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Hot and Monogamous, just as God intended

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this topic for the last few days, weeks, months, years.  I guess it’s been on my mind since I got married, or shortly afterwards.  As stated in my first post, my marriage started off a little rocky, and physical intimacy was one of the large points of contention between us.  My wife had a very low sex drive due to birth-control pills, and I wasn’t helping anything with my emotional walls I had built up as a teenager.

Things are much improved these days, but pregnancy, periods, and other life events of course occasionally interrupt our sex life.

Side effects of no sex

During these times, I’m afraid I’m not very patient.  At around day 3 or 4, I start getting a little antsy and frustrated.  This leads to my temper shortening.  I’m harder on the kids, and I’m less emotionally supportive of my wife.  I’m not proud of this.  I fight it, but I haven’t been very successful so far.

My wife has similar symptoms.  Now, whether they are internally generated like mine, or merely a response to my bearish behaviour, I can’t say.  But it is the reality.

After a week or so, I start getting depressed and my mind starts being in conflict with my emotions.  Intellectually I know my wife still loves me, that this is temporary, it will soon pass and we can get back to our lives.  Emotionally I feel abandoned and unloved, betrayed that my wife doesn’t take my needs into consideration, and jealous of any time she spends doing anything else.  I start to sulk and mope.

Somewhere around the 2 week mark, this transitions into a sort of apathy/pessimism/hopelessness.  I start to feel that this is the new norm, that my wife doesn’t love me and never really did, she’s just taking what she needs (stability, shelter and food for her and the kids), and I’m just a means to those ends, I start to resent any and all things I do for the family (working, cleaning up, putting the kids to bed, etc).

Of course, the entire time my mind is trying desperately to convince me otherwise.  During this whole process, I’m wondering if I’m being insensitive, or is my wife, both, or is this just “natural”?

Who’s need is more important?

Is my desire for sex a need or a want.  Is my wife’s desire for a break a need or a want.

  1. If my desire is a need and her’s is a need, we have a stalemate.  Whose need is more important?
  2. If mine is a want and her’s is a want, we have the same stalemate.
  3. If mine is a need and her’s is a want, then we should have some sort of physical intimacy (even if sex is off the table due to physical limitations).
  4. If her’s is a need and mine is a want, then I’m just a jerk for even considering it.

Stalemates generally end with the low-drive being the winner by default, because, after all, what we all really desire is a partner who desires us, not one that is “giving in”.

What does the Bible say?

In the end, I don’t think I have the wisdom to decide who should give in to the other.  So, I will turn to the only source of true wisdom I know, the Bible.

Husbands and wives should be fair with each other about having sex.  A wife belongs to her husband instead of to herself, and a husband belongs to his wife instead of to himself.  So don’t refuse sex to each other, unless you agree not to have sex for a little while, in order to spend time in prayer. Then Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1 Corinthians 7:3-5

Honor Christ and put others first. A wife should put her husband first, as she does the Lord.

Ephesians 5:25

Before you get upset about this, I am not suggesting throwing a Bible at your low-drive spouse and telling them to get naked.  You cannot take a verse or two and build a theology about it.  You have to check the context, make sure you read the rest of the passage, chapter, book.  The entire Bible would be best.  If you do, you come across the rest of the Ephesians passage:

A husband should love his wife as much as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. He made the church holy by the power of his word, and he made it pure by washing it with water. Christ did this, so that he would have a glorious and holy church, without faults or spots or wrinkles or any other flaws.

In the same way, a husband should love his wife as much as he loves himself. A husband who loves his wife shows that he loves himself.

Ephesians 5:25-28

Resolving the juxtaposition

And so, we’re faced with a two-sided coin, like many things in Christianity: faith vs. deeds, love vs. obeying, predestination vs. freewill.  Both sides of the coin are truth, they just need a new perspective.  We get in trouble when we lean too heavily on one side.

On this coin we have that you should love and respect each other, and not deprive each other of sex.  To me, this says that we should be willing to serve our spouses.  My wife should be fighting to offer sex since that’s what I desire, and I should be fighting to offer her a break, since that’s what she desires.  Instead, we fight for our own desires, and we both end up resenting each other.

I, in my admittedly biased opinion, think we were designed to have sex, and have it frequently.  God is an amazing designer, and he’s done a fairly smart thing with us:

How it works

Women, generally, feel loved by having their husbands tack care of them, be attentive, be caring, compassionate and talk to them.  Husbands, generally, feel loved by having sex, to know that their wife desires them.  These aren’t the only ways, but I believe they are the strongest.  Oxytocin and Vasopressin are the drugs that get released naturally into our system when certain things occur it is the hormone that chemically binds you to your spouse.  It’s what makes you feel like you love them, as in the long-term, caring sort of love.  But we get them differently.  Men basically get vasopressin from sex, but women have a few sources for oxytocin, including feeling cared for and being paid attention to.

The high frequency cycle

So, if you’re having sex often, this is what the cycle looks like:

  1.  You have sex (we’ll start there, but it’s a cycle, so you can start anywhere)
  2. The husband feels loved
  3. He gets a shot of vasopressin
  4. He’s more attentive and caring towards his wife
  5. The wife feels loved
  6. She gets a shot of oxytocin, this makes her feel more in love with her husband, and then we’re back to
  7. You have sex

I believe this is how the cycle was intended.  It’s the only way it works optimally, when you are having some sort of physical intimacy often (as in every day or two or three, depending on your sex drive, or how quickly you leak vasopressin).

The alternative to this is not as pretty.

The low-frequency cycle

  1. You don’t have sex
  2. The husband feels unloved
  3. He runs out of vasopressin
  4. He starts to resent his wife, isn’t caring, isn’t attentive
  5. Wife feels unloved
  6. She runs out of oxytocin and isn’t interested in having sex with someone she isn’t feeling love for
  7. So you don’t have sex

This of course leads to a dangerous situation.  The husband feels unloved by his wife, and the wife feels unloved by her husbands.  In this case, there are only 4 outcomes:

Divorce

  1. Staying in an unloving relationship
  2. Affairs
  3. Start having sex often

All but option #4 are extremely harmful, especially if you have kids.

Your Turn

So, what do you think, is sex a need, or a want.  Are there times that it is valid to take a break from all physical intimacy other than to pray?    Let me know what you think in the comments below.

123 Responses to Is Sex A Need Or A Want

  • Very good post! I like how you described the way you feel as days without sex add up – sounds average for men based on those I have talked to. While we certainly need to fight against these things, I am convinced they are more than just “in our minds”.

    • Thank you, high praise.
      Unfortunately, most of the men I talk to aren’t willing to discuss such intimate issues. I agree, I don’t think it’s just in my mind, but I’m still not quite sure how to handle the situation. Perhaps with more study and prayer I will.

  • Bingo,been down both these roads.

    • Nice to know I’m not alone. Funny thing is, the day I write this, my wife decided she’s up for some intimacy, and all is right in the world again.

  • I have enjoyed reading this and I know that my hubby feels very similar. Need or want? I don’t have an answer, but I know that sometimes that the desire can be so strong that it definately becomes a need. From my side of the coin, so to speak, I know that there were times when the kids were young and all day long my body was not my own. I was giving physically all day long and at night when huddy needed me I felt tired, worn and not appreciated for the whole person that I am. In my own mind, here I was again giving myself physically. I know at that time my attitude might have been wrong but this is where i struggled. I learned quickly that hubby got so much more than just physical release from sex. His self esteem, his feelings of being loved and appreciated by me are tied into sex very strongly. Hubby also learned from me that a massage with no strings attached seemed to have similar responses within me. I have discovered and learned that my initial response to my hubby needs always to be possitive and willing even if we don’t end up going there. He seems to feel appreciated and not rejected. The situation in reverse, where hubby is exhausted and stressed and i’m ready to pop. I have to say in this case for me it’s probably more physical release or estacy that I’m looking for. The same response from hubby works for me also, willing and positive but might not end up going there. I know that I haven’t been rejected, I’m still appreciated and loved. All humans need to be touched physically, I’m think that If a marriage is to survive, hasband and wife need to make love to each other, appreciate each other but also learn to understand where the other might be struggling. A couple with a physical disability where one partner is unable to perform I believe can still survive marriage. Love for each other seems to cover over. Are they missing out by not being able to have sex? I believe they are big time, but so is the couple that don’t learn to appreciate each other or forgive each other. I know that I haven’t answered the question but theres my pennies worth.

    • Wow, such an in-depth comment, thank you. I agree, sometimes it’s more about knowing she accepts/wants me rather than the act itself.

    • Wow! Your response convicted me so much. My husband and I have been married for only 3 1/2 months and struggle with this. And I tend to have a horrible attitude when he asks or suggests that we have sex. I didn’t realize it lead him to feel rejected. Man, I need to seriously repent and work on my attitude. Can you possibly give me an example of a positive and glorifying response you have when you’re in that situation? I know I need to pray but I need to know what I can do/say in a practical way when he asks and I’m not feeling it. Thank you!

      • Hi Candice,

        I’m not sure if Catherine will respond (her comment was from over a year ago), so I thought I’d try to tackle it a bit. If she replies, that’s even better! I’m also going to try to get my wife to add her thoughts in later.

        I wanted to ask: what do you think the reason for the horrible attitude is?

        Also, what is the state of the rest of the marriage? Often a bad sex-life is merely a symptom of some other issue. It’s often a great barometer of the marriage, but sometimes can eclipse the real problem.

        As for a positive response, how about “yes”? Is there a specific, valid reason you don’t want to, or is it just because you don’t feel like it? My wife says that our sex life got a lot easier for her when she realized that her sex drive is largely responsive, not active. What she meant is that she rarely feels “in the mood”, but once we get going, she catches up pretty quickly.

        For the first few years of our marriage, she would only say “yes” when she was in the mood, which could be months apart. Now, she says “yes” every time, realizing that her mood is extremely flexible. Now, sometimes (rarely) it just doesn’t catch up, and frankly, those times, it’s not that much fun to have sex with a partner that’s not into it, so I suggest we just go to sleep. Yeah, I’ll suggest it mid-sex, it’s that important to me that she be engaged.

        Also, sex raises libido. The more you have it, the more you tend to want it. So, if you’re looking for a way to “feel it” more often, the answer is to have more sex.

        Now, the other issue is that you are newly weds, and there is a lot you don’t know about sex yet most likely. He’s not going to be the best lover in the first year, statistically. Sorry. Good news is, if you invest in the marriage bed, it will get better. I don’t know what your activities are like, or your beliefs, but look into lubricant (I suggest coconut oil), vibrators (especially if you are having trouble having an orgasm, or haven’t had one yet), slow things down, massage each other first, try oral sex/manual sex.

        Another thing I wish we had learned earlier is mutual masturbation, that is masturbating together, or just one of you while the other participates. That might be good on the days you just don’t have the energy or the drive, but he’s climbing the walls. It’s awkward at first. To be honest, I couldn’t orgasm the first half a dozen or more times we tried this, but it’s worth it in the long run.

        So, yeah, that’s what’s off the top of my head. Any questions, feel free to ask, or if you prefer, I can put you in touch with my wife, and you can discuss it among yourselves over email (less public). She’s been where you are and gotten through it.

        Hope that helps.

      • Oh, also, you might want to check out this post: All you want is sex!
        It might add some insight.

  • This is a fantastic post! I actually plan to tackle this from a woman’s perspective in the coming weeks at http://www.jessplusthemess.blogspot.com. My late husband had terminal brain cancer for three years and had no sex drive. I finally knew what you guys feel like because although I knew he loved me deeply, he had no desire for sex, therefore leaving me feeling very unwanted and lonely. Hopefully I can offer a unique take on it all being a woman:-)

  • I think it’s both. Love the way you closed with the cycle charts. God’s design for this amazing gift must look so contradictory at times. But it’s the give and take that He clearly intended that we need to realize. Excellent post. So grateful for your willingness to speak about this topic. It’s time!!!

