Being a higher libido wife can be very frustrating–if you’re paired with a lower libido man!
This week here on the blog I’m talking to wives with a higher libido than their husbands. Yesterday and today I want to address the situation where she has a higher libido than he does, but there’s nothing ugly causing it. It’s just a normal difference! Yesterday J from Hot, Holy and Humorous started us out, and today I want to continue that conversation with 10 things that higher libido wives need to know.
Then for the rest of the week we’re going to switch gears a bit and look at marriages where she has the higher libido–but only because he doesn’t seem to want sex at all, and we’ll look at three potential causes of that.
But first, let’s turn to the woman who simply has a high libido. If that’s you, you’re likely feeling a little bit like a freak. In popular culture, we hear how men need sex, and women don’t have the same urge for it. But that’s not how you experience it! Rest assured that you are not alone. When I give my sex talk, one of the questions in the Q&A period is inevitably from a wife with a high libido, wondering how to handle the frustration. So let’s look at 10 things for you to know!
1. Higher libido wives are actually quite common
When I wrote The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I surveyed several thousand women and about 1000 men, and I found that 24% of wives had higher sex drives than their husbands. I would think that the average may even be a little higher now, five years later. It seems like men’s libidos are going down.
So it’s not unusual at all for the woman to have the higher sex drive!
2. Women can be visually stimulated too–and many are
We often hear that men are visually stimulated, and women aren’t. And it is true that in studies of sexual arousal, in general different parts of men’s brains light up vs. women’s brains. In one study that I read from The Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers found that women tended to react more to contextual elements of erotic stimuli (like where she was looking or what clothing she had on) whereas men tended to look at, well, more body parts. And women preferred stimulation that involved the same people in different situations, whereas men wanted all new people. (Not condoning this type of study, of course, just presenting what they found.)
Nevertheless, women did respond to sexual stimuli in this study and in many others. We aren’t ONLY turned on by romantic stories or by relationships. Women do like a guy with 6-pack abs, too, even if women are more likely to consider other factors as well when deciding if someone is “sexy” or not.
3. Women’s sex drives are heavily influenced by culture
Another recent study found that while men tend to have higher libidos than women across almost all cultures, the variability of women’s sex drives was really high. In other words, while men on the whole had higher sex drives, in some cultures the difference between men and women was quite small, and in some it was quite large.
In general, cultures where women are seen as valued and equal to men tended to have women with higher sex drives.
And here’s something else: cultures where there’s lots of sexual shame or sexual guilt ascribed to women tend to have women with much lower sex drives. Cultures where sex is seen as something “dirty” for women don’t tend to produce women with high sex drives. It’s no wonder that many women in our culture, then, do struggle with sex, especially if they grow up with a purity culture that has really negative messages about sex (and why I’m a big proponent in teaching everybody that sex is meant for marriage, but doing that in such a way that doesn’t shame anyone for sexual feelings).
4. The high libido wife may actually be what was intended and designed
If women’s sex drives are highly influenced by culture, and if it looks like shame messages and lack of education can depress women’s sex drives, then maybe it’s worth considering if the high drive wife is actually what was intended? I think God created us to enjoy sex and to yearn for a great sexual relationship in marriage. The fact that so many women don’t experience that, have trouble reaching orgasm, and don’t desire sex at all doesn’t look like it was something that God intended. That looks like it’s more the result of the fall, where sin entered the world and brought shame and relational distance where these were never meant to be.
After all, which looks more like God’s design: A marriage where she really yearns for her husband and enjoys sex, or a marriage where she struggles to get in the mood? Likely the first, right? Just because it may be more frequent for women to find sex boring or to have low libidos does not mean that this is what is normal or that this is what was intended. I think the high drive wife is closer to God’s design, so don’t feel like you’re a freak!
