Reader Question: What if My Husband Thinks I’m Boring in Bed?

by | Jul 7, 2020 | Uncategorized | 19 comments

When your husband thinks you're boring in bed: Discovering the root of the problem
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What do you do if your husband accuses you of being boring in bed–or when your husband thinks your sex life is boring?

It’s our Sex Questions You Can’t Ask Your Pastor month, and I wanted to start with this one because it’s a great example of how we need to look at a problem from three different perspectives if we want to uncover the real issue.

A woman writes in:

We have been married for 3 years. Our sex life has never been very exciting, let’s just say it is almost satisfying. After having a bumpy sex talk tonight my husband told me that on a scale of 1 to 10 his pleasure is at 1…. I find that very discouraging and I don’ t know what to make of it since he always finishes when we have sex and so do I. I may not be very adventurous in bed and I always feel clumsy but I want to change things and this is why I tried talking to him. He says that if it doesn’t come naturally I shouldn’t try anything because he wouldn’t like it. Please give me some advice.

That’s so hard! Our sexuality is really tied up in our identity. It’s in our sexuality that we’re often the most vulnerable–that the “real me” comes out. If your spouse then tells you you’re boring in bed, that’s a big rejection.

1. Is it You: Are You Comfortable in the Bedroom?

When you’re the one where sex has short-circuited

Don’t worry; I’m going to deal with his issues in a minute, because I do see several red flags in this email. But it’s always good to begin with ourselves–and you may have a similar problem to this woman’s but with a different cause!

She’s admitting here that her sex life hasn’t been that exciting, though she does reach climax and so does he. That’s pretty good! Not a lot of couples can say that, so she’s already doing pretty well.

One of the big reasons that it may not feel super exciting, though, is because we tend to do the same things each time, or we hold ourselves back. Sex becomes stupendous when you stop holding yourself back and you jump in with both feet–and any other body parts you want!

If we’ve grown up ashamed of our sexuality, so that it’s hard for us to say what we want, or to try new things, then it could be that “boring in bed” pretty much describes your relationship.

If you want to try to make sex exciting, but you really don’t know where to start, I’ve written a post on spicing up your marriage that you may find quite helpful! And if you want to feel freer in the bedroom, here’s how to feel more adventurous in bed.

Remember that God created sex, and He really does want us to enjoy it. It isn’t something shameful. There is nothing particularly holy about the missionary position over any other position, and there is nothing wrong with exploring your bodies and feeling good. You may have to ease into that a bit–talking to him if you’re nervous and keeping the lights off. But do try! And see how good you can feel.


Other posts you may enjoy:


2. Could it Be Your Husband: Are You “Boring in Bed” or Is Your Husband Emphasizing the Wrong Things?

When he’s the one where sex has short-circuited

There’s something about this particular letter that is sending some bad vibes to me. Many men wish that their sex life could be more exciting, and there’s honestly is nothing wrong with that.

But in this case he’s not looking for sex to be more exciting; he’s looking for her to be transformed into something else. “if it’s not natural, don’t try,” he says. That sounds to me like he isn’t willing to put in any effort; she’s just supposed to live up to some ideal of what he thinks sex should be. That’s not intimate; that’s not a partnership; that’s a distorted view of sexuality.

Also, she’s reaching climax, and he’s reaching climax, and he’s still rating their sex life a “1”. Believe me, many men would be ecstatic if their wives were enjoying sex that much, and for most men, that’s the majority of their pleasure–giving their wives pleasure. He’s not rating it a 5 or 6, though; he’s not even rating it a 4. He’s saying it’s a 1–the worst it can be.

Again, that says to me that there are some issues going on that have nothing to do with her.

He could be fixating on a particular thing he wants to try, and he’s so fixated on that that until he gets it he won’t be satisfied. Or he could be picturing what to him is a “good lover”, and quite often that image lines up with something someone has seen in pornography. Porn wreaks so much havoc with our expectations and with our libido, so that we’re no longer able to take pleasure in being together.

Often when a guy has a genuine sexual issue stemming from unrealistic demands, we women “own” the problem. We start to feel like the issue is with us, as if we aren’t beautiful enough or sexy enough or “nympho” enough. But the problem may not be with you at all. The problem may be that either our society’s warped view of sexuality or past porn use has put images in your husband’s head that make a marriage relationship seem boring.

I don’t know if that’s the case with our letter writer, and I don’t know if that’s the case with you, but I have seen this many times. A husband starts telling his wife she’s awful in bed or that she’s boring or that she’s frigid when really the issue is that he has used porn and robbed himself of the ability to enjoy a regular, healthy sexual relationship in marriage.

