Are men always the ones with the higher sex drives?
Sometimes it’s SHE who wants sex far more frequently, and this week we’re going to talk about that! Here’s the funny thing about talking about “higher sex drives” and “lower sex drives”. It’s all relative. What might be high for one person may not for another. It’s the relationship dynamic. So I want to spend two days looking not really at highER drive wives, but simply at HIGH drive wives. Do you get the difference? Wives who have a high sex drive when there’s nothing really bad going on with the husband. Nothing’s wrong with him; this is just how you both ARE. Then I want to spend three days looking at some of the things that may be causing his lower sex drive–if there is a problem (and there honestly isn’t always a problem at all!)
We’re going to jump into this with the amazing J from Hot, Holy and Humorous. She writes great things about sex, and she’s here to talk to us from the high drive wife perspective.
I am the higher-drive spouse. Without a doubt.
It’s not always been this way. We were equally matched when first married, and I had next to no drive after the births of my children. But for at least the last decade, I’ve been the spouse who cares more about making sex happen regularly and passionately.
And it’s not because he’s into porn — my husband isn’t and never has been. He isn’t having an affair. He’s not facing arousal or erectile dysfunction. He is 100% heterosexual. We have a great marriage. And while he does have diabetes, which can be a challenge, that condition hasn’t affected his sexual interest as much as his in-the-moment physical ability to engage.
So why doesn’t a healthy man with a gorgeous wife — hey, his words, not mine! 😉 —want to engage more frequently in sexual intimacy? Why am I the instigator two-thirds to three-fourths of the time?
If this is your situation, let’s talk. First off, let me establish this:
It’s normal to be a high-drive wife.
Many of us extra-juice wives have wondered if there is something wrong with us. Are we freaks? Nymphos? Biological anomalies that should be studied under microscope?
But nope, sexual interest exists on a spectrum, and we’re just on one end of it. Some people are more sexually initiating and some are more responsive. More men are on the sexually initiating side, but women are represented there too. And if one of us marries a man who leans the other way, well, there you go.
Statistics aren’t solid in this area, but experts believe that in 15-30% of marriages it’s the wife who has greater sexual interest.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”It’s not always the husband with the higher libido. Here’s reassurance for wives with the higher drive–you’re not a freak, and you’re not alone!” quote=”It’s not always the husband with the higher libido. Here’s reassurance for wives with the higher drive–you’re not a freak, and you’re not alone!”]
Now, let’s talk about what’s going on with the men. Because I have several theories about husbands without major issues who are less interested in sex.
Men’s Lower Sex Drives: Past vs. Modern Day Demands.
Imagine with me the historical hunter-gatherer and agrarian societies, in which men went outdoors and performed manual labor to provide for their families. Now imagine the typical work setting today, in which many men labor in offices or homes with more small muscle skills. You know what that does to testosterone?
Vitamin D is linked to testosterone levels, which correlates to sexual interest, and the bulk of it comes from the skin’s exposure to sunlight. Indeed, a research study showed that men with enough Vitamin D also exhibited higher levels of testosterone. Exercise also has benefits for testosterone levels. The effects are not as long-lasting as some other T-boosters, and over-exercise can actually lower testosterone, but moderate exercise can increase testosterone and thus desire.
So some of what we’re seeing is likely linked to men not having enough opportunity to soak in the sun and work their muscles. Moreover, there’s a psychological effect for men in having felt like they brought down the beast, dragged it home, and provided for their family — and now, they’re ready for some lovin’. Maybe that sounds stereotypical or even sexist to you, but I don’t believe the male instinct to go out in the world to achieve and then return home for solace is a bad one. It’s just that how that happens in our modern-day world has changed, and our biology hasn’t fully adjusted.
Men’s Lower Sex Drives: Work and Life Stress.
It’s stressful to be a woman. But you know what? It’s stressful to be a man too. I talk to enough men to know they are often juggling many roles, including husband, father, coach, church leader, manager, employee, etc. They feel the pressure of work, parenting, and finances. They wonder what difference they make, what legacy they’ll leave.
