Ladies, if YOU are the one with the stronger sex drive, here’s expert hope and help!
Hi everyone. I’m thrilled to share a series of three important guest articles by nationally-recognized sex therapist Dr. Michael Sytsma, offering hope, encouragement, and direction to wives who have a stronger sexual drive than their husbands – a situation that probably happens in one of five marriages. Because much of my research centers around the more common situation in which the man has the stronger desire for sex, many women with higher libidos have told me they are confused and frustrated by the lack of good information for their situation.
So I turned to a group I’ve partnered with for many years in researching and writing my books. Building Intimate Marriages is an exceptional resource for online articles and counseling for issues of sexual intimacy, and its founder and director, Dr. Michael Sytsma, is the author of the three thorough and helpful articles in this series. If you are a woman with a stronger sex drive, I hope what you read encourages you to persevere in your pursuit of pleasure and sexual intimacy in your marriage!
When She Has the Stronger Sex Drive; Part One.
By Dr. Michael Sytsma
Conflict over sexual desire and frequency is the most common sexual issue causing distress in couples today. The age-old stereotype, of course, is that the husband wants sex all the time but the wife isn’t interested. Increasingly, though, we hear from wives who are trying to figure out what it means when they are the high-desire spouse and the husband doesn’t seem to want it as often. These women want to know what on earth is going on and what to do.
Ladies, while you can’t change your husband, there is a path you can start down that can help remove the conflict related to sexual desire within your marriage – and bring hope for a great mutual connection.
But are you ready for the hard truth? As with many worthwhile changes, the first stage begins with you. So the focus of this Part One article is this:
Prepare Yourself Before Addressing it with Him
Conflict over sexual desire is often really difficult for couples to work through, especially since many don’t have the critical tools they need. Since you must understand each other to make progress, the most important tool is good communication. So….how are you at that? If you personally can’t talk about finances, in-laws, or parenting without getting defensive, shutting down, or blowing up, it is unlikely you will be able to talk about the emotional topic of sexual intimacy without doing the same. If you need to, first seek some help learning good, solid communication skills.
Next, prepare yourself to address this well. Keep in mind that beautiful flowers grow when we have provided the proper soil, nutrients, and moisture. Similarly, here are three critical steps you can work on to build a great environment for addressing this important topic with your husband.
Step # 1. Embrace Your Feelings, But Monitor Them Too
We are all created with the desire to be pursued and wanted, especially by our spouse. When that doesn’t happen, it is normal to feel wounded. When the one closest to us doesn’t want to connect sexually, it is normal to feel hurt, concerned, and confused. Your fears are energized and begin to conjure up scary reasons he might not want to have sex. This can cause some people to get completely bogged down in anxiety and fear; they can feel just plain stuck, or they can totally freak out.
I tell husbands in these situations that they need to allow their wives to be human. I warn them that if they don’t pursue their wives sexually, and if they turn them down when pursued, it is only normal for the wife to have normal, and typically negative, human reactions. The only way not to have those is to not care. And if she reaches that point — where she no longer cares— the marriage is potentially moving into the terminal illness stage and needs immediate assistance.
That said, though: Wives should not give full license to those negative emotions. That will not be helpful! It is human to want to blow up, cave in, or run away when we feel a negative emotion, but allowing such reactions will almost always make the problem worse. When your hurt turns into an attack on your husband, that does not make you more desirable. I have worked with many husbands who, because of how their wives reacted when they didn’t desire to connect sexually, began to avoid sex altogether, even when they did have the desire. That can escalate into a pattern of avoidance that can be difficult to break.
Rather than blowing up, caving in, or running away (even subtly), I encourage wives to center themselves. Recognize the hurt, but manage it well. This allows you to lean into him and do the next steps. This is tough work and can be an exercise in true selflessness. (I work in a lot of church settings, and in that context we acknowledge this is also true discipleship.)
Part of being centered is acknowledging both who you are – and whether you have your own issues to address. I have worked with a number of wives who have a particularly high drive –and some who are actual sex addicts. If that might be you, I urge you to meet with a qualified female sexual addictions specialist for an assessment and a plan to address the issue. Now, if you simply have a particularly high level of sexual desire, it is important to own it. It isn’t a bad or wrong thing. It may just be how you are wired, and it will be important to accept that about yourself. Being the high-desire spouse means your husband might not be able to keep up, which brings us to the next recommendation.
Step # 2. Double-Check Your Expectations
It is easy for us to get caught up in cultural stereotypes and expect our spouses to behave that way…. like the idea that men are always craving sex. While this may be true for many men, it is far from true for all men. Additionally, men aren’t always as simple as they are made out to be. The idea that men are testosterone-driven, desire-driven, and need sex frequently, is not typically true — especially as men age.
