When Your Husband Says You Don’t Act Like a Sexy Wife — My Readers Chime In!

by | Aug 30, 2019 | Sexual Intimacy | 34 comments

Is it ever OK for a husband to ask his wife to act like other women in order to be sexier?

On Monday I asked what your thoughts were on a reader’s question about her husband wanting her to be more sexy, and you had a lot of great thoughts! So thank you for commenting–it was a fantastic conversation!

As a reminder, here was the question on Monday:

Reader Question

I’ve been married for a few months. My husband and I were both virgins on our wedding night. We both adore each other and the friendship aspect of our marriage couldn’t be better! In fact, the romance couldn’t be better. My husband is very physically affectionate, caring, and sweet with me. But when it comes to sex, I’m very interested in lovemaking all the time but he often would rather do anything else. (No history of porn use or molestation.) It is really painful to get turned down, especially since I thought I was giving him a wonderful gift that most husbands would love to receive! Finally the other day he let me know very kindly that it would really help him if I learned how to be sexy. He said, “I know you’ve spent your whole life in the purity culture learning NOT to be sexy.” and he’s right. I don’t know how! He mentioned that some girls with the way they act and carry themselves can make every man in the room want them. But what are they doing? Can you help me? I love my husband dearly and I know he loves me, but I don’t know how to turn him on. I’m willing to learn!

In your comments, you seemed to answer based on a variety of possible scenarios that could be at play here. So I’ve organized some of them them into different categories and shared my thoughts on how they can work through this issue! Let’s go!

Scenario 1: He’s lying about never using porn

This seemed to be a popular one. And to be honest, because he’s comparing his wife to other women, I see a lot of possibility for this. Here are some of your comments: 

Yeah, I’m really not buying the “doesn’t use porn” thing. His blame-shifting exacerbates that impression. This does not sound to me like something that is her problem. It sounds like a husband who is sinning and blaming his wife.

Here’s another:

I really do believe that he is lying to her about the porn. I mean, sure – maybe he’s never looked at hard core porn, but he has most likely been masturbating for years to images of other women and the fantasies that he’s built in his mind. I feel a deep sense of foreboding for this sweet, naive young woman – when she finds out the truth she’ll be heartbroken.

But, just for argument’s sake: let’s say that this man truly is pure in mind and just doesn’t find his wife sexy. He’s still selfish and immature. Selfish because he is obviously more concerned with sex on his terms than meeting his wife’s needs or making her feel loved, and immature because if you want something different in initiation (been there, it does happen) the onus is on you to have clear, useable instructions and not just “other women do it right, maybe you could learn from them.”

I hope this isn’t the case for this couple! If it is, their marriage can be healed from porn use. And also, I would tell this woman that it’s important that she remembers that his porn use is not her fault, and that the husband allows her to help him recover instead of pushing her away and refusing to deal with the issue.

I’ve spoken about Covenant Eyes many times because I do believe that it is a very helpful tool in helping someone recover from porn use and become porn-free. Seriously, this is a real problem and if you’re facing it in your marriage, this is an awesome tool:

We obviously don’t have all the information, maybe he isn’t using porn, maybe he just has unhealthy ideas of what “sexy” means. Which brings us to the second scenario:

Scenario 2: He’s trying to make her live out his fantasy life

Porn doesn’t always need to be involved in order to create unhealthy, unrealistic fantasies about what sex should look like.

Here’s a great perspective from a wife who has been through this herself: 

My heart hurts for this woman. I was her.

A few weeks after my wedding we went to VS to use a gift card we were given. My new husband couldn’t find anything in the store he thought would look good on me, but he pointed out how sexy all the models were and told me to act like that and have “that” facial expression/look in my eye. That was a devastating blow to someone who was still new to everything and who thought that by only having sex with him we would be crazy about each other. But my new husband also didn’t want me the way I wanted him.

It came down to a fantasy life that I didn’t live up to. It sounds like the same for this woman. And the problem is that she never will live up to it. 🤷🏻‍♀️

(God got ahold of my husband and he has repented of the way he used to act and treat me and is truly a very different man who seeks to love me as Christ loves the Church, so there is hope!)

It’s always so encouraging to hear when couples who have really rough starts end up in an amazing place at the end, but BOY I feel so badly for that poor young newlywed!!

The problem with trying to get your spouse to live out your inner fantasies is that frankly, they likely will not be able to measure up because fantasies aren’t real. They’re fantasies.

I too really hurt for this woman. Basically he just told her she’s not enough without telling her what he “needs”. He’s measured her to the standard of “other women” and she’s not enough for him. If he pursues her and acts desirous of her, she will be so much more likely to act sexually confident. If you ask me, he’s built up a fantasy even if he doesn’t use porn.

I saw lots of red flags in this letter. I would be willing to bet there are some lust/porn/masturbation issues going on. Just because he says there isn’t, does not make it true. But, really, he is putting her in an impossible situation. She isn’t good enough to meet his undefined standards, and she has to look to other women outside of their relationship to figure out how to meet those undefined standards. I’d be willing to bet the goalposts will be moved often and she will never be able to get it right, now matter how hard or what she tries.

