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.
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.
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.
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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The Timeline for the Podcast
The Extra Things Mentioned in this Podcast
- Sign up to our email list to be notified when The Great Sex Rescue (our book with all our survey data) is released, and when our Orgasm Course launches next month!
- The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex (everything you want to know about how God made sex–for women!)
- Why We Need a New Definition of Sex (plus lots of other posts on what mutual sex is about)
- How Often Should You Have Sex as a Married Couple? (Monday’s post we talked about)
- A Word of Encouragement to Low Libido Spouses
- 10 Questions High Libido Husbands Should Ask Themselves if their Wife Doesn’t Want Sex
- All about Premature Ejaculation
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:
- Can Higher Drive Spouses Be Content with their Sex Lives?
- How Many Times a Week Should Couples Have Sex?
- A Word to Low Libido Spouses
- 10 Questions for High Libido Husbands to Ask if Their Wives Don’t Want Sex
- The Frequency Podcast: What if Libido Differences Aren’t the Real Issue?
- 8 Questions for Wives to Ask if Their Husbands Don’t Want Sex (September 18)
- 4 Reasons You May Feel Sexually Frustrated–Even if You’re Having Sex (September 21)
- 10 Things that Tank Women’s Libidos (September 28)
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of Bare Marriage
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