The Sexual Needs/Desire Conversation

    My wife and I are not perfect, and we have our struggles (some days more than others), but we do have the opportunity to lead discipleship based marriage groups on a regular basis.  Around the topic of intimacy, the one thing we always bring up is this:  This needs to be talked about, openly and honestly, among husband and wife more than it is.  And the conversation needs to be a conversation, not an argument (i.e. when some type of request or advance is rejected, probably not a good time to dive into the discussion).

    So it made me think?  I’ll ask the question, and then I’ll give my answer for myself.

    1.  When is the last time you had the sexual desire conversation with your spouse?

      Honestly, for us, it has been a while.  We have both expressed small things we want at certain times or while in the moment, but we’re due to sit down and have the larger sex talk.

    2. The last time you had this talk, how did it go?

      For us, not well, because it was during an argument (which is why we say this conversation needs to be a set talk, not something brought up in a fight).

    3. Since the last time you had the talk, have any of your desires changed?

      No.  I still want to have certain things done.

    4. Since the last time you had the talk, have you made an active attempt at meeting your spouses desires?

      My wife is fairly to herself about sex.  Getting her to talk about what she likes and does not like is like extracting a tooth from an alligator.  She is a busy woman and probably does not think that much about sex other than when we’re about to engage in it or when we’re on a trip.  Honestly, for a while, I was trying really hard at the one thing she mentioned.  I have let it slide quite a bit, partly because of time, and mostly because of things get a bit one-sided for us.

    5. Since the last time you had the talk, has your house made an active attempt at meeting your desires?

      No.  And although she does not talk about it, I know she knows it.  Just nothing changes.  This is one of our only hang-ups we ever have in our relationship.

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    10 Answer(s)

      I really want to have this talk again soon with my husband. Maybe this time it will be better.

      When is the last time you had the sexual desire conversation with your spouse?

      It’s been a while, maybe a year.

      The last time you had this talk, how did it go?

      Not good. He is HD and I am not, although I really enjoy sex and think about it a lot. When we have these talks, all I hear is that I’m not good enough. I take it very personally. He wants to feel desired by me, he wants me to initate more, he wants me to be more creative in the bedroom. We have sex at least once a week, AS is in our repertoire (although not very often) as well as roleplay and light S&M. So when he expresses his sexual frustrations I don’t even know where to start. I feel like he doesn’t want me, he wants me to be someone else. And I have such a strong desire to please him that I feel a lot of guilt. And these conversations zap my confidence so then my desire for sex plummets.

      Since the last time you had the talk, have any of your desires changed?

      The only thing that might have changed is that I think he could do more to spark some sexual chemistry between us outside of the bedroom. Maybe it would feel more natural for me initiate more often then. He would probably say the same of me except that he might not need to it get him going like I think I do. Aside from that, no. I think he is fantastic in bed.

      Since the last time you had the talk, have you made an active attempt at meeting your spouses desires?

      Yes! I joined the TMB forum for one. I feel like he’s a puzzle that I really want to figure out. After getting mad and feeling rejected I came to the conclusion that sex is something different to him than it is to me. I’m still trying to understand that though. I think I have initiated more but it hasn’t been much more. I don’t know why but it just makes me really uncomfortable. I do spend more time trying to understand him. I’m not sure I get points for that…

      Since the last time you had the talk, has your spouse made an active attempt at meeting your desires?

      Since the talk wasn’t about what I wanted, it was about what he wanted, I’d instead say that his response seems to have been to back off of his demands. I sometimes get a vibe from him that he has tried to die to his desires in order to not be selfish or overly demanding of me. But I’m not sure I’m totally happy with that. I don’t like the idea of him quietly wishing for more our entire lives.

      Queen bed Answered on November 21, 2019.

      Thanks for sharing HisGirl. Nice to see openness/vulnerability from a new member. Also love hearing from a LD wife! Don’t be so sure you’re as LD as you think…are you familiar with how responsive desire works?

      -Scott

      on November 21, 2019.

      I’m glad to hear that, I figure if I’m open then I’m helping not only myself but all of the men out there wondering what is going on in their wives heads 🙂 Where can I learn more about responsive desire?

      on November 21, 2019.

      Tons of places, but you can start with this recent thread:

      Great explanation on Responsive Desire & Spontaneous Desire that helped us understand ourselves.

