PODCAST: What if Libido Differences and Frequency Aren’t the Real Issues?

by | Sep 17, 2020 | Libido, Uncategorized | 29 comments

Libido Differences Podcast: There's Usually Something Else Going On
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We talk about frequency issues and libido issues in marriage as if they’re the problem to be solved.

But what if they’re more symptoms of other problems?

Every now and then we record a podcast that I think is truly important. I mean, I like them all, but some are more important than others (like this one about headship; this one about porn before marriage; this one about marital rape and consent). And this is one such podcast. 

You can watch this one on Youtube as well!

 

Rebecca and I were going over the data that I shared on Monday about what healthy frequency of sex looks like, but then we used three different reader questions to show how frequency and libido questions aren’t as straightforward as people often make them out to be.

We were looking specifically at these different scenarios–two from higher drive wives and one from a lower drive woman.

In all the cases, libido was presented as the main problem. But in all the cases, she also wasn’t reaching orgasm reliably.

Here are the questions:

I have been married to my husband for a decade, and we have several children. We have a great marriage,  but sex have always been an issue.

One thing I would love to read more about is how to make him last longer.  As the one with the highest drive, that one time a week is SO precious.  So then when he climaxes too early,  it’s hard to not show him how disappointed I get.  And to do a “quickie ” earlier in the day does not work.  If he reaches climax, we have to wait a day or to(but it usually take a week before next time).

It has been hard to get him to understand that there ARE things he can do about it.  

Frustrated that husband doesn't want sex and sex is unfulfilling

I recently got married, and have been dealing with a lot of unexpected anger, and a situation that is the opposite of what I expected. As I emotionally and mentally prepared my self for marriage, I was worried that I wouldn’t want sex as much (since I’m the woman), and I’d have to prepare myself to have sex at times when I didn’t feel like it, and not feel used. That’s what I heard in most of Christian marriage advice.  Both my husband and I assumed he would want sex more.

We were wrong. I could easily have sex 4-5 times per week. He is interested in sex maybe 1-2 times per week. If we didn’t have it at all one week, I don’t know if he would miss it too much though.  My husband doesn’t watch porn or masturbate. He just tells me (and his guy friends) that he “feels so satisfied.” He enjoys having sex when we have it, but doesn’t seem to miss it too much when we don’t. 

I don’t feel satisfied at all. I feel lonely, isolated, and angry. I don’t know if it’s my imagination, but I feel like a chasm is growing between us. He’s the man, so I feel like he should be initiating and wanting sex more. I know this isn’t necessarily true, but I just don’t know how to not feel angry and trapped in a constant feeling of dissatisfaction and hunger for sexual connection with my husband. I flirt with him all the time and try to initiate, often with no avail. I feel like it would be easier to not be married, because then sex just wouldn’t be an option at all. I do think he feels kind of smothered, and seems to retreat more into work and video games. I don’t know if he is worried that he isn’t good in bed, because I rarely orgasm, unless I’m the one touching myself during sex? Or maybe he is just more introverted and needs more alone time than I do, and this is spilling over into our sex life? Please help! I do not want to grow bitter and angry toward my husband, but I feel so much despair and loneliness, and a level of anger that I have never felt before. 

Frustrated as the Higher Drive Wife--but also sexually unfulfilled

Now, it’s easy to point to this woman and say that she should just be satisfied. But note that she isn’t really orgasming–or at least not with his help. So sex, when they do have it, isn’t fulfilling for her as much as it is for him. As Rebecca pointed out, is this really a problem with higher/lower libido? Or is the root of this problem that he isn’t paying attention to her pleasure? If he did, and made sure that he rocked her world 1 or 2 times a week, then would she still feel as badly?

Then there’s this one:

I’m newly married and have an above average sex drive for a woman and my husband has a VERY HIGH sex drive. I’m doing my best to be submissive and keeping him satisfied – because I want to and I don’t want him to be tempted but also because he gets very angry sometimes.

