believe the vast majority of spouses do not want to cheat on their spouses — they stood up and said their vows fully intending to never bed another person again. Regular sexual intimacy fills their well in a way that leaves much less space for temptation to infidelity. It’s not an affair-proof measure, but it makes a marriage affair-resistant. After all, why be with someone else when your spouse willingly and happily meets all your sexual needs, and lets you meet theirs?

Refusal breeds resentment. Sexual intimacy promotes grace. Refused spouses understandably resent their withholding mates. Here’s an enjoyable experience God has said they can only have in marriage, and they only want from their chosen beloved, but they can’t get it. The one person who could grant sexual intimacy is the one person blocking it. How frustrating!

If you’ve been denying your spouse, imagine how you’d feel if tomorrow he decided to simply stop talking to you altogether? Or if she decided to stop sharing her money and resources, essentially dividing all your finances down to the last penny? What if one of you claimed dibs on the kids and kept them from the other? This sounds preposterous, but withholding something in marriage the other is clearly entitled to leads to real resentment.

But that’s not the whole of the story, because sexual intimacy promotes grace. 1 Peter 4:8 says: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” I believe that’s true of sexual love in marriage as well. When you are engaged in regular physical intimacy, it can be easier to overlook slights.

Honestly, I’m not that annoyed about my husband leaving out his shoes all over the floor after he’s brought me to the pinnacle of pleasure and left me as a heap of happy flesh. A healthy sexual relationship between husband and wife helps you give grace in other areas. It’s a positive that balances out the negatives, puts points in your “love bank,” and serves as the sort of rose-colored glasses that are good for a marriage.

Refusal breeds doubts about God’s plan. Sexual intimacy promotes trusting God’s design. The questioner said: “The effects on my faith and my self-esteem have been devastating.” Which is another theme I’ve heard many times: An individual excitedly enters marriage, fully expecting to experience God’s blessing of sexual intimacy in its rightful context. Yet, they are denied at every turn.

They feel cheated, especially those who waited until marriage and now face the possibility of never fully knowing the delights of sex. It can quickly turn into laments the likes of the psalmist David: “Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?” Of course, David was speaking from a different context, but the sentiment is a familiar one to long-refused spouses.

It can be hard for a refused spouse to trust God’s design for sex in marriage. They wonder where God is in helping to heal their pain, improve their marriage, bless them with the gift of intimacy. Why isn’t He coming to their rescue? Why are they rewarded for desiring their own spouse with constant rejection?

Experiencing true intimacy through sexual fulfillment in marriage fosters an entirely different conclusion — that God is good and His design is perfect. Moreover, sexual intimacy can help us better understand God’s plan of intimacy with His bride, the Church. It fosters gratefulness for His generosity. Faith and marital intimacy are not unconnected. There’s good reason why spouses who pray together tend to have more intimate sex lives.

Quick summary? Refusal bad. Intimacy good.

Of course that’s not the whole of it. For instance, a single not-tonight does not constitute refusal; the higher drive spouse needs to be loving and understanding as they pursue healthier intimacy; and sex should be mutually satisfying. But I hope this illuminates some of the damage done by long-term sexual refusal and the far-more-positive effects of seeking sexual intimacy in your marriage.

If this is your situation, I’m not expecting you to start jumping into bed regularly right away. But ask questions about what’s hindering you, diligently seek answers, and open yourself up to pursuing intimacy. One step at a time, and you can discover a much better approach to sex in your marriage — benefiting not only your refused spouse, but you as well.

Q&A: My Shy Husband Is “Grossed Out” by Sex

When fellow Christians balk about why I write about sex in marriage, I often want to say, “You should see my email.” If they could read the scenarios and testimonies I receive, perhaps they’d understand how important ministries addressing marriage and sexual intimacy can be.

With that in mind, here’s a heart-wrencher question today. This young wife and her husband waited for all the physical stuff until their wedding day, including the kiss. I’ve known others who waited for nearly everything until the honeymoon, and most are like children ripping open the Christmas present with eagerness and excitement; they can’t wait to be intimate! Not so this couple.

My Shy Husband Is "Grossed Out" by Sex via Hot, Holy & Humorous

My question basically is, how do I encourage my husband to be more comfortable with me when he is (well is seems to me) grossed out by stuff… I try to use my tongue while kissing, and [he] absolutely won’t use his. I have stopped because it makes me feel rejected when he does that, but I really would like to be more intimate that way. I tried reading a book with him called A Celebration of Sex for Newlyweds but he didn’t seem interested or at least was to shy to be reading words like sex and orgasm :)…

I don’t know how to help educate my husband so that he is confident in touching me. He doesn’t explore my intimate parts unless I intentionally sit down with him and then he seems to [lose] interest in 3 minutes even though I am doing my best to encourage him. And if I try to move his hand there while in bed he resists me (again rejection feeling). So I want to be respectful of his discomforts so I just suggest every once in a while and leave it at that. But he is fine with me touching him for the most part except that he is extremely ticklish.

