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Why Doesn't My Wife Want Sex

I’ve been praying for years to understand my wife better, in particular, why she doesn’t want sex as often as I do.  Being the higher drive spouse who thinks about sex almost constantly, it is sometimes mind-boggling to me why she doesn’t think about sex…well…ever, unless we’re having sex at that moment.  However, I do not think I’ve been praying with the right mindset/heart.  I was always praying more with the idea that if I understood her, I’d be able to change her.  Sort of a “know your enemy” idea, which, I admit, is a bad way to think about your spouses libido, as the enemy.  But recently that’s been changing.

In that few months, I’ve been praying the same prayer, but with a new intent: just to know my wife, so I can love her more (not physically, but emotionally).  Well, I’ve been told often during my life: “Be careful what you pray for, God might answer you.”  Well, He did.

My experience

I decided to do a water fast (ingest nothing but water), for health reasons.  Now, God designed out bodies to be extremely adaptable.  When you fast, several things happen:

  • You start converting fat into ketones, a sugar replacement to make your body work.
  • Your blood pressure drops, to slow down your body to turn less energy.
  • You get tired more, again to conserve energy.
  • And, here’s the kicker: You’re libido drops significantly.  I suspect this is twofold.  Sex takes energy and, why produce offspring if you can’t feed them?

So, for the first time, since I was 16 years old, I didn’t have a daily (or more) urge to have an orgasm.  Even when I was sick, my sex drive never really diminished before.  It was very … odd.  Now, my sex drive was still higher than my wife’s, but it did give me a closer understand of what she feels, or more precisely, doesn’t feel in regards to sex.

During the fast there were days when I would have chosen sleep over sex, days when I just wasn’t really in the mood, days when I wasn’t sure I’d have the energy for sex if I wanted it, and my will to initiate was severely diminished.

Now, these are things that over the years my wife has told me she feels often, but I had no way of comprehending what it was like.  It was too alien for me.  Usually, I’d choose sex over sleep 99 out of 100 times, unless I’ve been up for 36 hours straight, even then, I’d call it 50/50 if given the choice.  This has been a real eye-opener for me.

Sex is important, even if you don’t want it

So, I’m thankful for this opportunity, but, I have also become very aware, quickly, of the dangers of not enough sex in a marriage even if neither spouse is feeling deprived.  Because neither of us had a very high drive at the moment, we were having much less sex, but neither of us were feeling neglected because, well, we didn’t really want more sex.  However, the rest of our marriage has still suffered for it.  We were not as close, we argued more, we were snapping at each other more often, and, I think, we were both a little harder on our children.

Now, I’ve known sex is important to a marriage for a long time, but I always believed sex should happen as often as the higher drive spouse desires (best cases scenario, assuming the higher drive spouse is a considerate lover and not just meeting their own needs), but what if both spouses are low-drive?  How do you decide on frequency? What if what you want is less than what you need? Likewise, I believe the onus is on the higher-drive spouse to initiate sex (which doesn’t mean the lower-drive spouse can’t), but, again, what if there is no high drive spouse?  What if no-one wants to initiate?

I think, ultimately, it is the job of both spouses to constantly evaluate the intimacy of the marriage and gauge if more sex is needed.  Maybe the first to notice should be the one to one to initiate.  Granted, most of the time, this is still going to be the higher drive spouse, but not always.  I think this rule could fit for any aspect of marriage, if you’re noticing that you aren’t talking enough, suggest going for a walk together.  I think a lot of simple problems could be fixed just by the spouse noticing the issue speaking up and suggesting a change.  But often it’s human nature to be complacent and just sit and complain that you aren’t being fulfilled.

Your Turn

Have you had an experience that let you step in the shoes of your spouse?  What was it like?

24 Responses to LORD, Help Me Understand My Wife

  • My husband and I have practiced fasting for at least the past ten years or more. It’s not something we do often enough but we do recognize the benefits both physically and spiritually. I wanted to challenge your conclusion that the crankiness you and your wife felt during your time of fasting was DUE to your lack of sexual expression. You were cranky because your body was missing FOOD, not sex! :)
    There is a whole physiological deal that happens when we go without food. Until your body gets accoustomed to all of that you will feel edgy. I think perhaps that is one reason fasting is attached to *prayer* in the Bible. When we elminate anything in our lives, we need to have a plan for replacement. What is the saying, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” When we take out the eating (of food) it is a good idea to ramp up the prayer.
    Fasting is an awesome occasion to get our bodies in check. We actually need times to allow the body to have to do nothing but rest and replenish itself on the cellular level. It can also give us a deeper spiritual sensitivity.

