Newly married older couple with bedroom struggles
While the dynamics of every marital sex problem are different, one of the few generalizations that can be made is each spouse has to really listen to what the other spouse is saying about the sexual dimension of the marriage. I think if you are the ‘satisfied’ spouse, it can be difficult to hear and/or believe there are sexual issues that need to be addressed because the sexually content spouse does not feel the urgency or desire experienced by the higher drive spouse. So, the first thing that has to happen is the low drive spouse has to become aware what the higher drive spouse is feeling, even if they can’t ‘feel’ the level of sexual desire the higher drive spouse feels. This will require lots of patient communication.
In my marriage, I am the higher drive spouse and I can tell you it took many, many difficult conversations before my DW understood how different I am from her when it comes to my level of sexual desire. One of the things that I told her that I think helped is that a marriage is founded on the act of sexual intimacy. It is not simply a friendship but is at its core a one-flesh union of two people. When people think about weddings, they often imagine people wearing fancy clothes, cute kids carrying rings and dispensing flowers, eating a nice meal, dancing, etc. But the REAL center piece of the wedding is the couple and more specifically, the fact that they have committed to having sex exclusively with each other for the rest of their lives for the purpose of bonding them as a couple. This point may be obvious to the higher drive spouse, but may not be to the lower drive spouse.
Once the lower drive spouse fully appreciates how the higher drive spouse desires him/her, both spouses have to be committed to a mutually acceptable plan to deal with the mismatch. This also requires lots of communication, time, patience, etc. The details of the solution are likely to be different for each couple who struggles with this problem. In the case of our marriage, we have scheduled PIV sex encounter at least once a week (usually on Saturday morning), and then have one or two other kinds of encounters during the week depending on how we feel, how busy we are, etc. Also, we continue to communicate on this issue frequently. We are always making sure that we are each getting the physical attention we need. One thing I have had to be better about is non-sexual touching. like holding hands when we watch TV or take a walk. The point is, that every marriage will have conflict points that will likely need frequent addressing.
I will add one more thing that you probably already appreciate. You need to convince your husband to take what steps he can to improve his diet and incorporate exercise into his daily activities. This will not only improve his general state of health, but as you know will likely help him perform better during sex.
There is always hope! I like what Olorin said. Communication is going to be important and is something you want to develop not only to improve this, but all aspects of your marriage. Stress is a destroyer of erections/ejaculations so do what you can to be mindful of things that will bring stress into things. Twice a week may be what his body is up to, but that doesn’t mean that that is the only way you can be taken care of. Obviously improving his health and exercise should be a goal, but that is no guarantee to change his clock to be any faster than twice a week although it probably will improve quality. It may increase drive as well, but it may not. Does he go to a yearly physical? They will probably check his testosterone and this may also be something to look at. Maybe ask him if you could have a “just for you” night where he doesn’t have any pressure to perform, but you find other things to do sexually such as manual stimulation or using a vibrator. This may take the pressure off of him. Mismatched drives in marriage is a very common struggle, and it is better if he sees the situation that way instead of seeing the problem as a failure where he can’t keep up. Even better is if he has an attitude of “I want to please my wife in this area” and I’ll find ways to accomplish that even if my body isn’t cooperating as well as I would like. When you say that he is loving, attentive, and intuitive generally, it makes me think that he probably wants to find a solution, but is frustrated with where he is physically. 1 Cor 7 teaches sexual responsibility and he should make his body available to you, but that doesn’t guarantee performance. I think there are a lot a ways a man can please his wife physically even if they have some physical issues.
DCG. Yes, there is hope. Yes, things can change. It will take some work and effort on both your parts. You are newlyweds and there is an age difference. It sounds like some significant conversations need to be had about sexpectations and desires. What are you dreams? What happened to his dreams and comments about every day? What are the hurts, feelings and disappointments you have with your sex life together.
It seems like you need to have some conversations about how you need more. Maybe you are truly the higher drive spouse and that’s ok. If you want more, he needs to be available and figure out ways to pleasure and stimulate you, even if he doesn’t want or can’t maintain an erection or orgasm. It’s about serving each other…and conversations need to happen to figure out what’s going on and why. How about reading some books together on the subject? Listening to a podcast like SEXY MARRIAGE RADIO or THE NAKED MARRIAGE together (or separately) and discuss the content together? This way the authors do the “heavy lifting” and you ask each other about how things feel/sound?
DW & I have been married for nearly three years and there is a 11.5 yr difference between us so I do understand the age thing because I’m a little older than your husband is. Sometimes things aren’t like they were when I was younger but we engage in play for the benefit and desire for both of us, even when one of us isn’t too excited or interested because it’s about serving the other, that’s what marriage is.
The honeymoon is over and the reality of marriage has set in. The differences between your physical/phycho sexual histories/beliefs and practices have begun to clash and likely other areas within your marriage as well. Welcome to marriage. Believe it or not, much of this is normal and requires your unified growth to produce fruit that you both will enjoy. This area of the sexual union is your hot button and it seems not his. Have you asked yourself what are his hot buttons that are not yours? Are not these conflicts the little foxes that spoil the vines of your marital garden, (Song 2:15)?
A modified business model applicable here would be to Plan, Implement a program, Evaluate, Revise the plan and adjust the program as needed.
