Help! I’m the Higher-Libido Spouse (Part I)
By Janel Breitenstein
Can we get real? There is scientific research supporting that men generally have higher libidos than women. But in 25% of marriages, it’s the female whose drive is higher. So let’s talk.
When a husband declines sex, it affects more than a woman’s ego or physical needs.
We might be thinking,
What’s wrong with me?
Am I not attractive? Would someone else find me attractive?
Is he attracted to someone else?
Is he getting it somewhere else?
What am I supposed to do with all this desire?
I’m an affair waiting to happen.
I don’t know what I’ll do if he rejects me again. I’ve tried everything.
It’s private and awkward to discuss with anyone, husbands included. But it can also sting because our souls are welded to our bodies—sexuality is a microcosm of our worlds, a nakedness not just of body, but of mind and spirit.
Though there are physical factors (medication, hormonal imbalances, radical prostate surgery, obesity)—emotional issues are far more likely to influence libido. Before you make assumptions about what you deem an atypical sex drive, consider factors like these:
- Overwork/lack of margin
- Fear of intimacy
- Season of life: young kids, grief, failure at work (leading to diminished masculinity and confidence), etc.
- Marital conflict
- Past abuse/sexual history
- Anxiety about sexual performance
Taking it a step further, our assumptions about sex drive may affect us more than actual desire (or what we perceive to be a lack thereof on the part of our husbands).
Sex therapist Dr. Michael Sytsma writes, “If you are the high [sexual-]desire spouse in your marriage, what you think about your husband’s low desire is far more important than his actual desire level, in predicting pain in your marriage.”* What conclusions are you already drawing … and how are they influencing your unity?
Let’s look beneath the surface—not only of our spouses, but ourselves. (Tomorrow we’ll be talking to husbands, as well.)
The good stuff: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)
Action points: The Creator of sex knows what’s beneath the presenting symptom of diminished libido. Ask Him for His wisdom and opportunities to not simply talk about this with your husband, but to actually champion his journey of healing. You might pray something like this:
Help me love and accept my spouse unconditionally.
Help me see what might be influencing this situation. When You show me, please give peace and wisdom to know what to do.
Help me take captive my thoughts and make them obedient to You (2 Corinthians 10:5). Don’t let me be driven by fear and anxiety.
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