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“I want sex more than he does!” 4 Tips for the Sexually-Frustrated Woman

1 in 5 women have the higher sex drive. But when our husbands decline–or rarely initiate sex–it leaves us thinking, What’s wrong with him? Or is it me?

I like to think myself immune from the rom-coms and romance-laced TV dramas I love. But how often does media tell us “real men” are ready for sex at the drop of a hat? How often do we think, If I’m attractive enough, my husband will want me right now?

So when our husbands decline sex, it leaves us thinking, Where’d this guy go to man-school?

Or worse.

What’s wrong with me? (This is about that cellulite, right?) 

Am I not attractive? Would another guy find me attractive?

Is he getting it somewhere else?

Is he attracted to someone else?

What am I supposed to do with all this desire?

My friend talks about what to do when he’s running his hand up her thigh and she just wants sleep. What would she say if she knew he hasn’t touched my legs in a month?

I’m an affair waiting to happen.

I don’t know what I’ll do if he rejects me again. I’ve tried everything.

This issue stings not just because it’s private and awkward to discuss with anyone, spouses included. It’s also because our souls are welded to our bodies.

Why it’s not necessarily you

Did you know that in one out of five marriages, the female has the higher sex drive? Our sexuality is a microcosm of our worlds, a nakedness not just of body, but of mind and spirit. Malfunctioning in other areas of life trickles into our sexual lives.

And in that way—though there are physical factors, such as medication, hormonal imbalances (e.g. depression, thyroid issues, low testosterone), radical prostate surgery, or obesity—emotional problems are far more likely to influence libido.

Consider factors like these:

  • Overwork/lack of margin
  • Fear of intimacy
  • Season of life: young kids, grief, failure at work that leads to diminished masculinity and confidence, etc
  • Marital conflict
  • Boredom
  • Past abuse/sexual history
  • Anger
  • Anxiety about sexual performance

But our assumptions about his sex drive may affect us more than his actual desire. Sex therapist Dr. Michael Sytsma writes, “If you are the high [sexual-]desire spouse in your marriage, what you think about your husband’s low desire is far more important than his actual desire level,in predicting pain in your marriage.”

What conclusions are you already drawing, and how are they influencing your unity? Let’s look beneath the surface—not only of our husbands, but ourselves. Here’s where to start:

1. Pray about it

Something lies beneath the presenting symptom of diminished libido. And there’s One who knows what that is. God created sex, all of its related mechanisms, and the brains and hearts that go with them. Ask God for His wisdom. Then seek opportunities to not simply talk about this with your husband, but to be a source of his healing.

Here’s a suggested prayer: Help me love and accept my husband unconditionally. Help me see what might be influencing this situation. When you show me, please give peace, and wisdom to know what to do. Help me take my thoughts captive and make them obedient to You (2 Corinthians 10:5). Don’t let me be driven by fear and anxiety.

Allow God to examine your heart, considering questions like, What …

  •  assumptions am I making about my husband’s lack of desire? What am I feeling?
  •  am I afraid of?
  •  do I hope for?
  •  false expectations about sex, and my identity, am I listening to?
  •  do You say is true about me?
  •  do You want me to trust about You?

2. Open up communication

You likely won’t know what’s beneath your husband’s lack of desire until you two get honest with each other. But this can dredge up our own fears.  If you feel it’s time to get this conversation going, here’s some help:

  • Seek to trust God, rooting your soul in His comfort and affection (check out Philippians 2:1-5) rather than in your husband and his response.
  • Approach your husband when he’s relaxed and cared for. Before you speak a word, let him know you’re in his corner. You might talk while snuggling or holding hands.
  • Watch your nonverbals. Commit to stay chill and empathetic.
  • Understanding, not fixing, is your goal right now.

A possible progression for your conversation could look something like this. “I want to talk about something awkward, but it means a lot to me. I’m noticing you’re not wanting a lot of sex lately. I want you. I like sex with you! But rather than jumping to conclusions, I also want to understand what you might be going through on a bigger scale. Can you help me know what it’s like to be you lately? What might be going on between us that I’m not aware of?”

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3. Speak life

This is your opportunity—in a very vulnerable place for your man—to speak a direct, healing message to his insecurity. Aim to verbalize: I accept you 100%—and unconditionally. This isn’t me against you. Let’s heal together. I will be with you the whole way, even if you can’t meet my desire, or perform in this area where you’re tempted to find your identity.

As the person who knows him more intimately than anyone, his ally and shield—you possess a distinct power. You can take your husband’s bruised sense of masculinity and affirm him. You can shoulder loss and lift shame. (This doesn’t necessarily mean lifting guilt—but it can remove that sense of unworthiness/disconnectedness.)

You’re communicating what Jesus did in our weakness: I will go the distance to accept you when you cannot perform. I will sacrifice of myself to bring you close.

4. Get intentional

Song of Solomon exclaims, “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom” (2:15).  Ever feel like something is snacking on what you’d love to enjoy?

Decide one step you can each take to address what’s stealing the “fruit” of your marriage.

  • Engineering a less congested schedule
  • Getting some cardio exercise together, an assist to sexual function
  • Troubleshooting medication issues
  • Encouraging him to find a group of guys for accountability, if he’s struggling with porn or extramarital attraction
  • Seeking out counseling for the perpetual conflict (pastoral counseling is often free!), or for deep-seated issues stealing your man’s sense of confidence and adequacy
  • Giving some lead time (via text or conversation) to warm up to the idea of sex later in the day
  • Reminding him of what is going right, where his value lies—and that you’re still his biggest fan
  • Guarding your own “diet” of unrealistic expectations of romance via books and movies —which can also stoke unmet desire. How will you reroute your sexual energy?

Perspective

Authors Lorraine Pintus and Linda Dillow, in their book Intimate Issues: Conversations Woman to Woman, relate the story of Christi, who face repeated rejection from her husband. Christi’s response is amazing:

I have realized that it is his problem, not mine. I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t make choices for my husband, but I could be responsible for my own actions. I made a commitment to the Lord to cling to Him, to turn my constant worries into prayers for our sexual relationship. I asked myself, “What if the situation never changes?” I decided to live with an eternal perspective, with my eyes focused on Christ rather than on my hurt. My situation hasn’t changed, but I’m more at peace.

As you work to overcome isolation, hide even the most intimate parts of yourself in the One who sees you.


Copyright © 2019 Janel Breitenstein. All rights reserved.

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