So examine yourself and ask, “am I being myself in the bedroom? Am I being vulnerable? Am I letting myself go and having fun?” And if you can say that you are, but he still isn’t satisfied, then perhaps it’s time for a conversation about where this is coming from. What exactly does he want you to be like? Why does he want you to be like that? If he can’t communicate it to you (as this husband seems unable to do), then it’s likely that he’s embarrassed to tell you what’s really going on. And in that case it’s probably good to start asking about past porn use or present porn use.


Other posts you may enjoy:


3. What are You Believing about Sex? Maybe we have the wrong view of sex!

When your beliefs have short-circuited sex

I’d like to offer one further possible take on the letter writer’s husband ideas that “if it’s not natural, don’t do it.”

I’ve heard many men express this sentiment, and sometimes it is linked to porn or a warped view of sex that needs to be confronted. But other times it’s linked to the fact that we tend to view the “correct” route to sexual response and sexual arousal as the typically male one–and then label women’s more common response and route to arousal as somehow deficient. Men feel as if women are placated them or putting on a show when it’s simply that women heat up in a different way than men do, and men can feel rejected and hurt when there’s nothing of the sort going on.

I’ve talked a lot about how many (not all) women’s libidos are more responsive than spontaneous: they don’t tend to feel a deep desire for sex until they actually start kissing and touching. They’re not aroused before the start; arousal only kicks in afterwards, and desire after that. It’s Module 1 in my Boost Your Libido course, and many women have told me that that message alone saved their sex lives.

It’s not that these women DON’T want sex; only that they respond to sex differently than their husbands might. 

But in our society, “spontaneous” desire is thought of as the proper one, and responsive desire as the deficient one. Orgasming through intercourse is the “right” way, while needing a ton of foreplay means that you’re not really into sex. Women’s common responses are thought of as deficient, while men’s are normal.

This makes women doubt that we’re really sexual, when we in fact are, and it makes men feel as if we don’t really want them or don’t really want sex, when we do–we just heat up differently!

And add to that the additional problem where women can be mentally turned on, and want to have sex, before their bodies are aroused (it’s called arousal nonconcordance, and it’s very common in women), and you get men thinking that we’re faking, when we’re not.

So guys honestly feel, “if it’s not natural, then you’re just faking and forcing yourself, and I want it be natural,” when what they don’t understand is that natural for men and natural for women can look very different. Or, to put it a better way, natural for you and natural for me might look very different, because even among men and among women things aren’t the same and straightforward at all!

The problem is that if a guy has a high sex drive, spontaneous arousal, and little need of foreplay, then he’ll also get constant reinforcement from TV, movies, books, and popular culture that his experience of sex is right, normal, and “real”. If his wife has a lower sex drive, more responsive desire, and lots of need for foreplay, even if she enjoys sex and does reach orgasm, he’ll feel disappointed, like it’s not “real”. Then he’ll feel rejected and disappointed when there’s nothing actually wrong, and she’ll feel nervous and unsexual when there’s nothing actually wrong, either. If they can just accept each other as they are, then they’d likely find that sex was actually quite fun!

If this is you–stop judging each other; and start appreciating each other!


Other posts you may enjoy:


4. What Are You Believing about Sex? Maybe we have the wrong view of “boring”!

When your relationship has short-circuited sex

The best sex isn’t when we try 10 positions in one night, or when we use sex toys, or when we act out a weird scenario. It’s when you feel completely and utterly one, and when you are open and vulnerable with one another. Intimacy is the best aphrodisiac.

So if sex has become boring, maybe what you need to work on is your prayer life together. Or perhaps you need to start being more vulnerable and sharing more of your dreams and passions for your family. Or maybe you need to talk about some of your fears, and have him share some of his fears, and work on building your emotional connection. Those don’t sound sexy, but in fact couples often find that the best sex comes after you feel so completely and utterly emotionally connected.

We also tend to believe that there is “good sex” and that there is “bad sex”, and that the “goodness” and “badness” is related to how spicy or freaky or totally into it you are. But what if it’s far more about how you feel together?

That’s really what 31 Days to Great Sex will help you see–that sex is holistic. Days 8-11 help you work on your relationship outside the bedroom to feel close before you try to turn up the heat. And Day 20 helps you feel spiritually intimate when you make love–which really is the key to great sex.

Whatever your sex question, those are 4 great lenses to view it through:

  1. Is it me? Is it a problem with shame, trauma, anger, bitterness, fear, pain, or addictions?
  2. Is it my spouse? Is it a problem with their shame, trauma, anger, bitterness, fear, pain, dysfunction, or addictions?
  3. Is it our view of sex? Do we have some real misunderstandings about how sex works for each of us, and are we judging ourselves, rather than appreciating each other?
  4. Is it our relationship? Do we think of sex only in physical terms, and have we neglected the rest of our relationship? Do we have big relationship problems we haven’t dealt with? Are we trying to tack sex on to a relationship that’s been drifting apart, trying to make up for not knowing each other anymore?

