How do you explain colour to a colour blind person?
You can’t do it really well, can you? I have a “nephew” (he’s an adopted nephew, really) who always believed his favourite colour was red. Then he was tested for colour blindedness and it turns out he can’t see red. He’s been seeing SOMETHING, but it’s not red. And he never knew it this whole time!
I sometimes feel like it’s the same phenomenon with women who have very little sex drive and don’t really want sex.
I try to find so many ways of explaining how we’re missing out on something, and how it doesn’t have to be that way, but I’m never sure if I’m getting through.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot this week, because last weekend I was speaking at a FamilyLife Weekend Getaway, and the majority of women who came up to me with questions just had no libido. And they were tired of feeling guilty, but what were they supposed to do?
And so I thought–how can I explain it better?
I don’t know that I can say anything new. But I wrote a post a little while ago for Gary Thomas’ website, and I thought I did a good job there. So allow me to reprint it in its entirety today. And please–if you have no libido and you’re sick of hearing about sex, can you read it anyway? 🙂
Sheila’s Marriage Musings: When Safe Isn’t Good Enough
Every night when I was a little girl, I would drift off to sleep dreaming of one day being married to a man who would make me feel safe. An only child of an amazing single mother, I still desperately needed to know that I was loved and that my life wouldn’t be uprooted again.
I wanted stability. I wanted to be cherished.
I’ve been married for twenty-five years now, and I can attest with every fiber of my being that I am, indeed, very safe.
But I’ve also learned that safe isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The reason that I’m happy with my husband today is not because I’m safe; the reason I’m happy with my husband is that together, we’re living an adventure.
Sometimes in our quest for safe we forget to live.
We’re trying so hard to avoid anything bad that we forget to let the good in, too.
We know there’s such a thing as holy contentment–the sentiment that the Apostle Paul conveyed in Philippians 4:12:
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
I believe, though, that there’s also a thing called holy discontentment, even in our marriage.
It doesn’t mean that we’re unhappy with our mate. It’s that we feel that we’re missing something important that God had for us. We know that He created us for more, and we’ve been settling. And we have a thirst for God’s passion to be more real in our lives, so that we stop playing it safe and start really living.
Nowhere do I see this as much in women’s experiences as in the area of sexual intimacy. Many of us are content to put sex on the back burner, every now and then consenting in order to give our husbands a break, but not truly experiencing passion ourselves. Maybe we figure we weren’t made for it. Maybe we figure it will never feel that good anyway. Maybe we figure we have too many other things on our minds and it’s too much work to make sex feel awesome.
Now, I know many of you are throwing yourselves into anything but sex because you’re the one with the higher sex drive. In 30% of marriages, it is the woman who wants sex more, not the husband, and your biggest question is why doesn’t your husband want to make love? Others have been so wounded because of your husband’s pornography use that sex has become ugly. For you, I am sincerely sorry, and I pray that you will be able to get others around you to hold him accountable and to help you both restore what has been broken.
But for those of us who have just given up, let me ask–are you settling for something that God never meant for you to settle for? Are you giving up too easily, and losing out on the life that God meant for you?
Before I got married I dreamt about sex.
A LOT. I pictured us spending Saturday mornings in bed every week, just enjoying each other. But then we got married and I realized that sex was work. It didn’t always feel that great. I was often so tired. And for me to be able to enjoy it, I had to be able to concentrate (no one ever tells us women that!). If I had a headache, or was worried about something, or had too much on my to do list, then sex flew out the window.
Somewhere along the line, though, passion did, too. Our lives became work and housework and shuttling the kids to music lessons and to church clubs and to sitting down at night to watch Netflix and to knit my eighth pair of socks this year. Not that there’s anything wrong with knitting socks, mind you. But life became a routine.
The more content we get with normal, the less we yearn to be part of the big passion story that God is writing in our world.
God is a passionate God. He’s creative to the extreme. He’s jealous. He gets angry, but also rejoices over us with singing. He is the furthest thing from mediocre or boring. As C.S. Lewis said, “He’s not a tame Lion, you know.”
When we settle for tame in our marriage we often tame God, too. Our sexuality and our spirituality are linked, because they get to the core of who we are. We have been created to know so intimately and to be known so intensely. God chose to use sex as the metaphor and vehicle by which we would partly understand His passion for us. The sexual imagery in the Bible is awfully blatant.
During those years in my marriage when I put sex on the backburner, then, it’s hardly surprising that I often ended up putting God there, too.
When I couldn’t be carried away and a little out of control with Keith, it was hard to let God take control and to be overcome with His goodness, too.
Passion is of God. And passion is expressed in so many ways–in worship; in our heart for the world; in our love for our kids. But also, most definitely, in the bedroom. And when we let passion die in one area, it often dies in all.
Perhaps it’s time to awaken passion. I’ve created a “Boost Your Libido” course for women like me who have been living very safe lives, and want more. Maybe God isn’t just calling you to more passion with Him, but also to more passion with your husband. That part of you can be reawakened, and when it is, it’s amazing to see what God can do with the rest of our lives, too!
Boost Your Libido is a super practical 10-module online course (with video!) that will help women understand what libido is, the roles our brains and bodies play in libido, and how to escape from a boring sexual rut in our marriages. The modules build on each other step-by-step, so you can start seeing immediate results! We don’t need to settle for safe.