    • Thanks Rena,
      I figured out the cycles a couple of months ago while my wife and I were having a discussion about frequency. It just sort of jumped out at me. It was amazing to me how perfect it was designed by God, and how awful a tool for Satan it is when it’s reversed.

  • I just finished reading all of your posts and thought I would leave a comment on this one as it was one of my favorites and all I can say is wow! It’s been eye opening to read a blog from a christian man’s perspective and I wish more men were doing the same. My husband and I have been married 14 years and have had 5 kids and experienced all the ups and downs (mostly downs :( through the years) that you write about. However, my husband has been patient, loving and sacrificial through every bit of it and, thank God, we’re currently on the up side of things. I am working hard at changing my thoughts, perspectives and actions towards sex to more Christ honoring ways. There is a lot of deception in the sex arena that is not well addressed in christian circles and it’s so deeply personal that it can be very difficult to discuss outside of our own marriages and sometimes even within them, so thank you for “going out on a limb” and sharing with us all. The things you say sound exactly like what I’ve been hearing from my husband all these years but it’s never really clicked with me. Truthfully, I’ve never really tried very hard to understand until recently and my efforts in trying to understand and make necessary changes (which didn’t happen overnight) have really benefitted both of us.
    Your cycle pictures, by the way, are great and make so much sense. It must be the visual learner in me. :)

    • Wow, thank you for the large compliment. I’m glad some benefit is coming from these posts.
      I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a large share of downs over the years, but glad things are improving. The same is happening in my own marriage.

      I’m glad the pictures for the cycles helped. I spent some time trying to find the best way to explain it, and finally stumbled upon that method.

      I’ll continue to post from the male perspective, as it’s all I’ve ever known.

  • The biggest thing for me in the Ep. quote is “as to Christ”. Christ Jesus was a servant! He never asked anyone to anything FOR HIM. He gave everything. If husbands would be servants and give everything, what wife wouldn’t want to show them love. The problem is, most husbands don’t give, they take. They are not servant lovers, but feel “entitled” to it. And the Bible NEVER says to have sex FREQUENTLY – is say “so you not be tempted by Satan”. And the Bible says you should always have self control. That no temptation is too great, God provides everything. Even medical science is 50/50 on the issue of a man’s physical need for sex. Half say there is NO physical need for ejecculation. Frequency, amount, type, duration should be AGREED by both parties. Compromise, consideration, caring, and sharing should be displayed equally by husband and wife. And Vasoressin aids in male arousal and wanting to have more sex, not emotional bonding. High levels of testostrerone in males can lead to abnormal high sex drives and the desire to have multiple partners. High levels of vasoressin in females can lead to abnormal low sex drives. Hormones are very complicated.

    • Thanks for the comment Deborah.
      I think I disagree with most of what you say , but that’s OK! I agree, Christ was a servant. I disagree that if we were all servants, our wives would all want to show us love sexually. Frankly, I tried that during the 8 years of “sexless marriage”. It doesn’t work that way all the time. It never worked that way in my marriage. I’d also cite that Jesus was a servant, but it didn’t get him what He wanted either. I’ve had this discussion with my wife, and she says there is absolutely nothing I could have done to make her more responsive during those refusing years. It was not about me, it was about her.

      After her own study and prayer, she realized that sex needs to be frequent and completely changed her attitude (not overnight, it takes a while). Now if I act like a servant, it sometimes makes a difference.

      I disagree that the bible never says to have sex frequently. “Do not deny yourselves to each other, unless you first agree to do so for a while in order to spend your time in prayer; but then resume normal marital relations.” To me, that’s pretty clear. You’ll have to clarify what you meant, because you didn’t spent much time on it.

      I agree, we should always have self-control, I agree no temptation is too great and God provides everything (that has been provided, not that He will provide everything we want).

      I don’t know about medical science, but I definitely feel a physical need for sex, so I’m going to trust my own personal witness on that one.

      I agree, frequency, amount, type, duration should be agreed. I disagree that one partner should have veto power over sex. In many couples, compromise doesn’t exist. It goes like this:
      Husband: I want to have sex
      Wife: I don’t want to have sex
      Compromise: They don’t have sex

      I will do more research into Vasopressin. I’ll admit, I’m not the most knowledgeable on that hormone. Without it, I still think the argument is strong.
      Yes, high levels of testosterone can lead to the desire to have multiple partners, but I would argue that that’s because testosterone inhibits Oxytocin. If there is too much testosterone, you have trouble bonding to a single mate.

      And yes, I agree, hormones are very complicated . Thank God.

      • quot”I agree, frequency, amount, type, duration should be agreed. I disagree that one partner should have veto power over sex. In many couples, compromise doesn’t exist. It goes like this:
        Husband: I want to have sex
        Wife: I don’t want to have sex
        Compromise: They don’t have sex”

        LOL – that’s not compromise. Compromise would be:
        Husband: ” I want to have sex” (note – big turn off for wife, as in the husband is stating this like the wife is the sex object)
        Wife: ” I don’t tonight, I’m too tired. Tomorrow tonight, honey?”
        Husband: “Tomorrow tonight then, Get some sleep, darling. Good night”

        Now, about the frequency. At one point you quote 1Cor7;1-6 and at another point say frequency should be agreed between both. I will agree that frequency should be agreed by both spouses. Not just one. Just because one spouse doesn’t get their way, does not mean that he/she is being denied. Compromise is NOT denial. Compromise is working together for what is best for BOTH partners. One spouse’s desire does not “trump” another spouses non-desire. Yes, we are told not to be selfish, but we are also told to be content.

        Not meaning to sound harsh to you Jay Dee, but your personal example is one of selfishness. You cannot change your wife. She only changed when God changed her heart. A husband can do all the “mechanics” of good relationship, but it is the HEART that makes a good relationship. Sex is a “mechanic”. If the heart’s not right – the relationship is not right. And actually I think you did a good job. Granted, it might of taken 8 years – but don’t you think that by your example and sacrifice that your wife saw the Lord’s light shining through you and that is what made her look to God to change herself? She saw you being loved by God and loving her in return – and that’s what got her to thinking? Eight years is really not that long of a time when we’re talking about a lifetime.

        • I agree, I cannot change my wife. But I disagree that sex is “mechanics”. Sex is so much more than that. It is an expression of love, of closeness, of acceptance. Sex would be completely different with the heart aspect. As for the 8 years, I don’t think I did a good job during that time. I was cranky and annoyed and feeling unloved, and retaliating because of that. I was not a good husband, and I seriously doubt my wife saw much of God’s light shining through me. We were both doing our best to “get through” marriage, and neither of us taking much joy from it.

          She started to come around due to an article she read about sexual refusal and asked me point blank if I thought she was a “refuser”. That was the catalyst.

          From my point of view, I don’t understand why desire would not trump non-desire. If the relationship is strong and loving, (and provided there is enough rest to go around) there should be no negative effects of a sexual encounter. So, no negatives, and all positives = why not? Add this to the fact that my wife, and many others, will say that, even if they are not in the mood to start, they can get in the mood once started, and it seems like a win-win situation every time (again, baring some other issue in the relationship and/or environment).

          And yes, 8 years isn’t that long of a time when we’re talking about a FULL lifetime, but we don’t know if we’ll have a full life. We may die in 5 years, in 1 year, tomorrow. Every wasted moment is wasted. But yes, we are to be content in all things. Just as God is content to have us as we are. But He loves us too much to keep us as we are. And I am content in my marriage, but I love my wife too much to keep our marriage as it is.

          Thoughts?

          • Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I’ve been away.

            You did hit the nail on the head when you said ” Sex is so much more than that. It is an expression of love, of closeness, of acceptance.” So why do men have a hard time accepting ‘no’. God did not ‘wire’ men to feel rejected. He wired us to feel loved by Him. If you feel rejected, that’s your problem to deal with. Most times a ‘no’ simply means no to sex, not no to the person. A high sex drive does not trump a low sex drive. But by the same token, a low sex drive does not trump a high sex drive. Perhaps it would better said that some men want too much, some women want too little. Neither is wrong, and neither is right. It just is what it is. And both spouses need to work together on this. You state ‘no negative effects’. I strongly disagree. By one spouse NOT accepted a ‘no’ at times means they don’t respect the other spouse. That the other spouses’s reasoning is some how less valid then theirs. That leads to resentment and bitterness. Remember, respect of a position might be an entitlement, but respect of the person is not. I would try to do nothing that made someone think I always had to have my way. That my opinions were more important than theirs. That somehow I’m entitled to what I want but they are not. It’s only a win-win if BOTH agree.

            And most theoligions interpret 1Cor7:1-6 as a reply of Paul’s to a previous question concerning abstinance in marriage. It seems that new Christians were thinking abstinance in marriage was good but yet were still utilizing the temple prostitutes. The plea that your body does NOT belong to yourself meant that you have NO right to let your body be used in prostition by male or female. That sex is OK in marriage, therefore stop defrauding your partner of sex by going to the temple prostitutes instead. Again, there is no mention of frequency. The ONLY referral to frequency is in old Jewish oral law. And it states once a week and it for the WIFE, not the husband. Sex is the right of the wife and a husband must please her. Now, I don’t agree with this – I think sex is the right of the MARRIAGE – it is for both spouses. I’m justing telling this because that’s the only thing half way that I can find about ‘frequency’. And that’s not Biblical, but man words.

            I must say, I am baffled by your seemingly inablity to compromise. I don’t go around feeling ‘rejected’ because my husband doesn’t kiss me goodbye in the morning – hey, he’s just got other things on his mind. And he doesn’t feel ‘rejected’ by my saying no to sex when I have other things on my mind, either. We are both secure in our love for each other and secure in that Christ loves us and made us exactly the way He wanted us to be. I think it’s a sin to accept your brother or sister in Christ as the full person they are. As for changing another person, we cannot. We can only lead by example.

            In Christ,
            Deborah

            • “‘Sex is so much more than that. It is an expression of love, of closeness, of acceptance.’ So why do men have a hard time accepting ‘no’?”

              I think you answered your own question there. Because when we hear “no”, we feel it’s a rejection of love, closeness and acceptance. Illogical or not, that’s how we feel.

              Now, there is also a cycle of oxytocin levels involved with this, a physiological response cycle.

              And lastly, you may not feel rejected if your husband doesn’t kiss you goodbye in the morning, but I bet you would feel rejected if your husband refused to talk to you. I think that’s a closer equivalent.

              • Jay Dee,

                you said ” Sex is so much more than that. It is an expression of love, of closeness, of acceptance.” The way I read/interpret that is ‘an expression of love for the OTHER person.” Phil 2:3-4. reading it that way ‘acceptance’ would mean the ability to take ‘no’ as answer from the other person without resorting to ‘hurt feelings’. ‘no’ is not a rejection of the person, it is a rejection of sex. With that being said, I do believe saying ‘no’ should be used wisely. In cases of being too tired, too stressed, too ill. ‘Alone” time should always be made for a couple. Simply reasoning is it was only the two of you when you married and it will be only the two of you in the end. Nothing changes the ‘the two shall become one’.

                God gives us the ability to have self control over all things. He also gives us the gift of the pleasure of sex in marriage. With that being said, in order for the two to become one – BOTH spouses have to ‘merge’. This means no one gets their own way all the time.

                Sex is a need. No one has ever died from lack of sex. Many men have learned to control the ‘grumpiness’. Many women have learned to give in and enjoy. It is all about equality and loving the other person in the way they want to be loved, not the way you want to be loved. And I say that to women also. For both spouses – it’s not about YOU.

                I encourage you not to ‘buy’ into that fiction about men want sex, women want talk. Both sexes should want for contentment with God’s love through Christ. We cannot make sex an idol for ourselves. Because sex is not a need. We need Christ, we want things for ourselves.

