Men: Here’s What I Wish I Could Say to You About Sex

Christian Sex Advice for Men: Here's What Women Wish You UnderstoodOn this blog I mostly give advice 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. That’s why I spend so much time telling women how important sex is in marriage, or how to boost their friendship with their husbands, or how to work on themselves. I’ve even written a whole series on how women can bring passion back into their marriages, along with several books on how important sex is.

Most of the time, then, I’m telling women to step up to the plate. Nevertheless, if I could offer some Christian sex advice for men for a change, there would be plenty I’d like to say. So I think I’ll 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 be 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 Cheating. Deal 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 offered some heartfelt Christian sex advice 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!

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  1. Every one of these are excellent, but I would add two more:

    1) Learn to read body language (if necessary, get a book and read up on it–there are plenty out there). Women are more likely to read it better than you do.

    2) Get over your pride, and be willing to help around the house (you help create dirty dishes and get the bathroom messy, so why shouldn’t you step in and help?)

  2. This is a good list! The only thing I disagree on is that I think wives should be encouraged to help their husbands out during times when they can’t have sex. It doesn’t take a ton of time or energy to “lend a hand” and I think a wife choosing to be generous that way can only be good for the marriage. Six weeks postpartum and 5-7 days every month is a long time to go without any sexual interaction. We would never say it is OK for a husband to go that long without meeting his wife’s emotional needs.
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    • True, Amanda, but she’s not talking the wives this time, is she! 😉 And I believe Shelia has said those things to women. But this time, it’s the men’s turn, and what she said is absolutely something a lot of men need to hear.

      • True, a lot of men do need to hear this. But they might start to tune out when part of the advice is “be Ok with no sex for 6 weeks and 25% of the time every month.” It’s like if the posts addressed to women told them “keep having sex with your husband even if he doesn’t talk to you for weeks at a time.” I don’t think a lot of women would continue to take the advice of the post after reading such a thing. Just my opinion.

        One thing I would add to the list is for the men to volunteer to help out. It goes a lot further if you take the initiative to make dinner or get the kids in bed after she had a rough day. It isn’t quite the same if she has to ask you repeatedly to help her out.
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        • Amanda, I really don’t want to offend you, but I honestly disagree with you.

          Yes, a man should be okay with no sex for 6 weeks, if that’s what is necessary. And even 25% of every month, again, if that’s what’s really necessary–and what is necessary will be determined by individual cases.

          Trying to equate sex for the husband to conversation with the wife is not accurate or fair. Sex is just as much for the wife as it is for the husband. It is different, yes, but equally important. Denying this perpetuates the myth that the wife shouldn’t expect anything from having sex with her husband, because it’s all about him, and any enjoyment on her part is just a side-note. That attitude does not encourage a healthy marriage and sex-life.

          When a husband and wife abstain from sex, they do it consensually and temporary. Those are the requirements that God placed. God did not say that the wife should find some other way to satisfy her husband. Nope. God expected the man to go without just like the woman was to.

          If a wife chooses to be generous and give, then they aren’t really abstaining. They are simply choosing a different way to satisfy each other, and it should be mutual (even if she doesn’t have an orgasm—many women enjoy sexual encounters without ever having to have an orgasm.) But the husband should not expect the wife to do what he is not willing to do himself. If she is unable, then he shoud be willing to wait without putting any expectations on his wife.

          And I think it’s a good thing for wives to hear this as well. Sex really should not be a one-sided event. It’s okay for you to want to enjoy sex with you husband. It’s a good thing to look forward to satisfying each other, to coming together again after a period of abstaining.

          • You don’t offend me. :) Absolutely sex should be as much about the wife’s pleasure as the husband’s. And if a wife offers to take care of her husband in a way other than intercourse, he should definitely offer the same to her. And if they both mutually decide to abstain there is no problem.
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          • Amanda, I get what you are saying, I think women are reading this and thinking, well she’s talking to the husbands so I can use this to tell him I don’t have to “help him out” instead of remembering that we need to love sacrificially too. Sometimes we expect our hubbies to meet our emotional needs while we ignore their physical needs and I believe they are equal and can be compared because they are what we each are wired for. Sure wives can enjoy and get something out of sex just like husbands can get something out of communicating with their wives, but it doesn’t mean its the thing we are wired for. (PLEASE don’t think I’m not talking about myself here, there are plenty of times I don’t want to have sex with my hubby, BUT I know sometimes I have to sacrifice for him, just like he does for me.)
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          • Amen, Aura! If a man can’t exhibit some self-control during a woman’s period and after childbirth, he’s behaving like an animal, not a human being, and he is being supremely unloving. Even if the couple is entirely abstinent during that time, he will not die! Good grief, I am so tired of reading and hearing how people cannot live without sex for short periods of time. It’s important, but it’s NOT imperative to live a healthy, happy life.
            Tina H. recently posted…PatternsMy Profile

          • hurting says:

            I’m a recovering porn addict and I’d like to give a different perspective. My wife has been very loving and supportive of me through this process. I appreciate all of the women’s thoughts and feelings on this subject. I appreciate and agree that under normal circumstances men should be able to abstain during the times listed above and in an ideal world where all men are walking with God in healthy, growing relationships with Christ that is possible. But unfortunately a lot of men are not walking in healthy growing relationships with Christ and ALL men whether they admit it or not struggle with sexual temptation and have at least thought about looking at porn and going to strip clubs or massage parlors and many Christian men (a lot more than will admit it ) have indulged in these activities. Part of my recovery process has been to make a commitment not to pleasure myself when I am tempted and to go to God in fervent prayer to get me out of the temptation. I also have several men who have struggled in this area that I can call when I am tempted. But the most hopeful response to temptation has been to confess it to my wife and ask her to help relieve the tension. If she is physically and emotional able we usually have some form of mutual intercourse. But during those times mentioned above and other times when intercourse isn’t an option she is very willing to lend a hand and help to relieve the tension and the temptation. It has created a new level of intimacy and vulnerability between us for me to be able to confess my times of weakness to her in my thought life and it makes me feel very loved and supported that she is willing to selflessly lend a hand. I just want to encourage women if they haven’t already, to have an open honest and supportive conversation with their husbands about lust, thoughtlife and porn and to be willing to help their husbands through their times of temptation. I realize it is not ideal, but broken people need to take baby steps and this is one baby step that has been very helpful. I hope one day to be as strong as other men and husbands and be able to fight off temptation simply through prayer and focusing my mind on other things. But for now a physical release provided by my wife is very helpful.

          • After my wife had a baby, the last thing on her mind was sex. When she had to go without for 6 weeks, she did not feel like she was missing out on something. However my drive did not go away. This is NOT just a physical thing. For many men, one of the primary ways (if not the primary way) they connect emotionally to their wives is through mutually satisfying sex. After our child was born, my heart longed to reconnect with my wife in this way, and what hurt the most was that this desire was not reciprocated: she had absolutely no desire for (sex with) me. And this lasted for a lot longer than 6 weeks, but that’s another story. My point is that sex isn’t just some physical need your hubby can do without. Anything you can do (short of intercourse) for your hubby sexually during this time can help remind him that you still care about him and his needs – if he wants that. (For me sometimes the one-sidedness of this type of sex was just a painful reminder of how my wife did not want me sexually.) Of course he should try to be understanding and not expect things to be back to normal the week after the baby is born. But maybe we can meet in the middle on this.

          • I want to respond to this as a woman who has been through the same thing as your wife. I have talked to other women about the way our desires change through those periods of time after the birth of a child. I agree that it can be a lot longer than 6 weeks. I don’t think that means we are right – we aren’t. It is just really hard to feel like wanting sex after you feel like you’ve just been mauled by a bear!

            Not to mention there is a mother’s instinct that blossoms and as mothers, our primary innate desire is to care for our baby. I can’t explain it but I felt that rising up inside with the births of my children. I wonder if God created that in us so we instinctively want to bond with our children and take care of their many needs in a sacrificial and selfless way when there is (usually) no one else in the world to do all of it for them. Yes, it is helpful to have someone come over and hold the baby so mom can do some laundry and dishes – but is that a break? No. It is just allowing us to do more of the mountain of work we already feel behind in. And where is that helpful person at 3 am when we’ve been up for the 6th time that night? We could really use a break then… :)

            Thank you for sharing your perspective. It is helpful. I just wanted to also share that even though we are not right in not wanting intimacy 6 weeks postpartum or when we’re breastfeeding and feeling like a cow or whenever we’re supposed to snap back, it is just a very difficult thing to ask a new mom. (New in the sense of having a new baby, even if it isn’t the first.) So if you’re getting tired of waiting, how about surprising your wife with some take out and candles and just rub her feet and tell her how much you love her, how beautiful she is, and what a good – no GREAT mother she is. Do that a couple of times a month. NOT just once. Then see if she has a change in perspective. That is often all we need. A loving change in perspective.

          • I woman telling a man how long they “should” be able to go with out sex is like a politician telling a small business owner how much taxes they “should” be able to afford.

    • I absolutely agree Amanda! Further, as a childbirth educator, I have to point out that there is NO RESEARCH AT ALL indicating how long a couple needs to avoid intercourse after birth. Over the course of my 5 births, I’ve been advised anything from “whenever you feel like it” to “wait until the lochia stops.” I’ve been told that the reasoning for waiting for the lochia to stop is to make sure there is no longer an “open wound” in the uterus that might get infected from the semen, which doesn’t make sense to me since A) condoms would provide the same protection and B) semen has antibacterial properties, so would be unlikely to *cause* infection.

      I think that husbands should be counselled that depending on how childbirth goes…their wife is likely to find intercourse very painful in the first few days or weeks after birth…but that amount of time will vary. I have talked to women who had very easy births who were eager to express their love within days of giving birth…and I’ve talked to others who still had serious pain 9-10 months following the birth.

      Further…I actually do think it is “fair” to encourage a wife to meet her husband’s sexual needs in a manner not related to intercourse once she has otherwise recovered from birth. If she has energy to go shopping with her girlfriends…she should be able to likewise prioritize her relationship with her husband.
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      • I’d agree with you on the whole. With my first baby I was out of commission for two and a half months and in incredible pain because of a lot of tearing. With my second, who was premature and very small, I was fine within a few weeks. It does vary.

        I’d just say that if a woman is still in pain, is still bleeding heavily, and is exhausted from feeding her baby, to expect her to meet her husband’s needs at that time is a little much. If she’s energetic and well again, it’s a different story.

        I’ve also had emails from women who have had miscarriages where they don’t have to wait the full six weeks, but they still have to wait some time, and they are emotionally devastated, asking me what to do because their husbands want them to provide release. It’s this kind of thing that I think men need to be sensitive to. Sometimes a woman needs time, and a marriage is give and take!

        • I think when you’ve have a miscarriage it’s different because you both deal with it differently. In my experience I had a great fear of sex (long story, we’ve worked through it) but, he NEEDED to connect to me on that level. He wanted to show me his emotions, but sometimes the best way for him to show me he loves me is to be vulnerable and make love to me. I think the main thing when you are going through that is to make sure you are both putting your marriage first and grieving together.
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      • Rebeccafrancesa says:

        Just a reminder, she has encouraged the wives in this. This one was to men. Each couple needs to find their own balance here, but whether it’s “fair” for her to offer, or “fair” for him to wait, each needs this encouragement. I am willing to help my husband, but would love to encourage him to give me more space at those times and enjoy other kinds of closeness.
        If the gentlemen were self-controlled and willing to wait before the wedding night, that showed her he was willing to put his own body needs aside for the sake of a godly marriage and holy intimacy. Could he not try a little prayerful abstinence in order to let her heal and preserve their intimacy? (And Holly’s military man, amen, sister)
        A lack of sensitivity after birth and miscarriage can wreak havoc on her emotionally and damage the sex-life. Conversely, This is an opportunity for him to secure their sweet love-life after the pain has subsided. What a difference that would make! Of course her sensitivity and help will also work toward that, but again, this is to men.
        Can I just say that we vowed “in sickness and in health” and etc. yes, we had no idea at the time what that would look like, but there is a lot of enduring in both sides.

