Sexual Frequency: Why I Don’t Worry Anymore

Jay Dee

Sexual Frequency: Why I Don’t Worry Anymore

Feb 28, 2012

For the first 8 or so years of our marriage, we were in constant argument was the frequency of sex. This seems to be common among many Christian marriages.

Why is it a struggle? How do you resolve the struggle?

Sexual frequency is about more than just sex, it's about sexual security.  Here's how we changed our marriage to remove this conflict.

For the first 8 or so years of our marriage, my wife and I were in a constant argument about sexual frequency in our marriage.  This seems to be a common theme with many couples.  At least the ones who are willing to talk about it.  In fact, I’m not sure I’ve talked to another couple where it isn’t an issue.

Now, I’m not going to get into why it was an issue, that’s a discussion for another post, and another time.  In this post, I want to discuss the issue of the struggle.  Why is it a struggle between men and women?  How do you resolve the struggle about the frequency of sex?

In the majority of cases, the actual sexual frequency doesn’t matter that much.  You hear the same arguments whether a couple is having sexual activity daily, weekly, monthly, or not at all.  At different points in our marriage, we’ve been in each of those categories.

Note: The accepted definition by professional therapists of a “sexless” marriage is having sex less than 10 times a year.  Not quite once a month.

So, if the frequency isn’t the real issue when arguing about sexual frequency, what is?

The real issue is sexual security

Sexual security is the feeling that your sexuality is secure with your spouse.  Let me explain.

For years in our marriage, veto power ruled whether to have sex on any given night.  I believe this is the same in the majority of married couples.  That is, at any given time, if either spouse says “no”, then sex does not occur.  Now, what happens, in these cases, is that the spouse with the lower sex drive is the one who gets to pick how often sex happens.  Not only when, but in what way, where, etc…  This seems to be the standard set by our society.

TV shows and movies are full of entertaining scenes of wives rejecting their husbands for sex.  Often for arbitrary reasons.  Anecdotal headaches, unfinished chores, retaliation for real or perceived slights, tiredness, laziness, or just to maintain control, our media is full of scenes with wives rejecting their husbands’ sexual advances.

It should be no surprise then that if this is society’s message, that God’s would be the opposite:

Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1 Corinthians 7:5 NLT

I think many couples know this passage, but not many take the time to realize the implications.  What does this mean?  Do not deprive each other.  Does this sound like a system based on a veto?  I would argue that it does not.  Quite the opposite.  This is a system based on the want, or need, of whichever spouse feels it.  That sex is only to be taken off the table for short times, by mutual consent.

So, what does this look like in a marriage?  I’m not sure I can answer that yet.  I can tell you what it looks like in our marriage, and we’re still trying to figure it out.

We don’t aim for a certain number of times per month or anything like that. Rather the deal now in our marriage is that we go to bed naked.  Every night.  Unless it has been discussed previously that sex is off the table.  Note: we don’t sleep naked.  Why do we go to bed naked?  It’s a symbol.  It means that sex is on the table (not literally, it’s generally on the bed), every night.  This means, that we have sex if one of us wants to.  To put that in the negative: We have sex unless BOTH of us agree not to.  Now I can just hear the complaints, because, well, I’ve had them in my marriage before we changed to this.

We can’t have sex every night!

The big one is generally “My spouse will want sex every night!”  Now, I have two things to say to that:

The first is “So what?”  Now, except in some extreme cases, people generally enjoy sex.  If you don’t, then sometimes one spouse has to spend some time learning.  Either learn how to help their partner or learning what they like themselves with their spouse.  Do you know what helps this?  More practice (read: more sex).  Practice leads to improvement.  What have you got to lose?

The second is that, yes, your spouse may want sex every night.  For a bit.  Let me tell you what happened when we started this.  About a year ago, we participated in a “7 days of sex” challenge.  This was about the time that we were starting to reform our marriage.  We decided to try 7 days of sex straight.  This was an easier sell than “sex whenever I want”.  We ended up having sex 12 days in a row!  We had a one-day break, and then did another 10 days in a row!  It transformed our marriage.   The intimacy it produced revitalized our marriage.  It hasn’t been the same since.

At this point we hadn’t quite figured out the “sex is on the table every day” ideal yet.  We were still in a pendulum swing from the low-frequency sex lifestyle we had come from.  Over time, it slowed down.  We seem to have settled at sex every 2-3 days.  Why?  Why aren’t we having sex every night?  I always thought that’s what I wanted.  During the many years of our struggle about sexual frequency, that’s what was in my mind.  Sex every day, multiple times a day.  That was my “perfect” scenario.

Well, we tried sex every day.  We even had a few “couple times” a day.  You know what I found out?  It’s too much for me!  I think in the end my ideal is two out of every three days.

