Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Low or no sex drive?
Slow cook
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Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Postby Slow cook » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:56 pm

Hello all, I am new on here but wanted to put myself out here for some dialog from the community. I love that TMB offers a place for conversations centering on sexuality that have no other healthy outlet (at least in my life).

Background: I am married with three kids and DW and I have wrestled with our dis-conjugate sex drives our entire marriage. She is the HrD partner (which as the woman has created it's own tensions because it defies the "cultural normal") and I am a recovering refuser. I also tend to be pretty straight-laced and intellectual which has created this bizarre Gnostic dynamic. She longs for sex and I float on clouds of theology which easily slips into her being "earthy/fleshly" and me being "holy/spiritual." Ugh. Spelling that out makes me sick! My reality is so far from holy; I actively/unconsciously avoid and deny my own desires. This plays out in our bedroom in particular, but has implications touching every part of my life. The Spirit has helped me begin to grasp how widespread this is in my life.

I am looking for any advice on ways to cultivate my desires. This is intentional work for me that goes against the grain of my personality but I know it is the transforming space where Jesus is at work in my heart. I also know that this work is essential for me to grow into loving DW better. So how can I explore my desires? How do I nurture those desires so they can be shared and tapped into?

I don't know... Those are enormous questions and perhaps are unanswerable without knowing me. I am open to any clarifying questions. I am also open to any suggestions. My questions are big, but they are what drew me here (where at least conversations about sex are happening). I will continue to meander through the other posts on TMB to glean insights as well.

Thanks!

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Re: Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Postby love2 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:07 am

I'm so glad to have you here! I almost cried reading your story because it is so similar to my own. I am the HD wife and my husband is a recovering refuser as well.

He found the roots of his refusing to be anchored in severe emotional neglect when he was a child. Because of this neglect, he learned to guard his heart. The woundedness led him to push me away sexually and in other ways as well and sex was something to be controlled and regimented. Too much sex was fleshly and he was trying to become more 'Godly.' I was an encumbrance and a stumbling block to him as his wife, at least in his twisted thinking.

I encourage you to find the root of why you had some of those past thoughts and I also encourage you to continue to battle against them.

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Re: Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Postby SquarePants » Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:56 am

Welcome! If you love to dig into theology, then look up the pagan origins of asceticism and Platonism that have infiltrated Christian theology and sexuality.

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Re: Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Postby Job29Man » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:21 am

Slow Cook,

Straight laced and intellectual eh? I can relate somewhat to the former, and much to the latter. I tend to analyze things for meaning beyond the obvious, but have learned how to keep going too far with that, and so I wind up enjoying both worlds: intellectual and experiential. Maybe some of what I say, you might find helpful.

I try to achieve balance and moderation. Left to my own devices I'd probably sit and read books all day. But that's not balanced, so I intentionally get outside to do vigorous work almost every day. There are also "social niceties" like "small talk" (which I find wasteful) that don't make whole lot of sense to me, but it helps other people to get through their days, so I engage in it for their sake. Why? Because God tells us to love other people, and that's how they receive love, so I'll do it for them.

When I find myself not getting along with someone very well, I (of course) analyze it. Then I tend to do the counter-intuitive thing, like make an extra effort to serve them in some way, or recognize/praise/appreciate them in some way that is meaningful to them. Why? Because going through the actions, especially when I don't "feel like it" actually starts to get me moving towards the emotion or at least the sincerity. I'm a big believer in "going through the motions" because it's the right thing to do, regardless of my feelings. The actual feelings or enthusiasm sometimes follows, sometimes not. It doesn't matter.

In the case of a lower drive spouse a really practical application would be to resolve to initiate sex, with energy, at least once a week. Perhaps the feelings, or enthusiasm, will follow, perhaps not. It doesn't matter. It's the right thing to do.
Wanting to become like Job, as described in the Bible, the book of Job chapter 29. Hence the screen name.

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Re: Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Postby Slow cook » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:54 pm

love2 wrote:I'm so glad to have you here! I almost cried reading your story because it is so similar to my own. I am the HD wife and my husband is a recovering refuser as well.


