I spent a lot of time on this blog helping couples figure out how to better communicate about sex and how to make sex great!
But what if the issue isn’t actually a couple issue? What if there isn’t much the husband can do to improve your sex life?
I know that sounds like I’m blaming women, but let me tell a story first and then I have a reader question I’d like to answer. I think I’m going to spend this week talking a bit about libido, and I want to start with this.
Last month I spoke in Toronto about how some of the messages that the church gives about sex inadvertently can seriously mess up couples’ sex lives. I looked at how the “Every Man’s Battle” idea, combined with the purity culture, can make women ashamed of sex and give women no libidos. If you grow up feeling like all men are lusting after you, and then you get married and you’re told that if you don’t have sex often enough, your husband will watch porn or cheat on you, sex feels really degrading and disgusting. That’s not a great message to give to women if we want women to enjoy sex!
A man piped up and said, “We also need to teach husbands how to really woo their wives, in every way.” I love his heart. I really do. And I totally agree with him. EXCEPT—
Except. And there is an except. And here’s what I said to him:
Sometimes a guy can do absolutely everything right, and a wife still won’t respond, because the problem is that she has no libido and she simply doesn’t understand her own sexuality. And while he can be wonderful and try to bring that out in her, ultimately it’s a realization she has to make herself.
I know there are so many men who read this blog who are likely super frustrated, because they feel like they do woo their wives, and it makes absolutely no difference in the bedroom. And that’s what I want to deal with today. One man wrote in and asked me this question:
An area that my wife and struggle with is actually discussing intimacy. For fear of going down the too far down the rabbit hole, were married just shy of 25 years, we’ve been in relationship with Christ for ~17 years, I am the high drive spouse, but through resources like yours I’ve recalibrated my perspective on sex and intimacy and ours has become even more enriching (I call it a communion). Nonetheless, she refuses to talk about our intimate life…at all. Whenever I bring it up I’m immediate shut down with, “Why do you have to talk about it.” I’m curious if you’ve met other couples facing issues similar to this and have addressed it in your blog. If you can point me in the direction of applicable posts, I’d appreciate it.
Look, I know a lot of men who are very dismissive of their wives, and expect their wives to meet their sexual needs, without any attention to whether or not the wife feels good.
And so it’s no wonder that she has a low libido! It’s always important, then, to ask, “if my spouse doesn’t want sex, could I be partly the reason?” Let’s examine ourselves, absolutely.
But I also know a lot of men who are honestly trying to woo their wives, and their wives come up with every excuse in the book about why it isn’t enough.
One minute it may be because he’s not home enough and she’s lonely. Then he asks her to make love anyway, and she interprets this as reinforcing the idea that he only wants her for one thing.
In fact, pretty much everything he does she can read through this lens. He tries to kiss her and be more affectionate–it must be because he wants sex. See? That proves he’s an animal!
He tries to help around the house–same thing.
And so he’s stuck. No matter what he does, he’s berated for it.
I am not talking about everyday disagreements in marriage, so please don’t misunderstand me.
It’s just that I believe there are a large number of marriages where she truly doesn’t want sex, and she justifies it by coming up with new reasons to be upset at him.
She transfers the responsibility for her reluctance to be intimate onto HIM.
I know if you’re reading this blog you likely do want to improve your sex life, and I’m glad you’re here. And so perhaps I’m preaching to the choir here. But I’d just like to ask women today: are you looking for excuses to not have sex? Are you trying to avoid sex, and the easiest way to do that is to come up with new reasons to be upset at your husband?
There are lots of reasons why a woman may want to avoid sex.
It may not feel very good, and she may wonder what all the fuss is about, and she may really feel weirded out by the whole thing. It’s distasteful, it’s awkward, and life would be better if it didn’t exist. If that’s you, please read The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex!
She may have sexual abuse in her past, and her ability to see sex as a good thing may be severely hampered. If that’s you, please read this on getting over sexual abuse.
She may be very reluctant to be out of control. People who aren’t able to be vulnerable, and who need to feel in control at all times, often run away from sex. If you’re a control freak, please read this on how control freaks and sex don’t go together.
She may not understand how libido works in women, and not realize that you need to tell yourself positive messages about sex and you need to take control of your libido. If that’s you, please take a look at my Boost Your Libido course!
Of course, there may be other issues related to him, like porn use, selfishness, lack of affection–all of those things. But today I just want to ask all of us to be honest. Are you the reason that your sex life isn’t good? Is it really all his fault–or have you been pushing him away?
And if you’re the one pushing him away–is that really what you want?
Is that the kind of marriage you really want–where you feel always distant, when you’re always on edge because you have to make sure he never expects anything, when you have to maintain this distance so that he doesn’t put any demands on you? Do you want to live like that long term?
Here’s a more lighthearted version of that question that may be easier to hear:
Please don’t try this at home!
It’s so much better to confront your insecurities and boost your libido! And decide to live your marriage differently.
So let me know in the comments–have you seen this dynamic? Where he’s trying everything he can, but she keeps coming up with reasons why it’s not enough? What message would get through to a woman like this? Let’s talk, because I think there are a lot of us like this!