My two cents for this scenario: her husband needs to learn what sex actually is. Because it’s not just about having someone put on an act for you–it’s about intimacy. True, vulnerable, intense intimacy that requires a deep knowing of each other’s souls. That’s what sex is for–it’s not a tool to use to force someone into a box they were never made to fit into.

If this is the problem for this couple, I hope he’s able to recognize that his idea of what sex looks like is likely pretty skewed and needs to be fixed. Because until he deals with that, there’s nothing she can do to create a healthy sex life for the two of them because feeding into the fantasy may lead to more frequency of sex, but not good or even healthy quality of sex.

Here is one last comment that does a great job describing how you can deal with differing expectations for sex without dehumanizing the other (and also, this blog helped their marriage! Love hearing that!):

I’m not really an “act sexy” kind of girl. I think the young hubby is confusing a certain type of female personality type as the only definition of sexy/seductive. He is expecting his wife to be someone she is not. Not all women can behave that way, whether they were raised in the purity culture or not. If I had to I would be putting on a play-act and not be myself when it came to enticing my husband which wouldn’t be good in the long run. My husband wanted a much more direct approach from me. So we compromised. I found a few ways to be direct without feeling awkward and turned off/distracted and he learned to read my less obvious but still clear messages of desire. None of that would have gotten smoothed out without the advice from this site.

 Scenario 3: He’s just a really bad communicator

If there truly are no issues (porn, abuse, whacked out thinking, etc), my 2 cents is that it can take some time (or at least it did for us) to figure out what sort of initiation strategies don’t make the other one just roll their eyes and be decidedly not turned on. And I’d assume (not having consulted the national public about this) that it varies from couple to couple and 6 months in is early in the game for figuring this out. lie there and let hubby go at it starfish style. This also matches up with the purity culture upbringing. I genuinely believe that he started to get tired of that. 

If we’re giving the guy the benefit of the doubt, then the problem may literally be that he’s just really really bad at communicating what he wants.

But guys, let me tell you: saying to your wife “you should be sexy like how other women are sexy” is simply not a good idea. It’s not helpful, it’s not positive communication, it’s just damaging. Take a minute, think about what you actually want to say, and then say that instead.

Here are some other great comments about how communication in the early years especially can be difficult:

It sounds like they need an honest talk:

  1. What does he mean by needing her to be more sexy? He needs to find it to better understand where he’s coming from.
  2. Is he being honest about not using porn? If he needs her to act in a certain way to be aroused, he may not be truthful here.
  3. No couple has identical drives. And sex isn’t just intercourse. I would recommend working together to make a list of sex activities other than intercourse to choose from when he’s not wanting intercourse, but you are.

What if he just in fact is not expressing himself well. Maybe when he says “when other women walk in a room and every man wants her” he is talking about being sexually confident? My husband has told me repeatedly that confidence is the sexiest thing.

They are newly married and were virgins before; it can be really difficult to communicate their needs and explain what they want. They both may be struggling with this.

And honestly, if they’re having a hard time communicating effectively about sex, I highly recommend 31 Days to Great Sex. That’s exactly why I wrote it–to help couples actually get on the same page and sort out these issues in a healthy, constructive way!

Do you find it hard to talk about SEX?

Want to try new things–but don’t know how to start?

No more wondering how to talk about what feels good or what you’d like to try. This fun challenge will get you talking and trying new things without the awkward.

Scenario 4: She honestly is struggling with sexiness

She mentioned in her comment that she grew up with a pretty strong Purity Culture influence, which can make embracing her sexiness and accepting herself as a sexual being. It also seems like she has a higher libido than him, which is a lot more common than people think!

So maybe part of the problem is that she doesn’t actually understand what “sexy” means, or she isn’t comfortable with being sexy. So maybe as a result, her husband just feels like sex is lacking something.

For me my wife is sexy just standing there. I think a maybe answer is this pending no issues in the relationship: The guy wants her to build sex up. Flirt. Build the excitement. Seems the post offers maybe the way she is approaching sex is a turn off or maybe he is just looking for variety. 

Personally, I do think it’s odd that a couple who’s been married for only a few months and were virgins before they got married would get bored already or already be looking for variety, but I think it’s a fair point to consider!

Scenario 5: He is working through his sexuality

We got one comment on Facebook I thought was really interesting and wanted to highlight. Listen to this:

He needs to explore his arousal template. This can be done without judgment but it’s easy to feel shame when doing it. Many men have issues that stem from their relationship w their mother. If their mother was a little “too close”, they don’t want anything about sex (with a wife) to remind them of the other prominent woman in their life (mom). This has NOTHING to do with this newlywed bride. Mother-enmeshed men are very attentive, romantic, and compliant. But they’re boundary less with women and their sexuality can feel icky. They’re reinacting being overwhelmed and dominated. (I want you to seduce me). The GREAT NEWS is: they’re dealing w this early!!