                And lastly, rejection – LOL. I know you don’t know us as a couple. My dear husband has barely talked to me in 35 years. That’s just the way God made him. He is very much the introvert. And I accept him the way God made him. I don’t feel ‘rejected’ over this. I rejoice in the Christian, quiet, humble, smart man that God allowed into my life. The man that understands that ‘oneness’ is more than sex. The man that respects my ‘no’, the same way I respect his ‘no’.

                I will pray for you and your marriage, and please pray for ours. Although we may have two different opinions, it is God’s Grace that rules. And God created all his children differently. And I believe He did this with a purpose in mind.

                In Christ,
                Deborah

                • I agree, no one has died from a lack of sex. But marriages have died from a lack of sex, therefore, it is a need, not of the individual, but of the marriage.

                  I wasn’t saying that men want sex and women want talk. I was saying that generally, men experience intimacy through sex and women experience intimacy through talk. Not always the case, but it’s so common as to have become a stereotype. Subtle difference, but an important one.

                  I think many men have learned to suppress the grumpiness, not control it. They bury their feelings while growing resentful, or they give up and a part of them dies and they just go through the motions of marriage, but the intimacy and communication dries up, in effect, the marriage becomes a living corpse, it’s dead, but we still call it a marriage. That is the story I’m hearing from men in long term marriages with insufficient sex lives. I have yet to hear from a man who says “we don’t have enough sex, but it’s OK, I’ve learned to control my drive and I’m perfectly happy”.

                  I’ll be honest, when you say your husband has barely talked to you in 35 years…to me, that sounds about the same as if someone told me they’ve barely had sex in about 35 years. Don’t take this as a judgement, just as completely outside of my frame of reference. I have no idea how you have any sort of intimate relationship at all (emotionally, spiritually or physically) without communication, and without intimacy, I don’t understand how a marriage can still be alive. Yet, you say you are both happy. I’ve love to understand this more, because it’s so alien to me, I don’t have any way to process that.

                  • I do understand your not understanding. Both my husband and I have laughed about this for decades. You see, my doesn’t need to ‘talk’ to me. We talk enough about things, business, and marriage. But he doesn’t need to be a talker – it’s just not the way God made him. Now – I could get mad, bitter or resentful about this – but that’s not the way God intended me to be. Perhaps it has more to do with the length of our marriage – 35 years. I know him. And he knows me. Many thoughts are expressed between us by a simple look. We have no need for either one of us to be ‘mag-pies’. I actually have sympathy for husbands that all their wives do is talk, talk, talk. But we need to get away from those stero-types and move towards relationship. My husband and I have counseled many young couples in our church and we have both heard from men that sex in NOT their top need/desire. Acceptance is top of the list. Once a person lives in the love and acceptance of Jesus Christ, then all worldly idols have no meaning. I’m NOT saying that sex has no place in marriage – it most definately does. But it does not have the top place. Only Christ has that honor. Next comes servantude to others, not self. When love for others is more important than love for self, you are drawn closer to Christ. Sex can be a way of ‘serving’ your spouse – but respecting the ‘no’ is also a way of serving your spouse. One does not trump the other. One serves the other. Intimacy is NOT sex. Intimacy is knowing the heart of your spouse. My can look at me and know if I am hungry, know if I want sex, know if I want quiet time, know if I am tired. Knowing your spouse and placing them above yourself is true intimacy. Acceptance of others, equality in relationship, selflessness, goodwill towards others and submission to Christ is the correct gauge of emotional and spiritual intimacy. Throw in a little sex for physical for physical health of the marriage and voila! a wonderful marriage.

                    IMHO, when we can love others as God loves us (remembering that God is NOT a sexual being, neither male nor female) then we are on the right path to the narrow gate. But God did give us the gift of sex in marriage to make this journey a little easier because he created us this way. (LOL).

                    (as for my husband and having sex, oh yeah, we have sex. and we both enjoy it still to this day. we just don’t place it as number one in our lives)

                    • So, you do talk! That’s entirely different then. I have no idea what you mean by the man needing to be a talker. If you mean talking for the sake of talking, without content, then yeah, that’s useless in my opinion. That’s not what I was talking about. I was talking about connecting, about sharing something real about yourself. Seems you both do talk and share and communicate. The world makes sense again. Thanks for clarifying.

                      I don’t think sex is just a way to make this journey easier. I think you are putting it far lower on the priority list than He intended, but that’s just my opinion. But I don’t place sex as #1 in my life either. It is the focus of this ministry, because I see a need in the community to talk about it more, but that doesn’t mean it’s #1 in my life. My marriage isn’t even #1 in my life. My relationship with God is first and foremost. From that stems my awesome relationship with my wife, and from that stems our amazing sex life. None of it would be possible without my primary focus on God.

                      But I still think more than “a little sex” needs to be thrown in. Perhaps that will change over the next 23 years of marriage, perhaps not. We shall see.

                    • Reply to below.

                      Somehow the ‘reply’ was missing from your last message.

                      Ah ha, also. Glad to know the sex is NOT your #1 priority. That clarifies the ‘is sex a need or want’ question. God is a need, sex is a want.

                      I am an advocate for both spouses. Stereo types ruin communication. But hanging with that stereo type for a moment – women need to just get over that want for constant talk, men need to just get over that want for constant sex. The two ‘need’ to meet in the middle.

                      Now that you’ve also clarified your statements, I think we’re probably more on the ‘same page’ than either one of us realized. Elders can learn from the young, and the young can learn from elders. Thank you for your dialouge. You have been very kind and generous with your opinions.

                      In Christ,

                      Deborah and Paul (my H, not the apostle LOL)

                    • Sadly, WordPress can only handle threads 10 levels deep. That’s why the lack of a reply button.

                      Oh, I’m still maintaining that sex is a need for a relationship. Just caring is a need for a baby. Will it survive without it? Perhaps, but it will not thrive. We still call that a need.

                      But yes, I agree, I think we are closer to the same page.

                      I’ve enjoyed the discussion as well.

    • I feel sorry for your husband

  • I think it depends on how you define need. You won’t die if you don’t have sex (though you may feel like it would be a preferable outcome, and others may die in the wake of a particularly irritable, sexless person!) but biologically, you can sustain life without ever having sex. Further, we know that God has reserved sex for marriage yet he has also called some people to singleness. And clearly the sex drive isn’t turned off during singleness…otherwise, we wouldn’t struggle with premartial sex! So God must have made it possible for us to live without sex. In that light, I don’t think it is a biological need.

    It may, however, be a relational need. If you are in a marriage relationship, and you want that relationship to be successful, then perhaps sex is a need. I certainly think it is important to a healthy marriage relationship. I think it is beneficial to a healthy marriage relationship. I don’t know if it is a “need”. What about the spouse who becomes disabled and can no longer have sex? Should their husband or wife just leave them since they can no longer perform their marital “duty”? And I believe this becomes very tricky because there are so many competing “imperatives”….love your spouse, do not abstain for more than is necessary for prayer and fasting….physical ailments, children who so drain you of any energy that there is nothing left to give your spouse…..the list can go on an on.

    Personally, I waited until I was married to have sex. All I heard growing up was “that’s God’s plan for you. That’s the best way from the creator of sex itself! You’ll be so happy you waited.” And you know what….it isn’t all that impressive. I would like ot have sex every two or three days. The reality is that we have sex about once a month….if I am lucky. It was six months after our first son was born that we had sex again and five months after our second son…..those were some long, crabby, CRABBY months!

    We’ve talked about it. My wife just doesn’t want sex very often to begin with. I care for her. I serve her. I make sure her physical needs are met (food, shelter, etc). I make sure I am available to her emotionally and spend time with her. She just has a very low sex drive (and she is not on birth control). When she does, happen to find herself in my shoes, like some sort of sick twisted cosmic joke, she usually whispers it in my ear as we are walking out the door late to something we can’t just skip. Then, by time we get home and my desire has reached a frenzied pitch of excruciating anticipation ignited by her whisper, the mood has passed for her. We’ve tried scheduling it which only works if you can force yourselve to get in the mood when that time arrives on the schedule. Inevitably, one or both of us is having a highly stressful time just prior and the mood can’t be recovered in the allotted time. We’ve tried locking the kids out of our room and letting them just cry (after all, no one has cried themselves to death either) and for one or both of us, the sounds of their knocking and crying, or arguing ruin the mood. And then there are the nights when all the stars align. We’re both in the mood. We’ve expressed it. The house in in order, the kids are in bed, the front door is locked and the runway lights are flashing for a smooth landing…..and we get into bed and one of us experiences a sudden bout of narcolepsy, usually because we’ve had to exert so much energy to align the stars in the first place that there’s none left for enjoying them.

    So…is it a relationship need? It sure feels like it to me but it sure doesn’t seem to feel like it to her. You get tired of asking for it after 10 years and somehow life keeps going on….I keep opening the door for her…asking her how her day was…helping clear the dishes….helping bathe the kids….taking her on a date….attending parentlng class…visiting her family….asking her what her goals and ambitions are, telling her what mine are….and we keep it working without much sex. I keep trying to meet her needs hoping she’ll meet mine. I’m not happy….but it’s working and the kids aren’t the wiser.

    • I feel for you Nate. In fact, it was painful reading your post, because I could have written just about every word three or four years ago, and yet, now that things have improved, I still have little advice to give.

      It was my wife who had a change of heart, not through anything I said or did, but through the community at The Marriage Bed forums. She started reading some posts and asked me one day if I thought she was a “refuser” (a term given on the boards as someone who refuses sex to their spouse). Of course, I had to say yes. That started a slow process of her evaluating her role in our marriage.

      That’s not to say that everything is perfect. She still has a much lower drive than I do, but she is at least willing to have sex much more frequently than she feels the need now.

      She has also come to realize that she doesn’t need to be “in the mood” at the beginning of a session to become “in the mood” by the end.

      As for whether sex is a need for her. I would say it is. She is part of the relationship, and, accept it or not, her choices are having a detrimental impact on the relationship.

      Now, the secular world would tell you to stop doing things for her, stop being a servant because she’s not reciprocating. The Bible, I believe, would caution against that. Marriage is a covenant, not a contract.

      There are a couple things I can suggest:
      1) Join The Marriage Bed community. There is a section specifically for people like you whose spouses are “refusers”. It’s called the “Refused” section. You can gain a support group. There are dozens of people in the same position as you.
      2) Make sure you are clear what is at stake by her not willing to have sex more frequently. Not that you’ll leave (I hope), but that the relationship is suffering.
      3) Pray about it. Pray alone or better, with her, for God to resolve this issue. I’m guessing your wife doesn’t like this tension either. Perhaps she’ll willing to lay it before God as well to provide a solution.

      Lastly, you say it’s working, but your not happy. If you ask me, that means it’s not working, and I doubt the kids will be ignorant for long, if they still are. Something needs to change. You cannot change your spouse, but you be more honest about how your feeling. If your wife doesn’t know how this is affecting you, I think she needs to. I would want to know if my wife wasn’t happy in our marriage.

      • Jay,

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unhappy with our marriage as a whole. There are many good things about it with which I am exceedingly grateful and happy. We agree on financial matters and my wife is committed to controlling her spending in order to meet those goals. We agree on discipline for the kids. She is a fantastic mother and she doesn’t second guess my ability to be a good father to them. We both contribute to the maintenance of the household….laundry, cleaning, cooking, yardwork….we both contribute toward childcare. I don’t think in the 10 years we’ve been married that we’ve ever really argued….we always “fight fairly” and are reasonable. We strive to speak only what is edifying and hold our tongues if it won’t be.

        Sex is just one part of a marriage and I see many of my friends’ (also Christians) who claim to have fantastic sex lives but can’t balance a checkbook to save their lives….or they can’t agree on how to raise their kids….or they can’t be nice to, and tolerate their inlaws for the sake of their spouse’s feelings…..or they are selfish and don’t contribute to maintaining the household. When they disagree, it quickly escalates into yelling and blaming. And the tension is tangible to anyone who meets them. I would put money on the bet that anyone who knows us would say that they don’t perceive any tension between us and that as far as they can tell, we have a fantastic marriage.

