A Taboo Topic
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It’s almost cliché. He’s ready to go in a flash, and makes his move. Explaining that she’s just not in the mood she gently demurs, unaware of her own true needs.
While the male sex drive can be compared to a locomotive steaming down the tracks at top speed, the feminine sexual response is more like a kitchen crockpot—it warms up slowly. Generally, younger couples must learn to adjust their pace to suit the wife’s needs for loving conversation, non-sexual affection, a pleasant environment, and lots of time.
However, there's actually another scenario. Marriage and family counselor Dennis Rainey of FamilyLife Today has made a surprising claim. He says that in 20-30 percent of the couples they hear from, male passivity toward sexual intimacy is a significant problem. One wife wrote,“It seems like every article I read talks about a man’s high sex drive and how women are typically tired and not interested in sex. The opposite is true of my husband and me. I try to get him aroused and interested in sex, but he is never really in the mood nor is he affectionate to me.
He expects me to let him know when I want to be intimate, and I need to do the seducing. This is really hurting our marriage, and I am resentful of his lack of interest. I try to be as attractive and sexy as I can, but nothing seems to work. Do you have any advice?”
The true culprit is often a “dysfunction of the heart”—including anger, bitterness and resentment.
Another wife feels abandoned by a husband who leaves the initiating to her. She said,
“I fear that my husband and I have reversed roles in our marriage. I am always the one who initiates intimacy and sex. He is the one who doesn’t have the time or energy to be with me. He doesn’t ask me out or make special plans for us to be together. His list of “reasons” is endless. This leaves me feeling unloved, undesirable, and rejected. I don’t think that my husband looks at our physical intimacy as a gift from God that should be celebrated.”
Dennis Rainey explains: “When a man shows little or no sexual interest in his wife, she will experience several emotions. First, she’s going to feel she is undesirable as a wife and a woman. She will wonder if she’s still attractive, or if something is wrong with her, or if he still loves her. A woman whose husband is usually disinterested is going to feel profoundly rejected (just as a man feels rejected when his wife shows a disregard for his sexual needs)…”
Dysfunction of the Heart
Following is a list of questions a wife can ask her husband:
1. Are you angry or bitter
2. Are you involved in pornography?
3. Are you totally stressed by problems at work?
4. Is there other sin in your life?
5. Do my past sexual experiences before marriage anger or intimidate you?
6. Were you sexually abused as a boy?
7. Are you withdrawing in an attempt to protect yourself from rejection?
8. Might there be an underlying medical problem?
According to Rainey, whatever the reason, “a man who refuses to address his low libido and meet his wife’s needs is putting his marriage at great risk.”
Seek Godly Counsel
If you are wrestling with this issue as a couple, and talking about it seems too difficult, please go for help. Find a pastor or a counselor in whom you can confide. Eventually, you’ll step out of the shadows of isolation and into healing from the One who gives “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17).
• Why Sex Is So Important to Your Husband (by Barbara Rainey)
• Understanding the Male Sex Drive (by Chrysalis)
Marriage Monday Reminder
Next Monday, August 3, 2009 we'll meet at Chrysalis for our regular monthly meme, Marriage Monday. Since it's the height of summer, and we're all outside as much as possible, let's keep things light and easy.
I've decided to host an open topic. Please consider joining us. You can write about any aspect of marriage that's on your heart, and then come back and link up here.
I hope we'll see you then!
Photos: cscotchmer & polywogy69 (Flickr)
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