On this blog I mostly talk to women. I’ve gotten grief over that before; I’ll write a post about what women should do, and I’ll hear back: but it’s my husband who’s the problem!
I understand the sentiment, but my goal is not to figure out who is to blame; my goal is to figure out solutions that work. And the only person you can change is yourself, so change has to start with you.
Nevertheless, if I could talk to men about marriage and sex, there’s plenty I’d like to say! And so I’d like to take this opportunity to get a few things off of my chest.
1. Tell Your Wife She’s Beautiful
Counting your wife’s calories is not cool. Telling her, “I’m sorry, but I have to be honest, and I just don’t find you sexy anymore since you had kids” is not cool. Hint: you were the one who got her pregnant in the first place! Questioning what she orders at a restaurant is not cool. Telling her you’d find her more attractive if she worked out more is not cool.
She is your wife. You are supposed to cherish her. So if you want to have a horrible sex life and a horrible marriage, by all means, go ahead and keep criticizing her. But if you actually want to love her sacrificially, and empower her to change, then how about trying this approach: Tell her she’s beautiful. Caress her. Love her. Show her what body parts you absolutely love–because chances are she’s way harder on herself than you ever could be.
And if you do really want her to lose weight, then do it with her! Don’t make it her responsibility. Take up a hobby together, and you figure out what to do with the kids for baby-sitting. Suggest you take a walk together after dinner. Start cooking healthy meals. If you don’t find her attractive, then you’re part of the problem. Be part of the solution.
2. Touch Her–Without Expecting It to Go Anywhere
Do you know how many women just stop kissing or touching in any way because you men have given her the idea that if she kisses you, she therefore owes you sex because she got your engines running?
If you give her that impression, then you’ve also pretty much guaranteed you’ll have a lousy sex life.
Why? Because women aren’t always sure that they want the touch to go somewhere. So they’ll stop touching to avoid a fight. But if they stop touching, they then get rid of one of the primary ways that they feel safe, close, and even desired. You need touch in your relationship if you’re going to boost her libido.
Read this post where women explained what touch means to them. And then start touching your wife more–all the time–without it necessarily being sexual. She needs this, and it will pay off big time!
3. Don’t Make her More Exhausted than She Already Is
When I wrote The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I found that women’s number one reason for not wanting sex is that they are absolutely exhausted. And when women are exhausted, it’s hard to want sex. We have to be able to concentrate to enjoy sex. If we’re tired we can’t concentrate. That’s just the way our bodies were made.
So if you want more sex, then go out of your way to make sure your wife isn’t exhausted. Help with the housework. Put the kids in bed. Help her figure out what commitments she can say no to. Praise her so that she doesn’t feel like she has to work harder to be good enough. Don’t criticize her housekeeping.
And go to bed at a decent hour! If you want sex, then playing video games until one in the morning and then expecting her to be there for you is ridiculous. If sex is important to you, then prioritize it by helping her feel less tired.
4. Figure out Where the Clitoris is–And What To Do with It
If your wife isn’t having a good time in bed, it may because she has sexual issues. That’s certainly the case with some of the women that talk to me. But for the vast majority, when sex doesn’t feel good it’s because her husband hasn’t taken the time to learn how to make her feel good, and she’s given up.
Why should she want sex a lot if it isn’t feeling good for her? So take time to figure out how she likes to be touched (hint: chances are it’s a lot lighter than you liked to be touched). Figure out WHERE she likes to be touched and HOW she likes to be touched. Take some time exploring her body. And make it your goal to make her feel great.
Many women are embarrassed to tell their husbands what they want, and others may not even know what feels good. They need some time to explore. Don’t take her silence to mean you’re doing everything right. If she’s not in ecstasy, you have work to do. Accept that it’s your responsibility, not just hers.
5. Porn is Evil. Live with It.
Porn rewires your brain so that what becomes arousing is a picture or an image, and not a real live human being. Porn will make you impotent in your marriage. It will make your wife feel like trash, and will make her feel angry and unwanted. And it is a form of cheating.
It is not okay. It is not harmless. It is not something you do just to “rev the engines” or to give your wife a break sometimes. It is wrong. End of story.
6. Talk to Her
Want more action in the bedroom? Better make sure there’s action outside of the bedroom, too. Men make love to feel loved; women need to feel loved in order to make love. Why should she jump into bed with you if you haven’t taken the time to figure out what’s happened during her day? Just take a walk with her every night and catch up. Listen to her. Give her a chance to share her heart.
7. See a Doctor
If you’re the one with the lower sex drive, and it’s not because you’re using porn, see a doctor. That’s not fair to your wife. You may be able to live with infrequent sex, but she feels undesired and unfulfilled, and you are responsible for that. Sex is not optional in a marriage. So go to a doctor! They’ve heard far worse before. If there’s a relatively easy fix to your low libido, why would you not take it? Don’t be selfish. Do something about it!
8. Sometimes She Can’t Make Love. Let it Go.
After she’s had a baby, she needs six weeks before she can have sex again. Let her have those six weeks to get used to the baby. You do not need her to “help you” in other ways.
If she’s having her period, and she feels distinctly unsexy, go for five days without sex. You really can do it (some women feel aroused during their periods; others just don’t). To demand that she satisfy you in ways other than intercourse when she finds intercourse really distasteful and uncomfortable is a little much. Use some self-control! You can have a healthy sex life for the other 22 days of the month. You really will survive.
And if she’s in her first trimester and she’s puking all the time, instead of worrying about your own sex drive, how about getting a cold cloth for her head? Or giving her a massage? Or letting her sleep? She’s sacrificing a lot physically for this baby. It is not too much to ask you to do the same thing.
If she’s withholding sex for an extended period of time, yes, you need to confront her and do something about it. But if it’s just occasionally for physical reasons, I think that’s why God says one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control.
(Note: I’ve also spoken to women about how to keep desiring sex even during some of these difficult times. I don’t think I’m being hypocritical here. I think if men were to show sacrificial love to their wives and give them a break, at the same time as women showed sacrificial love and reached out, we’d have much happier marriages.)
9. Love Her Anyway
All marriages go through periods where we feel more distant from each other. There may be times when you really do feel as if she’s not meeting your needs–and she very well may not be.
Love her anyway. She is your wife. That is your responsibility. And if you love her and cherish her, it will be easier for her to emerge from the funk she’s in.
If this sounds like I’m being too hard on you, men, rest assured that the vast majority of the time on this blog I’m telling women what they need to do. But I just had to get some of that off of my chest. When you aren’t getting your needs met, and you aren’t happy in a marriage, the answer isn’t to withdraw. It’s to figure out what steps you can take to make it better. If you do nothing, then you’re showing that your wife, and the marriage, isn’t very important to you. So do what you can to truly love your wife. Love, acceptance and selflessness combined can turn a marriage around.
Now, what did I leave out? Or guys, which of these is the hardest? Let me know!
And remember, guys, if you want to make your sex life better, you can buy your wife The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, and work through it with her!