Mar 15, 2011

Enjoying Intimacy, Part 2: Women with Strong “Drives”

This post is a follow-up to Part 1 published on Passionate Homemaking.

You ladies surprised me! I was overwhelmed by the number of comments on my previous post from women who feel they have stronger sexual drives than their husbands. I am sincerely sorry many of you seem to feel alone! Here’s my follow-up, for all you “high-drive” ladies!

I totally agree with many of you, that it’s pretty uncommon to hear about wives who have a stronger drive than their husbands, or who feel sexually unfulfilled. It’s a shame you feel good teachers and books are silent on this topic. It’s a reality, and there’s nothing wrong with speaking frankly about it.

I’d also like to say, without a lot of detail, that I have walked in those shoes, some. I can relate to that situation, although there are many nuances that make each marital relationship so very different from another. I hope that qualifies me enough to write on this!

Desire Factories: Manufacture for God!

Ladies, we’re all desire factories of some sort. Some of us have high emotional needs. Some of us are intellectual, aka brainy. Some prefer hugs. Some love sex! Most of us are a blend of all of them.

No matter what kind of “desire factory” each of us is, we all have the same basic desire: connection. Intimacy. Hear me now: intimacy can be manifested in many different ways, but whether emotional, sexual, physical, or mental, it’s all about connection.

The problem is we’ve all been fooled about who we’re manufacturing for. So many of us look to our husbands, or boyfriends, or whoever. Those desires belong first to God. The ultimate, highest, purest desire produced in you is meant for God. You were made to be fulfilled in him. First. Exclusively.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. (Psalm 73)

Is it wrong to want closeness with your husband, emotional or physical? It depends. Do you need it from him? Do you demand it from him? Do you sometimes feel ashamed because you can hardly do without it?

I hope not. Because frankly ladies, he’s not built to give you perfect connection and intimacy. GOD IS.

God wants your thoughts consumed with him through the day, and as you lay your head down at night. (“There’s nothing on earth I desire besides you God…”)

He wants you looking through (not past or over) your physical and emotional desires, to see your deep soul need to be reconnected to Him. (”My flesh and heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart and portion forever.")

He wants you obsessed with the perpetual gift he gives you in Jesus, the perfect stand-in to close the intimacy gap between you and Him. You created that gap, and he closes it. (“I have made the Lord God my refuge…”)

He wants you to keep making desires, and send them straight up to him. He won’t miss one. Neither will you.

Don’t Be A Drip

If your husband is being forced to field desire after desire from you (which were meant first for God) he has three options:

1. Check out. He knows he can’t do it. So he won’t even try.

2. Try, and resent you. He will grow angry with you for the excessive burdens you place on him.

3. Love you by correcting you and making sure his desires are first met in God.

No matter what he does, you won’t be happy with any of those choices will you? If you direct all your desires toward your husband, you basically want him to be perfect…like God!

He won’t be happy…and you won’t be happy. Your only course of action toward an “underperforming” husband is to tell him so….over and over, till it changes. A wife could nag about anything…even sex!

Poor guy! Don’t be like the lady in this verse: “A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike.” (Prov. 27:15) What a drip!

God’s Not a Vending Machine

So maybe you’re thinking, as I sometimes do, “Maybe if I grow that close to God, my marriage will be more satisfying.”

Here’s what I tell myself: “No, No, NO!” That’s all wrong.

Perhaps as you become a freer, happier, more peaceful and contented person, it will bring good things to bear on your marriage.

Maybe not. The question is, will God still and always be “the strength of your heart and your portion forever?” Will you trust that whatever your marriage situation, you can rest and be satisfied with whatever comes from his hand? Is Jesus Christ a symbol and signpost to you of God’s good plan for you in every area of your life?

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)

Can you even trust him with your sexual satisfaction, at least the part beyond your control? It’s in his hands, and he “graciously gives us all things!” Whatever you have, it’s good, because it’s from God.

