Wifey Wednesday: I Have No Libido!

It’s Wednesday, the day that we talk marriage! I post on the topic, and then you all can link up your own marriage posts in the linky below. Ever say to yourself, “I have no libido”? You’re not alone! Let’s spend today’s post looking at how to boost your sex drive.

"I have no libido". Help if you never seem to want to say yes!One of the most frequent questions I get is:

I really WANT to want sex, but the truth is I just don’t. It’s not something I naturally think about, and it’s always something that I tack on at the end of the day. I have no libido. It’s as simple as that. And I don’t know what to do about it!

Of course this may be a testosterone issue, and if you really feel like something is just WRONG (as in different from the way you used to feel), then it’s good to get a doctor to check your levels.

But it is quite common to go through LONG periods where you feel like you have no libido, and your levels AREN’T out of whack. I’ve gone through periods of months, or even years, like that, and then I’ll have some periods of the exact opposite. So much about a woman’s libido depends on our kids, and our energy levels, and our stress, and our relationships. We’re very complex beings. And because, for women, sex is almost entirely in our heads (as in our heads have to be in the game or our bodies won’t follow), if we’re stressed, our bodies often sit dormant.

So what would I do? In no particular order, here are some thoughts on how to boost a low libido:

Have no Libido? Make sex great FOR YOU.

You may not have much of a libido that makes you want sex, but that doesn’t mean that sex can’t feel good. And if you decide, “tonight, I want to feel GREAT”, you’re more likely to. When your brain is engaged, your body tends to follow.

So that means making sure that you actually DO feel great. Of course it’s easier to reach orgasm if you actually are “in the mood” frequently, but it doesn’t mean it can’t happen. And if you take steps to make it your goal and make sure it does, you’re more likely to find that libido again. If sex has just never felt good, my book The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex goes over all kinds of ways to make it feel stupendous–and to understand how things work.

Remember that making sure it feels good for you DOESN’T mean that you have to be craving sex before you start. In fact, most women don’t. According to research, for men, desire PRECEDES making love. For women, desire comes after you start making love. So it’s not like you need to be panting first.

But, if, when you start kissing him, you’re thinking in your head, “tonight I’m going to feel GOOD”, then you can jumpstart your body.

The problem is that making sex great for you requires that you’re more ACTIVE–that you’re telling him what you want, and that you’re actually trying to get it. That’s hard if you’re not really “in the mood”. But think of it like exercise: you don’t really want to do it, but you’re looking forward to the reward afterwards, so you put your all into it.

If you can put your all into it, you’ll get the reward. If you let your feelings stop you from putting your all into it, you won’t.

I’m not trying to minimize how hard it is; just saying that if you decide “I actually want to feel GOOD tonight”, it really does make it more appealing.

Concentrate on the good stuff about making love.

So how do you tell yourself “I’m going to feel good tonight”? Think about the benefits of making love. You’ll sleep better. It does feel good. Keep imagining that throughout the day–how well you’ll sleep, how good you’ll feel. Actually pick deliberate times of the day to picture the rewards. Not to try to feel sexy–you may honestly not be able to do that. But to picture the rewards.

Go to bed REALLY EARLY.

The combination of low libido and exhaustion is a recipe for disaster. The only thing that helps is not being tired. So turn in right when the kids do, if you have to, and make love FIRST. Then curl up and watch a movie together, or get on your iPads and check Twitter, or whatever else you may normally do. But try to get sex in earlier in the night.

Make sex really RELAXING.

Ask him to massage you a lot (massage candles work great for that). Turn it into a sensual experience so that you can enjoy the whole package. That way it’s not so much a SEXUAL thing as it is a SENSUAL thing. And that often makes the sexual easier. (but again, that only works if you’re not exhausted). Talk to him about how you want sex to be drawn out experience, and you’re more likely to feel good if he gives you a massage first. Be open about it, and then, as he’s touching you, pay attention to your body. Tune in, and ask yourself, “what would my body like now”?

I can’t emphasize enough how important a step this is. When we start to see sex as totally a sexual thing, and we’re not sexually aroused, it can be a chore. But when the whole evening is about spending time together, and relaxing, and feeling close, we can start to desire it even if we’re not particularly in the mood. So explain to your husband how important it is that you have that “transition time” or massage and touching each other. It helps prep your body, but it also preps your mind.