There’s no physical abuse involved, but the distance and guilt trips still make me feel abused in a different way. We had sex yesterday morning and it was out of duty from me, so I could help him have a good day. Last night I told him I just wanted to cuddle, that I REALLY needed to connect with him that way and he still tried when we went to bed. Then again this morning. And I simply said I wasn’t ready and the distance immediately grew. Then he asked me if I even desire him at all anymore. I do!! I really do! But he wants it ALL THE TIME. Some days we’ve done it 5 times. No joke. And I orgasm once. Maybe twice. And I’m ok with that. But I don’t have as high of a drive as he does, but we’ve never once gone even three days without him being satisfied. It’s so challenging!

I feel sick to my stomach when I say no, because I know what’s to follow. And then there’s a guilt trip and he makes it all about him. I have compromised over and over. I even let him masturbate with me laying beside him recently so he ‘wouldn’t be tempted.’ And that still isn’t enough for him.

It’s really beginning to feel more like duty than desire at this point and he doesn’t understand my standpoint. He doesn’t understand that I need TIME to let it build up to the point where I’m actually feeling hot and heavy for him at this point, because of the frequency and pressure that comes along with it from him. Sigh. I’m trusting God in this area and would love to hear some feedback to address the issue of ‘am I wrong to hold back often (often being more than once a day sometimes because his drive is so high) – but never allowing it to go even three days between? I’m so frustrated and feeling almost defeated in this area.

Husband treats me terribly if we don't have sex multiple times a day

I see so many red flags in this last email.

They think he needs constant sex so he won’t be tempted–as if this is her job. Sex isn’t personal. He’s terrible to her if they don’t have sex, even multiple times a day. (In our surveys, 17% of women had sex primarily so their husbands would treat them well, and 7% said they did primarily to prevent their husbands treating them badly).

Sex is not about her orgasm; but only about his sexual needs.

Again, this is not a libido/frequency issue. This is all about how you see sex, how you see intimacy, and how you learn to respect and value each other, and he currently is not respecting or valuing her.

A marriage license is not an excuse to treat your spouse like a sex doll, nor does anyone need to consent to that. This is not healthy.

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I hope you can see how sometimes we think something is a frequency/libido issue, when really there’s something far more going on!

The Timeline for the Podcast

Audio Version:

0:57 The Difficulties of the ‘Libido’ Topic
9:18 The Gain from Focusing on Woman’s Orgasm
17:28 Reader Question: I have the higher drive, but he can’t last long!
20:45 A Call for Men to be More Proactive about seeing a Doctor about Sexual Health
22:22 Reader Question: Help, I’m experiencing unexpected anger in relation to sex!
28:16 Reader Question: He wants it 5x a day, and makes me feel guilty if I ever say no!
31:49 Rebecca’s Rants: You DON’T get to exploit your spouse
36:10 The Lies the Church has Told Men about Lust and Sex
41:24 In Summary: Aim for both spouses to be satisfied

YouTube Version:

0:57 The Difficulties of the ‘Libido’ Topic
9:44 The Gain from Focusing on Woman’s Orgasm
18:07 Reader Question: I have the higher drive, but he can’t last long!
21:40 A Call for Men to be More Proactive about seeing a Doctor concerning Sexual Health
23:17 Reader Question: Help, I’m experiencing unexpected anger in relation to sex!
29:17 Reader Question: He wants it 5x a day, and makes me feel guilty if I ever say no!
32:52 Rebecca’s Rants: You DON’T get to exploit your spouse
37:20 The Lies the Church has Told Men about Lust and Sex
42:45 In Summary: Aim for both spouses to be satisfied

The Extra Things Mentioned in this Podcast

And really–please sign up for our email list–because we have so much coming up soon that will help you unravel a lot of these issues!

An orgasm course launches next month. Our new book launches in the new year, with all of our survey data, and charting a way forward. And more! Plus you get a ton of freebies when you sign up:

Do any of these reader questions stand out to you? Do you agree that frequency is not always the main problem? Let’s talk in the comments!

