Very Different sex drives

Low or no sex drive?
gracekissed
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Very Different sex drives

Postby gracekissed » Tue May 03, 2016 11:59 am

We have been married almost 9 years, and have always had very different drives, with me being the one who always wants it (5-7+ times a week sounds good!), and him being the one who doesn't think about it much (3-5 times a month would be about average). I am mainly looking for advice and suggestions on how to reconcile our disparate frequency of desires. DH likes sex and is good at it, but has told me that he doesn't think about it throughout the day, and thus doesn't really notice unless it's been more than a week or two. He is a perfectionist and does tend to get preoccupied- then sleeps when he's stressed, so I can understand that to a certain extent. We would both like ideas on how he might be able to stoke the fires to be interested himself more often without me always having to initiate. I am also open to suggestions on how to decrease my own desire somewhat so that we can meet in the middle and both be satisfied.

Pertinent details:

-He doesn't have a history of porn use, and he's not masturbating instead of coming to me either. If he does MB, he won't be interested for at least a couple of days, so he just doesn't do it hardly ever. It's the same thing with sex though, he just has always had a long recovery time, physically and mentally.

-No history of sexual abuse

-No history of premarital sex or infidelity

- I don't know his testosterone status, but I would guess it's low- normal. Whatever it is, it's stayed very consistent throughout the last decade. He did have a slightly low sperm count at one point, but that was just one test and I know those can fluctuate.

- I have PCOS and slightly high testosterone myself, and my already high libido goes through the roof when pregnant (which I currently am). The daily cares of life with young children does ameliorate that somewhat, but I still want it more than he does.

-He doesn't have a problem with pregnant sex, believe me. This issue is the same no matter my fertility status.

-We are both in good physical shape, although exercise isn't a super regular thing.

-I don't have a problem with masturbating myself to relieve tension, but when that's the only option more often than not, I just get discouraged.

Things we've tried:

-I initiate a lot. I like coming on to him, but not when it's all the time, and not when I have a 1/3 chance of getting an excited response.

- Waking him up at night is productive sometimes. Doesn't help me feel pursued, but it does help us connect when it's been a while.

- He's getting better at responding to overt suggestions, which is good, when we first married I could come sit in his lap naked and he wouldn't realize I would like to make love! But if he hasn't been thinking about it, there's only so much I can do at the end of the day.

-I have tried suggesting outside the box things- sometimes he goes along with it, rarely is he really interested, and sometimes he is really uncomfortable. He doesn't want me sending him pictures of my cleavage, and flat-out told me no to a game of strip yahtzee the other night, for example. He says he doesn't have any fantasies (which seems weird, but I don't have any reason to doubt him), so I can't really play to his "secret" desires. This made more sense at the beginning of our marriage, but I feel like after a decade together he should be more comfortable in his own skin to try to spice things up a little bit (and he does agree with me to some extent, but I think increasing desire to a more regular level would need to come first).

-He does snore, and we agreed he'd ask the doctor about a sleep study at his next checkup. Maybe if he's not getting enough rest that can turn everything else off because he could always go back to sleep instead.

Soooo.... any advice would be more than appreciated! We're ready to move past this and stop dealing with the same issues year after year! ::tnx

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Re: Very Different sex drives

Postby SeekingChange » Tue May 03, 2016 12:53 pm

Does he have any desire to make some changes just because he loves you and desires to improve your marriage? Have you talked about that with him?
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, find comfort, survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years...then she did something new.

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Re: Very Different sex drives

Postby Elevation » Tue May 03, 2016 1:10 pm

Have you considered doing the Bible study from "Intimacy Ignited?"

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Re: Very Different sex drives

Postby Unfulfilled » Tue May 03, 2016 2:04 pm

Consider Getting re-tested for testosterone levels. All sex hormones really.

Fatigue is a symptom of low T as well as sleep problems. So he shows several symptoms that would be consistent with low T.

What are your approximate ages?

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Re: Very Different sex drives

Postby gracekissed » Tue May 03, 2016 5:38 pm

SeekingChange wrote:Does he have any desire to make some changes just because he loves you and desires to improve your marriage? Have you talked about that with him?


