White Knuckling Through It

Low or no sex drive?
Linnea
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White Knuckling Through It

Postby Linnea » Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:46 pm

We've been married 9 years, and I've been reading this forum since before we were married. Dh has the higher drive, as I really only get into it around ovulation. I try to be responsive if dh asks for it. But it usually take an act of the will.

During times when the hormones are wonky (PMS and pregnancy), it be especially difficult to be sexually touched (no history of abuse). But it makes my skin crawl at those times, and I'm not very good at faking enjoyment. DH becomes resentful that I'm not into it, and that I should be sacrificially loving him. I become resentful that he doesn't see how hard it can be for me, and I'm trying.

How can I stop white knuckling my way through it? What should I do if I'm trying to make myself do it and all it's doing is making me angry and frustrated?

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Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby love2 » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:49 pm

If you don't mind me asking, are you able to orgasm? Do you only orgasm then around ovulation?

Is sex physically painful for you such as during penetration?

Do you find certain types of touching less offensive than other types of touching?

How is the marriage from an emotional and spiritual standpoint? Do you connect emotionally and pray together regularly? (A lot of women struggle more sexually when there isn't an emotional or spiritual connection).

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Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby Linnea » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:20 pm

Thank you for responding.

I'm usually able to have small orgasms around ovulation. I haven't had a "really good one" since before before I was pregnant with my 3rd child (she's 17 months) although I enjoy having sex around ovulation. I also have more desire if we've gone for 5-7 days without having sex; the more we have it the less interested I become. WIth three kids, I feel touched out a lot. The touched out feeling is the worst during PMS (nails on chalkboard).

Sex isn't painful unless I'm not physcially stimulated enough, and my husband is always willing to do whatever he needs to. I make sure to ask for lube if I need it.

I usually do enjoy cuddling and non-sexual touch, but my husband will only do that if it will eventually lead to sex. We've tried oral on me, and I don't really like it.

He's works late hours, and we're in the process of moving, so there are a lot of stressors right now. He deals with stress by wanting sex, and I hate sex if I'm stressed. We've had some marriage issues (his anger) that we met with our pastor for last month.

He refuses handjobs, and doesn't like quickies. He wants us to take our time and enjoy it. I don't know how to when stress and hormones are working against us.

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Re: RE: Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby love2 » Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:54 pm

Have you tried a vibrator? That might help you feel more pleasure during sex. Also, are you still nursing? When did you ween the baby if you aren't still nursing? Breastfeeding often make women not want sex and orgasms can be difficult or impossible to achieve. If you aren't breastfeeding or pregnant you might want to see your gynocologist and talk to them about some of your hormonal and arousal problems. Try to find a doctor geared towards womens sexual health. Not all doctors take women's concerns seriously although they should take them seriously.

Can he help reduce your stress like a full body message or watch the kids while you take a bath? This might make you feel more sexual because you have had some time to unwind.

His anger is a very big deal. It prevents you from getting close emotionally and feeling safe. To be honest, this isn't a 'marriage problem' but it's a personal problem that he has that is hurting the marriage. I don't have enough information to tell if your marriage is emotionally destructive but I recommended the book the emotionally destructive marriage by Leslie vernick. She also has a questionnaire on her website to determine if your marriage is destructive before you buy the book so see if it applies to you before you spend money on it.

I can't understand why he would refuse quickies and handjobs but this is probably something that you need to talk about again. Personally, I feel like regular quickies and handjobs without seeking the wives pleasure can be bad but only if it is a regular occurrence. I would say to limit it to once a week but not more than the otherwise your pleasure becomes unimportant and that's no good. That said, he should really be happy that you are willing to be sexual generous.

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Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby seeking perspective » Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:27 am

I'm sorry sex is such a struggle for you. My guess is that every time you white knuckle it, it adds to your overall tension about sex and make it more difficult the next time. Your anger and frustration don't help the intimacy in your marriage, and neither does your husband's resentment. It sounds to me like you are sacrificially loving him in that you are having sex despite your own difficulty.

I think it's hard for a man to understand how hard it can be for a woman to have sex sometimes. We are accepting another person into our bodies. It requires a great deal of vulnerability. Also, what is going on in other areas of our lives can have a huge impact on our ability to enjoy sex. Stress, tiredness, and dissatisfaction with a non-sexual aspect of our relationship can affect our body's ability to desire sex and to enjoy it.