    • While I agree with what you’re trying to say Amanda I disagree with your thought it’s a long time …. being a military wife I can honestly say that six weeks or the week you’re on your cycle is not long AT ALL!!! Hubby has been deployed for anywhere from 6 months to a year —guys CAN stay faithful and live without sex when necessary!! …. to say they can’t is to equate them with base instincts ….
      Now again should a wife help a guy out once in awhile … yes absolutely but the thought that it’s such a long time is just a worldly lie.

      • Being able to do something, and being emotionally fulfilled doing it are two different things altogether. A man is ABLE to go his entire life never having sex, but very few are able to enjoy or feel fulfilled and relationally connected to someone without frequent sex….and the longer they go without it, the less connected they tend to feel. That’s just how men are created. I respect military couples greatly. My dad was in the military and often away on deployment or training exercises, etc. I respect them not only for the sacrifices they make in terms of their very safety and lives to protect ours, but the sacrifices they make to their marriages and relationships during those times. And for both women and men. Women who are deployed, or whose husbands are deployed are longing for the presence and closeness and connection with their husbands as well. I think a more appropriate description is that men are capable of ENDURING long separation but the very connotation of the word “enduring” means to put up with something through suffering…..not necessarily enjoying it, or even being content with it. Men often endure a great many things that are unpleasant otherwise, because God made men exceptionally logical creatures, able to prioritize things despite their feelings about those things.

        And I disagree that it is a worldly lie that 6 weeks is a long time. I would direct you to 1 Corinthians 7:5 (NLT) “Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” I would argue that it is actually quite scriptural to say that frequency should be often and acknowledges that self control is an issue not to be apathetically dismissed as weakness….it’s really difficult and because of that Paul is saying, “look… is a strong influence and self control is hard to maintain so for goodness sake, have sex often so that you don’t have to deal with the immensely difficult issue of self control”. He’s not giving husbands a get out of jail free card if they lose self control. He’s not giving husbands a trump card to go to their wives and say, “See….Paul said you have to have sex with me so put out or I might just lose my self control”…..God always demands self control of everyone. But I think what Amanda is saying is that even though we are required to demonstrate self control… isn’t a pleasant experience for men to go long periods without sex , and a little understanding from wives on just how unpleasant it is for men would go a long way in men feeling loved and respected by their wives.

        That being said, the point of this article was aimed at men and a little bit of understanding from them on what women experience when they go through childbirth, or while they are on their period would also go a long way to helping their wives feel loved and cherished. I think the biggest point, and what Paul was really getting at in 1 Corinthians 7, is that any period of time during which sex is “off the table” should be discussed and mutually agreed upon. OPEN COMMUNICATION IS KEY! It shouldn’t just be one spouse acting as the gate keeper and telling the other, “Sorry…but you’re not passing Go, you’re not collecting $200 (or any sexual connection). I don’t care what your needs are, my needs trump yours and I get to control when and if you have sex.” And it should be a brief time for very specific and mutually agreed upon reasons. I think postpartum recovery is a good reason. I think being on your period might be a good reason. I have plenty of guy friends who don’t even want to have sex during a woman’s period because they’re grossed out by it. I have others who don’t care.

        You have to also understand that a lot of the respondents are probably commenting out of their personal, sexual frequency frustrations in general, not just during specific, isolated times.

        For instance, my wife and I have never at any point in our marriage had sex more than once a week. She enjoys sex when we have it, but she could take it or leave it. She could have fantastic sex on Jan 1 and be just as happy not having it again until next January 1…..she just doesn’t seem to need it at all or care about it. She just has very little desire. No abuse, no body image or confidence issues, we both waited until we were married to have sex so no baggage from the past….she just doesn’t seem to have a drive for it. And after the first 6 months it was down to about twice a month and by year two about once a month and on special occasions; it felt like it was some sort of favor she was doing for me. Then we had our first child and postpartum recovery lasted 8 months, not 6 weeks. I was already feeling sex starved before we even had children so an 8 month recovery period was like rubbing salt in an open wound. And during that time I got nothing….I’m not just talking sex….I got nothing relationally at all. No acknowledgement for my contributions, being sole breadwinner, changing nearly every diaper, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, taking care of any and all details about housekeeping, the cars, the yard, grocery shopping….anything. All I got was crankiness, distance and criticism of everything I did because she was going through postpartum depression and wouldn’t let me or a professional help her deal with that. She wanted to deal with it herself. Finally, after 8 months the depression seemed to lift and we went back to a once a month frequency except for the two week window we decided to have another baby and she suddenly got excited… every other day. Within that two weeks she got the positive pregnancy test and repeat performance with our second son….another sexless, relationshipless 8 month postpartum recovery complete with postpartum depression and cold shoulder. And I wanted to help but she just shut me out and wouldn’t even talk to me about it. She could deal with it on her own. And that time I not only did everything that I did the first time, but had to care completely for our first son alone, on top of it all.

        Since then we’ve been able to talk about it and have worked through my hurts of feeling so incredibly rejected and neglected and used by her (yes….men feel used when it feels like women just want to have sex with us to get pregnant and then once they have a baby, we and our needs don’t matter any more except when it comes time to cash our paychecks…I’m not saying that’s what is REALLY happening, but that is what it FEELS like for a man). Likewise, I was able to hear, address and improve some of the ways that I was failing to give her the affection and support and leadership she was craving from me. It’s not great yet….we only have sex maybe twice a month and we’ve only been married 8 years but it’s better than it was for a long time and things are slowly improving. But the key is communication and to trust what God tells us about marriage and sex, not what the world tells us….and God tells us (to paraphrase) to put the other’s needs before our own. If men do that for women and women do that for men, things reach a balance and both people begin to feel fulfilled and valued in the relationship. It’s not my job to remind my wife what God is telling her about my needs. My job is to focus on meeting her needs and trust that God is working on her heart in relation to my needs and that ultimately, even if she doesn’t meet them, He is sufficient for all of my needs.

      • Sheila more than deserves to tell us men a thing or two. I believe any guy can love and cherish his wife despite how much sex he is or isn’t getting.

        Living with your wife and being deployed are different experiences for men. Living without sex for several days is difficult for a man. Yes, he should have the self control to do so. But it is still difficult. Living with your wife and being rejected is even more difficult. Furthermore, it has the added temptation to have sex. He is living under a the roof of the love of his life who is taking showers, sleeping beside him…. walking around. To have her reject him is difficult.

        Single guys go for years/decades without sex. It can be done but it’s not fun.

        • My point is that 6 weeks after she’s had a baby and is darn freaking SORE in that area is more than doable and it is downright SELFISH of men to think it’s not, the whole point of this article and others Shelia has posted is to get over yourself and love each other first which means not having sex when she’s sore, exhausted, ill and that means NO SEX not just physical intercourse.

  3. First off to Amanda i would like to say that Sheila does go through all of that and seems to really pound it in…but after that it is up to the woman to take heed to what she is saying. My wife is constantly feeling convicted after reading her blogs…but its still a struggle. Now to Sheila…I must say this is quite insightful. I think the kissing part is where I went wrong early in my marriage. Since the beguining sex has been a struggle for us and for us five days is a short period of time that we go without. The question I have is that for the past 6 years of marriage I have tried to navigate the field of touch that my wife enjoy. But she is very sensitive to light touches but slightly firmer and she is telling me gently and boy does this change so its not like I can “find a groove and go with it”. any suggestions on this area? I end up tickling her or causing pain with very slight differences in touch. I have so many questions for you that they could be a blog of their own.

    • I would just say, Corey, that the key really is just communication. What kind of touch a woman wants varies even day to day with hormone levels, because on some days certain body parts can be much more sensitive than on others. But it’s hard for a woman to say “not like that”, or “try this”. It takes a lot of vulnerability. And it’s hard for a man to hear that he’s doing something not quite right.

      So two thoughts: number one, that I say again and again, is just get to be amazing friends. If you can laugh together and talk easily, it’s far easier to communicate well in bed. And number two, ask her to show you. Ask her to guide your hand. And just realize that you may never know exactly what she wants when she wants it, and that’s okay. As long as you’re open to asking, and she’s open to telling, it will all work out well anyway. You just have to get to a point where you can communicate easily about it. I wish there were an easier 10-point how to solution, but there really isn’t. It just all comes down to communication!

      • I would add, Corey that for some women it is extra sensitive down there during different times in her life. What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. If she’s dry, it’ll be uncomfortable. Yes, God made women complicated. It forces a man to really put effort in and give rather than take. It also sounds like she is upright, or even a little scared or embarrassed. Put her to ease. Take your time. Make her feel loved and comfortable. Compliment parts of her body as you work your magic.

        • This is what I wish my husband would understand. We’ve been married for almost 24 years, and he laments that things are “not the same” as they were in the beginning. Well, heavens, LOTS of things in our life together are not the same as they were then! My body is different, and the things I used to like, I just don’t anymore. I feel horribly guilty about it – I wish I were the same because apparently he is, and he thinks I’m lying or being cruel to him (i.e., I “got him used to” one thing and now I’ve changed the rules) – but it’s not my choice. It’s just reality over time. I’m trying to continue to meet his needs; I just wish he’d accept me as I am now, instead of living in the past.
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        • I try to compliment her and even encourage in other areas to…however she doesn’t believe me or accept my compliments. ideas on how to do this better. I have always been labeled as an encourager but now that I am married it seems quite opposite.

          • I’m no therapist, just a wife, but it sounds like she has deeper issues apart from you. Maybe as gently as you can, ask her why she doesn’t believe you and why she doesn’t accept your compliments and love. Then listen and don’t try to fix it. Be gentle, don’t interrupt, support and when she’s done ask her what we can do together to build a better marriage through this.

  4. These are so great! I agree with every one of them and many of them have been issues we are working on or have overcome, it would be easier if men already knew about them. BTW, I’m finally reading your book!
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  5. Dear Sheila,

    I am a man and this year I will be 55 and will have been married 27 years.
    I have followed your blog and read your book and learned alot.
    Your point number two is almost exactly what my wife has said to me different times over the years. I did read your embedded link and the comments that were generated from that post, to try to understand more how women think. I have found that sometimes another woman may say essentially the same thing my wife does but somehow the way she phrases it, or the fact that we are not in conflict, maybe I will finally get it from another woman’s perspective, which pleases my wife if I get it, and disappoints her in that I didn’t get it from her.
    I have also tried to express myself to my wife over the years on my views on this topic, I struggle alot to put some things into words somedays.

    I am going to share some thoughts with you and your readers. They may not all come out real clear, but maybe as men and women dialogue about these issues we will truly understand one another better.

    For me- there is something about having intercourse with my wife that minisiters to me deeply in a way that is hard to put into words, but the best I have right now is that after intercourse I feel a deep sense of connection with her- a oneness, far deeper than just physical release, and it communicates deeply to me that I am loved for me which includes my sexuality. There is probably no time in life when I have more peace and joy and happiness than right after intercourse.