Maybe this man is just finding it difficult to be intimate with someone he’s actually emotionally close to because of his relationship with his mom. I thought that was an interesting perspective, and not one I would have thought of myself ever!

Also, love the positivity and encouragement at the end–it really is good that they’re able to start working on whatever issue it is in their marriage now, just a few months in, instead of looking for a solution for the first time after years of dysfunction.

But no matter what the scenario was, I hope we can all agree with this comment here that perfectly summarizes the main issue with what this husband said to his new bride:

He should never have said that to his wife. Ever. Let alone so early in their marriage. He is communicating to her that sex is about him and she needs to get it together and learn how to be what he wants-which tells her that she, his new wife, isn’t what he wants. That is sinful and selfish. Sex is for both of them and they need to learn together by doing. They perhaps need counseling and help in learning what sex in marriage is supposed to portray. Coming out of purity culture is HARD and that mindset will affect everything. He will need to be patient and loving, and that isn’t what he’s being (from the sounds of it).

So what do you think? Anything you think that I missed?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Written by

Sheila Wray Gregoire


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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Truman Miller

    This post and the comments have it a sore spot with me.
    All those possibilities are very real .
    But another possibility is that she has a preconceived idea of what he is thinking. Maybe he didn’t say what she thinks he said.
    Let me explain: the things I say are understood from her perspective , her. Feelings, her biases, her inadequacy.
    And anything I say after that is merely excuses, blaming, trying to get out of trouble ect.
    There is very little communication to understand. Instead it is communication to get offended.
    She doesn’t mean to do that. She is so sweet and good hearted. But she was taught to communicate that way. And can’t understand why our relationship doesn’t work very well.

    • anna ess

      I was going to chime in to say something similar to Truman. The drama I created in my first months of marriage thanks to my own fearful projections, an overly idealistic personality bent, unrealistic messages from media and purity culture, an overactive imagination that had had plenty of years to conjure up ideas of how my marriage was going to be all bliss&butterflies (#realitycheck), and a lack of understanding of the time and adjustments it takes for this thing we’ve entered into to shift & mature into a thriving union was unbelievable. My anxieties managed to corner my beautiful, kind, patient, generous husband in a losing battle as I took anything he said & did that didn’t fit my script, no matter how trivial or innocent, as proof that our “happily ever after” was doomed to be a painful ordeal.
      This couple has been married A FEW MONTHS! The adjustment to the “loss” (of freedom, the old way of life , childhood, community…) alone entails an emotional journey of grief that takes time for both husband and wife to process, let alone the adjustment of togetherness. So the husband said a really dumb, hurtful thing. It’s normal & okay for both of them to not feel solid, secure, or confident – that comes in spirals and layers, day together by day together, one step by one step.
      Dear wife, you are okay, your husband is okay. You are growing a beautiful marriage garden that is going to bear amazing fruit. It won’t happen overnight. Intimacy takes time and patience. But what you are growing is so good. Keep watering it. You’ll find your stride.

    • Edward lee

      Honestly. I think the husband wants a moment of passionate sex. No restraints. Love making is wonderful but just sometimes you need that nonsense. You need both the ying and yang of life. The good and bad. How else would you know you have it good. I understand why we would want the wife to try something different. Honestly asking her and voicing his opinion is better than cheating on her. Maybe she should try and see what happens. We men are always expected to change for someone out of love. Why can’t it go the other way also. He has a porn addiction or what ever type of addiction. Why not make him addicted to you. Head over heals. “God will change him.” How about God can help me change. It’s a two way street and they should sit down and talk about their likes and dislikes. It healthier to find a middle ground and sometimes every once in a while take one for the time. I say this because I bet that her husband has gone to bed sometimes without any loving because her head hurts or shes tired.

  2. Anonymous Mrs.

    I definitely think he is lying about porn use.

    I’ve been there. I’ve been the new wife who actually has a great idea of what sex is and can be and desired sex a lot in the first months. I had the porn conversation before we got married and he confessed to using when he was in high school and then lied about not using it in the present. I trusted him completely. When we first got married I never felt like I was enough sexually for my husband. I wanted it more than he did and I just got this vibe that I wasn’t enough for him. (I did find out that my husband was struggling with depression during the first two years of marriage, so I know that played a part in his libido issues , but that was not all.)

    Two years later, after getting tired of my husband getting annoyed at me for little things all the time and never feeling like he liked me, I confronted him about porn. He’d been using it since high school. The better part of 10-12 years. Now I knew why I never felt like enough – because to him, I wasn’t.

    I have great pity for my husband and I mourn that he has dealt with an addiction for so long and wasted so much of his life. But I mourn for my innocence as well. I am no longer the only one to have pleased my husband. And now we have to deal with residual issues from his porn use.

    This wife sounds like the newlywed naive me. I pray she resolves her strength and confronts him and makes him tell the truth. That is the only way to move forward.