Definitely. That's why I'm here, really. He has the desire to change, we just don't have the know-how. We had a long talk (again) the other night. Things have improved some after our talks over the years, but not to the point where I don't feel frustrated frequently.

Elevation wrote:Have you considered doing the Bible study from "Intimacy Ignited?"
I didn't know this existed, so thank you! That sounds like a really good idea. Have you done it yourself? If so, could you tell me if it would apply well to a situation where a wife is the one with high drive? Almost every Christian marriage advice I've come I contact with over the years is strongly skewed the opposite way and it can be hard to apply the "for wives " advice to our relationship.

Unfulfilled wrote:Consider Getting re-tested for testosterone levels. All sex hormones really.

Fatigue is a symptom of low T as well as sleep problems. So he shows several symptoms that would be consistent with low T.

What are your approximate ages?
We are both 32. I can suggest the testosterone issue as part of his labs at his checkup this summer, but I wouldn't say he's "fatigued." I am an RN and familiar with that definition, and he seems to have a normal amount of energy for someone who gets 5 to 6 hours of sleep on average during the work week. I'm also not certain the risks of long-term medicating a low-normal level ( which I expect his will be) would outweigh the risks. His thyroid always comes back normal too, by the way. It might be good to at least get a baseline though and decide from there.

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Re: Very Different sex drives

Postby Drob » Tue May 03, 2016 7:51 pm

I anguished over responding to this blog and decided to share my thoughts. If I've learned anything over the past 25 years of marriage it has been that people do have different sex drives and that more than likely will not change. My wife and I are on opposite ends of the sex drive freeway. No amount of prodding, fighting or romancing has changed that. We've done the doctor route and no change. What did change was our attitude towards each other. Being sensitive to each other's feelings and desires have led to a more satisfying and acceptable sex life. Does she desire sex more now than 5, 10 or 15 years ago? No but she no longer tries to curb my desire. She has learned to accept my high sex drive and I've learned to accept her gift of affection for me. She doesn't refuse or gatekeep anymore and I don't expect her to think about sex throughout the day and meet me at the door in lingerie. Once we quit trying to change the other to be like what we are, and accept each other for who they are we were able to move forward in our relationship. I hope this advice is received as intended and may provide comfort and contentment. It's ok to be different it's not ok to withhold.

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Re: Very Different sex drives

Postby gracekissed » Tue May 03, 2016 8:30 pm

No, don't anguish, your input is very appreciated! I think these are very valid thoughts and I want to honor the fact that it's ok that he may be different than the average man and I'm probably different than the average woman in regards to sexual desires. I am honestly glad that we didn't try to "fix" the issue when we first got married, because I don't think either one of us would have had the right mindset then. That's also why I don't want to ask him to make a special doctor's appointment just for this- it's not like it's a sudden thing or like he *never, ever* wants sex. There's a couple of issues that could be important to his overall health that would be good to either rule out or address, but I don't want either of us to see our working on our sex life as a medical problem to be fixed (I mean, I wouldn't want him to suggest taking out my ovaries to lower my hormones to decrease my drive either- not quite the same thing, but a similarly degrading idea, you know?).

One thing I do NOT want to happen is for DH to get the feeling that he's not enough for me or that I am out to change him at all costs. That's part of the reason I would also like suggestions on how to reign my own drive in a bit so that we can meet in the middle in some respect. I understand that it's not healthy for me to be frustrated most of the time, and part of the solution is going to be my own perspectives and how I handle my desires. I don't want to not desire sex, but I want to have reasonable expectations that I can meet too.

I do think (hope anyway!) that there are some things that can change, even if that's just him regularly recognizing that I desire more sexual contact and my accepting short, non-intercourse "gifts of affection" as you put it. That would be ok. We've had a couple of pretty open conversations about it this week and he does actively want to explore the issue and see where we can go with it, so I'm not looking for ways to prod- I feel that would be counterproductive to our relationship on many levels. I don't expect him to ever get to the point of wanting anything close to daily sex, and I appreciate that you very gently pointed out that I shouldn't try to force him to be like me. Twice a week would be nice though...