So I am feeling frustrated because I want more, but don’t know how to communicate with my shy quite husband. And will I have to keep asking? I also feel frustrated because of the stereotype of the way men should be in my mind and he is not that, i e he does not pursue me aggressively in a sexual manner which is what I want/expect. I feel like I am doing all the work. It seems like he was such a good Christian boy who never ever let his mind wander or fantasize. I ask him if there are things he would like to do or try and the answer is always “i don’t know.” How do I get my husband to want me more and in new ways? I guess the real answer is prayer. I should pray more for him. But again how do I get him interested in learning about sex? 

Mourn with those who mourn. First, I want to hug this wife. Sex is supposed to part of the package deal of marriage, and she’s got a lifetime ahead of her with the man she loves, but it’s just not happening…at all. I want to “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15), because this is real grief. Yet God knows. And, while I cannot reach her, He can wrap His strong arms around her and her marriage and help her through.

Sexual baggage? Second, my red flags are up and flying at full mast. If this husband were in my counseling office (no, I don’t have one, but let’s pretend), I’d ask a lot of questions about his sexual history. An extreme lack of interest and discomfort with sexual intimacy could relate to events from his past—such as childhood sexual abuse; harsh punishment for sexual curiosity; teaching that sex is “dirty” or sinful; deep and unyielding shame about prior inappropriate activity (e.g., watching porn).

I suggest sitting your husband down outside the bedroom and starting a conversation about your previous experiences with sexuality. When did you learn about sex and from whom? Did you have any awkward experiences as a child? What did you think sex would be like in marriage? If he will not engage—because it’s about S-E-X—state clearly, “I need for us to talk about this, because I want to be intimate with you in every way, including sex. If you cannot talk to me, you have to talk to someone.” Then outline some possibilities for him, like your pastor, a Christian counselor, a mentor friend, a support group.

And yes, I think there could be a point when he’s had ample opportunity to follow through but hasn’t, and you must enlist help from others. That could mean going to your pastor, explaining the situation, and asking him to gently and privately approach your husband. It could mean telling a close friend of his who’s marriage-positive, a wonderful confidant for your husband, and who’ll take a biblical approach. I would not take this step lightly, but it’s also not okay to live like this for years on end.

Just too much? That said, this “good Christian boy who never ever let his mind wander or fantasize” may simply feel in over his head. If he expended a great deal of effort avoiding sex to remain pure, it could be difficult to flip that switch. In which case, I’d put away the Christian sex book (yes, even mine *sigh*) and reach for the ultimate Christian sex book, the Bible. You need to start with helping him understand God Himself is entirely in favor of him exploring, enjoying, and satisfying his wife in the marriage bed.

Three times in the Song of Songs, the Bible says, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” (2:7, 3:5, 8:4). Many Christians and churches focus on the first half of that verse, making sure not to arouse or awaken sexual feelings and activity before marriage. But the verse doesn’t stop there; it goes on to say “until it so desires,” meaning there will be a time when love should be aroused and awakened because it’s ready. Marriage is that time.

You can share the Song of Songs, or stories from the Bible about sexuality (4 Great Bible Stories about Sex, 3 More Great Bible Stories about Sex). Take him to one of my favorite scriptures on sexuality—Proverbs 5:18-19: “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.”

Pray for him, and pray with him if he’ll agree. It may help to find some of these specific scriptures and adapt them to pray for your husband’s interest and engagement. For instance, using the above scripture: “Bless my husband’s fountain, Lord, and help him to rejoice in me. Give him Your view of me as loving and graceful. Help him to seek satisfaction in my breasts and my body and to become intoxicated with my love.”

Slowly, slowly. On a practical level, go slow. Like insanely slow. Will this nearly kill you? Not being a patient woman myself, I’m freaking out a little just writing about it. But ask for divine help to persevere and slowly pull your husband out of his extreme timidity.

Set aside chunks of time to use as experimentation. Even if your husband isn’t tuned into his body, your body, and sexuality, he can get there. He may need time, permission, and trial-and-error to figure out what gets him going in the sex department. Explain you want to spend time figuring out how to make sex work between you two.

Also, I’m not a big fan of blindfolds, but I can see a use for it here or simply asking hubby to keep his eyes closed. He may need to tune out the visual of oh-my-goodness-what’s-happening and focus on sensations of touch. Ask clearly and often about what he likes or doesn’t like. If he isn’t comfortable answering with words, he can provide a hand signal or soft noise—whatever works for you. You may need for a time to hold off on intercourse while you help him explore sexuality itself. Remember the goal is ultimately physical intimacy, not a grand finish (although, believe me, I’m in favor of the grand finish).

You have a lifetime together, so breathe easy knowing you don’t have to get this all nailed down by Thursday. Does it suck? I’m a candid woman, so I’m going to agree that it sucks to be rejected by your husband and have him get grossed out by something as simple as a French kiss. Will it always suck? I’m also a Christian woman, so I’m confident saying that answer is no. God has worked wonders in so many marriages when it comes to sexual intimacy, and I think He can spin a beautiful miracle in yours.