The Libido Differences Series:

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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29 Comments

  1. Harriet Vane

    The husband in the last situation sounds like he has a sex addiction. He needs professional help, and his wife is not obligated to cater to his insatiable lust.
    And I use the word lust intentionally. Lust is just as wrong in marriage as out if it- for he is dehumanizing his wife, seeing her as nothing more than a tool so that he can get his sexual fix. He’s not desiring her as a whole person whom he can love and cherish.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, exactly. That’s what we said in the podcast, too. Lust is still lust even if it’s directed at your wife. If it’s focused on simply using someone for your sexual gratification, it’s lust.

      Reply
  2. Doug Hoyle

    It might just be me, but I saw both of the first two examples as libido differences. They just aren’t the ones we are used to seeing. In the first, I don’t see how you can deny that the husband has a low libido. There was also mention of what might be premature ejaculation, but it isn’t clear cut. There might be other things going on as well, but there is an obvious libido difference.
    That doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be a more giving partner, because it would seem that he does neglect her pleasure. It is also likely that if she was satisfied, it would seem less urgent to her and the frequency may be less of an issue. Then again, that has been stated over and over from the other direction. Since there is nothing to indicate that his behavior has anything to do with sin on his part, other than maybe a touch of self centerdness, it would really seem to be a very good example of a case that is almost entirely a libido difference. There may well be a physical or a psychological component that is driving his libido down, but that is exactly what we hear over and over when it is the woman who has a lower libido, and we are told that it is normal. As someone who has encountered thse same difficulties in the last 18 months, I can absolutely admit to a lower libido. I’m not happy with it, and am taking steps to resolve it, but that required some seriously difficult self discussion. It is different. but it isn’t much different than a lot of the sexual issues women struggle with. There isn’t any physical pain, generally speaking, but the self doubt and feeling less than, really does impact your desire negatively.
    I really find little to differentiate the second from the first. There is the mention of video games, but is that really any different than any of the things that commonly get mentioned by the higher drive spouse. It doesn’t matter if it is video games, Facebook, or NFL. It just sucks if it feels like those are more important to your spouse than you are.
    The last guy is just brutish.
    I sympathize with all three of the ladies who commented, but I am really confused as to how the first two examples can be seen as anything other than a Libido difference. I would have thought that much of yesterdays list would have been appropriate to the title of todays post, and much of todays post would have been textbook cases of libido differences.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Doug, I hear what you’re saying. But when someone is RARELY having an orgasm, AND they want sex, then that simply has to factor into the conversation. The fact that her orgasm isn’t prioritized in either case (since both women can reach orgasm) shows that this is really an issue which the guys have to deal with, because they are being selfish.
      If a woman couldn’t reach orgasm, it would be a different story perhaps–though I still think the focus should be on helping her get there (hence our orgasm course launching next month). But these are women who can reach orgasm–it’s just that their husbands don’t bring them there.
      Imagine if you wanted an orgasm, and your wife denied you one. Don’t you think your drive would be awfully high, too?
      I think that’s the point. Yes, they may still have libido differences even with an orgasm, but those differences wouldn’t be so hard to deal with. It would just be a normal difference. But when you’re honestly not getting sexual satisfaction, that can’t be divorced from the conversation. And yet women’s orgasm is so rarely considered a factor that we’re missing a bigger piece of the picture.

