When is it okay to say “no” to sex?

Jay Dee

When is it okay to say “no” to sex?

Apr 25, 2015

This discussion comes up a lot when talking about sex.  It’s usually framed around the concept of rights and duties.  But marriage isn’t about rights and duties, it’s about love, respect, and service.  One of our readers asked for a post on this topic during one of our

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When is it okay to say no to sex

This discussion comes up a lot when talking about sex.  It’s usually framed around the concept of rights and duties.  But marriage isn’t about rights and duties, it’s about love, respect, and service.  One of our readers asked for a post on this topic during one of our surveys:

biblical context or statements about sexual ‘rights’ during sickness.  I always feel bad about the fact that my husbands needs aren’t met when I am sick, or after childbirth, etc…

So, I thought I’d tackle it, and see if I can answer, what I believe, is the proper biblical context for this type of discussion.

Rights and duties regarding sex

Since everyone always wants to jump to the rights and duties regarding sex, let’s get that out of the way first.

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a set time, to devote yourselves to prayer, and then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1 Corinthians 7:3-5

If you’ve been reading here for a while, you can probably quote this verse from memory.  It’s a staple among Christian sex bloggers like myself.  Why? Because you can write a series of sermons just on the message contained in these few words, but it can be broken down to a simple phrase: Neither spouse has veto power over sex.

There it is, those are your rights and duties, as the Bible states them.

But, as Paul writes a mere 5 chapters later, right before 1 Corinthians 13, “let me show you a better way”.

Love, respect and service regarding sex

Instead of being wrapped up in what is owed you, in what your spouse aught to be doing as their duty, we should instead focus on what we will do for our spouse, our of love, out of respect and as a service to them.  As 1 Corinthians 13 explains, all the actions, all the tasks, all the works, the fulfilling of rights and duties are nothing if they aren’t driven by love.

But, in the same way, we have a calling in Christianity to honor our own bodies as well. Because, while it is true that our bodies belong to our spouses, they ultimately belong to God:

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

It’s a little bit like our bodies belong to God, and we are it’s steward.  That is, until we get married, when we share that stewardship with our spouse, and they with us.  And so, there are times when we must protect our bodies, as a precious thing, the temple of God.  At times when you are sick, when you are recovering, healing, etc, I believe it is our duty to ensure we give our bodies the best chance to recover.  That may mean different things for different people at different times.

As well, you have a marriage that almost has a life of it’s own.  It is your relationship and it must be nurtured.  Sometimes you must take into account long term affects rather than immediate needs or wants.  There are times when having sex will damage your relationship.  Don’t believe me?  Ask a wife whose been pressured to have sex before she’s done healing from childbirth.  Or a husband whose been pressured to have sex in order to conceive when he’s not ready to be a father.  They’re having sex, but the damage to the relationship, the break in trust, can take years to recover from.

A better way

And so, we get stuck in a difficult position, trying to balance one spouses rights against the other, balancing your duty to keep your body and relationship safe against meeting the needs of your spouse.  How does one manage this?  There is usually some way you can manage to keep the relationship sexual without overextending your health.  Every situation is different, and some solutions may be a bit awkward at first, they may be out of your comfort zone, but growth often, if not always, requires discomfort.

But, this requires a new mindset, of looking out for your spouse, actively searching for ways to meet their needs without compromising your own.  When thoughts of duties and obligations drop away and are replaced by love, you will find ways to ensure your spouse is fulfilled.  When sex isn’t possible, you can offer oral sex, if you have a cold and oral is out of the question, you can resort to manual sex, if you’re just worn out and can’t manage the energy to do that, just be with your spouse as they masturbate.  I wanted to share this comment I got from our mutual masturbation survey that is just amazing:

My wife is terminally ill and is unable to have sex, however she finds ways to be involved while I masturbate so that I can feel close to her and she feels that she is doing something for me. Typically she lets me kiss a body part such as a foot or something to help keep us close and so that I can at least have some part of her. It helps to deter lust and harmful thoughts of other women.

-Anonymous

That’s incredible: to be terminally ill and still looking for ways to serve your spouse.  Just amazing.

However, if your so sick you can’t remain conscious long enough for that, well, then I give you a pass.  I think your spouse should really be re-prioritizing their needs, I mean, you can’t share a connection if you’re not conscious.

You can only control yourself

So, what do you do if your spouse isn’t following this Biblical model?  What if they aren’t looking for opportunities to serve you, what if you have a question like this:

I am a 72 year old man who loves his wife very much, but she is physically unable to engage in sex anymore. I’ve tried to convince her to try other methods with each other but she feels it is weird unless it is standard intercourse. (See the full comment here)

What do you do?  I’ve written about this before, but in short, you can’t force them to.  Depending on the strength of your relationship, you have a couple options.  If you have a strong marriage where you are accustomed to holding each other accountable in your walk with God, you can sit down with them and show them the truth.  Then it’s the Holy Spirits’s job to convict, and their job to obey, and hopefully you have the wisdom to make it easy for them along the way.

If you don’t have that kind of marriage, then you can try to start building one.  The best way to start is to strengthen your relationship with God.  Lean on him in the interim and model for your spouse how to really live in Him.  Hopefully they will see there is a better way and start living it as well.

Your Turn

Do you tend to think of your marriage in terms of rights and duties or in terms of love and service?  What changes do you need to make in your life and marriage?

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48 thoughts on “When is it okay to say “no” to sex?”