  3. Bethany Persons

    When we were first married, my husband and I also had an adjustment period. Fortunately neither of us had major purity culture baggage, and no porn use either. But we also didn’t have healthy examples to clue us in (both our parents’ marriages are not the healthiest). So, my husband’s expectations were somewhat based on TV and movies, with the enthusiastic and sexually hungry woman being the norm. He knew that wasn’t realistic, but how much and in what way, not as much. It took a few conversations reassuring him that I am wired to respond to being pursued, that just wanting to jump him out of the blue is not necessarily the norm for women and definitely not for me. Once he was confident that it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with him or that I’m not attracted to him, we got to a better place. So long story short, he was feeling insecure because he thought women, me included, would initiate more, and in an aggressive way. It’s also much easier for me to initiate when I’m not responsible for fixing his insecurity.

    • Daniel

      Bethany: I agree with what you said here, and it makes me sad for anyone affected by this line of sexual upbringing.

      We’ve somewhat moved past the purity culture, to an extent, and I think teens/young adults/etc think that sex is good, but no one teaches what healthy sex looks like. Most pastors and youth leaders barely go there, and when they do it tends to be “husbands needs sex… so wives need t o give him sex when he needs it”. Few pastors teach real biblical, mutually fulfilling sex. So the only example of what sex looks like is what ‘TV and movies’ (aka; men) teach us. It is highly damaging to people to be taught about sex and ‘intimacy’ by watching people on-screen, reading lines written by men. From the huge open mouth kissing (30 seconds after they meet), to punching someone in the head, or watching someone die, and then 2 minutes later being fully turned on and jumping in bed… it’s just not even slightly realistic for 99.99999999% of people. But, alas, it’s what is shoved down our throats, and it’s the only example of sex that many people see. Sex is casual, natural, clean and tidy, quick, and always exactly what both people need. And, oh yeah, the women ALWAYS know how to act sexy… So it’s really not surprising that, assuming no porn use or lust issues, this new husband doesn’t find his wife sexy. Even if she’s a very attractive woman, he won’t find her attractive since she doesn’t do ‘sexy’ things like the other women he sees and knows.

      I think we’re all guilty of comparing our spouse to someone else, and I think that’s perfectly normal and natural. However, it should never be verbalized or focused on. It’s something that fits into the “take every though captive” category. Much like dreams that go against everything I believe and practice, I have to put them aside and not dwell on them.

      • Daniel

        I forgot mention that we also need to focus on what we have; our own spouse. Your spouse was designed and created to fulfill a need that is built into all of us. And you were designed and created to fulfill their need. Don’t let comparisons to fake women/men taint your view of the marriage bed.

    • Kim

      Can I ask a related question? How do do that and not detail this conversation ?

    • anna ess

      I was going to chime in something similar and am definitely with those in the “not a big deal” camp.
      The drama I created in my first months of marriage was unbelievable, thanks to my own fearful projections (due to poor marriage models), an overly idealistic personality bent, unrealistic messages from media and purity culture, an overactive imagination that had had plenty of years to conjure up ideas of how my marriage was going to be all bliss&butterflies (#realitycheck), and a lack of understanding of the time and adjustments it takes for this thing we’ve entered into to shift & mature into a thriving union. My anxieties managed to corner my beautiful, kind, patient, generous, manly husband in a losing battle as I took anything he said & did that didn’t fit my uber-romantic script, no matter how trivial or innocent, as proof that our life together was doomed to be a painful ordeal, that he was secretly into porn, that he was lusting after everyone but me… when in reality he was getting used this new reality, just like I was.
      This couple has been married A FEW MONTHS! Alone the adjustment to the “loss” (of freedom, the old way of life, childhood, community…) that goes hand in hand with the “gain” of marriage entails an emotional journey of “grieving” that takes time for both husband and wife to work through… and grief can affect libido & perspective. Yes, the husband said a really dumb thing but can we extend grace & trust? – because a) we are only hearing her side of the conversation, and b) healthy communication is a learned thing & these are conversations he’s never had to be an expert in before.
      Dear wife, if you read this, you are okay, your husband is okay. It’s normal & okay for you to not feel solid, secure, or confident as you figure things out – that comes in spirals and layers, day together by day together, one step by one step. You are growing a beautiful marriage garden that is going to bear amazing fruit. It won’t happen overnight. Intimacy & communication takes time, and patience. But what you are growing is so good. Keep watering it. You’ll find your stride.

  4. Arwen

    These are all great plausible answers. But she said, “He mentioned that some girls with the way they act and carry themselves can make every man in the room want them. But what are they doing? Can you help me? ” The best place to get that answer is asking her husband. We’re total strangers who can’t get into his mind nor have any clue what he meant by that. So better to ask him than us. We’ll just make a fool out of ourselves by assuming. She also needs to ask why he would rather not have sex. More communication needs to take place in this marriage. And since she already knows about this blog she can use the search engine to find whatever is lacking in their marriage. Things like: Communication, how to be sexy, how to learn about each others bodies, low libido men, etc.

  5. Nathan

    Both people in a relationship ought to be able to discuss their feelings, needs and wants with each other. That doesn’t mean that the other person has to conform to your preset standard, though, and it’s bad idea to compare your spouse with other, “better” people.