We had a talk this evening as a follow-up to a midnight cry session a few nights ago (did I mention pregnancy hormones? I don't normally cry like that... :oops: ), and he had some very good thoughts. First of all, we don't take in much media, and he makes it a point not to look at billboards on the way to work or magazine covers in the grocery store- so he's gotten really good about not being stimulated by external sources, but then he doesn't make a point to fill that space with thoughts of us. In the meantime, I've made a habit of filling my mind with thoughts of him touching me whenever I get bored or irritated with what's going on (when we're not together, obviously) and I wish I was doing something else. Secondly, he asked that if we're going to do anything other than sex-before-bed-then-sleep, that we should plan it a few days in advance so he can have that time to think about it. Like the strip Yahtzee... he brought it up again and said now that he's thought about it, it does sound like fun, but he wants to set a date and time, and it can't be on a weeknight.

I think we're at a healthy place where we can focus on this for a while and not be hurt, and I'm encouraged. Even my posting here and discussing what you guys are saying with DH is a big step. I have always liked sex, and believed it was ok to like sex, but had a small part of me be reluctant to admit just how much I think about it to DH, much less anybody else. Opening up the opportunity to be really honest and explore together is going to be a positive experience no matter what ultimate conclusions and arrangements we come to. It's nice to feel like a work in progress, even if that's mostly emotionally, rather than just stuck in the same impasses that have been unspoken for a while.

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Re: Very Different sex drives

Postby Vanna » Tue May 03, 2016 9:35 pm

It's wonderful that you can both talk fairly openly about this and he is open to working on it with you. Those both help considerably. 8)

My hubby is the lower drive type too. Over time though, we've gone from ritually once a week to now twice a week, and every now and then a third encounter manages to find its way into the week.

I've found that innuendo, hand holding, butt pinching and patting, spontaneous kissing, snuggling through the week all helped him be more interested more often.

Making things fun in bed helped too- trying new positions, new techniques of manual and oral on him, breast play, lingerie, music, cheez wiz or whipped cream. I'd sprinkle those in bit by bit, and he gradually adjusted to relaxing at the suggestion of new ideas.

Most recently, he has been focusing on being more intentional about initiating and voicing his own desires too- which is a foreign concept for him, but he has made some great strides in areas I honestly despaired of seeing a breakthrough.

The fact that your hubby is willing to talk, and willing to try means you both have a wonderful opportunity to grow together and realize some breakthroughs together. :)
After 28 years and six kids, through the good and bad, by the grace of God, things keep getting better and better. ::wed

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Re: Very Different sex drives

Postby gracekissed » Tue May 03, 2016 11:02 pm

Elevation wrote:Have you considered doing the Bible study from "Intimacy Ignited?"


OK, another question since I've looked this up. Is it a "Bible Study" as in, DH and I should each have our own book because we will be writing in them? Or is it just a reading book that I can get one copy of?

Drob wrote:She doesn't refuse or gatekeep anymore


Now that I've learned what gatekeeping is, I want to clarify that I'm pretty sure he's not gatekeeping. He doesn't refuse on purpose if he's awake (but I don't try to initiate if I can tell he's tired or stressed about work because I know he won't be into it and I don't want to be selfish either), and I would call him generous sexually, with a naturally reserved personality that does of course carry over to the bedroom to some extent. That reserve is changing the longer we are married, if slowly. It's definitely more of a drive issue than a gatekeeping/ refusal issue. Thanks for bringing these concepts to my attention! It helps to process the concept and make sure that's not the issue at hand.

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Re: Very Different sex drives

Postby Elevation » Wed May 04, 2016 3:45 am

We just started the book so I am unsure if the wife high drive would be mentioned. (Can anyone with the book chime in?)

I don't think it would hurt to have two separate copies for Bible study or you two can have your own notebooks as well then buy one book to save money as well. :)

Other resources that may be a help:

http://www.sexwithinmarriage.com (awesome resources and the podcasts are EXTREMELY helpful)

http://www.hotholyhumorous.com (A Christian sex resource from a woman's perspective)

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Re: Very Different sex drives

Postby 2pack » Wed May 04, 2016 5:51 am

Elevation wrote:We just started the book so I am unsure if the wife high drive would be mentioned. (Can anyone with the book chime in?)