So, my ideal is 2/3 days (66%).  We’re having sex about 1/2 – 1/3 days (33-50%).  Why am I happy with the sexual frequency when it’s less sex than I want?  Is it just because it’s better than it was?  I used to think so.  That I was settling, because it could be worse.  But I’ve found out it’s more than that.  As I said before, it comes down to security.

Sexual Gorging

Conflicts about sexual frequency are usually about more than just how often you're having sex.  They're usually about the fact that one spouse doesn't feel secure about the sexual relationship.  Similar to how a starving child doesn't know when the next meal is coming, they don't know when they'll feel loved again.

I heard a story in a sermon once about a family who adopted a boy.  I don’t remember it verbatim, but I will try to relay the message:

When they adopted the boy, some of his behaviour confused them.  The kid was always hiding food.  He never ate all his supper, but always saved a bit, in his pockets, pieces of bread, cheese, whatever.  After a while, they finally figured it out.  In his previous living situation, the boy was never sure where the next meal would be coming from.  He didn’t know if there would be food in the morning, or at the next lunch, or supper.  So, he stashed food worrying about the future.  It took a while to realize that there would always be a next meal.  That there were snacks.  That the pantry was full, and so was the fridge.  That the boy would never have to starve again.

I realized that I was like that boy.  I felt that I had been “starved” for long, that I had no security about when my next “sexual meal” would take place.  So, I always felt like I wanted sex daily, or many times a day.  When we did that 7 days of sex challenge, I gorged myself.  We had sex 12 days in a row, a one day break, and then another 10 days in a row.  Why?  Because I didn’t trust that there would be supper tomorrow.  Slowly, I learned that I didn’t need to worry about it.  I stopped being anxious about when the next sexual encounter would be.  Eventually our sexual frequency leveled off.

So, why aren’t we having sex as frequently as at my ideal if in the end, I have the power to do so?  Because now that I’m not “starved” for sex, now that my needs are being met, I can focus more on my wife’s wants.  There are nights I know she wants to go to bed.  I know she wants to go to bed more than I want sex.  So, we sleep instead.  And I am content with that.  Why?  Because I know, for a certainty, that if I said “I need sex”, she would be willing.  Because I can have that security, I don’t need to actually have sex every time I feel the desire.

Veto Power vs Assume Sex

This simple change, from “veto power” to “assume sex” has changed something fundamental in our marriage.  In our society, sex has been something that women use to control men.  I believe this is contrary to God’s will as well.

…you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church.

Ephesians 5:22b-33a NLT

I’m not going to start an argument about submission and headship here.  But I wanted to just bring this out to touch on a point.  That the Bible doesn’t advocate for marriage, sexuality, or anything as being a method of controlling someone.  I believe one of the core teachings of the Bible is that free will must reign supreme.  A marriage without free will, a marriage that includes control of one spouse by another is not in keeping with God’s will.

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44 thoughts on “Sexual Frequency: Why I Don’t Worry Anymore”

  1. Jessica Ronne says:

    This is also a great post. My husband and I have actually found the exact same thing to be true. Sex is on the table almost every single night and it has done really great things for our marriage. I (as a woman) have found that it really is that simple, sex equals a happy husband. Thanks for your honesty.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Good for you Jessica! I think sex should be on the table (or bed, or wherever) every night for every marriage. I think that’s how it was designed to function.

      And you’re right, while we (men) can’t survive solely on sex, it does seem to greatly enhance every aspect of our life. Now, the only problem with this is some wife’s (understandably) get upset and think we just want sex (physical) regardless of partner. This is far from the truth, we want sex with our wives! It’s not just the physical feelings, it’s the emotional connection as well that drives us. I think I’m going to have to write a post about that…

      1. Dennis says:

        Jay -That comment is at the crux of the issue for many, many wives. The problem is the boorish behavior of many husbands only serves to entrench that thought. Then the empass or stalemate occurs. During our hiatus my wife said more than once that she wondered how I would feel if she was suddenly unable to have sex. She figured I would still care for her, would take care of her, but would ultimately be a miserable man. She has/had little faith in my ability to love her without sex. To her, loving her equalled my ability to be content without sex. She was upset at the times when I struggled during the hiatus. I was supposed to be happy about not getting any. After 60 days, I went bacjpk to my counselor, told him her reactions and he said “that’s bullcrap! That’s just her trying to put it all on you. That’ snot the reality you two are living in, what gives her the right to demand a reaction to a hypothetical?” Those words made me feel more free than I’d felt in years. I know some of what she was feeling, I was at fault for causing, some of it is solely on her. All I can do is work on me. She has to decide to change herself.
        I read you post on masturbation. It may seem strange to mention that here but it wasn’t until I determined to only have sexual release with my wife that I both truly began to understand the changes I needed to make and clearly see the intent of God’s design. So you could say that I agree with your take on it 99.5%. I’ve been following that now for almost two years and I will say that it is the most rewarding yet also the most frustrating and difficult thing I’ve done in my life….and I’m no rookie 🙂
        I would also caution any man thinking about that or considering or actively acting that way – doing so will not guarantee that your wife will suddenly have “the awakening”, but if you consistently supplement masturbation for sex with the wife, then she will never know what it feels like to get “all of you” or what it feels like to have a husband who depends on her for what God intended. I would think that the odds of some awakening would also be much lower.
        Here’s the key I think Jay – C O M U N I C A T I O N ! Open, honest, bare, often painful but always in love.

