This question came from one of my readers. They asked for both my husband and my opinion, so that they can get both a male and female perspective. It’s a bit lengthy but the topic deserved it.
Q. Can you weigh in on “mismatched libidos” in marriage?
A. Absolutely! What a pertinent question. It has been my experience that it affects most marriages at some point.
First, I would suggest you rule out any physical reasons why sex is not desired as much, or at all in some cases. Are there hormone issues (his/hers)? Sickness? Medications? You want to be certain there isn’t anything going on physically that would interfere with the sex drive. Assuming all is well physically, I’m going to offer some common reasons we’ve found from our work with couples that may be helpful in exploring this issue. I will also give a few suggestions on how to work it through.
First I would start with some open communication. Many couples get very defensive while dealing with this issue. The only time they may express something about it is after they’ve been rejected or reached a breaking point. This reaction only hinders communication about sex, since it’s usually charged with frustration, anger, and/or hurt. A conversation needs to take place but only when you both are in a good frame of mind, you’re thinking clearly, and your emotions are in check. After you plan a good time to sit and talk, remember to keep it all judgment free. Making a positive connection at this level will be a great precursor in jump-starting those libidos with some emotional intimacy.
Begin the conversation with what you are in agreement on. Highlight your strengths and you’ll gain a sense of empowerment and hope. It could look something like this:
Hopefully, the answers are yes (otherwise that’s a whole other marital challenge to be sorted out). To help you understand the significance of this power of agreement, imagine if you will, the two of you standing in a boxing ring, poised to fight. Coming into agreement would put you both in the same corner of the ring, to face the issue together; as opposed to being at opposite ends fighting each other. This is huge! We all have various challenges in our marriages, and some topics are more sensitive than others. Sex, or the lack of it, being one of the harder conversations to have, the power of agreement really helps. Since our egos are involved we take it very personally. We can easily become defensive and oppositional, if you feel your spouse is no longer attracted to you (which many times is not even the case). More often than not, the issue could be as simple as being exhausted (i.e.; new parents, overload from work and or school). Those are the easy issues; easier to work on that is.
Sometimes, I have seen wives who no longer desire sex with their husbands due to a lack of emotional intimacy. The couple no longer spends time together alone. She can’t remember the last time he looked into her eyes or kissed her, outside of the bedroom. The number one complaint from wives is their heart and emotions have not been stimulated, and then all of a sudden their husband wants them to be physically intimate with them. Women typically need to be emotionally connected before wanting to be physically connected (excluding the spontaneous quickie). It may not make sense to some men; nonetheless it’s how we women are wired. On the flip side, I have also heard from husbands who don’t desire sex with their wife because of how she treats him. All day long they feel spoken to in a demeaning and disrespectful way, and then their wife wants them to be physically intimate as if nothing ever happened. It turns them off and fuels resentment.
Long lasting, healthy, passionate marital relations, have to be nurtured and cared for. Having a somewhat active sex life is a clue to the health of the relationship. It’s actually a barometer of how the relationship is doing. When the relationship is healthy, you want to keep your sex life alive. You know it’s an important part of your marriage and you will do whatever it takes to support it; not to mention its also a great source of enjoyment and pleasure when there’s no strife in the way.
Here are a few suggestions that may help to keep it healthy. For new parents, the solution can be as simple as giving your spouse a little nap or some free time. If it’s a matter of emotional intimacy, regular date nights and personal conversations (other than the kids and bills) are helpful. Date nights are also useful for bringing up sensitive topics that have been on your mind. It’s a time to be open and transparent about how you’ve been feeling (disrespected, unappreciated, etc.) and for the other to find out how he or she can work on changing that. You can also ask for forgiveness or give it in return if needed, affirm your love for each other, or just have some fun together.
Lastly, and just as important, is planning these times to be alone and be intimate. Schedule sex??? No, create the space for sexual intimacy to happen naturally. If you don’t, you will find (if you haven’t already) that life will always seem to crowd it out.
My husband’s opinion (Thomas Stafford):
I agree with everything Regina shared, but would add one more thing. Many professionals recommend watching pornography together for stimulation. You don’t need outside help to fix inside issues. Pornography and sexual fantasy are not going to add to your intimacy, or fix whatever is causing you to be mismatched. Porn usually invites a new set of issues into the mix, such as insecurity, feelings of inadequacy, isolation, and unreal expectations regarding your sex life, which will further increase the divide; not to mention, its also addictive. Don’t look for the quick fix. Do the work it takes to build a fantastic sex life together, which will satisfy both of you beyond your golden years.
#Sex #maritalsex mismatchedlibidos #marriagechallenge #healthyrelationships #emotionalintimacy #rewardscoaching #marriagebuilders #marriagecoaches
I post my blogs bi-weekly, with a focus on strengthening and encouraging the amazing women and wives that you all are, You'll also find relevant conversations on marriage, relationships communication, and thoughts on having a Spiritual Journey.