      Reply
      • Doug

        I’m sorry Sheila. I already had an idea how you would respond, and I simply can not follow you there. You have absolutely never made that argument when the tables were turned, and the man could orgasm but was never given the chance because of her wifes sexual issues. You just haven’t. You always go down the line of “she doesn’t enjoy sex, and who can blame her, because…….”
        You can argue that a man with ED doesn’t have to use his penis to bring his wife to orgasm, Most of us don’t get that option anyways, if the statistics are correct. He could use oral or manual, and I would absolutely agree with you if you said that, but then you turn the tables tho, and say that because she finds oral to be demeaning, she doesn’t have to do that because it is degrading to her.
        You use an orgasm as a metric of good sex regularly, and while lack of one might be a very good indicator of a lack of satisfaction or a fulfilling sexual encounter, you absolutely have to know that having one does not mean you had a satisfying sexual experience. At best, it means that your body is sated for awhile.
        There is absolutely no difference between vaginismus and ED from a psychological point of view. There is probably little difference between vaginismus and PE, altho using your metric that a mans orgasm means it was a positive experience, one would think you believe there is.
        A psychological sexual hangup is ever bit a reason for a man to avoid sexual contact as it is for a woman, I don’t care whether it is rooted in past abuse, legalistic upbringing, bad experiences with your partner, or whatever. The end result is that sex is not what is should be to you, and you may avoid it altogether, or do the absolute minimum.
        Do I believe that both of those men are falling short of being good caring husbands, and should be pursuing ways to improve? I absolutely do. If the tables were turned and they were women, I would be just as adamant, but for whatever reason, whenever it is the woman, you look for reasons that are “beyond her control”. She is reacting to past wounds, bad teaching, or whatever. The difference is that you are sitting here telling the man that has ED, that he has to get into sex for his wifes sake, just because he can.
        I’m sorry. It just seems you are stacking the deck here, and no matter what a man does, he is wrong.
        ” I do think he feels kind of smothered, and seems to retreat more into work and video games.”
        I mean, that is a direct quote from one of the wives. Isn’t that just another way of saying he feels pressured to have sex. I thought that was bad. You have repeatedly said so.
        I think on this one I could talk till I am blue in the face, and you wouldn’t see the double standard you are setting, but I am telling you it is there in bold print.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Doug, what I am saying is that they ARE having sex, and when they do have sex, he is having an orgasm, but she isn’t.
          This isn’t a problem with ED. This is a problem with him not returning the favor, that’s all. ED doesn’t stop a man from being able to bring his wife to orgasm in some way. Does that make sense?

          Reply
        • Becky

          I don’t want to be rude, but it’s honestly insulting to those of us who have struggled with vaginismus to have it compared to ED. Especially saying that psychologically, there is no difference. When a man has ED, he might be embarrassed, and might feel stressed about his ability to perform, but he can generally just take steps to adjust testosterone or take a little blue pill and still have a satisfying sex life. Chances are extremely good that he had a satisfying sex life prior to that. For women like me, the physical and psychological damage is far beyond that. I never had the satisfying sex life to mourn the loss of. My memories of my wedding night are primarily of emotionally devastating, physically excruciating pain. I’ve had pregnancy injuries that were directly related to my pelvic floor spasms that I’m still daily feeling the effects of years later. I’ve had to go through multiple rounds of highly intrusive physical therapy, and the result of all of this work has been basically just to get to a place where it only doesn’t HURT. I’ve never had an orgasm. My instant reaction to sex is feeling like I need to protect myself from actual pain, and only God knows how many more years of having to labor through the whole mental mess this has left me in before I can learn to enjoy it, if that’s even possible at this point. So please, don’t even try to compare a relatively common aging problem to a women’s health issue that you clearly don’t understand.

          Reply
          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Yes, Becky, this is very true. There’s also the added pressure that books (and other resources) tell us that the only way a man can feel love is through sex, and so you feel as if the only way he can feel love is if he’s hurting you. And yet you feel like you have to go through with it anyway. It is very, very, very warped.
            There’s also the fact that vaginismus is twice as high among Christians. This really is a problem.