It is true that testosterone activates the part of the brain that focuses on sexual objects and has sexual thoughts. At a young age, many men must work diligently to discipline this part of the brain. Some men learn the skill quickly and become fairly disciplined in their sexuality. Others learn to repress (shut off) that part of who they are and may have difficulty turning it back on in the appropriate context, such as marital sex. Or physical issues like aging can cause a decrease in testosterone and result in a drop in the intensity of sexual thoughts. There are many issues that may result in a husband who doesn’t fit the stereotype of always wanting sex.
While sexual drive is generally quite resilient in most men, we are affected by more than just testosterone. Male sexual drive can be affected by a host of external factors. A husband who is under a lot of stress, not sleeping well, not eating well, not exercising, or is generally out of balance, may totally lose interest in sex. While the male stereotype is, “If I only have a little energy left, I want to go out having sex,” I only see that in jest, or in a small percentage of husbands. To me it makes more sense that God would design our bodies in such a way that, if we are too stressed or out of balance, our bodies would lose interest in sexual relations. If a man is barely keeping his head above water in life, his body might simply move sexual desire off the table completely.
Besides testosterone, men also pursue sex for the rush and the connection. These too can be affected by a host of things that result in him having lower sexual drive. Most importantly: if he is feeling criticized, disrespected, or demeaned by you it might be very difficult for him to want sex. Pressure to perform, a lack of desire to connect, or the loss of the rush for any number of reasons can also lower his sexual interest.
The reality is that many men experience times when they lose interest in sex for any of a variety of reasons. This is normal. If you, as his wife, don’t expect this occasionally, you might allow your hurt, fear, or confusion to reinforce your inaccurate expectations. The result is rarely helpful in raising his desire to be sensual and intimate with you. I’ve worked with many couples going through a season where the husband has low desire. Often, in the wife’s fear-based anger, she attacks the husband and his manhood (“What’s wrong with you? Real men want sex.”). This attack cuts to the core of the husband’s confidence as a male and often totally disrupts sexual desire in the marriage, turning a temporary situation into a true problem.
Research consistently tells us that in any culture or subculture, husbands have the higher sexual drive in about 80 percent of marriages. While this is a clear majority, it does mean that the wife has the higher sexual drive in one of five couples. That is not a tiny number. So realize: It is possible that nothing is wrong with you or your husband, and that you just happen to be one of those couples. Expecting to be one of the 80 percent when you are actually one of the 20 percent can put undue pressure on your spouse, yourself, and your marriage. Again, it is fine if you wish you weren’t one of the 20 percent, but it is equally important to recognize that you might be.
Now, does that mean you’re simply supposed to accept that you have a mismatch and “live with” the challenging and negative feelings that come with it? Not at all. You might need to accept that you are the high desire spouse in your marriage, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it, or that you need to live with hurt, fear, and confusion. We’ll touch on this more in Part Two, but the bottom line is that there is a lot you can do to address the problem – but there’s also a lot you can do to address your feelings. Take charge of your emotions, so they do not take charge of you.
Another area in which high-desire wives might have unrealistic expectations is in how frequently sex will happen. Some wives simply believe that his desire “should” always be higher than hers– no matter what hers is. The reality, however, is that most individuals (meaning both husbands and wives) report they would like sex more frequently than it happens. So the problem isn’t always the natural desire itself: it’s that other things get in the way of desire, such as fatigue, work, distraction, and fear — to name a few.
His lack of desire might still seem like a problem to you, but before moving forward, try to check your expectations about what his desire should be, and what sex should look like as a couple.
Step #3. Monitor Your “Attributions” (For Example: Don’t Assume You Know Why His Desire is Low)
Typically, when a wife comes into my office concerned about her husband’s lack of sexual desire she tells me she is afraid he is attracted to men, is getting his sexual needs fulfilled elsewhere, or is no longer attracted to her body. We call these explanations of someone else’s behavior attributions. We view their behavior and attribute certain explanations to it. Our attributions can be accurate or inaccurate. Attributions can be positive and can affirm the marriage, or they can be negative and destructive.
My doctoral research focused on desire discrepancy in married couples. My findings showed that the greatest source of pain in couples was not based on who had the higher or lower desire. In essence, the high-desire spouse’s level of desire was not the cause of the distress, and the low level of the low-desire spouse caused only a small amount of marital distress. Further, the greatest predictor of distress related to sexual desire in marriage was not the distance between the high and low spouse’s level of desire. The greatest predictor of distress was in the attribution of the high desire spouse.
Practically, what that means is that if you are the high desire spouse in your marriage, what you think about your husband’s low desire is far more important than his actual desire level, in predicting pain in your marriage. Occasionally I find that the wife’s worst fear about her husband’s low sex drive is true, but typically the reason is far more benign. In their hurt, fear, and confusion, many wives lock in on a negative attribution and don’t take the time to explore what might really be going on. They keep driving down the wrong road, demanding that their husband fix something that is not the core problem.
Thankfully, once you’re mindful of the attribution trap, you can easily avoid it. Especially as you begin a good process for understanding where he is coming from — which is what we will cover in Part Two.
