SWM 127 – AQ – Not interested in sex, are men infatuated with ejaculate and many more questions

Well, it’s time for another roundup of questions we received from our anonymous Have A Question page.  As always, I have no contact info for these people, so I only have what’s in the question to go on. I take the questions, post them in our supporter’s forum, anyone who wants to can throw their two cents in, and then I answer them in posts like this one.

Question 1 – Why am I not interested in sex anymore?

I lost all sex drive totally immediately I took in for my husband [sic]. Before the pregnancy, we were cool. He is so worried as to why the change and I am so helpless. His massage moments that could have been a stepping stone to making love are no longer enjoyable for me – as his palms gets harder everyday.

What do I do to improve my sex life with him? I am so worried. I await a prompt response/advise. Thank you.

I’m making some guesses here. I’m guessing this person means her sex drive changed immediately after she had a child with her husband, and I’m guessing it’s her first child.

If that’s the case, this is pretty standard. Pregnancy and birthing often change sex drives for women. During the pregnancy, sex drive can go up, down, or stay the same with each trimester; however, after birth, it’s far more likely it’s going to go down.

This change can be owing to a few things:

  1. New mothers are often more stressed – which makes sense – they now have a baby to worry about as well, and if it’s your first baby, then everything is new and terrifying. Stress produces cortisol, which depletes dopamine needed for sexual arousal. Men, on the other hand, often have a more relaxed approach to parenting and so don’t feel the same effects.
  2. New mothers are often more exhausted – and that again depletes sexual desire. Again, this makes sense with midnight feeding, babies that won’t sleep, and the stress usually makes sleep less effective. Now, women who are breastfeeding get some boosts from hormones to help them hit the REM state faster to try and compensate for this, but even so, it’s not enough. Most men, on the other hand, seem to prioritize sex over sleep, and so, again, don’t feel the same effects, and men tend to need less sleep than women, so, again, it doesn’t affect them as severely.  
  3. Women get a lot more oxytocin than men do, and with a new baby that you’re holding every day, and even more, if you’re breastfeeding, you’re oxytocin tank is going to be full. So, you’re less likely to feel a need to connect emotionally through things like sex. Men, on the other hand, tend to run on near-empty oxytocin tanks, and when their wives are more invested in the baby than them, this is cut down even more, which makes men want sex just when their wives become less interested in it. So, the disparity becomes even more significant.
  4. Touch is mindset-dependent. If you’re in a sexual mood and your husband touches your breast, you find that that arousing, erotic, sexy. However, if you’re on a bus and a stranger does it, you’re going to feel assaulted. It’s the same touch but in a different context. If you’re at the point where you’re touched out by the baby, stressed and exhausted, then, yes, your husband’s touch can feel far less enticing than it used to.

So, what do you do about it? The first thing is to keep communication open. Talk about it; don’t just bury it. Talking about it lets you understand how the other feels, whereas burying it leads to uncommunicated frustration and resentment.

Second, make a plan for dealing with it. For example, invest in some massage oil to help with your husband’s rough hands. Also, ask him if he’d use moisturizer to soften them. If it means he gets to touch you more often, I think many men would be willing to.

But don’t just put it on the back burner and hope it goes away someday. By the time that day comes around, you may not have a relationship to resurrect, or it may take a monumental effort to do so.

One resource that might help is Where did my sex drive go?, which is a free ebook about sex drives and how to work with them.

Question 2 – Many questions

Hello!

This is a mixed bag of questions and also telling how your podcast has helped me a lot. I know you like context, so this will be a long one. So here it comes.

How do I help my pleaser wife? I am a 30 years old male. My wife is the same age. We have two young sons. We both work full-time. We both have big families and are blessed with a large network of friends. Our weeks are busy and we could easily fill up our weekends with visiting friends and family. We have introduced a monthly family weekend (no visits/no visitors). I love it even though I am an extrovert. It is a bit more complicated for my wife. So far, as I understand her, she is a pleaser of nature (she has said that herself) and she feels obligated to visit family and friends way more than I do. At the same time she has a need to step back and just rest at the end of the week. Our two boys have the same need. She then often feels guilt when we don’t prioritize friends and family in these weekends. And when we fully book our weekends with activities, she tends to become exhausted and frustrated – to my frustration. We struggle to find a balance even though we have made improvements with the family weekends. Because we struggle with an imbalance towards overactivity I tend to correct with turning down ideas and requests from my wife, friends and family. This is somewhat hard on my wife. I understand why this is hard. We both love company. But to me this is just our family situation now and we must prioritize. Especially with interrupted sleep. Kids… Most of the time I can reason with her and she understands why we must turn some requests down. I tend to be OK with our life situation now. But she still tends to feel guilty or inadequate no matter what we choose. I want her to feel more peace and less guilt about this. I don’t think she is letting anyone down by taking some weekends off. And I don’t think our family and friends are disappointed by her in any way. Any suggestions on how I can help her feel more OK about prioritizing herself and her own needs to rest? How can I help her not feeling so much guilt when she has no reason to. How can I help her accept her or our limits?