    So when my wife says things like I want physical touch but I don’t want it to lead “anywhere else” or to “sex” the message I recieve is “I don”t want you to feel completely loved, or to be one with you, or to have you be filled with the most peace, joy,and happiness right now.”

    Sadly I went to prostitutes before marriage. There was an ugliness after intercourse with them that I still struggle to put into words. I have told my wife that even an off night of intercourse with her, is still so much more filling than anything I had with a prostitute.

    Bottom line is that I think either married intercourse or intercourse with a professional is seldom about just physical release- at least for me. Maybe other men see it differently.

    I grew up in a stoic family with very little touch. When I was first married in my late 20’s- just the slightest touch on the hand, or back, or peck on the cheek lit a sexual fire in me, no matter how much I tried to suppress it. I have noticed that as I have gotten older if we are in a season of frequent mutually enjoyable intercourse- then I can french kiss or make out shortly after intercourse and may even feel arousal- but it is fine if we wait till later to do anything about it. On the other hand, if we have not been intimate for a couple of days ,especially if that has been her strong choice- then every touch lights a sexual fire.

    I hope we men and women can continue to share back and forth about these issues, so we truly understand one another better.

    • Great comment, thanks so much! And I’ve been trying to tell women the same thing that you’ve said: for most men, sex is the gateway to intimacy. When we say that we may not want sex, a man hears that we may not want intimacy.

      The truth is that we both approach intimacy very differently, and the more we’re able to reach out and fulfill our spouse’s definition of intimacy, the more they’ll be able to fulfill ours. It’s really a give and take, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy!

    • Amanda J says:

      I’d like to respond to this, as a woman with whom this resonates. As a woman, I and others can sometimes feel that our husbands only touch us with deep affection when they desire sex. We begin to categorize touches in two bins: the “obligatory” stuff, like the kiss goodbye as he leaves for work, which is a token of our love, but a chaste one; and the “I want something” stuff, because he only takes time to be truly affectionate when he wants to go all the way.

      This is a terrible mindset. I’m not condoning it. It’s icky to be inside, and it hurts people. But women find it easier desire if there is also touching and deep affection that doesn’t lead all the way up to sex. This makes it seem like we don’t want sex, which is untrue. We do desire sex, but we love also the long anticipation. We desire to be pursued, courted, and finally won. We want our husbands to touch us when they desire sex, and also when they don’t, and so the desire kindles slowly in us.

      So I, as a woman, would not say to not ask for sex when you want it. But I would say that even when you don’t desire it, be deeply affectionate with your wife.

  6. I suppose when one is refused for an extended period of time, one finds out everything he could possibly be doing to turn the tide. So I’ve been doing all of this already (and was doing a lot of it already) but the best it has gotten is sex with all the enthusiasm of going in for a root canal. I wish it were as easy as developing better habits to make the passion flow.

    • You’re right, David, there are never guarantees. You cannot change another person. And that’s what makes God’s admonition to love unconditionally so difficult. Yes, He is there for you and He will strengthen you, but I know it is still lonely.

      • I really like this article. The only thing I would add as my number one would be for men to soften their hearts towards their wives. You can have a list of things to do but if you are doing them without a gentle heart it’s just a waste of time.

  7. Sheila, I really enjoy your blog. Thank you for your ministry. However, I have to quibble with point #3 and to some extent a few others. Perhaps this is not what you mean but the language used indicates the husband should manipulate the wife to get what he wants. For instance, it says, “So if you want more sex, then go out of your way to make sure your wife isn’t exhausted.” “If” and then” are used several more times to the same effect: do this to get that.

    I agree that husbands should help their wives in all the areas you said. After all, aren’t we husbands called to give ourselves up for our wives even to the point of death? Surely that includes some sweeping and toilet scrubbing. But I don’t agree with the if/then way in which it is said. Having read your other blog entries, I think you would object to the corollary advice of “If you want your husband to help with the housework then hold out until he pitches in with the cleaning.”

    Our actions should be done out of love. I think that there is a way in which all of you points could be said, “You can love your wife by doing ___, which in turn will increase her desire for you and that will lead to more sex.” Perhaps that is what you were trying to say. It just struck me a bit like an instruction manual – pull this lever and you’ll get this action (pun not intended).

    • Good point, Rick. We should never do something just so that we can get more sex. But at the same time, I do think many marriages would be better in a whole ton of ways if husbands did try to help women be less exhausted!

      • Rick,

        I would have to correct you on one word – “will” should be something more like, “is more likely” as in:

        “You can love your wife by doing ___, which in turn will increase her desire for you and that is more likely lead to more sex.”

        Boy do I wish it was automatic. I would do ALL of the household chores! But with some it might not bring ANY increase in sex at all no matter how much you do. I am not trying to say that hubbies shouldn’t do as much as they can on household duties, but if there are other hangups more of this won’t have the desired affect.

        • Sheila & Greg & A Guy,

          I agree with both of you! Housework doesn’t top a tough argument or hurt feelings that have to be sorted through in order to get it going on! And sex should never be “bought” or bribed with chores. But I can’t lie, nothing turns me on more than my man when his hands are dishwater soapy! And the time he decided to take on Spring Cleaning! Totally inspired my blog:
          titled, “My Sexy Spring-Cleaning Spouse.”

          Sheila, I couldn’t tell which point I loved the most, but it’s definitely a toss up between numbers 3 & 4 !! Thanks for a great blog. Now if we wives can quietly slip the screen in front of our husbands tonight… :) – Raj

      • Andrew Jardine says:

        Sheila, I think you have a great blog and I wish my wife would read it diligently.
        I understand your reply to Rick, but I don’t think it is sufficient. In my case it doesn’t matter how much I do, there is little or not response. My wife seems to think I should court her and chase her, and even then it will be just fine (cosmically) if she only responds when it is easy or convenient. She seems to believe, however, that she has no obligation to court me in return. And no responsibility to meet my needs, much less wants, when it comes to sex. She once said to me that sex is what you do when all the work is done. WHAT??? Once you have more than 3 children the work is NEVER done. She isn’t adverse to sex in a fundamental way. Once she is turned on she is not opposed. But making time for sex, making mental mind space for sex, saying no to the many people who insist on having some of her time, that she has not been wiling to do, and doesn’t really see a problem with that. She doesn’t seem to think the words of 1 Corinithians 7: 3-5 apply to her.

        • I know it’s hard to feel like you are doing your part but your ‘other half’ is not doing hers. It doesn’t seem fair when your actions are not being reciprocated in the way you feel it should. There are women in the same boat who feel they are doing all they know to do and still their husbands are selfish, or critical. Sometimes we underestimate the power of prayer. I urge you to diligently pray for your wife daily. To whole-heartedly trust God to turn her heart. Pray that God would place other godly women in her life to encourage her to be a wife who loves and gives sacrificially. Trust God in his timing. It’s so hard to do, but He is the one who is able to do it! Trust Him. He does NOT disappoint.

  8. Melanie E. says:

    Let’s not forget, under Judaic law, a woman was “unclean” every month, as well as for a period of time after giving birth. The husband was not to touch her at all. Since we know that God doesn’t expect more of us than we can bear, then yes, even fully abstaining for a certain amount of time is doable. Jewish men have managed for thousands of years, without even a “helping hand” that we might offer today.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is true, but remember also that men go off to war, or spend many months away from home on work related trips also. During that time, wives may go weeks or months without communicating with their husbands. So, obviously it is possible for a wife to spend months without talking to her husband. Would you okay with your husband not talking to you for months? After all, God doesn’t expect more of you than you can bear, right?

    • Two points for Melanie;
      1. Many of the OT patriarchs had more than one wife. I don’t think they experienced too much time without relief.

      2. We are not under Judaic law anymore but under grace. Paul tells us “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Cor 7:5)

      The period of abstinence after pregnancy and during the wife’s period is not by mutual agreement so that the couple can devote themselves to prayer. It is being forced on us men because we are being told to give our wives a break.

      Women really have no idea how difficult it can be for a man to go without sex. I know that we are called to love our wives sacrificially so that if he wants to deny himself the relief his body needs in order to love his wife, then she should appreciate his sacrifice. But if he is unable to do this because of his lack of self control then I would hope that his wife would “lend a hand.” Self control is a fruit of the Spirit, if the man is lacking enough self control for 6 weeks abstinence then God must be the one to provide what is lacking. But if He doesn’t then that is why He has given the man his wife as a help-meet.

      • Attention all men who are mouthing off before thinking/praying about this: The point is simple: men like to make excuses and fail to exercise self control. Due to a porn addiction before marriage, I brought some baggage from that time into our marriage, one of those being self pleasuring. When my wife was too tired, too stressed, or I was too lazy to woo her, I took care of things myself. I waited 29 years to give my virginity to my wife and I still chose to steal from her after marriage. (stupid, yes, selfish-totally) My point is this-I finally saw what Sheila is trying to get across to men: you are the captain of your fate in the area of sex. Yes, you are.
        If I take the time to follow Sheila’s advice, then I will have a better sex life. Not because of a If…then, but because if I give 100% in my marriage, I will make an environment where my wife can make easier choices regarding our intimacy. Still her choice before the Lord, but I have done my part of service and self control.
        Too many men, self included, feel like we need a ‘helping hand’ if there is a mutually agreed upon time of abstinence. Wrong. What we need is to fall on our faces before a holy God and receive the power to take every thought and action captive and reign in our hormones. This is the point that most men are missing here: the power of the Holy Spirit. Yes, I embrace Paul’s teaching in I Corinthians 7, but during that time, after baby or menstruation, go exercise, work on a project and or study the Word. We are expecting our third child, so I understand the necessity to wait. If she needs me to wait, then WE shall wait and will not request anything from her. But what I have found is everything that Sheila is stating-if I love my sacrificially like Christ loves the church (see Ephesians 5) this will foster an environment of loving where my wife will not feel pressured but desire intimate times with me…..and I will be the one with the big smile. It is almost like God designed sex this way or something….
        And one last thing- I understand waiting….I am a man…but I know I can if I walk in the Spirit. If he is unable to wait, then he is rejecting the power of God in his life. Hard, oh yeah, but doable in HIS strength. Brothers, this is the key to good sex: God.

        • Joel, thank you for such a godly comment. I understand that men have the need for physical intimacy probably more often than women do, and I know that many times I have sinned in that I have not made my husband’s needs a priority. With God’s help I’m doing better at being his partner in every way. But I really appreciate what you said about taking care of things yourself essentially being a form of stealing from your wife. I’ve been very disturbed by this issue lately and actually feeling some rejection because of it but wasn’t sure exactly how to express it. After reading your post I at least know that I’m not crazy! Now I just need to pray for God’s guidance in discussing this with my husband.

        • Thank you Joel! I agree with you 100%. We may be our husbands help meets but that does not mean that we are sex toys that can be used whenever he lacks self control!

          • I get that men and women are different, ok. Sex has a different meaning for a man, ok. But I would love to see how many of you husbands would still miss “the connecting” and ” the closeness” if yall werent able to orgasm…

    • Good point, Melanie. “The husband was not to touch her at all”. So where does the idea come from that she should be pampered, hugged, or get massages, etc. during that time? Perhaps I am being a bit sarcastic here, but what is fair for one is fair for all.