        So I am very happy with many aspects of my marriage, it’s only one component that I am unhappy with. And my wife knows that…it’s no secret. It’s been that way from the start. We were never matched from day one. In fact, we didn’t have sex for the first time until almost two weeks after we were married for various reasons, some of which were anxiety related I think, some due to frustration stemming from the fact that neither of us had had sex prior to marriage so at the age of 25 we felt pretty stupid not being able to make the logistics (which I guess we assumed should come naturally yet did not come naturally) work and others were illness; my wife got very sick (stomach flu) for our entire honeymoon. With both of our kids, we quite lterally got pregnant the very first time that we weren’t actively trying to prevent pregnancy (it’s easy to know when you only have sex once a month!) so there wasn’t a whole lot of “fun in the trying”. But one can only ask for a change for so long and so many times before the asking (and probably the hearing) just feels like nagging and gets old.

        I don’t take my cues on relationship from the world and certainly not from the media. We committed until death do us part (I’m not sure I understand the difference you were trying to emphasize between committment and covenant) and not having much sex isn’t death….so we won’t part. And I also believe that a spouse doesn’t have the “right” to not fulfill their role if the other isn’t reciprocating on fulfilling their roles. God calls us to fulfill our role toward our spouse despite what our spouse does to us. So I will continue to serve and honor my wife no matter what. It is true that I struggle with rising levels of frustration as desire builds in between encounters. I used to HATE when my youth pastor would tell us teenage boys, “Oh, if you are tempted, just go for a run or work out, or channel your energy into a service project and that will dissipate it and you’ll be able to focus your mind where it should be.” I’m sure he meant well but all that really did was instead of having an energetic, horny youth group, he had an exhausted, horny youth group. LOL. But after 10 years, I’ve learned constructive outlets that at least do dissipate the crankiness I feel so that I don’t take it out on my wife or kids and I can still be loving toward my family. I think threatening a spouse with the potential of divorce or unfaithfulness isn’t an appropriate approach. I don’t think that is what you meant by expressing the risks not having enough sex presents to our marriage but it was worth pointing out.

        Our kids are still very young (1 and 3) so I don’t think they’re really perceptive to any sort of dissonance between my wife and I, partly because of their age but also because there isn’t really any palpable divide. They also contribute heavily to the constant exhaustion we both feel and our extended family is all 2600 miles away so we don’t really have many childcare options apart from each other. As I mentioned, the difference in sex drive pre-existed our kids by a long shot, so they didn’t create the challenge, they only added new degrees to it. But I am very certain they wouldn’t sense anything “awry” with our relationship. In all other ways we are affectionate with each other in front of the kids.

        I’ve asked my wife what the barriers are and they’re non-tangible. If I could get a “list” of things I could do that would pave the way, I’d gladly do them but the feedback isn’t helpful, “I don’t know…I just have to be in the mood and it’s always different what gets me in the mood. I don’t know what will get me there until something gets me there”. And perhaps your wife can begin a sexual encounter when not in the mood but it is quite impossible with us. Without being too graphic….if she isn’t ready, there’s going to be pain involved for both of us, even with synthetic assistance. And pain is always a mood killer! And as much as my wife’s well meaning friends have told her, “Sometimes you just have to do it because you love your husband, even if you don’t feel like it”….if she isn’t into it, I can tell and I can’t have sex with someone who is just “taking one for the team”…deflates my mood instantaneously.

        I know, I’ve strayed far from your original topic which was, “is it a need”. My apologies. I do not believe sex is a biological need. I do believe it is a relational need. That being said, I think there are lots of relational needs and in an ideal situation, you can meet all of one anothers’ needs. However, just like any of those other needs, if this one isn’t met, then your relationship could be better than it currently is, but it doesn’t mean you can’t make the relationship work. In fact, I would say the imperative from God is that you MUST make the relationship work DESPITE the fact that your need isn’t being met. I only see three outs from marriage in scripture: Unfaithfulness, Abandonment and Death. And in the case of the first two, even though scripture suggests that God would condone divorce, I think it also suggests that He would still prefer reconcilation over divorce.

        • Thank you for the clarification.

          I could write several posts in response, and probably will over the next few weeks. In short, it sounds like you know the tips, have the right mindset and have access to support. Keep praying. That’s all I can advise. The rest is between God and your wife.

        • Oh, and on your “I’m not sure I understand the difference you were trying to emphasize between committment and covenant”. My statement was “covenant not contract”.

          A contract can be broken if one side doesn’t live up to the terms. A covenant cannot.

      • I appreciate the referral to themarriagebed. I am already familiar with the site. We were both subscribed to the generous husband / generous wife tips for a long time but they haven’t really made any impact. At the end of the day….once you’ve exhausted the advice, the final verdict is the same….grin and bear it. This too shall pass. In the words of Mark Lowrey, “either this will pass or YOU will pass”….either way, you’re problem is solved.

  • love this!

  • the entire post

  • My husband read this article first then I read it. All I can say is Thank you so much. I was very convicted as I read this. The Lord has used this article to really open my eyes. Thank you so much and I am sure my husband thanks you too.

  • That’s awesome. So glad to hear your marriage is improving. Good for you for being convicted to change. Too many people will read it and say it doesn’t apply to them because of this or that reason. I’m proud of you Melody! God Bless.

  • Ok, here it is from the female perspective after being hurt too many times!!! Then you read Every Man’s Battle! I do my “wifely duty”, but I don’t like it, it is sick and demeaning. How can this be any source of love and connection when we don’t even know whom our husbands are thinking about cause there is soooo much “temptation” out there. I have sex basically fully dressed, refuse to let my husband see me nude. After reading the book, I feel hopeless even less attractive and if I would’ve known about this at 13, I never would have gotten married. Don’t want to be a surrogate and definately do not want to have to compete every single day! Personally it sucks!!!!

    • Wow Karen, I don’t know what to say. I haven’t read “Every Man’s Battle”, but all the people I’ve talked to say it’s an amazing book. This is the first bad reaction I’ve heard. I’m sorry your struggling in this area. I would suggest talking to a pastor or marriage counselor. All I can say is that your response does not seem to match the female perspective that has been shared with me. You should not have to feel like your competing.

    • Wow. It’s hard to tell from your comment whether your husband actually has a problem with pornography, but have you ever considered that submitting to sex while hating it because you feel that you “have” to, and refusing to let your husband see you nude, might be contributing to the problem and driving him further away? I sympathize with you, but yes, I would definitely suggest seeking counselling. As I said I’m not sure whether your husband has an actual problem, but it sounds like there’s a very low self-esteem issue on your end that won’t help the problem either. Whether or not your husband has an issue, you will probably always feel like he does and fear it instead of freely offering yourself to him.

    • Karen, as someone else mentioned, it’s kind of impossible to tell whether or not your husband has a problem with lust, but what is very clear is that you have a very big problem with self-esteem. Often the way we feel about ourselves can negatively impact our sex life. The thing to remember is that many, many Christian men have overcome the struggle with lust, and keep their eyes only on their wives. My husband won’t even stand in line in a grocery store behind a woman who is dressed inappropriately, or watch commercials during a football game! I don’t have a perfect body, but I do show it off to my husband. Men are very visual, and as a wife, my body is the only naked female body he’s allowed to see! And he can’t get enough. We have a clear shower door, and he’ll even watch me while I shower sometimes. Sexual attraction isn’t based solely on physical appearance in a marriage. There is such a thing called love, that gives men the ability to look away from sexual images and focus only on their wives. However, if you aren’t allowing him to see you naked, he could have a problem focusing on what he never sees! You don’t need a CGI body to be beautiful! I think this is honestly more of an issue between you and God, than anything to do with your husband. You need to focus on getting your heart and your head in the game. “Take every thought captive” and don’t allow Satan to blind you with lies about sex, love, or your husband. That’s really what’s happening here. Satan is trying to make you miserable and destroy your marriage. God wouldn’t have created sex if it weren’t something beautiful to be enjoyed. And God did not create us with the inability to stay pure – have faith that God is capable of giving your husband the strength to resist temptation! Every time Satan starts feeding you the thoughts -“What if he’s thinking about someone else? Is he lusting after that woman? Does he think I’m disgusting?” Simply PRAY. Give it to God. Pray, “God, I am begging you, keep my husband’s mind pure, and keep my mind focused on You. Give him the ability to focus on You and on me, his wife; and give me the ability to focus on You, and the fact that my husband loves me, and not on the lies Satan is trying to destroy me with.”

  • Loved this blog. Very interesting. It’s a shame that sex is used as an emotional blackmail tool in so many relationships and not as it was intended. By both parties too.
    I honestly think the over sexualisation in society has led to it being used in this way than it’s original intended purpose. Keeping couples in love and harmony.

  • Thank you Melissa! I agree, in some ways society is over-sexualized, and yet in other ways, we are severely underdeveloped. People are learning about sex on a very shallow level very early on (mechanics, biology, etc), but not about what it does to your relationship, your life and how it impacts your walk with God.

  • I think sex is definitely a need. For men, there really is physical need for release. That’s why it affects a man’s emotions and mental state when he is deprived, and that’s why there’s such a thing as wet dreams. For women…..well, I think that for ME it’s a need. If we don’t have sex for awhile, I start going crazy. It’s all I can think about, and my desire just intensifies to the point where it’s almost unbearable. I don’t know how exactly it works for women, as far as whether there is an actual, concrete physical need, like there is for men. I know that for both men and women, there is also need for the intimacy involved. I think saying that women “need a break” is kind of a load of crap, honestly. If a woman is tired, sex helps her sleep better. If she’s stressed, sex helps her relax. If she’s feeling down, sex releases endorphins that make her feel better! God designed sex to have all kinds of benefits, physically, emotionally, mentally, and relationally. I’ve never been pregnant, and never will, so I don’t know how that affects things. As for when a woman is on her period, what’s the problem with a hand job, or a blow job? Marital sex isn’t just about your own enjoyment – it’s also important to be concerned about your spouse’s pleasure in a giving way. My husband loves to give me oral sex (as a precursor to actual intercourse, of course!), because he absolutely loves to make me feel pleasure. In the same way, I love to pleasure him in various ways, even if I’m on my period and something different is required. I love the passage you quoted, about how a wife’s body belongs to her husband, and a husband’s body belongs to his wife. Withholding sex isn’t being a loving spouse. It’s being extremely selfish.

    • Thank you for being so open! I think we need more transparent discussions about sexuality. So many couples never even get to the point of having these discussions or thinking about the issues. I’ve seen so many marriages that turn around 10, 20, 30 years into the marriage because one or the other spouse had no idea how important sex was to the marriage and finally happened to read something by random that flicked a light switch in their brain.

      From your comments, it sounds like your guys have got the marriage bed part of your marriage pretty well figured out. Keep commenting and sharing your perspective, we can use the encouragement and the advice.

      • We’ve had a lot of difficult struggles in our marriage in the past, including in our intimate life, but we’re both pretty stubborn and refused to give up! We are definitely being blessed for our perseverance. I am passionate about marital intimacy, and unconditional, selfless love, as well as self-esteem issues. I might have to start blogging about those things too! :)

        • We too have had our issues, and we’ve come a long way. Sometimes I think our problems are the beginning have made us stronger in the end, but what I wouldn’t give to not have had those years of problems.

          If you feel inclined to blog about it, go for it! Make sure you have your husbands blessing first. (same goes for any blogging husbands, get your wife’s blessing first). There are so few voices in the Christian marriage sex field of bloggers.

