Tag Archives: sex drive

Q&A with J: Sexual Release Without Sinfulness

Our question for today comes from a wife who is currently separated from her husband, fighting for her marriage, and trying to deal with her restless sex drive. Here it is:

Our sex life has been amazing from day one. I have a very high libido and I just enjoy sex and trying new things, etc. However, we are currently separated due to him falling into an international affair. I am fighting hard for my marriage and I’m praying the Lord will grab his heart and turn him from his sin…

My question is this: I’m 31 years old with a high libido and I feel trapped in how to how to honor the Lord with my sexuality right now. How can I get a release without indulging in anything sinful? I believe masturbation is okay, especially in my situation, but it has become really hard to climax without having a scenario in my head. I believe erotica can erode a marriage, but are there certain types of erotica that can help people people in my situation?

Blog post title + woman under bed covers with arms raised

First off, I’m praying for your marriage too, and I invite my readers to do the same. Obviously, the best answer is for this marriage to be not only restored but brought to a place of thriving.

Yet whatever happens, you have to deal with this high libido that was awakened in marriage and now has no place to be satisfied. I feel for you. Your sex drive doesn’t just go away when your spouse is gone; it can be a hungry little beast when not properly fed.

You essentially have three ways to deal with a restless sex drive.

1. Release it.

That’s where your question heads to: “How can I get a release without indulging in anything sinful?” You say that masturbation is okay, and I’ve laid out my own position on this blog before. A summary of my perspective would be that masturbation that brings you and your spouse closer together is okay and masturbation that draws sexual energy away from your spouse is not okay.

Long physical separation from your spouse could be one of those times when it’s beneficial to “take the edge off” so that you can remain focused on your husband and your intimacy with him and not be tempted by another’s man attention, get cranky with your husband because it’s been way too long, etc. But imagining a scenario in your mind that doesn’t involve your husband takes sexual energy away from him; it’s inherently detrimental to your relationship.

If you’re imagining anything other than your hubby in your mind, you’re in sinful territory. And that’s what erotica encourages you to do. Jesus said, “But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28, NLT). Of course that also applies to a woman looking, or imagining, a man with lust.

Ideally, if you’re masturbating to be able to withstand a long physical separation from your spouse, you’re doing so with their knowledge, support, and even presence (yes, some married couples Skype and simultaneously pleasure themselves). In your case, however, that’s not possible. So you need to be careful about how you engage in this physical release.

Look at your motives, your heart and your mind, and what will best keep your sexual energy on your marriage. Prayerfully ask those questions and listen for God’s answers.

2. Channel it.

You don’t have to use sexual energy sexually. That pent-up feeling can be channeled toward other activities. For instance, physical exercise can help diffuse that tension. It’s another way to be active, experience body chemical highs, and end up with that level of fatigue you sometimes feel at the end of sex.

I’m sure you’re also missing that physical touch that comes with sexual connection. You can refocus your desire for sexual affection to other forms of affection and other relationships. Spend more time with family. Volunteer in your church’s nursery. Head to a convalescent home and hold hands with an old woman, who might also have some wise life advice to share while you’re there.

Check out these and other ideas on what to do with your sexual energy when you’re not attached in this post.

3. Ignore it.

You’re probably thinking, I can’t! It’s impossible to ignore. But hear me out. In psychology, there’s a principle called extinction. In behavioral therapy, we know that linking a stimulus and a consequence causes people to expect the latter when the former shows up. The classic experiment is Pavlov’s dogs who heard a bell before being fed and thereafter drooled for food whenever they heard the bell ring. But if you de-couple that stimulus and consequence (bell → food), eventually the conditioned response (drooling) goes away. That’s extinction.

Right now, your hungry little beast — aka, your sex drive — wants to be fed. But it doesn’t literally need to be fed. You don’t have to have sex for your heart to keep beating. So it’s possible to use a bit of extinction in dealing with your drive.

I don’t believe your libido will completely go away, because our sexuality is an integral, God-given part of our humanity. But if you constantly shove juicy morsels at that beast, it will keep coming and coming, demanding to be fed. If you ignore it, eventually your drive will diminish. Enough to be more manageable.

Lest you think I’m being completely unrealistic, my husband and I did not have sex for about four months when expecting our second child. I was right in that high-libido part of my pregnancy when my doctor announced that health risks precluded intercourse. I did a lot of ignoring my drive, and so did my husband. Over time, it got less demanding. So I believe it can be done.