    Regarding sex drives in marriage you ask, ” What if both spouses are low-drive? …What if what you want is less than what you need?” I think those are very interesting questions. When my husband and I first married we were both high drive ( tho his was even higher than mine). We’re approaching 23 years of marriage and our sex life has been a rollercoaster. There are times of high frequency and high thrill and there have been times of low to moderate frequency mixed with a little uphill pull (read: struggle). What I know is that sex really is the oil (of GLADNESS!) in a marriage. It is a wonderful *healing,* *comforting* and *warming* agent to unite husband and wife against this cold, cruel world. That said, we must be careful not to elevate sex to the place of GOD in our marriages. Sometimes what our souls are craving, what they really NEED is *not* an orgasm but a word (touch!) from/with the Lord.

    I think there is a HIGH temptation to put spouse in the place of GOD in marriage. We don’t even realize it is happening. We just start to blame our spouse for all that ails us. I think this is the number one precipitator of unfaithfulness in all its ugly forms ( porn, emotional and physical affairs, etc.) When/if we expect a spouse to do for us what only GOD can do we set ourselves up for failure. Yes, spouses *owe* one another physical satisfaction, but what happens if your spouse becomes temporarily — or God forbid– permanently unable to *perform*? What if there is a long term illness or cause for separation like in the case of military spouses? (How do they manage?)

    I also think *duty* sex is the worst kind of marital sex. I mean it works in a pinch and I’ve certainly got that T shirt but I know my husband would agree. Just last night he was feeling frisky and I was feeling sleepy. I was gonna “go with the flow” but he kindly “rescheduled” us for tonight because he wanted me to be FULLY in the moment with him. We aim to meet each other in the intimate act, on the same page, our highest desire is to please the other. That is some sky-rocketing, out of the-is world sex right there. At this point for us it’s not even something we have to think about. It’s what’s in our hearts.

    All of that to say, I’m not sure it’s possible for a couple to want less sex than they *need*. Sex is a deep, strong, natural God-given desire. But I don’t put it in the category with NEEDS. We *need* food and water. Nobody ever DIED from not having sex! :) I agree with you that couples have to keep the lines of communication open so that they can stay in agreement about it. I just want to stress the point that while sex is oh so important in marriage, it will always be an *issue* if it becomes *god* in marriage. I think it’s great that you are prayng to know and love your wife more. May the love and knowledge you have for her only be surpassed by the love and knowledge you have of the Lord. <3

    • Wow, big comment, thanks.

      Let’s see… I was already 2 weeks into my fast, so I had adjusted pretty well by that point. I wasn’t feeling any strain in any other aspect of my life, just my marriage, so I have a hard time accepting that all I was needing was food. Also, I know this pattern of ours, it happens every time there is a longer gap between sessions.

      I agree with much of what you say though. I don’t know how separated spouses do it (military, work, jail, etc), I’ve said as much in the past here. I would never allow my marriage to be in such a position. To me it’s unhealthy, but I understand many will disagree with me, or believe the benefits outweigh the downside.

      I disagree that sex is not a need. Will you die without it? No, but I cannot begin to count the marriages I’ve seen die because of a lack of sex. Marriages that, by all other factors seemed healthy. Also, just because you cannot no longer have intercourse, does not mean you cannot have a sexual relationship.

      Thanks for the chance to discuss!

      • Jay Dee, if it helps…. separated spouses do it because they have to. I agree it’s unhealthy, but it’s doable. What keeps you going in those times of separation is knowing there is an end date. Whether it be military service, work or jail, there is always an end date. It is not forever.

        It is extremely hard (for most people any way). When my husband and I were separated due to his work straight after our honeymoon, it was crushingly hard for me. He didn’t care of course. We’d gotten back from our honeymoon with 10 days of no sex, and 8 days of no physical intimacy at all (his refusal despite lots of begging from me) and knowing he was leaving the next day and that it would be at least a month before we’d see each other again, he refused again. The next day before he left I insisted. It’s the only time I’ve totally insisted, but after 10 days of no sex (on a honeymoon!!!), there was no way I was going to wait a further month with no sex without at least one time before he left.

        He did it begrudgingly but had it been up to him, we wouldn’t have.