  2. Andrew says:

    Interesting post! I find that I am like that Vietnamese kid too … I never know when my next sexual meal is going to be. Might be in a few days, but more likely it won’t be for another month. (we are on the once a month, if she feels like it schedule…) I like your idea of always going to bed naked. I don’t think thats going to work for my wife, but I can always ask … but my sexual confidence has taken a huge hit lately.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      If I had read this post 5 years ago, I would have responded almost exactly like you did Andrew, and I wish I could tell you that it just changed overnight, but it didn’t. It took a long time for my wife to understand the importance of sex in our marriage. And once she did, things didn’t change overnight, it’s a process, for both spouses to get past it. Pray about it, seek God, be the best husband you can be and hope for a renewal of herself. While there are things you can do to improve yourself and make yourself more attractive to her, I believe for many cases of refusal like yours, there is something within her she needs to deal with. I would recommend the community at They have a section just for people in your position (being refused). At the least, you’ll find support from Christians in the same boat.

  3. Melissa W says:

    Love this post. Even with having a great sex life we still have the age old discussion on this. I am sharing it with him to see if he’ll want to try the “naked” deal…I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that’ll be a big YES. Just a question, at what point do you decide it’s ok to put on something if you aren’t going to have sex? I can’t comfortably sleep naked, so when, for you guys, is acceptable to say, Ok, it’s not tonight…let’s go to sleep (and then put clothes on). I may be overthinking this.

    I’ve learned that he is more than intuitive of my wishes (which is great) so anytime HE feels I’m not in the mood, he won’t try. He wants me to be “completely” into it, which sometimes means we don’t do it because he thinks I’m not. I’ve told him many times, my mind will follow my body, and it doesn’t matter if I start off into it, I ALWAYS end up into it!

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Thanks Melissa,

      Good question. First, let me preface this by saying right now we’re not quite going to bed naked every night. Well, I am, but I sleep naked, my wife, like yourself, can’t sleep naked. We have a young baby that is up a lot during the night (3+ times) so we’re not quite back to our pre-baby sex schedule yet.

      That said, I’d say close to half the nights she still comes to bed naked. About 1/3 of the nights we actually have sex. So, the question is, when do you decide tonight isn’t going to work? I had my wife read the question and her answer was basically that we discuss the potential for sex just about every night. We usually mutually agree at some point (sometimes more mutually than others, but we’re still working on that, and there is never with any anger at the end) that it is too late, one or both of us is too tired, sick, whatever. The point is, it’s mutual. No one is vetoing sex for the other. Sometimes we talk about it for longer than sex would have taken, but that’s OK, discussion is good too. Occasionally we start foreplay just
      to realize that she’s not going to be able to switch tracks in her brain that night and so we give up before we get to actual sex.

      We always pray before sleep, so generally we pray, then she puts her clothes on. It’s pretty hard to feel disappointed in the outcome for putting her clothes on after you’ve prayed together. Hope that helps. Any more questions, feel free to ask. It certainly is a different approach to bed-time, and it will cause some questions about how to negotiate this new paradigm for you and your husband, but it does take a lot of stress off the marriage if you can manage to make the change.

    2. Jenny says:

      My husband and I both always sleep naked. It’s just nice to feel skin-on-skin. I can’t imagine us sleeping with clothes on. It would seem…..unnatural. Even if it’s cold, we just snuggle up closer and use more blankets. I highly recommend it. 🙂

  4. livinginblurredlines says:

    I worry. For 3 years hubby did nothing to ensure I would climax. Frequency wasn’t very often, only on his terms, and eventually became wham-bam without even a thank you ma’am. 2-4 minutes from literal start to him rolling over and going to sleep. During this time, I was ALWAYS “asking” for it. Our communication was terrible, so “asking” was touching. I’d lay in bed for HOURS in the morning, touching him every so often to try to feel him out (no pun intended) whether or not we’d have sex. He withdrew more and more.