  9. Respect your wife. Don’t grope her breasts or things like that in public in a crude sort of manner. And don’t get drunk and then think you are the greatest lover in the world! It doesn’t work that way. Respect yourself. Get your hair cut. Trim your beard. Wear half decent, clean clothes. Be the man you should be and God wants you to be. Your wife wants to be special and to feel loved and cared for — not just to be there to satisfy your sexual needs with no thought of her own. Just my recent experience … sadly things are going downhill and I am considering leaving…. Not good at all!

  10. Thanks for this Sheila! It’s a really good list, and I agree completely with all your points.

    As for what you left out, I would just say that you need to know that these are not “magic answers.” You might well do all this stuff, and while it is all true, it won’t necessarily wake her up to the fact that sex says “I love you” like all these things say “I love you” to her. There are many women who will not get it without a frank conversation to this effect. I’m not talking about browbeating or berating her, or trying to pressure or manipulate her into more sex. I’m talking about speaking honestly about your needs and desires in a non-demanding way. It’s a difficult conversation, but it might be a necessary one if you feel you’ve honestly given this list a shot and it hasn’t resulted in any changes.

    I believe in selfless love – I’m really big on the idea of loving your wife “as if” you were already getting all the sex you want – but I also don’t think men (or women for that matter) should settle for a sexless marriage. It’s too important.
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  11. Klavzz Reid says:

    I love this – everything is so true – and #3 is my absolute fav – I sent it to my hubby – I am awaiting his response.

  12. I love so much of this, and wanted to chime in on a couple points. For instance – touch. When my husband touches me during the day (hand holding, bum grabbing, a quick kiss, etc) he’s communicating that he loves me and finds me attractive and that in turn helps keep my motor idling so that initiating sex (for either one of us) is much easier. If you realize that it’s late or you’re both exhausted I think it’s awesome to say “hey, I love being with you, but I know it’s late. Let’s plan to sleep in tomorrow/go to bed early tomorrow.” Then you can cuddle without the wife feeling like she has to “rev her motor.” But if you do want to have sex then say so up front so your wife has a chance to push tomorrow’s menu and next week’s Bible study out of her head and focus on y’all.

    As for going without sex – with my husband he’s the one who decided he didn’t want to have sex during my period. Because of that I pretty much don’t worry about him until my period is over. His rules – his deal. But with childbirth (not that I’ve experienced it) I can’t imagine going without sexual touch/expression totally for six weeks. Even with that huge a life change I imagine we’d both be buzzing after 3 weeks. I really don’t see what so gross about non penetrative sex play/intimacy. It’s not like sex during the first couple months after giving birth is going to be procreative anyway, so why not play around a little? Maybe you’ll figure out some new foreplay ideas for when you’re finally able to resume intercourse.
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    • The reason women are not supposed to have sex for 6 weeks after giving birth is because the vagina takes an absolute beating while pushing out a tiny human and needs time to heal. :-) After I had my first baby (a 9 pounder!), I did not want my husband anywhere NEAR my nether-regions for the entire six weeks. I was too sore. Bless his heart, he was incredibly understanding!
      Melissa recently posted…I Appreciate…My Profile

      • Yeah, I knew I was treading unfamiliar waters with that comment. My main thought was that there are ways to play sexually that don’t involve the vagina (of course now that I think about it one’s breasts change rather dramatically too during that time). I was just figuring (hoping?) there was some way to be intimate after childbirth that didn’t involved sensitive tissues. And since we’re talking about sex, I’ll clarify that I’m not suggesting anything “dirty.”
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        • Yes, the breasts do change – when the milk comes in, they can be extremely tender for a while. There were a couple of days when even a hug was painful until my milk supply stabilized. Every woman is different though, so it’s important to listen to your body and communicate your needs and how you’re feeling. Your body has just been through a major event and needs time to rest and recover. It will let you know when it’s ready.

          The thing to remember with those six weeks after having a baby is that in the grand scheme of things, it really is a short period of time. It flew by for us with both babies. With our first baby we thought “Six weeks??? That’s forever!” but truly, it did go very quickly. Babies have a way of making time go way too fast. :-)
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  13. The only change I might make to this post is to give the advice to the lower drive spouse, instead of the husband, in general. It removes the gender bias.

    As to #8 and the angst that is seems to have caused. There are times when the lower drive spouse cannot make love and the higher drive spouse needs to be able to accept that. HOWEVER, the lower drive spouse can make it easier for the higher drive spouse to accept by scheduling it for when then can? A “Tomorrow night” is better than “No” any day of the week.

    Good list.
    Kentucky Colonel recently posted…Sex and the Good SamaritanMy Profile

    • Absolutely on #8! Great point. And I think it’s much easier for people to “wait” when the other can’t when they know that once the other can sex will be fun and frequent!

    • anonymousspicywife says:

      I agree with Kentucky Colonel’s suggestion to change the wording to advice for the lower drive spouse, as I can relate to everything that is directed towards the husband’s drive.

      • I understand, I really do. But this post was written for a specific purpose. I do have other posts for women whose husbands aren’t interested in sex–you can begin here.

  14. van Rooinek says:

    women’s number one reason for not wanting sex is that they are absolutely exhausted.

    If you are too exhausted for sex, YOU ARE DOING TOO MUCH.

    Quit your job. Most women don’t really make enough to offset the enhanced costs of working (eg, childcare, higher tax bracket, work wardrobe and commuting/fuel costs, oufsourcing household tasks…) A very large percentage of 2-career couples would honestly be better off financially if the wife would stay home!

    Quit overspending; sometimes credit card debt is the ruthless lash that keeps women working.

    Quit obsessing over every speck of dust. If your house is clean enough for your husband, be content. He’s horny, the laundry can wait. The moment all the kids are asleep, nothing else should matter.

    Quit overcomplicating your life and that of the kids. Too many activities can be counterproductive. The kids will be smarter, healthier, and happier with some real free time, you don’t have to wear yourself out hauling them to endless activities, some of which they might not even like!

    The fewer activities, posessions, and debts you have, the happier and less exhausted you will be. I’m not saying “zero”… just chose carefully what you’ll spend your time and money on. And keep a reserve of money and a *reserve of time*. Don’t spend every dolllar before it comes in, and likewise, also keep a reserve of free, unstructured time in your schedule.

    Most men get this… (judging by the spartan lifestyles so many of them follow as singles). But far fewer women do. Some women exhaust themselves, thinking they are “serving their husbands”.. but they simply cannot comprehend, that the husband doesn’t actually want most of that stuff done!

    And then the wife is too exhausted for the ONE thing the man really DOES want… sheesh….

    Perhaps this is the appeal of 50 Shades: If she’s tied to the bed, she can’t do any needless dusting.

    • “Perhaps this is the appeal of 50 Shades: If she’s tied to the bed, she can’t do any needless dusting.”

      Ok, that made me laugh out loud!

    • The reality is that he is so wealthy that she doesn’t have to do anything except be tied to the bed….there’s a housekeeper/cook/laundress and a driver/security guard.

      • van Rooinek says:

        True. The guys I know, who really have great sex lives (in terms of frequency, not just intensity), are without exception very, very rich. The maid, the cook, the nanny, etc., take care of the mundane stuff. All the wife has to do, is work out, and put out; her only “job” is sex.

        • I’m smiling a bit, but let me just reassure you that I know quite a few people who aren’t “so rich” and who don’t have nannies and housekeepers who still have great sex lives! :) But most of us women dream of a housekeeper….

          • Victoria says:

            I am a housewife by choice and even being a house wife (I have more in my life than to just workout and be ready for sex, lol) doesn’t mean our sex life is miraculously better than anyone elses. Granted I have only been a house wife since May but I made a good amount of money and living without it is hard but he enjoys me being home and I enjoy not being near as stressed. We’ve learned to live without the money ($2,000 less a month :-/ ) and be happier that I’m more available and less stressed and to be honest…we’re coming back to the concept that money doesn’t truly bring happiness.

            Now the needless dusting comment cracked me up!

    • I would also suggest that hubby’s remember that wives find it sexy to have HELP with the things you mentioned …… women are relational and if I feel exhausted and neglected at the same time I’m not gonna wanna be in the mood …..

    • I agree completely! I truly understand how most men feel, having been there for three years with a terminally ill husband who had no desire for sex because of his terminal illness and the drugs he was on. I finally understood what it feels like to not be wanted sexually and it is a very low, sad place to be in, especially as a 30 year old woman. I have 7 children under 9 and I have to say that because sex is a huge priority to me we have it OFTEN, 5-6 times a week. This could be because I’m done having children, it could be a new husband, it could be because I’m in my thirties, it could be because I value that closeness at the end of the day or it could be because I’ve decided that it will be a priority in this marriage. It does strengthen a marriage unlike anything else besides faith and communication. I find that when he is fulfilled in this area, everything else seems to fall into place. As women we do over stress, over work and over commit and it’s not right. Our priorities need to be rearranged and our husbands need to find a place at the top of that list.
      Jessica Ronne recently posted…DisconnectingMy Profile

    • On point No. 1: Stay-at-home moms still have a job, and it’s an exhausting one that provides no sick days, no vacation days, no off time, period. Chasing small children is even more exhausting than having a “regular” job. This comment makes it sound like leaving the work force will instantly give a woman more energy. Trust me, it won’t.

  15. Overall I agree with you van Rooinek, women don’t need to do nearly as much as we do. However, your first point is that women should just stay at home… really? What if I like my job and find fullfillment in that? A wife should not be required to stay at home so that she can have sex with her husband whenever he wants. As a wife it is my responsibility to meet my husbands sexual needs, however, I am not there to “service” him.

    • van Rooinek says:

      women should just stay at home… really? What if I like my job and find fullfillment in that?

      I’m not a coercionist. It’s a free country. You can work 60 hour weeks if you want. I just won’t marry you.

      (That’s not a hypothetical… I actually turned down a possible relationship back in my single days, for exactly that reason. BTW, ran into her 15 years later…. she never married and she didn’t age well.)

      Realistically… most women… most men, for that matter… don’t like their jobs. Men HAVE TO work, or no woman will ever talk to them, let alone marry them or have their kids. Women do NOT have to work in many cases….jndeed, often they’d be better off. So.. why bother?

      My mom was one of the first career women, she “did it all” back in the 1940s/1950s — the bad old days when women supposedly couldn’t do it all. She never hit a glass ceiling, never got sexually harassed, never got discriminated against. When she had me in her 40s., she became a stay at home mom and was much happier.

      • anonymousspicywife says:

        Some women have to work to make ends meet. I was glad to have a good job that I absolutely loved when as a result of a recession was one income for many years–mine!!! And it didn’t change my outlook on sex or my libido

    • CoffeCrazed says:

      I think van Rooinek was not providing a “9 steps to less exhaustion” list, only some things that can be done. And yes, he is right. My ex would have rather worked a marginal job, close to home, than to deal with all of the things he mentioned for career work. To each his own.

      All due respect to the article and its intended recipients, I’ll stand with Kentucky Colonel regarding the gender bias. In a marriage, it is up to each partner to satisfy the other’s sexual needs. Thus, a husband and wife are there to “service” *each other*. It is not the lower desire partner’s place to determine what those needs are, though that is the standard that has evolved. So what if it is one of the careers that is getting in the way of the relationship? should not something be done about it?

      • I’d agree with you here. The lower libido spouse often has way more power in the sexual relationship than the higher libido spouse, and that’s very difficult. I just want to point out, though, that this post shouldn’t be taken in isolation. The vast majority of what I write is to the lower libido spouse. It’s just that sometimes there are things that need to be said to the other half of the equation, too!