I'd like to ask a couple questions to get a better sense of what is going on.

...How is your connection with your husband away from the bedroom? Does your husband connect with you in a way that helps you feel loved and cherished? Do you feel close to him and intimate non-sexually? The fact that he will cuddle only when it will lead to sex is a problem. Cuddling without strings attached (the obligation of sex) might be a way for him to sacrificially love you.

...How does your husband touch you sexually? Many women do better with a slow approach to sexual touch--for instance, having him touch or kiss you on non-sexual parts for a while, and only then beginning to caress sexual parts. I find that if my husband starts to touch me sexually before I'm ready to do so, I bristle. Having this happen time after time fosters resentment.

...What were you taught to believe about sex and about your own sexuality growing up?

Based on what you've said, I'd like to make two suggestions.

1. Be very clear with your husband about what you need to feel loved, to reduce stress, and to make the transition from touched-out mommy to a woman who wants her husband's touch. It might be something as simple as saying that you need half an hour of non-sexual cuddling every night, along with 15 minutes alone in your bedroom every evening while he deals with the kids. This is what you need every night, regardless of whether sex is on the table. Over time, these things start to replenish you in a way that makes space for desire to grow in you again. Don't drop hints to your husband, and don't expect him to know. Tell him very specifically what you need, and remind him every day if he forgets.

2. Find one thing you can enjoy about the experience of having sex, and try to focus on that. I used to think about my husband's arms. Even when I wasn't enjoying sex, I loved the feel of the hair on my husband's arms--so I reminded myself to fully enjoy that. When he would say he wanted to have sex later, I tried to conquer my "ugh, not again" thoughts by thinking about how safe and loved I felt with my husband's arms around me. This helped foster a genuine appreciation and enjoyment in me. Although I wasn't enjoying sex in the way my husband wanted me to, the enjoyment I did have was genuine--and that made a big difference.
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Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby C_Brown » Fri Dec 22, 2017 7:07 pm

Your husband doesn't really want you 'sacrificially loving him'. If thinks that way now it is only because that is a step up from the current situation, but if he had that, he would find that unsatisfying as well.

What he really wants is for having sex with him to be something you truly pleasure and find joy in. For it to be something you look forward to with genuine enthusiasm, plan for, and even initiate it. He wants your sex life together to be MUTUALLY pleasurable, joyful, fun and unhindered by needless inhibitions, fears, resentments, rejection. Then he can have the joy of seeing his wife in the throes of pleasure provided by him which is the real satisfaction .

You may think you are not able to become somebody like that, but you can. Start by looking deep inside yourself for why you react the way you do. What ideas, teachings, 'rules' are there in your head about sex? What do you feel you gain by pushing him away sexually? What do you think you would lose, or what do you think it would cost to make the choice to truly give yourself to him sexually without resentment or reservation? The only difference between you now and the wife you need to become is what is going on inside your head, and you can change that. Trust me, if you need to make this change or you will someday no longer be a wife.

You might need to read some books, you two might need to see medical sexual or relationship professionals, you might need to figure out what your body needs to become aroused so you can teach him what to do. He might need to make some changes in how he makes love to you. The starting point is realizing that mutual sexual satisfaction must become a high priority or your marriage will end in divorce or become a unhappy thorn in the side to both of you. Choose to save your marriage before it is too late. Go to him and tell him of your struggle and that you desire to overcome the obstacles holding your marriage back. Work together to overcome this. Even when it is not overcome, just the fact that you acknowledge the situation and are doing something about it will give him hope and help his heart.
So yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing -- Yvaine (in the movie Stardust)

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Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby Unfulfilled » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:30 am

^^^

I agree with what is stated above.

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Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby seeking perspective » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:06 pm

Linnea, I want to suggest a completely different approach from what C_Brown suggests. I agree with some of what he says: Your husband doesn't really want you to be sacrificially loving. He wants your sex life to be mutually pleasurable. You can change if you want to.

But the approach really makes me bristle--because it frames sex as still about your husband and for your husband. It says that if you don't become a sexual tigress for him, he will leave you. When I was struggling with sex in our marriage, I already felt like sex was for my husband. As far as I could see, the only benefit to working harder to figure out sex was that my husband would stop complaining about our sex life. It was hard to manufacture desire just to make him happy.

