How often is enough?
My husband and I have sex about once a month. That is all I can really put up with. My husband knows I don’t want to constantly be asked every week if we can have sex, but two or three times a week he asks anyways. Then he acts rejected when I say I am not interested. How can I let him know it isn’t him but it is just not something I desire. We have a great marriage, he is my best friend, but it could be so much better if I didn’t feel like I was constantly letting him down. After twenty years I would think he would start to get the picture and not keep bugging me.
“I know there are other women out there in similar situations where the standard advice does not apply.”
If you want worldly advice, go to the world to ask your questions. You’ll find many people who will agree with you. If you desire to truly honor the Lord and your husband, those are the kind of answers you will find here, a forum for Christians on married sex.
No matter the situation out there, it all comes down to the heart and the attitude. There are wives in worse situations than you that still have a generous heart towards her husband and desires to do all she can to make him feel loved, even if intercourse is impossible. Our passion for our husbands and our sexual oneness has to be a priority, if we want to truly love God and love our husbands.
One has to want to love another as they love themselves, one has to be willing to die to themselves, for them to appropriate the supernatural help of the Holy Spirit, that is available.
BTW, I was a wife with somewhat similar attitude as you. I remember thinking, feeling, and even saying, “I would be fine to never have sex again.” I felt justified in my sexual refusal of my husband because of his sins and shortcomings. I also remember the conviction, regret and some crushing realizations I had to face when I realized what I actually was doing to my husband.
ETA: re: my very last thought – not just what I was doing to my husband, but what I did to myself and the blessings and good I robbed myself of, by my choices. I always hate to see others walking down that same painful path, even if they are unaware.
I hope you are still around. I read the responses, and i imagine you are feeling a bit overwhelmed and maybe even ganged up on. I hope you can believe that wasn’t the intent.
Rather than answer your question about how often is enough, I would rather just encourage you to consider that question and see if you can come up with an answer you felt like you could live with.
I know you have already been treated to an explanation of mens physical needs. For the moment, just set that aside and consider emotional needs. You mentioned your husband feeling neglected. Is it possible that speaks more to an emotional need than a physical one. Have you ever felt neglected? (You don’t need to answer that. Of course you have. We all have at one point in time or another) if it was a long standing neglect, did it ever get easier?
I’m going to climb out on a limb and make a bold assumption here. Your hisband often speaks of sex as if it is a physical thing, but probably does not have the vocabulary to fully describe his feelings about it and what it means. My wife and I had some very lean years, where honestly, we were not very good to each other. Somewhere along the line, I quit asking, and quit hoping for any change. You talk about that as if it is a good thing. I assure you it wasn’t.
I couldn’t have described what sex meant to me, till I got here and did some reading, and then everything I felt made at least some sense.
Rather than try to find an answer to the question you asked, would you be willing to learn more about your husbands heart? ForgivenWife.com has already been mentioned. I think that would be a great place to go to learn more than you can possibly imagine. I learned so much about my wife there, but also myself. There used to be a section here, where you could read post after post by people who had been neglected. They were written by both men and women, because honestly, neglect feels the same regardless of your gender. You could not have read those stories without your heart being touched, and it is a tragedy that they don’t exist any more.
Spend some time here, and let those who have been either where you are now, or where your husband is, minister to you and your marriage.
First, i’m a little bit concerned about your wording: “That is all i can put up with” is that because you aren’t able to achieve orgasm or your husband isn’t thoughtful and giving of you during sex or you just do not desire it?
Second, once a month is a little outside the “norm” but only if you have both agreed on the frequency which it sounds like you have not. Are you aware of “spontaneous” and “responsive” desire? Women often are the one’s who have responsive desire and cannot get their head and body into it until they are actually having sex, which usually means a deliberate decision to lovingly respond when their husband asks for sex.
If you’ve been married 20 years, chances are you may be going through perimenopause and it might be worthwhile to seek out a GYN to test hormones, they have a PROFOUND effect on both desire and physical well-being.
Third, i dont’ find it unusual at all that your husband feels rejected! Imagine if you were asking something of him that is important to you (after all, you are his spouse) and he refused and felt you were bugging him, wouldn’t YOU feel rejected? Marriage is about compromise, and it’s especially helpful if both are good willed about it.
Fourth, there is a biblical mandate for sex in marriage. I am sure you are aware if you are a believer that you are not to defraud one another. I do not believe that means you can never say no but it does mean that if both parties are able, that you SHOULD strive to meet that need and if you are really resistant, you should try to find out the cause of it. I do think it unreasonable to expect a spouse (man or woman) to go long periods without sex if there isn’t a legitimate reason for it (health, family emergencies, situations where both agree for a time).
Hi Tabitha – the two or three times a week he asks is what he needs. His body is pushed to need this. If he is turned down so often that it ends up being once a month, I am surprised he is still asking two or three times a week. Most often men will give up on asking and the marriage will suffer for it. Don’t take this the wrong way, but from your point of view, you have a great marriage. This is probably affecting him much more than you think. The marriage will not be better if you stop feeling like you are letting him down – the marriage will be better if you work on this and actually stop letting him down. This is an area where wives do not always understand men because they aren’t men, and sometimes they do not understand how serious this situation is for their husband and their marriage. Having regular sex (2/3 times a week) with your husband will make a huge difference in your marriage, you may not even realize how much a difference because you are used to where you are.
There are some great articles on the biology of the male sex drive on the main TMB pages that would be a good read.
When you say that is all you can put up with, what are the hardships? Many here experienced hardships and have a lot of ideas on how to improve things.