  1. Sandi says:

    Awesome post Jay Dee! It always rankles when I read someone talking about their rights. Demanding our rights is not conducive to good relationship. I love what you said about modeling a “more excellent way”.

  2. anonymous says:

    This is a good article I will have to read over a couple times. I am struggling with wanting to have sex more often than my husband wants. The issue of rights is a hard one, as we both have a ‘right’ to make love when we feel we want and need to. I often feel selfish, but find as months go by, I am getting resentful of trying to respect his rights as mine go to the wayside. We have discussed it many times, and I am trying to just give it to GOD. I often debate asking GOD to take away my sexual desire but know I will regret that. I feel he is not attracted to me and I’m in counselling to work through it.

    1. Butterflywings says:

      Dear anonymous, please don’t wish for God to take away your drive. Because even when the physical desire fades, all that is left is a gaping chasm in your heart where you know you are missing something profoundly important in your relationship with your spouse. Or at least that is what I have found.

      1. anonymous says:

        @ Butterflywings, please explain. If the desire is there, is there not also a chasm in your heart where you know you are missing something profoundly important in your relationship with your spouse? How do you find it is different when the desire is present and when it is not present?

  3. DMV says:

    This is an interesting post, JayDee. It certainly isn’t “new” — I seen people talking about “selflessness, love, and sex in marriage” for a long time. My reactions to this tend to look something like this.

    I know you are against masturbation. I have seen some suggest that sometimes the most “selfless” thing a higher drive spouse can do is take care of yourself rather than “selfishly” depending on your spouse to take care of your sexual needs. Sometimes, I wonder about the idea that love and caring and selflessness might mean “releasing” a spouse from this “duty”.

    Which tends to lead me to the question of “abdication”. Can one really “abdicate” the sexual relationship in marriage? Or is some kind of sexual relationship an “obligation” in marriage? As you note, we usually take Paul’s assertions in 1 Cor 7 as a call to “duty”, but that it is better to fulfill that duty out of love and service rather than a sense of duty. When we do this, are we trying to take the “duty” out of sex, and can we truly and completely take the “duty” out of the sexual relationship.

    In a fallen world with fallen human beings, we will be in a constant struggle between selflessness and selfishness. Sexuality can be especially difficult, because some aspects of sexuality are inherently “selfish” and sometimes our dialog around sexuality (especially when talking to singles) sometimes come across as if all sexual desire is selfish — one cannot ask for sex unless it is coming from selfishness. Part of the difficulty, IMO, in trying to introduce love, service, and selflessness to the sexual relationship is trying to understand how these are interrelated. I think you have a good essay here that can help understand this, but I’m not sure if all of us will be completely convinced.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I think that masturbating so as not to inconvenience your spouse is really a cover up for avoiding conflict. Loving your spouse doesn’t mean not inconveniencing them. Sometimes they seriously need to be inconvenienced, particularly if they have sinful behaviours.

      And no, I don’t think you can abdicate the sexual relationship in a marriage any more than you can abdicate the emotional relationship in a marriage. If you try, what is left is no longer a marriage, but a mockery of one. I would argue Titus tells us that it’s blasphemy, or something akin to it.

      As for whether or not you are convinced. It’s no my job to convict. I merely present the truth as I see it. The rest is for you and the Holy Spirit to work out, whether I’m on target or not.

      1. DMV says:

        I agree that there are probably many cases where masturbation is a conflict avoidance strategy. At the same time, I think there are also cases where the sexual arguments have reached a point that Dr. Gottman might describe as “perpetual conflicts” that are unlikely to ever be resolved. In those situations, I’m not sure that I see masturbation as a way of avoiding the conflict, but a legitimate strategy for coping with the situation. Maybe it is just another angle to see the questions of abdication, obligation, and how God views these situations. Some of your thoughts back in January (“When do I give up hope” 22 January 2015) may be applicable here.

        I am not sure I understand your reference to Titus. After a quick review of Paul’s epistle, I did not see anything that I interpreted as “sexless marriages are or may be considered blaphemous.” Either I misunderstood your reference, or I missed the part of this epistle that may imply this. If you can, I would appreciate a clarification.

        I will agree that it is not your job to convince — that we need to rely more on the Holy Spirit to convince and convict us in these things. I guess I find it interesting that, after 500 years (if you start counting from Luther and the Reformation) or 2000 years (if you start counting from Peter and the first century apostles), the Holy Spirit seems to have been unable to fully convince and convict us as a Christian community on these things. Perhaps we are just stubborn and bullheaded, or too influenced by cultural influences. In many ways, this might be the real value of blogs like yours and others is to get us as Christians to contemplate and maybe rethink our attitudes towards sexuality.

      2. Lauren says:

        Yes life is
        Not convenient. Relationships are
        Not “easy”. I know some of these men think they can make things easier and take shortcuts by choosing to masterbate. But relationships are work and spouses need to prioritize and work on their relationship. They need to always connect with one another. I think sometimes women get caught up with the kids, busy, activities, etc. I have been there myself. If men stop and ask what she needs help with, and also the men have to communicate that they miss their spouse and want some time together, and act romantic. Keep trying. Also with men out there don’t just hit the sack and start the physical touching and kissing and expect sex. I mean, I have a high drive and would respond to that, however other women want that connection throughout the day doing the dishes for her, making her feel less stressed out so that she will feel valued and stressed and she will appreciate it and want to have sex. There just needs that open dialogue and emotional connection too if you are working on the sex life. I agree that the whole convenience thing is not right. We need to put more effort into relationships and marriages.