Of course, often (usually?!?) it’s not just one problem; it’s multiple. That’s hard to sort out!

But I hope 31 Days to Great Sex can help, because we take you through sex step-by-step, in a non-blaming and non-judging way, so that you learn what sex is supposed to be like; you stop throwing around ideas like “there’s only one right way to do this”, and you learn to appreciate each other. And, of course,  you learn to talk about it, too.

The new-and-improved book launches July 14, but you can pre-order now.

 

So those are my thoughts on the “boring in bed” question, and I hope they show how, with most sex problems, it’s good to ask yourself which lens (or lenses) fit the problem best. 

What do you think? Have you ever secretly wondered if your spouse is bored? How do you spice things up? Or how do you address it if there’s something weird going on? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of 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

Related Posts

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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19 Comments

  1. Jane Eyre

    As someone who gets almost no physical pleasure from sex, but a lot of pain (physical and emotional), I think this dude needs to understand what a “1” sex life really is.
    You say porn; it could also be premarital sex and comparing her against previous, more experienced partners.

    Reply
    • Lindsey S

      I’m so sorry for your struggles, Jane. I wish that you didn’t have to carry that burden.

      Reply
    • Harriet Vane

      Jane, you are a regular commenter here and it seems like you go out of your way to let everyone know how awful your sex life is. And I’m sorry for that. I really am. Your comments come across, though, as if you are trapped and have no choice but must forever live in a marriage with an awful sex life. And that isn’t true. One thing that Sheila does so well is to help women see that they can take ownership of their own lives (including their own sex lives) and pursue healing and health for themselves regardless of what their husbands do. I don’t know exactly why your sex life is so terrible, though you’ve mentioned pain a lot. Are you seeing a physiotherapist? Have you looked into a sex therapist? Have you drawn the boundary with your husband and said, “look, we aren’t going to have any more sex until we can figure out a way to make it good for me, and that means we might need professional help” ?
      One thing the evangelical church does all too often is tell wives that they have to be martyrs in awful marriages or with awful sex lives. Sheila is preaching the opposite message- she is empowering women to understand that we are in charge of our own lives. You can choose not to be a martyr. You can choose to pursue wholeness.

      Reply
      • Christy

        I can understand Jane. Sometimes, reading these blogs is just plain depressing. Sometimes the pain doesnt go away, no matter what or how hard you try. Jane sounds frustrated, i understand that.

        Reply
      • Mandy

        I’m going to disagree. I think part of marriage is not refusing your spouse sex and also love is sacrificial and giving. Sacrificial by it’s very nature can cost us.
        I for one think sex is just okay, except I love making my husband happy and feel loved. I probably only orgasm one time a month. My hormones have to be aligned just perfectly and so many other things have to fall into place just right. It doesn’t matter what he does it just isn’t going to happen. So I do sex 14 out of 15 times because I love my husband and he loves me and makes so many other sacrifices for me in other areas that I can make this sacrifice for him and even enjoy it because he enjoys it and I love making him happy and feel loved. Been 21 years now of marriage and I almost destroyed my marriage before I adopted this change of heart. We couldn’t be happier today. For many women sex just is ho-hum. Learn to serve, love and sacrifice it’s not just the calling of our faith but it’s also the key to happiness.

        Reply
        • Rebecca Lindenbach

          I do think that it is important, though, to allow a couple to take sex off the table if it is actively painful. If you are experiencing sexual pain, forcing through can make it worse. If the issue is that you’re in a marriage to a good man who loves you very much but the orgasm piece is just difficult, I can see your perspective. But if pain is involved then stop until you’ve seen a professional, full stop. (Now, you can’t then just not see a professional for 3 years, obviously, but if he has to wait 3 months, he has to wait 3 months).
          Sexual pain presents an opportunity for husbands to sacrificially love their wives as they love their own bodies because her needs are greater than his at that point. I had incredibly bad postpartum complications and without being overly TMI here, it was MUCH longer than the normal recovery time before I was able to do anything without pain. It would not have been “right” for me to push through, the right thing was what my husband did: exercise self control, have patience, and be my support through what was a more difficult time for me than it was for him. 🙂 So likely separate from your comment, Mandy, but pain was mentioned earlier so I just wanted to add that qualifier.

          Reply
          • Doug Hoyle

            When you say “take sex off the table”, are you referring to all sex, or just intercourse?

          • Rebecca Lindenbach

            Any form of sex that brings pain. So usually just intercourse, but sometimes that would include manual stimulation.

        • Christy

          You sound like someone who is not in pain or has not been sexually assaulted. Of course we find it important, that isnt the point. Every time is a massive sacrifice with zero pleasure.

          Reply
          • Christy

            Speaking to mandy, not Rebecca:) Rebecca I agree.