Several years ago, I felt similiar to what you are writing now. DH felt unloved and neglected and oversexed, and I felt used, always pestered for sex, and that we couldn’t ever do anything, without DH wanting to end with sex. I cried and agonized (silently) and prayed much. We didn’t know what to do. Things just didn’t go smoothly. No big fights, but just little minor annoyances and arguments and being nit picky.
Than, I discovered the old TMB website. My eyes were opened in a flash. Maybe, for us, NOT having much sex, was a big part of the problem. I told DH that I would no longer say ‘no’ to sex.
To my amazement, things actually started to change. It took awhile and at one point, things got worse before they got better.
Now, in our marriage, it wasn’t really one of us more at fault, than the other. It turned into a vicious circle. But, one of us needed to make the change to start. Otherwise, we would still be wildly (and angrily, likely) going in circles and blaming each other.
So, aside from all the factors you mentioned, that hinder you from wanting sex, if every one of them was removed, do you actually enjoy, or want to enjoy, sex with your husband?
Again…we here at the forums would like to respectfully ask…
“Tabitha, you come to the forums…May I ask what are you looking for here?
Are you looking for a place to vent or are you seeking insight from a Biblical perspective on your situation?”
I feel like my wife could have written those very words about a year ago. She felt pressured and overwhelmed. She never felt like she was enough for me. She would be happy to have sex monthly and I would not complain about daily. Needless to say we were both hurting and wounded.
I would also call her my best friend. We have a wonderful marriage.
Maybe I can simply share how I fealt when we were in that stage of life. I now know words to explain what I could only feel at the time (it’s likely your husband may be feeling these things but not know how to verbalize it).
Sex for me is deeply emotional. I didn’t know how to explain that – I just knew I desired my wife. I longed for her embrace and and to have deep and slow intimacy with her. But it was too much for her. When I would go for a while without sex it would emotionally drained me. I felt unloved, uncared for. I felt worthless and like I was not good enough for her. I knew in my head those things were untrue. But my heart shouted them at me for days on end. It took every ounce of strength theord gave me for me to not grow cold and distant from my bride. I remember laying in bed for hours night after night fighting bitterness towards the one I loved so deeply. There was a heavy wet blanket over my soul for months.
What I know now is that while sex for me manifested as a physical need, in fact it was much more deeply emotional. Sex was my internal guage for how my wife loved me. It was how I received and felt cared for and loved and seed and cherished and desired. When sex was absent, those things dried up in me.
Please please don’t hear this as an attack on you in the least. I say that because I don’t think my wife understood almost ANY of that was going on in me because I didn’t know how to explain it. I wanted so bad for her to understand but when I tried she felt like I was just heaping guilt and shame on her.
I believe that there is need for healing in both of you. I have learned better how God made both of us for the enjoyment of sex. It just looks different.
I encourage you to take time to find out how to serve your husband with sex in a way that brings you joy. That does not at all mean just have sex more so he’ll be happy. It means y’all seek healing together so it becomes a joy. It means learning together how God made you VERY different but good. (Responsive verses Spontaneous desire). It’s beautiful, but it’s different.
After a year, my wife and I are beginning to heal. We still hsve a long way to go. But we are moving in the right direction.
Praying for you both.
I used to have a very similar attitude as you. I was convicted of my sin towards God and my husband and have made some major changes. It’s too bad you can no longer read story after story of the husbands who have suffered on the other side of a wife’s attitude similar to yours. The damage it has done, the scars it has left, and the heartbreak it has caused.
Though the old “Sexually Refused” subforum is gone from the old TMB boards, I would suggest that you go to the link that follows that is directed at husbands, and read some of the links and resources shared with the desire to see things through your husband’s eyes….. For Husbands by The Forgiven Wife
Tabitha, I’m curious what other things would be fine if they only occurred once a month. One date a month? Hugging one time a month? Kissing? Holding hands?
Or how about just having only one talk a month? Or one compliment a month? One prayer?
Would you help us understand what you mean by “That is all I can really put up with” ?
Hi Tabitha. To repeat what Doug said, I hope you don’t feel ganged up on, or that your concerns are not being acknowledged. Many couples who read and contribute to this forum struggle with the stress and pain that comes from having mismatched sex drives. The pain exists for both parties; the higher drive partner feels frustrated that their needs are not being met, and the lower drive partner feels frustrated because they don’t understand why frequent sex is so important to their spouse. In my marriage I am the higher drive partner, and this mismatch caused us severe stress from day one. To make a long story short, it took many, many years of discussion and changes in our behaviors for us to get to a better place. I had to learn that my wife has ‘responsive desire’, and she had to learn that my desire for sex is related to both my physical and emotional needs. This is not a ‘one and done’ kind of thing. DW and I have nearly weekly discussions on how we can improve the sexual dimension of our marriage. Concrete actions that we have taken included finding ways to enable my DW to enjoy sex more reliably (giving here massages, back tickles, using a vibrator to help her orgasm), as well as adding ‘husband only’ sex play when she is not in the mood (hand jobs while showering together, taking baths together, naked cuddling in bed, etc.)
Although being friends with your spouse is important, sex is an integral part of marriage. I have lots of friends, both male and female, but there is an emotional and physical intimacy I have with my DW that is unique precisely because of the fact that as spouses we are bonded through the act of sex. It is through the marital act that our children come into the world. The foundation of family life then is (or should be) a healthy intimate life that provides mutual blessings for the spouses, and for their children.
Tabitha, if your husband is a normal male, he needs to feel loved and cherished by his bride, and for most men this includes sex that is likely more frequent than once a month.
Praying for you and your husband.