          • Hm, I guess a standpoint we tend to come from is to simply let go of the mistakes from the past. Satan likes to hang stuff over our heads, and try to distract us from the present and the future by making us feel regret or guilt. The thing is, he can’t do anything that we don’t give him the power to do. Yes, my husband and I have experienced some really tough things! Yes, there are things we would go back and change if we could. But, we can’t! And honestly, that’s ok! We are where we are, and we’re here because of where we’ve been and because of the amazing love that has kept us going through it all. We are not defined by the mistakes we’ve made or the struggles we’ve dealt with, we are defined by the love and grace of our redeeming Father. You can’t look back with regret. That only detracts from what you have now. Just…..let go of the bad, and hold on to the good. :)

    • Hi Jenny, thanks so much these comments, full of insight and encouragement.
      As a man I agree there is a definite physical need for frequent sexual release in almost all males, especially during their younger years. Why do people get married and not want to enjoy a robust sex life between husband and wife ? After all, the church tells single people to wait until marriage to share all sexual intimacy. But too often the purity message does not include the 2nd part, which is having enough sex within marriage.
      I have felt most loved and affirmed by my wife, when we have enjoyed foreplay and esp intercourse, particularly when she participated with enthusiasm and had her own orgasms, too. These lovemaking sessions brought us so close emotionally.
      But when there are very long periods of sexual refusal, then not very much is joyful.
      Both husbands and wives are wise to fulfill all the needs, sexual and emotional and relational, of the other spouse, as often as is possible, per the Biblical instructions and provided there are no limiting health/medical concerns.
      Spouses who are happy at home should have little motivation to seek affection elsewhere. Affectionate marriages full of intimacy are often considered to be the basic unit of an orderly society. I have not addressed every scenario and issue here, but these are my thoughts at the moment.

  • My husband is exactly as you have described in your post, I was beginning to think he had a sex addiction because his drive is so high. I have a hard time keeping up, although I try. He doesn’t want me to “just do it” so to speak because he wants it but he does not want me to say “I’m tired” or something to that affect because it is rejection to him. I take care of 5 kids, two of them being toddlers and when I lay down I pretty much pass right out. The way he approaches me about these things sometimes feels like he is nagging and leaves me feeling inadequate. I feel at times I cannot meet all his needs. I want to but im having a hard time figuring out how to want it more or figure out how to get in the mood. I don’t feel like my parts will hold up if I have to participate every day. I do want to meet his needs but I have not figured out how to always want it or want it as often as he does without having to ” just do it”.

    • I sent your comment to my wife, and this is what she replied with:

      She spoke my mind, I have no idea how to reply cause I haven’t figured it out. Any response I give won’t really be encouraging it will just be a “been there, done… wait.. Still there”

      So, I guess the encouragement is that your not alone. We see many women asking the same questions, but I haven’t see any decent responses. Perhaps some of the wise women who read this blog can answer.

      What I will say though, is that women’s sex drives tend to be more reactive than active. Most women aren’t horny randomly through the day. They need to be sort of towed. My wife is rarely “in the mood” when we start, but she is by the time we’re done. She has often said that one of the biggest struggles is remembering that you do actually like sex, you just don’t like starting sex. So just try to relax at the beginning until your sex drive sort of catches up in the middle of sex.

      I don’t know if that is helpful or not. I hope some other people can offer a woman’s perspective.
      Jay Dee recently posted..What Is Your Opinion Of Solo Masturbation Due To Separation?My Profile

    • Ashley,

      I understand how tired you are, currently. I also was tired. I could hardly keep my eyes open in bed, let alone respond. I was a wife, and a mom of two young boys. We home-schooled. I worked on the weekends in a cabinet shop. I also helped out on the farm. My husband had a very high sex drive. I could hardly keep up.

      It was because of my extreme concern about my husband having an affair, that I took steps where that would never happen. This was my insecurities from my past. I had two long term relationships, during two separate times, where the boyfriends cheated but I was very loyal. I was going to make sure my husband would not cheat on me.

      I would NEVER refuse him. I would constantly invest in my marriage (outfits, toys, learning to dance erotically, etc…). Even if I didn’t feel like it, I still never said no. I was told to give quickies on days where I felt exhausted. I did. I even would play “being a log” because that’s all I could muster. My DH thought it was cute to act like a log. One time I even feel asleep. He had to wake me. I was so tired. I asked him, recently, if I ever refused him. He told me twice. I don’t remember those times. Still, that’s not bad for being married for a quarter of a century.

      The reason I bring this situation up to you is because the rewards for your marriage with never refusing is HUGE! I can’t tell you enough how good it is now. The kids are in college. I still work in the cabinet shop and still have farm chores. I’m not nearly as tired and the sex is fantastic! Your DH has a huge sex drive now. He might always have it. You better hope he does. Something happens to us ladies after the children get a little older. I’m telling you this now, so prepare for it. My sex drive raised above his! I’ve heard this mentioned by other women so it’s not just me. I am so glad I pleased my DH all those exhaustive years. Now it’s pay back time. We now have sex every night. We both crave it. It’s exciting! We are in our 50’s.

      So, hang in there sister in Christ. You are tired now, but your husband needs you. Never say no just because you’re tired. Tell him he can have a log…if that’s all you can muster. I remember being a log during the nursing/diaper years, for sure. Remember that he wants only you. He can had nobody else. He chose you. Please, if you don’t remember anything else I said, remember that the tables will turn some day. Look forward to those special days when your desire will come close or exceed his.

      I wish I had someone encouraging me when all I could do is be a log. Many blessings on your marriage. May the Holy Spirit guide your every step.

  • What do I do to get a sex drive? I spend most days and nights in pain. I have sever back problems and I feel husband doesn’t do things that are needed, mow lawn, spray weeds in driveway, anything requiring bending or lifting that I can not do. He doesn’t care if lots of these chores are ever done, but I care. So I’m left limping along tring to get this stuff done. Then he is all handsy tring to get some and i can barely walk. The only time he is nice to me and rubs my back or feet is if he is tring to get some. Soon as he gets it he is cranky and pissy and won’t rub my feet. How am I going to ever be in the mood? Why should I even try to be?

    • I think the main issue here is that a woman’s sex drive generally is activated when her husband treats her lovingly in other areas of life. It sounds like your love language may be acts of service, and your husband just doesn’t understand that you need him to show you love through his actions. Often people do have different ideas of what is a priority, and your priorities are different. This isn’t uncommon, and it’s not impossible to work through.

      http://www.5lovelanguages.com/assessments/love/

      The above is the link to an assessment quiz to figure out what your love language is. I would recommend both you and your husband taking it and sharing your results with one another, discussing what each of you can do to effectively show your love so that both of you will feel loved. Let him know that a good source of foreplay for you is for him to do things around the house, and that your body will be a lot more responsive to sexual activities when you have been able to let your body and mind relax.

      I’ll give you an example from my marriage. My love language is physical touch, so in the past I would attempt to make my husband feel loved by snuggling him close, holding hands, kissing on him, etc. His love language is acts of service, so he would attempt to make me feel loved by cooking for me, doing housework, running errands, etc. The end result was that neither of us felt loved or appreciated! Once we began to show each other love in the way that we recognized and responded to, we felt much more connected.

      Sex with your husband can be absolutely wonderful for you, I promise! Try to open the lines of communication about your love language, and about what he can do to make you feel loved and more in the mood – as well as asking him what you can do to make him feel loved. It will probably take some practice for both of you, but it will be well worth it.

      I hope that these ideas work for you! Also, try going to a chiropractor for your back pain. I had a car accident that caused my spine to pinch my nerves – this didn’t cause constant pain for me, just occasional flashes of intense pain in my arms, hands, legs, and feet; but it did cause a lot of numbness and an incredible amount of discomfort in my limbs. My chiropractor patched me right up. Make sure you find a good one, though, with lots of good reviews and success stories!
      Jenny recently posted..Communication in the bedroom: How to effectively deal with sexual problemsMy Profile

  • Welcome the real world. People have stress and problems they need to work on, and a little help from our spouses never hurts. Sex isn’t just something we up and do because we can, it has to have an emotional package with it as well. Unless you are just an unconcerned horny bastard that is. Maybe the wife has some unresolved issues with the husband, he’s not attentive, ignores her feelings, ignores her in general, and many other reasons a wife wouldn’t “just” want! to have sex. I like cake, but you don’t see me gorging myself constantly on it, that would be an OBSESSION and bad HABIT. Men stop courting, or trying to “IMPRESS” the women after a few years (sometimes less), and guess what? that’s why they loved them!!!.. Now they have a doormat who EXPECTS sex or whatever else he can throw at her without even thinking twice about it. In conclusion, stop being such a doormat and treating her like one as well. Grow up, life isn’t a give me, give me, game.. play around pretending to show so much love in the beginning to someone then to just back off from it and act like, WHAT’S WRONG??.. Do women just look stupid or what? …. It’s called not feeling loved anymore but taken for GRANTED! I suggest some soul searching and listening to what the other just might have to say for a change. Sure, in this busy crazy world we all just expect each other to understand what’s going on, but we don’t. We need to communicate productively!! There has to be a truce, and trust must be regained (a hard thing to do).. and you will probably find yourselves falling back into this same pattern over and over again time and time again.. But you have to try to work through it, you don’t just GIVE UP. THAT’S WHAT LOVE IS! If you won’t it won’t get better and you never cared enough from the start about the other, only yourselves. It’s called marriage counseling…

    • Hi Denise,

      I’m a little confused by your comment. I’m not exactly sure what point your trying to make, because you sort of bounced all over the place.

      I’m not condoning men who don’t help their wives with anything, I’m not suggesting they need to stop courting their wife. This post was about a particular topic, and I addressed only that. I think sex is a need in a healthy marriage. I also think many other things are needs: respect, love, communication, time alone together, spiritual intimacy, aligned goals, and many others. I hope that clarifies my position, if not, please let me know.

  • I have read your post and I am experienceing the same issues that you have described. I am looking for some help in this area. I have been married for approx 4 years. My wife and I now have sex less than once a month. I will not list every detail, but it is safe to say that my wife uses sex(or the lack there of) as a bargaining chip. She wants more children and I do not. Sex is a sore subject and this issue always comes up when intimacy is front and center. I have made efforts to try to connect with her outside of sex but it does not seem to help. I have addressed this issue with her and there seems to be no solution. I go through much of the symptoms that you have described. I am starting to resent my wife and I know that that is not healthy. This past Valentines day I was debating on wether to even get her anything. I did get her a gift but even now as I write this I almost regret I did. I would not cheat on someone but I could see how others would be tempted to in a similar situation. Outside of counseling is there anything you could suggest. I feel like I have a roommate and not a wife. We have not been on a date, just the two of us, in two years (since my son’s birth). I have talked go her about this as well and she told me she feels guilty leaving the kids behind. I told her that it was not healthy for her to think that way and it was not healthy for us. We also have opposite schedules and very little in the way of family support for daycare/babysitting. I have made efforts for us to reconnect and try to re light that spark that was there years ago, but my efforts seem to be in vain. What would you suggest?

    • I know this was awhile ago, but in case you come back, I just wanted to mention what I think could be going on with your wife…..everything you are trying may not be working with her because she may have some resentment and bitterness against you about your refusal to have more children. Remember, YOU are getting what you want in that area, she is not. In your sex life, however, the situation is reversed, so you can take the same feelings you are feeling about not getting the sex you want and apply them to her not getting what she wants.

      I know I could be wrong, but if I am right, that might give you some understanding about what is going on with her. If she is harboring any resentment toward you over that, it is going to permeate everything between you both until it’s resolved. Imagine that you had to face never having sex with her again, EVER……that could be how it feels to her if she really had her heart set on more children. As you can tell with your own feelings, bitterness and resentment are poisonous in a relationship, so if you are still having this problem, I think you should try counseling so you can be sure and sort it all out.