Get jelly.

Really. Astroglide works best. (And some women swear by coconut oil!). But if you’re well lubricated, arousal is much easier. In fact, you’ll get more aroused if you start out lubricated than if you don’t. So if this is a real struggle for you, get some help.

I hope that helps! I honestly do know how hard it is. But if we turn off the voice that says, “I have no libido”, and turn on the voice that says, “I am going to have fun tonight, absolutely,” your body will often follow. But you have to set your mind to it and anticipate the rewards, even if you don’t feel sexy and even if you still wonder if your sex drive works. And that positive attitude can often jumpstart a low libido.

Now, what advice do you have for us? Leave the URL of one of your marriage posts in the linky below! And be sure to link back here so other people can see these great marriage resources. Just grab the code at the right.

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Why Doesn’t My Husband Want to Make Love?

When Your Husband Doesn't Want to Make Love--4 reasons, and what to do about it
I’ve just finished 29 Days to Great Sex, leading to the release of my new book, The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex. And I was talking in that series a lot about how women can come to see sex in a new way, understanding the real joy and intimacy that it can bring, so that we can desire it more often.

When I was conducting the research for The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex, I asked women how often they made love, and who had the higher sex drive: she or her husband (along with other questions). Then I asked a bunch of guys the same thing. And while in the majority of cases the husband has the higher sex drive, in about 20-25% of marriages the woman does. So what do you do if you’re a woman, and you’re married to a guy who doesn’t want sex–or at least doesn’t seem that interested in it very often. You wonder “why doesn’t my husband want me?” What’s wrong with me?

For the next four days I want to talk about what to do when your husband doesn’t want to make love.

And before we get going, I want to assure you that usually the reasons your husband doesn’t want sex have nothing to do with you–and much to do with him. Maybe he has an abnormally low sex drive; or maybe it’s some other relationship or psychological issue. We’ll talk about how to understand what’s going on better, and then give some strategies about how to deal with this.

First, I believe that God created both men and women with sex drives. We both should yearn to make love. However, in general, men’s sex drives are more physically urgent. If their bodies doesn’t get sexual release, their bodies will actually do it for them during the night periodically. And men are much more visually stimulated than women are. They are supposed to be aroused fairly easily, because it gives them an impetus to really pursue women.

Therefore, a man with a low sex drive should be a rare thing. It’s a sign that something isn’t going right. Now, it could honestly just be a variation in population. In any given population, some with have extremely high sex drives, and some will have extremely low sex drives. However, look at any bell curve and you’ll see that these extremes are very tiny. They account for maybe 2%, not 20% or 25%. So there has to be something else going on.

What could those issues be?

1. He refuses sex because he has transferred his desire elsewhere

The category that is rising the most right now are men who are not interested in sex within marriage because they’re getting release elsewhere, especially with pornography.

A man who is using porn will slowly find that it consumes more and more of his life, and more and more of his sexual energy. Porn rewires your brain to tell you that what is arousing is a picture or an image, not a real, flesh and blood person. And you often need more and more porn and more extreme porn to give you the same high that you felt when you started using it.

When men use porn, in general they masturbate as well. And so it becomes quite likely that eventually they will stop desiring their wives in the same way. That’s why the idea that porn can be exciting in a marriage is so off base. Porn steals the natural desire you have for each other, so that you stop desiring each other. Sure, you may get aroused by the porn and then act it out with each other, but that’s not really making love anymore. The source of the desire was the image, not the person, and you’re still thinking about that image while you’re with your spouse.

Now, it’s not just men who use porn; about 25% of women in my surveys had sought porn out as well. But an overwhelming majority of men had sought out porn, and it is hurting many marriages.

If your husband has a really low interest in sex, and you can’t figure out a reason for it, verify that he isn’t watching porn. Check his computer and his phone, and have a talk with him about it. Here’s a post on what to do if your husband uses porn.

2. He doesn’t want sex because he doesn’t feel like a man

A man’s sex drive is all wrapped up in his concept of manhood. When he feels like a man, he’ll want to make love. But if he doesn’t feel like a man, he won’t. And what does it take to not feel like a man? If he isn’t sure of who he is, isn’t sure of his purpose, and isn’t sure of his role, he could easily have no sex drive.