(By the way, for those who are in a marriage where you should be having sex and one of you has been practicing extinction, this might help to explain why it’s hard to get going again. But you should, for the sake of your marriage.)

Which of the three options should you choose? Each of them — releasing your sex drive, channeling it, ignoring it — could be beneficial depending on the motives, circumstances, and goals. But ask serious questions about what would honor God and your marriage when deciding what to do.

Once again, I’m praying that your marriage will be saved.

How Libido Works: For Women, That Is

If you follow me here or on social media, you’ll quickly discover that I share a lot of what Sheila Wray Gregoire of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum writes. That’s because we have very similar views on sex in marriage, and her wisdom is well worth my readers’ time.

Not to mention that we’re friends. Which is one of major bonuses of doing what I do — getting to meet like-minded people who are smart, fun, and Christ-like.

It’s my pleasure to share her with you today! Sheila’s here to talk about how libido works — for women, that is. Because it’s not how many of us were taught that sex drive works. And now…Sheila.How Libido Works: For Women, That IsHave you ever noticed that movies and TV shows make women’s sex drives look just like men’s?

Here’s what happens, pretty much every time: the couple’s together, and they start to pant. So they fall into each other’s arms and they begin to kiss. Then the clothes come off. And then they end up in bed.

They pant, they kiss, they take off their clothes, and they end up in bed.

Pant. Kiss. Clothes. Bed.

Every time.

If this is what you see, over and over, you may begin to think that’s natural.

So there you are, at home with your husband, and you’re waiting to pant.

And nothing happens.

So you figure, “I guess I’m just not in the mood”, and you return to browsing Pinterest or you go and make another cup of tea.

But what if that whole portrayal of women’s and men’s sex drives is wrong?

Rosemary Abbott of the University of British Columbia did a study a while ago that found that while men tend to be aroused BEFORE they started to make love (that’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?), most women are not aroused UNTIL they start. They’re not panting at all!

Instead, they make the decision to make love, and then once they start, they relax enough and tell themselves, “I am going to have FUN tonight!” It’s only then that their bodies kick in.

For women, our sex drives are primarily in our heads. If our heads aren’t engaged, our bodies won’t follow.

But that also means that we have a great deal of power when it comes to our libidos! Instead of waiting to feel in the mood, we can tell ourselves positive things about sex: “I am going to enjoy this tonight.” “I am going to sleep so well after this!” Or even, “I am going to rock my husband’s world!”

Unfortunately, many of us don’t quite understand this. We figure that our bodies should kick in if he does the right thing, romances us the right way, or touches just the right place. So we start making love, but while we’re doing that we’re also composing shopping lists in our heads, trying to figure out if there’s enough milk in the fridge to get us through breakfast, and planning our errands route for tomorrow. So sex feels lousy. And it must be his fault, because he’s just not doing it right!

Now, there’s no doubt that husbands often need to learn what makes wives feel good (because many husbands don’t understand foreplay, for instance!). But it’s also true that one night he could do something that has you in raptures, and three nights later he’s doing exactly the same thing, move for move, and you’re lying there thinking, “Will you just get over with because I want to get to sleep!” It’s not about what he’s doing; it’s about what you’re thinking!

That’s why great sex isn’t about panting beforehand and it isn’t JUST about him doing the right thing. It’s also about us concentrating and putting our brains to work for us!

When you make love, ask yourself, “What feels good right now?” That makes your brain cut off that shopping list and concentrate instead on your body. And you just may find that it does feel good, after all!

God made women so that our response isn’t as automatic as men’s sexual response tends to be.

We have to make the decision that we want to make love. We even have to make the decision that we’re going to have a good time! But I think there’s a logic behind that. Because we need to make that decision, then both husbands and wives have an incentive to work on feeling intimate outside of the bedroom, too. We have to build goodwill towards each other to even want to make love in the first place. If our sexual response was always automatic, then our relationships could be quite shallow.

Instead, when things work well, we get the best of both worlds. We feel close to our husbands, and we feel great in the bedroom. But ultimately it’s up to us: will we decide to jump in and take the initiative, or will we sit back and wait for the panting to happen?

Personally, I’d suggest jumping in. Sex helps you sleep better. Sex helps you feel closer. Plus great sex feels amazing! It’s too great a gift to leave to chance. So decide to have fun tonight, and see what happens!

Sheila WC 100Sheila is the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex and 31 Days to Great Sex. She blogs everyday at To Love, Honor and Vacuum.