          • Harriet Vane

            Christy, and that’s a sacrifice that NOBODY should be obligating you to make. It blows my mind that women think they owe it to their husbands to have sex when it is painful and/or traumatizing to themselves. YOU DON’T. Instead get the help you need to figure out *why* there is pain and trauma, and don’t stop until you find someone who is on your side and will help you work towards healing. You DESERVE that! And if your husband can’t understand that, if he is honestly ok with having sex with you even though it’s physically or mentally awful for you, then he has HUGE issues that need their own level of professional help. No decent man should be ok with his partner being in that kind of pain.

  2. Lindsey S

    Yes to #4!!! So many people(myself included), and it seems especially guys , don’t realize that what they’re hoping for is sex that makes their marriage feel alive and brings some inkling of passion to their otherwise boring *existence*, and that’s too much pressure to put on sex! It’s much easier to have passionate sex when you have a passion filled life. However, the world – especially this year – is not conducive to that at all.
    My husband works long hours in the heat every day, and I stay home in a 350sqft house with our four children and homeschool them, and I’m also a student. By the end of the day we are both tired and feel like we don’t even know who WE are anymore because 100% of our energy is tied up in surviving.
    Hopefully the tide will turn when I’m able to get a job, since it won’t require anywhere near the physical energy that his does. Then he will stay home with the kids (he’s the extrovert, I’m introverted), and I believe he will do a better job than I.
    But it’s pretty easy for life to kick all the joy and passion out of you…and you start to wonder why sex feels a little boring.

    Reply
  3. Rebekah

    If there is something one partner wants to try, the other may be interested, but not trust their partner to really pay attention and listen and make it fun/sexy for both.
    For me, my husband and I have talked about how I often feel like he hasn’t learned my body in the way I’ve learned his over the last 12 years (anniversary in a few weeks!). I know how to touch him to make his whole body shiver and eyes roll back in his head and get his whole attention focused on whatever I’m doing or about to do. If he wants me to do the same, I need him to help me turn my brain off so I can focus completely on what we’re doing together.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly! this is really, really common. I think a lot of men, especially, don’t realize that many (not all) women need that transition time. I do talk about that in 31 Days to Great Sex, too.

      Reply
  4. Elizabeth

    Good response, Sheila. I have no patience for this. Poor woman! She is in a lose/lose situation. So many guys would love their wife to be willing to work TOGETHER to improve things. He is putting it all on her plate and that isn’t fair. Of course spouses should have conversations and work to improve things but this just sounds so unloving and condescending- which will only result in shame and an even less adventurous wife.
    So basically what he’s saying is “I get almost nothing from sex with you (which is untrue) and whatever you do different isn’t natural (How could it be with that environment) so don’t even bother trying”
    Just being intimate with the woman he should adore, who seems willing to work at things and who is his life partner should be AT LEAST a 4, IMO. Numbers aside, it seems to all be performance based and purely pleasure based. Hopefully that isn’t the case. Alarm
    Bells ring for me about porn too.
    What if he said “I love you so much. How could I make you more comfortable/enjoy this so you will feel freer to be more adventurous? My time with you is always special because it’s with you- I think we could both enjoy things more with a little more adventure. Here are my ideas. What are yours?”
    My heart goes out to her!

    Reply
    • Angela Laverdi

      Honestly, I think he’s lying and probably cheating on her. He’s telling her bad things to cover himself and excuse himself from what HE is doing wrong. I’ve seen this and had it happen to myself in my previous marriage.

      Reply
  5. Doug Hoyle

    While on the surface, his remark seemed pretty harsh, and I confess to reading some things into it that, on second glance, just was not there. It is difficult to know what the issue is without context, and her letter simply does not provide any.
    At first reading, I interpreted his remark to be “sex with you is bad or boring”, however, that isn’t what he said. He said his pleasure was a one. That seems like a pretty harsh indictment against his wife, but it could be totally unrelated to her. There may be an issue with depression, Low T or any number of other things. The second remark she attributed to him, sort of caught my eye. It seems a realistic response to a question that might be emotionally charged, when one wanted to avoid being truthful. It would also be something that a person struggling with depression might say. Personally, I would rate my satisfaction with sex pretty low right now, but I am self aware enough to know that it is what is going on inside me, rather than the act itself. If my wife asked what she could/should change to make it better, I don’t know if I could give a better answer. In the other hand sometimes she does something unexpected and spontaneous and that moves the scale considerably. As an example, if she came up to me and asked if wearing a particular piece of lingerie would be arousing, it might move my satisfaction and pleasure up a little bit, but if she just came to bed with it, I would be blown away.
    Not knowing how to answer difficult questions isn’t a sin. I would hope I could form more charitable remarks than her husband did, but there is something to be said for being honest as well.

    Reply

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