          • Doug

            Becky, I apologize if my words were hurtful to you. That was not my intent.
            As you pointed out, there are very clear differences between the two, and in some ways those differences are admittedly worse for a woman struggling with vaginismus. I would point out that some of those differences are harder on a man with ED. I don’t think it is helpful to compare the two and try to figure out who has it worse. Instead I would say that unless we have walked in someone elses shoes, we truly don’t know what burdens they carry.
            Some of what you said is quite true. A man can take a pill, and often that works. He might well be embarrassed and stressed. Those are pretty minor. The truth is that it hits much deeper than that tho, It challenges you to the core. It challenges your perception of your manhood, and while treatment might restore the actual function, it can’t remove the subconscious feeling of being less than you ought to be. It might not seem rational to you that your identity is so wrapped up in the ability to have an erection, but I assure you it is for most men. I really didn’t try to equate the two in physical terms, and only referred to the psychological and emotional burden inflicted.
            I really don’t know any other way to say it. Sheila and I have both lost children, tho the way it happened was very different. I suspect that in some ways we can put ourselves in the shoes of the other, but in others, it would probably be difficult or impossible to do so. I would never say my loss was greater or that my grief was more valid, and I am certain she wouldn’t either. They are different, but one is not greater or lesser than the other.
            In any case, it was not my intent to insult or offend, and I am sorry if my words hurt you or anyone else.

  3. Andrea

    Woman #3 should use James Dobson’s rule to her advantage and tell her husband: you CAN go up to 72 hours without! It hurts my heart when I read/hear “I’m doing my best to be submissive” and I’ve been thinking about this lately: Where would all the controlling and abusive men go to find wives if upon entering a church and asking the young single women there what their dream for their life was, instead of those women saying “to be a submissive wife,” they said “to follow Jesus!” “The King has a wonderful plan for his daughter and I cannot wait to figure it out!” Seriously, where would all the controlling and abusive men go to find wives if that’s what they encountered in church?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Amen, Andrea! And why aren’t we raising our girls to think that their primary mission is to follow Jesus? How are we raising girls who don’t even realize that this sort of behaviour in marriage isn’t a question of submission? It makes me so sad.

      Reply
  4. Doug Hoyle

    I’m sorry Sheila, if my last comment came across as abrupt or harsh. The truth is that you inadvertently struck an exposed nerve. I am not rescinding or amending any of the points I was trying to make. I just wish I hadn’t let my frustration influence how I made them.
    I am going to appeal to you to read this with an open mind. Whether you chose to post it is obviously your decision.
    First, I have been struggling with ED for somewhere between 2-3 years. I have mentioned it before, in passing. What I haven’t said to anyone, is that I can pinpoint the exact moment it started. It was not long after I started feeling the burden of the abortion. I don’t know how to say this without being graphic, so I apologize in advance. I was in bed with my wife, and was just beginning foreplay, and in my mind, I vividly saw my baby being ripped from my wifes vagina in pieces. I was absolutely horrified at the image, and thoroughly disgusted at myself for the thought, but in truth it was beyond my control. I had experienced some difficulties prior to that, but they generally revolved around sadness as I placed my hand on her belly, something that I was quite fond of when she was carrying our first son. I was able to re-focus my mind in those instances, and usually could maintain or re-gain an erection. After that image popped into my mind, I have not been able to do that with any measurable success. That all reached a point where it was no longer something I could ignore just last Sunday, and I got a Viagra prescription the next day. So, that is my own ED story, and why my nerves might have been just a little bit exposed.
    The point is, in neither of the cases you presented, was any mention of why the men had ED or a low libido. It could literally be anything, but you immediately painted them as the selfish ones. If the situation were reversed, and it was a woman who had trouble, whether from past trauma or or physical issues or any other reason, and the man pushed her to have sex, You would scold him for putting her wellbeing behind his own desire for sexual gratification. and you would say he was being selfish. I really don’t understand the difference. You make the point that he had an orgasm and she didn’t. I would argue that if he was reluctant to have sex in the first place, that he wasn’t looking for an orgasm. If I manipulated my wife into having one after she said she didn’t want one, I would be the one in the wrong. As I mentioned in yesterdays post. I am pretty sure I have been guilty of that on occasion, and I regret it. I don’t get to say that it was ok, just because she had an orgasm. It was wrong of me, and the orgasm doesn’t make it right. About the only way I could make it worse would be to say “but you had an orgasm, now you have to give me one”, which in a roundabout way is exactly what you are saying the man should have done. You said he was selfish because he didn’t

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi Doug,
      I totally understand what you’re saying, and, again, I’m very sorry for the trauma that you went through.
      I don’t think that in either of these cases that ED or low libido is really the problem. That’s what I’m trying to say. Even if he’s not lasting very long, he can still bring her to orgasm in other ways. But he’s not doing that. A man with ED or premature ejaculation can still make sure that his wife is satisfied (especially after he has his orgasm, which in this case he has). The issue isn’t that he doesn’t last long enough; it’s that he doesn’t also care for her sexual needs. That’s what makes him selfish–not the ED and not the low libido. The fact that he isn’t caring for her sexual needs.