        But I found it incredibly hard. The desire comes like waves – some days it’s incredibly hard, especially the first few days, and then other days it’s easier, but the desire for sex ( for those who have desire) never goes away.

        But you keep telling yourself, it is only for a while and somehow you make it through.

        I have great respect for those in the military because what both they are and their spouses do, is a great sacrifice.

        For other families, it’s not even a choice. In tough times, when there is no work and no way to feed your kids, sometimes one partner has to leave to support their family. As long as the plan is that it’s only until circumstances change, it’s ok, but it’s not easy. But it’s a sacrifice you make for your family.

  • My husband and I have practiced fasting for at least the past ten years or more. It’s not something we do often enough but we do recognize the benefits both physically and spiritually. I wanted to challenge your conclusion that the crankiness you and your wife felt during your time of fasting was DUE to your lack of sexual expression. You were cranky because your body was missing FOOD, not sex! :)
    There is a whole physiological deal that happens when we go without food. Until your body gets accoustomed to all of that you will feel edgy. I think perhaps that is one reason fasting is attached to *prayer* in the Bible. When we elminate anything in our lives, we need to have a plan for replacement. What is the saying, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” When we take out the eating (of food) it is a good idea to ramp up the prayer.
    Fasting is an awesome occasion to get our bodies in check. We actually need times to allow the body to have to do nothing but rest and replenish itself on the cellular level. It can also give us a deeper spiritual sensitivity.

    Regarding sex drives in marriage you ask, ” What if both spouses are low-drive? …What if what you want is less than what you need?” I think those are very interesting questions. When my husband and I first married we were both high drive ( tho his was even higher than mine). We’re approaching 23 years of marriage and our sex life has been a rollercoaster. There are times of high frequency and high thrill and there have been times of low to moderate frequency mixed with a little uphill pull (read: struggle). What I know is that sex really is the oil (of GLADNESS!) in a marriage. It is a wonderful *healing,* *comforting* and *warming* agent to unite husband and wife against this cold, cruel world. That said, we must be careful not to elevate sex to the place of GOD in our marriages. Sometimes what our souls are craving, what they really NEED is *not* an orgasm but a word (touch!) from/with the Lord.

    I think there is a HIGH temptation to put spouse in the place of GOD in marriage. We don’t even realize it is happening. We just start to blame our spouse for all that ails us. I think this is the number one precipitator of unfaithfulness in all its ugly forms ( porn, emotional and physical affairs, etc.) When/if we expect a spouse to do for us what only GOD can do we set ourselves up for failure. Yes, spouses *owe* one another physical satisfaction, but what happens if your spouse becomes temporarily — or God forbid– permanently unable to *perform*? What if there is a long term illness or cause for separation like in the case of military spouses? (How do they manage?)

    I also think *duty* sex is the worst kind of marital sex. I mean it works in a pinch and I’ve certainly got that T shirt but I know my husband would agree. Just last night he was feeling frisky and I was feeling sleepy. I was gonna “go with the flow” but he kindly “rescheduled” us for tonight because he wanted me to be FULLY in the moment with him. We aim to meet each other in the intimate act, on the same page, our highest desire is to please the other. That is some sky-rocketing, out of the-is world sex right there. At this point for us it’s not even something we have to think about. It’s what’s in our hearts.

    All of that to say, I’m not sure it’s possible for a couple to want less sex than they *need*. Sex is a deep, strong, natural God-given desire. But I don’t put it in the category with NEEDS. We *need* food and water. Nobody ever DIED from not having sex! :) I agree with you that couples have to keep the lines of communication open so that they can stay in agreement about it. I just want to stress the point that while sex is oh so important in marriage, it will always be an *issue* if it becomes *god* in marriage. I think it’s great that you are prayng to know and love your wife more. May the love and knowledge you have for her only be surpassed by the love and knowledge you have of the Lord. <3

  • Wow, big comment, thanks.

    Let’s see… I was already 2 weeks into my fast, so I had adjusted pretty well by that point. I wasn’t feeling any strain in any other aspect of my life, just my marriage, so I have a hard time accepting that all I was needing was food. Also, I know this pattern of ours, it happens every time there is a longer gap between sessions.

    I agree with much of what you say though. I don’t know how separated spouses do it (military, work, jail, etc), I’ve said as much in the past here. I would never allow my marriage to be in such a position. To me it’s unhealthy, but I understand many will disagree with me, or believe the benefits outweigh the downside.