Come on over and download her free ebook, 36 Ways to Bring Sexy Back to The Bedroom!

Thanks, Sheila! I love this wise advice.

A Wife’s Guide to Sexual Man Speak

Last Thursday, I wrote a post that got some flak. Because I explained how my husband tried to initiate sex in the middle of the night. In our conversation later, he’d said something like, “I woke up and felt turned on.” Which makes it sound like he just had an urge and expected my body to meet his “need.” Not at all what happened, because I know how loving and gentle his advances were, how he views sex in our marriage generally, and how to translate man-speak.

A Wife's Guide to Sexual Man Speak

Oh, if only our men would express their heartfelt desire for closeness and connection the way heroes do in the pages of romantic novels! Novels almost all written by women.

I’m not knocking all romance novels. I actually enjoy some of them. But many do a poor job of illuminating the mind of a man. We can come to expect that a man’s mind works much like ours does, and then when we find out otherwise we’re offended that “men are pigs.”

But they’re not. They’re just a different side of the same human coin. So let’s give our husbands some grace, remember that — by and large — husbands truly love their wives, and translate some common hubby phrases when it comes to sex.

“I’m turned on.”

It sounds like he flipped a switch and expects you to be ready to go just as fast, right? But really, this translates to “You turn me on.”

I’m not saying a man never gets turned on by other stuff, or just it being that time of the day. (Even with all the research I’ve done, I still find their equipment to be a bit of a mystery.) But the consistent message I hear from husbands is that they get most turned on by being with the wife they love.

And it can happen slowly or quickly. It could build from intimate actions and deep feelings throughout the day, or she can just walk through the room naked. Maybe that’s why it feels so weird to hear “I’m turned on” for some wives. Because the pattern for women is more often getting turned on after romantic and sexual activity begin, while hubby can get turned on by you and then seek a sexual encounter.

Just be assured it’s most likely about you. Not simply a burning need in his pants.

(Note: Men do get turned on by porn, and that’s a whole different issue. God definitely intended the turn-on stimulus to be one another, not third parties or images of third parties. If porn is a struggle in your marriage, it needs to be addressed immediately, lovingly, and firmly.)

“I need sex.” 

Speaking of need, here’s another phrase you might hear in your marriage: “I need sex.” This rarely means “I have a purely biological need to have sex, and you’ll do.” Yes, God did make us sexual beings, with reproductive biology and sex drives. Most husbands feel sex as a need. But husbands tell me again and again that their need for emotional connection to their wives is even stronger.

Yes, he “needs” sex in the sense that he has a biological drive to sate the desire he feels in his gut, his brain, and, oh yeah, his groin. (It’s all connected.) But “I need sex” is more about “I long to experience the love and intimacy I feel when I have sex my beloved wife.”

“I want you.”

In too many wives’ minds, we complete that sentence with extra stuff. Like “I want you to do me a sexual favor,” “I want you to be at my beck-and-call,” “I want you to sate my desire.” Yeah, I get it. To some extent, those are all in the fantasy wheelhouse for plenty of husbands. Not all — yes, I see you, higher-drive wives! — but some.

We wives often put the emphasis on want when, once again, it should be on the you. And very often, it means that he wants all of you. Not just your body. He wants you to be fully involved in the experience, giving yourself 100% to the physical intimacy that binds you together as one flesh. He wants all of you engaged in the marriage bed.

I suspect most of us know the difference between letting your body show up for sex and engaging your whole self in sexual intimacy. When your husband says he wants you, consider that he wants all of you — your heart, your body, your pleasure, your connection.

“You’re beautiful.”

To husbands, this means: “You’re beautiful.” Yep, they’re actually saying what they mean. Unfortunately, we ladies often read their words as “he’s just saying that,” “he only wants sex,” “he knows I’m not as beautiful as ____.”

But for the most part, hubbies think their wives are hot. Not because we’re all objectively Helens of Troy, but our guys love us, they have history with us, they like our curves, they think our smile is cute, they know that bodies don’t stay 20 years old forever, etc. Basically, your husband’s love for you gives him special vision that helps him see past the pounds, wrinkles, and self-doubt to the beautiful you that you truly are.

For the men.

And guys, do you see how you come off sometimes to women? I get that many of you are straight-to-the-point, as-few-words-as-possible men. Believe me, I’m married to one. But use your words to express what you really mean and what your wife really means to you.