  16. In response to a previous comment: I don’t have a job, I don’t have high housekeeping standards, we don’t have debt and I don’t overspend, my children are not involved in any activities except church (though I do volunteer twice a month). According to my lifestyle, I shouldn’t be exhausted. But I am. Exhaustion is partially a personality trait. My kids are fabulous but they do drain me throughout the day. Even though my husband helps out in the house and cooks etc. I am still drained at the end of the day. I am an introvert so being around people all day just does that to me. But even my extrovert mom friend find that being a mom is enough to exhaust anyone.

    • Kate S. says:

      I am an introverted stay at home homeschooling mom of 4 with an on demand breast feeding 2 month old. Hubby works away from home, so I do it all at home, by myself. I get up around 4:30 am and exercise to stay fit. I eat healthy. I am exhausted, too, but there is nothing more exciting and invigorating to me than when hubby walks in the door and we face a weekend of bedroom possibilities. Give it a go. You’ll feel better and sleep better.

    • Perhaps you shouldn’t be exhausted. But wishing you weren’t or telling yourself you shouldn’t be won’t make it happen.

      Have you talked to your doctor about it? Many things can cause exhaustion. Could be stress, but it could be a thyroid issue, or diet, or allergies/tolerances, or a host of other things.

      It took me 30 years to find out that I’m allergic to dairy (my brain won’t shut off, so I don’t sleep well if I have dairy). I cut out dairy, and now I need about half the sleep I used to.

      It took my wife 30 years to find out that she has ADHD. She’s exhausted because she spends all day every day trying to life a neuro-typical lifestyle. Now that she knows, we’re changing things so that she has less stress and can sleep more.

      My point is, look for answers, don’t just settle for “I shouldn’t be exhausted” or “this is normal, isn’t it?” It can change your life.
      Jay Dee recently posted…All You Want Is SexMy Profile

  17. You are so right with this post Sheila. I don’t believe any bride walked down the aisle to marry her man and had in the back of her mind that she’d like to withhold sex from him! There are reasons why she’s not that interested anymore.
    Jolene @ The Alabaster Jar recently posted…20 Reasons a Wife Doesn’t Want to Have Sex…& a Link Up!My Profile

    • Um, actually, I think some do. My wife entered our marriage with a very negative attitude toward sex (good girls don’t, even when married), thus inflicting two decades of unwanted and unexpected celibacy on my part (sex once every two months, if I was lucky).

      We’re working on it, our marriage is getting better, her attitude is beginning to change, but I seriously doubt we will ever have the emotional intimacy I had dreamed about when I proposed to her. Twenty years of rejection leaves a significant psychological scar on those of us being rejected.

      But yeah, some women walk down that aisle never thinking about or planning on having a great sex life. Hopefully, some day, there will be warning labels for the men in subsequent generations. :)

    • There is also the documented phenomenon of women who are sadly subject to some form of sexual abuse, and marry Christian men and then ramp the frequency down to zero as quickly as possible, because such men are “safe” and won’t leave due to sexlessness. They actually marry purely to avoid sex, for which they have a broken template. (It is not love or God’s gift to them, but simply something a predatory male seeks to extract.) Sadly, prior abuse is often never disclosed prior to marriage, though at times it comes to light much later and some healing can occur. A sad situation all the way around, and sadly common as well.

  18. One thing I would add is Pray for your wife! Pray that she will be the woman God wants her to be. Pray that God will ease her mind & help her focus on what’s important in your marriage.

    It is amazing what prayer can do. When I’m unfocused & just not in the moment & not wanting my Hubby, if we pray together, the desire comes. Sometimes it’s not even us praying together but just him telling me that he’s praying for me when he knows I’ve had a bad day.

    And women, if we pray for our Hubby’s, God can really make our marriages better than we believe it can be.

    Lea (married for 21 1/2 years – it takes lots of work & prayer, but SOOOO worth it!!)
    Joyfulmomlea recently posted…UpdateMy Profile

  19. Anonymous says:

    On a total side note Sheila, I let my husband read this blog just a bit ago and while he agreed with the things it said, he asked me why you would pick the picture you did. He said one point you make is to stay away from porn, and while the pic is far from porn, she does have an attractive and bit seductive stance to her. Just his opinion, thought I’d share.

    • The sleeve coming off the shoulder with exposed bra strap threw me for a moment as well… (but I am admittedly hyper-sensitive as my husband has battled a strong addiction to porn for many years)

    • The bullhorn is a definite mood killer, though. I can just imagine her using it to shout instructions to her husband: a little higher, no, no, not that high, a little lower. To the left, now, no, my left not yours….

      Yeah, bullhorn = mood killer. Definitely.

  20. Sheila,

    Good post for the most part, but I disagree with the part where you say that men need to be ok with not having his wife “help out in other ways” sexually after childbirth for 6 weeks. After 3 kids, I know from experience how hard it is to stay close during those first few weeks after birth. Alot of times the guy feels like everything is now about the baby, and the wife that used to care about him and their relationship, now has replaced him with this new little bundle of crying craziness. Obviously this is not true, but it is easy for him to feel this way. If the wife still wants him to be able to stay close to her emotionally, it is MUCH easier for him to do this, if she will offer release via hand job, etc.

    Sex is for men, what communication is for women. If we are supposed to just be “ok” with no sexual contact for six weeks, then the wife should be ok with no communication for six weeks too, right? Yeah, somehow I don’t think that would go over well. But somehow sex is put in that “oh, he doesn’t really need it, he can just learn to deal with it for a few weeks” category. Being a man, I have what you might say is a “unique insight” on this, and let me tell you, it’s not true. Can we “stuff it” for six weeks, and just “deal with it”? Sure we can, but you’re going to have one frustrated, hurt, and even resentful husband afterwords. No intercourse for six weeks is fine. No sexual contact at all for six weeks? Not going to work. If we’re supposed to be #2 in your life (God being #1), it sure doesn’t feel that way if you’re not even asking if we need help from you in this area for a month and a half.

    Also, the thing about having sex during her period – totally a couple’s choice. If the woman doesn’t care, or even wants to, what’s the problem? Blood is just another bodily fluid. If you’re not used to those by now, you haven’t had much sex…lol! Sure, they didn’t do it in the Old Testament, but they also offered sacrifices for their sins. I don’t see many churches throwing goats on alters anymore. Some of the stuff in the Old Testament doesn’t apply under the new covenant. If a couple is grossed out by it, great, don’t do it. But if not, I say go for it!

    Just my two cents. Thanks for the post! :)

    • Gerad, absolutely if the woman wants to do something during her period, it’s fine. The thing is that I get emails all the time from women who don’t want to do anything, and who feel quite sick during their periods, and then their husbands insist on something. And that’s what I’m really commenting on. If it’s not an issue in a marriage because they both want to do something, that’s great. But if it is an issue, I do think in this case a husband should show some grace.

    • Gerard, I am sensitive to my husbands needs during timed I cannot have intercourse. I was on bed and pelvic rest due to a high risk pregnancy and I made sure to find ways to make love even though he said he’d wait, but consider, I would often be in absolute tears during that time because I could not release sexual tension. I could not experience any sexual pleasure. I wasn’t even supposed to orgasm! It was HARD! It isn’t like pregnancy, recovery and periods are breaks for women. It hurts us, too. I love and want sex and daresay I have a higher libido than hubby. I also get rejected a lot because he is too tired. When my hubby was ill for months on end, I had to.wait. When he has his operation later this year, I will have to wait again. It is hard on us, too. Grace is important.

    • van Rooinek says:

      Being a man, I have what you might say is a “unique insight” on this, and let me tell you, it’s not true. Can we “stuff it” for six weeks, and just “deal with it”? Sure we can, but you’re going to have one frustrated, hurt, and even resentful husband afterwords.

      What is your problem? How did you endure dating and engagement, getting no sex at all (if you were actually obedient to the Lord, that is)?

      Being a man, and the father of 3 kids, I have a unique insight too: that you are a selfish wuss.

      Yes, the normal pattern in marriage should be regular sex, and a husband denied that has every right to be frustrated. But when she is recovering from childbirth, have the manly strength to just LEAVE HER ALONE for a few weeks. That’s not too much to ask. And as for alternate activities… why? Why burden her? GIVE HER A BREAK. Waiting is physically frustrating, yes, but you’ve no right to be resentful. Give her some time to recover, and she’ll reward you later.

      • I tried to post a comment, but it didn’t work it might have been too long. So I posted it on my blog and am trying to link to it now. TL,DR; I think Gerad is right and von Rooinek doesn’t understand the actual issue.

        Link is below.
        Jay Dee recently posted…Response To Comment On: MEN: HERE’S WHAT I WISH I COULD SAY TO YOU ABOUT SEXMy Profile

        • Jay Dee,
          I read your comment, and I have to say thank you. It’s nice to know somebody else understands…

        • van Rooinek says:

          TL,DR; I think Gerad is right and von Rooinek doesn’t understand the actual issue.

          Married happily 10 years, 3 kids, plenty of sex…. I understand the issue perfectly. You clearly don’t. You’d nag your wife for sex while she’s recovering from bearing YOUR BABY, your legacy. That’s insanely unloving. I stand by my comment.

          Oh, and Leviticus 12 prescribes long periods of abstinence after childbirth. I suppose the Hebrew patriarchs got all “frustrated, hurt…. resentful”… NOT!!! They were thrilled to have babies.

          In fairness however, they mostly had other wives to turn to…. :-)

  21. Susannah says:

    Great writing! I have to laugh at those that think a week or even six weeks is a long time. As a military wife, let me say that when occasional emails and phone calls are all you have for a year or even 15 months, you learn what is truly important in your relationship and its not sex. We both have high drives, so I’m not sayin its easy or fun, but its what we do for love. We’ve been together for 4 years and he’s been home for 18 months of that. We are facing another deployment in the very near future. As to exhaustion, its not always from working. I’m a nurse that works part time nights, so that we don’t have to get a babysitter. Taking care of kids and a house is just plain hard work, but I also have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. My point is that if you truly love someone and are committed to your marriage, your will work around the obstacles, whether time, distance or physical issues.

  22. I’m sorry about the picture, everyone! I honestly never saw it in a negative light. I was searching for a picture of a woman with a bullhorn, and a thumbnail for this one came up, and I thought she looked a little like me, so it was a good one. On looking at it now I can see how it may be suggestive (with the bra strap showing and all), I just didn’t notice it at the time. I just thought she had attitude.

    I can’t get rid of the picture all together because the picture’s been published on a bunch of sites linking to the article, and it would be confusing if people came here via the picture and then the picture wasn’t there. But I’ve made it a lot smaller. I just saw it as a thumbnail and didn’t notice much, so I thought if I made it more thumbnail size again it wouldn’t be as bad!

    • Sandra Houtz says:

      ROFL … that’s what photoshop is for :) lol … oh well it wasn’t an “intentional” photo :) You do a great job! Loving the posts and needing the book!