    I disagree that sex is not a need. Will you die without it? No, but I cannot begin to count the marriages I’ve seen die because of a lack of sex. Marriages that, by all other factors seemed healthy. Also, just because you cannot no longer have intercourse, does not mean you cannot have a sexual relationship.

    Thanks for the chance to discuss!

  • I heard of some more opposite of what you are feeling. I read on a blog where one lady was trying to get her hormones adjusted and the doc accidentally shot her testosterone up to the level of a teen boy. She said all she could think about all day was sex. She had a greater appreciation for the pressure guys have with the big T.

  • I’m not sure I agree with the arguments for a lack of sex in marriage. I mean, sex pre-dates man’s fall, when we were still able to be in God’s presence, when He walked beside us in the garden. All the Bible says is that there will be no marriage in heaven. Now, I’m not saying there will be sex, and I’m not saying there won’t. I’m just saying the arguments listed aren’t logically sound from my point of view.

    I agree though, sex not a catch-all solution, far from it. But at the same time, too many people dismiss it as frivolous.

    And I do know of marriages where the spouse that left claimed a lack of sex was the only issue. It might not have been, he may have just been so focused on that that he missed the others, but just saying, I’ve heard of it.

    Oh, and not all of us Christians believe in a burning eternal hell. I for one cannot conceive of a loving God who would torture people for eternity. Sodom and Gomorrah were to burn “forever”, but sometimes forever means the life of the item in question. I think if God wanted to burn you, you’d burn pretty quick, and if God is merciful, there would be little or no pain involved. But that’s a much longer discussion.

    Been a pleasure!

    • Jay Dee, Mind showing me scripture for that? I can certainly point to quite a few for eternal burning hell. Sorry to sound like a jerk…but seriously I’m tired of “christian” marriage bloggers having the authority they supposedly have and yet you can make a statement like that that goes against scripture so clearly. We truly are to the point of the last days the Bible speaks about when teachers will teach what you want to hear….

      • Hi Robert! Welcome to the site.

        I claim no authority, never have. I don’t know how often I’ve said “I’m just a guy”.

        As I said, it’s a much larger discussion, and not the focus of this blog, but I’d be more than happy to take it offline with you. I’ll put together a study plan and email you so we can go through it.

  • Jay Dee,
    I thank you for your honest response, but if you have an “official blog” people think of you as a teacher…otherwise you wouldn’t have a blog. Are you or are you not teaching? If you say yes, and I’m not sure how you couldn’t, sorry you have authority. You don’t get to throw your hands up and take no responsiblity when it’s not comfortable. Teach or don’t teach, but take the responsiblity one way or the other.

    Second, if you don’t want to discuss something in public…don’t talk about it in public. You made the statement. I’ve had this discussion with other bloggers. They make a scripturally eronous comment and then when you call them on it they want to take it private. If you don’t want it public erase the eronous teaching.

    Listen, I have beliefs that are either outside or borderline scripture. But I’m upfront about it. I have no problem saying I don’t believe this is what the bible says, but I am hoping in my feeble human mind that I’m not understanding the all mighty God correctly. For example, I hold a personal grudge that apparently my wife will not be my wife in heaven…personally I tell God what I think and sometimes where He can stick it on that one…but if I share that view with somebody I’m very open that it is not biblical. If the subtitle of your blog tells the world you represent the God of the Bible, then teach what is in it or when you are not make it very clear.

    God bless, Robert

    • Very well, I accept your definition of authority for this discussion, but then, I still have to say that what I’m trying to teach here is about sex within marriage. Nevertheless, I do fully believe the statement I made, and I don’t believe it to be outside or borderline scripture. I believe it is fully backed by scripture.

      I want to apologize though, I was not clear. I was going to make a publicly viewable space where we can discuss and link from here to there. I am not hiding, just didn’t went to hijack the topic on this page/the focus of my blog. One comment is different than an entire discussion on the state of the dead, the timeline of revelation and end times, and God’s mercy. I am anticipating much back and forth, which would quickly render the comment section of this page useless to the topic I was originally discussing.

      I had no intention of hiding, dissembling or obfuscating the issue.

      If you had a platform in mind, please let me know. At the moment, I’m researching moot.it.