    Finally, he stopped sex all together and I fell to pieces. I mean, I literally thought I was going crazy. I was so depressed I could barely function, I was fighting temptation at every turn. Funny thing was hubby didn’t have a clue what was wrong!!! When he tried to get me to tell him, he started rambling off a list a mile long of things he thought it could have been, but NONE of the list contained our sex life.

    I finally told him what was wrong and he became quite upset and he told me he was no longer interested in sex at all. We worked through the issues, but one thing that stood out that he said was, “but you want it ALL THE TIME!” After receiving some individual counseling, I discovered that I want it all the time because I was starving. I never knew when my sexual needs were going to be met, so I’d jump on every little chance to try to get them met. (As a side note, I also discovered that initiating every time was a turn off for hubby.)

    Long story short, the counseling I received helped in some ways, but hindered in others. They put my husband up as the bad guy for refusing and martyred me to, “well, tell him he ain’t getting a thing anymore until he takes care of you and in the meantime, go masturbate somewhere else until he does.” Now, does that sound like wise counsel? You know what would have happened? Absolute DISASTER in my marriage!!

    Instead, I chose to go to the Lord with it all. And it was HARD! We’re still working through it as all this happened recently, but the Lord told me to let go and let it be. Stop. No sex. I reasoned and argued with God that it isn’t His design. Of course, He knows that and He told me not to worry. In 6 days…just 6 days of agreeing with God to love my husband but not put forth any sexual energy, my husband and I had mind blowing mutual sex, initiated by him. And it continued. Then, this past weekend, we had sex twice, but neither time did I get to climax. There was little foreplay as before and I got scared that I’d starve again, especially since hubby’s job has moved him out of town until the holidays. I’m still afraid, but I have to remind myself to give it up to the Lord daily. It is NOT His will that our marriage bed suffers. He wants to bless it, but we have to let go of our selfishness and control and just let God work in our marriage.

    As of right now, even if he was home, sex wouldn’t be on the table every night. It is still on his terms, but the Lord has asked me to be patient with the healing process. A day will come when I will once again be able to approach hubby and say, “get in bed, I need it NOW” and he’ll be in bed in a flash, willing, eager and excited to please his wife. For now I die to self and love him anyway and grow in friendship and intimacy outside of the bedroom.

    1. Jenny says:

      My husband and I went through the exact same thing! The reason he was uninterested in sex was severe depression, as well as emotional wounds that he had suffered. He thought that all I cared about was sex for a good long while, because like you, I was absolutely starving. My love language is physical touch, which made it worse; and he just couldn’t understand that I needed his touch in order to feel loved. We went through the exact same thing getting our intimate life back on track. He actually refused sex for….let’s see……two months? Three months? which was longer than it EVER had been. I was in absolute agony. I felt absolutely rejected and unloved. But I started talking about rebuilding intimacy in other parts of our marriage – because that had died as well as he isolated himself from me and the rest of the world. During that time I began to seriously work on myself, in the way that I approached him and the way I treated him. I also felt God telling me to back off from sex. Just to let it go. (As you know, that was a very difficult thing to do!) That’s when my husband came up with the idea to spend time rebuilding emotional and spiritual intimacy (which I had been mentioning often, to show him that I cared about HIM and not just about having sex with him) with sex off the table, and then very soon after that time of spending time together and talking and cuddling, we started having sex again. Trial by fire…..but through it we grew to understand one another better, and became aware of how to show love to each other, since we have different love languages and also different needs in our marriage (the whole respect/love thing). And he realized how desperately he needed help for his depression, something he had been refusing for a few years. Men tend to be a lot slower to reach out for help, according to stats. That whole “sacred marriage” idea, that marriage was created more to make us holy than to make us happy – both of us have definitely been molded into better people, better partners and lovers, because of the things we’ve been through. We know the full meaning of unconditional love. It was worth it to work through everything, even when we thought many, many times that it would be easier just to leave. Keep hanging in there – you’re right, things will get so much better. It’s a slow process, but it will be worth it in the end!

  5. John Davis says:

    Really appreciate this post. I will try to get my wife to read it as it is somewhat based on Biblical principals (her thing). Its been 10 months since we’ve had intercourse, 3 months since the last oral sex (to me — she will not allow it to her) and three weeks since the last hand job. Her Southern Baptist upbringing says “sex is dirty” so loudly to her she just excoriates me with great disdain when I indicate I need intimacy (the “all you ever want is sex” reaction). I’m on her tightly controlled schedule wherein I’m to be ever so grateful for any crumb falling my way. I really identified with those kids hoarding food against the expected reality of starvation. My hoarding has turned to pornography when she is out of the house — I hate myself for it, but at least it provides a little sustenance “in my pocket” over which I have some modicum of control.

