SWM002: Getting rid of veto power in the bedroom

Sex Within Marriage Podcast

Episode 2 of our podcast!  We can actually call it series now.  Today I’m talking about getting rid of veto power in the bedroom.  Often one spouse, usually the low-drive spouse, has absolute say over when sex happens, or when it doesn’t happen.  But is that the way it should be?  I share my thoughts and what I believe the Bible has the say on the subject.

Episode Notes


  • For the first 8 or so years of our marriage, frequency of sex was a constant struggle
  • For a while we had a sexless marriage (defined as 10 or less times a year)
  • We had a 9 month span without sex during one of the early pregnancies
  • Arguing about frequency is pretty common place in marriage.
  • Often spouses have mismatched drives, but the problem isn’t mismatched drives, it’s about who has control.

Sexual security

  • A marriage should not be based on one spouse having veto power over the other
  • 1 Corinthians 7:5

    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.

  • One spouse does not have the right to deprive another, one spouse does not have veto power.

The common reaction

  • The most common response is: “My spouse will want sex every night!”
  • Answer 1: So what?  Is that really a problem?  Most people enjoy sex, if you don’t, you either need to see a doctor, or get more practice.
  • Answer 2: Yes, it’s possible that your spouse will want sex every night, for a time.  But, this desire might wane after a while, once they realize that they now have sexual security.

Assume sex vs. veto power

  • Changes the dynamic of your marriage, for the positive.
  • It changes from one that is selfish to one that is selfless.
  • Your focus becomes on what your spouse’s needs and desires are, not what your own are.
  • Has implications beyond the bedroom.

How to start

  • Share this episode with your spouse
  • Start going to bed naked
  • Initiate sex more often

What’s going on this week

Looking for more help?

19 thoughts on “SWM002: Getting rid of veto power in the bedroom”

  1. Dee says:

    And what about the wife who does this and her husband continues to use her like spittoon? She has become a doormat. His sexual abuse of her body and heart continues for decades. And her spirit dies. I’ve witness that happen. Your flippant answer of ‘so what’ really IS a problem for a lot of wives. I understand you might think you’re speaking to emotionally and mentally mature Christians, but please remember, you have a wide spread audience where a lot of spouse are not healthy. Please don’t tell wives ‘so what’. That ‘so’ minimizes the root of the problems in their marriage and tries to taunt sex as the ‘end all / be all’ cure. And just having sex with an emotionally abusive husband will NOT form a ‘connection’. It will just make the wife bitter and resentful and being ‘used’. It will create new problems, not solve old ones.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Unfortunately, I can’t tackle every scenario in a 15 minute podcast. Yours, frankly, needs to be dealt with professionally, I believe. Talk to your pastor, or a therapist, please. Abuse cannot be tolerated.

  2. Tony Conrad says:

    I flinched as well at the so what and I haven’t got the problem. I don’t think one can be legalistic about this in the sense of the bible says.

  3. El Fury says:

    Jay, I understand what the earlier “so what” commenters say, but I applaud you for targeting the “average” case rather than devoting all your time and attention to people who really need special help with marriages that are in bad shape.

    Of course people who need special help are worthy of time and attention as well, but it’s very easy to spend a majority of effort on a minority of readers.

  4. Diane says:

    I know there are many different marriages addressed here. We are married since 21 & 22. We are now 63 & 64. My husband is an 8 year prostate cancer survivor on hormone deprevation shorts (Lupron). He has zero sex drive and I have always had a healthy sex drive. I am miserable and he just doesn’t seem to get it. We are strong believers but I have often thought of divorce…He has no regard for my needs. Am I wrong to want so much more? He NEVER initiates sex and always has an excuse. I am getting angrier and angrier. His answer is he just never even thinks about it. I feel neglected and don’t get his attitude. He is a good man but I don’t want a roommate.
    Sad lady

    1. Jay Dee says:

      You’re not alone, this, sadly, happens more than people realize (wives having the higher drive). I wrote a post about that a while back. You can read it here.

      Never thinking about it is not an excuse for refusing. It’s a reason for not initiating, but still not a satisfying one. I would suggest counseling if it’s gotten to the point that you’re thinking of divorce.

    2. Kate says:

      I took Lupron for a short time for an off label use. It made me miserable. As I understand it Lupron indirectly is reducing your husband’s testosterone levels in order to help potentially control his cancer. Your husband’s doctor could probably give you a much better explanation. I’m not a man, but I would think the testosterone is partly the “gas” that both fuels his sex drive and his physical ability to perform. What are you hoping your husband can do when his testosterone levels have been lowered?
      Perhaps you both talk to your husband’s doctor about alternatives. I’m not sure what counseling can do if this is a physical problem.

  5. Mike Del says:

    This morning I woke up with a spontaneous erection. I moved closer to my wife and directed her hand, she grabbed my penis and held it for awhile while she was not yet fully awake. She said, “How could I have been so ignorant all these years as to how important the penis is to a man. I thought it was an unimportant part and now realize it it the most important part of a man.” My wife and I have reconnected after years of a sexless marriage. Thank you Jay for helping us reconnect sexually.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I’m very glad to have been able to help. Enjoy your new (again) marriage!