  4. FarAboveRubies says:

    This is an excellent post. I believe that the “I deserve entitlements” attitude is common in our society. This is a matter of the heart. Do you serve your spouse? Do you have a serving attitude? Or do you expect to be served? If one really looks into their own heart, the motives become crystal clear.

  5. katydid says:

    What if the husband refuses manual and oral and expects that during his illnesses his wife simply leaves him alone and masturbates on her own? My husband insists this is what should be done.

    We continue in intimacy, but when it comes to needing sexual release, if one partner can’t have intercourse, the other should masturbate privately. That’s his unmoving plan.

    Anyone I go to for help/counsel suggest that I am selfish for wanting sex while he suffers temporary ED from his illness and meds (which can last weeks…months) and I should use this time to build up spiritual muscles through this fast and deprivation.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Personally, I don’t think you’re being selfish at all. I think it’s a valid desire and need for the relationship.
      However, you can’t force your husband to be generous…so you basically have two choices. You can follow the Matthew 18 guidance for conflict resolution, which would involve finding a third party to point out your husbands sin, or you can take the counsel of building up spiritual muscles since you can only control yourself, not your spouse.

      That’s how I see it anyways.

      1. katydid says:

        I guess I am stuck with the latter since no one seems to agree with the former for Matt. 18 purposes. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

        1. CK says:

          Ive thought about it this way: God gave me an itch, an innate need. He then told me that only my spouse is allowed to scratch that itch. You know the feeling that you get when an itch is thoroughly addressed – the relief, the good feeling as it’s being scratched by someone else. How thankful you are to them for reaching the spot you could not. It makes me wonder why or how a spouse cannot embrace that. It’s a mutuality that God built into marriage. When a spouse refuses to try to understand it is nothing less than selfishness. Perhaps if you explain it in a similar fashion he may see it differently. I also am not so against the idea of “quid pro quo.” Sometimes it takes a wake-up call to get a man’s short attention span expanded. If showering a spouse with unselfish service does nothing to insult their own selfishness into changing, then a taste of their own medicine is sometimes needed. You know there are times when you’ve served him even when you were less than 100% up to the task- whatever it was. Object lessons can be effective if done carefully. Just a thought….

          1. Jay Dee says:

            Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. – 1 Peter 3:9

        2. HopefullyHelpful says:

          Jay Dee, you saw my proposal to that particular older gent’s dilemma, which is basically Anonymous’s terminally-ill wife’s solution. I have posted my feelings about rights in “rendering” the marriage due.

        3. HopefullyHelpful says:

          Katydid, that is not a healthy view to take (consider James 1:12-13.) God did not take away anything (look up Ecclesiastes 9:11). Your husband is probably feeling depressed he cannot “rise to the occasion.” You might want to remind/inform him that men can orgasm just fine without an erection. Offer to show him.
          You didn’t marry his penis. That is only one part (don’t say small) of the package. Tell him he’s always been man enough to satisfy your needs, so why is he stopping now when all you need is his love and understanding while you release yourself in his presence, because the only person, including yourself, you want to have sex with is the husband God gave you. And I assume you will be able to do perform.

  6. Dan says:

    So much of saying “no” has more to do with hurt and neglect than lack of desire.