    Hopefully he can learn to communicate his needs in a healthy way, and also learn that this cuts both ways, so that he listens when she communicates her needs.

  6. Phil

    Asking a woman to act like another woman is just plain wrong. My Mom would say who cares what the Jones’ do. LOL. Each person is an individual and should be left to be their own person. Plus I would think fantasy would enter into the equation if the husband is comparing to another woman. Asking a woman for variety and having a mutual sexual relationship is a totally different story. I loved the MOM connection to this post. I can relate – not directly to the want to be pursued peice but yet I can relate to how I had to overcome my Mommy issues to be a better person not only sexually but in General. Thats a make you think thought. Have a great weekend everyone.

  7. Praying 4 Better Days

    I can understand men & women desiring more spontaneity & passion during sex but it always seems like too many men are being tyrants when it comes to sex. I only hear “some” men complaining about their sexual fantasies not being met & requiring their women to pretend to be porn stars. The same porn stars who those men would say weren’t good enough to wife. I only hear women wanting their husbands to love them & not use them like sexual vessels.

    Self-entitled men scenarios always go like this:
    A). Man wants sex…wife won’t give it to him when he wants
    B) Man only wants sex…doesn’t want to make love, says foreplay is a waste of time
    C) Man wants sex his way
    D) Man say wife isn’t sexy enough in bed…she needs to pretend to be a porn star
    E). Man says wife is too sex & dominant in bed…she needs to let him lead

    With every scenario there’s a self-entitled man demanding that his wife…changes to suit him. His sexual abilities are never questioned. He always assumes he’s perfect. And their women are required to fulfill their every fantasy…even being the perfect housewife.

    But what’s most frustrating is when these same type of men…complain that women have non-realistic hopes of having husbands who are prince charmings & knights in shining armor. And a knight & shining armor to a woman is ONLY a man who treats his wife right & fair. What’s so unrealistic about a woman wanting to be made love to mind, body & soul by her husband? What’s so unrealistic about women wanting to not be used or seen as ONLY their husband’s sex doll?

    It just always seems like too many men are the ones living in & directing fantasy worlds.

    • Josh

      While it may be true that men are always the one being unfair and tyrannical in the sexual department, I would encourage you to consider how the shoe can be on the other foot when it comes to other areas of a marriage.

      There are women who will cut their husbands and boyfriends down to little pieces for not meeting certain vague and arbitrary standards of manhood. Usually it’s not directly related to sex like with overbearing men, but it can be just as devastating.

      And like the woman in this piece, these men are often unfairly compared to other men in their wive’s lives. Comments like “I never see so-and-so’s husband pay as little attention to her as you do to me” or “my dad knew how to do this thing as a kid. How did you never learn it?”

      Some women go further than that and will emasculate their husbands in public for little things. Popular culture has taught them that it is acceptable to do so.

      I don’t think women can ever truly, fully understand what our hangup as men is about “nagging”, why it bothers us so much. It’s more than just being annoying or condescending. But by considering stories like this woman and how she was made to feel by her husband’s contrived expectations, maybe they could have greater empathy.

      Just like I don’t think we as men could ever truly, fully understand what it does to women when we devalue their sexuality by comparing them to other women, but we can consider how we feel when we are nagged at and emasculated by women in our lives (and every man knows what it’s like, even if it’s rare and the women in their life normally don’t) to have greater empathy for what it could be like.

      • Praying 4 Better Days

        Josh when I read this story my first question was…does the husband respect his wife & women? Next I ask…does he respect sex & does he feel entitled to it because he’s a man? Because if he answers no on the 1st & yes on the 2nd, his wife will be a victim. If a man has a self-entitlement issue towards women or sex he’ll see his masculinity thru subordination & objectification of his wife. The marriage will be doomed with one-sided happiness. Not all men do this but self-entitled ones do.

        So Josh I hope I didn’t make you feel attacked by recounting the different women’s scenarios that continuously happen to them. And maybe my point was missed about the issue seeming to ONLY involve “certain types” of men who usually are or feel…self-entitled towards women & sex.

        Honestly we never hear recounts about other types of men…because they are the ones who aren’t putting their wives thru those tribulations because they actually respect them as women.

        And when the majority of good men & husbands read these scenarios about what the “self-entitled” men do…they end up feeling attacked & judged. And most times men like this don’t share what they are personally going thru…until it’s in defense when a woman tells what a certain type of man has put her thru.

        Also I can’t say I’d understand how emasculating it feels by being nagged at by women. I know it can’t feel good. But it does bring the question why is nagging only keyed to be women & not men. I’ve always wondered how that term “nagging” got put on women when if a man repeatedly asks the same question or request over & over he’s never called a nag.

  8. Keith Schooley

    I think that all of the scenarios outlined in the post are plausible, and the correct solution is probably a combination of a few.