For instance, I know a woman who is walking through this right now. She married her husband a little later in life when he was working part-time. He has never worked full-time. He tends to spend his life on the couch, not doing a whole lot. He has very low motivation for anything, and doesn’t get excited about very much except video games. He isn’t very involved with his children.

When you look at his life, you can see that he doesn’t seem to have a “will” to do anything. And if you look back at his childhood, you’d see that he was rarely affirmed in anything. He was rarely told by his dad that he was doing a good job. And so he was never sure if any decisions he made, or any steps he took, were the right ones. So he simply stopped taking any. To anyone on the outside he just looks extremely lazy, but I do think there’s more going on there. I think he fundamentally was scarred.

A man can have his masculinity scarred in other ways, too. The root to his scars lie in his family of origin; but even within a marriage he could not feel like a man. Please watch how you talk to your husband. I have heard so many women constantly pick at their husbands, constantly correct their husbands, and I don’t even know if they realize they’re doing it. Make sure that when something comes out of your mouth about your husband or to your husband that it is positive. Even if you’re talking about resolving some conflict, do it in a positive way. Do not browbeat your husband.

Also, if you’ve had an affair in the past, or even if you were sexually active before marriage, your husband may feel that he can’t measure up. And that can cause some men to stop being able to perform, because they’re nervous. Finally, if you spent years in the marriage rejecting your husband’s overtures, he can shut down. If you’ve now decided that you want to change and you want to make love again, he may have a very difficult time making that adjustment.

3. His libido is low because he has low testosterone

Another big category for those with low sex drive is an actual physical issue with the hormone that causes low sex drive. If he has low testosterone, he won’t desire sex as much. But low testosterone can also be caused by other physical problems, like diabetes or even some pain and depression medication. The problem with this category is that because he doesn’t feel the need for sex, he likely isn’t upset about it, and so it can be difficult to get him to talk to a doctor about it.

Low testosterone can also be caused by addictions to alcohol, drugs, pain medication, or even gambling or video games. When something else replaces the high our brains get for sex, it can cause testosterone to shut down.

The good thing is that this category is the easiest to fix–if you can get him to talk to a doctor. We’ll discuss in the next few days how to do that.

4. He doesn’t initiate sex because he’s nervous about his performance

Finally, there’s a category that’s a combination of #2 and #3. Let’s say that a man is nervous about the relationship and nervous about whether or not you really love him. One night you make love, and he can’t keep his erection. A week later it happens again. He was already feeling nervous; he was already feeling slightly humiliated within the relationship. Then erectile dysfunction hits, or perhaps premature ejaculation, and it becomes too much to bear, and he shuts down.

Or perhaps it wasn’t the relationship that was causing him to question his manhood; maybe it was his ability to earn a living. When a guy is unemployed, or feels like he can’t support the family, he already feels like he’s not a man. If he then can’t make love, it can become a vicious spiral, where he’s afraid of trying again because he doesn’t want to fail, so he just shuts off.

I’ve received many emails from women lately whose husbands fall into one of these categories (or else into almost all of them!). And these women feel humiliated. They feel as if they must be freaks, because everywhere else in our media it says that men are desperate for sex. Why don’t their husbands want them?

The message that I want you to take from this is that it likely has little to do with you. If your husband doesn’t want to make love, it’s often an issue within him, or within how he experiences the relationship, far more than it is an issue about whether or not you are desirable.

We’ll look tomorrow at how to start tackling some of these things. But know that you are not alone, and know that it is becoming a problem that is increasingly more common. Hang in there!

If you’re in this situation, what specifically would you like to know? And do these categories resonate with you?

Follow-up posts in this series:

When Your Husband Doesn’t Want to Make Love: What You Can Do
Communicating Your Needs when your Spouse Doesn’t Want to Make Love
What To do When Your Spouse Withholds Sex

Sheila’s book The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex talks at length about libido differences, including what to do when SHE wants sex more than he does.