What advice do you have for this wife? Do you have a similar situation in your marriage?

Does Your Husband’s Rejection Make You Doubt Yourself?

On Monday, I wrote Do You Make Your Husband Feel Guilty about Sex? My intent was to explain to wives (my main audience) how husbands say they feel in the face of their wife’s rejection or disinterest in sexual intimacy.

Of course, rejection goes both ways. There are a number of women that post didn’t apply to, because those higher-desire wives are the ones getting refused. And it hurts. I get it.

Some of these wives wrote about their experiences in the comments, how they were the ones made to feel guilty. I thought about that for a while — why I’d heard about guilt from husbands before, but not so much us ladies. And I think it’s because I more often hear from higher-desire wives about doubt.

Maybe because we ladies are often constant self-evaluators, maybe because society proclaims (incorrectly) that “normal” is a horny husband and a reluctant wife, maybe because stories of cheating husbands are so prevalent . . . maybe. But for whatever reason, I suspect that higher-desire wives whose sexual advances are consistently rejected, or perhaps merely tolerated, by their husbands tend to experience severe doubt. About what? Well, here are some pangs of doubt brought on by a husband’s rejection of his wife’s sexual desire.

Doubt about her appeal. This wife worries there must be something unattractive about her. After all, hasn’t she heard all her life that men are flooded with sexual desire the moment they see a beautiful woman? Naked flesh? Even a hint of sexy stuff? Yet, her husband doesn’t respond to her. So maybe the problem lies with her lack of appeal.

This is highly unlikely. Sure, a person can let him/herself go to the point they lose attractiveness. Yet, most spouses are surprisingly reasonable about their mate’s looks — still highly pleased and aroused by their beloved, even as their bodies change through the years. It’s far more likely that you, wife, possess distinct beauty and appeal.

Besides, doubting your appeal won’t help your sex life. If you personally want to improve your health or appearance, go ahead and do so. (Better health never hurts!) But hold your head high and your body erect. Be confident that God knit you together beautifully (Psalm 139:14). You are attractive, and your husband’s lack of interest probably isn’t related to a lack of appeal.

Doubt about the relationship. This wife feels her marriage must be failing in some way because her husband doesn’t want her in the bedroom. Perhaps there are some horrible kinks in their relationship she can’t see, something she’d fix if only she knew what it was. The marriage is sinking, and she can’t even say just when and how the hole formed in their relationship boat. A sense of doom creeps over her, and she wonders if they will ever be okay again.

Did anyone else read He’s Just Not That Into You? It was a relationship book that was all the rage a few years back, and one of its premises was that if a man isn’t trying desperately to get you into bed, he’s just not that into you. That’s a prevalent notion out there, that if a guy isn’t like a bucking bronco in the chute when it comes to sex, he doesn’t want to take you on any kind of relationship ride, period.

Hogwash. There are a number of couples who have good marriages but honestly haven’t worked out all of the issues in their marital bedroom. Perhaps a spouse’s resistance to sex stems from unhealthy teaching in their past, a history of sexual abuse, physical or hormonal challenges, mood disorders, or a heavy blanket of stress in their lives. Sometimes, a person’s lack of sexual interest isn’t about their spouse, it’s just about them.

Now, of course, whatever affects one spouse affects both of you. Once you say “I do,” his problems are your problems, and your problems are his, and it’s a beautiful thing to have someone on your team who’ll do everything they can to help you work through your issues and overcome. So sexual problems in marriage, regardless of how they came about, are a we thing to resolve. But their existence doesn’t necessarily indicate some relationship hammer about to drop.

Doubt about his faithfulness. This wife wonders if his lack of sexual desire in their marriage means he’s getting sated elsewhere. Is he carrying on a physical affair? Is having an online affair? Is he looking at porn?

Yes, there is some percentage of husbands for whom this is true. But there are also plenty of men out there whose desire simply isn’t that high. They aren’t getting fulfilled somewhere else, because they require much less filling to begin with. They might be content with sex now and then. And feel quite devoted to their wife.

Is this a problem for you both? Yeah, sure it is. When there’s a severe mismatch in sexual drives, or there’s just not much sex happening, both spouses need to address the issue and seek a mutually satisfying resolution. (Preferably a lot more sex. In almost all cases.) But just because he’s not looking your way as often as you want, doesn’t mean that his eyes have strayed to someone else.

Woman DoubtingBeing constantly rejected sexually by her husband can make a wife doubt herself and her marriage. It takes inner strength to fight against the negative messages that swirl around in your brain when he says no.

Yes, long periods of sexual rejection, refusal, and disconnect will negatively impact your marriage. Yet, have confidence in yourself and your ability to grow through your circumstances. It may take time, research, effort, conversation, prayer, and much more, but change can happen.

Every single day, marriages improve. Spouses break through obstacles, connect where they were divided, reignite the spark.

And where you feel doubt, you can always find confidence in the Lord.

“I cried out, ‘I am slipping!’
but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.
When doubts filled my mind,
your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.
Psalm 94:18-19