Tag Archives: withholding sex

He Doesn’t Wanna, But I Do! Help for Higher Drive Wives

Arrow up (his & her drive)Each Monday for a while, I will be responding to questions posed in my Q&A with J at HHH post. In the past couple of weeks, I received five comments from wives saying that they have a higher sex drive than their husbands. Rather than print the entirety of their comments here, this is the gist:

My husband thinks I am crazy cause I have a much higher sex drive than him!! What can I do to help him be more relaxed about sex and to get his sex drive up?

My sex drive is up the wall compared to him. . . He thinks I’m sex crazed and most times I think there’s something wrong with me . . .

Yes Yes, please help us wives who are the higher drive partner.

My husband and I are having a problem in our sex life. I think it’s serious, and he thinks it’s no big deal. I’ve tried talking to him about it, but he gets very angry at me, and it causes him to close up and not talk about it. I am a very sexual person, and [he] really doesn’t put very much importance on it . . . he makes me feel dirty for wanting it . . .

I yearn for him at night, and during the day I just stare lustfully at my husband. Wondering why he doesn’t want it as much as I do? I’m frustrated.

I have covered this topic some in previous posts: 

She Wants, He Doesn’t Want – A look at why your husband may not want sex

Wives Want Sex Link-Up – A link fest with other marriage bloggers’ thoughts

Sheila Gregoire of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum also has a relevant post today on How a Marriage Changes.

Today, I want to talk about how to biblically and practically approach the issue with your husband.

Let me start with this gem: You cannot change your spouse. 

Hey, don’t blame me. I wasn’t the one who created free will. 

But it’s true. You cannot make your spouse have sex with you. The transformation in your husband must come from him.

There are, however, internal and external factors that influence our decisions. For instance, I eat when I feel hungry (internal) and when someone puts a brownie in front of my face (external). Don’t judge me. I won’t eat unless I make a decision to, but things happening in and around me impact my choices.

INTERNAL FACTORS

Internal factors are what’s going on inside your husband. Internal factors may include:

  • issues (past or present) with pornography that distort his perception of sexuality
  • low testosterone
  • depression
  • a history of sexual abuse
  • stress from job or other responsibilities
  • guilt from prior promiscuity
  • a lack of self-confidence

Like your spouse’s hunger, you cannot control these things, but you can help him identify what’s happening. However, we often choose the worst ways to get him to recognize the problem:

  • nagging
  • pleading
  • demanding
  • shoving information and research in his face
  • sharing the story of your cousin or your friend’s husband
  • over-the-top crying
  • quoting scripture at him
  • threatening
  • giving ultimatums
  • saying “If you loved me, you’d . . . “

These tactics make conversation unpleasant and tense, and many husbands will run from that faster than the Roadrunner from Wile E. Coyote.

Yet 1 Corinthians 7:4-5a says: “The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer.” That verse indicates that it’s a sin to deprive one another; the Bible commands us not to. So how can we gently point out that sin?

Consider Matthew 7:12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you . . .” If a husband is struggling with depression, a pornography addiction, past abuse, or whatever, he doesn’t want to be slammed on the head with what else is wrong with him. But he does need to deal with the issues. So you need to ask how to best create a safe environment in which the two of you can openly discuss your marital intimacy.

Find a good place and time to talk. Here’s a hint: The worst place is in the bedroom and the worst time is after you’ve offered sex and he’s declined. Choose a time when you are not sexually charged or feeling particularly hurt. Get away from the house even, although make sure you are in a private setting. Keep your clothes on. Men often talk more easily shoulder-to-shoulder than face-to-face, so try a fishing trip, golfing, a nature hike, touring a sculpture garden — whatever suits your fancy and his.

Don’t make statements. Ask questions.

  • How do you think our marriage is going overall?
  • Growing up, who were your role models for marriage? How do you think they influenced you?
  • What do you wish you had done differently before marriage regarding sexuality? What are you glad you did right?
  • What did you think our sex life would be like before we married?
  • What would you like our sex life to be like?
  • How frequently would you like to make love?
  • What turns you on? What turns you off?
  • How can I be a better lover to you?

