marriage bed symbol

marriage bed symbol

Monday, September 3, 2012

Reader Question: LDS Wife Says, "More Sex Please?"


WARNING: This post contains a topic of a sacred sexual nature and is intended for married readers only. Those who are currently unmarried are advised to keep to the standards of the Church and refrain from reading the married sexual instruction that follows.

Dear Coach Sam,

In regards to the topic of a couple's difference in sex drive or desired frequency of intercourse, it is generally assumed that the man is the one who has more desire or wants sex more frequently.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only woman in the world who has a stronger sex drive than her husband does. We've been married over 25 years and it has almost always been this way.

I think it's mostly a personality thing (not a physical inability). I am just more driven and intense than my calm, even-tempered husband. But it's a challenge...for both of us!

Two questionsis this really odd for a woman to feel this way? Anddo
you have any thoughts on healthy, appropriate ways for a wife to
express her needs/desires without putting pressure on her husband to perform?

Thanks, Anonymous

PS: Assume a loving relationship and willing cooperation from both partners.

I'm content....I just want more :)



Dear Anonymous,

“There is a high-desire and a low-desire partner on almost every marital issue – and these positions often reverse across the many issues married couples face.”[1]

Let me put your mind at ease – you are not the only woman who has a higher sex drive than her husband. There are actually a significant percentage of women in such a situation.[2] Since sex is sacred (and for many a very touchy subject), women don’t often share this information freely with others. If you spoke to more people around you on this issue, you would probably learn that you’re not alone here.

Stereotypically, a husband has the role of the sexual initiator in a marriage, because he would have the higher sex drive in the marital relationship. He would usually want it more often than his wife. This is because he has higher levels of testosterone in his system than she does. Testosterone is the hormone that controls sex drive.

This is not always true, however, and for a multitude of reasons. You mentioned the personality difference between you, which could be a factor for the two of you.

Possible Reasons for a Man’s Lower Sex Drive

Physically, a husband might have a lower testosterone level than normal. If it gets too low (lower than about 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL)), then his drive could get low to nonexistent.[3]

As a man ages, his testosterone levels can tend to decrease slightly. Not for everyone, but for some.  If he’s had physical damage to his testicles, or if he’s on any kind of antidepressant or hypertension medication, that can also affect his libido. If his job or home life is very stressful, that can also affect his sex drive.

Usually, when a husband’s sex drive is lower than his wife’s, the first thing that counselors will do is have them eliminate any physical or chemical factor – to check with a doctor to see that everything’s normal.

If he doesn’t want sex for months and months, I would recommend checking this out medically. It’s not healthy for men to have low testosterone levels over a long period of time. It can lead to higher instances of heart disease, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, depression, or low bone density/osteoporosis, according to WebMD.

However, if he wants sex one a week or once every other week, and he’s happy with that frequency, then that’s probably not a physical problem. It could be that there’s nothing physically wrong with him – it doesn’t automatically follow that a low sex drive means something’s wrong, for either a man or a woman. The parameters of ‘normal’ sexual desires in people are pretty wide. The problem then becomes more the difference between your drive and his.

There’s More to Sex Than Intercourse

“If one is forever seeking the interests, comforts, and happiness of the other, the love found in courtship and cemented in marriage will grow into mighty proportions…the [qualities] most vital for love are consideration, kindness, thoughtfulness, concern, expressions of affection, embraces of appreciation, admiration, pride, companionship, confidence, faith, partnership, equality, and dependence.”[4]

You said that your sexual encounters are good, but you would like more. How often do you have sex currently? How often would you like to have sex? How often does he want sex? How do you make up the difference?

If you’re having sex at least once a week, but you’d like to have more, sex doesn’t have to mean intercourse. It’s time for you to define what ‘sex’ is for you.
  • Is it intercourse?
  • Is it kissing? 
  • Is it cuddling and pillow talk? 
  • Is it him bringing you to orgasm?
There’s lots of ways you both can have sexual encounters and receive an orgasm that don’t involve making his penis hard and making him feel required to perform. (‘Perform’ meaning he needs to get an erection and have intercourse with you). Contrary to popularized media beliefs, a man is not always instantly ‘ready’ to have sex.

If you’re okay with sex not involving intercourse every time, reassure him that you don’t need him to ‘perform’ for you. Tell him you would like to have sex more often, but _________   is what sex means for you.

The part of sex that most people really crave is the intimacy, the closeness, the skin contact, the friendship that should happen along with the intercourse. How are you achieving intimacy with your husband? Dating is a great basic way of building intimacy, and if you’re not dating regularly, you should be, at minimum.

Do you have a vibrator? Does he know how to use it on you? Does he know how to do oral sex, or bring you to an orgasm with his fingers? Does he know how to bring you to orgasm through means other than intercourse?

If he doesn’t, and he’s open to some instruction, there’s information to be found in books or online.  Find an information source you feel comfortable using, and learn more about how to do these things. Practice what you need to learn, and then discard the source to protect others in the household from finding sexual content by accident.

If you can't find a resource that you trust, or are uncomfortable with the possibility of encountering profane erotica in the search for information, I could offer you some options and guidelines.

Sexual Charity for your Spouse
  
“Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?...Thou shalt never wash my feet.

Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.”[5]

Remember that charity is not just about serving others, but humbling yourself enough to allow others to serve you. In marriage, we should have charity for each other sexually.

The spouse with the lower sex drive controls the sex in the marriage – in your case, your husband. Allow him the opportunity to serve you. Just make sure to reassure him that he doesn’t have to have intercourse with you or have an orgasm if he doesn’t feel the need to, but that you need his help.

Men can be very solution-oriented[6], and they can get a lot of pleasure and satisfaction from fixing a problem and feeling competent. This is an opportunity for him to fix a problem for you.

When he does follow through, thank him and praise him. Let him know how thoughtful he is, and how good he is at fixing your problem. This can be very romantic for a man. He gains intimacy from knowing he can make you feel good, just as you gain intimacy from a good relationship with him.

I’m glad that you both have a happy and healthy relationship, and are mutually willing to work on this. I hope these comments are helpful to you. Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

Sincerely,
Sam Zaragoza


[1] Schnarch, David, Passionate Marriage, pg. 329
[2] http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1728520,00.html. In an interview with Time Magazine, counselor Michele Weiner-Davis commented on a survey she did with Redbook Magazine, where she asked women about who wanted sex more, their husbands or them. Sixty percent of wives surveyed said they wanted sex as much or even more than their husbands.
[4] Kimball, Spencer W. Marriage and Divorce, 1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year,  as quoted in Eternal Marriage Student Manual, page 172
[5] John 13: 3-6, 8, 9
[6] Gray, John, Ph.D. Men, Women & Relationships, pg. 109-110