  7. Ruby says:

    I have had a few things come to mind after reading this posting and also reading https://uncoveringintimacy.com/is-there-a-good-way-to-tell-your-husband-no-sex-tonight/ , along with many of the reader comments. It is interesting to me that it seems like so much attention is put on the answer. We tend to put all the responsibility on the person who is being asked. Now, I appreciate what you have written about having a discussion, but it is interesting to me that I never see here, or on other Christian marriage sites, a blog entry titled something along the lines of “is there ever a wrong time to ask my spouse for sex?” We place all the onus on what kind of answer is given. You have made it clear in both of these posts that these are geared those who share sexual intimacy on a healthy, regular basis already. Dealing with the sad and detrimental issue of constant refusal or a “sexless” marriage is a different issue, which you speak about a great deal in many other entries. What is see though, that I find slightly disturbing, is that someone is has a healthy frequency of sex in their marriage would approach their spouse with this with this when their spouse is clearly ill, as in the frequent example given here as with the flu. This is temporary. Why are you asking for sex when you could be expressing your love for your spouse (and, arguably getting your own needs better met by assisting in their recovery) by bring them teas, soup, taking care of household issues, the kids, etc., so they can rest and be refreshed and energized sooner and more fully, to be able to enjoy in a fulfilling sexual relation with you? I appreciate the emphasis you put on love and service, though duty is an inescapable part of marriage too, after all, when we took our vows, we were not only choosing the spouse to care for us, but committing to care for them as well, no? Another example that has been used a few times is the wife who is receiving from childbirth, one commenter wrote that she felt guilty not meeting his needs during this time. As a childbirth professional, I feel less concerned with whether or not it is ok to say no to sex at this time, but rather more concerned that the husband is failing in his headship duties by asking her to meet those needs during this fragile (and in the grand scheme of things, short) time. The wife is then put in the position of sacrificing her own healing and PROLONGING her recovery time or feeling bad for turning him down. Depending on how early this happens, she could even be exposing herself to a very serious infection. Asking her to give you oral instead seems unlocking as well, as then demands on her body are already so high. There is sacrifice involved in having children, but to sacrifice means to give up that which I lower for that which is higher. The demands on a woman’s body during pregnancy and birth are very high, and are in some ways higher during the postpartum time, especially for breastfeeding mothers. As long as a women is bleeding/spotting after childbirth, it means the wound from her placenta has not fully closed. This should only take 2-4 weeks, six at most. Surely, after all she has given to give the husband a child, he can wait these few weeks to meet his sexual needs? If her postpartum bleeding is prolonged, it means she is not getting adequate rest, nourishment, and support. Who should be making sure she is getting that, husbands? The surest way to make sure her recovery is expedient is to make sure she gets all that support, nourishment, and REST. Not providing this not only prolongs the time when it really isn’t healthy for her to have intercourse, but also promotes the likelihood of postpartum depression….guess what that does to libido? I don’t even want to think about someone asking for sex while she still has a tear or suture site that is healing. Damage could be done that could make sex painful for her for the rest of her life. Communication about this healing should be high, so the husband knows when it is safe for him to approach his wife in this way. And in my experience, wives are often eager for their bleeding to end completely to be able to resume this intimacy. Why is all the attention always put on the marrital appropriateness of saying no and never on the appropriateness of asking? I love my husband, and so I want to meet his needs as I want him to meet my own, sexual and otherwise. His sexual needs in particular are greater than my own, and I have made it very clear to him that I am always available to him. I love him, and even if I am not in the mood or tired, he is free to decide if he wants to pursue it when I am less than eager/responsive to his advance. Most of the time, though not always, he continues with his advance, and what almost inevitably occurs is my own arousal at some point, from his sexual touch, his desire, and so on, and I become fully engaged and orgasmic and blissful by the end. If it has been a little while, and therefore his “needs” will probably by “high” on a given night, I can choose to come on to him earlier, even if I might not choose to come on to him based on my own level of desire/tiredness-late-in-the-day. This comes from knowing myself well enough to know that if he comes on to me when my body finally hits the mattress for bed, and I miss my initial wave of sleepiness and then have a hard time falling asleep, I will be really cranky to say the least. If I choose to “bless” him in this way out of my love for him and my desire to meet his needs, I avoid resentment in myself later and respect my need to have a restful night of sleep, and usually “bless” muscle in the act of pursuing him sexually as well. It’s a little like how you can’t fake laugh without eventually laughing heartily for real. If I choose to come on to my husband at these times, I start to feel a strong desire for him deeply, and him being the one who does most of the initiating, he loves it when I initiate. We all want to feel wanted, right? I bless myself and our marriage by this act, since if enough time has passed for me to know he’s going to have high needs that night, we have probably been busy, tired, and absorbed in other things, and could both really use the intimate connection, even if I don’t “feel” it or am pursuing it preemptively to avoid it later when the only thing I have on my mind is bed. I have needed a way to connect intimately with my husband even if I didn’t know it, and if it happens earlier, before he comes on to me when we get into bed, then there is also more space and time for intimate touch and conversation to happen afterwards. This is one of the ways God works in our marriage. I realize that this may be harder for couples with children, but I felt moved to share my thoughts on this.

    1. Ruby says:

      I wish I could edit this! Lots of typos when I use my tablet. I especially want to point out one, since readers will likely get around the others (I hope), is where it says “bless muscle”, that should say bless myself.

    2. HopefullyHelpful says:

      As I have come to see it:

      A spouse always has the right to ask anytime, but a duty not to expect.
      A spouse always has the right to refuse, but a duty not to.

      As example, when is it a wrong time to ” not yell at your wife” or “be tender and loving to your wife” or “listen to your wife’s feelings”?

      Most problems come from expecting perfection from your spouse. But how one asks and how the other denies are also critical, and can be the difference.

  8. Lauren says:

    If it is the wife saying “no” maybe the husband needs to find out why. Ask her. If she says she is tired or feels stressed and under appreciated then as the husband he needs to start a wake up call and intervention and vocalize ways to get past this. Not just take her answer that “she’s tired” and throw your hands up in the air and masterbate! Go deeper. Find a better way. Really get to see what is the matter. It could be she needs more help with the end of the day routine of cleaning up after dinner and help loading dishes or getting the kids to bed. If she does all that herself she may be too tired for anything else such as sex. Maybe she had needs too. Maybe she will tell you them if you ask her. Maybe it could be that the husband needs to be more connected and romantic and have this feeling of love in order for sex to take place more often and willingly. Yes there could be times she really is “tired” that’s true but other times the men needs to divulge more and find out the deep reasons. Maybe if the husband could be more affectionate and romantic and really made her feel so loved and sweep her off your feet maybe she will be more willing. Sex is just better when the women feel so romantically loved and cared for and not in a sexual way but in an emotional way. Sex comes after this is established usually. Love your wife, appreciate her, don’t take her for granted. She does a lot too. I know a lot of work that the wife doe goes unnoticed while the husband plays candy crush or watched football. Both spouses need a wake up call when they see one is saying no to sex more often than not. Wake each other up “verbally” and “express things” on the table
    To get down to what’s really
    Bothering each of you. Work on it and the results will be great if you try. But the work in and you will get the rewards! 🙂

    1. Recovering Husband says:

      Lauren, I think you are assuming a lot of things. I’m sure that some husbands may act in the ways you are talking about, but not all do. Sometimes a husband has done all of the “right” things with no results and finally throws in the towel. I know from experience that being repeatedly rejected is very hurtful and damaging. The things you are saying make it sound like its all the husbands fault that their wife doesn’t want to engage in sex. I don’t think that’s what you mean, but as someone who gave up on a fulfilling sex life with his wife at one point, I can tell you that the situation isn’t easy to deal with for a typical man.