    Thanks for the wisdom in this great article. Please prey that I can get her to go to bed naked sometime soon so that some healing can begin. Otherwise, I’m afraid that acting out my desperate desires, with someone else, will be next.

    Oh yes, we’ve been married nearly 50 years, the last 35 of which have been like this (since my only child was born), but as a Christian, for me divorce is not an option. I just keep on keeping on, wondering when it will all just disintegrate.

    Thanks again.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I’m very sad to hear what you are going through. Unfortunately, it happens a lot in Christianity. The worst part is that this whole teaching of “sex is dirty” is not Christian at all, it comes straight out of other religions!

      I’d also suggest the follow posts around the topic:
      All You Want Is Sex
      Is Sex A Need Or A Want

      The second in particular brings out some Bible verses on the topic and I believe lays out how the devil is trying to subvert out marriages through refusing spouses.

      I’ve been there, and I fell into the porn trap as well (actually, I fell into it long before I was married, but my difficulties made it easier to stay in it). Get out (of porn, not the marriage)! Get help! Please. You cannot guess the entirety of the damage YOU are doing to your marriage through porn use. Don’t wait until your wife changes her attitude, start tonight. Get someone to hold you accountable. Statistically, 50% of the men in the church have or are struggling with porn, I have no doubt you can find someone to help you stay on track.

      I wish I had better help to offer, but in the end, it is a choice that has to be made by your wife. Continue to pray, stay strong.

    2. Jerry Stumpf says:

      Life is certainly unfair. When we looked at marriage, we all thought it was “free sex” whenever we wanted it because that is the way God intended it. Married 39 years, we had mostly “duty” sex for many years. When there was an “aha” moment we discussed our situation from each side and slowly it all began to change. It was the prudery of servicing, not serving me that made my wife see that is not what the Bible speaks about. Such a difficult translation in the KJV of I Corinthians 7 as the word duty is used there. When you really study the background in the context of the entire Bible, God gave sexual fulfillment as a way to “SERVE” one another not be under service to each other.

      I have started a blog to help each partner better understand this romance dynamic. I am thankful for and the emphasis they place on righteous intimacy as it was designed to be

  6. Tara Miller says:

    I think it’s so unfortunate that sex has been something that both men and women have used to gain power and control over the other. Contrary to how God designed it to be. Also unfortunate is how we miss the mark so much – men do not love their wives as Jesus, women in turn cannot submit to a man that is not walking that walk – it’s a complementary relationship that requires work for both sides where there is no blame for either. In society the problem is women have been so disempowered that they think hypersexuality is the only way to gain a man’s full attention and heart and it’s taking away from their true value. Couples need to find ways to show love to one another that are not just about sex or about the end result of sex. No one should ever be in a marriage where they can’t communicate freely about sex, without overpersonalizing the outcome, and where sex happens only when both people want it. The idea that anyone should force it, particularly the woman of think she is somehow deficient if her drive doesn’t match with her partners is flawed especially considering her physiology. A man living biblically will have self control and compassion for the needs of his wive’s body including when they need rest or reprieve. Men living like Christ and loving their wives as such will rarely find their sex lives lacking.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Men living like Christ and loving their wives as such will rarely find their sex lives lacking.

      I’m not so sure about this. I have read, seen, and heard way too many marriages where one spouse is merely selfish (applies to both genders), regardless of the other spouses actions or attitudes.

      I also was hoping you’d clarify something: It seems to me your belief is that a women does not need to submit if her husband isn’t acting Christ-like. Is this what you believe? If so, no women should ever submit, because no husband will every be Christ-like, and the point would be moot and there would be no reason to put it in the Bible.


  7. Dee says:

    My marriage is dying. I truly need an answer. I rarely say no to my husband but sometimes I’m just not physically capable of what he expects. If saying yes meant we spend 15 min or so and I get to go to sleep at a reasonable hour thee wouldn’t be an issue. However he feels cheated if our sessions aren’t 45 min or longer and involve miltiple various activities. I feel like he expects every sex session to be like a movie script when I only have the energy or the time for something quick. I agree I have the responsibility to be available for sex but does it always have to be so involved? I work 50 hours a week, we have children we homeschool. His mom lives with us. And I hardly sleep. It’s effecting my health. Please someone tell me I’m not crazy.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      OK, first, you are not crazy. Second, good for you for having the mindset of not saying no.
      Third, you have a responsibility to your family, to your husband, to your kids, to keep well, and your husband shares this responsibility, in fact, I would say ultimately, it’s his responsibility to protect the family, and that includes from things like exhaustion.