      Also, I see that you’re a mom of 3. If you delivered or were still breastfeeding within the last 18 (or even 24) months, that could be interfering with your libido. Just a thought.

      on November 21, 2019.

      Just started reading some of this and it is already so helpful. You might have just changed my marriage, Scott! My kids are older but it was thoughtful of you to bring up.

      on November 21, 2019.

      Glad to help. Learning about responsive desire was a godsend for us. We were just starting to figure out pieces on our own, after 12 years of marriage, when I read it and said BINGO. Will try to write more later…

      on November 21, 2019.

      I’ll definitely want to share this info with my DH too. I have a feeling it will be the same situation for us 🙂

      on November 21, 2019.

      Once I explained it to Zelda (my DW), she agreed in so many ways (and I think she was surprised she wasn’t broken). Movies/books/etc just don’t represent what a significant portion, even a majority, of women experience as their main path to arousal. It was like the Twilight Zone for me, reading phrases like “Want to want to”, which was word-for-word what Zelda had said to me! Let me know if you want more resources on responsive desire…just short on time now but could pull them together. Others can help too I’m sure. I call it “drinking from the fire hose”.

      -Scott

      on November 22, 2019.

      Thanks, Scott! I’ll let you know if I’d like more resources but the thread you shared gives me plenty for now. Such a relief to know that there is nothing wrong with me. Or him, because that thought had crossed my mind too

      on November 22, 2019.
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        When is the last time you had the sexual desire conversation with your spouse?

        Last night, mainly about those “turn on triggers”.

         

        The last time you had this talk, how did it go?

        Fine.

         

        Since the last time you had the talk, have any of your desires changed?

        A desire to understand things better and to find a balance. 🙂

         

        Since the last time you had the talk, have you made an active attempt at meeting your spouses desires?

        No, there hasn’t been much time between midnight and him scooting off to work.

         

        Since the last time you had the talk, has your [spouse] made an active attempt at meeting your desires?

        If you call trying to playfully wrestle me (as a cat trapping a mouse) to try to have sex a second time, because the talk turned him on, yes.  Laughing was the best part!

         

         

        **ETA:  if I missed the mark of what you are talking about with “desire”, let me know and I can answer it as you intended.

         
        Under the stars Answered on November 21, 2019.

        “If you call trying to playfully wrestle me (as a cat trapping a mouse) to try to have sex a second time, because the talk turned him on.  Laughing was the best part!”

        😆 You know, maybe he should lower the dosage on that TRT. Kidding, mostly. As a teenager, most men (including myself) would dream of having that kind of drive, but I’m very glad I don’t at this point!

        on November 21, 2019.

        He actually gave blood two days ago and has his dr appt the beginning of next week….. we’ll find out what those #’s are like.  🙂   But, I realize that the likelihood is that these #’s are his optimal #’s for him in life (because testosterone doesn’t just affect sexual function, it affects motivation, clear/foggy thinking, energy levels, etc.)  He has always had a high drive, even among the comparison of other men.

        on November 21, 2019.

        @Seeking – I’m fairly young to be on TRT, and I’m still trying to find out what “optimal” means to me.  I recently switched my provider to someone else who takes a different approach than what the previous clinic did.  I’m hoping to get to a more optimal state with my own TRT.  Recently I’ve felt anything but optimal and have a request into the provider about it.  It is good he has found what works for him!  Hopefully he can maintain that.

        on November 21, 2019.

        How old are you?

        My husband was early 40’s.  I personally know others who were in their early 30’s, and I have heard of some in their 20’s.  I don’t think we can really go off of age.  But, the younger you are and your T numbers fall in the lower part of “normal”, you are low and you will have trouble with any insurance-driven practice treating you like they should.  There are a couple of guys who have been a part of here that could really talk #s with you and give you advice if you desired…. I can point you to them if you ever wish.   Excelmale.com is a place to get more information as well.  It’s wise to be informed yourself before going into any doctor’s office.  Because I was informed (more than my husband), just by a few answers and comments from one doctor, I immediately knew he didn’t know what he was talking about or doing in the realm of HRT.

        on November 21, 2019.

        Also, @Seeking, desire being what you want sexually.  For instance, you may like a lot more foreplay, or oral, or even just passion.  It’s a broad term, yes, but really just boils down to the things about sex you really enjoy and want or want more of.

        on November 21, 2019.

