Feeling guilty that your sex drive isn’t as high as your husband’s? Writer Sheila Wray Gregoire explains that there are often two reasons for a low libido, one is down to you and the other is down to him.
Sex is this amazing gift from God, we’re told. It will be wonderful if you just wait until you’re married, we’re told.
Then, for those of us who are married, we may go through that honeymoon wondering vaguely: “Is that all there is?” Despite all those promises, fireworks did not explode. Or, even if they did, we may soon realize that though fireworks are lovely, so is a bubble bath at the end of a long day. That’s when the vague sadness can start. Everyone else seems to be enjoying rapturous sex, and you never, ever feel like it. Is your libido defective?
My team and I just finished the largest survey of Christian women’s marital and sexual satisfaction that’s ever been done for our book The Great Sex Rescue. We surveyed over 20,000 women and we’ve discovered what often holds women back in the bedroom. Let me assure you: you are not broken if you rarely want sex. While 19% of women have the higher libido in marriage, many others wish their libidos were higher, but don’t have a clue what to do about it.
Let’s look at three of the big issues that can cause libido to fall. First, it could be that your libido is acting perfectly logically. If sex consists merely of one-sided intercourse, it’s no wonder you don’t want sex. Why would you yearn for something that does little for you? One of the biggest predictors of higher libido was her likelihood of orgasm. If you’re not receiving pleasure, the problem is not libido. Though it’s awkward, speak up and tell your husband you want to focus on your pleasure as well.
One of the biggest predictors of higher libido was her likelihood of orgasm. If you’re not receiving pleasure, the problem is not libido.
Another roadblock can be our beliefs about sex. Our study found that beliefs often taught in church, like “all men struggle with lust; it’s every man’s battle” or “a wife is obligated to give her husband sex when he wants it” can cause women’s libidos to fall. When we’ve been taught ugly things about sex which make it feel threatening or that minimize our needs, it’s hardly surprising that we may not want it.
But finally, we may just not understand what libido is. Watch any movie, and the plot when it comes to sex goes something like this: The couple pants, then they kiss, then they take off their clothes, then they fall into bed. That’s the order: Pant, kiss, clothes, bed. So there you are at home, waiting to pant, and nothing’s happening.
In a movie sex goes something like this: The couple pants, then they kiss, then they take off their clothes, then they fall into bed.
But we can have two kinds of libidos: spontaneous or responsive. People with spontaneous libidos pant first. People with responsive libidos, though, often don’t pant until they’ve started kissing and touching. That’s when desire kicks in! Some people are Pant Kiss Clothes Bed, and some people are Bed Kiss Clothes Pant. And our study found it doesn’t matter when women pant, as long as they do eventually. When we compared women who started sex already aroused, and women who weren’t aroused yet but were confident they would get there, those two groups of women finished with the same positive feelings.
Maybe it’s time to stop waiting for your body to tell you it wants sex, and instead just tell your body, “it’s going to be amazing!” And then jump in and see what happens!