Worried that your husband doesn’t want sex? Every Wednesday on this blog we talk marriage, and today I thought I’d tackle a topic that is often not discussed very much: What do you do when it’s the GUY who doesn’t want to make love?
Before the rest of you women say something like, “I wish my husband would give me a break sometimes!”, think about how awful that must be. We’re told that men always want sex, and then we marry someone who doesn’t want to make love. Is there something wrong with me? Am I not attractive? Does he not love me? It’s really difficult. So let’s look at the four main culprits to a low male libido:
If he will, get him to talk to the doctor. Some medications can lower his sex drive. He could also have low testosterone. In other cases, their sex drive is lower because the husband has had impotence issues and he’s afraid to try again. Impotence, though, can be a signal that there is a circulatory problem, and often is a sign that heart disease, diabetes, or kidney disease may be starting. So a doctor’s visit is definitely in order!
In most cases of younger men with decreased libido, though, it’s not a physical issue. It’s more likely an emotional/psychological one. Let’s start with these issues.
2. Stress/Emotional Problems Can Lower a Guy’s Sex Drive
In this economy, many men don’t feel like men anymore because they can’t provide for their families well. If this is the case, go out of your way to show your husband you do appreciate him and you do look up to him. But whatever you do, don’t baby him. If he’s feeling emasculated already, he doesn’t want you trying to make it better or fix it for him. Show him you think he’s capable. Be a listening ear, but don’t be his nurse.
In a similar way, we can undermine our husbands with the way we talk without realizing it. I know many good, Christian women who belittle their husbands in public quite a bit without apparently cluing in to what they’re doing. When you open up your mouth to say something about your husband to others, make sure it’s laudatory. Praise him in some way. If he’s telling a story and he’s getting it wrong, don’t correct him all the time. Let it go. And when you’re alone, make sure that you express gratitude as much as you express criticism. Even more. I have known men who have withdrawn sexually simply because they had ceased to feel like men in the relationship. The woman had taken over everything.
3. Lack of Friendship Can Quench Desire
Often when there is a problem in the marriage it shows up in the bedroom. But because the SYMPTOM is in the bedroom, we often think the SOLUTION is too. So we concentrate on solutions that have to do with sex–buying lingerie, playing risque games, getting toys, trying new things.
In reality, often the solution is found outside the bedroom. Sex embodies our spiritual, emotional, and relational selves. What I often suggest to women whose husband have a low sex drive that isn’t due to a physical problem or stress is that you work on your friendship. Spend more time together. Take a walk after dinner. Find a hobby you can enjoy together. Do something that he likes, even if you don’t (like watch hockey games) simply so you can be together.
Often couples get into a rut where they spend their lives doing errands and watching TV. That isn’t going to help your relationship. If you want to spice things up, don’t look at the bedroom. Look at the gym. Or the ice rink. Or the restaurant. Do stuff together. Cultivate a real relationship. Start talking again.
Often this helps you feel connected, and then, even if the sex doesn’t always follow, at least you feel more kindly towards each other.
4. Pornography Use Can Obliterate a Man’s Desire for His Wife
The main culprit of a low male sex drive, though, of course, is pornography. The more men are into pornography, the less they are into sex in real life. Porn trains the brain to be aroused by an image, and not a relationship, and is extremely destructive. Porn is not harmless; the effects of porn are really far-reaching. If your husband is into pornography, get help! Talk to a pastor. Talk to a mentor. It’s not okay to be a porn addict. It’s not harmless. It just isn’t.
Pornography and masturbation go hand in hand. If he is using porn, he’s also masturbating and thus getting rid of his sexual tension in another way. He’s also less likely to be able to get in the mood with a real, live person, like you. So if this is the issue, it must be addressed. I’ve written before on this topic, on how to recover from a pornography addiction. I think it will help. And I have lots more links to other posts on the subject here.
5. Maybe There is No Reason for His Low Sex Drive
Finally, for some men, there simply won’t be a reason that he doesn’t want to make love. You have a higher sex drive than he does. Maybe it’s even as if your husband has no sex drive and never wants to have sex! Think about it this way: in any given population, some men will be really short, and some really tall. Some will have really big hands, and some really small ones. We vary, and some people are on the extremes. By definition, 5% of men will have abnormally low sex drives without any apparent problem or cause. It’s just the way they are.
What do you do? Accept him, and more than ever, work on your friendship. Make sure there is goodwill between you, that you can laugh together, that you can do things together. The more you laugh, the more you’re able to talk, and you can share with him how you feel. Just because he has a low sex drive, for instance, doesn’t mean that he can’t make love. He can! And he can even increase his sex drive by making love more frequently (the use it or lose it phenomenon), and even by exercising and building muscle, which builds testosterone levels, too. If he lays off the beer, that can also help, because beer has a chemical that acts in the body in a similar way to estrogen.
But more than anything, you’ll just have to learn that this is the man you married. Get your peace in God, work in your friendship so you don’t feel emotionally rejected, and learn to love him anyway.
What to do when your husband withholds sex altogether.
In my book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I have a large section on what happens when the wife has a higher libido than the husband!