Now don’t grill the poor guy. This isn’t the Spanish Inquisition where you expect him to recant his heresy and adopt your doctrine on the spot. Choose a question or two at a time and let the conversation unfold. It may take several outings and weeks or even months to get to the heart of the problems. But you aren’t simply gathering information. You are demonstrating by your attitude and approach that you are a trustworthy confidante regarding this topic and want the best for both of you.

Adopt a “we,” not a “me,” attitude. Whatever his issue is, treat it as a WE problem. Even if he had brought some problem into the marriage, it is yours to tackle together. You are married — one flesh. Indeed, he could return that favor if someday you struggle with hormonal issues or depression that affects your own libido. Assure him that whatever the issue is, you aren’t there to wave it around in front of him. You want to be the helper that God described in Genesis 2:18.

Express your desire for intimacy, not just frequency. No one likes to be used. Which is one of the reasons why a lower drive spouse can react like prodded cobra when the higher drive spouse says they want more sex. They may not feel loved so much as used to meet a physical need.

Of course, you know and I know that’s not the reality. If you only wanted to release sexual tension, you could get that done without engaging your husband. Sex, however, is a physical expression of closeness and also fosters closeness between you. Focus your discussion on how you desire to engage with your husband in intimacy because you desire that closeness.

Ask for a win-win. Ask your husband to help you find a win-win solution that is not merely a compromise but meets both parties’ needs and desires. You may require a mediator to find that win-win. Perhaps he’ll agree to meet a few times with a counselor or your pastor and brainstorm ways for both of you to get what you want out of your intimacy.

Pray. Cover every step with prayer. And don’t make it, “Dear God, Please change my husband from being a selfish, ignorant jerk to a sweet, passionate lover. Amen.”

Pray for your husband to have the delight of sex with you. Pray for you to delight in him. Pray for you to reach accord. Pray the scripture itself when words fail you, and when they don’t. For instance, pray Proverbs 5:18-19. Here’s my translation: “Dear God, I pray that my husband’s fountain will be blessed, that he will find reasons to rejoice in me and our marriage. I pray that he will see me as loving and graceful and that my breasts will always satisfy him. I pray that he will become intoxicated by my love.” Can I get an “Amen”?

So do my suggestions place the burden on you? Um, yeah. Remember how you can’t change your spouse? The person you can control is YOU! You have to decide to take that deep breath, commit to being the best wife you can be, and do what you can to create a more intimate marriage. In the end, if you did 90% of the instigating, but you both are 100% satisfied with a fabulous marriage and sex life in the future, you’ll be fine with that.

Now I would love to address the External Factors, but I was told that my word count is not allowed to rival the IRS Tax Code — at least not in a single blog post. So rather than give terse treatment to the remainder of this subject, I’ll come back next week with more! Here’s the teaser for next Monday’s post: How to Be the Brownie.

Touch Me: I’m Here

It’s funny (peculiar, not ha-ha) how often being available or being present makes a positive difference to someone.

After you race through a store and select items, someone must be available at the check-out counter to ring up your purchases, and stores that do well in being there at the right time and in the right way keep you coming back.

When you phone a company for assistance, do you enjoy spending twenty minutes talking to a robotic voice and pushing buttons to get to the right department? Or does it make a difference when a friendly person answers the phone?

From your young child saying, “Mom, look!” right before demonstrating a pirouette to a teenager needing you to hold her as she cries after her first break-up, being there makes a difference.

We expect teachers at school to be available to our children when they have questions. We expect the postal service to be there at our mailboxes to deliver letters and packages. We expect the television show we anticipate throughout the week to be there when we turn it on.

Day in and day out, it makes a difference to be there. Woody Allen famously said that “eighty percent of success is showing up.” Allen’s not my go-to guy for advice, but this quote is pretty good.

When people are not there and we need them — why is our favorite show always the one preempted? — we are understandably disappointed.

I’ve been talking about reasons why spouses sometimes are not available for sexual intimacy with their spouse. In fact, there are times when the very thought of your beloved touching you makes you cringe. You do not want to engage in sex, foreplay, affection, and possibly even eye contact with this person.

Perhaps you are so tired that you can’t prop your eyes open or move your limbs: Don’t Touch Me: I’m Exhausted!