Read Part Two of this three-part series offering hope, encouragement, and direction to wives who have a stronger sexual drive than their husbands.
Dr. Michael Sytsma has been working with couples in a variety of capacities since 1987. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Georgia, a Certified Sex Therapist, and a Certified Sexual Addictions Specialist. He is also an ordained minister with The Wesleyan Church and has served as a staff pastor for churches with attendance from 30 to over 1000. Michael and Karen have been married since 1985 and have two sons, Josiah and Caleb.
This must be an urban legend. I have never ever heard of a woman having a stronger sex drive than a man. Must be an incredible anomaly. I would be thrilled if my wife had the slightest interest in sex. Not so much.
Not an urban legend! I’ve been married for more than 13 years and I have always had a stronger sex drive than my husband. I think women don’t talk about it as much. Some of that has something to do with the fact that many of us with a stronger sex drive assume that there must be something wrong with us or our husbands since they don’t desire us they way “society” implies they should. If you are familiar with the 5 love languages then you’ll know that one of those is touch, which for whatever reason, has always been mine. I respond very strongly to my husband’s touch but it’s not always and actually not often overt, as we have small children.
Yes, being the wife with a higher desire is hard. All we have heard is about how we are not to deny our husbands and how denying him 3 times shuts him down. And us being denied doesn’t have the same effect? False.
But yet the woman, even by female advisors is often excepted to be more understanding, choose our words carefully, which is ALL good advice….BUT most articles regarding women not wanting sex is a different take….we are told we make are husbands feel neglected, how women don’t understand how much it means men ect. Even the advice playing field and shoot straight with men, including, get their emotionally lazy self off the pornography site…completely… and put the work into fore-play, both physically and emotionally with your wife instead of your nightlife pornography relationship.
Sarah G says
Exactly. My first husband lost me because of his lack of desire for me, yet he had a very high desire to porn. After 14 years I did the unthinkable , cheated, left and although it wasn’t right I felt cheated on for years when he didn’t invest in me but preferred his porn.
TRUTH to that comment- I get shot down all the time and we are just engaged. I could possibly see if we were in a long stagnant marriage but I beg to even just please him and he tells me to stop – feeling unwanted, denied and hurt us an understatement- I love him and don’t desire anyone but him, so I would never leave or cheat …. but my goodness not sure how to get him to want to rip my clothes off.
lol (last line was ultimate), Nothing to worry. There is always a way to find it. So try to find what’s his interest when it comes to sex, If he is not interested in sex then ask him what makes him crazy because communication matters a lot. Try experimenting in different ways. So you could find it out one day. Once you found it that day he will rip your clothes off 😉
I’m in the same boat!
Do not get married until this is worked out.
Marilou Perez says
Yes I agree with you me too.
Sadly, it’s not as uncommon as most people are led to believe. I have been married to my husband for less than 2 years and have yet to spark any real desire in him. I am 23. I work out every day, I cook, I dress to impress and attempt to initiate every night. The majority of the time my efforts are fruitless.
We have had many conversations about the issue but they never seem to result in any action. Unfortunately, there is little in the ways of counselling on the situation. Every blog I have read is directed as the wife to respond to her husbands sexual advances. Every rejection chips away a little more every day.
Not sure whether you’ll get to read this or not, but since I’m one of those stronger sex drive women types, I thot I’d write and ask how things are going since last year. Were you able to find some help in communicating your needs in a way that would bring understanding and healing?
You are not alone. I’ve been married 19 years and my husband can’t sleep cuddling; once he is asleep I can sometimes hold his hand or have my hand on him. There’s nothing like a little nightly rejection to a person who’s love language is physical touch to build a girl’s confidence.
Sarah G says
My love language is the same. Oh my heart breaks reading these comments . I think this is much more a common problem than any woman cares to admit ❤️.
Rechel my husband and I have been married for 3 years and the same thing is happening in our marriage. I am not sure I can go on much longer waiting 6 months, 3 months to have intimacy… I know he watches porn I have seen the websites on his phone. But he always turns me down which hurts. I find myself always waiting for him to start something because why bother getting turned down again for the 1,000th time. It just eats at me he says he thinks about it but other crap is more important. I find myself wishing i could get rid of my drive so I don’t have to worry about getting turned down..
Sarah G says
Oh I felt so sad. I hear myself in your comments. I would have paid a lot of money to make my desire go away and to be the socially “normal” wife who isn’t the least bit interested in sex. The porn hits home , and cuts to the core. As a woman it hurt so badly that my now ex husband could find time for that, but not for me. I really do hope things get better for you.
I have been married for 50 years and have a wife that is not the least interested in having any sex at all. Every time I bring it up I get rejected and I can easily see how that hurts you and eventually you just sort of give up! I wish we were equally balanced in this regard but it seems to me that it is either one way or the other. Have you tried different perfumes
to see if he likes certain sents that could activate his desires?
