I’m 36, and my husband’s 42. I’m the one who initiates sex most of the time. We have two kids, 3 and 8. My husband’s priorities are work, exercise, the children, house chores, and me – last. I believe if I gave my husband the chance, he would go two months without sex; I would like sex at least once a week. I expressed my feelings to him and he said he would make an effort – but then he gets back into the routine of less sex. How should I proceed?
Scripture is clear about the importance of sex in marriage. The apostle Paul wrote, “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband” (1 Corinthians 7:3). In this passage, God makes it clear sex between husband and wife isn’t simply a pleasure to be enjoyed, but a responsibility.
While many men want frequent sex and are aggressive in getting it, a growing number of men is failing to initiate and sometimes follow through with sex. This trend is becoming a national epidemic, and it sounds as though you’re in the center of it.
You’ve tackled the first task – to talk to your husband about your desire for more sex. You’d be surprised how often people are frightened about dealing directly with this sensitive topic. Now let’s consider the potential causes for your husband’s lack of sexual desire:
First, a man may be distracted. Many men are preoccupied with their many other responsibilities and place romance and sexuality on the bottom of the list. This seems to be a possibility in your case. You note that your husband’s priorities includes work, exercise, children, chores, and then you. This needs to change.
Second, a man may be detached. Many men haven’t invested effectively in their marriages. They see marriage/relationships as something incidental to their lives. Of course, without a healthy emotional bond, it’s difficult – if not impossible – to have a healthy sexual relationship, the ultimate expression of connection.
Third, a man may be depressed. Many men suffer from low-grade depression and use work, exercise, or drugs/alcohol to help them feel better. You’ve given no indication your husband’s depressed, but you definitely should consider this possibility. (Please see my book, Does Your Man Have the Blues?)
Fourth, a man is disinterested. Many men find more excitement in their work than in their marriage/sexual lives. This is such an issue that there actually is a diagnosable disorder – Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSSD). Should you believe this to be the case with your husband, insist he seek medical assistance. Other physiological issues, including low testosterone, could impact his sexuality.
Finally, these problems require intervention. Confront your husband again and insist that together you get to the bottom of the issue. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted or dissuaded. Whether your husband’s low sex drive is caused primarily by an emotional disconnect, depression, or lack of priorities, you need to come up with a clear plan with a clear outcome to remedy the situation. You’ll require courage as your man may resist change. “Lean in” and gently but firmly insist on seeking a solution. Reassure him of your love and care, yet also of your unwillingness to live without this vital expression of love.