      Reply
      • Doug Hoyle

        You are right in one thing. We both saw what we expected to see. I definitely connected low libido to ED, but it could be anything. One thing I would make note of is that the woman in question never once mentioned that he could use means other than intercourse to bring her to orgasm. Her specific remark was that she wished he lasted longer. There was no mention of manual stimulation or oral or toys or anything. Her only complaint was that he didn’t last long enough. Her comment about the mid-day quickie not being effective further points to that.
        She also says it is hard for her not to show her disappointment, which is another way of saying that it is hard to hide her disappointment at his lack of stamina. That would certainly make me want to pull back from sex, further hurting his libido.
        It seems to me that she is expecting orgasm thru intercourse alone and it isn’t happening. It may be that it worked in the past, or worked some of the time. It may be that they are both ignorant or maybe one or both is reluctant to attempt other means, but there is nothing in her comment that implies that is what she wants. She wants a man who lasts longer.
        Her last statement may have alluded to means other than intercourse, but from the context of the rest of the comment, I took it to mean some sort of medical treatment to increase his stamina. I guess it could be either.
        In any case, I just do not see selfishness on his part, but as I said in the beginning, I think we each saw what we expected to see.

        Reply
    • Jane Eyre

      Doug, I’m not a counselor or any good at this, so take it all with many grains of salt.
      I’m sorry that you and your wife had an abortion. It’s an awful thing and the normal response to that is… well, if you functioned normally after doing that, it wouldn’t say great things about you.
      Let’s back up a bit on orgasms. Primary anorgasmia is almost unheard of in men: from about age 13 until age… past retirement, a healthy man can maintain an erection and climax. You all even orgasm in your sleep. When a man cannot do so, we call it “sexual dysfunction” and it’s a sign that there are large issues at play, physically or mentally.
      Primary anorgasmia is extremely common in women (if women orgasm, that’s news to me :/ ). It is normal in the sense of being caused by… nothing. It is normal in the sense of you can complete the sexual act, get pregnant, and deliver healthy babies without feeling one iota of sexual pleasure. It is normal in the sense that it takes tremendous effort to overcome.
      Ergo, if people like Sheila didn’t beat the drum that it’s not acceptable for women to not climax, the norm for marriages would be the pile of suck where he climaxes and she does not or does so infrequently.

      Reply
      • Maria

        He and his wife did not have an abortion. She had one behind his back. Doug, if I got that wrong feel free to correct me.