Second question. Why does my wife tend to dismiss my advice when she has asked for it? Context. She is now on a mini vacation with my family-in-law. I am home working. And we just had a conversation over the phone. She was a bit annoyed over some family issues and a bit tired. At the same time she had had a good day and her family had shown appreciation of her. She was conflicted about all the stuff she wanted to do her last night with her family and she also felt like she needed to plan her travel home the next day. Should she take the cheap route or the more comfortable route? I tried to discuss the pros and cons with her, helping her decide. Decision making is generally not her strong side and it is always an issue for her. I can also add that she is also a very intelligent and ambitious person, with my projects and ideas pulling her. This makes decision-making harder for her. I tend never to decide for her and instead help her come to her own conclusion. The discussion dragged on and she asked “What do you think I should do?” I said. “Just take the cheap route”. She immediately dismissed my direction and replied. “That is easy for you to say.” I responded by saying that she shouldn’t ask for my advice if she didn’t wanted to hear it. What’s the point? I don’t get it. She may not agree with my advice. And she is allowed to take the comfortable route if she wants to. However, it feels disrespectful to get angry about my advice when she wanted my opinion. It feels like a trap. Perhaps she felt annoyed over me for wanting closure and not spend more energy on this matter. I guess she was just frustrated over her situation and she snapped at me? These situations have happened before. She doesn’t know what to do. I generally find it more easy to make a decision and prioritize and I make my opinion clear after some back and forth. I don’t think I am thick-headed, not listening or inconsiderate. Is there anything to learn from this? When she asks for advice, should I ask her whether she actually wants me to be part of the conversation and finally hear my opinion?

Now this is not a question, but please comment I you see anything. This of course is from my sinful and imperfect perspective. I want to tell you how I found your podcast. I found it in frustration. I felt lonely and rejected by my wife. I felt like I was the only one making sex happen in our 6th year of marriage. If she initiated, I felt like it was always out of duty and only because I held back initiative. “We ought to have sex. It has been a long time since” she have said many times. While I would agree with such statements and appreciate her concern, I could still feel completely overlooked and unloved. She was talking about sex out of duty and mainly having sex out of duty, it felt to me. Yay… I appreciate the prudence in having sex frequently but prudence doesn’t turn me on and it is not my love language. I am thankful that she understands her duty. But I craved her to desire me, to want me sexually. I desperately wanted to give her pleasure. Make her aroused and smiling from good sex. At times, she seemed like less of a sexual being to me. I couldn’t complain about frequency. It was far from bad (perhaps 1 x week) if I accepted initiation was on me and accepted that rejections were a part of the process. 

Often I would initiate sex and she would turn me down but she still wanted to kiss and hug after she just rejected me. This was torment. I felt like she could always have her needs met while I couldn’t. I had become bitter and resentful. She could have it exactly her way. The feeling of rejection had grown into a wound over time. I felt misunderstood. Betrayed. She seemed way more into sexual intimacy when we dated since we struggled keeping our boundaries. We never had intercourse, but many times we went far too long. It gave me the impression she was into sex and sexual intimacy back then. But when we were married, she became sexually insecure and disengaged. She didn’t want to try anything. She was a starfish in the beginning. I felt wrong and dirty because I wanted to experiment. All she said was “no, don’t do that”. She never told me what she liked, even though I asked her and tried to have a conversation about her needs and wants. She just said. “I don’t know.” She also said she had no sexual fantasies. There wasn’t much to work with. And she always felt uncomfortable and somewhat closed when we talked about it and it would always be me taking the initiative to have a conversation about sex. Sex just didn’t seem to be on the radar. I remember one time when she accused me of only thinking about sex. It hurt me. It just confirmed my suspicion that she didnt like sex and it drove a wedge between us.   

