I love my wife very much and hate to hurt her. But I am tired of her not meeting my needs. These days she turns me off with her sweatpants in bed, her overweight body, and the same old missionary position she has done from Day One. She is rarely in the mood, and I am so fed up with the fake headaches and fatigue she throws at me. I have tried to talk to her and told her to read some books, to no avail. What do I do? I do not want to turn to pornography or another woman, and my patience is running out.
Your wife is bored with sex. She was probably interested in the beginning of your marriage, when the excitement of being with you eclipsed all else. But the initial thrill wore off long ago, and now sex is physically unsatisfying for her. She doesn’t reach orgasm. Perhaps she never has. So what is there to get excited about?
She occasionally allows you to have sex in the missionary position. Why? Because men tend to ejaculate the quickest this way, and she is not physically or emotionally invested in sex. Her attitude is, “Get it over with.”
She doesn’t respond to the books you give her. They probably feel like unspoken demands and indictments: “Here—fix our sex life. You’re the problem.” The sweatpants say “leave me alone”; same with the headaches and fatigue.
You say that you love her, and I believe she also loves you. So how did the two of you, who love Christ and love each other, get in this predicament? Let’s go back in time.
The vast majority of couples go into marriage completely clueless about good sex. Sure, they might have something they call “experience,” usually from hurried couplings in illicit relationships. Sorry to be so blunt, but I have listened to these girlfriends, and while they might be attracted to you, the sex itself is not attractive. It is usually very bad sex—emotionally empty and physically unsatisfying—but they endure it (and might even pretend to like it) in the hopes of deepening the relationship.
These men enter marriage none the wiser that their sexual practices bring little or no pleasure to their wives. Since they’re excited–since they are so into it–they assume their wives are having the same experience. Not so. And if the wife doesn’t speak up early on and say, “This isn’t working. Can we try something else?”, the husband continues doing whatever he’s doing that isn’t working, and the wife gets more and more disappointed with sex. Eventually, she just avoids it. Sure, she lets you do it every now and then—because she actually does love you and care about your needs—but it’s nothing she looks forward to.
So, how does one turn around this sad (but sadly common) situation? First, pray. Tell God what’s on your heart. He understands your sex drive—He made you that way, after all. He invented sex. He decreed it good.
Then stop blaming your wife. Fault-finding will accomplish nothing. If you want to see a turnaround—and it is well within reach, with God’s help–you must forgive your wife, humble yourself, and communicate with her openly but gently. Here are some examples of talking points that don’t involve the blame game:
“I really miss the closeness with you that we have during sex. I’m concerned that we’re becoming too distant. I love you very much. What can we do to improve our intimacy? Can we maybe start over with sex? I want to learn what pleases you. Will you let me take things slow and touch you? If you don’t want to have sex, that’s OK. I want to be close to you.”
Ask God for wisdom, and adapt those words as you see fit. Be aware that this could initiate some pretty deep conversations. You might have to hear about your own failings. Trust God and absorb the blow—you can take it.
So, if you get a favorable reception, what next? We know you guys are doers, so here are some simple suggestions. Kiss her. Rub her back. Everyone enjoys a back rub. Start high; move down…slowly…slowly.
Ask if you can rub her there with your hand. Now—brothers, listen carefully—you’re a lot stronger than you think. You tend to jab, poke…lighten your touch. Let her guide you to the right degree of firmness. If she is becoming aroused—you will know when her body produces its own lubricant—gently penetrate her with your fingers. See if you can bring her to climax with your hands.
Keep in mind that your pent-up sexual energy can be a bit intimidating for a wife who hasn’t enjoyed sex in a long, long time. You might want to lie behind her or sit behind her as you touch her, and if she wants the lights out for now, leave her be. This will help keep things low-key. Above all, take it slow. Mrs. Happys aren’t made overnight.
Mrs. Happy has been married to one man for a long time.
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