They were sitting across the table from me, both hurting badly. Married over twenty years, they really wanted to make things work. Both were practicing Christians, and felt it would be wrong to even consider divorce.
But things were not going well. Among other things, she was struggling with his desire and need for sex about twice a week. She had several other current challenges in her life, and giving sex to her husband seemed like asking something of her that she didn’t have to give. The disconnect in their sexual needs was leading to a lot of resentment between them. Neither wanted to cause the other pain, but they were hurting each other consistently and didn’t know how to stop.
How many marriages have been harmed by this kind of sexual disconnect? Does any of this sound familiar?
- You avoid your husband as much as you can, hoping he won’t pursue you for sex
- You give in to sex and end up resenting it, and him
- You pick a fight with him, hoping that will keep him at bay for a while
- You go to bed early or stay up late, trying to avoid being nearby at the most likely times for sex
- You find every excuse to be sick, and you’ve got fifty variations on “I have a headache” to try
- You fantasize about being single again: at least you wouldn’t feel guilty about saying No
- You wonder if there’s something really wrong with you, but you’re too tired to find out
As I tell women regularly in my OB-Gyn practice, a woman’s sexual response is very complicated. She has a much harder time compartmentalizing sex than a man does. If other things in her life or relationships are not going well, it may be hard or even impossible to respond sexually.
I’m going to assume for a moment that you have a genuinely good man for a husband, not perfect, but one who truly wants to be good to you. You recognize that sex together as husband and wife is important to him, and you’d like to handle it better. Here are some things you can do if your husband wants sex and you generally don’t.