On rare occasions, however, she would open up and let go of her inhibitions and we would have amazing sex but then she would close as a mussel again. Sometimes she expressed shame after having let go. We have never done anything edgy. Just regular positions as missionary, her riding me and doggy. Sex was most of the times quickies, something to be done with. She was not interested in orgasms because she said they hurt. Especially orgasms from penetration. If she was close to climax, she would cry or have me stop. Neither was she interested in foreplay. I gently told her there were very good reasons to spend some time on foreplay, but that seemed to be a problem for her since, yeah, it took time. Most of the time we would kiss and she would touch me. I could touch her, sometimes I couldn’t. Very confusing. And often, she would talk about things on her mind. Of course, non-sexual stuff. Planning. Difficulties on work. And this defeated the purpose in having a quicky.

Anger, hurt and frustration over rejection, differences and her disengagement and seemingly disinterest in sex sometimes led to temptation and occasional porn use. I sought a feeling of being desired in porn. It felt like sex without the risk of rejection. A way to give my sexual desire to someone. It was all fake and harmful and unjust of course. I knew that and porn always left me with guilt, shame and an empty feeling. Thank God for that! I always confessed to God or my mentor or friend.

After yet another season with disappointments, rejections and misunderstandings I was boiling with frustration and with no clue what to do. We seemed to run into the same problems again and again. When I told her I was tired of being rejected, she felt inadequate and told me I couldn’t expect sex more than once a week. It was simply unrealistic with our lives, she said. When I told her my feeling was not only about frequency but also about me having a need for her to take initiative, feeling loved, being engaged, she said it wasn’t her thing to take initiative. She didn’t feel comfortable taking on that role. Surprise, I just felt rejected and like an alien again.

I prayed to God many times to take away my sex drive. I looked forward to become older and having a lower sex drive, so I could give an honest “No not now, honey” to her. I was ready to give up our sex lives and totally disengage. Try to attempt to tune down my sexuality in some way. When I was single I had had long periods were I stayed celibate. Perhaps I could make that my strategy, sleep in a bed in a separate room, focus on the Lord, work, ministry, training etc.. These were my thoughts. Totally misguided and wrong of course. But these thoughts were there.

So: In desperation I sought after voices that perhaps had the same problems as me. I had googled for help many times before and only found shallow help in articles. But this time in January, I found your podcast. The first episodes were very therapeutic to me. I felt like my sexuality wasn’t wrong. My desires were completely fine and healthy and that our problems were very common. I liked your perspective that took the male perspective serious. I think too many sex educators lean towards the female perspective giving advice that favor the female or low sex drive person. I felt hope. The notion of spontaneous and responsive sex drive was a breakthrough for me. It lifted up my perspective. Helped me to have less focus on myself and my needs. It gave me something to work on. As part of my daily devotion I would find one thing I loved about my wife or was thankful for and I would text it to her or tell her later. I started to care more about loving my wife.

Your podcast also convinced me I should confess to my wife about my porn use relapses. I was full of fear and guilt. I cried all day. So I wrote a letter to her so I knew I would say it all. I was hurt by not being transparent with her. And I feared she would reject me and leave me. I sat her down and told her I wanted to confess, and I read the letter to her in tears. She immediately hugged me and told me she loved me. When I read the part where I told her about my fears of her leaving me, she just laughed and found that ridiculous. Of course, she was sad, hurt and felt uncomfortable with my failures which were hard but totally understandable. I had already told her when we dated that porn had been an issue for me. So she wasn’t surprised. And she confessed a sin or weakness in her that had her worried. I forgave her. She also took responsibility for my failures, admitting she had a part in my temptations. I insisted that my sin was my sin. But she insisted. She was so gracious and loving. She is the one person in my life that best shows Christ to me. I am a very lucky husband.

The last couple of weeks we have been closer to each other than ever. We’ve had the best and most novel sex so far. We still have a lot of things to work on but I feel like we’re in a new and better place now. So thank you so much, Jay Dee.