Or you’re particularly frustrated with your spouse: Don’t Touch Me: I’m Angry!

Maybe you have way too much to do to add physical intimacy to the list: Don’t Touch Me: I’m Busy!

And some of you don’t want to show up sexually because you have to get naked and you don’t feel good about your appearance: Don’t Touch Me: I’m Ugly!

But if it’s important for the barista at the Starbucks Drive-Through to be there when you need a venti cup of coffee to make it through your day, how much more important is it to be there when our spouse needs a small cup ‘o lovin’?

(Okay, c’mon. One of you out there is thinking it! I know, I know: “I’ll take my cup o’ lovin’ with whipped cream, please.” Whew. Got that out of the way.)

My prior posts addressed tackling some ongoing, nagging obstacles to being present sexually in our marriage. Of course, there are bigger issues for plenty of couples out there (e.g., sexual history, pornography), but a lot of marriages could improve their sexual health by clearing out the excuse bin and putting sexual intimacy near the top of the to-do pile.

Couple face-to-face

Photo credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

Deal with anger, exhaustion, busyness, and body image issues so that you can turn to your sweetheart tonight or tomorrow night or sometime very soon and say, “Touch me, I’m here.”

I’m asking readers to share their own advice below. What daily distractions or issues have you overcome to make sexual intimacy a priority in your marriage? How important has it been to you to have your spouse emotionally and physically available to you? How do you think we can foster that sense of true presence with our spouses and still work our jobs, feed the kids, and do the laundry? What thoughts do you want to add to the Don’t Touch Me ideas I’ve shared?

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Slap-worthy Practices in Marriage…and Better Options

From time to time — in personal conversation, through my blog, or on Twitter — I hear of spouses who are completely blowing it in the area of marital intimacy. I’m not talking about the spouse whose approach or skills could use tweaking. I’m talking about that selfish husband or wife whose actions are destroying the feelings of the other when it comes to bedroom relations.

"Slapsgiving" scene of How I Met Your Mother

“Slapsgiving” – How I Met Your Mother

And while I generally subscribe to non-violence, some of you, to be honest, I want to slap. Seeing that I can’t actually reach my hand through the Internet, find your face, and deliver a personal wake-up call — not to mention that I really am not that kind of person — I’m merely going to describe some types who are not helping their sex lives.

Pound Counters. Those of you keenly aware that your wife weighs 17 pounds more post-childbirth than when she was leading an aerobics class back in the day and remind her often, stop it. (And all of you whose wives weigh 50 pounds more than they used to, but you knew she had never done a sit-up in her life.) As long as you nag her about her weight, she is very unlikely to feel worth the effort to exercise, dress up, and strut into the bedroom for intimate times. Honestly, what beauty contestant would sleep with the judge who gave her the lowest score? I know this happens with wives judging men as well, but I hear more often from wives feeling that they aren’t pretty enough. And being told that they aren’t pretty enough.

What can you do instead? Tell her she’s beautiful to you, over and over. Find something to compliment — even it’s her eyes. Take her shopping for attractive clothing or lingerie. When you have built up her confidence and remembered why you thought she was so hot to begin with, you can suggest exercising or taking a healthy cooking class together for your mutual health.

Barterers. A barterer is that person who conveys something like: If you build a shed in the backyard, watch the children for two hours, go quilt shopping with me, and give me a 30-minute back rub, I suppose I will open my legs a few inches so you can have sex with me. Really? You are making it clear that you do not want to engage in physical intimacy with your spouse and will only do so if he kowtows to your demands. You are putting yourself in the princess throne and expecting your subject to slay the dragon, save the villagers, and bring you the golden crown before you’ll acquiesce to his request to spend time with you.

God intended sex to be a mutually intimate act. That means that you need to willingly engage in sexual intimacy with your spouse, without all the strings that make your honey feel more like a marionette than a treasured partner.

Porn Junkies. Be assured: Not all men look at porn, no matter how much you tell yourself otherwise. There are plenty of men whose view of naked females includes only their wife and their infant daughter during diaper changes. Fess up to what you are really doing — paying women to titillate you. Porn models and actresses are compensated to pose and portray; they love the dollars in your pocket. Your wife is not paid to be intimate with you; she loves you.

