How To React To A Sexual Awakening

Jay Dee

How To React To A Sexual Awakening

May 24, 2013

My last post, How Long Does a Sexual Awakening Take?, dealt with the fact that an awakening is sometimes a process, and one must be patient during that process.  This one will tackle the other side of the marriage: Typically, the high-drive spouse, the partner

Awakening Reaction

My last post, How Long Does a Sexual Awakening Take?, dealt with the fact that an awakening is sometimes a process, and one must be patient during that process.  This one will tackle the other side of the marriage: Typically, the high-drive spouse, the partner of the “awakened” spouse.

So, how do you react when your spouse has had/is having an awakening?  Now, the only experience I have is my own to draw on, though I have read bits and pieces of others.  An awakening is fairly rare (once per couple max) event, and very few people are willing to discuss it openly, because, well, it has to do with their sex life.  But I have seen some similarities in comments, posts, forums, and the like, with my experience, so I don’t think mine is that radically different than the majority.  That said, I could be wrong, so keep that in mind.


When my wife first said to me “I promise I won’t say ‘No’ again” I’m afraid my immediate thought was a mental laugh and “yeah, right”.  I don’t suggest this stage, but it’s one I went through, and one many others have gone through as well.  The fact is, that most of us with “awakened” spouses have been in the non-awakened pattern for so long, that it not only is our reality, but we’ve usually lost hope of it ever changing.  We were married at 20 years old (both of us), and by the time we were 23, the hope I was holding on to was that female sexual prime around age 35.  That was my light at the end of the tunnel.  The light I wasn’t really sure existed, and I couldn’t see yet, on the far side of 12 years of tunnel still to come.  So, it’s hard to change that mindset.  We protect ourselves so much from the hurt, rejection just feeling unloved, of promises for sex unfulfilled, hints dropped and never picked up, of misinterpreting a signal thinking tonight is the night for sex, only to be let down again.  We learn to not believe anything that might be misconstrued as an initiation in any form.

Now, that is a reason, not an excuse.  I still had my will intact, and I could have decided to believe her.  But, I’m afraid I didn’t.


This sort of goes hand in hand with disbelief.  You’ll find a startling number of couples go from being sexless to sex every night for a period at the start of an awakening.  Why?  For some it’s because the awakened spouse is just so overcome with their sexuality that they want sex all the time…but that’s pretty rare.  In more cases I’ve seen (myself included), the reacting spouse is testing this awakening.  They don’t believe it is really happening and/or they don’t trust that it will last.  So, they test, and they take advantage of it.  I’ve mentioned before that this behavior is like a starving kid who suddenly gets food every day.  Almost invariably, a behavior occurs in these circumstances: hording.  They don’t believe there will be food tomorrow, because it’s never happened before.  So they stockpile food.  In the same way, I stockpiled sex.

We had sex for 10 days straight.  One day break, then 12 days straight.  After that, we had sex basically 9 of every 10 days.  The idea was to assume sex.  It took a while for me to stop hording.

New Balance

Typically after an awakening, a new balance is struck.  Whereas it used to be sex maybe once a month (because one spouse wants it every day and one wants it never, so that’s the compromise), now it levels out to 2 or 3 times a week perhaps (numbers just for example).  This may take a while: it took us a few months to reach this balance.

Now, there are some where the new balance is the same as the old balance.  Perhaps the low drive spouse always was willing to have sex, but never wanted, or never initiated, or certain practices were forbidden, or whatever.  In those cases, the balance tends to be more of what’s allowed, who initiates, more active or more passionate.  An awakening is not always (and rarely only) about frequency.


This is probably the hardest.  In many cases, the awakened spouse has refused or was gatekeeping sex for a long time.  Years or decades.  Often the other spouse feels cheated, feels hurt and betrayed, feels like they were tricked into marriage.  I remember thinking that I felt like Jacob: I had gotten Leah instead of Rachel, because as soon as we got married, it seemed like my wife was a completely different person than my fiance was.  But you cannot move on until you forgive them.  That means not bringing it up maliciously in an argument, not using it as a tactic to get your way or pressure your spouse, or guilt them into anything.

Natural Consequences

But, after forgiveness, there is still hurt, still pain that must be worked through.  There is a relationship that needs to be rebuilt, trust needs to be established.  Many awakened spouses awaken only to find that their spouse has now turned into a refuser, sometimes out of spite, but more often because they are still hurting so much and can’t communicate and/or deal with it, or because they are terrified of being hurt, of believing the new promise only to have it snatched away later.

Others awaken to find their spouse suddenly has an ED (erectile dysfunction) problem, or a DE (delayed ejaculation).  These typically stem from the same issues.  Typically it is short term (days, weeks, months, maybe years), but not permanent if the couple is willing to work through it.

