WARNING: This post contains a topic of a sacred sexual nature and is intended for married couples only. Reader discretion is advised.
Below is an excerpt of a question I received (from the sister below) about her husband's inability to get an erection while having sex.
“...he could tell that I was troubled and tried to reassure me that it wasn't me by telling me that he had to "prepare his mind" or something like that.
Hearing that hurt even more, because I was under the impression that it doesn't take any preparation for men. It seems like they get turned on at the drop of a hat. That's how it always seemed in the past anyway.
We are like many LDS couples who were totally uneducated and lost when it came to sex when we were first married so maybe I'm uneducated still? Especially when it comes to the process of men getting turned on?”
Your husband’s reason for his inability to perform on the day you describe was most likely as he tried to explain to you.
A man’s sexual arousal isn’t as dependent on his thoughts as it is for a woman.[i] His is often more a chemical reaction of testosterone released into his system, and that can be sparked by a lot of different factors. The idea that men are always ready to perform sexually is more likely to occur when a man is single and not getting very much sex.
When a man is married and gets regular sex, he may need some warming up on occasion. Yes, husbands need warming up to sex sometimes too, and that has nothing to do with you – other than that you may be giving him lots of great sex, which isn’t a bad thing.
“Seeing sexual desire as a biological drive … makes us think we should want sex all the time – although human sexual desire is more affected by circumstance and meaning than in lower species. But, you can’t make sex more intimate or ever feel wanted (chosen) using this approach because hormones, hunger, and sex “drive” don’t choose.”~ Dr. David Schnarch[ii]
If getting an erection becomes an ongoing problem and causes your husband some concern, have him examined by your family doctor. Erectile dysfunction does happen and for a multitude of reasons.[iii] There are medications he can take for his erection. They can’t do anything for his libido, but they can give him an erection when he wants it. The pills can be expensive, however. They can also lead to dependency if used every time you have sex.
Libido is dependent on his level of testosterone.[iv] Again, you can have him examined by his doctor to check and make sure his testosterone levels are healthy. Low testosterone can happen at any age. [v]
I don’t know what his level of physical health is, but sometimes losing weight, lowering his cholesterol level and cardiovascular exercise can improve his libido and ability to get an erection.[vi] Exercise releases testosterone into the system. This is true for men and women.[vii]
If he is overweight, it can affect blood flow which will affect his ability to get and keep an erection. If this doesn’t apply to your situation, then don’t worry about it.
If he’s physically healthy, difficulty in getting aroused often has more to do with tiredness, or stress, or preoccupation with other thoughts, or simply the fact that his body may be more satiated than a man whose body rarely gets sex at all.
Bottom line - most men are always interested in sex, but the idea that men are always erect and ready for sex is a myth. Sometimes, men need some foreplay too. I suggest helping him unwind a little first. Take some time to talk to him, caress him physically, and let him know of your interest.
The husband by nature and cultural role often plays the part of the sexual initiator in the relationship, but it's important to not assume that this always has to be the case. Wives can play the role of initiator in sexual encounters if their desire happens to be higher than their husband's, and this is still good and right in the Lord's eyes.
"Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband." - 1 Corinthians 7:3
Answer: Cultural Myth
[i] Brotherson, Laura M. And They Were Not Ashamed – Strengthening Marriage Through Sexual Fulfillment, Inspire Book, Boise, ID, 2004, see Chapter 3
[ii] Schnarch, Dr. David, Passionate Marriage, Henry Holt and Co. NY, 1997, pg. 40
[iii] For more information see this article by Dr. Sheldon Marks M.D. on Erectile Dysfunction http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03079/causes-of-erectile-dysfunction.html
[iv] John Manning, Biologist, Science of the Sexes, Liesel Evans and David Barlow, Oxford Scientific Films
[v] Peter Jaret and Louise Chang M.D. Getting Intimate: Talking together about ED, See - http://www.webmd.com/erectile-dysfunction/features/getting-intimate-talking-together-about-ed
[vi] Dr. Andrew Weil M.D. offers these suggestions - http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400655/Best-Treatment-for-Erectile-Dysfunction.html
[vii] For more information see this article by Beverly Bird, “ Exercise and Testosterone Levels In Women” - http://www.livestrong.com/article/305512-exercise-testosterone-levels-in-women/