I have a stronger sex drive in my relationship as well. Its actually still taking a lot of work for me to adjust to. I love my guy so much and all I ever want is him. He loves sex but isn’t good ay being the initiator and that means if I want it I always have to be the one to go after it. Maybe for some woman that’s ok and for the most part it is for me as well but honestly sometimes it gets to me that he don’t ever just come home and ravage me. What that does is make me think there is something wrong with me or us. This is the first time I’ve ever Been through this. My first husband (R. I. P) couldn’t keep his hands off of me for 18 years. When I walk into a room I can feel the men watching me so I know I am still considered attractive and desirable. I also know that once things are started he is good to go. He says its not a need for him bug it is for me. A physical relationship is almost just as important as the rest too me. Sometimes I wonder if this will actually destroy us one day.
I am one of them
Sarah G says
Not true. My first husband could go weeks without wanting sex. Even early in our marriage. After 14 plus years I’d had enough and eventually didn’t care about his lack of desire. I felt unwanted for years. Then to listen to other wives beating their husbands off , not wanting sex felt like daggers to the heart. It is hard not to take your husbands lack of desire personally .
So many sad stories shared here! From personal experience, it could be in fact that the husband is attracted to men but is trying to make a heterosexual relationship work in order to live up to societal norms, especially if he’s a Christian. I’m sooo so sorry for your pain, ladies, and if that’s in fact the case, I hope it can be revealed and you can find the love, pursuit, and sexual intimacy you deserve from someone who is completely attracted to you!
This is NOT an urban legend. It is true and I’m so thankful someone is finally addressing the issue! I am one of those 1 in 5 women who desires six more than my husband. I keep thinking something is wrong with me when I attend conferences and hear that men want sex sll the time! My husband rarely initiated it. He responds to me, but I began having all the doubts from above and thought that something was wrong with either me or my husband! I look forward to reading more! It is a problem for us in our marriage( and no, I’m not a sexual addict…. Just desire it more within our marriage with my husband) Thabk you for addressing this!
Realizing for the 1st time in 12 years of marriage, I’m not alone!
Not true, I have a higher sex drive then my husband.
I could have written your entire post. Right down to th number of years married. I would love to chat and support each other. Look me up on FB Amanda Lloyd in Hawaii.
Do you know any support online group.
I would really like to talk about my struggles in a safe place.
This has practically described the past 18 years.
Thanks ladies for your comments. I work with lots of women in your place and hear the mix of emotions. I hope this series gives some hope and encouragement. Thanks to Shaunti for addressing it.
Would you give the higher drive men the same advice? Would you tell them ‘she may not be able to keep up?’ I doubt it. Shaunti Feldhahn often tells wives to ‘ramp it up’ This is such a frustrating article. I’m so done with Christian sex advice.
Tanya. Good question. I am generally much harder on high desire husbands. It is not her job to “keep up” to him (or him to her), it is his job to cherish and protect her. He needs to establish an environment that draws her in. While the advice is similar to both (as the process is similar), I find most wives are already doing what they can from their side (with some tweaks). High desire husbands are less likely to be doing all they can in establishing an effective environment.
PS: You did notice this article was written by a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Sex Therapist, not by Shaunti. I appreciate and support her work but don’t blame her for my teaching.
Yes, but you are on HER blog. You wouldn’t be here if she didn’t condone what you say.
Wow thank you so much for writing this. I was thinking that something was wrong with me. I love being with my hubby just thought i was turning into a pest! I feel more prepared to manage it all now with the guidance and a little relieved to know that I am part of the 1 in 5 and there is a biblical and community out there for me too. God bless you.
Thank you so much for writing this. I too am among the few who desire it more than my husband. It wasn’t that way when we first got married-he wanted it just as much as I did-but after I got pregnant with our youngest, it changed and he stopped wanting it all together. We weren’t intimate for 11months! And now it’s only once every 3 months. I can’t wait to read the next 2 parts.
Julie Sibert says
Great post! I met Dr Sytsma years ago and think his insights are so needed. Spot on!
As I blog and speak about sexual intimacy in marriage, I hear from quite a few wives who have a higher sex drive. I have a page on my site full of posts specifically on this. I’ve added this post to that page:
Thank you Shaunti for having Dr Sytsma kick off this series!
Madam please help me
These men should kiss the ground these women walk on. I know this is very antidotal but every male friend I have could only dream of having a wife with a strong sex drive. I only thought they were like mythical creatures. These guys are so very fortunate. Sex in my marriage is earned and is hard, hard work. I have to beg and plead for the one time a month I get it. She is rarely into it but she feels I’ve earned it. My wife controls when and how we have sex every single time, no exceptions. She is always in control.
John – your last 5 sentences described quite well what many of these wives experience and how they feel.
Wow! John I feel the exact was about sex with my husband. Sometimes it feels like pulling teeth to get him interested. Very different from the first 3 years of our marriage. Once I made a comment about guys wishing they had a wife as interested in sex as I was. He simply laughed it off. Being constantly rejected by your spouse takes a toll after 12 years. We have had many conversations about the issue, but his interest level never changes.