I think I will end with one question. I still feel it is mostly on my shoulders when it comes to moving our relationship and sex life forward. She seems to be preoccupied with work, our children, TV and her hobbies. I know it is a hard phase in our life with work and small children. But I have bought Christian books on sex. She has never opened them. She knows I listen to this podcast, and she knows that it is important to me. But she doesn’t really pick up on it. How can I help her take more responsibility? Should she? Is it my duty? I don’t want to seem obsessed to her and so it would be nice if steps were taken by both of us together.

Also. She seems to have a lot of strong inhibitors. Self-control is a good thing, but I think she would benefit from letting go a bit more. Here, I am not only talking about sex. Do you have any advice here? 

Thank you for your ministry! You will receive more questions from me. And sorry for the broken English.

So, regarding prioritizing your own family, self and rest over visiting others sometimes, I would refer you to the Bible. One of the ten commandments (Exodus 20:8-11) is to do simply that – to rest. God knew how important rest would be for us. He instituted it at Creation (Genesis 2:2-3) – I don’t think He rested because He was tired, but rather to give us an example to follow.  

When we don’t take rest, sadly, we do so to our detriment and as a rejection of God’s plan for us.

Even Jesus took time to be away from the crowds – He put His work, which is far more important than ours, on hold from time to time to rest (Mark 6:31). Now, if Jesus can find time to do that without guilt – then where do you think this guilt is coming from? Not from God. And if it’s not from God, then it’s from the world, which 2 Corinthians 7:10 tells us leads to death.

Lastly, if she will not rest – then you do. If my wife were going to persist in something I knew was harming her, and she would not listen to me, then I would set a boundary that I would not help her do so. I would stay home with the kids, let myself and them rest, and then she could do as she liked. She can spend time with friends and extended family or her own family. I’m not suggesting you use your kids as a weapon to make her do what you want, merely that that ends up being the choice.  

That’s a touchy path, and you must be careful about your motivations. It has to be done out of love, not a selfish desire to stay home. Also, it’s unlikely to be appreciated. But no one said leading by example was easy.

And the once-a-month cadence shows that it’s not catering to one side or the other. It’s merely making room for rest amongst the other times. Our church even cancels church once every two months so that we can rest and not have to worry about running/attending church, which I immensely enjoy. It’s nice to have a Sabbath at home from time to time.

For the second question about dismissing your advice, what often happens between couples that have been together for a while is that they become too familiar with each other in some ways. It is so familiar that some spouses have internal arguments that generally occur in their heads and spill out into arguments with their spouses.

For example, when she asks for advice, when you give it, because you are so familiar, she feels comfortable having a verbal debate instead of an internal one. When you say, “Just do x,” her brain immediately jumps up with all the reasons she’s already come up with for why that’s a bad idea and shares them – not because she’s dismissing your concept, but just because this is the struggle she’s dealing with. If you had instead said, “Just do y,” then she’d bring up all the reasons why that’s a bad idea – again, because she’s already had this fight with herself – this is why she can’t make up her mind.

So, instead, ask questions.  

“What are some reasons why x is a good idea?” 
“What about y?”
“What’s not good about x?”
“What’s not good about y?”

And then, when you’ve got all the pros and cons on the table that she’s come up with, then you can add your own. Or you can say, “Well, I’d go with x because…” then you summarize the pros and cons that you feel are relevant.  

And then you leave it. When people ask your advice – they are asking for advice, not a command. You give it disinterestedly – and by that, I don’t mean you don’t care, but rather, you have no stake in the outcome after you offer the advice. They can take it or not. That’s up to them.  

If she continues to ask what she should do, then you need to have a more extended conversation about when she wants advice and when she wants to be told what to do – because the truth is that some wives – not all, but some – want to be told what to do. This is not in all situations, but in some, and you have to be clear in your marriage about whether that’s your dynamic and what those situations are. Sometimes, the choices are too overwhelming for some, and they just want to be told what to do. Others will be appalled at that idea. I don’t know your wife, so I can’t tell if she’d appreciate that.

But, if she wants you to simply tell her what to do, then guess what – you’re now responsible for that decision.  You’re no longer a consultant giving advice – you are the decision maker and you have to deal with any consequences.

As for the last question, there is a lot I could comment on.  Honestly, I could probably do an entire hour talking just about the things in that last part, but, yes, often, it’s the higher-drive spouse’s job to lead. That’s simply the way of things. The one who’s most interested in something (or more fearful of the consequences of not doing something) will likely be the leader of that thing. Once you accept that, it becomes a lot easier. Then, you work on being better at initiating rather than spending time being resentful that they don’t. You get better at handling rejection rather than focusing on their rejection. Let them worry about their part – being better at responding – you focus on yours.