      Now to the subject at hand … many times I have had to forgo sex with hubby … he has been incredibly understanding … let me share: 6 KIDS, yes SIX, one by c-section … a tubal ligation after number six, and then an abdominal hysterectomy, which also causes a six week break on intimacy, and not to mention the FIVE surgeries on my left foot which left me in a cast to my knee and non-weightbearing for 8 weeks at a time … and I would often ask him during those recovery periods why he wouldn’t want sex and he joked and said he figured it would be to hard for me to get to the bathroom afterwards, I told him well okay then bring the wash cloth and towel to ME! :) … and then I had a two year bout with migraine’s and yes sex helped but not all the time and if my head was pounding to badly I didn’t want it banging off the wall so to speak … lol … you get my point … I have never minded giving him a “hand” if he wanted it. First of all, he would NEVER ask me to … but I take the initiative and ASK … as a wife you can “tell” when he’s wanting/needing you … so why not help out … as long as it’s mutually okay and no one is getting forced into it …

    • Anonymous says:

      I told my husband you apologized for the picture and that you were just looking for a picture of a women with a bullhorn. His response, ” She had a bullhorn in her hand??” LOL totally cracked me up but also told me what we see and what men see is so totally different. We have more learning to do ????

  23. I love your blog, and this article. I am tempted to leave it up on the computer so my husband can stumble upon it by “accident”! I am currently 4 months pregnant, and I feel like all of these points are that much more exaggerated. :)
    Sarah recently posted…A Peek at our Baby Registries!My Profile

  24. I have to say, one thing that is difficult at times is the “don’t let touch always need to leave to sex concept.” as a husband, I do honestly try to do this. But it’s challenging in two ways from my experience: 1. When I go to give my wife affection, it does make me desire sex sometimes , even if that wasn’t my original plan. Ladies need to understand that this happens for us, just like it happens for you. Don’t be so quick to assume that sex was “the plan”! I know for me, my wife does turn me on…and it’s hard not to respond to that!! And 2. It’s hard for us to know how our affection is going to be received!!! One day, I can give affection, and it’s taken as just that…meaningful, loving affection not leading to the bedroom. The next day, she’s going at me as soon as the affection starts. And vice versa. (don’t read into the order I put that in…) So, we’re not mind readers. Some communication of what you’re wanting to receive, affection or sexual advances, can be helpful to make sure you get this.

    My 2 cents…

  25. I was wondering if there are any great resources like this site/tweets except for men. I read your tweets and often your posts on this site and get a lot out of it but I’d love to have the same great thoughts except the guidance is directed toward men (like this particular post).

  26. Anonymous says:

    Excellent tips for the men Sheila. I tend to think that people that read marriage blogs religiously, are more engaged marriage partners than the norm even within Christian marriages (and especially true for men). I for one, am always on the prowl searching for information and inspiration that will help me learn to please my wife more. If you Individually interviewed her about what it was like being married to me, she would tell you that feels like she is the most blessed bride on the planet and is extremely enthusiastic being married to me. I’m not saying that I am even remotely close to being a perfect husband or that we haven’t gone through some very serious marital struggles in the past 18 years. I’m a deeply flawed man redeemed by God’s unmerited grace. However, I also study my wife carefully and do not take our love relationship for granted.

    However, let me tell you a little story that happened to us last year: My wife and I are 11 years apart from each other in age. I’m 48 and she’s 59 and neither of us have been married before. I have definitely always been the higher drive spouse, though she could always hold her own sexually, especially in her early 40’s (hence her decision to take on a “younger man project”).

    Fast forward to 2011: Without going into every detail or factor affecting our marital and family life at that time, I will say that a number of things happened last year. One is that she hit menopause big time while at the same time, our then 15 year old son (and only child) went off into teenage adolescent, authority-defying behavior with a bang. These two strong-willed, hormonally-driven people that I love deeply went to mother- -and-son war with each other and I was caught directly in the middle. Our family tension escalated off the chart and my wife was an emotionally distraught mess who needed my personal support constantly and I faithfully provided it to her and our son (with God’s help).

    During this time, we still had an emotionally passionate love relationship and sexual desire for each other, though I was starting to see the toll of stress and the effects of menopause on her sex drive; it had been gradually waning over the last few years.

    Anyways, one day I was having an ordinary, casual discussion with her about the prospect of making love that night (since it had been a while) and how much I appreciated her sexual enthusiasm. Then, all of a sudden, out of the blue, I was blindsided: She began to tell me it was not logical for me to expect her to continue to be sexual and that her body was going to slow down more and more — and that eventually I would just have to learn to adjust to it– and that happy marriages were more than just about sex.

    I was stunned: I had never heard my dear wife ever say such words to me and for a few minutes, I just sat in icy silence trying to deal with feelings of fear and rejection as I attempted to comprehend the implications of what she was communicating to me. Finally, after stuttering and stammering a lot, I screwed up my courage and gently confronted her: I reminded her that she herself told me repeatedly over the years that she really appreciated the fact that she married a very verbal man and that I more than satisfied her emotional need for meaningful conversation and connection. Then I asked her what would it feel like for her if I just suddenly stopped talking to her regularly?

    Then it was her moment to be stunned. Instead of pressing that point further, however, I told her that I understood that because of our age difference and basic differences in our male/female sex drives, that some things would probably change in our sexual life as we got older. I also expressed to her how it made me emotionally when we made love — that it made me feel extremely close and connected to her and that it made me love her more. Then, after I said all of that, something shifted in her that day. She suddenly “woke up” and she was back to being the sexually and emotionally passionate wife that I had always known.

    This year, things are a lot better with our family and she is searching out natural cures and alternatives to address the slow-down of of her sex drive due to menopause. But I’m telling you, I was really insecure for a while. I still don’t know exactly what happened last year but I do know one thing: our God is good! — Amen.

  27. Hi.. i really love this article and your blog. Men should read this. I relate myself in this article especially the number 3. I am very exhausted and stress in my work that i didnt know that I didnt give much attention to my husbands need especially in sex. He became weak and had an affair to his office mate that last for 8 months. It started last November 2011 and i just found out last July 3. It really hurts me a lot knowing this, i felt all the coldness and in my instinct i know something is wrong but i didnt have a proof then. And last july 3, i thanked God that he used someone to give me proofs of his infidelity. I saw there pictures, that until now haunts me. My husband chose me and ends his infidelity right that moment ive learned it. Now we are starting a new life together and we had an ongoing marriage counselling to our pastor. I forgive him for what he has done but sometimes its really difficult to forget things that he really hurt you. We are rebuilding our marriage, we are planning to have a baby, and i am praying that God will give me strength and courage to fight this feeling, and i am praying that by his grace i can be able to move on. And i am praying that God can continue to move in our life. Please pray for me and my husband. Thank u so much:)

    • I’m so glad the truth came out and that you can now rebuild. But I know how hard it is! I’m throwing up a Reader Question of the Week either this Saturday or next Saturday to ask our readers to give encouragement that you can recover from infidelity. I think many of our readers have some great advice in this respect, and I hope that it really helps you!

      And I’ll definitely pray for you. In fact, I just did. :)

      • Thank u for praying for me.. i really need words of encouragement especially in this hard time that i feel so down.. Its really hard and I thank God that my husband really improved a lot and trying his best for us to work on our marriage. Sometimes im still in the denial stage because i really trust him back then because before we got married we dated for 9 years so i never ever thought that there will come a time that he will be unfaithful.

        Thank u so much and more power to you. I will look forward for the reader question of the week. God bless u.

  28. A Happy Hubby says:

    I generally agree that a guy should have patience enough to wait 6 weeks after a birth.

    One point I would like to make is that a man has a much harder time abstaining when his lovely wife’s body isn’t there to excite him. I am not talking about the time near a birth. I have gone on 3 week trips by myself where I was busy and I was fine. I have had a week of more hurt when my wife is with me all week long and won’t even touch me. One time when we were discussing ( ok – fighting) our sex life I mentioned that the many times I stepped up and ran the whole house (w/ lots of small kids) for a week+ so she could visit family and friends. I noticed that I didn’t feel any pressure. She sure took that the wrong way and said, “well I guess you are better off without me!” and stopped the discussion right there.

    • She sure took that the wrong way and said, “well I guess you are better off without me!” and stopped the discussion right there.

      I’ve had similar experiences.

      What I have come to realize is that most of the pressure women feel is self-generated. For some reason, they have this belief that they have to be perfect mothers, with a perfect house, and perfect kids, and perfect everything, which apparently makes many women partially insane. LOL!

      When I am in charge, I take a completely different approach with the kids. I make sure they have clothes on. I feed them. Then I let them play. I don’t need to schedule every second of their day. I don’t need to be their best friend. I don’t worry if their socks match. I don’t worry if there is a spot on their shirt. If there is no blood, no tears, and no toads hopping around inside the house, then everything is fine.

      In short, I take care of the big stuff, then let everything else slide. End result, kids are happy and dad is calm. And what impact does my parenting style have on my wife….it drives her crazy because she doesn’t understand how I can be so laid back about everything.

      • Mark, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie Date Night, but there is one scene in it that I SOOOO want to put on the blog and talk about, but it’s not on YouTube. The couple is in the car and she’s reciting the litany of all the things that she has to do and how burdened she is, and he replies, “yes, but you never let me help! You do it to yourself!” And I think for so many marriages, that is so true.

        • True indeed.

          I have been making the kids wash the dishes to get them in the habit of helping around the house.

          Wife comes home from work, complains about the kids not helping around the house, and then she starts filling the sink to do the dishes.

          Me: I told the kids to do the dishes. They are going to do them after they are done playing with their friends in an hour.

          Wife: I just want to get them done.

          Me: Um, okay.

          And then I walk away shaking my head. She had an opportunity to spend an hour relaxing, or going for a run, or doing something together, but she chose dishes.

          You women are strange creatures, Sheila, very strange. :)

  29. Dear Sheila, I am man that has followed your blog and read your book and enjoyed both. Usually you seem to see both the male and female sides of an issue, this time you seem more wound up about the female perspective. Wondered what really got you going?.

    I have already responded once to this post and have read some of the comments. Your response to some of those comments has had more of your typical tone of hearing both sides.
    Anyway, I am just going to go through her point by point and make some comments that I hope will continue to inspire thought and conversation from all, both male and female. These are common and tough issues and the more we can truly share the depth of our hearts on both perspectives and hear our mate’s perspectives, the stronger our marriages will be.

    1. Tell Your Wife She’s Beautiful

    If he tells you that you are beautiful to him, thank him and believe him. If you tell your child that they are smart or kind or whatever and they continually deny it, how do you feel? If your husband asks you to go for a walk- try to go if at all possible. If he tells you certain body parts or clothes or lingerie make you looks sexy to him- believe him and accept him.

    2. Touch Her–Without Expecting It to Go Anywhere

    I shared some thoughts about this section earlier, but have now had some further thoughts. When he gives you non-sexual touch, receive it and enjoy it. Don’t push him away when he is giving you non-sexual touch.
    Realize that what you may have different ideas of what touches are sexual and that is a good area for discussion. Realize that how long it has been since he had sex may very well effect what is a sexual touch to him.

    3. Don’t Make her More Exhausted than She Already Is

    Do not keep making the to-do list longer, especially by saying you are doing such and such for him, when those things are not his priority. Appreciate what he does do around the house even if it is not perfectly up to your standards. If he would rather spend an evening with you either sexual or not, rather than having you get the house in perfect order, spend time with him. Everything does not have to be perfect for company. Don’t complain about how tired you are, when you are the one making the to-do list unreasonably long. The kids do not have to be in everything or have the best of everything to please most men. The house does not have to be perfect to please most men.

    4. Figure out Where the Clitoris is–And What To Do with It

    Be patient as he tries to learn and be aware that your hormones fluctuating that cause the type of touch you want can be very confusing and frustrating to him especially if he is trying. Don’t be afraid to pleasure your clitoris yourself either before or during lovemaking either manually or with a vibrator. Some men may struggle with their fingers. I have been fingers myself and am not manually dexterous. Even trying to put little screws into a new piece of furniture can be so frustrating to me, so trying to get just the right touch on the clitoris is very frustrating no matter how hard I try. It is especially hard since the right touch can vary so much based on arousal levels and time of month.