      Most men don’t get married to not have a fulfilling sex life. In fact, I wouldn’t have gotten married if I knew going into it that sex would be like pulling teeth. This may seem shocking, but I think I’m not the only man that feels this way. Would women get married if they knew that their future husband would never want to talk to them?

      1. libl says:

        Both of you are right. And this goes right back to we can’t control others.

        Some husbands are clueless and rather lazy. Some have lower standards of work and cleanliness. Some just don’t get why women need certain things.

        And women can be horrible about expectations and standards. We can take too much too personally and never get enough of the good stuff. We cry over flowers never bought but don’t realize more practical ways he says I love you through actions.

        We should love, respect, and serve our spouses because we should. Because we love them and not to get a return.

        A wife saying, “hubby, could you put the kids to bed do I can relax enough to have sex” is NOT the same thing as “if you don’t do something to help me no sex for you!!”

        1. HopefullyHelpful says:

          Words can be key. I constantly have to keep James 3:3-12 in mind. Just last night came my most recent test refusing to reply in kind to my bride. Maybe a woman can give more perspective, but do you really understand just how difficult it is for a man to keep from blowing up and keep a “soft tongue.” I know my bride does not. For her it is “given” men have to control themselves, but need to be understanding because women have “tempers” (those are almost exactly her own words.) She really has a knack for choosing vicious words. I keep telling myself she’s just not mature yet, that one day she’ll realize just how much pain she causes. And guard my own tongue as much as possible.

          1. Jay Dee says:

            It’s possible to learn to have this self-control. Keep at it. But, I don’t think either gender has a harder or easier time of it.

          2. libl says:

            My hubby fights dirty. He is a scrapper. If he feels backed in a corner, he will lash out viciously. It used to drive me to sobs and shatter my well-being. Now, I expect it and confront it with truth.

            You are certainly within the right to calmly but firmly tell your wife her words hurt. Tell her to rephrase what she said to something more respectful or the conversation is over. They use it because it gives them a feeling of power and control.

            Now, my hubby used to intimidate me with verbal abuse to get me to shut up and leave him alone. He learned early on that I don’t nag, but if he wanted to avoid something he could shut me up all together and get his way no matter what and not have to invest in me. So, I decided to not let him leave, shut me up, or shut down until we got to the bottom of it. It was UGLY, but he eventually stopped fighting me and engaged in conversation, instead. And he saw how simple, respectful and reasonable I am. He fought me because he assumed I was raising my fists instead of holding out my hands because he grew up in a household and culture of fighting couples.

  9. Lauren says:

    Jay Dee,

    I have a question too. Well two questions! yes, my husband is the one who is/was more likely to say “no” to sex. It could be two things but the first is in regard to the low drive issue. I want to know… If he claims to only “need” to ejaculate once a week does that qualify as having a low drive? He claimed if work or kids or the house or stress get in the way and he is tired and has work the next day, that he can usually hold out for sex for the weekend. (And sleep is enticing, all that stuff) And we have sex once a week. (That- he is saying is his actual physical need, not want). My initiating has helped increase that though. Okay second question though. More importantly here, I need to know. Through all the conversations and discussions I’ve had with my husband I realize it isn’t all the low drive for him. What I have discovered and pieced together based on what he has said, I think that sex can be too long or daunting? Not that he doesn’t have the drive, but that sometimes the whole process can be exhausting, if I had to choose a word. Just through our casual conversations we have had, he has said stuff like “you don’t know what it’s like to be a guy” and he has to “hold off on cumming “becAuse he waits for me to orgasm first” so he is holding that in. I really don’t know what it’s like to be a guy. Clue me in here…(I think what is is saying is that maybe he wants a quickie). But the thing is, over the past two months that we have been opening up to talking about sex, I have brought up that I am up for quickies, I am up for a quick hand job, I don’t always need sex. But every time I initiate sex on a weeknight and we are all in the heat of the moment, he doesn’t do the quickie. I know, this is a good thing. But still, I think he would initiate sex more if it didn’t seem so long or daunting. I know in the moment we both get into it and enjoy it. But I think he had that mind set. It’s borderline thinking it’s a chore. The kissing the foreplay the long process. I am trying to Word this in an actual question since this is what I need to know here. This is why he doesn’t initiate? This is why he sow times says
    No? Maybe if earlier or prior do I need to hint let’s have a quickie? Would he initiate more on a week night if I remind him that I’m up for a quickie? So basically I want to know is he saying
    No on a weeknight or not initiating sex on a weeknight because sex is too long? I told him I am all for a quickie
    But do you think that it could be an ego thing? Like I am saying I want quickies but he feels like he’s not satisfying me or something or feels like it’s selfish? So anyway if I want more weeknight sex I guess I have to be more direct and remind him that I want a quickie? Anyway I think though that the lack of his initiating is not just his low drive but also about the fact that sometimes he doesn’t want that gourmet sex? Sometimes the foreplay and kissing and touching is not wanted for a guy and why in the past he may have masterbated for that reason- not worrying about the other person just himself. I told him that I don’t need an orgasm everytime. Sometimes that is exhausting for me too. Sometimes all I want is just a couple minutes of kissing and just the intimacy. A quickie on a weeknight can be very sexy ESP if he showed that side that he really wants me. I feel like a new couple since we have been talking to each other. It is that weird phase that we need to figure out. I feel confused and over thinking at times.