Engaging in pornography imprints a perspective of sex that damages your marital relationship. Physical intimacy is not supposed to occur in quick bursts of increasing arousal in which there is no relational connection between the parties. That is the antithesis of what God provided.

Moreover, a husband engaging with porn negatively affects his wife. When you look at these images and make sex about your private arousal, you communicate that she cannot turn you on and isn’t worth the time to try. Many women experience terrible body image issues because their husband is always looking at gorgeous naked women instead. They feel they can’t compete and often lose interest in trying. Which becomes a vicious cycle because the husband may view more pornography when his marital sex life is lacking.

Sex Withholders. If you withhold sex every time that you feel the slightest bit tired, unnerved, miffed, not-in-the-mood, or just “off,” you make it impossible to have a quality sex life in your marriage. If you can count the number of times you’ve had sex in the last six months on one hand, that is a big problem. If you are waiting for ideal conditions to engage in intimacy with your spouse, you are causing both of you to miss out on God’s design for your marriage.

Unfortunately, one of the common themes Christian sex bloggers see is from husbands wondering how to convince their wives that once a month or so isn’t enough or how to get them to enjoy sex with them. Ladies, the truth is that if you rarely have sex, it probably won’t feel good because you need some built-up elasticity for your body to respond favorably; otherwise, it’s like taking a high-energy aerobics class every six months and wondering why you’re sore after every time.

If you don’t enjoy sex or have problems in your marital relationship that are causing you to withhold, address them! Talk to your doctor. Talk to a counselor. Talk to your pastor. (See my Pain & Pleasure post on pain in intercourse, if you’ve having that problem.) But stop wondering why your hubby’s tongue is hanging out at you every time you undress; he’s like a dog who hasn’t had a drink in days, so no wonder he’s panting.

I don’t really want to slap any of you. Of course not! I pray for the marriages of my readers.

I do, however, want to convince you to follow the Golden Rule. It’s a great way to approach life: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).

Think about how your choices impact your spouse. Do you communicate genuine love for them? Are your choices selfish and rationalized? Do you need a wake-up call? Or will you wake yourself up and start loving the person you are committed to with the respect and care we all desire?

Should You Refuse? Wanda vs. Nina Cont’d

The question I posed on Monday was:  “Here comes hubby looking for some nooky, and you are feeling more worn out than a Tupperware container from 1974.  What should you do?”

Last week, I said that I have met women on both bookends of this question — women who withhold sex whenever they don’t feel perfectly primed for the event and women who feel that a godly wife never refuses her husband’s advances.  I called them Withholding Wanda and Never-Say-No Nina.  If you want to know what I said to Wanda, click on that post here.

While Withholding Wanda practically requires her husband to cross an alligator-infested moat, scale castle walls, and fight off numerous defenders to reach his princess and get a little bedroom reward, Never-Say-No Nina swears that the best way to keep a man happy is to always be available.  No barriers.  No hesitation.  No nos.

Open sign

Photo credit: Microsoft Word Clipart

Now listen, there are legitimate reasons to refrain now and then.  1 Corinthians 7:5 tells us that a husband and wife may mutually agree to take a break from the physical to focus on the spiritual.  And they are good physical reasons to postpone lovemaking as well, such as a contagious illness, a severe migraine, a yeast infection, or a period of pelvic rest following childbirth.  Additionally, emotional reasons can play a part in waiting; for instance, following the death of a very close friend, I wasn’t ready for a sexual encounter with my husband for a few days because I was steeped in grief.  He simply held me instead (Thanks, Honey!).

Sex demonstrates relational intimacy best when two willing, fully participating spouses come together at a time when both of them can concentrate on mutual pleasure and unity.  Now it would be terrific if one spouse never approached the other spouse at a bad time, and thus a refusal never occurred.  But speaking from my own experience, my husband is not a mind-reader.   He doesn’t always know that my head has been throbbing for three straight hours and any movement whatsoever causes a sharp pain between the eyes like an ice pick stabbing my forehead.  He needs me to gently tell him that another time might be more enjoyable for us both.