  • Honestly Jay Dee I’d love it to be public…here’s the thing so bear with me. What you believe about stuff like this give you or loses you credibility on your marriage teaching. Honestly, what you are saying goes against about 2000 years of what is considered biblical almost without arguement..if you can state without blushing you believe it to be within scripture then it makes me and every other reader question your stance and how you get to your beliefs on everything.

    For example, I told you what I told you over at Sheila’s today, because Sheila does not believe in submission for a wife. I have to question everything she says about the bible, because anyone who doesn’t believe in headship of the husband in marriage is reading a WAY different bible than me and I can’t trust their interepation of the bible or in all honesty how they view life. The bible is so very, very clear that to suggest otherwise makes me believe you have your own agenda and God is not it nor is He at the head of what is being done. Same goes here for you.

    I was once a minister. I would not have put a position in a place of ministery…even if they were good at that specific task of ministry if I coudln’t trust their judgement, decision making process or have a trust in their basic belief system. And Hell my friend is one of the most basic biblical principals and teaching.

    So no matter your area of expertise Jay Dee, you make a statement like you made and your biblical credibility is on the line.

  • Jay Dee,
    I am unable to post over there for some reason. A couple things, first I’m not trying to prove YOU wrong. I’m trying to uphold scripture. Sorry Jay Dee, your taking something out on context. Second, nothing personal Jay Dee…I don’t care about your thoughts unless you can back them with scripture. Lastly, I’ve got a busy day ahead of me but if you want to email me with the address listed (I’m sure you can see my email) I’ll respond to you likewise, with scripture this evening.

    Thank you, Robert

    • Odd, I just tested with a friend, and it worked wonderfully. Did you log in?

      I’m glad this isn’t personal! I very much like to rely on scripture alone to prove theology.

      That’s OK. Life is busy. There is no rush, these are not salvation issues.

      I did not mean to say you were trying to prove me wrong. Merely saying this doesn’t have to be a you vs. me. Just us studying scripture together. I was declaring an ideal, not judging thoughts or behaviors. My apologies if it was misunderstood.

  • Jay Dee, I like your articles (the ones I’ve read so far anyway), but I have to totally disagree with you on two points in this article.

    To get things started – *I* am the much higher drive spouse in the relationship. I want sex once a day or more and would settle for every second day – my husband would have it once a week or less if he could.

    Yet despite this, I do NOT believe that sex should happen whenever the higher drive spouse desires. For more than one reason.

    First of all – marriage is about compromise. It’s about doing what is best for your spouse, not for you. It’s about negotiating a solution that works for both of you. To say that sex should happen whenever the higher drive spouse desires, means basically that every single time, one person decides whether there is sex or not. It means one person always gets their way, and the other person just has to suck it up and do what the other wants regardless of their desires and/or needs. Marriage is not about one person always controlling what the couple does, and certainly not about one person saying “you’ll do what I want when I want and tough luck about what you want”.

    I understand that a loving higher drive spouse isn’t thinking this way, but even if that is not their motivation, it is what their actions ultimately end up conveying.

    Just as a gatekeeper spouse causes much pain (and nearly always builds up to resentment) to the spouse they keep refusing, if you put the shoe on the other foot, and basically say the higher drive spouse makes all the decisions in regards to when the couple has sex, the exact same thing happens! The lower drive spouse feels like they have absolutely no input at all into their sex life. Sex becomes worse than a chore. It beccames hated. In women, there is no enjoyment, and quite simply, with a man, he often can’t perform due to the fact he wants it so little. I have known relationships like that (all but one with the man being the higher drive spouse), and ulttimately in every single case, the lower drive spouse ends up hating sex and hating their spouse, and most of them said it felt like being raped because they felt they were being forced to against their will.

    When it comes to sex, there should NEVER be a situation where one person has total say over whether or not sex happens – whether it be the lower drive spouse or the higher drive spouse.

    The solution lies somewhere in between. The lower drive spouse putting an effort in to have sex when they don’t feel like it much, and the higher drive spouse recognising that their are times when the lower drive spouse genuinely doesn’t feel they can have sex.

    It’s about meeting halfway – or perhaps not halfway – perhaps if you prefer, meeting more towards the higher drive spouse’s end of things, but never 100% one way or the other, as both destroy marriages.

