How a Married Couple Can Handle Their Opposite Sex Drives

I hear from couples pretty often that they do not have the same drive as their spouse. Oftentimes, one is higher than the other- or at least it seems that way. Negotiating sex in your marriage is not an easy thing, whether you have the same drive or not.

I have a few tips for both the high drive and low drive spouses.

Is Your Drive Actually Opposite?

One thing that Austin and I dealt with in our marriage was a poor timing issue. It seemed to him that I had a lower desire for a number of years. What was really going on, is that I struggled to initiate and his timing wasn’t in sync with my desires.

We struggled in our sex life, because of poor communication. Rarely were we ever in the mood at the exact same time. Since I was the one that would ask for a rain check, I decided it was my responsibility to figure out how to initiate more- and that’s what I did.

It is possible that you and your spouse do not have opposite desires. You might be dealing with a timing issue or other miscommunication.

I’ve had people share with me that they would try to initiate with their spouse, only to be turned down. When they would talk to their spouse, their spouse would say that they didn’t know they were interested in sex.

Before you deem your spouse to have a low drive, figure out if you guys are simply intercommunicating with one another.

Do You Have a Different Sexual Response?

Also, you should consider whether or not you and your spouse have a different type of sexual response. If you get aroused when your spouse isn’t around or at the slightest thought or glance of them, then you likely have a spontaneous desire. You’re going to be more likely to get aroused when nothing is happening when it’s been a few days since you last had sex. And when you do have that feeling, you’re going to want it badly.

A spouse that has a responsive desire usually doesn’t feel aroused until heavy sexual things are happening. By that, I mean, halfway through sex or with direct stimulation. There have been studies on sexual response in men and women and the results have shown the women have a harder time detecting when they are aroused.

Why is that? Well, my personal guess (being that I’m a woman) is that they just have a harder time detecting that their vagina is swollen. And as far as wetness goes, it’s always wet down there so it’s not something a wife is going to pay a lot of attention to necessarily.

So if you are a wife that has a responsive desire, meaning you usually don’t get aroused until you’re in the middle of sex with your husband…you’ve got even more stacked against you because it’s hard to detect your own arousal. What should a husband do in this case? I would say he should point it out. It can be very sexy for a husband to tell his wife that she is swollen, hot, or wet. Consider using this language as part of your bedroom language to bring greater arousal to your spouse.

Sex in marriage is complicated because people are complicated and no two people are the same. Let’s not even mention that your body undergoes changes that keep you from experiencing sex the same way your entire life. I believe that God created sex to be this way so we never stop exploring it with our spouse. Honestly, how can you get bored when you have to switch up what works every couple of years?

For The Higher Drive Spouse

Those of you that have a high desire, I know it can be very frustrating to be turned down by your lover. I’ve known of higher libido people that feel bad about their desires and even pray for God to take the desires away. It can be very hard on them to not have this deep need met by the one person that can meet it.

Share Your Needs With Them

If you are in this position, I encourage you to never grow tired of trying to communicate your needs to your husband or wife. I know it hurts you to put yourself out there over and over and feel like you aren’t getting anywhere. Just like any issue in your marriage, though, you have to address it.

What I’m not suggesting is that you nag your spouse to death or whine that they never spend physical time with you. That will only make them dig their heels in more about it. Instead, go to them and ask them to help you solve this very sensitive problem that you have.

Give them time to work on making the changes needed to help you. This is not something they will fix overnight. It takes years and years to develop a satisfying love life.

Periodically, go back to your husband or wife and let them know about your needs if they haven’t made the changes you were hoping for. Always go into the conversation seeking their help with your problem. Accusing them of not doing what you want them to do will put them on the defense.

I know this is not the quick fix answer you are looking for but rarely do hard issues have easy solutions.

Ask Them How You Can Help Them Feel Ready

It is also important for you to go to your spouse and ask them how you can help them ready to get physical. Part of the problem may be that you aren’t giving them enough of a heads-up about your need.

Consider scheduling your time together. That may not seem like it is very romantic, but it can help a lower desire lover feel prepared if they know what the expectations are.  

If they tell you that part of the problem is that they are tired, then do what you can to work with them. As a couple, you should make life choices based on what’s best for your marriage.