Wow, it’s like you are in my head.
I feel the exact same way it’s depressing and emotionally draining I don’t know what to do anymore or how to go about it’s
This is very sad to hear. Sex isn’t something to be controlled or held over someone’s head. I was in a sexless marriage for a long time. It ended sadly not for the reasons of lack of sex. I am soon to be remarried and waited to find someone that I could make love with and if course fall in love with as often as more than 4 times a day if we have time. If your not sexually compatible it’s not goin to work out in the long run.
Martin en Ella says
We have been married for 32 years now, all my life i’ve ben talking, explaining and learning how to be a good lover for my wife. The sad thing is that she never done the same for me. She’s just not interested. If God wants us to save sex for marriage, why doesnt He put together two people with the same drive? It would be so much better.
You should check out the blog (the forgiven wife) it helped us get back on track. I’ve learned to do more on my part also.
John, I left my husband after 23 years of marriage. He controlled EVERYTHING! After having our first child it was 2 yrs. After our second it was a few yrs. And after our third it was four yrs. He would always tell that it just wasn’t in his blood. I spent my marriage trying so hard to make him happy and nothing worked. I just couldn’t do it. I am so sorry to hear all these stories. It makes me sad for everyone.
This is so typical of one of your posts . When the man has the higher drive , you go on and on about why and how his needs should be met because that’s how he is wired . How he needs it to feel affirmed , respected unconditionally , etc . Now that the woman has the higher drive in this story , you are finding reasons why she shouldn’t be accommodated . Why is every post leaning the same way ? What year is this ???
Shel – My apologies. I wrote this article to the women, not to the husbands. When I speak to the husbands in these relationships I challenge them to sort through the issues you will see in part three and step up to the plate in their marriage. Wives, in these relationships, have limited power in challenging her husband to connect in the frequency and manner she desires (I challenge for far more than “accommodating” each other). For women who feel affirmed, respected, and cherished through sex, seeking to connect with her in that way is part of his responsibility.
Write to the husbands then! Give me something to show my husband. There is no reason for me to just find a way to cope with not being desired. Give me something useful. While this article provided plenty of great info, it made me feel pretty hopeless.
I agree AMF. 100%…. if I enumerate it to sex 12 -16 times a year, that’s pretty bleak. Sad, and not at all what I thought I was signing up for. WE are ALL tired. We all get crappy sleep now and then. We all work hard and have pressures of raising a family and holding down the fort. Why do men get to use that as an excuse to rebuff their wives, but wives get lectures when they truly are too tired??? I can assure you there are some wives who are never too tired, bc 12-16 times a YEAR we can put off the tiredness and make it happen .
AMF, your previous comment about the article saying we have to accommodate the men and that’s just how they are made, but the women are supposed to deal with it when the shoe is on the other foot, well, that more than stinks. Thanks for speaking up!
Debbie Parker says
I completely agree! After reading the post about men having higher sex drive and how would we feel if we were not shown love by not hearing I love you etc and then reading this I was very much insulted. In other words we should suck it up and give in to what the man wants whether he wants intamcy or not. I am also in situation where mine has very little interest. Once every couple months or longer suits him and then I have to get aggravated and get the “lets get this over with” attitude. It is just as hurtful to a woman than it is to a man in the same situation.
Debbie Parker says
Omgosh! That’s exactly how he makes me feel ..
I hurts so bad~
I did not take your articles as a stance that I needed to lower my sex drive as a wife. I took them simply as an explanation of the 1 in 5 women that have a higher sex drive than their husbands and some reasons for why this might be and some possible solutions to work together towards a more fulfilling sex life with both partners.
For me, it really is a huge blessing to know that I am not alone! I really began thinking that my husband was getting his needs met elsewhere. We’ve had many conversations about it. He’s always assured me this was not the case and I don’t think it is. After reading part 3 of the series, my husband is one who works 65-70 hours a week and then comes home to help me with the 3 kids and then often continues to work from home. He has even shared this with me in that he just doesn’t think of it and is so stressed from work. He is also hyper focused ( which is great when he does think of sex with me!) so is thinking about work or how to provide for us. I believed him, but didn’t realize there were actually other men out there too like this! You always only hear of the men who can think about or perform sex at the drop of a hat! Just knowing that my husband and I are normal is 1/2 the battle! Sure, we need to discuss and work on things, but I don’t feel like I am so undesirable anymore….it will be easier for me to really take to heart now when my husband says he does enjoy Sex with me and does find me attractive etc. it was hard for me to believe him before reading this! Again thank you Dr. Systma and to Shaunti for addressing this!
Blessings to you and your husband as you seek to be faithful to each other. Thanks for your kind feedback.
Wish it weren’t true but women can have a higher drive. In our first 5 years I felt I was denied the level of activity I wanted but after 20 years I have settled that this is the way it is. it is OK to have 3 or 4 times a year. We don’t suffer for it we have a great marriage and love between us. Sex isn’t everything when there are so many wonderful things to respect and love in the other person.