Sadly, just because someone is forgiven, doesn’t mean there wasn’t damage done that must be mended.  I cannot murder a man, repent, be forgiven and expect the victim to get up and get on with his life.  Forgiveness is only the first step in healing, but it is the pivotal step.  Without it, nothing can start.  After it, the rest will come.

Moving On

Finally, you will get to a point where it is all in the past.  You have a new marriage.  You are happier than ever before.  And not only is your sex life healthy, is it growing deeper.  This is what all the work was for, but you cannot get here without the work.  I believe this is the stage we are at now, or very close to it anyways.  We can discuss the prior years without causing pain to each other.  We aren’t holding it against each other.  We are just basking in our new marriage.

So, that’s my story basically.  I’m afraid I didn’t handle it as well as I should have, but there it is.  In the hopes that it will help someone understand their marriage and it’s awakening.

Your Turn

Have you been through an awakening?  What was your experience?  Did you hit these stages?  Let me know so I can help more people.

Looking for help?

14 thoughts on “How To React To A Sexual Awakening”

  1. The White Stone says:

    I didn’t find forgiveness hard myself. There are still hurts to be healed however.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Honestly, I didn’t find it the hardest either, But I’ve heard from many that it is.

      Welcome to the blogosphere! I see you just launched your blog. I’m curious to see the next post to see what your purpose is.

  2. Scott Perkins says:

    Thanks for your vulnerability in your posts. My heart rejoices for your marriage because of your wife’s change of heart.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      You are welcome. In today’s post-modern society (more than any other time), people don’t want to learn from an abstracted textbook, they want to know you have gone through the issue and come out, they want to know what the experience was like, what works, what doesn’t in practice, not just in theory.

  3. Annie says:

    So enjoy your blog, such great insights! Keep up the great work!

    I experienced an awakening about 2 years ago. I asked my hubby to read this blog and he agreed this is pretty much exactly what we have gone through. He did say that the forgiveness was not a big thing for him though.

    This is what I have found out about my own awakening. Mine happened, I believe because of a medication change. I was on “the pill” for many years and finally decided that we needed to do something different esp since we were not planning anymore kiddos 🙂 It was 6 months to the day that my awakening took place and has not left. I have since read on several forums and things that it is a side effect of “the pill”. We truly had no idea or would have done something much sooner if we had known. Not only did the awakening take place but my personality also did a 180, i am not much more laid back person. It has been a very eye opening experience.

    Thought I would share.
    Blessings to you!

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Thank you for the encouragement!
      I agree, for me the forgiveness part wasn’t too hard at all, but I added that because I often read from others that it is.

      A lot of the research I’ve seen is indicating that in many women, the changes to their brain chemistry can be permanent. Sadly, it seems the FDA doesn’t consider a loss of libido to be a serious issue, so it’s often not included in the documentation, nor are doctors required to disclose that information. My wife has been off the pill now for 8 years, and we’re still hoping for a change.

      1. Kristen says:

        JD, so sorry to hear this. This is what my husband and I are going through, but in reverse. I feel like I should share some of what I’ve learned as it might be helpful to you and others who see this post.

        In my research into Post-Finasteride Syndrome, I’ve come across accounts from several men who completely lost their libido, 100%, and then regained it, 100%. It wasn’t a quick fix at all, it took years. But since libido issues appear to be testosterone-related in both men and women, I’ll share what I’ve learned that might be applicable to women.

        So my very rough guess is that birth control pills reset both progesterone and estrogen to a lower level in women, and it stays at that level even after coming off the Pill. (I think this is what happened to me, although my issue resolved spontaneously with pregnancy.) Since progesterone is the precursor to testosterone, testosterone is very likely lowered while women are on the pill, resulting in loss of libido, and then it remains at a lower level after use is discontinued. That’s my working theory anyway.

        So the recovery stories in men have all had the following things in common:

        First, the men water fasted. Some for a few days, some for as long as three weeks. At first, this absolutely kills libido, because initially testosterone levels fall precipitously. But water fasting is like a reset button for the entire endocrine system. It produces large amounts of human growth hormone and results in men in a huge increase in testosterone once the fast has ended. Of course, this hasn’t been studied much in women, but water fasting appears to optimize the entire endocrine system (and the body in general), so my educated guess is that it also resets testosterone production in women. (Water fasting while homeschooling is rather difficult – speaking from experience – so what I’ve done for myself – for general health reasons – is intermittent fasting. But I don’t know whether this improves libido issues.)

        Second, the men did strength training or sprinting when they weren’t fasting. Muscle raises levels of testosterone in both men and women, and exercise optimizes expression of the enzymes that convert it to the active form. (The men also cycled through prohormones and T-boosters, but obviously it wouldn’t be wise for women to do this.)

