Oct 172013 8 Responses

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

(The most asked question I’ve ever received but have never answered is “what do I, as a wife, do when my husband doesn’t want as much sex as me?” Here is my answer.)

It’s generally true—most men have a higher sex drive than women.

I see it as I walk with couples in the months before their wedding. In almost twenty years of doing weddings, I’m yet to come across a young bride more excited about the honeymoon than the husband.

I see it in dealing with couples experiencing marital dissatisfaction. When sex is a problem, the husband often complains of lack of frequency.

I see it studies and statistics. Men generally have higher sex drives than women.

Generally.

But not always.

And not nearly as much as is assumed.

Far more often than some might expect, I receive phone calls from women who are unhappy with the lack of sex in their marriage. They are willing, but their partner does not have as much desire.

While this is difficult in any relationship, it can be very damaging for a woman.

  • She reads blog posts encouraging wives to have more sex with their husbands and she wonders what is wrong with her.
  • She hears sermons joking about the traditional sex roles and she assumes she must not be as attractive or desirable.
  • She listens to her friends complain about their husbands’ sexual desires and she quietly wishes she had the same problem.

When a husband has a higher sex drive which is unsatisfied, it is not a pleasant situation, but it doesn’t attack his sense of worth as a man. As a matter of fact, it might make him feel more like a man because of the perception that men always want sex.

When a wife has a higher sex drive which is unsatisfied, it can attack the very core of who she is as a woman.

  • Is she beautiful?
  • Is she attractive?
  • Does she have value?
  • Is she wanted?

Yet, rarely does a man’s low sex drive have much to do with his wife.

In a majority of cases, a man’s low sex drive falls into one of the following four categories:

1. Difference in sex drive. Rarely does a couple have a similar sex drive. While a majority of the time, a husband has a higher sex drive than his wife, about 30% of the time the wife has more of a drive than a husband. In this case, a husband should make a concerted effort to please his wife. They should communicate, negotiate, and find a common ground where both partners feel heard, understood, and appreciated. A general rule is a couple should have a lot more sex than one partner wants a little less than the other wants. If the couple can’t find a middle ground, they should be quick to seek help from a marriage counselor.

2. Health issues. Many health issues first become symptomatic in the realm of sex. Low testosterone, high blood pressure, ED, and a plethora of other issues can hurt a man’s sex drive. The first piece of advice I recommend to any couple I see is to get a physical examination. Learning the cause of a low sex drive is the first step. Knowing the cause can bring relief to the wife and gives the husband an opportunity to do something about the problem. Most men could improve their sexual desire with a simple exercise plan and better eating.

3. Addiction. The three most common addictions I see in men which hurt sex drive are smoking, alcoholism, and pornography. Any addiction can hurt sexual function, but these are the three I see the most. In general terms: smoking kills the ability, alcoholism kills the desire, and pornography displaces the act. In all three cases, the addiction is having a negative effect on their spouse and most of the time the men deny that their actions are creating a problem. They deny it because they don’t want to do anything about it. When an addiction is causing negative consequences for others, it must be confronted. Our wives must take priority over cigarettes, a drink, or any other temptation we might face.

4. Adultery. When a low sex drive can’t fit into any of the three previous categories, it can often be explained by the fourth. When a man is having an affair, he often has just enough sex at home to keep suspicions at bay. The thrill of the forbidden sexual escapade is always more exciting than the traditional sexual relationship so he trades the exciting for the mundane. It’s fun at the beginning but devastating in the end.

Obviously, the most important element in dealing with this issue is diagnosing it properly. If your husband has medical issues and you accuse him of having an affair, things will not go well. If he’s having an affair and you just assume it’s a lower sex drive, deception will kill the relationship.

The key to solving this conflict is the same key to solving every conflict—open, honest communication with a willingness to take action.

Discuss the issues at play. Get a physical to rule out any medical issues. See a marriage counselor for tips and insights. Whatever you do, do not ignore the issue.

In marriage, if an issue is important to one spouse, it is important to both spouses. If one spouse is frustrated, both spouses should work to ease the frustration.

For more, see:

13 Questions to Gauge If You Need Marriage Counseling

What to Do If Your Spouse Refuses Counseling

Do you have a question you would like answered in a Thursday post? Leave a question in the comment section.

8 Responses to Gentlemen, Start Your Engines
  1. Helena Reply

    Awesome awesome article! Thank you!!

  2. […] Most of the time a husband desires more sex than his wife, but about 30% of the time the wife has a ... kevinathompson.com/enough-sex
  3. […] Of course it is not just women. In many marriages, it is the man who is ignoring his marital obligat... kevinathompson.com/church-lady-prostitute-misunderstanding-sex
  4. Joy Reply

    This message needs to become more mainstream. Thank you for addressing it! If in 30% of marriages the wife naturally has more drive, then what percent of marriages in addition to that suffer from the other three issues? This might bring the percent of marriages with lonely wives pretty close to 50%. If that’s the case, the majority of men do not have a higher drive than their wives. The entire stereotype is wrong. This type of struggle is a 50/50 deal.

  5. […] If I could only tell wives one thing in regards to marriage, it would be to continually grow in unde... kevinathompson.com/tell-wives-one-thing
  6. […] be true that men generally have a higher sex drive in marriage (although it’s not true in 30% ... https://www.kevinathompson.com/what-men-and-women-dont-know-about-sex
  7. OKRickety Reply

    “Far more often than some might expect, I receive phone calls from women who are unhappy with the lack of sex in their marriage. They are willing, but their partner does not have as much desire.”

    Do you have have more phone calls from women who are generally unhappy with their marriage than you do from men? In other words, are women more likely to look for help with their marriage? If so, is it possible that the same is true regarding lack of sex and your perception is thus skewed?

    Additionally, I wonder if the wives’ desire has increased during the marriage, or if it is higher now simply because the husbands’ desire has decreased. If the latter, I wonder why the husbands’ desire has decreased.

    “While a majority of the time, a husband has a higher sex drive than his wife, about 30% of the time the wife has more of a drive than a husband.”

    I’ve heard this general claim before. What is the basis behind it? I am extremely skeptical of its accuracy.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Do you not think it’s possible for women to have a higher drive than men?

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