Let’s Get Practical

I’m going to refrain from any practical tips here, because there could be so many different circumstances. I thought it most important here to address the posture of our hearts, and trust that God will help each lady personally “flesh” it out. (NO pun intended!)

That said, ladies...once we’ve explored and submitted our hearts to God, there’s always more we can learn and do to improve, as long as we’re not striving after an idol of sorts. So don’t obsess about having a perfect sex life, but by all means, let’s discuss/comment and help each other out.

If you know of any good books or resources, leave a comment and share with us!


  1. Hello.
    A few things come to my mind.
    * First, I have found that when my husband and I have talked about sex, when we have been real and honest about what we like or desire, etc., it has caused intamacy and more sexual fulfillment for both parties.
    * Second, Is the one time that you are "free" right at bedtime when your hubby may be ready for sellp after a hard day of work? I have found that talking over when your husband thinks is a "good time" for him is helpful. Also, being spontateous can be a nice surprise and add to the fun.
    *Third, when we were married (almost 8yrs ago) someone recommended the book The Act of Marriage, by Tim and Beverley LaHaye. Now, I don't remember what was all int his book, so I am not saying that I agree with everything, but my husband said that it helped him no how to better "please" me.
    All in all, I have foudn that being open and seeking to "serve or please" the other spouse leads to a win win situation. :)

  2. I appreciate you addressing this topic because I think it's one that Christians do not often talk about (women who have higher sex drives than their husbands). I also appreciate what you have to say about the topic.

    However, it's interesting that in most Christian books about sex for married couples, there is ALWAYS an exhortation to wives about the high need of husbands for sexual intimacy. Wives are always encouraged to say yes to their husbands - not out of duty - but because it's good for their husbands, good for them and good for their marriage.

    Why is it that husbands are never exhorted to do the same? Instead your exhortation here is that a wife who would like to have sex more than her husband should have her desires satisfied by God. Absolutely true, no one could disagree with that. But it does baffle the mind why Christian husbands aren't told to have their sexual desires satisfied by God. Christian men who want to have sex more often than their wives aren't accused of pressuring their wives or nagging.

    Why the double standard?

    Women AND men were designed to be satisfied by God alone. It's just interesting that when it comes to the topic of sex, the Christian community happily tells women that they should submit to their husband's desires if they are greater than their (women's) own. But if a wife wants more sex than her husband, she needs to go to God to have those desires met.

    Something doesn't sit right here.

    I appreciate Mark Driscoll's teaching on the subject, which is instruction to BOTH husbands and wives to say yes to each other.. Ultimately communication really is the most important.

  3. I found this article interesting. As wives, we're taught to meet our husbands sexual needs; they're not told to take their sexual desires to Jesus to fill. I think it should be the same for when a woman's needs are greater than his - the husband should seek to meet them (I find it incredulous to think that a husband wouldn't want sex with his amorous wife). Each should seek to serve the other in this area as needed, as able!

  4. Kirstie, I totally agree with you! You seem to be echoing 1 Cor 7:3 in addressing both spouses. I hope you didn't think I meant otherwise...I was only slanting things toward the woman's perspective because this is a women's blog, and I was focusing in on a wife's experience!!! If I were a man writing to men, I'd say their responsibility was the same! I think a general overview of marital duty would be another great topic.

    Again, sorry if I was unclear about my technical position on this...just trying to hone in on attitudes and guarding against bitterness/resentment in the bedroom, so that we're not pointing the finger at our husbands. As I tell my kids, "Worry about your own self!" :) Hope that makes sense!

  5. Ruth,

    Thanks for commenting! I also have really benefited from Mark Driscoll's teaching on this topic! I actually completely agree with you (and Driscoll). I apologize if my post sounded unbalanced. Please see my response above to Kirstie.