      • Steve: I could have written most of your same comments. My wife refused all physical contact with me for 3 years. Not even any hugs or kisses or seeing her nude. She now says I was the refuser (imagine that !), because I insisted on wearing a condom. Basically she wanted another child, but I could not agree to that, as our marriage was already too unstable. Every so often she had threatened to divorce me, when she would not submit to my husband leadership of the family, regarding sometimes petty issues, such as how to arrange some furniture. The stability of our marriage was based on something so minor as furniture ?? After her most violent threat of divorce, when she threw a chair at me, I resolved I could never bring another child willingly into our marriage. Those were 3 very unhappy years, for sure.
        LisaDiane: I have to disagree with you. Your comment somehow equates his desire for sex with her desire for another child. This appears to be a form of manipulation.
        The sexual union in a marriage should not be influenced by other factors. Both husband and wife should place each other in priority, even prior to any existing or future children. Another scenario: She might have refused until she was given a new house or a new car. Granted, these are not the same as a child, but the effect of manipulation is still comparable. Both husband and wife should yearn for the closeness and intimacy that only sex provides.

        • Jim, this probably isn’t what you want to hear, but is how the furniture is arranged really the hill you wanted your leadership to die on? It would have been a lot easy to delegate the room arrangement to your wife. This would make her happy as she can arrange the room, and you still get to maintain leadership. Does it bother you that much that the couch is facing the wrong way?

          Also, the issue was probably not about the furniture, but something else, and the furniture was just a catalyst. Find the underlying structure of the fight and deal with that.

          I’m not saying refusal is right, and I think using sex as a weapon to get what you want is abhorrent, but your wife isn’t reading this, you are, so I’m dealing with the issues I see that you can fix directly.

    • Hi Steve,

      I’m sorry, I didn’t see this post earlier. It slipped by me somehow. I only say it because LisaDiane posted a comment in response (Thank you LisaDiane).

      I have a couple of ideas.

      First, having a child is a huge impact on the family. Just for your wife:
      1) Her hormones shift
      2) Her body changes (proportions, fat distribution, breast are now “functional”, assuming she gave birth naturally, she could be stretched/pulled/scarred/ripped/torn/etc.
      3) A lot of what used to feel good might not anymore. Sometimes there is pain where there wasn’t before. After one of my children (can’t remember which), my wife had pain during sex almost every time. We barely had sex until the next child was born…then it seemed to go away. Not saying this to convince you to have another child. Just saying what happened. These changes can be big and random.
      4) Her priorities have shifted. There is a new life to take care of, and for many mother’s, that never really goes away it seems. Some really have to struggle to remember that their husband still needs to be the priority (yes, of course you need to take care of the baby’s needs, nurture, guide them, do not misunderstand me, but her husband is her husband).

      Yes, it is possible she’s mad about not having more children and that’s the reason for all of this. Anything that causes strife in the family needs to be addressed, discussed (and yeah, I suggest a Christian third party (to facilitate, not to argue) if you cannot resolve it).

      But, it may be something else that she’s not even aware of and she’s using that as a cover.

      It’s so little information, it’s hard to suggest something. I’d really love to have a lot more information, from both of you, but I’ll try (keep in mind, I’m no doctor/psychologist/pastor/anything but a guy).

      1) Pray this should always be the #1 thing you do anyways, but it doesn’t hurt to re-iterate it. Pray about the problem separately, pray about it together. Pray for your sex life, for your marriage, for guidance about children, for understanding for each other. It’s amazing what prayer can do!
      2) Read your Bible. I hope you guys read your Bible regularly (and no, once a week at church doesn’t count). There is so much guidance there better than I can give.
      3) Now, don’t get mad at me here, this is a mind-opening exercise. What would happen if you had another child? Can you think about this clearly without getting mad/angry? Can you write down your thoughts clearly? It’s fine to write what you’re feeling. Maybe you’re worried you cannot provide for a larger family. Maybe you’re worried that your marriage will become even worse than it is now. Maybe you don’t want to raise another child in an environment where you feel you marriage is a sham. I don’t know. But you do, either consciously or unconsciously. You need to get this out. And then I think you need to share it with your wife. Don’t just hand it to her and go “here”. But sit down across from her when the kids are bed and say something like “Dear, I wrote something, honestly and from the heart, and I would like you to read it.” (use your own words) Be open and honest, but not accusatory. Tell her how you feel, what you think. The idea is to get communications open in a way that won’t have the two of you yelling at each other. Maybe if you take your voices out of the equation, you each will have to think and respond honestly instead of a gut reaction. I don’t know, it’s just an idea. Maybe the issue isn’t that your not having kids, but that you aren’t discussing it rationally (either of you). Again, I don’t know, so little information.

      • I just wanted to give an update on my situation. Unfortunately I believe the resentment that we have towards each other continued. One of the many reasons that I did not want another child was that fact that even after my son was conceived …the frequency of sex started to slow. It continued to slow. I felt that she got what she wanted, pregnant, and at that point I was definately not a priority. I am sad to say that I believe she has been flirting with others and I confronted her about very excessive text messages that coincidentally the history had been deleted from her cell phone. I really did not get a convincing reason for the for these (was told it was jokes and pictures that I would be offended about). Since that time (almost two weeks ago)…she will not speak to me and will not look at me. We are in separate rooms of the house. The one time I did talk to her for about 15 min, she told me that she thinks we have grown apart and was not sure she still wanted to be married to me. I am devastated. As bad as our resentment had put a toll on our relationship I would have never offered to throw in the towel so quickly. I have already seen a family counselor by myself and I got her to reluctantly commit to a visit this next week. Please pray for us and I can only hope that she is willing to do the same as me to try to save our marriage.

  • I have a very interesting take on this whole matter that may sound a bit off to some, but to other maybe not so much.
    I usually spend my mornings listening to God and what He has to say about the issues in my life (and yes, sex does come up) this is what I call prayer…listening. The path He’s led me down is quite interesting and covers all relationships not just your sexual life.
    The first points will not be popular, especially with men (I am a guy by the way). I am in my late fifties and have some ED due to diabetes, so I guess this factors in.
    My conclusion on whether sex is a need or not is (what I believe God has revealed to me) is this…sex is not a need but the symptom of a need. Western thought is all about treating the symptoms rarely the cause.
    First lets look at the symptoms. The need to be loved and cherished by another, accepted unconditionally, and of course there’s the physical high hormones and the need for touch. I’m sure there are more but those are the basics.
    So lets look at the basics of sex…what’s it’s purpose? In the act a man ejaculates into the woman and a potential child is created, (So much for the obvious). So ask yourself honestly, what is the purpose of intercourse if not to potientially, produce a child? I know there are other ways to have sex but bear with me.
    In our culture sex is called “making love”, in truth God has shown me nothing could be further from the truth. He has revealed to me that love is not, repeat not an emotion (big revelation!). it is rather a state of being. (This is sort of a tangent but let’s go there for a moment). We are taught that God is Love, unconditional Love. If you accept this premise then Love is not an emotion…but a state of being that guides our actions, ergo it is not an act but who we are as a being. If you look at this honestly then being a Christian is not about WWJD, or “acting” like a Christian, but is rather a state of being, ergo “being Christ to the world”. After all he’s either living IN you or he’s not, is he living THROUGH you, are you allowing that or not? God has made it clear to me that He is not calling actors, but beings…to BE Him (Christ) to the world. I’m digressing I know but it is the foundational structure upon which sex and all of our lives are built.
    So what have I, historically looked for in sex? Unconditional Love, acceptance, peace, release, sharing an intimate part of myself, becoming ONE with my wife, to be well known. The less attractive things are power, control, submission of another to my will, etc… the list is probably endless.
    What God revealed to me, I’ll give you His words.
    Son, you want love? I give you the unconditional Love of the Creater of all things. You want acceptance? I accept you as you are now, and will be in the future. You want peace? I invite you into my peace? You want intimacy? I know your deepest darkest secrets. You want release? Physical release will come in the middle of the night in your dreams. You want to be one with another? I am making you one with me, your creator. You want to be known? You are known by name not only by the Creator of all things, but by every angel in heaven. You want power? I give you My power. You want control and submission? Then submit to my will, and control will not be an issue, for you do not possess the wisdom, or know the hearts of men as I do. All the things you look for in another I give freely from my own hand, but you are so visibly minded you don’t believe it unless you can see or touch it. Remember the word of the Christ to Pilate “My Kingdom is NOT of this world”. So the question is child…Who’s reality are you perceiving in this question of Love and acceptance, My Kingdom or the prince of this worlds kingdom, and his answers?
    I have experience (as many of you have) the mountain top of joy, when I’m so filled with the presence of God that sex pales in comparison. So I guess the question to ask is, what is the least common denomination of my desires? Go to the true source of your need instead of dealing with the symptoms of it. Sexuality is a symptom of separateness, it is mans answer to his great need to come together as one. Sexuality is also a symbol of true creation (we’re made in the image of the creator). For in the coming together, is the creation of new life.
    I found it interesting that when Adam and Eve were in the garden the first mention of sex was after the fall…”and Adam knew Eve”. Why is it put this way…to know. Because before the fall they were one already in and through the Spirit of God, ergo they didn’t need sex except to procreate. (An interesting word”procreate”). After the fall man has used sex to try to come back together to relive in some small way what was available spiritually at the beginning.
    This is my story. I received it by listening to the Source, the One, the Christ within me. Is it yours as well? Who knows, it all boils down to what you believe and who you place your trust in. But more importantly who are you listening to…the prince of this world, or the One who created all things? Only you can answer that. We are all unique with many teachings and backgrounds…God answers for you may very well be different, only He knows.
    As a side note (and in a effort for transparency), I’ve been married for almost 32 years, my wife is struggling with her own issues with sex and as a result I went about three years with no sex, followed by about four month with maybe sex eight times and now closing in on another full year of no sex. God says to give thanks in all things…my first response was “RIGHT…HOW CAN I BE THANKFUL FOR THIS?”. In listening to Him He has counseled me with EXTREME patience and love and brought me to these conclusions. As a result I am so very thankful for all this pain and suffering I thought I was going through, and I now count it as joy in where he has brought me.
    I will leave you with this thought, I once ask God why He doesn’t seem to answer all my questions? He replied “Child it’s not about having all the answers, but about asking the right questions”. I hope and pray I have contributed something that might be used to His Glory.
    In all Humility,
    A. Nobody

    • I’m very sorry for the issues you are going through in your life, but I’m afraid I have to disagree with your conclusion. The problem in claiming to have a message directly from God is that so many people do it, and so often they are claiming God told them things that directly contradict His word. This is why we are told to test the spirits, to determine the Truth.

      I don’t believe at all that sex (for procreation or not) is a result of sin. If sex was just for procreation, why make it so pleasurable? We see in the creation story that God made us Male and Female. He separated our genders, created us with sexual organs, a system for reproduction, He created us to fit perfectly together, He ensured it would be pleasurable by giving us all those wonderful nerve endings, and even made our brain chemistry with all it’s chemical responses to sex.

      God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

      (Emphasis added)

      It was very good. He created us this way before the fall, before sin, before our separation from God.
      Furthermore, Paul, and many other authors in the Bible use our sexual relationship with our spouse as a metaphor for God’s people’s (corporately) relationship with God. Why would they do that if it was a result of sin? God himself makes this parallel clearly in many places, including, but not limited to Hosea.

      Now, I agree, we should not look to anyone but God for fulfillment in life, but to extrapolate and call sex a result of sin is straight out of the dualism mindset of Greek (and other pagan) theology: that the spirit is good and the body is evil. This is contradictory to the Christian perspective that God created us as a complete soul (body + spirit) and called both VERY GOOD.

      As you said, your marriage is having struggles in this area, and I believe you are looking for answers, a reason for your suffering. God made us to be companions to each other, He designed our brain chemistry to crave the sexual aspect of our relationship in order to feel that “oneness” with our spouse, and when that is not being achieved, we feel something is wrong, something is missing and we begin searching for an answer. Be careful about creating a theology to answer a struggle in your life and thereby allowing it to continue. The thing that frightens me most about your comment is that you seem to accepted the status-quo, you said you are thankful for it and you count it as joy. I sincerely hope you mean this in the context of Paul’s comment to “be content

        in

      all things”, and that that you are content

        with

      all things. There is a big difference.