I have had a higher sex drive since I became sexual active at 14. I think the only time my sex drive turned into nothing was when I was pregnant with my son, but now it seems like my husband doesn’t want to touch me and is a chore for him :/ he is active duty military so I know his job is stressful but he can go weeks without holding my hand,touching my hair and even kissing me and he will be sitting across from me.he has a nonexistent sex drive and he is only 21 🙁
Great post! This helps me realize a few of things.
1. I am not alone
2. There isn’t anything wrong with me for having a higher drive than my husband.
3. There isn’t anything wrong with my husband for having a lower drive.
4. Grace wins every time!
Wonderfully written article! I am blessed to be in a marriage where my husband and I have (for the most part) equal sex drives. I counsel many women whose sex drives are stronger than their husbands though and they struggle with how to deal with it. It’s amazing sometimes the unnecessary shame they feel because they think they aren’t “wired” right.
I too have a high sex drive! My high sex drive has gotten higher and higher as I have gotten older. My husband is very understanding of it and I am also understanding that he has a lower sex drive than me but if I want it or if he wants it we give it to each other! No we don’t feel like it’s a job! We love that intimacy between each other and I have had to be understanding and selfless in the times that I want it and he’s super tired or stressed out! Sometimes we have to put aside our own needs for the needs of our spouse!
How does masturbation fit into this mix? I would prefer sex 2-3 times per week instead of 2-3 times per month. My husband dedicates a lot of time to his hobbies (cycling 4-6 days a week for 3 hours at a time) which leaves me feeling unimportant and undesirable. He tells me I can’t compare one to the other. Then occasionally I find out he has self gratified which enforces those feelings even more. 13 years of this….it becomes difficult not to seek out attention elsewhere simply for reaffirmation that his lack of interest is not because I’m not attractive.
Masturbation is a major factor in causing men to avoid pursuing their wives. It diverts the sex drive artificially, and introduces false and misleading drivers for fulfilment in a man. This has the inevitable impact in a marriage.
I don’t see how men can allow masturbation, and truly pursue their wives in mutually fulfilling intimacy.
Married men and women are not independent. Rather interdependent. And sexual fulfilment is not found in self gratification. It’s cheating. Falsehood, and a betrayal of a spouse.
I was previously addicted to masturbation, and it was a secret that bound me for many years prior to marriage and in my marriage. What set me free was honesty with my wife and a resolve to only find sexual expression and fulfilment in my marriage, according to my vows. I had been wrong.
Masturbation or pornography have never been an issue since, because I have only ever sought sexual intimacy and fulfilment with my wife ever since.
A husband is wrong to masturbate, and thus betray his marital vows to honour and cherish his wife. It’s selfish. Independent, and undermines marriage principles.
There is nothing wrong with your wife masturbating you or a wife using a vibrator whenever she wants. Keep the parts exercised and interest going forever. Try different things and nothing wrong with both of you watching the porn and trying what they do as well.
I wish I would have read this article a few months ago. My husband of 25 years has always had low sex drive compare to me, as we grew older we have had our low and high points and have had many conversations about it, I feel like nothing ever changes. I feel more frustrated with the years and neglected by his little need of having intimacy with me. I can relate to “Lovetobemrs” where at some points of my life I looked elsewhere to find reaffirmation towards myself. But I still find it difficult for a man not to need sex at least once a month in my case it’s every three months. Am I asking for too much? Am I been insensitive? I just don’t know anymore.
Lovetobemrs same here. Very awful for the self-esteem. I rarely turn my husband down so imagine my hurt and shock when I found him masturbating while I was sitting out in the couch and he didn’t even attempt it with me.
Charlie's Angel says
My husband has a low sex drive. But then again he also has thyroid problems. His doc says that can cause low sex drive. He’s 50, I’m 36. I have a MUCH higher sex drive than him. He tells me he’s still attracted to me but doesn’t like me always asking for sex. That kinda threw me off, and yes it’s frustrating because I’m a sexual being. Basically, I have to wait for him to initiate any sex. Sometimes I have to wait weeks, sometimes months…
Jackie/Kate/Farrah (whichever of Charlie’s Angels – or at 36 I guess you would be one of the new ones)
Sorry for where you are in marriage. Yes, thyroid issues can dampen sexual drive, but he can still desire to because it’s good for the marriage and healthy. (Besides the fact that he agreed to it at the altar.) I would encourage you to keep talking about this as a couple. It’s fine for him to ask you not to “always” ask for sex, but for a married couple, it is perfectly ok for you to ask. Work on finding an asking frequency he will agree to. For example: What would he like as a goal? It is common for low desire men to state their “goal” is to have sex about once a week (though it often doesn’t play out that frequent). If that’s what he picks, ask if you can initiate if it goes past a week without sex. Or – simply see if you can ask every week or 10 days. The problem with just waiting for him is it’s easy for resentment to grow. Not a good plan and it doesn’t seem to be working for you. So…back to the coffee table to see if you can agree on a plan that might work better.