        @Seeking I am 39 now.  I think I was 35 when I first was tested and came in the low range.  That clinic used to be really good about focusing on what the patient was saying and I had success with them early on.  But as time progressed, they listened less, the lessened their services (i.e. having a PA/Dr regularly meet with us), and stop listening to me when I told them I was experiencing signs of low T.  When I left, I had a 300 point drop in total T and a large drop in free T as well.

        The new clinic I’m using believes in taking men more towards the high side of the numbers.  I know the doctor outside of the practice.  He knows the safe ranges and what to look for.  I’ve only been using them for around 6 weeks now but still having low T feeling issues, even with a change in dosage protocol.  I have a request into the clinic to see if something should change and hope to hear back from them a bit later today.

         

        on November 21, 2019.

        I pray it all goes well for you. It’s been over 1.5 years and my husband is still getting his hormones fine-tuned.

        on November 21, 2019.
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          When is the last time you had the sexual desire conversation with your spouse?
          It’s been a while since we had a full blown discussion, but we touch on our desire differences occasionally.

          The last time you had this talk, how did it go?
          It was okay. She is a perfectionist in many areas and the fact we were having to talk about it told her I was not totally happy/satisfied. This leads to her feeling like she’s not enough for me. We’ve had the big talk a handful of times so they are not as threatening now.

          Since the last time you had the talk, have any of your desires changed?
          Yes, I’ve discovered it takes much more than just quantity to feel fulfilled in this area. I want her to be able to express her desires and fantasies. I want her to share what she wants on occasion. One person being in charge all the time does not foster intimacy to me. She is clearly responsive only, low drive, and maybe a bit submissive so this is a bit tough for me to digest.

          Since the last time you had the talk, have you made an active attempt at meeting your spouses desires?
          Part of our problem is my wife won’t admit to having any desires other than wanting me to be happy. She has stated for me just to do what I want whenever I want to her. I guess that’s a dominant’s dream. 🙂 But I have trouble letting go of the desire to feel wanted.

          Since the last time you had the talk, has your house made an active attempt at meeting your desires?
          Yes, she has absolutely made it a point to either make herself available or initiate(in a very subtle, non sexual way) two or three times a week.

          Fell out of ... Answered on November 21, 2019.
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            I try to engage in this conversation every couple of months. It never goes well. He always just says he likes “everything.” From restaurant choices to sex. This is what happens when an abusive father trains you that your opinion doesn’t matter. And I unfortunately contributed to that in the first half of my marriage. I’ll probably pay for that for years to come. I’m trying very hard to get him to feel safe enough to be open.

            Blanket on a secluded beach! Answered on November 21, 2019.

            Thanks for your openness on the “opinion doesn’t matter” aspect. Wish more people would talk about that.

            on November 22, 2019.
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              This talk never goes well in our house…I bring it up, she says she knows she needs to work on it, but doesn’t…so I just don’t bring it up. If we have sex, we do…but I have lowered my expectations to just meet her needs and serve her.

              On the floor Answered on November 21, 2019.

              You must be married to my wife’s twin. She always says, I know I need to work on it, then it is forgotten with a day. I had to lower my expectations way down years ago or live in constant disappointment.

              on November 23, 2019.
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                When is the last time you had the sexual desire conversation with your spouse?

                We’ve had fragments of this conversation over the years, the last one was probably a few months ago.

                The last time you had this talk, how did it go?

                We’ve had so many arguments about this that I tiptoe extremely gently when it comes up, and I don’t intentionally start the conversation. I’ve learned that my desires (not just in the sexual arena) just cause Wifey more stress and anxiety. Having the conversation just makes the unfulfilled desires hurt worse.

                Since the last time you had the talk, have any of your desires changed?

                Nope. I think I could probably express them better and why I desire certain things.

                Since the last time you had the talk, have you made an active attempt at meeting your spouses desires?

                Wifey’s answer is always the same. “Hit me over the head so I can get my brain to shut up”.

                Since the last time you had the talk, has your spouse made an active attempt at meeting your desires?

                She always says she’s trying. She doesn’t outright refuse sex or sexual advances, but she doesn’t always respond clearly about them either. So I’m left with the choice to drop it, or push for a real answer that can make me feel like I’m railroading her. As far as an active and intentional pursuit, that’s on the list of unfulfilled desires.

                Fell out of ... Answered on November 22, 2019.
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                  When is the last time you had the sexual desire conversation with your spouse?