    1. libl says:

      My hubby is similar. Sex is too much work for him. He would be ecstatic if we could do quickies all the time, but we argued about my needs being met, too. We “compromised in his favor” in that I do almost all the physical movement of sex, I stimulate myself during intercourse, and we have very little foreplay. It was either do that or not get sex. He was content with quickies and masturbation.

      I say this matter of factly. That is selfishness and laziness, but as JD says, you can’t force your spouse to change. I was counceled to try this compromise to show hubby sex is enjoyable, especially if I climax too. It has helped a little.

      Your husband, like mine, is being selfish, lazy, and clueless. I say clueless because for them sex is very much physical and they ignore the emotional and spiritual parts of it. ..the giving and joy in giving.

      1. Anonymous says:

        Yeah I’ll take a quickie over him thinking it’s too much work on a tired weeknight and him wanting to hold off until the weekend. I think quickies can work once in a while when you have kids and a lot going on especially on a weeknight. There are days all I could go for is the kissing and some intimacy. At the end of my pregnancy my husband just couldn’t get past how big I was getting and it was uncomfortable to him for having sex a year ago. I would just want the intimacy and kissing for a little while and he would never do that he would say “no” and that it “always leads to something” which at the time he didn’t want sex. That’s another question I have. I guess if we kiss and he gets an erection then what? .. It can’t go down? What goes on in a mans body. I don’t get it. How come in the movies like the “notebook” or others, the male and female can just kiss passionately for a few minutes and they don’t HAVE to have sex afterwards. Like, what happens. He says “oh that’s just in the movies”. Okay so what happens in real life? Anyone know? But anyway, his rationally I don’t understand but all I know is that’s why i don’t mind a quickie. I get the kissing that I want to do and then it can be over. Sometimes that’s
        Not a bad thing and quickies can be kind of passionate and spicy. Spice it up from the usual routine.

      2. Lauren says:

        Jay Dee,& Libl

        I see a trend. A dangerous trend. I see that husbands may not like all the foreplay or they may
        Not like sex to last too long or the whole experience from foreplay to finish to last too long so instead of communicating with their wife they just avoid sex altogether that night??
        And in my case my husband may wait for the weekend.

        Libl,

        This is what happens at my house. Husband is Too tired for sex and it gives the appearance of a low drive. He may have a low drive too. I think on a weeknight if my husband is tired he will just wait for the weekend figuring that sex can be tedious, or too much work, with the foreplay, kissing and all of that. So they don’t get any sex at all then? I wonder what makes it so difficult for a man to just be open and communicate this. They never want to be vulnerable. Mine all the time will simply just say “I’m tired”, without even telling me that maybe he wants a quickie. I guess it’s sort of sweet in a way. Mine doesn’t want to ask for a quickie bc he thinks that it’s one sided or that he is being selfish. He has said this in conversations. That he never thought I would go for that and stuff. I think communication plays a role. Like I said I would never get a response other than “I’m tired” from him. That’s when I pieced everything all together and over analyzed things like women tend to do and I think I’ll bring that whole quickie idea up to him. I’ll wait for a day if he isn’t in a tired mood this week and well be laying on the bed watching tv and I’ll just simply ask him “wanna have a quickie”. It’s up to women to come up with all the ideas apparently. Can be exhausting at time. Wish he would take the lead ha. Also maybe it’s a good idea if I just make him wait. Meaning make myself wait too. If I miss that desired feeling maybe we are having sex too often? Like maybe wait and see if he will make a move. He is bound to. His thing is he needs sex once a week. So if he waits that long so can I. Maybe once in a while just to make it more existing if you get a break from sex for the 5 or7 days maybe it can be more passionate when you wait a little while.

        1. libl says:

          The other thought is tit for tat. He may avoid asking for a quickie because then he feels he “owes” you something he doesn’t want to do. It is just easier to take care of things in the shower and wait until the weekend.

        2. libl says:

          The other thought is tit for tat. He may avoid asking for a quickie because then he feels he “owes” you something he doesn’t want to do. It is just easier to take care of things in the shower and wait until the weekend.

          Oh, and if you ask for a quickie, don’t expect him to pounce you. You may have to get on top and do the work, too. He may still refuse if he feels he has to exert energy.

          I sometimes have to wait. If I find myself initiating all the time, I will wait to ser if he does.

          1. Lauren says:

            That’s funny that your husband does he same,always wanting the girl on top. I guess it’s a popular one since they don’t have to do much work. My husband is 32 I didn’t think young guys were like this. It also matters how long you’ve been together too and married. You get I to a routine. That’s why women have the Cosmo and red book magazine on my newsfeed. They give new articles to tell you how to spice up things and change things up. One person has to Initatiate change and spice things up a little. Yeah I’m at that point where I don’t get mad anymore if he doesn’t initiate. Compared to me, he is the lower drive partner. I just saw a post about higher drive spouses on the site hot holy and humorous. I’ll try to send a link on here. Yeah it’s crazy how many women are the higher drive spouse.