      What if you sat your husband down and told him that the current situation is unsustainable. That you want to schedule longer sessions once a week or two weeks, or once a month, whatever is possible, and leave the rest as quickies. I’ve heard from a lot of people that this is what they do, and it seems to be a fair compromise. It’s not like there is any less sex…just changing the types of sex up a bit.

      If you read my later posts (like the one on scheduling sex), you’ll see that this frequency of every night, or near every night was unsustainable in our marriage as well. We had more kids, and, as you said, the exhaustion factor was too much. So, we dropped down to 2-3 times a week. Neither of us feel deprived, we weighed the costs, took a look at our marriage, and decided that it was more important for my wife to be sane than it was for us to have sex every night. With young kids and homeschooling, it just wasn’t possible to do both. Our hope is that, as our kids grow up, become more independent, sleep through the night, we will get that frequency back up slowly, start enjoying more involved sessions more often, have time to play and let loose without worrying about how early we have to get up for work, or kids, or when the baby is going to wake.

      So, my personal opinion is that it is entirely valid to say “we need to decrease our frequency, for a season, in order to save our health, because this is not sustainable”. There’s a big difference between saying “I don’t want to” and “I can’t do this”. Because really, what use is all that sex if the marriage falls apart?

      1. Mark says:

        I don’t want to and I can’t do this are two different phrases, yes, but should have the same result: no sex that night. When one partner either doesn’t want to or can’t have sex, no sex should occur. One. partner not wanting to have sex and you still having sex is the definition of rape. This whole article prioritizes a man’s (as you’ve assumed the man is the one with the higher sex drive) sexual desires over the woman’s emotional, psychological, and physical well-being. The idea that you need to weigh the costs of not having sex every night and your wife staying sane is harmful, the well-being of your partner should always come first. Taking consent out of sex does not equal a healthy marriage.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          Hi Mark,

          You’re discount the idea of responsive desire. In a spouse that never feel that spontaneous arousal, they will never “want” sex. So, then if we follow your methodology, the vast majority of marriages would never have sex. That’s clearly not healthy.

          A hard “no” should always be respected of course. Violating that gets into that marital rape definition.

          But, the idea that any time they say “I’m not in the mood” means sex is completely off the table is a recipe for disaster. Neither spouse will be happy in the end.

          Plus, I think I was very clear about taking the wife’s health into account. I feel like you dismissed that part because you had already decided that you didn’t like the post.

  8. loves6 says:

    So what is your view on this when wife/husband is living in an abusive marriage? emotional abuse, verbal abuse? and the victim of this feels emotionally and spiritually hammered and crushed. It is very difficult for a victim of this type of situation to rise to the occasion and be sexually intimate when they have been treated so badly.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      If there is abuse in the marriage, personally, I think the abused spouse needs to leave until it can be resolved (not divorce). Abuse should not be tolerated in any form. Get out. Then work to heal and reconcile. This is far outside the realm of normality, and I don’t believe the same guidelines apply.

      But, this is far outside of the scope I’m comfortable, or qualified to deal with. When there is serious harm being done, that is a job for a trained counselor or therapist to assess the situation and provide counsel.

      I hope that answers the question, and if you are in this type of situation, please take care of yourself and get help. Don’t suffer in silence.

  9. alana says:

    another thing I find is that if it is possible a woman and/or man should find out if they have a low sex drive no not by testing it out but by going to a doctor to check your hormone levels as much as you can do so that wouldn’t be a problem in your marriage and ask God to fix it if it’s a mental blockage I suspect I have a very low sex drive either due to locking of thinking of sex all through my life that I believe it would be hard for these desires to be there because as americans say i nip it in the bud(hope i use the expression right) or is that I have a hormonal imbalance which i think is the case because of another factor but that is something I definitely want to remedy before I get married

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Getting your hormone levels might indicate low or high sex drive, but not necessarily. From what I understand, there are people with levels low on the curve who still have high drives, and visa versa.

      As for your own drive, there are many things that could effect it. Meds (including birth control), diet, stress, weight, mental state, guilt, bad teachings, and a host of other things.

  10. Romantha Dearne Harrison says:

    If either spouse doesnt want to have sex, why would you force them too? That doesnt sound like love to me. I understand the need for sex, but being forced to have sex when you dont want to has the potential to turn sex into something very bad and uncomfortable.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I think there is a big difference between forcing someone to have sex (which I disagree with), and both submitting to the marriage and realizing it is a need and being willing to sacrifice your want for the need of the marriage.