If you want sex with your wife, express that you want her, not just the sex. Your wife is worth the extra effort to consider your words carefully and be a little more of a romantic hero in her life.

Also worth reading: Ten Lies Wives Believe about Sex (And Ten Truths Husbands Want You To Know)

Q&A: Will Frequent Yeses Turn My Husband into a Sex Maniac?

Welcome to the Summer of Q&A with J! The first question I’m tackling today addresses giving your husband the green light for frequent sex. If you let him know you’ll say yes when he initiates, will you be stuck with more sex than you can handle? Read on.

Q&A: Will Frequent Yeses Turn My Husband into a Sex Maniac?“[I]n offering sex to my husband every day, sometimes more than once a day, I have turned him into a sex maniac, I think.  He told me that he and his late wife, with whom he had a very good marriage…went through periods…when they only had sex once or twice a year, and that even as newlyweds, it was only once or twice a week.  Supposedly if you offer your husband sex every day, this dissipates his fear that he won’t ‘get any’, so his demand goes down.  No, just the reverse, daily sex and multiple daily sex has become the norm.  Just recently we slowed down to maybe five days a week.

“I’m ok with this — for myself, I’m not so crazy about sex, but I love having that experience with my husband — but, as both of us are devout people, I wonder if it’s such a good thing for him.  I know it’s good for his health and good for our marriage, but I wonder if awakening so much desire is really a good thing, spiritually.  I talk to him about it, because he is surprised by this too, but he doesn’t feel it has any bearing on faith or spirituality…

“On the one hand I am concerned about turning my husband into a sex maniac but on the other hand I can’t help but be flattered.”

I see two major issues in this reader’s question.

“Supposedly if you offer your husband sex every day, this dissipates his fear that he won’t ‘get any’, so his demand goes down.”

I suspect this is true, but not over the short-term. When a higher-drive spouse has longed for sex but hasn’t gotten to experience it fully, an invitation to partake at will can result in a bit of overindulgence. Why? For some, it feels like this just can’t be. They worry this offer is too good to be true, so they must get as much as possible now, just in case, or they test the waters to confirm it’s real and not a pinch-me-awake dream.

Also, imagine you’ve been wanting and waiting for something for a long time. When you finally get the go-ahead, you can go a bit crazy. Think about young kids and Christmas, the first visitors to an amusement park or concert, or even “Black Friday.” If you’ve camped outside Wal-Mart since midnight waiting for the deep-discounted holiday shopping to begin, when 4 a.m. arrives and the attendant throws open those doors . . . you might sprint into and through that store with the fervor of a Cheetah on Red Bull.

But I’ve been shopping on Black Friday afternoon, and it’s not bad. After the initial hype, things ease into a typical holiday shopping crowd. I’d expect the same to happen in a marriage. Once you throw open those bedroom doors to your husband (or wife), they might be extra-eager to soak up all the intimacy they can get. Over time, however, things will likely settle a bit. Will they settle to the same level you might want? Maybe, maybe not. Your higher-drive honey may always want more than you’d order up, but you probably won’t be inundated with Energizer-bunny levels of sexual intimacy.

“I know it’s good for his health and good for our marriage, but I wonder if awakening so much desire is really a good thing, spiritually.”

On one hand, how could it possibly be bad to awaken sexual desire in your marriage and enjoy God’s gift of physical intimacy? Isn’t it living into God’s design to enjoy frequent sex together?

Some believe because sex is physical, it’s somehow “lesser-than” in the spiritual realm. Yet many Spirit-filled activities have a physical component. Consider Matthew 25:34-36: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Jesus counts all these things, very physical manifestations of love, as righteousness. Sex as God designed is a physical expression of agape love to your mate. And because God is so loving, He made it physically pleasurable.

However, there is another side to this. The Bible says sex can get in the way of focusing on your faith at times. Why else would it say…?

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” —1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (emphasis added)

Refraining from sex here is clearly a set period of time, agreed upon by both spouses, and for a specific purpose. It can be good to abstain from sexual relations for a short period to dedicate yourself to prayer—as one might fast from food for the same reason. It’s not the thing itself (food/sex) that is a problem, but removing potential distractions can foster one-on-one time with God. Day-to-day, however, there’s no indication frequent sex itself interferes with spirituality.

Still, sex could mess up your spiritual life if it continually competes with God for your attention. Exodus 20:3 says:  “You shall have no other gods before me.” Anything can become a “god” to you, meaning you place it above the real Father in Heaven. Jesus also said: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34). If one’s focus becomes all about sex, sex, and more sex—so that your heart is there and not with God and your spouse—then yeah, that’s a red-flag issue.