Some women need to feel free enough to say, “Not tonight, honey.”  BUT — and pay close to attention to this very important but — the statement should NOT end there.  Suggest a better time for coming together!  Something like, “Oh, baby, you know how you turn me on!  But I’m afraid that if you get my engine revvin’, my migraine-inflicted head will explode and then how will you raise the kids without me?  If you can hang onto that exciting thought until morning, I will ravage you like a wild beast let loose in the jungle!”  Or something to that effect.  

Your husband likely prefers waiting a few hours if it means that you are more fully engaged and pleasured by the experience.  If you’re struggling with this concept, think of it this way.  Would you rather your husband let you drone on and on in conversation, barely responding and nodding his head periodically because he has worked two straight eight-hour shifts and can hardly process your words?  Or would you rather your husband ask you to wait until he gets a quick nap in and afterward cuddle up next to you, listen to your every word, and offer support for what you’re saying?  Same thing.  In that case, he isn’t refusing; he’s suggesting a time when he can fully be there for you.

You can say no now and then.  Make those times rare and recommend a better time in the near future.  Ensure your hubby that he turns you on and you desire him, and then schedule a time in the very near future to come together for your own personal party.

Remember your body belongs to three people — you, your husband, and God.  Use it to honor everyone in this equation.

“It is He who made us, and we are His.” Psalm 100:3a

“I am my lover’s, and my lover is mine.” Song of Songs 6:3a

Should You Refuse? Wanda vs. Nina

Here comes hubby looking for some nooky, and you are feeling more worn out than a Tupperware container from 1974.  What should you do?

Willy Wonka golden ticket

Photo from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Some women act like sex is a Willy Wonka golden ticket, to be given out sparingly and used carefully.  Their husbands have to complete an obstacle course or tiptoe across burning embers before they can gain access to the Grand Prize.

Other women recite the mantra, “Never refuse your husband!” like it can be found in 4 Corinthians 9:11.  As if the sole measure for a good wife is letting hubby have his way with you 24/7, no matter how nauseated your tummy or whether you sneeze throughout.

Now I don’t know where you come down on this debate.  1 Corinthians 7:3-4 says, “The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.”  It seems to me that giving your body to your spouse is a willful choice made by each person.  You still make the choice, but your body is not completely your own either.

In this post and the next, I want to talk to the two extremes.  I’ll call them Withholding Wanda and Never-Say-No Nina.  Since I think there are more of the former, I’ll speak to Withholding Wanda first.

I believe there are some legitimate reasons to refrain from time to time.  Such instances should be like earthquakes in California:  They happen, but not regularly.  The next verse in 1 Corinthians states that you can “both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer.”  So obviously there are times when you can jointly take a brief hiatus for greater spiritual focus.

There may also be some physical reason — a contagious illness, a severe migraine, a yeast infection, a period of pelvic rest following childbirth, for example — to forgo intercourse.  There can be emotional ones as well, such as intense grief following the loss of a loved one, that make it nearly impossible to focus on your spouse (although sexual intimacy can be stress-relieving for some).

But without a legitimate reason (and current lack of interest doesn’t count), Withholding Wanda needs to stop acting like her husband must buy the $47.50 ticket every time he wants to get into the amusement park.  Hey! He paid the admission when he said “I do”; his hand has been stamped; and he should only be disallowed from getting on the thrill-seeker side when it has a legitimate sign saying “Closed for Repairs.”  As soon as possible, the gatekeeper should open up the ride again.

If you’re simply not excited about having sex at the moment, treat it like the old Life cereal commercial where two kids convince young Mikey to “Try it! You’ll like it!”  And surprise! surprise! Mikey does like it!  You might find that some of your best lovemaking with your honey comes when you weren’t thrilled about the idea to begin with but made the decision to engage yourself nonetheless.  It might feel really good after all!

Some will disagree with me (and Id love to see your comments), but I think it’s a biblical position that your body belongs to three people — God, yourself, and your spouse.  Take care of that body, so that it can be used and enjoyed by all three of you.

Make sure your yeses far outweigh your nos.  After all, “a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).  Remember that you are one.