We have it. Really doesn't address that. It's more about correcting restrictive thinking about sexuality. Being free to enjoy all that is there without fear and hang ups.
I'm a moth flyin' into the light of it's doom - You wrap me up in your love cocoon...

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Re: Very Different sex drives

Postby Elevation » Wed May 04, 2016 6:57 am

Here is a podcast about high drive spouses from Sex Within Marriage: http://sexwithinmarriage.com/swm010-all ... nt-is-sex/

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Re: Very Different sex drives

Postby Unfulfilled » Wed May 04, 2016 10:13 am

I would suggest reading the male low T area. There are little to no risks of long term use of T replacement as long as it is done carefully. The risks come when too large of dose is give. And not proper testing and monitoring.

You are making an assumption that his test results will come back low in range. Not at may or may not be true until you have actual tearing done. I agree that there's no emergency to go get the testing. But since this is an issue and he has agreed and seems committed to working on and improving this issue, you may want to get the testing done while the iron is hot so to speak.

B12, D3, iron, ferritin as well as thyroid testing to include free T4 AND free T3 may want to also run. TSH is a screening tool at best and really is inadequate to determine thyroid condition. MANY people need BOTH the free T4 and free T3 to be at or above 50% of the range in order to feel well.

Many people do to is to feel like junk because their blood land fall in the very bottom of the range and remain untreated. Every person is unique. So don't simply rule out something just because they are somewhere within the range.

The most aspect here I'm reading is the genuine desire and attitude by your husband to want to work on it. That is the single most important element. Because if one of the couple has made their mind up to resist and NOT work on it, then no amount of argument and prodding and leading will make any difference. So him wanting to solve this is monumentally huge thing!

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Re: Very Different sex drives

Postby SeekingChange » Wed May 04, 2016 10:44 am

I was told, in reference to my husband and his drop in sexual desire, that getting his testosterone level up in a normal range for his age (his total T was "normal", his free T was low) wouldn't change his heart, but it would help just make the whole situation easier. I am also a wife who will not demand her way in this area, I just encourage him to seek the Lord on it and I support him in it. At this point, other things in life jump to the "higher priority" list than praying and seeking info about TRT (testosterone replacement therapy), so I wait.

My husband has a great heart, so I know the heart isn't the problem, but he just doesn't have the "oomph juice" to do what has always come very natural to him in the past. I could give you a list of things on how this has had a ripple effect in our marriage and with me as a wife.

I very much believe that a heart's desire (spirit) can overcome physical limitations (flesh)...my own personal story is a testimony to that. My husband is now in the same place I was in three years ago.... knowing what the right thing to do is, but having to fight the flesh to do it (physically, mentally, and emotionally). I believe your husband, if his heart is truly to love you and to grow in your marriage, can take steps to do that even if he has very little "natural" desire to do so. His low libido doesn't have to stop that... he has let it stop him and may have even used it as an excuse. Even IF a husband as "E" issues...there are plenty of other ways to be sexual and have sexual intimacy with his wife. That's a choice. That's a mindset that may have to be changed in him and maybe even in you.
God can change what people do, behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades. He can change what we do to cope, find comfort, survive conflict, to count. Rahab had done a same old thing for years...then she did something new.

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Re: Very Different sex drives

Postby gracekissed » Wed May 04, 2016 11:08 am

That is very encouraging SC, thank you. I think I'm realizing just how much I need to shift my attitude and accept more than one way (PIV intercourse) to feel sexually connected to my husband. We both have growing to do, and I am confident it will happen regardless of whether or not medical issues also come to light. Thankfully we have not had any issues with ED, but if and when they surface, you're right, we need to be comfortable and open with each other.

2pack wrote:We have it. Really doesn't address that. It's more about correcting restrictive thinking about sexuality. Being free to enjoy all that is there without fear and hang ups.

This sounds perfect. He wants to do it together over the summer while he's not teaching, so I'll look into ordering it. Thank you!