In the case of this specific reader, I suggest she hang in there, because the frequency will probably go down a little bit more. (Although 4-5 times a week sounds good to me.) She doesn’t have to say yes every single time to be honoring God and her husband with sexual intimacy. But she can. As long as you are prioritizing God above all and otherwise devoting yourselves to your faith, get it on as often as you’d like. And thank God for the goodies when you’re done!

Confessions of a Higher-Drive Spouse

I’m currently the higher-drive spouse, although we’ve flip-flopped in my marriage. For all I know, next year my husband could be chasing me through the house and suggesting more frequent romps.

But for the time being, we both know that my sex drive is higher than his.

I was thinking about how desiring sex more than your spouse affects your thinking and behavior. And I decided to share a little of what goes on in my head and heart, with the hope that lower-drive spouses out there might “get it” a little better.

So here I go!

Woman peeking out from bed + blog post title

Yes, I think about sex a lot. No, it’s not all I think about. I am fully capable of going minutes and even hours without once considering sex. (Albeit it’s especially hard for me, given what I do here . . . ) I dare say I could go 24 hours without once thinking about the fabulous, marvelous intimacy I have with my husband. But just because I could doesn’t mean I do.

Sex pops into my mind at various times and in various ways. Maybe it’s a memory of the last time we made love. Maybe it’s a stray thought about his body. Maybe it’s simply the vague sense that I want my husband intimately close to me. Most of these thoughts are just that — thoughts. They don’t go anywhere. Except they do provide a steady beat in the background from which the music of sexual intimacy later swells when my husband and I are able to engage in physical intimacy. What you dwell on in your mind is often where you set your heart.

Sometimes I can’t help it — I stare. One of my favorite times of the day is when my husband is dressing — or better yet, undressing. I’m even more attuned than I used to be to his attractiveness. No, it’s not that his body’s so great he’s getting callbacks to star in the next superhero movie; it’s that his body appeals to me in its familiarity, masculinity, and intimacy.

If I’m reading a book in bed, and he comes in and yanks off his shirt, I sometimes find myself peeking over the top of my book’s cover and admiring the view. Even more revealed gets even more admiration. And then I sometimes think, What. Am. I. Doing? Um, yeah, I’m staring. Sorry, I kinda can’t help it.

I want to touch him, like all the time. Affection ranks in the top two of my love languages. That said, I’m even more affectionate when my sex drive is on overdrive. And it might seem like my touches are about getting something started, but sometimes they aren’t. There’s a bit of genuine satisfaction in touching my husband with a long embrace, a soft kiss, or a snuggle on the couch.

From being on the other side of the sex drive fence, I know higher-drive spouses can seem overly touchy and needy. It’s easy to feel that brushing off their touches will halt the advance of their seemingly endless sex drive. But that’s not how I’m experiencing it from this side. Yes, intimate gestures of affection can awaken my desire, but they can also sate it a bit. As if these touches hold me over, so to speak.

Innuendo can strike at any time. Well, not any time. But when you’re really in the mood, a phrase can easily be read as a sexual advance or intimate wordplay. Now imagine you’re in the mood a lot. Yeah, my brain just goes there more often than when I was the lower-drive spouse.

And yes, I think some of my turns and twists of phrases are clever, even hilarious, and should be rewarded — like with sex. (Did you hear that, hubby?!) But logically, I know that even clever innuendo has the potential to become annoying. So it’s better to keep some of my amusing thoughts in my own head and release the ones I think my husband will appreciate.

When he initiates, I internally celebrate. I know some couples have one spouse who always, or almost always, initiates, but my husband and I are pretty balanced. Even so, given where my drive is at the moment, there is a bit of rejoicing that goes on inside me when he takes charge of getting things going. Perhaps it’s because I already know I want him, but having him show how much he wants me puts us on the same page.

It really isn’t enough for your spouse to schlep to the bedroom, drop their underpants, and oblige your urges. What a higher-drive spouse wants is to get their lover up to their own level of arousal and excitement. My goal isn’t merely to satisfy my own sexual desire, but to have my husband sharing that sexual desire for one another. And if he arrives with that “I want you” look in his eyes, I know we’re in sync. And it’s going to be a wonderful night.

So are you the higher-drive spouse? What “confessions” do you have to help spouses understand what’s going through your head and heart?