And if you want her to read a book – well, then read it with her. What Christina and I do when we have a book we want to read is that she reads it aloud, and I sit behind her in bed and rub her shoulders while she reads. We’ve been through quite a few books that way because, like you, my wife has let many books sit idle on her nightstand that I recommended, even ones she said she was interested in and would read. She will not get to it. But, if I say I want us to read it together, at the same time as a shared experience, and she gets a shoulder massage out of it – well, we’ll do it.

So, rather than being frustrated with what she’s not doing, you should work on finding new ways to approach the same outcome.

Question 3 – Are men infatuated with their ejaculate?

Topics include:
Why am I not interested in sexy any more after having a baby?
How do I get my wife to rest without guilt?
Why does my wife dismiss my advice when she asks for it?
How do I get my wife engaged in sexual growth?
Are men infatuated with their ejaculate?

Is it normal for men to be infatuated with their ejaculate? My husband wants me to swallow and has even tried tasting it himself but usually seems to be less interested after he finishes than before. I want to help him if it’s something he really wants but don’t have the desire to try it myself at all. Any advice?

Infatuated? I don’t think that’s the right word.

I think there is a sense for many men that an acceptance of their ejaculate is an acceptance of them. For a lot of men, when their wife won’t swallow, or immediately wants to be cleaned up, or runs to the shower right after sex – that makes them feel like their wife finds a part of them dirty, disgusting or shameful. They want that part of their husband off of them as soon as possible, which can be pretty ego-bruising.

So, it’s more about feeling accepted. I’d say men generally don’t feel very accepted by society at large these days, and the one person they want to feel the most accepted by is their spouse. So, I think things like swallowing are a sign of that acceptance, and that makes them feel, well, accepted.

And yeah, things like that tend to get deprioritized right after you orgasm. Our brain’s pre-orgasm and post-orgasm are pretty different. The blood flow changes quite a bit to increase certain areas and decrease others to the point that you could say we’re not the same person from one to the next, and that’s pretty normal. And it’s not just men – women go through a similar transition, but it tends to be less marked as the arousal is slower to drop off rather than suddenly at the point of orgasm as with men.  

But I get plenty of wives asking why, in the morning, they feel embarrassed, ashamed, or worse about the things they not only did but were asking for, sometimes begging for, the night before when they were all turned on. That’s also very normal. I mean, it’s sad you feel embarrassed or ashamed, but, understandably, you feel a sense of “why did I like that so much then and not now?” and the answer is that blood flow in your brain changes during arousal and, in particular, downregulates the part of you brain that registers things you’re uncomfortable with, disgusted by, risk assessment and the like.

So, if you feel like it was a different person – it was. Just be okay with that. There can be an erotic you and a non-erotic you, depending on context – and I think that’s the way God intended it to be. I mean, you don’t want your sense of disgust, risk, and discomfort to be desensitized when you’re, say, trying to determine if the left-overs are still good or when you’re sitting in church trying to listen to a sermon and your spouse puts his hand in your thigh, or when you’re driving a car, and you suddenly have a memory of the sex you had last night. Those are times when you want your brain to go, “Now is not the time – I need those functions that limit sexual thoughts now.”  

But when you’re in bed and doing things that with anyone else would be risky and maybe a little gross, well, that’s a good time to have them shut off, and it can be problematic if they’re so strong they won’t shut off.

Anyway, at the end of it all, if you’re not interested, say that, and make it clear that it’s not because you don’t like him. Be specific about what it is you don’t like. As I’ve heard some wives say, “a mouth full of warm salty snot isn’t appealing,” – and that makes a lot of sense. And just because he’s okay with the taste doesn’t mean you have to be. I love cantaloupe, and Christina nearly throws up at the taste of it – we’re all different.

Then again, I have also heard from wives who used to be disgusted by the idea, taste, and texture, but then something changed, and now they love it. So, it’s also okay to say, “Not now, maybe not ever, but who knows?”


That’s it for today.  If you have a question of your own, you can ask it here.  If you’d like to see them as they come in and participate in the discussion before it gets posted, then consider supporting our ministry. Or if you have a thought you’d like to add, feel free to comment below.

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