Stress increases cortisol, a hormone that dampens sexual desire. However, stress also just keeps us physically busy and mentally occupied. Men under stress may lack the time and energy to connect intimately more often with their wives.
And while you can take steps to remove stress, and should, some of it is unavoidable. If you have to pay the next bill, you have to go to work. If you’re raising children, you have to care for them. If you have an aging parent, you may be the one on whom they rely. Some men are just under stress, and it impacts their sexual interest.
Men’s Lower Sex Drives: Less Driven Overall.
Some men have a more passive personality generally. And that falls into how they view sex. Yes, they enjoy it, but they’re no more likely to seek it out with fervor than they are to hunt down some other fun activity. Because they’re content to sit on the couch and just hang out.
This isn’t all bad, because less driven people are also typically the ones we call low-maintenance. They don’t constantly insist on their way, they go with the flow, they appreciate the small things in life. But obviously, this can have an effect on a man’s desire or capacity to initiate sex.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Wives can have the higher libido, too! Here’s what no one is talking about when it comes to sex in marriage:” quote=”Wives can have the higher libido, too! Here’s what no one is talking about when it comes to sex in marriage:”]
Some Men Just Are. Lower Libido, That Is.
Dr. Kevin Leman, a marriage author I respect in so many other ways, said a woman once asked him, “Do all men think about sex all the time?” He then wrote: “ ‘Well, not all the time,’ I said, noting the relief cover her face until I added, ‘sometimes we think about food and sex. Occasionally we think about killing deer and breaking ninety on the golf course, but pretty much our minds go back to sex.’ ” Of course, he goes on to describe that those thoughts can be very pure thoughts about one’s wife, but he — like many authors and speakers on this subject (though not Sheila) — simply assume that being a healthy man means he thinks and wants sex all the time.
And I’m here to say: hogwash. Many men do not think about sex 24/7, and some husbands think about it less than their wives. And there might be no other reason than they just do. They’re not broken or lacking love for their wives or less masculine or whatever other reason we might want to ascribe. They just have less sexual interest. (See A Letter to the Low Drive Husband.)
She’s Just A Higher Drive Wife.
Finally, a husband might have a perfectly average sex drive that would make him the higher-drive spouse in the majority of marriages. But he’s married to a gal who has a greater sexual desire. Maybe it’s hormones, personality, her desire to make up for the repressed years, whatever … but plenty of wives are more than eager to make love. And their desire simply puts them ahead of where their husbands are on that count.
Now you might think that God would save us a lot of trouble if He’d just put couples on the exact same place on that sexual interest spectrum. But I’m convinced our sexual desire differences challenge us to grow in ways He wants us to grow.
If you were always on the same page, where’s the call for patience or generosity? Where’s the need for communication and understanding? Where’s the opportunity to show 1 Corinthians 13 love?
What Can High-Drive Wives Do?
Some of you are in somewhat mismatched marriages. If you’re like me, then here are some steps you can take:
- Communicate your desires, ask about his desires, and negotiate sexual frequency.
- Be willing to initiate sex more often and accept his responsiveness as evidence of his sexual interest in you.
- Consider scheduling sex — then you can relax, knowing it’s coming, and he can prepare.
- Quiet the voices in your head — or external people who give unsolicited advice — that make you worry something far more troubling is going on. (If you know he’s not having an affair or watching porn or gay, stop worrying. And yes, I know some women get surprised—sadly. But some of us really do know.)
- Replace the erroneous messages in your head with affirmations that God may have put you two together to make sure sex remained strong in your marriage: your lower-drive husband may need his higher-drive wife to maintain intimacy.
- Express appreciation for who your husband is and let him enjoy who you are — that is, a higher-drive spouse.
And if you are a higher-drive wife, consider joining my closed Facebook group just for women like you. It’s a community of more than 200 wives who know what it’s like to be the higher-drive spouse.
Have you experienced mismatched sex drives in your marriage? Are you the higher drive wife? Let’s talk about it in the comments!