    I realise you’re a caring husband, and your wife said “hey honey, I really can’t” you wouldn’t force it, but the way you worded it was “I always believed sex should happen as often as the higher drive spouse desires”. Even considerate spouses can’t always tell the difference when their lower drive spouse says “I’m too tired tonight honey” whether “too tired” means more “can’t be bothered” or means “I’m beyond dead tired and you will make me physically ill if we try”, and too many people would interpret what you said as demanding that the lower drive spouse HAS to provide sex if the higher drive spouses asks for it even if they are in the “you will make me physically ill if we try category”.

    Even though I was greatly disappointed to discover how very low drive my husband is, I had warned him before we got married that I take medications at night that I take last thing before bed, and they knock me out so bad, that even if the house were to burn down, you’re not going to get me awake enough to respond to anything, and once I’ve taken them, within about 15-30 minutes, there is zero chance of sex happening. While I have no problem with letting him have his fun even if I can’t participate (ie just lying there and taking it, although not something I’d recommend but I have no problem doing that for a husband who really needs release – only if I genuinely couldn’t join in) but I couldn’t sleep through sex, and once I take those medications, if I don’t go to sleep asap, I can have a seizure basically.

    My first husband was one of those guys who believed he had a right to sex whenever he wanted it, no matter what, and this did happen a few times with him. I learnt not to say no though after he raped me the day after I had major surgery and had only been home from hospital a few hours. I wasn’t supposed to be having sex for at least 3-4 weeks, but doctor’s orders weren’t good enough for him.

    I wouldn’t call him the “higher drive” spouse. We were about the same in drive, just due to my health, there were occasional times that required going without – I still wanted sex but accepted that doing serious damage to my body wasn’t worth doing it, but he refused to accept that. Unfortunately guys like him would read what you wrote about the higher drive spouse determining when sex is had, would think it entitled him to do it whenever he liked, even a spouse is genuinely unable to.

    And as a I said, if a lower drive spouses feels like they have to give up what they desire (not to have sex) every single time, it breeds massive resentment and making them feel less desiring of sex not more.

    That’s why I have only ever pushed my husband just the once. I do get sick of him refusing, and believe he has a responsibility to meet me somewhere in the middle instead of constantly refusing, but I do not believe that he should have to “put out” every time I want to have sex.

    • I forgot the other thing I was going to comment on.

      It was just that I abhor the idea that the onus to initiate is up to the higher drive spouse.

      What has led me to severe depression to the point of even wishing suicide was an option at times in the past, has been my husband’s near total lack of initiating as much (or maybe even more so) than his constant refusal of my initiating.

      I personally think it’s extremely important for the lower drive spouse to initiate whenever possible. the higher drive spouse feels rejected enough already, many of them in fact ended up at the point where I was many times – feeling so hurt and unwanted that despite desperately wanting sex, being totally unable to initiate anymore because of no longer being able to take the rejection. For me, that feeling would pass after a week or two or three after I realised that if I didn’t find a way to get over my crushing fear of yet more rejection, that my husband simply wouldn’t initiate and I would never get the sex I craved.

      But it’s not fair – when you’re rejected multiple times a day, day after day, sometimes for weeks on end (this even happened for the majority of our honeymoon – him turning me down not just for sex, but for doing anything with me, preferring to read or play computer games than do anything with me because he decided it was a “holiday” not a honeymoon and when he’s on holiday, he does his own thing and ignores every one else), when you’re at that point, you NEED your spouse to start initiating.

      I totally disagree that the onus is on the higher drive to initiate. The only onus is on the lower drive spouse to put aside whatever their issue and initiate whenever they can possibly bear it.

      The higher drive spouse feels unwanted enough – it is a massive need for the lower drive spouse to initiate whenever possible so the higher drive spouse feels that at least occasionally they are wanted.

      • I have to disagree. Let’s change the subject matter. Instead of sex, let’s pick going for a hike.

        Now, let’s say the wife loves hiking. She could hike at a moments notice. As soon as you mention backpacks, she’s getting her shoes on. She gets rejuvenated from hiking and being outdoors with her husband. But, he finds it exhausting, and sweaty, and it’s a bit dirty. So, she never brings it up, she’d love to go hiking every day, maybe twice a day, but she thinks her husband should set his feelings aside and make an effort to plan hikes, to take the time to get ready for the hike, that he should be responsible for all their hiking activities.

        So, instead of getting to go hiking, maybe not every day like she’d like, but perhaps ever other day, and certainly on the weekends when he’s more rested and they have the time, he doesn’t feel so pressured to walk as fast to the end of the hike, she sits and waits for him to want to go hiking.

