I have a very high sex drive, and my wife has a very low sex drive. Time and time again she tells me, “I’m not in the mood tonight.” I respond that there are all kinds of things I do for her when I’m “not in the mood” – go to work, wash the dishes, help with the housework. How is her “not in the mood” different from my “not in the mood?”
Whether you want to hear it or not, discomfort with sex is very different from discomfort with a job or some other unpleasant but necessary aspect of life. This is especially true for women.
Marital sex is not – at least it shouldn’t be – a mere “chore” or a perfunctory act carried out to satisfy one or both partners’ bodily needs. From a Christian perspective, sex is the ultimate expression of physical, emotional, and spiritual unity between a husband and wife. It’s a wondrous, beautiful, holy, self-transcendent, and sacramental experience. It’s a picture of the mystery of Christ’s relationship with the church (Ephesians 5:31).
Hold that biblical image in your mind for a moment and ask yourself the following question: do I seriously want to compare my wife’s feelings about sex with my own attitude toward taking out the garbage? The answer should be obvious.
If you really want to understand your wife, bear these few simple thoughts in mind. For a woman, sex requires a willingness to be vulnerable, transparent, and open to her husband’s advances. It involves an ability to trust (an ability which will need special nurturing if she’s had a history of childhood abuse, date rape, or mistreatment by men). If she feels used, or if she’s uncomfortable for any reason with any aspect of the sexual act, she won’t be able to relax and enjoy the moment.
If you’re pushing your wife into doing things she’d rather not do, you’re squelching her openness and vulnerability. You’re destroying her ability to trust and forcing her into a corner where she has no choice except to adopt a defensive attitude. That spells death to genuinely meaningful intimacy. That means that the sexual relationship is less than fulfilling for both of you.
If you recognize that you’re missing out on the fun and joy of God’s glorious plan for marital intimacy, we’d recommend you consider one of our books on the topic in the Love and Marriage Section of our online bookstore.
Professional therapy can also be of great benefit to couples in your situation. We’d encourage you to seek the help of a Christian counselor near you.
Copyright © 2010, Focus on the Family. Used by permission
Recommended Book Intimate Issue