    I guess my main concern is that I, and my fellow wives, never develop sin in our hearts towards our husbands, even if they don't obey I Cor 7:3. I chose to focus on the attitudes of a wife rather than the technical responsibilities of both spouses. Perhaps another post on that more general topic would be good! Would love your feedback.

  6. I would encourage anyone who finds themselves in this situation to consider that there may be an underlying physical cause. I went through a difficult time several years ago because my body was changed from having a baby and my husband was working a lot and certain things just weren't happening. I thought it was me. But to make a long story short, we finally got him to see an endocrinologist who discovered that his testosterone level was very low. Not only was this the cause of what I perceived as a lack of interest, it also affected his health in other areas, not the least of which was drastic weight loss and muscle wasting.
    He was only 25 at the time. After just a few weeks on prescription testosterone gel, he gained back weight and was feeling better in other ways too ;) Because of environmental contaminants, and who knows what else, low testosterone is happening more and more frequently in men, who are rarely tested for it.
    Hopefully that helps someone out there. It's not just an issue of sexual well-being, but something that can seriously affect a man's overall health and resistance so it is worth checking out.

  7. I agree with what Kristie and Ruth said, and I appreciate the followup comment, Natalie. Thank you.

    What Emily said above really hit home for me b/c I've found it to be true. Talk -- in a collaborative way -- with your husband. The better my communication is with my sweetie, the better we communicate in other ways. A meeting of the minds on various topics, both intimate things and otherwise, lead to sparks later on. Having an honest discussion about these things and being genuinely curious about your partner (and vice versa) is super important.

  8. Wow, what an interesting topic. I went surfing to find a recipe to make kefir sour cream and ended up here.

    First, Natalie, thank you for your vulnerability and honesty in your site. It is refreshing. Second, I'm a mom of 4, been married for 14 years and have found our sex life change drastically again and again. After each of my 1st two kids my sex drive was higher and higher. Then after my third I couldn't enjoy it for anything and was quite frustrated and panicked. When I was pregnant it was always high as well. Since I had my fourth I would be happy to have sex once or twice a least that is how I feel mostly, but there are occasions where the desire rises...

    I can now attribute the differences to a myriad of things: hormones, lack of sleep, physical changes, insecurities, securities, etc. My hubby has changed as well, he seems to have grown stronger as mine has lessened. Sometimes it has been tough.

    All this to say, Natalie, you are correct. If we take a position of desiring our spouses to meet our NEEDS, and not being okay unless they do, we will never be satisfied or fulfilled. Only God can meet our needs. We are to go to Him, be filled with HIm, and then give from His grace to our hubbies. If we get it in the wrong order it will never work! Talking about it with each other from this perspective is SO much healthier, and useful. Nobody feels attacked or belittled and the honesty does often provide the CONNECTION we are all seeking.

    Blessings to all!

  9. Sometimes I'm not sure which is worse:
    My healthy 27 year old husband (in shape! no porn! no promiscuity in his past!) not wanting to sleep with me (in shape! no porn or promiscuity! attractive! very, very, very willing and excited to make love!), pouting through a time of sexual intimacy once every few weeks in the midst of countless rejections.

    Trying to connect with other women, find someone who can help me and encourage me and pray for me, only to hear over and over about how jealous they are that my husband isn't clawing me for sex all the time.

    For those who are lucky enough to be married to someone who wants to have sex with you, please think twice before making a comment, even in passing, to another wife. I've found the flippant remarks of other women to be nearly as devastating as the constant rejection of my husband.

  10. Anonymous,

    Thanks for sharing, I'm so sorry. I know being rejected hurts so much. I hope you know this post was by no means mean to make you feel guilty or add on more pressure. I'm also sorry you can't find women who will be supportive friends.

    Praying your heart will be protected from damaging bitterness and anger. You have enough pain as is, without needing any more unnecessarily caused by those things. Also praying you and hubby will (long-term) be able to wade through whatever it is keeps you two apart, and that you'd have the patience to wait for that resolution to come.

    Email me if you want so I can pray for you further.