Thanks for sharing this. It is helpful to know that others are in/have walked through similar situations. Without conversation (and in contravention to the cultural norms of HrD husband and LrD wife) it is such an isolating space. I am encouraged to hear about the healing that seems to be ongoing in your marriage.

love2 wrote:I encourage you to find the root of why you had some of those past thoughts and I also encourage you to continue to battle against them.


The very thing which I am eager to do! (to paraphrase Paul). Thanks for the advice. I am not aware of any particular wounding to tie this into, but my parents are in full-time ministry so untangling the loads of Gospel from their personal brokenness is a long, slow process. I am going to strive to remain open to Spirit's prompts on where to explore and when to wait and trust.

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Re: Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Postby Slow cook » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:56 pm

SquarePants wrote:Welcome! If you love to dig into theology, then look up the pagan origins of asceticism and Platonism that have infiltrated Christian theology and sexuality.


Thanks for this. I am broadly aware of those concepts and influences. Do you have any particular books/authors or web-links that your recommend?

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Re: RE: Re: Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Postby love2 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:12 pm

One possible avenue to explore is spiritual abuse by your parents (or others), were they extremely legalistic in their walk with God? I have a friend that is working on spiritual abuse issues from her old church that used to dictate could not wear nail polish or makeup, indicated what forms of sexual expression were acceptable in marriage, and decided if she was to work (controlling almost every aspect of her life). I could ask her if she had any resources she recommends if these resources could possibly benefit you.

I just read through Intimacy Ignited which is a book that goes through Song of Solomon. It is very pro-sex. You will walk away thinking sex is ok and also oral sex is fine.

I also read Kiss Me Like You Mean It: Solomon's Crazy in Love How-To Manual. This would be another book on Song of Solomon. This book basically kicked off our discussion of you are sexually refusing me and this is not okay. Previous to reading this book I was just silently suffering (for years).

I'd probably recommend Intimacy Ignited more than Kiss Me Like You Mean It but both books are really good.

Also, please feel free to share as much of your story as you'd like. I completely relate with it being a very lonely space like you feel like the only person on the planet as a LD husband HD wife.

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Re: Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Postby workerbee » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:06 pm

I've never met a better man than my DH.
That's not embellishment on my part, it's true.
His character and principles shine for all to see, he is immensely repected because his character and warm heart are who he is.

While my DH was never a refuser, I believe it is an honest assessment to classify him as a gatekeeper.

How could this AMAZING, loving, giving man make me feel so unwanted, dejected, undesired and overall worthless as a woman? Since he is SO amazing, it MUST be me.

Once my brain processed the issue, lots of work began.
[The issue: sex is required in marriage. I shouldn't be deprived. He was depriving me]
Since DH is a godly man it simply required my confrontation with God's word.
Once confronted with biblical principles all would be well.
Easy peasy.

Ha!

After.our talk (confrontation) he attempted action.
He made progress in areas and yet he had complete blind spots in others.
So.there continued to be more confrontation (maybe guidance or gentle reminders) (sometimes not so gentle, lol).

Easy peasy in the sense that "if God's word says it, then that's how it is".
But doctrine isn't easy to apply practically when something is not well understood.
I think this is why your post is asking.
You're asking why is the doctrine of The Marriage Bed feel foreign compared to the rest that you understand so well?
My thought is that until you WALK on the path, you can read all about the path but fail to understand it.

Love is a verb.
It's ACTION.


Very recently my DH realized 2 key things.

1) He has no testosterone.
We're working on that now.

2. He was taught to dismiss emotions outright.
You do not base a decision on emotions!
Feelings are completely irrelevant.
Everything is based on fact and according to God's word.

That's a deadly combination.

I need my man to FEEL.
How do you have passion if you deny your feelings?
Consider them irrelevant?
To long for me like Christ longs for his bride.
Not self sacrificing because it's RIGHT but because he WANTS his bride whole and without blemish.

I'll give up talking about what I want so the focus can be on what I see can help my DH and other LD husbands.