        Third, the men optimized their diets when they weren’t fasting. The focus was on foods that were highest in nutrients. Adequate cholesterol is important, as it’s the precursor to pregnenolone, which is the precursor to progesterone, which is the precursor to testosterone (as well as estrogen). Adequate saturated fat is also important. Adequate complex carbohydrates are important. Probiotic foods, which optimize vitamin absorption, are important, as well. “The Perfect Health Diet” by Dr. Paul Jaminet and Dr. Shou-Ching Jaminet is probably the best diet I’ve seen for this purpose, although if I remember correctly, they leave out information on probiotic foods. For a discussion of those, “Grain Brain” by Dr. David Perlmutter is excellent, although that diet is too low-carb for optimal testosterone synthesis.

        There are several other factors, as well. Probably the most important is getting adequate sleep and keeping circadian rhythm cycles consistent. Also lowering stress through things like deep breathing, massage and, well, other things mentioned on this site:) can be helpful. Eliminating BPA and phthalates (both synthetic estrogens/endocrine disruptors) in the environment is worth mentioning. These can be in a wide range of products, from foods to cosmetics to shower curtains to synthetic flooring.

        Vitamin D3, the sunshine vitamin/hormone, is important, too. It has been shown to increase testosterone when levels are deficient. We supplement at 5000 IU per day (adult dose). Anyone who’s getting colds and flu during the winter is very deficient. A side benefit of this (for us, anyway) is that we’re no longer getting sick every 2-3 weeks as we used to in the winter.

        Finally, we’ve prayed for healing and for wisdom in knowing what to do to correct the issue! That’s really the most important thing of all.

        My husband has been doing all of this for months and has had some of the issues he’s been experiencing get slightly better. However libido is apparently the last thing to recover in PFS patients. But we both agreed that his desire has gone from zero to now at least being responsive. We are praying for spontaneous desire. That is our goal. Blessings!

  4. Ali Hafiz says:

    I think those are same stages of change or the change rule applies here as well which are the shock and denial stage, anger stage, bargaining stage, depression and finally the acceptance stage.
    Thanks for the great insights and keep the good work Jay Dee 🙂

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I thought about it, but I don’t remember a bargaining stage, nor depression. I mean, why would I want to bargain to go back? And depressed?! I was happier than I had been in a long time!

      Thanks for the encouragement and the discussion!

  5. Pingback: Growing, Together | The Forgiven Wife
  6. Trackback: Growing, Together | The Forgiven Wife
  7. Pingback: I'm Changing, but My Husband Doesn't Seem to Notice | The Forgiven Wife
  8. Trackback: I'm Changing, but My Husband Doesn't Seem to Notice | The Forgiven Wife
  9. JWH says:

    It hurts, being rejected all of those years. The emotional toll from emotional isolation and being berated for wanting what is healthy in a relationship is very difficult to process.

    I thought the realization that my parents were abusive was hard enough, realizing my spouse was incapable of loving me seems like Mt. Everest on most days. At this point, I just want to be heard. I don’t want to gripe, complain or pile on guilt. I do want to feel heard, to rebuild the emotional connection that was severed by discussing the hurts inflicted and how I coped with them.

    It is hard to want to push the issue because I know my wife was hurting as well. I don’t think she would have intentionally hurt me but I still need to speak.

    At this point, she wants all the romance, the courting, the flirting….. I’m 40, going to school again and I’m tired. I know it sounds like an excuse but not only am I still hurting, still feel unheard, I’m very tired. Also, I don’t know the person to whom I’m married. I’ve adjusted to so many different versions of my wife, it’s almost unbearable to think of having to “get used to” or “fall in love with” or “be seduced” by yet another. Somewhere, in the midst of it all, I feel guilt for feeling this way. For years, she did try to fix things, the fix never involved intimacy (communication) or trust. Now, that’s being required of me and I simply feel so exhausted, I don’t feel any trust (communication or otherwise) and I feel an immense amount of pressure to “snap out of it.”

    We will work through it. Every situation has similarities and its on uniqueness as well. It’s good to have a place to come and vent. Thanks for the OP!

  10. Greenbean950 says:

    My marriage is going through an “awakening” now. We went through a good pre-marriage counseling using a book that described the kind of marriage I had dreamed of. Once we were married, this book seemed to become a play-book on how to avoid intimacy and what to refuse to do. We’ve been married 29 years and your analogy of getting Leah instead of Rachel was apt. My wife was dishonest about who she was before we were married and regularly lied during the marriage. We’ve gone through marriage counseling 4 times and each time she promised to change. This lasted a few months and then reverted to the norm.

    I am struggling with forgiveness. I suspect that has to do with so much of our relationship being based on deceit. How do I believe that this latest version of my wife is any more authentic than the last? Or, that it will last any longer than the previous promised changes?

  11. AL says:

    Have an awaking now but no partner (we are separated by both distance and his choice) Not sure how to deal with it with a toddler in tow. I feel isolated and rejected and at the same time unable to take steps in my fullfillment.

Share your thoughts