5. If he has a lower libido than you, it doesn’t mean there’s necessarily anything wrong with him
Here’s another bit of good news: Like J shared yesterday in her post about higher drive wives, her husband has a lower libido, but he’s not gay, he’s not into porn, he doesn’t chronically masturbate, nothing like that. Just like libido is on a spectrum for women, it’s on a spectrum for men, too. And it could simply be that he’s perfectly normal and healthy, but his libido is simply lower than yours.
While in many cases there is a more nefarious cause for his low libido, this isn’t necessarily the case. While I’ll be talking about some of those reasons for the rest of the week, know that many guys just don’t want sex all that frequently, and that’s really okay.
Could 31 Days to Great Sex Revitalize Your Sex Life?
That’s where 31 Days to Great Sex comes in. It’s a challenge that you do together. Every night you read 2-4 pages, and then you do what it says. Sometimes it’s sexy, sure, but it’s also about learning how to talk about different libidos, talking about the importance of affection, starting new habits, and more!
6. Being the higher libido wife opens you up to sexual temptations
If you’re the spouse with the higher libido, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll feel sexually frustrated. In those moments, it’s easy to think that porn, or erotica, or masturbation will be better than dealing with the frustration. If you can deal with your sexual feelings elsewhere, too, then perhaps you won’t be so angry at your spouse. It can even seem like the loving thing to do!
But it’s not. It will change the way that you see intimacy, and can even cause you to have to fantasize in order to reach orgasm. It changes your sexual arousal patterns. And it’s simply wrong to get aroused by anyone other than your husband.
7. You can channel sexual energy elsewhere
What, then, do you do with sexual frustration? You honestly can channel that energy elsewhere. If you have something else to focus on that takes your attention, that you find interesting and absorbing, you likely won’t find the frustration as difficult to bear. Start exercising to get rid of some energy. Develop a new hobby that engages your brain, or something that engages your body, like gardening or redecorating. The main thing, though, is that it absorbs your thoughts and attention. The worst thing is to sit at home with nothing to do when you’re frustrated. When you have a plan, all is easier to manage.
8. You may have to do more of the work for sex
We typically believe that sex is about us arousing him–he looks at us, he desires us, and so the husband initiates sex. Then sex becomes something in which he tends to be far more active than she is. In your case, you may have to reverse roles a bit. You may have to do more of the initiating. You may have to be more active.
Many lower-drive husbands have said that it isn’t that hard for their wives to get them in the mood, but if she’s waiting for him to initiate, she may be waiting a long time. While it’s important to be romanced and desired, and while he has to understand that, it doesn’t make sex “wrong” if you do more of the initiating.
9. Watch how you talk about sex with your spouse
Sexual frustration can lead to some difficult conversations, and some hurtful words that you may not have meant to say. When you feel undesired and unloved, sometimes it’s difficult not to lash out.
Here are just a few things to remember. We are called to love our husbands, and being hurtful is always wrong. Also, his sex drive, even if it’s lower than normal, is still largely tied to his identity as a man. If you berate him for not acting like a man, you could also make things worse. Finally, when someone doesn’t have a great physical need for sex, talking about your own physical drive may not compute. It’s often better to talk about big picture goals for your marriage, which can lead to an agreement to schedule sex, or at least to understand why you do want to be pursued.
Want a better way to talk about sex if you’re the higher libido wife? Here’s my guide to communicating your needs.
10. Rediscover emotional and spiritual intimacy with your husband
Finally, if you’re not connecting sexually as often as you’d like, often the temptation will be to pull away emotionally as well, because being around him intensifies the feeling of rejection. As much as possible, resist that. Work on your friendship instead. Use my conversation starters for couples, or find a new hobby to do together. When you grow your friendship, or when you start praying together more, you bring down the tension level in the relationship. You feel closer. And that makes it easier to talk about some of these bigger issues, and it also makes it more likely that he’ll want to have sex more, too!
Other posts in this series:
Are you the higher drive wife? What’s the hardest thing for you to deal with? Let’s talk in the comments!