DH had little to no real love as a child, young adult, and actually (in my opinion) into adulthood.
Being reality/fact based and applying biblical truths made sound logic and soothed his soul.
This works well for anyone in any given circumstance.

Unfortunately this particular scenerio can stunt growth if you chose to never FEEL.

If you lacked love most of your life, feelings are not something to embrace, they are your enemy.

That mindset suits a logical well reasoned man who is respected, admired and is godly.
But growth, sharing, passion, desire, wanting and longing are all sacrificed.

And the wife FEELS this, the witholding.

Looking forward to hearing more on this.
I believe recognition of the problem is a huge step.

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Re: Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Postby SquarePants » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:26 pm

Slow cook wrote:Thanks for this. I am broadly aware of those concepts and influences. Do you have any particular books/authors or web-links that your recommend?

There is a book called “Is It Lust or Legalism?” (Brad Watson) which you may enjoy. He covers a some of the paganistic origins of denying the value of our physical selves, but he also covers quite a bit of the issues which you seem to be addressing (if i’m Interpreting you correctly). It’s succinctly written and isn’t long. If may be out of print, some you may need to find a used copy, but I think that it’s wort it.

Here’s an article by the author: https://www.charismamag.com/site-archives/677-new-man/sexual-purity/7681-is-it-lust-or-legalism

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Re: Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Postby Learning1 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:04 am

This ::clap

workerbee wrote:He was taught to dismiss emotions outright.
You do not base a decision on emotions!
Feelings are completely irrelevant.
Everything is based on fact and according to God's word.

Being reality/fact based and applying biblical truths made sound logic and soothed his soul.
This works well for anyone in any given circumstance.

Unfortunately this particular scenerio can stunt growth if you chose to never FEEL.



This is where conservative Bible believing churches miss the mark. Emotions shouldn't be dismissed, feelings are releveant, God created them.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” C.S. Lewis

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Re: Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Postby Slow cook » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:23 pm

Thanks for you input and for sharing your story, workerbee.

workerbee wrote:But doctrine isn't easy to apply practically when something is not well understood.


I find doctrine is SO HARD to apply, practically. Even when I feel that I have intellectually understood it. Understanding helps but the deeper work of re-shaping my desires. I love your reminder that love is a verb

workerbee wrote:1) He has no testosterone.


I have had my testosterone tested and I am not low or deficient. So that is good in one sense, but also places the onus of change squarely back on me (when I would love to shift the blame for my brokenness onto something/anything). That is where it is right it to be, though it remains exceedingly uncomfortable to confront the reality of my brokenness.

workerbee wrote:He was taught to dismiss emotions outright.


I will have to dwell on this thought more. My initial reaction is "no, that's not me." But as I think about it I have to pause a little in my reflexive response. I know my family was(is) more dysfunctional that I realized at the time. I am sure that lack of awareness is still ongoing. I can see some heart work here to be done.

workerbee wrote:I need my man to FEEL.


My wife would wildly echo this.
And I say, amen.
Just like the desperate father in the gospel of Mark prayed, "Lord, I do believe, help my unbelief"
I praying, "Lord I do desire, help my undesire."

The slower work of living out that prayer is in motion.

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Re: Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Postby Slow cook » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:25 pm



I only had a moment to skim the start of this before my children woke up from naps, but it looks very intriguing. Thanks for the suggestion!

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Re: Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Postby doug-h » Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:39 am

Slow cook.

When I first read your post, I really didnt think I had anything of value to add to it, because I really couldn't place myself in a similar position.

Some of the comments by others, and your responses to them have changed my mind, to a small degree.

What WorkerBee wrote about her husband being taught to suppress his emotions was particularly relevant. I think men recieve that message from many directions, and it can be a difficult thing to change once it has been ingrained. It doesnt look the same for everyone, but I suspect that it is there if you look for it.

In my own case, I have to say that my life did not look like yours, and people might even say I let emotions rule me. The problem was, I only had one emotion. It was anger. I didnt feel a thing for many years, that I couldnt suppress and mask with anger, whether it was fear, sadness, loneliess, disapointment, etc. It destroyed a lot of relationships. Once I learned that about myself, and started letting the real feelings come thru, things got really uncomfortable in a hurry, and I have been learning a lot about myself. I am still very reluctant to let others inside, but do a better job of letting myself feel things, and not giving in to the anger.