    5. Porn is Evil. Live with It.

    Think about the biggest addiction, unhealthy habit, etc. that you struggle with now, or have struggled with in the past. Did someone telling you just to stop or got over it, inspire you to go cold turkey? Most likely whatever feelings you were or are trying to medicate with your addiction or bad habit is similar to the feelings he is trying to medicate with porn. Slow down and truly listen to him from the depth of your heart. Do not judge or shame him. The more you judge and shame the deeper he is likely to spiral because he won’t feel safe to talk.
    Also the Apostle Paul talks about not sexually denying one another and one reason is so that we are not tempted to fall into immorality. Are your responding to your husband’s sexual advances with love and enthusiasm or grudges? Yes, he is still responsible for his sin, but you are responsible to have a Godly attitude and response.

    6. Talk to Her

    Let him talk also. Be aware that during foreplay or after intercourse he may open up and share the depths of his heart with you. Don’t miss it. Why do you think in the spy movies the girl is always trying to get the secret from the man during foreplay. Think about Samson and Delilah.

    7. See a Doctor

    Listen to and acknowledge his fears about going to the doctor. Do not lecture him.

    8. Sometimes She Can’t Make Love. Let it Go.

    Acknowledging that he has desires and that they are ok is so helpful when you truly can not have sexual intercourse. If you can do other things than intercourse, that is so great. If other things are truly off the table, giving him permission to help himself and think of you is so wonderful and freeing.

    9. Love Her Anyway

    Love him and accept him as he is, and that may include a very high sex drive, or a low sex drive. His sex drive may have been distorted by sin, but a good portion of it has been given to him by God. You are his only legitimate outlet for sex. Anything else, he can do with a buddy golfing, fishing, sports, etc. without it being immoral.
    Be thankful that he turns his sexual desires to you and accept that part of him.

    Thanks for hearing me out and providing this forum to share. I hope my tone is kind. I wanted to acknowlege in more detail the positive in your comments, but didn’t want this to be a mile long response. I think you are doing great work helping the church have a postive conversation about sex. I have been referring others to your blog and book.

    • You’re right in that the tone was different in my post. What got me going? I guess honestly it’s just the deluge of emails I’ve been getting from women with husbands who are being really difficult. I know through emails I only see one side of the story, and honestly, often my response is to see a counselor or talk to someone in real life, because I can’t give point by point advice when I don’t know people. But it is SO disheartening hearing women’s stories of men expecting sex two days after a baby is born, or right after a miscarriage, or while watching porn, and things like that. I’m going on vacation for a while soon, and I think I need it!

      (And honestly, as you know from reading this and from the comments, it also gets my blood boiling when I hear from men about women who have just decided to withhold sex almost perpetually. I’m an equal opportunity blood boiler).

      I really do think my primary calling is to speak to women, and I will continue to do that. But every now and then it just boils over, and so I said it. I really didn’t mean it to sound harsh, and I hope in the broader scheme of the blog people understand the spirit where I’m coming from.

  30. Who Ami says:

    I just came across this post and I thought if fit in so well with the discussion about exhaustion on this blog.

    Yes, some men are unwilling to do much at all around the house. Some women as has been noted, make their own list too long.

    What is interesting about this post is how much he just wants his wife to be happy and his friend, and in a very quiet way is willing to do more, like make his own lunches.

  31. Hi, I haven’t read all the comments here and don’t know if any other wife has shared her perspective quite the way I’m fixing to, but I wanted to let the guys know what a wife feels like when her hubby works to accomplish all these goals. My husband is absolutely wonderful!!! He does all these things, with the exception of seeing a doctor (he doesn’t need to, but I’m sure he would if he needed to). He tells me I’m beautiful all the time, he touches me w/o expecting anything else (just now, he walked by and rubbed my chin and massaged my shoulders), he helps me around the house (even though he has a VERY physical outdoor job which saps his strength especially badly in the summer), he definitely knows what my clitoris is ;), he believes (and lives) that porn is evil, and he spends every possible minute talking to me about anything and everything (and w/o glazed eyes unless the subject is homeschool curriculum b/c then he just has. no. clue.). BUT I guess the one that speaks to me most is how when I’m on my period or sick, he never expects anything (even though he’s used to getting it pretty much at least every other day…we’re still waiting on it to “get old”). I’ve spent the last week and a half in bed b/c I’ve been so sick. He never even mentioned sex. He never asked for “help.” When I was better, I definitely showed my appreciation. 😉 Meanwhile, he came home from work every day and cooked and cleaned and took care of our kids. All this makes me feel absolutely cherished and adored, which in turn makes me want to show him how much I love him. I know I can do that with sex. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy having sex for me, too, (very much so) but the majority of my drive comes from my husband treating me so well. Not only does it make me want to have sex, it makes me want to keep the house extra clean, cook his favorite meals, and tell him what a wonderful man he is. Give it a try! It might start out as doing something to get something, but it will end up being such wonderful circle of giving and receiving love. Even if your heart isn’t in it at first, believe me, it will be soon. Good luck!

  32. A Happy Hubby says:

    Holly – first please accept my deepest thanks for your family’s sacrifices in the military. I look up to you.

    I agree that us guys can live without constant sex. I would explain that for a guy (at least me) it is TOTALLY different to go 6 weeks without sex because my wife is ill (i have had many times this has been the case), compared to when she rejects me for 6 or more weeks for no reason (which has happened way too many times). One I am concerned and looking forward to resuming sex when she is ill, but emotionally I am jello when she has no reason for the rejection.

  33. I just can’t thank you enough for this post. I read the linked post/comments on what touching means and love that too! Hugs, hugs, hugs us what I long for. The long, strong embrace….uhhh how hungry I am for that and sex all around! I definitely have the higher sex drive and I’m dying! We’re in such a dry spell and I’m tired of initiating. I am not the natural initiator and I’m tired of taking that on just to get what I need. I know my disposition is not the best, but I feel like I’ve given up sex and I never get the emotional connection I need. We do not have alone time, special attention, nothing, yet I’d have sex. What about those details? They’re important too. I’m just done. I feel like…well like I’m giving it up and getting nothing in return. I’m done!

  34. Kelly Tompkins says:

    The hardest thing to do is tell her I need her. I do not want her to feel obligated to have sex with me.

  35. Frustrated says:

    Ok. So I stumbled across this article by accident on my wife’s computer. What I understand from the article and posts is that men should be more sensitive, better listeners, help wives more around the house and not respond in any negative way when we hear the word no from our wives. This is a frustrating and challenging issue in and of itself without having thoughtless platitudes driveled out on the Internet not knowing the consequences of those musings. The fact is that if a man does not have a right to make demands on his wife, then you the author and readers by extension do not have the right to make culturally limited and biased demands on all manhood. This article does a lot to protect some few sexually repressed, awkward, unsubmisive women while the rest of them are doing quite well in the bedroom. Some will, some wont, so what. Btw never been to a strip club, massage parlor etc. and i don’t watch porn.

    • Frustrated,

      I get it, but you are wrong. Show me from the Bible where we as husbands ever have the right to demand anything from our wives. Read Ephesians 5-if we are to be like Christ, then we give and if we get nothing in return, we give some more. Read Hosea also-nothing but giving to his wife and she ran away and he went after her. Do you see it yet? Our job is to emulate God like in the story of Hosea and Christ and the church in Ephesians 5. If we never get sex and we love our wives like Christ loves the church, then we are right before God. Is it hard knowing that we are not supposed to demand anything and give everything? Yes, it is, but what a calling we have been given! What the author, correct me if I am wrong is saying: men, here is what speaks to us. It is not a “if..then” it is a 100 %, 100% giving by both. But this is how a man can give to his wife. We gotta think Biblically, give fully, and expect nothing in return.

    • I hear that pain, Frustrated, but as a male fan of this site I’d urge you to read some of the other posts on this blog before dismissing it. (Particularly the 29 Days To Great Sex series.) You might find that a lot of it is incredibly challenging (in a Biiblically appropriate way) to your wife, and to wives in general.

  36. On #2: I touch my wife all the time. I understand that most of the time it is not going to lead to sex. But I usually like to believe that under the right circumstances (privacy with the kids away or in bed) it could lead to sex. When I sense my putting limits on just how far she will go with me right now (e.g. a quick peck instead of a more intense kiss), I usually feel a small sense of rejection. That’s part of life, and we men sometimes need to be more in tune to how close our wives feel to us at any given moment, and what that means for the kinds of touch they want just then. But on the other hand, is it worth it to do this to your hubby? He may want a bit more than you do at this moment, but do you think he is really going to try and get naked with you while you are in public or with the kids running around? Calm your anxieties about where this will lead, and enter into that kiss or embrace just as deeply as he does. See if you don’t get a positive response.

  37. Frustrated Husband says:

    Thank you for writing out what is on your mind. Husbands and wives need to be able to talk about what we need from each other in all aspects of life, not just sex, but the subject of sex is often avoided … For a myriad of reasons.

    One of the great frustrations on sex, from a man’s perspective is that we are not only getting mixed messages from the world, and from church, but from the Christian blogosphere too. You see, we are told on the one hand:

    Sex is a really, really big deal. God Made sex, God designed sex, and God wants us to enjoy sex, but only within the confines of marriage. And married sex is really great, so we should all wait until we get married to have sex. Its worth the wait because its a really, really big deal!!

    And then on the other hand, once married, we men are told:

    Sex with our wives is not that big a deal, and we can go without it just fine. Sex is a want, after all–you don’t need sex, you just think you do. If your wife is too tired, its because you haven’t been helping out enough, so get busy. If she is feeling sick, cut her some slack. If she isn’t into it, do romantic things with no expectations attached. And for whatever reason, if she doesn’t want sex, don’t push for it. Just be happy with you you do get, no matter how infrequent. (my wife says that wanting sex more than once a month is abnormal, and a result of porn addiction–yes, I am a recovering porn addict) Just suck up and deal. You are a man, after all. Its what men do.

    And yet if the man is the lower drive spouse? By all means get your butt to a doctor as fast as possible. You should be putting out for your wife whenever she has the need because that’s your husband-ly duty and if you refuse her you are the worst kind of slacker.

    So see my frustration? So many rules …. There are times I want to swear off sex because its easier to not participate than to try to figure out all the rules, but then I remember that if I don’t put out for my wife oh the odd occasion when she asks, that I am sinning myself … Oy vey!!

  38. Loving Guy says:

    Like most opinions pieces this is full of excellent thoughts, and some really shoddy thinking.

    The idea that a little non intercourse petting during times when a wife can’t have intercourse is selfish and simply gives credence to excuse making.

    I would wager that wives that say they are too (you fill in the blank) during whatever time can find the energy for all other sorts of endeavors. Excusing selfishness by either spouse is just plain wrong. Before I get attacked by the mommy militia, I don’t think a husband should lecture, cajole, or attempt to force but the place where a wife places her priorities and the things she gives herself to are keys to the passion she puts into the love affair with her husband and they will either increase or decrease his feelings of love and commitment.

    No matter what, choices have consequences.