John, I’m not sure if it would be helpful for you and your wife, but you may want to check out the Authentic Intimacy website by Linda Dillow and Dr Juli Slattery. They were featured on focus on the family and their concepts have been a huge help for me as a wife.
Rachel, you are not alone girlfriend!! Your story hits home with me because I have only been married 2.5 years and am in a similar boat. I eat healthy, workout frequently, am very active and fit, and yet my husband’s sex drive has always been lower than mine. I have had many frustrated conversations with him about this but in hindsight know I hurt him by the way I shared with him my hurts and frustrations. Instead of loving him while I shared my heart, my words were cutting and degrading to him as a man. He is absolutely wonderful at loving me…just not in pursuing me in the sexual ways I desired and thought he should as a husband. (I will admit, I had countless EXPECTATIONS about how men should be in marriage from TV, movies, and even friends and family!)
Unfortunately my husband had deep wounds from his past of insecurities in himself. My words only resurfaced those insecurities and since he is an avoider when dealing with conflict, and a pleaser, he never shared with me how much the way I shared my disappointment was hurting him.
We are in a much better place now, and with the help of an incredible counselor, and by the Grace of our wonderful Savior, our relationship has been growing in beautiful ways!!
I’m not a sex addict either, I just love the intimate connection I get to have with my best friend, my husband. And I love the pursuit from him, that’s why it was so difficult to explain to him how I wanted him to pursue me sexually for me feel desired and beautiful.
It’s crazy what can surface in just 2 years of marriage, but that’s what marriage is all about. Learning each other, how to love each other in ways that each other desires, and becoming more like Jesus through it all. That’s what marriage is all about…glorifying God! And when we learn how to communicate in all areas, including sexually, marriage can be incredible again, even after years of hurt and confusion!!
All you ladies are so awesome!! Thank you for being so open and transparent, it is so wonderful knowing we aren’t alone!! Blessings to each of you!! And thank you Dr. SYTSMA for taking time and investing so much into writing these wonderful articles!!
I also had the same problem as a woman had strong sex libido more than my husband.I loved my husband very much but i wished i could have two husbands !!
After all man cannot cope with a woman’s needs ….when he is done that is end of story…go to sleep….is the same as eating if one likes the dish and wants seconds….well….maybe next month???? sad situation….hahah
Thank you for this post, and all the comments, it makes me feel I’m not alone!
I have only been married only a year (been togetehr for 7) and I’m so frustrated that my husband never seems to want to get intimate with me (no pun intended!)
It makes me feel very unattractive and low, I hear my friends moan about their husbands wanting it all the time and I just can’t get my head around why my husband doesn’t want it
Thanks for this article. It’s good to know that I’m not alone and I’ll just leave it at that.
So how do we get our husbands to have more love making / sex
With us ? Need help !
I’ve been married for 7 years and have always had the higher interest/desire than my husband. i have never read anything like this, and not for lack of research! I had tears running down my face reading these posts because I couldn’t believe other women were writing what I have felt for a long time. It has been very hard feeling isolated about the issue. I try to respect my husband about it and not belittle him for it, but it’s hard to know how to get support. We tried counseling and I couldn’t even bring it up in there… so it obviously didn’t help us much. I don’t want to live in the place where I have to be closed off and not care in order to feel at peace. This has been a long road and God is teaching me a lot. I’m thankful I came across this article!
Dr. Sytsma says
Rachel – Glad this is helpful, especially the many courageous women who have commented. I pray for the courage to lovingly and respectfully address this with your husband. And…you may need another in the room when you do. You are right, it is unlikely to get better if we don’t speak up. Bless you.
My Ex-husband’s inability to sexually satisfy me and his lack of desire killed our marriage after 17 years. We spent thousands of dollars on Marriage Counseling to try to get to the bottom of his lack of desire for me, to no avail. I am a Physical Touch Love Language person and he was not. A woman can only beg for sex from her marital partner for so many years before she will seek affirmation of her attractiveness and sexuality OUTSIDE of the marriage. I didn’t want to have affairs, I wanted my HUSBAND to meet my sexual needs, but he just couldn’t get there. When I found he was in chat rooms with teenage girls and on the computer with porn, it ended our relationship. I have not remarried yet but am in love with a man with similar Love Language as my own, with a sex drive to match mine. We want to make love daily sometimes more often. We plan to marry eventually and may I say he is 71 and I am 57 years young.
WRONG. Again. But Shanti is very good at that isn’t she? Men don’t have the higher sex drive 80% of the time. It is 50-50 – equally likely that one partner can have a higher, lower or same desire as the other. Get your facts straight feminist.
Dr. Sytsma says
Not sure I fully understand your comment. This was the area of my doctoral dissertation and those numbers are provided by me (not Shaunti) so I’m happy to answer any questions you have.