        Reply
  5. Doug

    I don’t want to give the impression that men are just fragile creatures, or that every instance of Low libido or ED has some deep trauma behind it, but MANY, MANY have just that, whether it is childhood sexual abuse, which includes juvenile porn exposure, but the way. In my case it was both, when I was 11 or 12 years old. There is a little bit of shame still attached to the abuse, but it really didn’t have lasting consequences for me. Then again, it wasn’t as severe as it might have been or what others endured.
    Even in cases of women getting bad teaching from books or from retreats, or whatever, you always bring that as a reason their husbands need to be patient and gentle, and work thru things. They should. The part you always seem to forget tho, is that he husbands didn’t write those books and probably never read them, or attend those retreats. Many of them are totally innocent, but still have to endure the fallout, and do so while neglecting their own gratification.
    Really, I am just appealing to you to consider that there are as many wounded men out there as there are women. 60 million wounded in one form or another just from abortion, which comes with a really fun batch of sexual hangups. Yes, some were self inflicted wounds, but they still deserve the same compassion as women. How many men who were at one time abused boys.
    ED by itself is it’s own form of trauma, and I expect if you recall your struggles with vaginismus you can come to realize that. It is your body literally betraying you. My libido has dropped to near zero from that alone, but I am deliberate to try to want sex. I don’t initiate as much as I should, and remarkably enough, my wife has stepped up in that area, even when she isn’t seeking an orgasm herself.
    You do a really amazing job at seeing thru womens behaviors to the heart behind it. I just wish you were as careful to do the same for men.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi Doug,
      I totally understand what you’re saying, and I’m actually writing about this tomorrow in my post for questions for women to ask themselves if they have pushed their husbands away. I do hear you.
      And I also think that early exposure to porn is absolutely child sexual abuse (I’m pretty sure it’s in the Criminal Code in Canada, too). I should write a post about that. I don’t think we realize how much shame and damage that does.
      And, yes, women should have sympathy if their husbands are dealing with this, and I should have mentioned it in the podcast. It just didn’t seem like that was the issue, since in both cases they commented that the guy was satisfied and happy.

      Reply
      • Doug

        I can’t help but come around to the idea that you are equating orgasm with satisfaction, In the second example, the man is apparently satisfied if he has sex or not, and whether he has an orgasm or not. It may well be that he doesn’t realize his wife isn’t the same.
        How many times have we heard a different version of this….
        “He enjoys having sex when we have it, but doesn’t seem to miss it too much when we don’t.”
        Usually when we see it it starts like this “She orgasms whenever we have sex…..”
        I said up front that I thought both could be more considerate lovers. I don’t think that is debatable, but I just don’t see selfishness in either case. In the first case, especially, I see misunderstanding and ignorance, and quite likely avoidance on the husbands part, because really, who wants to be told they aren’t good enough in bed?

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I guess I find it hard to understand how it is NOT selfish to have sex, have an orgasm, and have your wife NOT have an orgasm when she wants to–and not think that is selfish. And I think this is almost universal in the Christian books that I read, that if the man finishes, nothing more is expected of him. And so often women are left hanging.
          When women want an orgasm, and don’t get it, but he does–well, I think that’s selfish.

          Reply
        • Active Mom

          It may just be me but as a woman who has a lot of secular friends but was raised in the church I have never heard anyone tell a story of a man not having an orgasm just because and still feeling satisfied. Nope we as woman are told of the pain they feel if they can’t orgasm, or all the lust they will have to battle if we don’t let them orgasm. Maybe if ED is present sure, maybe if there is other physical disabilities maybe. As my grandma used to say there is a difference between unable and unwilling. There is a reason we have an orgasm gap. Men get theirs and women are left hanging. (Sorry to be blunt). I understand that some people have had to deal with really awful trauma etc. BUT, that doesn’t change the facts that women in a lot of cases get the short end of the stick when it comes to sexual pleasure. I have been on the receiving end of avoidance and trust me it’s a form of selfishness. This may have been one of my favorite podcast Sheila. I feel like you tackled a lot of new topics today.

          Reply
          • Sheila Wray Gregoire

            Thanks, Active Mom! And the orgasm gap is really far too high. Of course women will never orgasm at the same rate as men, but there’s no reason for the gap to be as high as it is.

    • Tiffany

      It amazes me that dudes come to this blog and want it to change because it doesn’t suit them. I say dudes, because real men wouldn’t come to a women’s blog and try to make it about themselves. Seriously, if you don’t like it start your own blog. Stop trying to make everything about you.

      Reply
      • Doug

        Thank you for your suggestion.
        I will absolutely take that under advisement.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I actually have had some really interesting discussions with you this week, Doug! And I’ve bookmarked several of your questions to write about further–what if you want to give her an orgasm, and she says no. Do you believe her? And what if he’s exposed to porn at a young age? And then I think there were two others. I have to go back and look. But I have written them down. They’ve complex, and tricky.