Christian Birth Control Round-Up

Birth Control Round Up

Last Wednesday we had one of the most popular discussions on this blog about the Christian view of birth control and what form of birth control is best. I had to keep updating the post throughout the day because people left such great comments, and I wanted to add their information. In the original post, I talked about the two main viewpoints: some say it’s up to God to set the size of their family, so they don’t use birth control at all. Others choose to restrict the family size. I think both viewpoints are valid, but for those of you still looking for what birth control method is best, and which fits with your Christian values the most, read on.

I thought I’d write a round-up of the comments, and some of the discussion. In the original post, I didn’t really present my viewpoint, but instead just listed the pros and cons of all the methods. After reading the comments, and reading my manuscript for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex (I had to send in the final proofs last week), I thought I’d be brave and share what I do think.

First, let me list my regrets, which are quite similar to those listed in the comments. The Pill just killed my libido. I went on the Pill like just about everyone I knew when I got married. That’s just what everyone did in the late eighties and early nineties. I could make sure that I wasn’t going to have my period on my wedding night, and that seemed like a pretty good benefit!

However, it’s not a good thing to start your marriage with no sex drive. And it’s even worse to start it really moody, which is exactly what happened to me. Here’s what one commenter said:

Whenever my friends are getting married, I always tell them about my experience with the Pill. I started the Pill when I was 15 (I was a virgin, but I was having stomach issues and they thought the Pill would help it, hah) so when I married my hubby at 19 i just decided to keep using the Pill. Worst idea ever! Being a virgin, I had no idea what to expect with all the technical bodily stuff. Looking back, I realize the Pill made me extremely dry (virtually no natural lubricant), so it made sex much more painful for me than normal. The Pill also made me a crazy hormonal monster! But because I had been on it for so long, I didn’t realize how crazy it made me. Fast forward to June of 2010, I decided to stop taking the Pill because I had just had 3 surgeries all within a year of each other and I just wanted to get my body back to normal. Oh my gosh, what a difference it has made!! Sex is SOO much more wonderful and amazing without it! Let’s just say as soon as I stopped the Pill, I was “in the mood” all the time! I was not dry anymore, and I felt wonderful. I always felt frustrated, stressed out, and negative when on the Pill, but now I really feel like a whole new person!

And here’s another making a different point about the Pill:

We don’t prevent anymore, but there was a time when I was on the pill, and we did try using condoms for a while. For me the pill did not do anything for my cramps, and after a few years, it stopped regulating my cycle. Those were not the reasons I went off it, but I think it’s worth noting. It also seemed like a waste of money. The breakdown was about $2 a pill–including the placebos–to prevent something that can only happen a limited number of times resulting from an activity that only happens a certain number of times in the year. In other words, I have to use it even when I’m not going to have sex, and even when conception would not occur anyway.

Personally, two years into our marriage I went off of the Pill when we wanted to get pregnant, and I never went back. I hadn’t realized at the time that the Pill was the thing that was affecting my libido, and that it was the Pill that was making moody. But as soon as I stopped taking it, I cheered up (even though I was pregnant and hormonal with the baby).

Every hormonal form of birth control, whether it’s the ring or the Pill or the injection, works basically the same way, by secreting a hormone that stops ovulation (or, as some literature suggests, allows ovulation at times and prevents implantation). So even if you’re not taking the Pill, if you’re taking something hormonal, you could have the same problems.

Not everyone experiences this. Not everyone is moody. And for some people, it works great. A few commenters swore by the Pill.

Others noted, though, that the Pill has definitely been linked to blood clots and stroke, and some studies say it may be linked to breast cancer (some studies show that it is, but others show that it isn’t, and I am wary about taking a stand since I’m not medical. But it could very well be an issue). There’s also the controversy about whether or not it truly does prevent ovulation each and every time. I don’t believe that this is clear-cut, but if it’s even a slight risk, do you really want to take it? So if you’re on the Pill, or you’re considering going on something hormonal, really think and pray and research it.

UPDATE: My commenters are awesome! I have seen medical literature saying that it prevents ovulation, not implantation, but one commenter went on a bunch of websites and copied out what the companies themselves said, and in their own claims they note that it prevents implantation. For instance, here’s the commenter’s discovery about one popular pill:

OrthoTriCyclen Pill:
http://www.thepill.com/thepill/assets/How_the_Pill_Works.pdf
Secondary Methods
The hormones in ORTHO TRI-CYCLEN® LO also cause changes in the body that help prevent pregnancy.
• Taking the Pill causes the lining of the uterus to change, which makes it hard for an egg to
be implanted.
• It also thickens mucus around the cervix—making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg.