    But I can’t help feeling grieved at the fact that, if the genders were reversed, how completely different a conversation this would be. If it were a man writing about how he was “very interested in lovemaking all the time,” that it was “really painful to get turned down,” that he thought he was giving her “a wonderful gift,” and that after much prodding, his wife had finally told him that some guys, “with the way they act and carry themselves,” just feel a lot more attractive to women.

    What would be the response?

    Would it be, “Why does he want sex ‘all the time’? Does he have a secret porn addiction?”

    Would it be, “There’s that fragile, entitled male ego again, can’t stand ever being turned down!”

    Would it be, “There’s those men, thinking that they’re some ‘wonderful gift’ to women!”

    Would it be, “He acknowledges that they have a great friendship and that even the romance is good. Why is it that with men it always boils down to sex, sex, sex!”

    Would it be, “Hey, if she needs him to learn how to be more seductive, what’s so wrong with that? Women need more from their husbands than just flopping down in bed and saying, ‘Here I am!’ I mean, he’s acknowledging that he doesn’t know how because of purity culture. Maybe he could learn a thing or two from watching some other guys.”

    Like I said, I think that a combination of the scenarios mentioned in the post is probably the case in the situation that the writer describes. I just think we need to be careful not to make one gender always the villain, no matter what the problem is.

    • Justin

      I hope that is posted in a couple months as another reader question, it would be great to refute your expectations, but unfortunately there’s a chance you could be right.

      What’s the take on describing this couple from the pursuer/distancer dynamic? Do we truly think the issue he is dealing with is summed up in his request, or were those the only words he had to describe what he wants?

      Pursuers create pressure, and distancers just don’t want to disappoint their partner. I can see a possibility where the pressure to want sex, as expressed by everyone saying Hey! You are newlywed, you should WANT it all the time! can conflict with someone who doesn’t want to fail at this very important piece of his new marriage. Which makes sense, it sounds like he may not a good example to draw from how to have a positive sex life.

    • Praying 4 Better Days

      Hi Keith,
      When situations come to stories about marriage between men & women sometimes gender has to be discussed in order to solve the problem. If men & women don’t share the same perspectives or try to see the other’s side fairly we won’t accomplish anything. And when we discuss the differences between the genders…we also have to name what “type” of man or woman a person is. Because that “type” is usually guilty of a certain behavior. I identify with some stories & sometimes not with others so I know they aren’t referring to me. I can read a story about fathers & say well my dad never acted like that but also know of other men who did.

      I didn’t direct my scenarios to “all” men…just the self-entitled ones. Because most cases deal with self-entitlement issues. The other types of men who respect their wives & see them as equals aren’t putting their wives thru the same kind of tribulations.

      The self-entitled ones tend to make a habit of making themselves villains & playing the victim later.
      So when I continuously hear or read about couple’s scenarios where the husband or boyfriend is selfishly demanding things of their wives it’s kind of hard not to notice it’s always the same type of men.

      • Doug

        I for one, see nothing at all that says “self entitled” in the letter. In fact, he was the one who seemingly was OK with the frequency, and only responded(extremely poorly) to a request. He is not the person who brought it up. When I am the self centered one, I am seldom waiting around for someone else to bring something up before I speak up. everyone is well aware without that being necessary.

        There are any number of plausible reasons that might be behind his behavior, some damning, and some not so much, but self entitlement is not the first thing that jumps to my mind, nor does it even appear near the top of the list.

        He said something that was hurtful, and absolutely stupid, but I want to know who hasn’t done that. Sometimes I think I have a size 9 mouth, because my foot fits in it so easily.

        This whole exercise of trying to determine what was behind his words is absolutely foolish. None of us know, or even need to know. The only thing that needed to be said to this young lady, is that she is indeed fine just the way she is, and there would appear to be some more communication with your husband to encourage growth for BOTH. Once that has taken place, then a real path forward might present itself.

        Anything other than that is pure speculation, and also drifts dangerously close to the sin if gossip. It might even cross that line in some cases.

    • Maria

      Whenever a scenario is presented about how a man treats his wife or a woman treats her husband, I try to take a moment to view the scenario as “a person treated their spouse like so.” Or I flip the script, like in your comment where you asked what if the wife said that sort of thing to her husband? Some of my deep seated prejudices have been uprooted that way.

    • Blessed Wife

      Fair questions, Keith, as the audience for this blog is largely female, and men and women both tend to read situations through the lense of their own suffering.

      However, let me say that I think Sheila is generally pretty fair in her handling of both genders, and very pro-health and pro-sex regardless of gender. There were also several commenters on the original post that argued for giving the young husband the benefit of the doubt.

      For myself, I almost always side with the person who wants more loving, enthusiastic sex in the marriage. Unless there are indications of addictions, affairs (including porn), or abuse (including sexual, emotional, or verbal), or some physical reason why sex isn’t possible or feasible, I think marital sex should be as frequent as the higher-drive spouse wants, because I believe God designed sex to bless and strengthen marriages, which is something both should want. On the flip side, higher-drive spouses can also show love to their spouse by taking an occasional “no” for an answer graciously and not withdrawing other forms of love because they didn’t get sex.