I really feel it is an area of your life that might bear real fruit, if you spend some time and energy there. Sounds like you might have started leaning that direction, and I hope my story can give you a little push.

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Re: Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Postby Slow cook » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:51 pm

doug-h wrote: In my own case, I have to say that my life did not look like yours, and people might even say I let emotions rule me. The problem was, I only had one emotion. It was anger. I didnt feel a thing for many years, that I couldnt suppress and mask with anger, whether it was fear, sadness, loneliess, disapointment, etc. It destroyed a lot of relationships. Once I learned that about myself, and started letting the real feelings come thru, things got really uncomfortable in a hurry, and I have been learning a lot about myself. I am still very reluctant to let others inside, but do a better job of letting myself feel things, and not giving in to the anger.

I really feel it is an area of your life that might bear real fruit, if you spend some time and energy there. Sounds like you might have started leaning that direction, and I hope my story can give you a little push.


Man, this is really good stuff. Thanks for the encouragement, doug. I can use it!

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Re: Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Postby ledgemoor » Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:50 pm

I have had my testosterone tested and I am not low or deficient. So that is good in one sense, but also places the onus of change squarely back on me (when I would love to shift the blame for my brokenness onto something/anything). That is where it is right it to be, though it remains exceedingly uncomfortable to confront the reality of my brokenness.
If you go to your typical urologist or GP, he will take what the lab report says is normal and let it go at that. The truth is that the low-normal range on the lab report is meaningless and is in fact VERY low.

Your total testosterone should be at least at 600, and if you have symptoms of low testosterone, the only way to be sure it is not low is to take some and see what happens.

Review the Male Testosterone forum, and get yourself checked out by a doctor specializing in male testosterone issues.
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Re: Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Postby reillyj » Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:31 pm

i have to agree. My H didn't have the view of sex that you did but was disinterested for the most part. We got his T levels checked and he was indeed low (as well as his thyroid) and we didn't accept the "normal for his age" rhetoric that lazy doctors put forth. He is being treated for both and the difference is night and day in every way. But be warned, it takes time and you have to PURSUE the path you need to follow, whether it be medical or spiritual.

I also after HRT (or BHRT) saw an increased sexual desire that echoed throughout my entire relationship with my husband.

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Re: Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Postby Slow cook » Sun Apr 01, 2018 6:44 pm

I wanted to revisit this thread and post an update/praise report! :D

Quick preface. I have found the following analogy very helpful: we all are broken and because of that we all have own on personal and specific "work" we are invited to do. In my case that seems to be most often owning my own fears and leaning into them, rather than running from them.

For the past weeks since my initial post I have been consistently "doing my work." That has looked like being open to sex on a daily or near-daily basis. It has included being open and receptive to DW's simmering during the days (non-sexual but sensual talk, kissing, etc). The fruit of that work is that I am loving my wife much better by opening up space for her sexual needs to be met and expressed. This is very gratifying for me. I have also found in the process that I am enjoying the journey so much more than I expected I would.

I appreciate the input from everyone here and I am so thankful for this space to dialog and pray about deeply intimate issues. Questions, hurts, and problems in our sexuality as Christ followers need to healing light of frank conversation and I know of no healthy venue for that apart from this board. Praise God for this space. Thank you all for presence and stories that you have brought here.

My story is far from over and this new territory between DW and I has spawned some new questions. The most pressing of those I will post in a new thread, but I am immensely encouraged. I am thankful for the goodness of God that I am seeing in my marriage bed, due in part to the voices here. Thank you entire community! *waves to everyone and no-one*

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Re: Working to un-earth, name and own my desires...

Postby love2 » Sun Apr 01, 2018 6:57 pm

Awesome. I am SO happy for you and your wife.

My own husband recently admitted to me that he no longer sees sex as a chore but something he looks forward to. Very happy to see you are making the same kind of progress. Blessings

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