The commenter has lots more, so go read what Emily found! (End Update)

As for the IUD, while some commenters loved it, others were concerned about the possible link to future miscarriages or infertility, and similar problems to preventing implantation rather than conception. Again, I’m not medical, and so I’m not capable of judging which medical studies are right. I’d just simply say do your research.

After thinking about it, the method that I feel the most comfortable with, and the one that I will be encouraging my daughters one day to use, is FAM, or Fertility Awareness Method. Here’s the gist: you figure out when you’re fertile, either by checking your temperature daily, checking your cervical fluid, or using one of the devices you can buy at a drug store. You chart your cycle, and figure out when you’re fertile each month. Generally, women are fertile for about 5 days: 2 days before ovulation, the day of ovulation, and 2 days afterwards. Sperm can live for several days, so if you make love 2 days before you ovulate, those sperm could still fertilize an egg. The egg is fertile for about 3 days, so those days after ovulation are also possible times for conception.

If you know which these days are, you can either abstain from sex on those days, or use a barrier method (like a condom or a diaphragm) or spermicide on those days. However, don’t just assume that you ovulate on day 14! Most women don’t. But if you very carefully chart your temperature, or keep track of your cervical fluid, and then use barriers on your fertile days, the pregnancy rate is about the same as the condom and the Pill–less than 3%. So it is a very accurate method of birth control–as long as you are accurate in your charting! It takes discipline on your part, but if you are disciplined, it can really work.

Here’s what’s good about this method: you get really used to your own body, and learn to pay better attention to it. Honestly, the more you understand your body, the more likely you are to enjoy sex anyway. Often we women spend so much time ignoring our bodies’ cues, because we don’t really like thinking about our bodies. This makes us think about them, and that can often make us more comfortable with ourselves, and thus more able to relax about our sexual selves.

The other good thing? For the majority of the time, you don’t have to worry about any form of birth control at all, because you know when you’re not fertile.

Now, the downside is that it takes discipline and diligence. But apparently you don’t need to be totally regular. It can still work.

If you want more information about this, I’d really encourage you to check out the Christian Family Planning Network. They provide lots of advice on how to make this work, forums where you can talk to other women, lots of charts, and even an online course to get you started, helping you to understand your fertility, your cycle, your body’s changes, and more. And the neat thing is that not only does it teach you how NOT to get pregnant; if you do want to get pregnant, and you’re irregular, it teaches you how to do that, too!

I wish I had started my marriage this way. Does it mean you won’t get pregnant by accident? Nope. But there never are guarantees. The good thing is that if you are aware of your body, you really are less likely to. And perhaps if we had started this way, and had realized that we don’t need to use condoms or a diaphragm throughout the entire month, and we don’t need to be on the Pill, I would have been less likely to agree to the vasectomy, and I may have more children right now! Again, some commenters were so grateful for the surgical methods (they had health issues that made further pregnancies dangerous, or they already had a pile of kids), but many, like me, regretted using that final solution.

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Now I’m not saying that all other forms of birth control are bad.I really have no problem with condoms, but I figure, why use them all the time if you really don’t need to? But fully research all methods before you use something that could really affect your body, like an IUD or hormonal methods. You need to be comfortable with them from a health and a moral point of view.

So, I’d go with FAM. But I know it’s a very personal decision. What do you think?

Sheila is the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex–with tons of information on how to make sex a beautiful, intimate, and FUN experience in your marriage!

Wifey Wednesday: Which Birth Control Method is Best?

wifey wednesday

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up!

This week we’re also linking up to Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by We are THAT Family.

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of emails about s-e-x, I guess because I’m one of the few Christian bloggers who will talk about it openly. And quite a few of those emails have to do with birth control.

Here’s the scenario one mom wrote: she doesn’t like the pill, and so they haven’t used it. But she finds herself very nervous about sex because she doesn’t want to get pregnant again. And so her libido has nose dived!

What should she do?

Let’s start with some big picture issues, and then we’ll get to some specifics.

First, children are a blessing. If you get pregnant “by accident”, realize that it is never an accident. God planned that life, God knows that life, and God will help you provide for that life in every way.