            1. HopefullyHelpful says:

              Now, if only hi-drives would marry hi-drives and lo-drives, lo-drives. . .Well, sometimes they do, but time and circumstance. . .

              1. Jay Dee says:

                Except many think they are high drive, and then get married and realize they are low drive, and visa-versa. Also, I’ve heard from many couples that seem to switch over the years. One was low drive and becomes the high drive.

                The sad cases are those of spouses who were low drive and refusers, then become high drive, realize their sin…only to find their spouse is now low drive and refusing them. I guess it’s just…but still sad all around.

                1. Lauren says:

                  Jay Dee,

                  Last night, my husband finally admitted that he has a low drive. After months of me noticing he is always “tired” and us conflicting and not being on the same page with sex and frequency it has been a trying time!! ..Now this is a brand new topic for me, the low drive husband. After I brought up the topic of sex and frequency he had looked at an article on WebMD and he said that it said “1 in 5 men has a low drive and that it is a normal thing.” (Yes I understand it is normal). I am sort of upset that he didn’t seem so upset about this. As we were talking he seemed to be trying to justify it and making it as if I am the crazy one and that this is the way he is and I need to accept it…. He also said the article said it is a myth that guys want sex all the time.. with them being low drive..We got in a little disagreement of course since this is a new topic for both of us.. and he was saying to me that I “need to get a job and get a life and I wouldn’t be worrying about sex so much anymore”.. but then he realized that he also needs to accept me having a higher drive and we need to come to some middle ground.. if you have any resource to send me please let me know. No rush, we have our daughters communion this weekend and I sure he wont have the time to read and divulge into it. But for now in the meantime, any words of advice that I can give him? He keeps thinking my drive is a bad thing, that I am too much. I don’t like this whole mentality at all about sex with that comment saying” If I got a job I wouldn’t worry about sex so much”. I need some article of yours or someones to say about sex being important for a marriage. I know he will get there and understand, it will take time. Right now he is controlling the frequency of sex. I see how wrong this is too because I have been through the phases of low drive but I saw how he desired me and wanted me in those times in the past years and I resisted a lot at first but always gave in and ended up enjoying it. Why does he have a hard time doing the same though? I think this is the biggest problem because just because he doesn’t want or need sex all the time, he thinks I should do the same. He doesn’t realize we are two different beings and two different bodies. My body needs something different than his etc. How can he compromise and understand all of this? I think he will work with me though and it will get better. I also will def stop worrying that he will never desire or act passionate in the beginning with initiating. I have to be confident and be the initiate and I don’t mind that at all anymore. I think since I communicated that this may be a phase and our roles are reversed and I need to initiate but he cant always resist. We came up with this week we are aiming for 3 days of sex, not to count it or keep track, but just to see how that really is, and see that its not that bad. I think since he agrees with me that we will be able to work this out. Its really a mind set thing the sex drive, right? All in the brain. that is why I initiate and he responds to it. I guess its not so bad. This is brand new to us though.

                  1. HopefullyHelpful says:

                    It is different, being on the refused side. That “it’s your defect” attitude really drives the knife right into your heart and twists it. Amazing how the person that is supposed to care the most about you can be so cruel. My heart goes out to you as well as my prayers. I would say “welcome to the club,” but only in the sense of “I am so disappointed with this world that you ever had to have the misfortune of experiencing this pain.”
                    His comment about a job sounds like an indicator. You might probe discreetly in how his job is going.
                    You can check my post for my views on “rendering the due”
                    Also check out Jay Dee’s posts where he breaks down the physiological benefits of rendering.
                    One thing to keep in mind: Truly “low drives” are just that. Low Drive. Not “hostile at your drive”

                    Prayers to you and yours.

                  2. Jay Dee says:

                    Wow, that’s a big step!
                    I know, it may seem like one step forward and two steps back, but I think learning that you’re a low drive husband might take some getting used to. He might be dealing with a bit of an internal crisis there, and so can’t see beyond his own needs. We tend to do that, as humans, when we’re in trouble, or feel threatened, get very “me”-centric.

                    Hopefully he will realize that if it’s okay for him to be low-drive, it’s okay for you to be high-drive, and so the loving response is to, at the very least, compromise, though in my opinion, that’s not the ideal response either.

                    Some posts on understanding how sex is important for a marriage? Yeah, let me find some. Keep in mind, some of them are a bit older, before I realized the prevalence of high-drive wives and low-drive husbands, so they may not be as gender neutral as my later posts. Never-the-less, here’s what I can think of:
                    Sexual Frequency: Why I don’t worry anymore
                    Is sex a need or a want?
                    All you want is sex
                    How sex impacts the rest of my life
                    Who should initiate sex? Husband or wife?

                    This one is specifically on high-drive wives:
                    I want my husband to want me

                    I hope that helps. If you can’t find what you need, let me know, and I’ll see what I can do.

    2. HopefullyHelpful says:

      This excuse is *weak*.
      The easiest thing you can do for this “holding it in” problem is to increase frequency. You can also increase lubrication and/or use a condom, though make sure you have no problems with the latex (my bride has sensitive skin, and it bothers her for days afterwards) or try lambskin. There are also creams available to decrease sensitivity for him so he doesn’t have to “hold it in.”
      The attitude, however, can also be one of control. He wants to control the session. His climax is *the end* of the session. So change his attitude. Don’t be bashful about encouraging him to come. If your birth control method allows him to come inside of you, then you’re in luck. With just a little training (and encouragement from you), he can come and keep going without missing a beat. It amazes my bride on those times I get that privilege (because we can’t use condoms). Remember 90% of sex is in your head.