Statistically, within one relationship, you are correct that it would be a 50/50 split on who would be the higher desire as we are talking about 2 people. However, research looking at who is the higher drive individual in heterosexual marriage brings back the same 80/20 split in every culture (and sub-culture) studied – the husband is the higher drive individual in 80% of marriages. This is actually remarkably consistent as we would expect more cultural difference. My research was the largest matched pair sample of married couples looking at sexual desire discrepancy to date (150 couples). It came back with the same 80/20 split that other studies have.
That’s impossible. Nature has balance. Something is wrong about either the research or the source of the research. Many other studies prove otherwise. Many women are also coward liars.
80%??? Funny joke. Proven DEAD WRONG otherwise. It’s about 50-50. Get your facts straight.
Mary Holmes says
When one partner wants sex more often than the other, this can cause marriage problems. The one with the low mood for sex should convey to his/her partner on how to set the mood. Maybe it takes a certain ambiance to get one partner in the mood. But I also agree the split between who wants more sex is often around 50/50, men just have a bad reputation.
This is definitely not an urban legend. I’m a 41yr old woman who’s sex drive has always been higher than the “norm”. It’s incredibly heartbreaking being in a relationship with a man who turns you down constantly, I’m so thankful for this article.
I’m so glad I’m not alone in this. I also suffer from this higher libido sthan my hubby situation. ? I have been rejected so many times… I cried silently without him noticing. I get lascivious looks from other guys on occasions, but hubby doesn’t get jealous or anything it’s like I’m his family friend and not his woman. So frustrating. His excuse… He is tired or not in the mood… Or feels sick… I have attempted to wake him up on many occasions with oral stimulation (weekend after full night sleep and still get rejected); I offer me ridding him and doing all the work and still no…. Sometimes months go by…. I adore him… He loves me.. But I don’t think this is a sustainable situation…
This article is B S. You’re basically saying the wife needs to be the one to check herself. The wife needs to accept his drive. The wife can’t expect anything from him. Well I’m sure you wouldn’t say that to a husband. Are you serious? I need to do work on me because my husband won’t try? Gtfo.
Thanks for the info
I am also a wife with a higher drive than my husband. We have only been married for a year and a half, but it has always been that way. I am 49, and my husband is 54. This is a second marriage for both of us. I was not this way in my first marriage, as he was very abusive. I know that for my husband, his drive has decreased with age and weight gain.
I do not have words to explain how desperately hurtful it is that the man that I love and desire, has so little desire for me. It destroys me.
To his credit, he says he loves me more than I realize. He tells me that he does desire me. But, mostly his rejection is just that he’s too tired, or doesn’t feel like it.
He doesn’t want me to take it personally, but I can’t think of anything that could possibly be MORE personally hurtful.
Fuller Ming says
Wow Ann (and others). This is an amazing difference. Shaunti Feldhahn says about 75% of men have this constant sex drive/high libido. The other 15% to 25% of men then have what is called “receptive desire” which requires their wives to help them THINK about and prepare for sex. Women in your situation may have what is called “assertive desire.” BUT, if you BOTH have receptive desire, then for you as a woman – it’s normal so you may FEEL like your husband has no interest. Someone is going to have to understand this difference and serve (i.e. love – which is a verb – See 1 Corinthians 13 in Bible) the other. See if you can both learn about these differences, separate the differences from being male or female, and learn to help each other.
Its good to know that I am not the only high sex drive wife out there. Every single thing I read in the comments, I have experienced in my marriage. Its frustrating, mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting.
The article was an ok read.
But I suggest looking at articles that specifically tell husbands what they need to do to help, comfort, and sexually pleasure their high sex drive wives.
Because while this article addressed the sexual frustrations that high sex drive wives go through….it did not tell the husbands what they needed to do. Instead it put all responsibilities on the wife and even suggested she change her sex drive.
Dr. Michael Sytsma says
Thanks Natalie! Yes, this article is specifically written to wives so I didn’t address what husbands can (need to) do. We can only change self. That doesn’t mean husbands don’t have equal responsibility for marital change. While I hint at things he can do in part 2 and especially 3, maybe down the road we can have a linked article for the low desire husband. The number of couples where the wife is the high desire continues to rise in the research so this is a growing concern (and very common in my clinical practice). I do strongly disagree with attempting to “change her sex drive”. While many wives wish for that in my office, I do not see it as healthy (if even doable). I apologize if that was one of your take away messages.
Again, thanks for the feedback. http://SexualDesireInMarriage.com
I think that pronography has a bad influence in marriages too. Man expect their wives to do the things they see on the internet, most woman are not like that.
It’s a matter of redefining what you mean by ‘sex’. Of course if a husband is unable to get or maintain an erection as often as is necessary to have PIV sex, then maybe he could give her a ‘gift’. This is what the lower drive wife is usually advised to do on these blogs. If it works for him, it’ll work for her.