Second, there really never is a “good time” to have a baby. We know that life is always busy. There is always one more course to finish, one more promotion to land, a little more money to save, or something. It’s always busy. But we have babies anyway. And if there isn’t a good time, then it follows that there isn’t a bad time, either. Sure, some may seem better than others, but God will always help you through.

I just want to put those two things out there before we start talking too much about birth control, because we need to remember that ultimately it is God who is in control. In fact, many Christian women feel so strongly about this that they don’t use birth control at all. Since children are a blessing, and since God is in control, we shouldn’t limit God.

Obviously not all agree with that, but I think it is a legitimate viewpoint. Other people say, “God has called me to other things, and I can’t fulfill that ministry, or be a good parent to the children I already have, if I have a baby right now.” And so they want to wait. I think that’s also a legitimate viewpoint. After all, few people want more than three kids. I would really prefer that we not get into a big debate in the comments on which viewpoint is “correct”, because I do think honest Christians who love Jesus fall on both sides of the spectrum, and I think we should respect each other.

And because I think both viewpoints are valid, I want to take a look at the different methods because it is a legitimate topic for discussion. So here goes:

Natural Family Planning

How it works:

The most common method of natural family planning is the Basal Body Temperature Method. Chart your cycle by taking your temperature every morning upon waking. Your temperature “spikes” during ovulation, so by taking your temperature, you can tell when you ovulate. When you collect data over a number of months, you can start to estimate this, and then you refrain from intercourse over the 4-6 day period around ovulation (different sites give different numbers). You can download charts to help you with this, and to explain this to you, right here. You can also do a variant of natural family planning by charting your cervical fluid. There’s more information on both of these methods here.

Pros: If done correctly, this does really work. You don’t have to use a barrier during intercourse, and you don’t have any hormones in your system.

Cons: It’s hard to use reliably if your cycle is not regular, because you have to stop intercourse a few days before ovulation (since sperm can survive and swim for several days). You also have to chart for a number of months to get an idea of when ovulation will occur, so it can’t be used on the spur of the moment. It also asks you to refrain from sex during your most fertile days, which also happen to be when your libido tends to be the highest. Thus, it’s likely that you may have a “moment of weakness”, and that’s how people end up parents!

UPDATE: A commenter notes that the method charting cervical mucous instead of temperature can be used even if your cycle isn’t regular! More info here. Another commenter notes that you can purchase a fertility monitor from a drug store, which tells you if you’re fertile from a urine test every morning. I have several friends who use this and find it very helpful. (I’m sorry I didn’t include it above, I just didn’t want to make the post 3000 words! But I think I’m doing that now, anyway!).

Condoms

A barrier that is unrolled over the penis to collect the sperm after ejaculation. If used consistently, it’s very unlikely that you will get pregnant (we used these for years, and we never had any “surprises”).

Pros: Easy to use. Cheap. You don’t need a prescription. Readily available.

Cons: There’s a barrier. Need I say more? Most couples don’t like the feeling, and thus there’s always the temptation, “let’s just not use it this time”. That’s how people become parents!

Many people use a combination of condoms and natural family planning. You only use the condoms in the week around ovulation, and you use nothing other than that. For many, this works well. This is normally called the Fertility Awareness Method (or FAM).

The Pill

A hormone mixture that you take everyday, at the same time, to stop your body from ovulating.

UPDATE: On Facebook people have noted that I’ve left out the other hormone methods, such as The Ring (inserted into the vagina and left in place for three weeks) or the needle. These methods may be preferable if you’re going to use a hormonal method, since they don’t require remembering to take a pill. But the Pros and Cons are pretty much the same, because they’re based on the same thing: preventing ovulation.

Pros: Your period is lighter. Your acne is better. Cramps are almost eliminated. You are regular, and always know when your period will come (and you can even manipulate it a bit so that you can avoid your period by a day or two if you need to). If taken everyday, it’s almost 100% effective.

Cons: There is some controversy about whether the pill really prevents ovulation or whether it prevents implantation (in other words, conception occurs, but then a miscarriage happens). You can gain weight. There may be a link to breast cancer, but this isn’t clear (it’s more likely that those who have fewer children and fewer months breast feeding have a higher chance of breast cancer, and those on the pill likely have fewer children). You are taking a hormone, and many women are uncomfortable with that.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly for our discussion, in many women the hormone makes you really moody and kills libido, which sort of defeats the purpose. Many of my emailers reported being on the Pill and having to get off of it because they had no sex drive, but then they didn’t know what to use.