      But your best bet might to change your approach to sex and (forgive the cliche) transform it into love-making. By this, I mean orgasm becomes a “side-effect” and not the “goal”, so not every session needs to end in orgasm for either or both of you, nor does it necessarily end if one or both of you *do* climax. Since my bride refuses to orgasm (and we also later went through our 4-year “dry spell”), I have had to do that out of necessity and I do not regret it one bit. The extra freedom and intimacy boost is really great. You might try the “good night, good morning” method and just feel the joy of being intimate without the stress of “having to come.” Believe me, dear lady, a week of 3~5-minute sessions twice a day with no object but to feel each other joined and in motion together will end in such a mind-blowing climax you’ll wonder what year it is. It will take time to get into the routine, but with the woman initiating it is much easier (in my opinion).

      1. Anonymous says:

        We’ve been together for 9 years and my husband has only did a quickie once and it was about two months ago in the middle of the day we decided to sneak Into our master closet. Yeah I think he has always held off on sex thinking it always had to be this long thing. It’s much better to have a hot passionate quickie then nothing at all. Ha. Yeah I will initiate a quickie.

  10. Anonymous says:

    After many years of marriage, I have learn to ask but do not expect sex. After repeated no’s, I have learned not to hope for sex no matter what I do. Her chronic pain and deprivation of sleep issues control our sex life. From 3 times a month early in the marriage (in our 20’s) to once every 3-6 weeks now (mid 50’s) has been our frequency. I do remind myself that other Christian men (who I know in real life) also do not have a satisfying sex life.

    I truly believe that marriage is not about happiness but rather holiness. Therefore, it is okay to say no to sex…it builds character in the person who receives the no answer.

    1. HopefullyHelpful says:

      It builds resentment, not character. If you carefully examine your current attitude you will see the proof. There are ways to deal with these issues, or did you bypass the box with that terminally ill wife’s ordeal?
      Love *never* fails. You have to give it a chance and fight for your marriage to be happy.

      HopefullyHelpful recently posted..First Step: Where do we go from here?

  11. Bryan says:

    Based on what the New Testament teaches on the role of husbands and wives in regard to sex (and because marriage is a picture of the sacrificial love that Christ has for the church) I submit that to truly say “No” to sex is wrong. I don’t care if you are the “high drive” or the “low drive” spouse. Telling your spouse “No, I will not have sex with you” is a sin. If your spouse is habitually refusing then you need to follow the Matthew 18 principles for taking a disagreement before witnesses (wise, godly Christian mentors) and ultimately to the church (hopefully it doesn’t reach that level) to persuade the disobedient spouse to obey God and fulfill his or her duty.
    Does that mean you have to engage in sex every moment your spouse wants to? Of course not. The better answer is, “I am not ready for sex tonight, because _________ (an honest answer), but how about tomorrow (or another mutually agreeable time)?” That is not “No.” That does not tear a spouse down, but instead reassures him or her of your love and your commitment.
    If a husband refuses to meet his wife’s needs “manually” or “orally” only willing to engage in intercourse occasionally, leaving all the effort up to her to satisfy herself….that is so wrong and selfish! If a wife refuses to meet her husbands needs that is selfish.
    Here is the pattern: Christ loved the church….and died for her. He gave everything in order to make sure the church had everything she needed.

    1. HopefullyHelpful says:

      Just as you have the right to ask anytime, your spouse has the right of refusal anytime. Otherwise God would basically be condoning rape. What they do not have a right to do are “consistent refusal” and “gatekeeping.”
      You’re right about communications. This would probably solve many problems where, instead, things escalate out of hand. Especially when “beating with Scriptures” happens.
      Love is the way. Love never fails. And it knows how to take a “no”.

      Prayers to you and yours.

  12. Kate says:

    I agree with a lot of Ruby’s comments earlier.
    As a nurse who has worked with elderly, frail and persons with end stage disease, I would hope that we would recognize that some may not be able to attend to the sexual needs of the marriage anymore. Maybe that stage of the marriage is about handholding and simple companionship. The example of the terminally ill woman above may not hold true for all.
    I would like to say that adequate rest is important for healing. Sometimes I feel it is an act of compassion to let our spouses have that time to rest and heal, and leave sexual matters go for a few days. We are not simply “parts”, but whole bodies.
    As someone who had a blockage in my “widowmaker” artery in my heart a few years ago, sometimes we are literally just trying to rustle up the sheer will to survive both mentally and physically, and do what we need to do to get better. In the immediate aftermath of having the blockage discovered I was really just thinking about survival, and really implementing the self care practices to take care of my heart. One of these that was really stressed was getting adequate sleep. So if it is past my bedtime I generally will take care of my need for sleep if approached for sex. My husband and I have discussed the sleep issue but I don’t think he has always heard what I have had to say.

    1. HopefullyHelpful says:

      Having had spouses in the hospital, I can personally say when they were in bad shape, my only desire was to comfort. Things sort of stayed down on their own until they got better. When I was in the hospital, though, there was this almost irrational need for sex. Maybe it’s a male thing. Wonder if any other guys noticed this?

      1. Jay Dee says:

        I’ve never been in a hospital overnight as an adult, but I know when I’m sick, I definitely still desire sex. If I don’t, something is very wrong with me.

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