      So no, I don’t believe that a man who wants very frequent sex with his wife (ONLY! This is important!) is asking too much, a sex addict, or a porn addict. I do think people should be open to learning about themselves and how they can become better, and about how they can please their spouse (unless what pleases the spouse is wrong or unhealthy).

      However, I think people should be able to get this information from their spouse, without being told “learn to be more like someone else”. He didn’t marry someone else- he married her. So he should rejoice with the wife of his youth, and be ravished with her love. He isn’t doing that, and that is a plain indication that something unhealthy is going on, more likely with him than her. I would say the same if the situation were reversed, and would fully advocate a wife who doesn’t want to have sex with her husband to figure out why, and seek healthy solutions.

      PS- I do think good men (and I think most are basically decent people) are one of God’s great gifts to women. I know my own husband is one of His great gifts to me!

  9. AspenPaisley

    Hey Sheila!
    Your blog has been such a huge blessing to me and I can’t quit sharing it with my girl friends at church & family members.
    I’ve started 31 Days to Great Sex with my husband back in June and just reading through the posts on my own has been SO healing to me.
    I was date raped at 16 years old repeatedly and although the Lord did so much healing work in my life before we married, I see now (after 10 years of marriage) how many more places I still need healing. Couple that also that at about the same time (16 yrs old) I found the Lord and was immediately entrenched in Purity Culture, I devoured I Kissed Dating Goodbye & Boy Meets Girl and all of it together made for a interesting battle in my mind over sex and what it is supposed to be under God’s design…and yet I’m by FAR the higher-drive spouse! Ha!
    I know how much help the 31 Days has been for my own journey, but what I’m completely perplexed is that my husband isn’t interested in doing the 31 Days with me. He was open to it until day 3 when it came time to explore my body and then he read the post and then didn’t want to go any further. He was too tired that specific night, didn’t have enough time, and since then (this is since June and it is now almost September) he says that the concept is nice, but he isn’t interested.
    I don’t get it. I was really hopeful that we could talk through more and make sex more than a 2 minute drill. When we talk about sex, he seems uncomfortable and reminded me that he’s a farm boy and understands how sex works because he has raised hogs. But I’m NOT a hog! Any thoughts on how I can approach this with him or maybe better communicate? Should I just continue the 31 Days alone (reading obviously since I can’t have sex by myself)? 😉
    If it helps to know, he was a virgin when we married (I had been raped in high school by a boyfriend otherwise no other sexual relationships), we married at 23&25, and I’m pretty sure he isn’t viewing porn or involved with anyone else. He typically isn’t interested in sex and if I don’t initiate we can go months without it and he doesn’t seem to miss it. I’d love for us to connect more often, but right now I feel like the only person who is interested. Any thoughts?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi Aspen! This is a difficult situation. It sounds like he may just assume that he knows how everything works, and very embarrassed to try to talk about it in case he learns that he doesn’t know how everything works. It also sounds that, like many men, he assumes that your sexual response should be the same as his, and when it’s not, there must be something wrong with you.

      If you read my post on how we need a new definition of sex, I mention briefly how to talk to your husband about this. I think it’s okay to say something like: “I want to make love to you. I want our sex life to be amazing. I’m excited to share this with you. But I’m not willing to keep having sex if I’m an afterthought, and if it’s mostly for you. God made sex for both of us, and I think we have some learning to do on how to make it great for me. So I’m asking you to do this with me.” It may be harsh, but it is fair, and ultimately that’s the only way to move towards real intimacy. You really can’t do 31 Days to Great Sex by yourself. He does have to be on board. So I’d just ask him like that! I hope that helps!

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        One other thought: If he’s saying that he learned what he knows from hogs, and that’s enough, I’d ask him if it looks like the female hog is having a good time, or just the male hog? Is the male hog trying to help the female, or just taking care of himself? Does he think that God made humans to be the same?

        • AspenPaisley

          I’m giggling over here at the thought of female hogs having a good time because I’m remembering that hogs are supposedly capable of 20 minute long orgasms and that sounds like a particularly good time. 😂 Whether it’s the boar or the sow having a 20 minute orgasm, I have no idea. But seriously, thank you for walking me through how to gently, but directly phrase how to communicate to him my concern. It was really helpful and gentle, yet not sugar-coated. Thanks! Hope your hand is feeling better!

  10. Dean

    I suspect this guy is low T. The drop off in testosterone levels between previous generations and this one has been significant. There is every reason to think that this guy has a hormonal problem, T probably in the 200s when it should be closer to 800.

    Sure, it may be true that this woman needs to make some changes, but having a blood test to check T levels than getting them up where they should be is the first order of business.

    • Brad

      Absurd. The senseless attacks on this guy are viscous and from a supposedly “Christian view”. He has a simple request of his wife so you attack his masculinity.

      A woman who spent a life time aggressively suppressing sexuality will have trouble opening up. Its extremely common.