          Reply
          • Lindsey

            I agree with both of you, Doug and Sheila.
            The men should be making sure they “get their wives there” if they want to have sex, but I was struck by the different feeling that I got from the podcast vs. when men have had similar complaints.
            The first letter writer I agreed with your response to her. However…
            The one woman who could reach orgasm through manually stimulating herself during sex was still getting an orgasm – it just wasn’t the orgasm she wanted. So what if you have to “help out” during intercourse to get there? Lots of us do. That’s just you taking control of your own orgasm.
            She also has sexual hang ups that are affecting her identity. She should consider counseling. I’ve been there – if you husband doesn’t want you all the time it makes you feel ugly and worthless. That’s HER issue to own, though.
            Add to that the absolutely awful things she said about wishing that she wasn’t married? I think she deserved much of the same rebuke that a man would have gotten. She’s angry, resentful, pushing her husband away. Her’s is also a marriage where it could end up sexless. In actually, her husband IS having sex 1-2 times a week, and while he might need to work on technique, that’s not very likely to happen due to her self-centered and unloving response. If the genders were reversed you would have called the man out on selfishness and told him to try contentment.
            You know I hate disagreeing with you, Sheila, because you’ve done so much for my marriage and my faith, but I felt compelled to speak up so that you would know that it isn’t only men who are perceiving your response as a slight double standard.

          • E

            Haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but going off the comments, I can see exactly what Doug is saying.
            I usually agree with most of what you say Sheila, but in this instance, I do think you have some gendered blinkers on!
            I am looking forward to listening to the podcast as soon as I can, especially Rebecca’s Rant after the third question!

      • Doug

        Tiffany, I kept my previous response very short and curt, I needed to put some time and distance between my reaction and my response, because quite honestly, I do try to offer grace where none is deserved.
        For the record, you are correct about one thing. I often do have difficulty not interjecting my own history into things. I think we all do that to one degree or another, but I am a pretty extreme example of it. I try to watch out for it and try to manage it, but sometimes I don’t do a good job. I haven’t always been that way. I tend to think it was born as a result of not having a voice in some things that impacted me a great deal. My counselor tends to agree with that. Like I said, it’s something I am working on, and often don’t do well at.
        I can assure you that it has nothing to do with my manhood, but since you decided to bring it up in such a delightful way, I have to admit it stung. Then it just pissed me off royally. I needed to walk both of those responses back before I responded because while both feelings are valid, neither allows me to do a good job of addressing what you said. I just want to make a few points.
        First, your remark about my manhood was rude and childish. My gut reaction was to lash out, but instead I will just point you to 1 Corinthians 13:11. I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; Just so you know, that admonishment is directed at me as much as it is you.
        Second, your insult stung, and one of my initial responses was to defend my manhood to you, I have decided that it just isn’t worth the effort, so I will just say that while the years and decades have taken a toll, and there has been a lot of heartbreak scattered thru them, I may be weaker in some ways, but I like to think I am better and stronger in the ways that matter. I don’t owe you any more details than than that. You might not like the new me, but rest assured, you would not have wanted to cross the old me, and it would be a mistake to confuse my gentleness with weakness. Sometimes it takes a real effort on my part to keep the old Doug from taking over.
        The last thing I would say is that Sheila is free to ask me to leave at any time for any reason, and I would certainly honor her request. She may even do so at some point. So far it hasn’t happened, and as this is her blog, and not yours, I might offer you the same advice you offered me.

        Reply
        • edl

          I think that hearing both / all sides of an issue is an important aspect of this (or any) blog. It can be dangerous to only “hang out” with people who all look, think and sound alike. It is helpful, and there is much to be gained, from considering something from another view. The challenge is to remain kind. I think both Doug and Sheila, and most others here, strive to do that. Let’s not run the men off the blog. We all need to hear what each other has to say. I know that I am only one of many who value the outspokenness here. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to write. Their story may not be my story, but all stories can help us become more understanding if we will try to hear the hearts behind the stories. Thank you, Sheila, for giving us such a place.

          Reply

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