What’s a normal frequency of sex in marriage? That’s usually asked by the spouse with a higher libido looking for ways to get their partner to say Yes more often. I’m not sure there’s any couple anywhere who both desire sex with the same frequency. But when one spouse has a particularly high sexual appetite it presents challenges for both partners.
Perhaps you waited to have sex until marriage, expecting that doing so as a Christian would lead to a magical satisfying sex life. It’s all legal now. Let’s go for it! Or perhaps you’d been having sex together before marriage feeling a bit guilty, and now that you’re married you expect “sanctioned sex” to be even easier. I thought we were sexually compatible.
But married sex isn’t turning out to be what you hoped. One of you is feeling frustrated, lonely, hurt, even angry, because your high sexual appetite isn’t being satisfied. The other is feeling hurt, pulled on, unseen, and used by your spouse’s high sexual appetite. It’s not going well.
I offer some thoughts to each partner, the one with the high sexual appetite and also to their spouse.
If Your Sexual Appetite is Stronger than Your Spouse’s
God never promised you a happy sex life. You are not entitled to sex. Take a step back and evaluate your sexual appetite from God’s perspective. He made you a sexual being, but that does not mean you have a license to use someone else, even your spouse. How are you stewarding that part of how He made you?
What are you really wanting when you want sex? Yes, you are a biological creature with hormones and sex organs, and an urge for sexual release is normal. But is that really what you’re looking for? In part, perhaps, yes. But you may also be looking to sex to meet other needs and desires such as for connection or validation. You may see sex as a way to deal with boredom, frustration, anxiety, disappointment, sadness, or other emotions.
Your sexual appetite is much more than biology. If you were sexually discipled by porn (or similar distortions) your brain has developed the template that sex is about getting my own “needs” met. It’s all about self-gratification without having to do the work of relationship building. If you expect your spouse to now be a sanctioned replacement for porn, woah! Your sexual appetite could simply be lust, and may need a major overhaul.
You can use your strong sexual appetite as fuel driving you to do the work of developing true intimacy with your spouse, not to get something from them but to grow true communion together. Learn to seek your spouse’s heart first. If Jesus is the Lord of your life, make Him the Lord specifically of your sex life. Daily submit your sexuality to Him. That’s the only way to steward this God-given part of you well.
If Your Spouse has a Stronger Sexual Appetite than You
There are times you may need to say No to sex. But you can learn to say No to sex and Yes to your spouse. And you can continue to pursue intimacy regardless of whether sex is possible right now or not.
Realize what sex means to your husband or wife. (I’m talking about when your spouse is a person of good will and not toxic or addicted.) Your spouse may see sex as a significant way to connect with you, to feel seen, known, and desirable. This does not mean you “owe” them sex. But there’s a very big difference between obligation or duty sex, and offering sex as a gift from a generous heart. Obligation or duty sex is likely to only build the walls between you higher. Offering a gift can bond you closer together.
You may have some work to do in your own soul. Most if not all people have been sexually harmed and you may need healing from being used, objectified, or hypersexualized in the past. You may need to marinate in who God is and what He designed for sex in marriage and how it is good. You may need to change how you order your own life such that your body and mind have space to engage in intimacy with your spouse physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
If you have a responsive sexual desire rather than a spontaneous sexual desire you’re not abnormal. Learn your arousal template and help your spouse know what helps you feel closer to them. Invest in whole-person intimacy together.
Stewarding a High Sexual Appetite Well
When placed in its proper place in a healthy marriage sex becomes a kind of glue keeping you bonded together during the different and often difficult seasons of life. If it’s driving you apart instead of bringing you closer, do something about it now!
Learn to talk about sex together. Don’t approach this as seeking to get something from your spouse. Imagine your sexual relationship as a “third thing” out in front of you, and you’re both sitting on the same side of the table looking at this part of your relationship and working to solve the challenge together.
And invite God right into the middle of your sex life together. Pray about it – not for Him to change your spouse as much as for Him to change you, and to be the glue holding you together.
Your Turn: Do you or your spouse have a high sexual appetite? How have you addressed that in your marriage? What do you see God saying to you right now about this? Leave a comment below.
Tweetables: why not share this post?
- If you or your spouse has a high sexual appetite marriage can be challenging. To navigate this well both partners have a role. And God needs to be right in the middle of this. Tweet that.
Struggling with Intimacy?
Intimacy is a challenge for every marriage! I’ve taken the things I’ve taught individual couples that have helped them build intimacy and put it all in our new online course Fully Alive Marriage. This course is not marriage enrichment; it’s helping you learn the mindsets and skills to solve problems that sabotage your intimacy and build the kind of relationship that nourishes you both for the long haul.
Don’t remain languishing in marriage misery or walk away before seeing what God may yet do for your relationship.