        And every once in a while, he thinks “she’s looking a bit sad and pitiful, I know she really likes this hiking stuff, maybe I’ll suggest a quick walk around the block, you know, for her.” And so, every week or two, they go for a walk around the block. It’s not what she wants, but she’ll take it, at least he wants to get outside.

        Now, if she was asking her girlfriends what she should do, they would say things like:
        Have you told him how much you like hiking?
        Does he realize how important it is to you?
        Maybe you can convince him by telling him it’s good exercise?
        No doubt, one friend on the side will say “well, why don’t you go hiking with your neighbour, he’s been offering for quite a while, and he looks like he’d be a good hiker.”

        What do you think they would say if you told them you never actually asked him to go for a hike, or that you gave up after a while, because he never seemed as excited as you? Or that you haven’t been on a hike in months because, well, you’re waiting for him to spontaneously turn into a hiking enthusiast?

        Hope that’s not ludicrous. But, I’m trying to say, if you really want to do something regularly (whatever it is), then ask, plan, bring it up. Don’t wait around for the spouse to decide they want to as much as you do. You may be waiting forever.
        Jay Dee recently posted..What about sex for the surviving spouse?My Profile

        • Nice analogy but doesn’t quite fit. What if all you want is for your spouse to WANT to hike with you? That you don’t want them to come with you unless they are as excited about that particular trip as you? What if your spouse has come on some hikes with you and even though they find it ok, it’s obvious they are only doing it for you and if it wasn’t with you, they’d rather be doing anything else (even a trip to the dentist would be more enjoyable)?

          As much as you like hiking with your spouse, it just isn’t fun when they are obviously only tolerating it for your sake, not because they actually want to be there. What if having to be the one who constantly asks your spouse to come hiking just leaves you feeling even more hurting because they don’t enjoy it like you and after every hike, you go to your room and cry because they never want to hike themselves and only are doing it to keep you happy?

          Not ludicrous at all, but just off the mark. Maybe your analogy is how men see sex. Maybe it’s just how SOME men see sex. But for every woman I’ve spoken to who is married to a refuser, the analogy just doesn’t work. For most women married to a refuser, the sex act itself is only a very small part of it. It has everything to do with their spouse wanting sex with them, about their sposue wanting their body, about their spouse wanting them. Their husbands could force themselves to have sex every time the wife initiated, but it would still leave the wife feeling rejected and unwanted – usually even more so than having him just say no. Because it’s about the fact that their husbands don’t desire them like a husband should rather than actually just getting sex.

          I’ve cried myself sleep more often from my husband giving me pity sex than the many more times he’s outright said no. When he can’t hide he’s only doing it to make me “happy” and would rather be doing anything else, it just leaves me feeling more unwanted, that my own husband has to force himself to have sex, like I must be some kind of deviant that a man has to force himself to do it.

          That is why it’s so important for the low drive spouse to initiate sometimes. It doens’t have to be every time, it doesn’t even have to be half the time, but just occasionally.

          I know it’s not just a girl thing either. A lot of the guys I’ve spoken need their lower drive wives to initiate sometimes. Having their wife just “lie there and think of england” isn’t enough. They need a wife actively participating, showing that she wants him sexually, initiating sometimes. Not every time is necessary, but at least sometimes. Enough that he feels she wants him sexually not just tolerates him – otherwise you end up feeling like sex hungry pervert if your spouse never initiates.

          • Ahh, now we’re on a different topic, of enjoying sex instead of initiating, and that changes the response of course, because we aren’t discussing what I thought we were.

            I was talking about the spouse who enjoys sex, but never initiates, because their drive is responsive, not proactive,

  • I’m going back to the original question. Can I step into my spouse’s shoes? I realize that my hubby and I are wired differently. He approaches problems differently. He sees things differently too. There’s no doubt about that. That will always be different.
    There are days that I have followed in his footsteps and quite frankly, I’m so exhausted on those days. He works so hard all day. Since we work together a lot, I have to follow next to him, too. It is tiring. If he says he’s too tired to have sex (rarely), I believe him. Maybe he has really sore muscles. I understand. Some days I get the same way (rarely), but it does happen.
    I remember those days will young children. I would be exhausted. Between the diapers and nursing and all that goes with their dependence on me. Those days were exhausting for me. You could say that perhaps my hubby now knows how I felt back then. All I have to do is remind him about those exhausting days with young children when he mentions his sore, achy, tired body. Same difference only 20 years later.

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