Plan – read and educate yourself on the situation. Pray for wisdom, direction, guidance and most of all the will of the Lord to be revealed in your marriage. Add to that seminars and/or an education program.
I will stop there with the view that there is hope, but like the rest of marriage it takes work.
For starters, two encouraging comments. First, this is not abnormal. Every couple goes through periods that you’re going through. (My DW laughs today that our first year of marriage all we fought about was sex, and often my issues in having it.) Second – God, who is the satisfaction of all our hearts desires, is bigger than marriage or bedroom issues. So, we will lift your marriage up in prayer, and I would encourage you to do the same. It’s going to sound strange, but pray for your sex life. (Pray during sex – I’ve done it many times.)
One thing – without getting too graphic, I had some similar problems to your husband because, after years of masturbation, sex simply felt different and my body had to have time to adjust to what should have felt “normal.” This caused issues in my marriage, as I would be unable to reach O and my wife, who had a strong desire that first year, felt like she couldn’t please me. Which added stress to me, which only compounded the issue. I actually started getting nervous or anxious when my wife would initiate and would sometimes try to push it off, which sounds crazy now. After prayer, quitting masturbating, and being very open and honest with each other, we were able to transition to life together, and our sex life significantly improved. Like most things, sex life isn’t always as easy as the movies say it is. However, that’s part of the learning and loving your spouse where they’re at, and not where you think they should be. Praying for you both.
DCG, welcome to TMB. Thanks for sharing so frankly about your difficult situation. My heart goes out to you. I will be praying for you – especially when I eat dark chocolate! lol!
I would say that there is hope. No, you can’t turn back the clock to younger years. 🙁 But, you can work on increasing his health and stamina. And addressing his sleep apnea was a good start.
It probably would be good to find a Christian therapist who can help you. You both need this – him to grow in his understanding of his issues and also in how to meet your needs. You to deal with the disappointment and frustration and to have hope to work for a better future marriage bed!
If he hasn’t yet, he must get a physical and have his hormone levels checked.
I agree that it may feel like he is getting into the wrong grove already – only after one year. Yet, for you to be proactive after one year means you haven’t waited too long.
Keep on working on your relationship with each other. You won’t be able to address marriage bed issues without having a growing relationship.
Also, what part is Jesus playing in this? I didn’t read anything about your or his faith. Can you share a bit about that?
First, a question: Did you engage in pre-marital counseling with an experience Christian professional?
Second, a thought: There is a condition known as HSSD (https://www.healthline.com/health/inhibited-sexual-desire) that arises from stressors. It may be that your DH is struggling to fulfill his and your expectations for sexual intimacy.
Third, an important consideration: Although we can be encouraging on TMB, you could do research to attempt to self-diagnose (not always the best thing to do), you and your DH could work at sorting the situation out, etc., seeking the counsel of a trusted counselor is essential.
We pray that you may soon experience fulfilling, satisfying, and exciting sexual intimacy.
I agree with Olorin in that a frank, loving and patient discussion should ensue, this area of marriage is like every other = communication, and we often just expect that the sexual desire/satisfaction/urge will take care of itself.
You’ll have to find a way to discern how and when he will accept a loving discussion from you and that you feel neglected in this area and your needs aren’t being met. I would caution that although he absolutely needs to hear this and adjust (your needs) that a man suffering with ED is very fragile indeed but that he needs to be reassured that many many men go through this and it has nothing to do with your love and concern for him. Maybe he needs to know that there are OTHER ways to satisfy the marriage bed, some people just do not even know that, i certainly did not know before i came to TMB forum. Education is the key and hopefully the spouse is willing.
I would STRONGLY suggest a physical, i would find a way to lovingly insist upon it and especially have his TESTOSTERONE levels checked. Men absolutely go through “man” opause, tell him that. Let him read up on the benefits of TRT and how it can help his body in every way. A great forum for that that has helped my husband immensely is Exel Male Forum. And to keep pursuing his CPAP therapy. Also get his FREE T3 and T4 (thyroid) levels checked. All of this can be overwhelming and time consuming but it is worth it.
Find out what his “love language” is. I think there are basically 5. It’s all in the way you approach and talk to him and pray that the Lord opens his heart and his ears.
DCGirl..so sorry to hear of your early marriage problems. My thots and prayers go out to you. Many of us have experienced similar issue during our marriages. There is sound advice in many of the responses. I too recommend prayer to seek a change in your husband to be attentive to your needs. You may want to consider pastoral counseling.
I would also suggest that your husband see a doctor about the ED and also a test for hormone levels. He may be reluctant to discuss this but it could be a cause. I am older than your husband by a good 15 years and I experienced similar issues in my late 40’s. Seeing the doctor helped.
Maybe one night when he does want sex, and is favorably disposed toward the idea of having lots and lots of sex because he wants it right then, you could see if he’d make a deal if he’d just give you free access to his parts to try to get him in the mood when he isn’t. Get his permission to stroke him in his sleep or touch him on nights he isn’t interested. Don’t argue if he’s not in the mood so he won’t change his mind. Just touch him all over and in his private areas. He might change his mind sometimes.
Penis rings might be a good idea. There are cheaps ones that aren’t adjustable, too.
If he is overweight, regular exercise might help.