  6. Keelie Reason says:

    Love the podcast! Great job on it. 🙂

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Thanks Keelie!

  7. Kate says:

    I don’t think every lower drive partner is always refusing. To the extent that sex is a physical act I don’t think there is much consideration of what may heighten or decrease the lower drive’s spouses participation in the bedroom.
    If the lower drive person is genuinely tired on a particular night has sex anyway, and feels poorly the next day, does she just “power through” things because she is not suppose to be selfish? Is pretending she does not have needs part of being selfless…that is what I read between the lines in post similar to this?

    1. Jay Dee says:

      No, I don’t think the lower drive partner is always refusing either. I’m wondering, did you listen to the podcast, or just read through the show notes?

  8. Roy Largo says:

    I am the higher sex drive partner and often think that our sex life is wanting but I often hear my wife describe our sex life as great or awesome. On a good week we have sex twice a week. Around the time she’s ovulating she allows it every other day for the purposes of trying to get pregnant (her gynecologist aunt told her that was the best schedule for getting, before that she only wanted it once a week). It gets very hard sometimes to wait so much but I’m scared to tell her that I would like us to have more sex because of the way she had acted in the past about similar requests. ie. The past two nights I’ve been turned on to the point that I can’t hardly sleep and my erection gets so hard cuddling her that it is literally painful but she is in the middle of her period so she doesn’t want to deal with the cleanup. After a long night I mentioned something about it to her this morning and she immediately jumped into the accusation of my mind having had a preoccupation with sex recently which left me feeling like she only thinks of me as the same sex craving pervert she’s treated me like I am fit the past five years.

    I think that another contributing factor is that I orgasm much easier and faster than she does so we do ask we can to make sure that she orgasms everytime (95% of the time sex goes as follows: I give her lots of foreplay and ask for permission to get us naked which is our “no turning back signal”, my foreplay continues, hopefully she allows me to give her oral but no matter how much I’m enjoying giving oral she determined when she is ready for PIV, upon which I last on my back while she rides on top of my. As soon as I’ve gone she is ready to go clean up.) Usually it is great but nearly everytime I wish that I could convince her to focus on me as well or let me have control of the positions or something.

    Sorry for venting but it helps to get it out some how since I’m afraid of sharing ask of my feeling with her. Thanks for listening, and don’t get me wrong, I love my wife and think she is smoking hot.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      What do you think would happen if you took a bit more control, rather than asking and being passive?

      1. Roy Largo says:

        In the past I’ve had to be very very tactful about it or she will get mad and turn away from me physically. It makes her start to worry that I have some perverse reasoning for making the request. She doesn’t mean to do it but can’t help herself from fearing the worst when it comes to sexuality.

        Also, if she isn’t in the mood when I make a suggestion foreplay can take hours (literally) and leave us both frustrated.

        I just get tired of having to work so hard for any kind of a release, without a lot of reciprocation. It seems like the only work she is doing during sex is to not have negative thoughts about what I’m doing.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          No, what I mean is don’t ask, don’t request. During foreplay, just start removing clothes.

  9. Kay says:

    Unfortunately, I am one of those wives whose husband is the one in lower drive and has veto power there. Who chooses sleep, tv and video games and window shopping online. Who never is vulnerable, transparent or in anyway intimate in any areas of intimacy except a couple of Windows of a kiss here or there that is brief and he shuts it down with pushing any kind of connection out of the picture. I have had plenty of try to convos there and he rather gets defensive and upset with it just making the day or night a bad one or he just doesn’t care as he says (which I know deep down he really does) or just acts like he hears in a way and never looks at me while I speak about it and never mentions anything about it not changes what is wrong or hurtful to me or himself.
    Yes it can be painful, and it truly is everyday. But I cannot change anything about him but just try to talk about what hurts me even if it might be emotional abuse, verbal abusive and spiritually abusive a lot or a little depending on his day I guess…….I can only pray, keep trying to have connections, keep trying to talk and be open and vulnerable with him myself. If we show how much we do understand him( and btw if you can look past your own feelings and focus on maybe why there is this going on or how maybe he being very easy to jab his inner self worth and core as a man then maybe you could see some things you normally would not see nor care to feel about) everyone has feelings, even your wife or husband and both deal with those feeling differently. Some not so healthy and they tend to keep everyone of those to themselves which could have many different looks on the outside and then you have the people who voice and share their feelings which again can range in the way they choose to voice them….lovingly, bitter, angry, sad or just a good mix of them from putting up and being treated like a rag doll without physical abuse. I understand each person with either reasons. But I did not feel this way always! It has been a huge lift off me and truly a grace received to go beyond my own fears and hurt feelings and past and present and even future pains with him. But, remember your vows and that you do love them. No matter what, you choose to love them anyways. For better or for worse. We made that vow and God never did promise ones own happiness nor marriage was even intended to mean your own happiness. It was about conforming to the image of Christ together even if that journey means alone .

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I think that’s a great attitude to have about a difficult situation.

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