      Don’t let a broken marriage stay broken. One of the core messages of the Bible is God saying “I love you the way you are, and I love you too much to keep you that way.” I believe we as spouses need to treat out marriage with the same consideration. Love our spouses unconditionally, but love them too much to allow them to stay broken. The hard part is doing this in a loving way while still continuing to do it. It’s a fine balance. One step to the right and your are guilt-tripping or emotionally abusing them, one step to the left and you are permissive and they may never change. But, the key to it all is communication, almost any misstep can be smoothed over by discussing it and realizing you are a team.

  • Thank you for this very excellent post. This is the painful experience I have wrestled with through my 37 year marriage. You have eloquently laid out the reality. I hope I can share this with my wife. I have just endured a fourteen week hiatus. Please pray for us.

  • Judging by the number of responses, this is a hot topic! As a woman and wife, I find it interesting to read a husband’s perspective. I found myself nodding along with what you said, because it make sense with what I know about my husband. I’ve never been on birth control, but I have a much lower sex drive than my hubby. He likes daily sex. I’d be fine with weekly sex. I’ve been frustrated when he can’t wait (for example, when I’m extremely tired or for that 6-week postpartum healing period) but I guess I often fail to see his side of things. I don’t think sex is a need (single people are called to celibacy in the Christian life) but I’d agree it’s very important to a strong marriage, so spouses who can communicate well about it and meet each other’s wants will do much better than spouses who, as you say, focus only on their own wants and what their spouse isn’t doing. Thanks for sharing and for linking up with Fellowship Fridays.
    Bonnie Way recently posted..Letters of the Alphabet for Preschoolers: ABCMy Profile

    • I’ve come to the realization, since I wrote this post, that sex may not be a need for the individual to survive, but I believe it is a need for a marriage to survive, and since we’re all in this, I hope, with the intent for our marriages to survive, we should consider it a need. The problem is the consequences aren’t always as readily diagnosed by the other spouse.

      We almost need to approach it the way we approach caring for a baby (not that a spouse should be considered an infant). If a baby cries, you don’t always know what the issue is. Something you need to try a few things first. But you usually don’t hear a baby cry and then hear the mother going “stop crying, you need food too much, you know other babies don’t need this much food”. Or “you know, you’re addicted to having your diaper changed, so I’m going to do it less often so you can realize you don’t need it”. Or “I’m sorry you fell and are bleeding, but I’m tired and have a headache, can I bandage it tomorrow?”

      Now, of course this is a bit of hyperbole, but the fact remains, we are dependent on our spouses to fulfill part of our relationship, which has needs. Maybe the relationship is the infant, and we can only feed it by working together, we can only change it by changing together, and we can only care for it by caring for each other.

      So, is it a need? Maybe not like food and water to us, but to the relationship, I think death is near without it.

      • Sex is like air (for those of us NOT gifted with celibacy!) It’s only important IF YOU’RE NOT GETTING ANY!

  • I agree, death is near without it. Being rejected and not being pursued as often as I’d like/need/want are both killing me. Excellent post, great visual of the cycle. I am the higher need spouse and currently working through not taking rejection so personally and praying that God will help us communicate clearly so we can break out of the red and into the green! In most other areas of our relationship, we are “other centered” so it is a difficult balance for me to think of my husband (need for sleep, instead of sex) instead of myself when sex is such a wonderful part of our relationship when it does happen.

    • It’s a hard place to be in, particularly for a wife, where the cultural expectation is for the opposite to to be true.

      Is there a way to ensure your husband gets more sleep and thus won’t be in such need of it instead of sex?

  • When I married my wife, she made it clear that we would only have sex if SHE initiated it. I would have been up for twice daily, but since we were having it twice a week, I accepted that compromise. After a month it tapered to once a week. Six months later, once a month. Then only once during our 2nd year of marriage (on our anniversary). Then once three years after that. Then it just stopped. It has been 17 years since we’ve made any sort of intimate contact (or seen each other disrobed for that matter). Once, I casually mentioned to her (in year 5 without sex), that it “had been a while.” She just responded, “sex! sex! sex! is that all you men ever think about?” So I apologized to her for my vulgarness, and gave up hoping. I’ve since learned to detach from my sexuality and emotions. I exist robot-like day to day. I get up, go to my high-pressure/low-paying thankless job, so I can afford to keep a roof over our soulless marriage that I return to each evening. Day-in and day-out for two decades.

    • So, what have you done about it? Counselling, talking about it, seen a pastor, talked to another couple together?

      If you just let it lie and leave it alone, it will never improve. I wouldn’t be casually mentioning it, I would be letting her know every day that I am a sexual being (as God made us), and regardless of her being willing to accept it or not, I’m going to act accordingly. That means I’m going to go in for hugs, and kisses and holding her. Let her actively reject you, but don’t go passive and give up.

      • Jay Dee,

        I agree that NC shouldn’t just give up but our entire legal system is stacked against men being leaders in the area of sex. (Perhaps that would be a good blog topic actually) But in our culture, with increasing regularity, men “going in for XYZ” that is of a physical nature is a very risky business, even with our wives, especially with a women who has already verbally said, “It ain’t happening unless I say so and ask for it.” In the current legal climate, a man can be charged with harassment, sexual assault and even rape against his own wife if she decides at any point in the interaction that she doesn’t want to be a part of it. So he had better be sure he has the green light before “going in”. And before anyone jumps on me for being anti-woman or living in some sort of cave….I never advocate forcing oneself upon a woman. NEVER. It is not only legally wrong, it is morally wrong!

        But the fact of the matter remains that women are the gatekeepers of sex, and our legal system only further reinforces that. Yes, it is true that men can exert the same stonewalling techniques but statistically speaking, I would bet they are in the minority. And as such, men have few choices in the matter other than asking for permission for it. Sure, we can go to our wives daily and say, “May I please hug you. May I please kiss you. May I please hold your hand and sit next to you on the sofa….please, please please may I make love to you”. But exposure to prolonged periods of having to “ask permission” to show basic affection has a demoralizing effect on men. Much less having to ask and beg for sex! We aren’t our wive’s children, we’re their husbands, their equals, their partners.

        I feel very badly for this man. I’ve had my own bouts with a sexless marriage but not quite this bad. We were down to about once every two weeks by our third month of marriage and by our third year of marriage, about 3 or 4 times a year and then, only when I began to withdraw emotionally! (Which, ladies, happens when men don’t get regular sex. Like it or not, that’s what happens….we don’t consciously choose to withdraw…it just naturally happens…we connect emotionally through sex and so when the sex stops, the connection gets blurry, then static, and eventually…lost signal) It’s getting better, very slowly. We might have sex once a month now and that doesn’t make me feel fulfilled but it’s better than it was and we’re at least talking about it and working on it.

        I don’t know if this is NC’s experience, but I felt very betrayed after getting married because my wife and I both waited until we were married to have sex. We were both Christians. We believed God wanted us to wait (We still believe that by the way). During our pre-marital counseling, we talked about sexual expectations and she was all, “Oh yeah, we’re going to be like half crazed circus rabbits. The trapeze is getting installed the day after we get married! Get ready for me to rock your world once we’re married buckaroo! Limits are for Loo-hoo-hoo-hoo-sers!” All of our Christian friends and mentors encouraged us, “Oh, you’ll be so glad you waited! It will be so special and you and your wife will have such a tremendous bond! Ooo, I know! Let’s sing a round of Chris Tomlin’s How Great Is Our God while you wait in eager anticipation of that joy! It will be so special!!!”. I’m here to tell you, it was special alright: Short bus special. And I have to say, a man can only take so many rejections before he has no sense of worth left. To say, “Well, just keep getting up to bat sport! Who cares if you strike out 100 times, 1000 times….just keep getting up to bat man!” It sounds nice. It sounds Christian-esque, but it just isn’t helpful advice. It’s self induced emotional abuse. “If I repeat it enough times, it will be true. If I repeat it enough times, it will be true….”.

        What might be helpful (and I think you were actually suggesting this Jay Dee) is to help foster a dialogue between NC and his wife wherein they get out in the open what the roadblocks are. Sounds like a third party might be needed here (counselor, pastor, trusted mentor couple) to get the conversation flowing since communication doesn’t seem like it’s very strong. Is there some part of their relationship that he’s not fulfilling and so she doesn’t trust that his motives for wanting sex are anything more than fulfilling his biological drive (although, let’s be real….after 5 years of denial….it’s a pretty motivating force!) Are there past hurts that she hasn’t forgiven him for? Is he asking for something (or is she afraid he’s going to ask for something) that she’s not comfortable with so she avoids sex altogether? Are there physical problems that make sex painful for her? But to tell him to swim along, like Dori on Finding Nemo singing, “Just keep begging, just keep begging, just keep begging begging begging”….not helpful.

        • Hey PhoenixGuy,
          I think you misunderstood me there. I wasn’t saying to keep playing ball, I was saying he needs to change the game. Something is very wrong and it needs to be addressed.

          And I’ve been there too, my marriage was sexless for a number of years at the start. I felt that betrayal, and I did withdraw (like you said, can’t be helped). And I just kept begging and moping and trying. It doesn’t work. So, I changed the game. I started asking pointed questions, I started digging up the difficult stuff, and having the hard conversations and asking the vulnerable questions, and we made changes. Now we have sex more nights than not. It can change.

          So, keep begging? NO! Stop begging. It’s pretty rare to find a woman that gets turned on by begging (not saying they don’t exist, just saying it’s likely not your wife). But, at the same time, most men faced with a sexless marriage tend to bury their sexuality. They ignore it, or hide it. They stop talking about it and shield their wife and themselves from it so that no one gets hurt by the refusal, and to avoid the fights. I’m saying stop avoiding the fights. Conflict is good, conflict is how we grow, just make sure you are having productive discussions about the conflict. But don’t let her for a day believe that you don’t have a sexual side, and don’t let her for a day believe that you aren’t still interested.

          Hope that clarifies.

          As for the law regarding marriage and harassment and whatever else, I don’t live in the US where these laws seem to be more prevalent, and I know very little about law, as such, it’s not a topic I would likely tackle.

          I appreciate the comment!

    • I firmly believe that denial is a form of sexual unfaithfulness. You have every right to divorce your wife.

      • Perhaps, but if I had divorced my wife when she was gatekeeping/refusing, I would have missed out on the awesome marriage we have now. Just because you have the “right” to, doesn’t mean you should, or that it’s in your best interest to.

  • What country do you live in? LOL. The legal landscape here in the US certainly adds a layer of constraint to how men and women interact when it comes to sex.

  • You really describe well exactly how my emotions change over time when there is no sex. When it is a case of ‘won’t have sex’ I think I go downhill a lot faster than what you describe here, but even if it is a situation of ‘can’t have sex’ I’ll get there eventually.

    We tend to think of needs in terms of the physical. Food, shelter, clothing etc. and not give nearly as much weight to emotional or relationship needs. Physical intimacy is a huge need for a healthy marriage. If sex is not possible, then whatever physical intimacy can be shared should be shared.
    LatterDay Marriage recently posted..Is sex really that important?My Profile

    • Yeah, thats an important point, physical intimacy doesn’t always need to include intercourse, or even sex, a quick show a desire is enough somedays, so long as that leads to something in the near future. Surviving on “snacks” is not healthy either.

  • I think this has always been a huge issue for us ,if not the biggest. Sex has always been a painful esperience for me .Started out as phycial pain ,then emotional. I was young when we married .As the day to day life wears on you and you watch this person become someone very different than who they were before ,ok oposite really.So I guess my question becomes … if you don’t have those cemical releases in the brain that “make “you feel close to the other person and your just left with someone you don’t feel compatable with ,when does it become just a way for you to be used for their pleasure /release?I don’t think that God intended woman to “have to endure “this a few times a week . The churches don’t generally have many answers to this .It has caused so much resentment between us we are really looking at devorse . 16 years later I’m still in pain for days after . Should I just let him go find another woman to find happiness ?

