By Robin May
Yes. We are about to talk about sex. Such a touchy subject (pun unintended) especially for us church folk. And I understand why. It can be a tricky line to be free to express our sexuality (within marriage) and not be prudish, while knowing the importance of discretion despite the culture we currently live in.
Recently on the KD Bowe Show, we discussed this topic and it was such a touchy (there I go again…) conversation because men and women often get on the defensive when talking about why their partners may not be enjoying their intimate connections.
As a therapist I often find that when it comes to areas of conflict in relationships men and women are unable to hear the others perspective because of their filters. You can click HERE to watch one of the “Marriage Moments” video on the topic of filters to understand better. But basically over time we all develop filters through which we process life. And when our filters become backed up with frustrations, disappointments, and challenges it is hard for us to connect with others (especially our spouses) in a healthy manner.
The reality though is that if you want to have a popping, spicy, exciting and ‘swinging from the chandeliers’ kind of sex life (Yes…all of that is okay no matter how holy you are!) then you might want to start listening to what your spouse is (and maybe even more important…what they are not) saying!
Let’s start with the ladies! Of course this does not cover all the reasons why it may seem like your wife is not interested in sex, but here are a few top reasons that I’ve found through the years I’ve worked with couples:
1st things 1st: Please understand that contrary to popular belief, women desire sex just as much (and at times more) than men do. The challenge is that our fire can easily be tapped out by the demands of life. So with that said, your wife may not seem interested in sex because:
1. She doesn’t feel secure
Financially, spiritually, emotionally…Your wife needs to feel covered and protected by you. I don’t care how strong she is, she needs you. And when she does not feel secure in the marriage, she will often not feel like being sexually intimate. This of course is also tied into her knowing that you are being faithful and committed to her. Trust me…one is directly connected to the other.
What can a husband do? Ask your wife if she feels secure and if not, what you can do differently to help change how she feels.
2. She doesn’t feel supported
Work. Meals. Bills. Homework. Doctors Appointments. Parent Teacher Conferences. Ailing parents. On and on…many women tell me that they feel like they are juggling everything that makes the family run smoothly and they often feel like they are doing it alone. Many women have said “I feel like my spouse is just another one of my children that I have to manage.” No wonder she isn’t interested in having sex. She is too tired.
Ladies…let’s have a little girl talk. (Fella’s don’t read this part) Now, we have to be fair. Because we want things done the way we want them done, we can easily become the martyr (‘whoa is me, I have to do it all by myself’) and we refuse to give our spouse the opportunity to help. While he might not do it just like you would, the goal is for it to get done…so loosen the reigns a little bit.
What can a husband do? Chip in consistently! Sit down with your wife and revisit how the two of you manage the demands of your life and make sure that the work load is distributed in a way that is mutually beneficial for both of you.
3. She doesn’t feel sensual
Whether it is the suspect tummy, the extra junk in the trunk or the never ending wiggly arms, when a woman doesn’t FEEL sexy, she often doesn’t want to have a whole lot of sex. Sure, this has mostly to do with a woman’s perception of herself, but remember perception is reality. Or maybe it isn’t her body…maybe she is just having a hard time going into the phone booth as mommy and coming out as a sex kitten. Either way, when her perception is off, her libido often is too.
What a can a husband do? Start a campaign of reassurance! Remind her…daily …how attractive she is to you. Try and be specific when you can. Instead of “You look nice today” you could say “Girl, that dress is doing you right”. (oooh maybe I should do a book of pickup lines!) Also, you can help her with the transition. After dinner encourage your wife to go take a hot bath to relax…just cross your fingers and pray that she doesn’t fall asleep.
Let’s transition. It’s time to share 3 reasons your husband may not really be enjoying intimacy:
1.He is distracted
Whether it is because of pressures from work, family challenges or issues in your marriage, contrary to popular opinion a man’s libido can be impacted by what is happening in his life. Don’t get me wrong…for many men it doesn’t stop them from engaging in or even initiating sex, but it can impact the quality of the act.
What can a wife do? Ask your husband how you can help him (“Honey, lately you’ve seemed a little more stressed than usual…is there anything I can do to help?”); If your husband opens up to you about what is going on at work or with family, be a good listener…even if you have to bite your lip to keep from interrupting!
2. He senses your disinterest
If I hear any reason more than any other it is this one right here! Men often share with me that being intimate with their wife when she is clearly not interested is a huge turn off. It’s one thing if it is a rare occasion, but if your husband is constantly getting “supposed to” sex vs. “want to” sex (Order a copy of my book “The Intentional Intimacy Project” for married women to understand more of what the difference is…), it will impact his enjoyment when the two of you are together. Your husband wants an engaged, on fire, ready to rock and roll partner…not a “let’s get it over with” partner.
What can a wife do? Get into it! Even if that means sharing with him what you need him to do differently…do so as gently (and maybe even as creatively) as you can!
3. He has an undiagnosed health issue
Men can be stubborn. I know…that is a sweeping generalization so I sort of, kind of, apologize…but I think that it is true when it comes to health issues. Many men are hesitant about going to the doctor and therefore if there is something going on with their health they may not know it. And often health issues directly impact a man’s ability to perform. And the unfortunate part about it is, the issue is often an easy fix, but often goes undiagnosed.
What can a wife do? Encourage your spouse to go to the doctor. This might mean making a special promise (“Baby, if you go to the doctor, when you come home I will be your nurse.” – See! Another good line!)
Remember, this doesn’t begin to cover the range of reasons there might be a disconnect in your marital intimacy. But I believe by starting here, you can at least get the conversation going! We want to hear from you! Join our FACEBOOK community and share your thoughts!