Elevation wrote:Here is a podcast about high drive spouses from Sex Within Marriage: http://sexwithinmarriage.com/swm010-all ... nt-is-sex/


Thank you for the suggestion. I tried to listen to it, but it was heavily skewed towards male HD and female LD (and complaining about the man's drive). DH doesn't complain about me, and the podcaster's attempt at explaining oxytocin feedback makes it sound like men who don't have a high drive aren't actually emotionally connecting to their wives. It was also geared towards explaining to a wife *why* a husband needs sex- probably would be good for me if our roles were reversed, but the implications of role reversal are actually pretty negative in the context of what the speaker was trying to explain physiologically. Not to take out any frustration on you, but I really am tired of hearing that men connect through sex and women connect through talking (or something along those lines). DH is very positive towards me and takes a lot of time to connect in many ways, and I don't believe he's emotionally incapable of closeness because he is not frequently ready to pursue a romp in the bedroom.

Vanna wrote:The fact that your hubby is willing to talk, and willing to try means you both have a wonderful opportunity to grow together and realize some breakthroughs together. :)

Thanks for the encouragement and the reminder that changes often take place incrementally. I need to remind myself that I can't go full "Cosmopolitan Magazine" on him just because he's willing to wade a little deeper into the waters. He'd probably end up waaaay too overwhelmed and I need to respect his need for slow change (in all areas, not just this one).

Unfulfilled wrote:I would suggest reading the male low T area. There are little to no risks of long term use of T replacement as long as it is done carefully. The risks come when too large of dose is give. And not proper testing and monitoring.

I'm sure we'll talk to the doctor if anything comes back questionable. Having gone through years of infertility, I am well aware of the discussion surrounding sex hormones, thyroid, various vitamins, what constitutes "normal" levels, and what constitutes "risk-free" treatment. Unfortunately, what I ultimately found is that a lot of the information on the internet and "natural health" magazines is recycled explanations of outdated, inconclusive, and weak research. I spent several months frustrated with trying to figure things out on our own, and was almost convinced at one time that I had "sub-clinical" thyroid issues myself. Finally seeing a reproductive endocrinologist who could parse out the important details instead of trying to match myself to the vague symptoms lists of various endocrine issues on the internet was enormously helpful. I'm certain that our physician would be able to weigh in appropriately with the most currently known research on best practices in lab interpretation and treatments.

I don't mean to blow you off, but I am really done with taking medical advice from the internet (usually based on vague symptoms that can match almost anybody) after all the rabbit trails I've seen people go down in the world of reproduction. Sorry if that is harsh. I'm just kind of sick of how you can say you're tired after 5 hours of sleep and suddenly you have "hypothyroidism," "low testosterone," "low vitamin D," "adrenal fatigue," "chronic Lyme," "gluten intolerance..." the list goes on. And all of these things are supposedly present even though your levels are normal because "Internet Alternative Guru X" knows more than the ignorant medical community who are blinded against the wisdom by their indoctrination in medical school. All that to say, I'm willing to explore it, and we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, but he's not going to the doctor this week. He's going for his yearly checkup after school lets out like we had previously planned.

And yes, I am a very lucky woman who has a wonderful spouse willing to work on practically anything. I'm pretty excited to be taking this step with him, because all the other "life" we've lived together has been uplifting and wonderful. He's done a great job of laying a strong foundation with me in our relationship and I really appreciate how confident I feel in being able to address this without fear.

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Re: Very Different sex drives

Postby Unfulfilled » Wed May 04, 2016 2:03 pm

I am not saying that he HAS a deficiency. I'm advocating that he be tested completely to rule out the possibility. And that simply being in the normal range is sufficient. That is just completely NOT true for some people. And moving up higher within the range sometimes dramatically helps.

But you don't know if the tests are not done. You came here looking for suggestions and possible things to try and the You rule them out? That really doesn't make sense.

A person is made up of mind body and soul. And issues can be the cause of any one or any combination of all of them. With the body there are fears that can be run to potentially eliminate or find cause. Mind and spirit are dramatically harder to "test" compares to blood tests for example.

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Re: Very Different sex drives

Postby 2pack » Wed May 04, 2016 2:17 pm

This article may be helpful. If he's open talk to him about it...
http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2012/03 ... make-love/
I'm a moth flyin' into the light of it's doom - You wrap me up in your love cocoon...