                  Today.  And two weeks ago.  And a month ago.  It’s something we often discuss–or at least visit, even if not discussed.

                  The last time you had this talk, how did it go?

                  It went well.  My wife is very interested in what I think, even though I think it intimidates her sometimes; she is not always sure she can keep up with me or “meet” my needs and desire.  On the other side, I listened to her carefully, too, understanding her sense of self, capacity, and desire.  There have been some of these conversations, over the years, that have not gone well, in which one (or both) of us retreated and became silent.  But, in recent years, this ongoing conversation has been much more healthy.

                  Since the last time you had the talk, have any of your desires changed?

                  My desires have not changed.  I am still game (and wanting to try) just about anything that can be imagined in a monogamous relationship and as often as I can get (and give) it.

                  Since the last time you had the talk, have you made an active attempt at meeting your spouses desires?

                  Yes.  Mostly in the sense of holding back to protect her from feeling pressured or “guilty” for not being up for more.  She has never asked for anything sexual I was not willing to deliver, including sex less often.  My biggest challenge is offering non-sexual touch, embrace, and affection day-by-day, especially if I believe sex is off the table for that day–or days; this is on me and I am working to be more intentional about proving my love with touch apart from sexual opportunity.

                  Since the last time you had the talk, has your spouse made an active attempt at meeting your desires?

                  Yes.  She absolutely has been very intentional about increasing the frequency and variety of our sexual encounters.  We both feel good about this and are in a healthy place.  However, there are some sexual acts she is very reluctant to tackle, things we both believe are normal and appropriate, but that she has trouble facing–and understandably so, given some of her experience before we were married.  She has made huge strides, though, in the last couple of years, for which we are both thankful.

                  Cot Answered on November 23, 2019.
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                    Last time? Yesterday. We talk about it regularly. What we enjoyed…why…what we’d like to try, etc. How toe-curling that was. Most conversations come out of a previous experience, but some come from when one of us is desiring something or a change and bring it up.

                    How’d it go? Great. It just cemented our relationship and I heard her reiterate something she’s said before, but it felt new.  The conversation started from me saying something about her generosity the previous day’s encounter, a quickie for stress to start the day (vs the LM session yesterday morning).

                    CHANGES?  There’s something I’m thinking about bringing up as an idea. It’ll take some conversations about why.

                    LAST TIME ME?  Yes, if she asks for something, I will do everything in my power to do so.

                    HER? Yes, she always tries as well.

                     

                    We we worked hard on our convo skills before marriage, avoiding sexually touching and activities before marriage, and as a 2nd marriage, talked about sexpectations before marriage, some while dating since we came from marriages with nothing or gatekeepers. Sexual conversations are a normal part of our marriage.

                    Under the stars Answered on November 23, 2019.
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                      Since we both started participating here regularly we sort of have one big ongoing conversation about all things sexual. We just have to pause it when he’s at work and/or when DD is around and pick it up again once she goes to bed. Our conversation is much more easy I don’t have to worry as much that by expressing something I need or want I am saying, “You are a bad lover.” I do feel like my desires are kind of fluid lately, but not necessarily in response to anything we have discussed about our mutual desires. He probably cannot see much effort I have made at meeting his desires; I’m doing the best I can right now. He has responded sweetly and warmly and lovingly to my wish for more pre-sexual affection and non-sexual touching.  We’ve been in “couple’s project” mode lately, so have been growing our non-sexual intimacy through latex paint. 😉

                      Under the stars Answered on November 23, 2019.
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                        When is the last time you had the sexual desire conversation with your spouse?

                        A year ago, it was our first after 25 years of marriage. Our first talk about sex period.

                        The last time you had this talk, how did it go?

                        I listed a few of what I considered “lighter” things I desired. Got a hard no on one and the conversation ended.

                        Since the last time you had the talk, have any of your desires changed?

                        No.

                        Since the last time you had the talk, have you made an active attempt at meeting your spouse’s desires?

                        I am always asking for any desires he may have. His are always very general/usual in my opinion. Lingerie, dances, etc. However, I always make good on them as soon as I’m able.

                        Since the last time you had the talk, has your spouse made an active attempt at meeting your desires?

                        No.   After six months I brought it up again, he stated he didn’t remember what I said. I repeated the ones that weren’t the hard no, Same thing three months later. I stated then I would not be voicing them again.

                        King bed Answered on November 26, 2019.
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