    2. Anonymous says:

      My spouse and I have been married over 30 years. We have sex about twice per year and feel very satisfied. It works for us, and wonder why so many think it is so important. We believe their priorities are definitely misplaced. When were in our 20s we had sex once a week. After children were born, maybe once a month. After 40, maybe once a month. We think people focus too much on the sexual intimacy, and not enough time on developing their spiritual intimacy. It all boils down to self control, most people have none, and wonder why their service for the kingdom is so ineffective and fruitless. Such a shame.

      1. Jay Dee says:

        Wow, now, that is unusual. I’m glad you are both happy with the arrangement.
        But, I’d caution you on believing that just because other people have higher sex drives (arguably, at least one spouse in the vast majority of marriages), that this means their priorities are wrong, or that they are lacking spiritual intimacy, or that having sex more often means that their Kingdom service is ineffective and/or fruitless. Also, it’s fairly easy to preach self-control when you only have the desire once or twice a year and it’s being met, instead of one or twice a week, or even day, and it not being met…

  11. Adam D. Oglesby says:

    Good post, Jay.

    I don’t think it should be that difficult. My theory: As soon as you have to have a discussion about sexual frequency, your relationship has entered perilous territory.

    At the very least it indicates that you’re no longer in the infatuation phase.

    During the romantic infatuation phase of a relationship, there tends to be no such thing as fights over sexual frequency. You want her and she wants you. Often. In fact, neither of you can keep your lustful little paws to yourself.

    That’s the way a relationship is suppose to work.

    There’s a very good reason why this particular early-stage sexual frequency template is the norm: Because if your mate came up with a million and one excuses for why they couldn’t have sex–your relationship would probably never reach the marriage stage. Somebody would decide to cut their losses early. They would decide that, “if I have to beg and crawl to make love to my mate then this is a mate I’d rather not have.”

    Although their infatuation sex levels are likely not sustainable, a couple really needs to get into a groove that’s comfortable for the partner with the most aggressive sex drive. Not the other way around.

  12. David says:

    We got this fixed gradually and we initially negotiated a schedule – first one day a week after a while we decided to go for twice a week. She was enjoying herself and twice a week morphed into every other day. Once or twice we went three days then back to every other day. She decided differently and started wearing her lingerie to bed each and every night and every morning we would make love I had NO idea if I could keep up to this pace. Turns out that it was not a problem. We have been doing this for years and yes it transformed the quality of our marriage dramatically. She has an incredible lingerie collection – I buy it for her – respectful beautiful and comfortable things – she decides what to wear and when. I love that she took control over our sexual life and it was her decision to make love each and every day. Not bad for 25 years of marriage. It is better now than at ANY point of our life and practice really does improve performance.

  13. Christopher says:

    I have a tendency to impose restrictions that are not actually necessary. Or at least, I USED to. I was married for 10 years to a woman who ended up being unfaithful. Sex had been very good and fairly frequent (until close to the end, of course). When I married for the second time last year, it was to a woman who had not been previously married. I was 44, and she was 38. She herself had had sex a few times before her Christian walk, none of it good she says. After we wed, she prepared the bed for the fifth or sixth night running in a row, and said, “are you ready?” I was about to tell her that just because we were married, we didn’t have to have sex EVERY SINGLE night, but then I suddenly thought, what am I, CRAZY? and went along for the ride. See, I was about to reach for a protocol for myself which I did not require, and which I did not create. My wife’s need for sex every single night (except during menstruation) did not infringe on any kind of need of mine to “give it a rest”, yet I was about to impose that. We see frequent and intense relations as healthy and strengthening for our bond of marriage, and BTW we are expecting our first child soon, not surprisingly.

  14. randomwife says:

    My husband and I have been married almost 15 years. As my husband’s alcohol abuse has gotten worse, and several things have happened that have broken my trust, I have found it much more difficult to “want” to have sex with him or please him sexually. I have lost any sense of security in our marriage, and I feel like he is on the verge of exploding at any time. I am worried that he will hurt me or one of our children, either overtly, or as a byproduct of his instability. His blood pressure sky-rockets and I am afraid he will throw something, wreck the car, etc. His biggest complaint is that I do not “please him” enough, and that he does not understand why I don’t “want to”. What I crave the most is living in a way that I can trust my husband, and feel secure. Is this possible? I hate worrying all the time about whether he is having a good or bad day. I feel so used when I try to please him sexually, but if I skip a few days he blows up. I am just so exhausted of the fight. I have a lot of strength but I am so tired and unhappy. I have anxiety about going to bed, and also about getting out of bed in the morning, because if I did not “please him”, then he may be angry and take it out on me or the kids or people at work. This, and his drinking (sometimes driving over the legal limit, or staying up very late at night drinking) jeopardizes our livelihood. I love my husband, and I want things to be better. I know God can help us solve these problems, but I am so worried.
    Does anyone else have experience with this? I still believe God can restore our marriage. He has committed to stop his abusive actions and language. Also he has decreased his drinking for the last few weeks. Can I trust him? I still am reeling and am having trouble meeting his sexual needs.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      My personal opinion is that I think you need to be very careful. If you’re really in fear of you well-being or that of your children, then you need to leave. I don’t mean divorce, but separate until he gets help that can hold him accountable. No one should be coerced into sex, ever, and if he can’t handle that, then I don’t think he can handle living as husband and wife at this time.