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Re: Very Different sex drives

Postby gracekissed » Wed May 04, 2016 4:52 pm

Unfulfilled wrote:You came here looking for suggestions and possible things to try and the You rule them out? That really doesn't make sense.

No, I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be rude. I'm trying to say that you're not a doctor. I have said several times that we will discuss medical things with our doctor. I'm looking for practical advice, not trying to be convinced in advance that it's a high possibility that he has x medical issue even if his tests are normal because the internet person said that only this specific subtest will work. I am significantly over the "Holistic medicine" argument that says that even if everything is normal it's really not because mind/spirit/individualism etc. If you were his doctor, we would discuss this further, but we have medical specialists who know us and whom I trust and we will pursue the specifics of his health with them.

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Re: Very Different sex drives

Postby gracekissed » Wed May 04, 2016 5:20 pm

2pack wrote:This article may be helpful. If he's open talk to him about it...
http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2012/03 ... make-love/


I do follow this blog periodically, and she usually is pretty spot on. We'll definitely look this over. I also, with his blessing, printed out an article from TMB main page that had lots of suggestions of things to try, and he's going to go through the list and pick out what sounds good to him and what he's not interested in right now. That should be a fun discussion in a few days. I'm looking forward to it because he's not been able to articulate what he thinks he would find enticing when I ask him, so we're hoping this will get his mind going a bit.

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DH keeps sex in a box

Postby gracekissed » Tue May 10, 2016 12:39 pm

After 9 years of marriage, DH and I have been intentionally talking a lot about the differences in our sex drives since last weekend, with the goal of getting more on the same page. I'm the HD spouse, he's the LD, relative to me of course. If I don't initiate, or only wait until I'm certain he'll reciprocate, I'd say sex an average of 3-4 times a month would be (and usually has been) the case. While he knows I am interested more often than he is, I haven't really been super upfront about the strength and frequency of my desire for him until recently, or how it affects me emotionally to have him take it as a compliment without taking it any further. But the truth is, I feel frustrated and hurt, and if not that then just resigned, and I don't think that's a productive place for me to stay for our relationship to flourish either.

I initially thought it was mostly a simple matter of drive difference, but as we've had a few in-depth conversations, I think it's more than that. It seems that he intentionally keeps sex in a very specific box in his brain, and only wants to unpack it when the time is right to completely follow through (his words, not mine). So my attempts to discover what turns him on over the years have been largely unsuccessful- he doesn't want me to run my hand up his leg in the morning. He doesn't want me to make explicit statements to him in the grocery store. He doesn't get aroused if I walk around in lacy underwear while we're getting ready for church. He rarely wants a quicky before evening chores are done, that sort of thing. If his brain is turned on, and there's anything to think about other than sex with me, he thinks about the other thing instead.

This has served him well in many ways, he's never had a porn problem, for example, and was very self-disciplined in our physical relationship before marriage. It's obviously not helping our sex life though, because the advice to "turn him on" and get him to "think about it throughout the day" doesn't compute. In fact, he gets irritated by explicit advances in most cases (but he's very physically affectionate in non-sexual ways in public and private- he's not a cold guy). It also becomes an issue in variety and sexual communication- he doesn't think about what he likes himself. He deliberately doesn't fantasize. He reacts negatively to most new suggestions at first, because they're not in the box of "how we have sex." I can count on one hand the number of times he's asked me to do something in bed, and he rarely says or communicates anything while we're making love. So I'm just left floundering, trying, and failing to pique his interest, and I'm getting tired.

Anyway, I'm just wondering what has worked for others who maybe needed to break out of a very set mindset and embrace a larger view of married sexuality. We are planning to do "Intimacy Ignited" over the summer, and after reading other threads I've also ordered "Intimacy and Desire" and "Passionate Marriage" to read. One big issue that's coming up for me is that he does. not. read. I mean, he reads a chapter of the Bible most days, but that's it. Reading goes slowly for him, stresses him out, and puts him to sleep. Of course, he would *want* to, but it wouldn't happen. I didn't find these titles on audio book, because he would listen to them on his way to work (in the fall- he's a teacher). I just don't know how far we'll get with everything getting filtered through me. I could read out loud, but it takes a very long time to read a book- I just don't know how well that would actually last.


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