IUDs

An IUD is a device implanted in the cervix to prevent pregnancy. I DO NOT recomment it at all because much research shows that it does not prevent conception. It just prevents implantation.

Diaphragm

The diaphragm is a barrier inserted over the cervix before intercourse. It isn’t as widely used anymore, but if you’re comfortable inserting it, you can try it.

Pros: If inserted correctly, it is fairly effective and does not provide a barrier the way a condom does.

Cons: You have to be fitted for it, so you can’t just buy it over the counter at the drug store. You have to be confident to insert it and to take it out. If you’re at all squeamish about this, don’t use it, because you’re unlikely to position it correctly. It also is more awkward to insert, and so this makes it less likely that you will use it, if you start making love in a heat of passion rather than just “let’s get it on tonight”.

Vasectomy/Tubal Ligation

If you’re sure you aren’t going to want any more children, many men go through with a vasectomy (or, in some cases, women get their tubes tied, although this is a far more invasive procedure).

Pros: Almost 100% effective. You never have to think about birth control again. You can be completely spontaneous.

Cons: How do you really know you don’t want any more kids? Often parents think this, but then five years later change their minds. Reversals rarely work. You don’t know what’s coming down the pipeline in your life. Choosing something permanent could easily lead to a lot of regret.

Wrap up

Nothing is perfect. No matter what method you choose, if you don’t stick to it 100%, it will have a failure rate. So try to think about how you are most likely to fail. Are you more likely to agree to sex without a condom because you don’t like the feeling of condoms, or are you more likely to forget a pill?

Above all, realize that sex was created partly to make children. As much as you can, come to terms with the fact that no matter what method you choose, it will never be 100% effective. So many women become scared of sex because they’re scared of getting pregnant again. You need to let this go and give it over to God. If God wants you to have a baby, He’s going to help you be a great mom. Your life will not be over if you have another baby. If you want to try to prevent it, fine, but you must come to peace with the fact that you could become a mom again, and that’s okay. If we could get over this fear, perhaps we wouldn’t have such problems with birth control!

So tell me, what have you tried? What has worked well for you? What hasn’t worked well? Let’s talk!

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Write your own Wifey Wednesday post that links back to here, and then leave the link of THAT POST in the Mcklinky below. Thanks!

The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex

Marriage isn't supposed to be blah!


Sex is supposed to be stupendous--physically, emotionally, AND spiritually. If it's not, get The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex--and find out what you've been missing.

Wifey Wednesday: Why You’ve Got to Initiate, Baby

Christian Marriage Advice

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post!

Why Women Should Initiate Sex--Even if it seems weird to you.Ladies, today I am going to totally tick a bunch of you off. I understand that, and believe me when I say that this is not my intention. It’s just that I think sex is such a vital part of marriage, and it’s something that we women often get totally wrong.

Now, if you’re not a lady–if you’re a guy who has arrived at this page because you’re upset that your wife never initiates sex, I understand. You’ll likely appreciate these two resources: A post I wrote for guys to show their wives on why sex is important; and my 31 Days to Great Sex, a great way to start talking more about intimacy, and to rev up your sex life! It isn’t just 31 days of sex tricks; it helps ease into things by focusing on communication, having fun, flirting, and all kinds of great stuff before it even gets to making sex great. And it’s helped a ton of couples!

Okay, back to you, ladies: Let me start with some personal history that might make this pill a little easier to swallow. When Keith and I were first married, we used to get into a lot of fights about one thing: He wanted me to want him, and I never really understood what he meant.

He would say, “I just want you to want me!” and I would yell back, “But I do want you! I want you as my husband! I want you to be happy! I want you with me always!” etc. etc. etc.

What he really wanted was just for me to jump him.

And I couldn’t do that, because it felt somehow like lying. I really didn’t particularly want to make love. Sure I’d do it if he started it, but it wasn’t like I was sitting there, jets ready to go, just waiting to take off. I would much rather watch a movie, or read a book, or cuddle, or just about anything. I was frequently tired. I was still new at this so it didn’t always work all that well. And I was so, so tired of him wanting it all the time.