    • Sounds like it’s been a rough time for you. I’m unclear now if the pain is physical or emotional.

      If it’s physical, I would highly suggest asking your doctor, I know it’s embarrassing, but this is a big deal. Also, are you using any sort of lubricant? My wife experienced a lot of pain early on in our marriage until we learned about lube. Personally, we like Coconut oil. You can buy it at Costco or any health food store (great for cooking too).

      If you’re talking about emotional pain, what is causing that pain, can you be more specific?

      No, I don’t think God intended women to “have to endure this a few times a week”. I think he intended for it to be pleasurable for both and to draw a couple together.

      Do I think you should let him to find another woman? No! My thoughts on divorce are detailed here.
      See if you can fix the pain issue. It could be nerve damage, or a lack of lube, or who knows what. Get it checked out.
      Then work on the emotional gap.
      In the mean time, there are other options besides PIV (penis in vagina) sex. Manual sex, oral sex, mutual masturbation. All of these will still produce that Oxytocin (hormone) boost that will help with the rest.

      • Hi Jay , Just what I expected to hear. These are all things that we have tried .and heard probably 100 times. I think the biggest culprit is the lack of hormones .All that are evolved to make the process happen .The ones needed to get turned on ,create the big O, yep don’t seem to have any of those. So the assumption would be no Oxytocin either also called the bonding hormone .I am left feeling very uncomfortable,used and bugging .lol Is this in combination of not being compatible it just seems like we will never be what each other should really have in life .

        • Have you tried Hormone Replacement Therapy, or seen a naturopathic doctor about your hormones?

          I don’t buy the myth of incompatibility. Nothing in the Bible suggests that any two people are incompatible. Love is a choice, not a twist of fate. Actually, my next post is going to be somewhat in line with that topic.

  • Yep I have tried a few . We also have a family councilor ,I see twice a month with the kids ,Have spoken to two marriage councilors that are also Christians. All of them over the years have said just keep focusing on your kids . If he hasn’t put in the work by now he never will ,it will always be a loveless marriage . Can you live with that ? If not move on and get your peace for your self and your kids . I can give you a large list of reasons ,this is not really the place for that . Much loss which brought on his mental illness, 120 lbs of weight gain,three special needs kids ,job losses,debt,the list is long.

    I appreciate your passion . I am afraid I don’t agree . I do believe God has curtain people out there for almost everyone. I did not choose wisely .I think the sex is just a reflection of that .

    Good luck with your blog , you seem like your heart is in the right place ! Thanks for taking the time to answer . I think I already had my answer just didn’t want to face it .

  • I agree with your comments that “You cannot take a verse or two and build a theology about it. You have to check the context, make sure you read the rest of the passage, chapter, book”. In that vein, Ephesians indicates that wives are to respect their husbands and husbands are to love their wives. Unfortunately, it can become a bit like the chicken & egg, what comes first. Emerson Eggerichs has a ministry called Love & Respect and I have read the (first) book which I very much endorse. Unfortunately my wife (of almost 30 years) refuses to read the book. She is of the view that any problems in our marriage are due to me. I would appreciate your prayers.

    • Chicken and egg works, because you can start with either. So, as for who needs to start, I think the answer is “whichever spouses realizes it’s a cycle first”. So, since you realize it, you get to start. Unfortunately, it can take years for the other spouse to pick up the other end, but I honestly believe you can benefit yourself in the mean time in being more loving.

      We will be praying.

    • Neil, I will be praying for a turn around in your marriage. I hate to tell you this, but it will have to start with you. You will soon realize that blessings your wife daily will bless you. Eventually it will bounce back to you…but maybe not right away. I try to out-bless my hubby every single day regardless of what’s going on at the time. My consistency has paid off in much dividends.

      I have to admit that 30 years of habits are very difficult to break. You will have to be the one to change direction. I’m sorry but that’s all I can offer. If your wife sees you as the problem, show her a “different you”. What is her love language? Find out what she wants you to do. Be consistent every day. Show her love in her love language. It might sound radical, but do you pray together? I would start there.

      • Neil – I feel you too brother. But there is hope. Where there is faith and prayer there is always hope. What MJK just told you is priceless info. Well….actually it has a price- I paid a counselor over $1000 for the same advice. That’s not all I got mind you, but those things MJK said were among them. And yes, they will work but it will not be an overnight transformation. My total transformation started a little over two years ago now and it is just within the last few months that things have really started to looking like they could actually change for the better – and then only after what seemed like four months of soul surgery with a chainsaw.
        I strongly suggest you take the “love language” quiz then encourage your wife to do so. It can be game-changing. That would be an excellent first step.

  • Just read this post about the cycle…I’m the one who feels unloved. My husband makes love, like he does all things including speak, on a NEEDS basis. If he doesn’t feel the need, there is no need. I am starved for my husband’s words and affection but I know he loves me, he really does. I’m hoping discussing this issue AGAIN with him won’t lead to another argument because it usually does. *sighs*

    • Two suggestions, in case you aren’t already implementing them:
      1) Use lots of “I” statements. I feel this, or I feel that, or I think. Not “you don’t do this”. Oh, and “I think you need to do this” doesn’t count.
      2) Check out the post on effective communication. It might help with keeping the fights down.

  • Thanks for linking up at Essential Fridays.
    Blessings
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions
    Mel Caldicott recently posted..When Life Isn’t Perfect…Take CourageMy Profile

  • This is the first post that has helped me understand why men need sex so much. I have never heard anyone talk about the emotional component of sex for men. This is an eye opener.

    Laura Connell recently posted..Christian Connection: Mother’s Day {Linkup}My Profile

  • I am a Karaite Jew, so I thought I’d throw in a little Old Testament perspective on this question. For Jews, marriage is first and foremost a contractual arrangement in which a man and woman become a single unit. As with any contract, there are terms by which the involved parties must abide, including terms of dissolution.

    In Semitic cultures, it is assumed that the woman is the party that will have the greater desire for sex. In part, this is because Semitic cultures are historically (and in Islam, currently) polygyinous, which means that one of the duties and purposes of the man is to make himself available to sire children. In other words, sex in the marital relationship is first about procreation.

    That said, based on what the Law of Moses says, Karaite marriage entitles a woman to marital relations with her husband. If he does not grant her access to marital relations (Exodus 21:10), she is entitled to pursue a divorce. Likewise, a man may divorce his wife if he finds “something abhorrent” in her (Deuteronomy 24:1), and we interpret this to include the absolute refusal to attempt to provide him with progeny (in other words the long-term refusal of sex by his wife without cause). We also require that weddings happen on a day that the marriage may be consummated (not during the woman’s period, and not on a holiday), because a functional marriage includes sex by definition for us.
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    • Thanks for that perspective Rachel! I’ve always found it fascinating that in the bible, it is almost assumed that the wife will want more sex than the husband, and that one of his duties is ensuring she is satisfied sexually. I wonder what we’ve done in our culture to diminish the libido of women so much.

  • I would agree with this post entirely. I’ve seen the cycle in our marriage, and it’s so obvious. The amount of things I can get my husband to do after sex, is amazing :)
    EssentiallyJess recently posted..A Letter to My Kid’s for Mother’s DayMy Profile

  • Hi,

    I just wanted to say that sex is an important part of a marriage. I originally posted here in Jan 2013 about some of my concerns regarding the lack of sex in my marriage. Sex was a important emotional component to me. It was not just the lack of sex that was troubling, but also the fact that my wife would almost never initiate it. It made me feel badly and unwanted.
    I am hear now just to inform that I am in the process of divorce. I found out my wife has had an affair with a co-worker whom was also married. It turns out that their little honeymoon stage did not last long…less than two months of living together and they are now split. She is pregnant with his child and his wife is also pregnant with their child. It turns out that my wife had kept a lot of secrets from me.
    Bottom line…no or very little sex can be a sign of other things that should be looked at. My wife never wanted to communicate about issues. I do believe that she has her own personal demons to address.
    I look back a what has happened and feel sadness…not so much for my wife..but for the simple fact that she gave up so much for so little…
    She has burned bridges with others as well as a result of her dishonesty. Friends and family are dumbfounded by her actions. We were married in the church and she never took our vows seriously…she threw away our marriage for lust. Now I have to make the best with my children out of this mess.

    Sex is definitely a need in a healthy marriage…I can say that any future relationship I have that I will not sacrifice the need for intimacy. Communication is a must and their will be no room for secrets or lies.

  • Wait if sex is a need, then why do we frown one teens having sex? I mean they are the horniest right? how can we say it’s only a need for married adults? Sort of unfair. I think it’s more of a want, you don’t NEED sex to survive- to procreate yes, but not like food or water. I think it’s all psychological. You think you need sex but you don’t. There are couples who actually obtain from sex as they have no desire. And if you’re a husband that thinks he needs sex- you have two hands, go for it. stop forcing it on your wife. Sheesh!

    • Well, this is a blog for married Christians, and if I don’t say it in this post (I don’t recall, it was a while ago), I have clarified it in later posts. Sex is a need for the marriage, not the individual. Thus solving the teens question. They aren’t married.

      But sex was created for more than procreation, but the Bible gives a number of reasons, from procreation, to companionship, to recreation, to resisting temptation. As for those couples who abstain because they both have no desire…I’ve never heard from one of those, so I cannot comment.

      As as for the two hands comment. We write about that as well.

      Oh, and I never force it on my wife, and I’d thank you not to imply that I am raping her.

  • I always have considered that Marriage without sex is like ‘A luxury car without an engine’. How long will you endure staring at this beautiful car? You cannot enjoy it, you cannot go anywhere with it. In my opinion sex came much before marriage as sex existed since the beginning of creation. Marriage on the other hand is a man-made status which is important to differ us from animals.

  • ‘Somewhere around the 2 week mark’. Just two weeks??? What if Somewhere around the 9 year mark’???

  • Ok so i have a question. What if the tables are turned? What if the wife is the one wanting to have sex and her husband does not? I really need some advice here. I have not been sexual with my husband now for a little over 2 months. I dont uderstand how A MAN doesnt want to have sex! I try to initiate sex when we go to bed n he turns the other way. I have talked to him aboyt how i feel and says he understands. Yet he still continues. Im at the end of my rope here. I know i can cheat….but the only satisfaction that will bring is my sexual wants. I dont know .

  • Yes I believe sex is a need and a want. But we must use wisdom and experience to know which is which. Women are emotional creatures who depend on being emotionally satisfied as opposed to men who are physically satisfied. For men the thrill of the hunt, the satisfaction of accomplishments, & the adventure of pursuing anything physical satisfies them. Whereas a women is content to be a nurturer & a companion. That is all she needs. Men need to study their wives often & not just after you are married and believe everything should run smoothly. (Very big mistake). Learning your wife is a lifelong journey & a part of the life function of the male companion. As is also the task of the wife towards her husband. The more we Interact and interrelate with each other, the more we should be able to understand each others need & want. It must get to the point where we can telekinettically read each others spirits without having to say anything . I believe this is how God Intended it to be. Using his divine wisdom in matters of Intimacy will not hurt. Also bravo about having sex frequently and as often as possible ! This is most definitely part of God’s plan for the marriage bed. I never thought there was someone out there who agrees with this truth!

  • Boy, this column hit home with where my wife and I were at about 4-5 years ago.

    The description of your personality largely mimics what I also experienced. But then, my guess is this is common for a lot of guys in monogamous marriages.

    I don’t think I consciously ever was trying to be surly or irritable when days went by without sex. I think it’s just a natural byproduct of what happens when the sexual union with the girl you’re in love with isn’t happening.

    Thanks for the column.

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