      Where has there been widespread testing of T levels across generations? I was not involved in any study. Unfounded speculation and theory and small scale testing. YOUNG men do not test for total and free T at endocrinologists because they haven’t reason to.

  11. Ruth

    I didn’t read all the comments, but one thing that is disturbing to me is the references to “purity culture”. I don’t know exactly what “purity culture” refers to, but I wouldn’t be surprised if these people would say I was raised in that culture.
    Being pure, in thought, actions and dress – both as a single and also once married is a good thing and does not cause marriage and/or sex issues. Of course as the Bible says ” the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” – I did not always keep my mind pure growing up – at times taking pleasure in romance novels that had no real value etc.
    When my husband and I were courting we maintained a hands-off courtship and did not touch until our wedding day. Both of us were virgins. I have always dressed modestly and my husband told me after we were married that he appreciated that there was some mystery and he didn’t know exactly all my curves before we were married. We had no trouble at all with beginning our physical relationship as soon as we married and worked together on learning what we liked best as far as sex. I have never felt that having a desire to stay pure in mind, actions or dress in public has been detrimental to our relationship on the contrary I feel it has blessed us in many ways – one of those being having no shame from previous wrong activity.
    I feel sorry for this young bride, and have lots of questions, but mostly I think that if he is not living a lie – and she has a desire to explore with him how to build a satisfying sex life, they can and will and she will not have to start dressing and acting in any way immodest in public to do so.
    Just a few thoughts.

  12. Erin

    My heart breaks for both of these people.

    My husband and I have a similar story. I am a product of Purity culture. He is a product of the Infantry. Both of us were virgins, but I was more naïve. There was a certain amount of adjustment I needed to make, and I am SO THANKFUL my husband took the risk to lovingly tell me he needed me to be “pure and blameless in public, but scandalous at home.” His words still hurt, because I understood (wrongly) that I was not enough. But they allowed me to figure out how to adjust what he needed. And because I was open to learning, our sex life has gotten so much better. We haven’t been married a year – sex has been a challenge. We’ve dealt with everything from his performance anxiety to my first recurring bacterial yeast infection to an unexpected pregnancy and a miscarriage that has left us bith with a little PTSD. But we’re figuring it out, and because of his communication we are doing much better. Now I’M the one saying “Honey, I need something different, but I need it from you and I’m willing to help.” Don’t condemn the man for taking a risk and communicating. It’s what saved my marriage early on.

  13. Thankful

    It is easy to jump to conclusions and assume the worst. This couple is new, and might need some help in putting their love life together. Working together to overcome these challenges will make their marriage stronger. Many men are afraid to talk about their secret life, but finding that he can be open and honest without being rejected is a huge step to healing. Perhaps he had an idea or expectation of how marriage would be, and needs some help to get back to reality. For sure I have not been the best communicator, yet here we are very happily married after 40 years. This couple is in the beginning stages. So whatever they must work through to enrich and strengthen their marriage, they must determine to do this. For sure they need additional prayer support and they may require counseling. If I were starting all over again I would throw out unrealistic expectations and start with lots of prayer for each other and sensate focus exercises. Very good!

  14. Lloyd

    I have been married since 1979. I cannot imagine how thrilled I would be if my wife offered herself to me more often than I want her ( I am pretty much always after her in one way or another). Like some of the other commenters, she does not have to “act” a certain way for me to find her desireable. Just standing near me or leaning against the kitchen counter or sitting next to me with her leg across my lap demanding that I massage her foot while we watch NetFlix. I love her and want her and any way she initiates is fine with me. Perhaps the young husband does not know what he wants, and is referring to women in TV and movie scenes that vamp it up which he apparently finds attractive. I agree he should not have compared his wife to them. This had to be hurtful. Chocolates and roses and a heartfelt apology are in order, plus a concerted effort to respond enthusiastically to her every advance to convince her that she is the only woman in heaven or on earth for him.

  15. Rob

    I’ve been in a Christian marriage for 44 years but have no sex life for the last 14.
    Early on, I told her that nylons and heels were a real turn on for me. I enjoyed seeing just a little lace on her bra or slip, too. Pretty modest, I thought. All of this has fallen on deaf ears . She never wears hose since getting married and the only heels she wore was on her wedding day! The only sexy clothing for the bedroom was a floor-length gown which was quite modest which she never wears anymore. She dresses OK for work but resembles an Eskimo more than anything else. What happened to the girl before we married—-the pursuit is over, along with a sex life! Hopeless.

    • Schoop

      Love this blog, but sad that every response listed in this article places blame entirely on the husband (with passing mention, as an exception, to scenario no. 4). This article might help some, but its definitely possible that it will embolden some women who might be in error in their approach to sexuality in their marriage. The points towards the men were very valid though. Just needs some balance.

    • Brad

      It is sad that so many woman want to shift blame to the man and refuse his request. This will not help heal the situation. I do believe the heart of this woman was to answer her husband’s request and that should be the direction this conversation took. Theres also is no scripture here!

      1 Cor 7:5 is a good start for both husband and wife. That means having sex when and how each partner wants forbidding unnatural acts


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