    • SunshineGirl says:

      Loving Guy,
      I keep seeing guys post comments similar to yours. I think you are all missing the heart of Sheila’s point #8. I believe the point is, as you put it, “a husband should lecture, cajole, or attempt to force” his wife to do what she’s unable to do or uncomfortable with. She’s trying to help men be more sensitive to their wives. Remember that Sheila is addressing men, not women in this post. You guys seem way to preoccupied with making sure your wife fulfills your needs rather than seeking to love your wife.

  39. If my husband ever said he didn’t find me attractive or counted my calories, he’d never get sex again. That would be devastating to me. What a great list. I’m thankful my husband gets it. And if your wife was abused, help her heal and don’t shame her if she needs a break from sex while she figures out how to deal with what has happened to her. We went from a hot sex life to no sex life for a while because I had a lot of healing and junk to deal with from abuse.
    Mel @ Trailing After God recently posted…How To Minister Right Where You AreMy Profile

  40. This is an older post, but I finally came back and read through the comments… it’s amazing how much some of the men here can jump all over this, when 99% of this blog is really tough advice for women! Shoot! If they can’t take one little post with some advice, then they have some issues to work through. I’ve been reading Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs lately, and it makes total sense. God commands men to love their wives because it doesn’t come naturally to them! And he commands women to respect their husbands because that doesn’t come naturally to them. We all have things to work on, and it doesn’t help to fight back against what the other spouse feels/thinks. Just take the high road, decide to take the steps towards love & respect, and let God in to do the rest.
    Stacey recently posted…19.3 weeksMy Profile

  41. I note two recent studies that indicate that when men help around the house, they get less sex.

    Science is science, right?

  42. Porn is evil: “Porn rewires your brain so that what becomes arousing is a [fiction], 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 [your spouse] 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 [spouse] a break sometimes. It is wrong. End of story.”

    That includes Fifty Shades of Grey, Eat Pray Love and most anything put out by Harlequin or similar, too. Unrealistic expectations and pleasure burn-out? Same old stuff… no different.

  43. I have a huge issue with number one.

    The first paragraph essentially says that ANY form of social feedback is “not cool”. Getting your wife pregnant is irrelevant; if your husband is turned off by your weight gain, (which is to be expected; he was initially attracted to you pre-pregnancy body, not the to-be-expected post-pregnancy residual weight) it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to return back to your original size. So, feedback that can be considered, but not limited to, criticism is designed to facilitate change.

    The second paragraph says that you are to cherish your wife; if your wife has drastically changed her appearance through weight gain via sedimentary habits that continue on AFTER pregnancy, “cherishing” her can be a challenge.

    The third paragraph is what inspired to write this comment. It says “Don’t make it her responsibility [to lose weight]!” What utter nonsense! It is NOT the man’s responsibility for the woman to lose weight. It is HER responsibility to lose HER weight! It is HER responsibility to be PROACTIVE and lose the damn weight. Healthy meals and walking should be part of daily activity. And the argument of “I don’t have time to walk or eat healthy” is UTTER BULLSH*T. The average American spends over 4 hours watching television a day. And exercise/eating healthy can easily be streamlined into ANYONE’S daily routine and lifestyle. It’s just a matter of being proactive.

    And lastly, the quote “If you don’t find her attractive, then you’re part of the problem. Be part of the solution.” This has to be one of the best examples of women trying to get men to redesign their preferences of what they find sexy. It pretty much relieves the burden of responsibility for getting FAT from the women and puts it on the men. You are an ADULT. If there is an issue, you SOLVE IT. The correct quote should be directed to the ladies is: “If he no longer finds you attractive, then you’re part of the problem. Be part of the solution.” This is an undeniable FACT. As Sheila says,”[T]he only person you can change is yourself, so change has to start with you.”

    So, Sheila, please do not go out and tell women that change has to start with themselves first, and then a few paragraphs put the burden of changing the women on the men.

    • Vice,
      I get where you are coming from, but I don’t think you understand how hurtful and counterproductive your argument and that line of thought really is. I am approaching 7 years of marriage to a wonderful and flawed man. My biggest issue with him, is the consistent comments on my weight and the absolute downfall of our sex life when we are expecting. I get it that I am not as physically attractive to him when I look like I’ve swallowed a prize winning pumpkin at the county fair. But the comments about my weight are VERY hurtful. I didn’t get pregnant by myself. Post partum depression is something I have struggled with, and having a child with special needs is very stressful and exhausting. Add into the mix that I am basically a married single mom, and yes, I am tired. I know I don’t look the same as when we were first married, but in all fairness, neither does he. Nitpicking and being critical only feed my own feelings of worthlessness and unimportance. I eat a very healthy diet, try to exercize daily, (I’ve had to stop for the remainder of this pregnancy due to premature labor) and try to instill in our children a love for exercize and being healthy. The only time I have to watch TV is when I am folding laundry after the kids are in bed. But being alone all the time on everything is very hard, and to say that I am trying to “redesign” my husbands preferences is just plain moronic. Sure, there are some women out there who are like that, but I am pretty sure they are the minority. When my husband treats me like he finds me attractive, not only do I feel better about myself, but I have a renewed energy to do more to make him happy, including loosing weight. The only one you can change is yourself, and her post was directed at men. If you are unhappy about something, do what you can to change it. But keep in mind that you are going to catch more flies with honey that vinegar.

      The only reason I stumbles across this blog is because of a link my mom sent be about christians wearing bikinis. We are expecting our third child and first girl, and one of the first things that I started worrying about after hearing she was healthy was the lack of standards in dress and modesty for young women. I live in Texas and it is almost a yearlong issue. But that is a side issue, I read Sheila’s book on Good Girls Guide to Great Sex, and have been making changes in my home to create a better atmostphere and marriage, because the only one I can change is me. And I have started to see a difference and it is great. Thank you, Sheila.

      • You’re so welcome, Mindy, and I think your comment was spot on. When men are openly critical of their wife’s appearance, it often throws her into a tailspin. In order to lose weight we need to feel cherished and motivated. Criticism does not accomplish that!

        Best wishes on the birth of your new baby!

      • From another man’s perspective, I think the most beautiful my wife has ever been was while she was pregnant. The fire she was breathing out of her mouth at times was not however. You always hear of a woman having a glow while they are pregnant and this definitely has some truth to it, if you are paying attention.

        I will also add that the self-conscious feelings you are having during the pregnancy probably does not help the situation. I’m not really sure if you did, but my wife was constantly saying how she hated being “fat” and hated how she felt. This can also affect a man’s perspective on things. For me, I was constantly having to tell her how beautiful she was and reassuring her that I was attracted to her.

        Sometimes are own opinions of ourselves can shape others’ opinions of us too. In hindsight pregnancy was probably one of the best periods of our relationship, even though it didn’t always seem that way then. Being able to enjoy the moment while you’re in it would greatly help with your attitude as well as your husband’s. Remember what a beautiful gift having a child is and those little comments from your husband won’t bother you so much.
        Lance recently posted…Dealing With RejectionMy Profile

  44. Hello,

    I like what I read but I have a concern. My wife does not like sex and anytime u mention it, it seems u are talking of the hardest thing on earth. It is one complain to another from time to time and this is tearing us apart.

    What do I do?

    Thank u

  45. Nunia Bizness says:

    I’ve been married for 27 years. I’ve attempted EVERYTHING that I thought would bring us closer together. I am convinced there is nothing much I can do to lure another to “CARE” about their commitments and promises. Most would say that we have a great marriage;however, they don’t know the crap I put up with nor the loneliness I’ve endured every year of our so-called marriage. It truly takes BOTH people to at least care for and about the marriage. Doing nothing for the marriage is so revealing that it screams in face of the other that, “I’m not in love with you nor do I care enough about you to do anything more for our marriage and especially YOU so just don’t ask!”
    Then we go through the remainder of our lives in depression. Yayyyy!!!

  46. I just started reading your blogs & I would just like to say thank you.

  47. I am a single guy who works out a lot. Most of the women I date do not work out. However, I have noticed a pattern. After they date me they begin to work out. There was one woman who I dated and then I stopped calling and doing things with her. When I bumped into her a few months later she seemed quick to tell me she was working out a lot even though she never had before. I don’t talk about working out a lot but only do so a certain amount because it is apart of my life.

    My question is: Could I be putting out certain subtle signals about a women’s physique? How hurtful could a man/women be toward a spouse or dating partner if they put out such signals? I don’t think I’d like it if I was subtly telling women I date that I wish they were in better shape. It’s true that one of the things that really got me into working out was when I would date women who did work out. I saw how great they looked and wanted to look that way myself – to be more likely to attract a women I found attractive. It seems like I have heard some advice directed toward men/women who wanted their spouse to work out more often. The advice said that if you work out a lot it will be more likely that your spouse works out. On one hand, I hope I am not putting out such signals. One the other hand, is it ever a good idea to assert subtle signs that you want a spouse to work out? I would be happy just to find a wife. If neither of us work out after we get married I think I’d enjoy the rest.

  48. Persephone says:

    It’s as if I’m reading a foreign language when I see these comments from men about NEEDING sex, and not being able to go without, etc. My husband is perfectly content to go well in excess of 6 weeks without it. It’s been like this for long enough now that I really just can’t remember what it was like to feel like my husband really needed and wanted me. He still loves me and shows it in other ways, but of course that isn’t really what marital love is supposed to be like. I have a hard time seeing him in a sexual way now, and on the rare occasions when he’s interested, I feel awkward and uncomfortable. It hurts a lot to know that all these other women are constantly being pursued and desires by their husbands when mine couldn’t be bothered.

  49. The list is great. Many of these comments are sad. Where is the mutual love and passion for each other?

    Isn’t it true that a loving husband ensures there is open communication and passionate romance in his marriage? If a man truly loves his wife, does he not WANT to invest in her, even though it isn’t anything like he desires from her? Doesn’t he have a desire deep in his inner being to protect and honor her emotional security – not necessarily a “romance drive”, but a never ending constant desire to selflessly love his wife in such a way that she feels drawn to and captivated by him?

    Isn’t it also true that a loving wife ensures there is open communication and passionate sexuality in her marriage? If a woman truly loves her husband, does she not WANT to invest in him, even though it isn’t anything like she desires from him? Doesn’t she have a desire deep in her inner being to protect and honor his sexual security – not necessarily a “sex drive”, but a never ending constant desire to selflessly love her husband in such a way that he feels drawn to and captivated by her?

    Unless there is abuse or some other kind of dysfunction, I’ll say this, if we don’t have a strong DESIRE to invest in our spouses, then the issue is us, not them. Otherwise, we all will be married to each other because of our obligation and duty instead of our delight and desire. And the Enemy would love that.

Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. Any comment that espouses an anti-marriage philosophy (eg. porn, adultery, abuse and the like) will be deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are replying to another commenter, please be polite and don't assume you know everything about his or her situation. If you are constantly negative or a general troll, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Sheila Wray Gregoire owns the copyright to all comments and may publish them in whatever form she sees fit. She agrees to keep any publication of comments anonymous, even if you are not anonymous on this board.


  1. […] comment on Sheila Gregoire’s blog post sort of set me off and I wrote this huge rant back.  But, perhaps it was too long, because it […]

  2. […] last month I wrote a rant on things I’d like to say to men about sex, and one of those things was this: After she’s had a baby, she needs six weeks before she can […]

  3. […] here’s What I Wish I Could Say to Men About Sex. I was kind of hard on the guys in this post, but it all is […]

  4. […] a while ago I did go on a rant and wrote a post directed at men: Here’s What I Wish I Could Say to Men about Sex. I felt so much better getting that out! But it was still primarily women who read […]

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