Linnea, I want to invite you into so much more: enjoyment of your sexuality for your own sake, not just for your husband's. Sex is also for you, and it is for your marriage--and not just because it makes your husband happy.

I encourage you to spend time learning about God's design of sex for you and for marriage. You were designed as a sexual being. The clitoris is the only human body part that functions only to provide you with pleasure. It has 8000 nerve endings (compared to the 6000 in the penis). God made sex for you as much as he did for your husband. Learn about your own sexual response to help you better understand what factors influence your sexual desire in good and bad ways.

I would like to suggest that you read Passion Pursuit by Dillow and Slattery. It is designed to be done as a study. If you can't find anyone to go through the study with you, you can still gain a lot by reading it on your own. (If you would like to do it as a study, let me know. I facilitated an online group study of this last year, and I've been thinking about doing another one.) The book helps you better understand the role of sex in marriage as well as see sex as something for you as well as for your husband.

There are plenty of other good resources for Christian women, by Christian women. Sex can offer us so much more than pleasing our husbands. It's hard to see that when you're feeling resentment, but please believe that it is possible.
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Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby reillyj » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:42 pm

I agree with SeekingPerspective,

As a woman, i completely understand how you are feeling and while i did enjoy sex, it often felt like you were feeling until i went on HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) and sexual desire was fueled and it felt completely different.

If you haven't already, how about making an appointment with your doctor as see if your hormones are in line? Also, if they are, it doesn't always translate into desire and the ability to enjoy sex and orgasm. That's where emotional intimacy, especially in a womans head, come into play.

I applaud you for wanting to please your husband and the way you frame your post, you WANT TO and aren't making excuses for it but are simply having a hard time even feeling it which i really understand and it wasn't until HRT that i did.

I've used the analogy about desiring food. If you aren't hungry, you simply do not want it. You may eat it because you have to and it may even taste good but if you aren't hungry, you simply will not desire it. WHY you aren't hungry is up to you to find out. It may be hormones, it may be emotional/mental. I imagine your husbands anger (you said he had been in therapy for it) may play a role.

It *IS* our bodies being entered, sex is very different for women than it is for men and they simply need to understand that. While i do believe marital sex should be entered into whole heartedly and husband certainly deserve to feel enthusiasm from their wives, sometimes it just isn't that simple for us women. You know..."husband dwell with your wives in an understanding way"...

I also think you need to lovingly (and hopefully without strings attached), tell your husband that he really must love you in ways that make YOU feel loved--non sexual contact that you mentioned and it cannot always lead to sex. That's my opinion. White knuckling it may really feel like rejection to the husband but at least you're not gate keeping or refusing. And that's good. But honestly, if it truly is about hormonal imbalance, then please find out if there is anything that can be done, both for your husbands sake AND yours.

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Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby Linnea » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:52 pm

Thank you for all your advice, it's given me a lot to think about

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Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby ghostrider » Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:11 pm

I agree with the others that said that connection with your husband is a very important precursor to desire.

That said, sometimes my wife goes thru ups and downs of libido even when we are doing all right emotionally. Tyrosine has helped a lot. After a couple days of the supplement, she feels desire again.

Seeing a Dr would be a good idea as well, but hormone and women's specialists often have a 2 month waiting list, so the Tyrosine might be something to try in the meantime.

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Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby poetess » Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:14 pm

Linnea, how long since your last pregnancy? How old are your children, and are you breast feeding?
Marriage--what a wonderful image of Christ's love for His bride!

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Re: RE: Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby Linnea » Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:47 am

My youngest is 17 months, and still nurses a little.

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Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby C_Brown » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:11 am

seeking perspective wrote:But the approach really makes me bristle--because it frames sex as still about your husband and for your husband. It says that if you don't become a sexual tigress for him, he will leave you.


That isn't what i actually said, I said it puts the marriage at risk, and that risk comes in many forms. If she is not having a satisfying sex life with her husband that leaves HER vulnerable to temptations too. She can run into some guy that sparks her interest and her sexuality could awaken with a focus on him rather than her husband. Or it can lead to both of them living unhappily in the same home as if they were brother and sister, a dead marriage.
So yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing -- Yvaine (in the movie Stardust)

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Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby SLS » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:26 am

Couple of brief thoughts since I'm on the road:

Sex: You mention that you feel much better about having sex a week after the last IC session. What I would suggest is that you offer hand jobs or OS during the week if he needs release and then focus on mutual delight when you have IC.