      But, please, seek professional help. A pastor, a counselor, a therapist, someone trained to deal with this. I’m afraid I’m not qualified to, and I can’t ethically or legally advise you.

  15. Bill says:

    The more posts I read on this site, the more depressed I become. My wife wouldn’t go for this, it just comes back to how I obsess about sex and she’s just not that into it. I obsess about it so we can have it maybe twice in a month, if not then we would likely qualify for a sexless marriage. I think we need help.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      So, what’s stopping you from getting the help you need?

  16. Leigha says:

    Sex without consent is rape. Rape can occur in marriage, just as it can occur outside of marriage. If your wife doesn’t want to have sex with you, that’s probably a huge red flag that you need to change something about yourself.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Actually, it was a pretty large red flag that her views of sex were wrong. And she always enjoyed sex. She just never made it a priority. That teaching of “don’t have sex unless you’re in the mood” really messes with people who have responsive desire arousal patterns.

    2. Mark says:

      Completely agree with you Leigha. It seems like Jay Dee is trying to give men permission to feel justified in having nonconsensual sex, also known as rape, with their wives. Jay Dee: you can enjoy sex and still be raped. Your praise of women in the comment section who never say no to sex with their husbands promotes a harmful marriage dynamic, attempts to justify rape, and blames solely the wife for any problems in a couple’s sex life.

      1. Jay Dee says:

        That’s okay, you don’t have to agree with me. But I disagree with your assertions. I suggest you either read some other posts so you can get a more accurate picture of my views, or stop reading and go somewhere you are more comfortable.

  17. Dave Nolan says:

    “…Lonely man cries for love, and has none…”
    We just observed our 43rd anniversary. Relationship difficulties have underscored most out of our married life. I’ve tried counseling, tried Retrouvaille, all at my initiation. Wife finally said, “if anything’s going to happen, you’re going to have to do it.” I take good care of my wife. I have a good job, with a good income. I work hard. I also take care of her and home. I do 95% of the cooking, I dry her hair, I fill her car up with fuel. Frequency for the previous several years had been single digits. Probably the last couple decades. Last time I attempted intimacy was 01/08/2017. I was given the most repulsed look I’ve ever experienced in my life. That was the absolute end. We don’t kiss, we don’t touch, nothing. Separate bedrooms.
    When I made my vows, I promised “in sickness and in health.” That includes mental and emotional health. I have realized and accepted the fact that I am married to an emotionally broken woman, with mental issues. We function. We get along. I still have sexual desires. So, what do I do with those? My wife is an attractive woman. Not to me. Looking at her with any expectation of attaining intimacy would be like me looking at a new Ferrari expecting to be able to own it. Zero chance! I called dr. Laura. She pretty much advocated for divorce. I can’t do that to my four kids and my six grandkids. Women, take good care of your men. I just needed to vent after reading this.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Or, no means no. This is gross.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I think you’ve missed the point. Of course, if either one of us simply can’t for whatever reason, then we can say no. But not being in the mood isn’t an excuse not to have sex. That’s the point I think I made fairly clearly.

      What’s gross is the power dynamic of a low drive spouse depriving the marriage simply because they don’t have a strong desire for sex. That would be like a parent depriving their children of food simply because they weren’t in the mood to cook. Once you become a parent, you have bigger responsibilities than the whims of your preferences. Likewise in marriage.

  19. Old Baptist Prude says:

    I appreciated reading this post and the honest discussion that followed it. Jay, I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to defer to trained counselors. It is clear to me, that my marriage is as different from anyone else’s as one person is from another. In our earlier years of marriage my physical need for sexual release was intense and frequent, as I assume is normal at least for a man. Over the years and after raising our children into adulthood, we were able to relax more in life. As with most men, my drive and frequent need is stronger than my wife’s, and I would get frustrated and moody. At some point I told my wife that I needed to have sex at least every four days. Being the understanding wife that she is, she tried to make sure that happened. Now that we are older and have been married close to 40 years, we put even more effort into pleasing one another, in frequency which is at least three times a week, and with oral sex which we both enjoy giving and receiving. We use the oral sex as pre-lube and we take turns. We are in our 60’s now and we enjoy sex as much or more than ever. It’s just amazing that God wired us so that it just never gets old.

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