What I only understood later was how intrinsic to a man’s self-esteem is the idea that his wife actually desires him sexually. Most men really struggle with questions like, “Am I good enough?”, or “Does she really love me?”. What they want to know, more than anything, is that we think they are the best.

It’s not really so surprising. Remember all the books talking about how important respect is to a guy? Even more important than love? A man needs to feel like we are glad we married him not because we love him, but because we’ve looked around, and we’ve honestly concluded that he is the perfect one for us. We appreciate who he is and what he does.

Tied up in all of that is his sexuality.

It’s hard for him to believe that you’re proud of him, and that you’re happy to be married to him, if you don’t also want him sexually–if you never initiate sex.

If you don’t want him like that, then you really don’t think he can take on the world. You really don’t think he’s a capable guy, a strong guy, an amazing guy. You just want to be married to somebody, but you don’t actually respect him anymore.

It’s men’s ultimate self-esteem issue. And the best way to address it is if we, every now and then, actually initiate.

That may be the last thing you want to do, for a host of reasons. You may be tired. You may be angry at him because he doesn’t really pay attention to you, so why should you pay attention to him? You may be tired of sex because it just doesn’t work well for you, and he gets all the fun.

Let me suggest that if you start initiating sex, a lot of those issues will diminish in importance.

Let’s take just one: whether or not it feels good for you. The nice thing is that if you initiate making love, you get to set the tone and the direction for what you do! Perhaps one of the reasons it hasn’t felt that good is because he’s been rushing things. If you initiate, you can figure out what you want him to do. You can do it yourself! You can control things a little better. So why not jump in with the express purpose of figuring out what’s nice for you?

Or, conversely, if you’re tired of the stress of making sure that sex is nice for you (because many couples get locked into this quest to make sure that she reaches orgasm, for instance, and then it becomes too goal oriented for you to enjoy), you can initiate sex so that he can feel good. You can throw yourself into making sure that he enjoys it and giving him a gift. And he’ll feel ten feet tall. When sex becomes about him feeling good, but you’re the one who initiated it, it’s okay. When he initiates sex and you don’t enjoy it as much, he can feel like a failure. It’s just a different dynamic.

What about the other problems? Let’s say that you feel as if he is distant, and you’re a little ticked at him.

Part of the reason that he might feel distant, though, is because he feels as if you don’t want him sexually.

Truly, we need to understand how important this is to most men. They marry thinking that we will want them all the time, and when real life intrudes and it doesn’t work out that way, they have nowhere to go but to retreat. I’m not saying it’s right; I’m just saying that’s what a lot of men do. So if you’re feeling distant, why not take that first step to repairing the rift?

Men really don’t want to be married to someone who will comply when they suggest sex. They want to be married to someone who is actually enthusiastic about it. I know it’s hard to be enthusiastic sometimes, but I think we can talk ourselves into it. Make it a priority to think about sex in a positive light throughout the day. Try to figure out what you’d enjoy doing. Touch him throughout the day. And then, when the kids are in bed, you be the one to lead him to the bedroom.

Try to remember the last five times you made love.

If you didn’t initiate sex at least one of the last five times you made love, you’ve likely got a problem.

So why not rectify that by deciding that tonight is going to be different? Just try for a month being the one to initiate every now and then, and see if, at the end of that month, you both feel differently about the relationship. I’m pretty sure you’ll both have a lot more goodwill towards the marriage, and things will be better!

UPDATE: Now, one caveat: I know a lot of women who would actually love to have this problem. They DO initiate, but their husbands reject them (Like the first commenter!). You’ve got a slightly different problem: your husband doesn’t have a high libido. For various reasons, men’s libidos are diminishing in our society. In many marriages it’s actually HER who has the higher sex drive. If that’s the case, then excuse this post and my emphasis on women in a different situation than the one you find yourselves in. And read this one instead!

Do you have trouble initiating? Why? Leave a comment (anonymously if you want to), and let’s talk about it!

The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex

Marriage isn't supposed to be blah!


Sex is supposed to be stupendous--physically, emotionally, AND spiritually. If it's not, get The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex--and find out what you've been missing.