I know you said your DH would rather y'all take your time and have mainly IC but he should realize that we don't get everything we want all the time.

Anger issues: Does your husband have issues with his self-esteem or feeling like a failure? I know that when I have feelings of worthlessness I can sometimes lash out at my wife. Maybe the reason he is being so pushy in the sexual arena is because he wants to know that you don't see him as worthless.

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Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby seeking perspective » Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:23 am

C_Brown wrote:That isn't what i actually said, I said it puts the marriage at risk, and that risk comes in many forms. If she is not having a satisfying sex life with her husband that leaves HER vulnerable to temptations too. She can run into some guy that sparks her interest and her sexuality could awaken with a focus on him rather than her husband. Or it can lead to both of them living unhappily in the same home as if they were brother and sister, a dead marriage.


I agree that the marriage is better if both spouses are fully and mutually enjoying sex. My response was not to the goal of a better marriage but to some specific comments:

C_Brown wrote: If thinks that way now it is only because that is a step up from the current situation, but if he had that, he would find that unsatisfying as well.


What he really wants . . .


He wants your sex life together to be . . .


Then he can have the joy of seeing his wife in the throes of pleasure provided by him which is the real satisfaction .


. . . you need to make this change or you will someday no longer be a wife.


The starting point is realizing that mutual sexual satisfaction must become a high priority or your marriage will end in divorce or become a unhappy thorn in the side to both of you. Choose to save your marriage before it is too late


. . . will give him hope and help his heart.


These are all about what the husband wants and desires. The only thing you've described as a benefit to the OP is that she will not be divorced. This is the kind of approach that perpetuates the idea that sex is mostly for the husband--and that's what makes me bristle. A healthy, holy, and joyful approach to sexual intimacy offers a whole lot more to a wife than just not being divorced.
You turned my wailing into dancing . . .
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Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby SLS » Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:45 am

seeking perspective wrote:A healthy, holy, and joyful approach to sexual intimacy offers a whole lot more to a wife than just not being divorced.


::clap ::clap Amen to that!

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Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby reillyj » Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:42 pm

seeking perspective wrote:These are all about what the husband wants and desires. The only thing you've described as a benefit to the OP is that she will not be divorced. This is the kind of approach that perpetuates the idea that sex is mostly for the husband--and that's what makes me bristle. A healthy, holy, and joyful approach to sexual intimacy offers a whole lot more to a wife than just not being divorced.


So agree with this.

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Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby C_Brown » Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:19 am

seeking perspective wrote:These are all about what the husband wants and desires. The only thing you've described as a benefit to the OP is that she will not be divorced. This is the kind of approach that perpetuates the idea that sex is mostly for the husband--and that's what makes me bristle. A healthy, holy, and joyful approach to sexual intimacy offers a whole lot more to a wife than just not being divorced.


I talk about what her husband wants and desires because she has a mindset about him and the sexual relationship that is helping to cause the problem. She seems to think that the physical act of sex and his orgasm is the only thing he needs/wants so giving enough 'sacrificial sex' would fix the problem.

Countering those ideas isn't saying 'sex is for him', I clearly talked about making sex something for THEM BOTH to find pleasure in. That is the opposite of what you are accusing me of saying. I would think that becoming somebody who finds pleasure rather than stress in sex with their spouse would eliminate her problem and add a great deal of joy to her life on top of that. How is that not a big benefit to the OP?

This is a high stakes situation and the OP should know what is at risk, and yes it puts their marriage at risk. One spouse's happiness can't come at the expense of the other. That just isn't sustainable in the long run. They have to find a way to have a MUTUALLY pleasurable sex life and if they don't the marriage is more likely to fail. That is the way it is, like it or not, and the OP needs to be aware of that and make an informed choice.
So yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing -- Yvaine (in the movie Stardust)

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Re: White Knuckling Through It

Postby doug-h » Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:14 am

C_Brown

Everything you said is true, but I think it is also beside the point of her OP, and probably not very helpful.


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