For The Lower Drive Spouse

If you find that you are not in the mood very often, then you have some real growth to do in your marriage. It is not ok for you to deny your spouse sexual intimacy. The Bible tells us-

1 Corinthians 7:5 “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control”.

Work to Understand Why Your Libido is Low

Having a low libido has many causes, and often can be a combination of things. You may be dealing with shame from sexual abuse or promiscuity in your past. It is possible that you are completely exhausted or stressed, and it’s killed your desire.

Medications and hormones can also play a factor in low libido. Be sure to talk with your doctor about it. I know that isn’t the type of thing that you really want to discuss with someone, but it is to your advantage to find out what’s going on.

Other reasons that your desires are low could be resentment towards your spouse or unresolved issues. Being upset or angry with your husband or wife can keep you from wanting to be intimate.

It is possible that you feel they are being completely selfish because they haven’t stopped to consider your needs. You might be feeling they aren’t meeting your needs in some respect and you feel used when you are together.

Really think through why you are not desiring intimacy. This will help you to address your own issues and work towards increasing your libido.

Initiate Lovemaking

I know that this is the opposite of what you want to do, but you need to initiate more. This will show your loved one that you love them and want to be with them. It will also help you to mentally prepare yourself for lovemaking.

As a low-libido person, you will have to make conscious efforts to initiate. This will stretch you as a person and help you to be more in tune with meeting your lover’s needs.

Stop Saying No

Unless there is a real reason why you should say no, stop saying it. I’m not saying you can’t ever pass again, but make it few and far between. Do what is necessary to be more available to your lover.

The more you are intimate, the more you will want to have it. The less you are intimate, the less it will happen.

Additional Resources For Every Drive

I follow some great bloggers that have written about these topics. All of these people come from different points of view and have varying desire levels. I hope you will find something that will resonate with your particular circumstance.

Where did my sexy go?

Why you shouldn’t ask for God to take away your sex drive

3 things higher drives spouses long for 

Understanding your higher drive spouse

How do I deal with temptation if my spouse is a sexual refuser?

Sex with your spouse? Why not tonight? 

Wives who want more sex and aren’t getting it

Lack of Desire 

High drive, low drive, and perception trumping reality 

It is For Both of You

God made physical intimacy as a gift to those that are married. He didn’t put it into place so that one person can enjoy it while the other doesn’t. He created this activity to bring husband and wife closer together. I hope that you will find a way to embrace this gift you’ve been given. 

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3 Responses

  1. Hi Keelie, great post! This can be SO frustrating! I thought you had an interesting view on this. See, I would say that I (the wife) have the higher drive, but that might not be so. It’s just that I’m more willing to talk about it than he is. My husband can be very shy in this one area (I think his upbringing had a lot to do with this).
    And we are the king and queen of miscommunication. This happened just the other day. I’ll spare you the loooong story, but I have felt that I’ve been rejected over and over for years. But as we heal and grow, it seems like a lot of this was poor communication and bad timing.
    So the other night I was feeling very loving towards my husband. I worked very hard to get all of my chores done so I could go to bed when he did (he goes to bed early, gets up early). He seemed pleased about this. I rubbed his back, which he loves, for a long time, and I gave several signals. I thought I was being 150% clear. After quite a while, I realized he was more interested in sleep than in me (as usual) and so I rolled over to go to sleep. He said, “thank you for the massage” and I said “you’re welcome” and that was that. I was unhappy, but I didn’t complain. I thought about going out to the living room to pout, but I stayed in bed and prayed until I fell asleep. So it turned out okay.
    WELL, the next day we were talking and when I told him, “I REALLY wanted to be with you last night, so much” he was like, “What? You rolled over and went to sleep!” And I said “Because you weren’t the least bit interested!” And he said “I was very, very interested, but I thought you weren’t interested.” I told him “you said thanks for the massage – like that’s all you wanted and nothing more.” And he said “I just said that because I thought you just wanted to go to sleep.” Argh!!! Why didn’t he say something?? I know, I know, you’ll say why didn’t I say something, but it’s because we went through a couple rough years where he did reject me and I am still terrified of being rejected again. So I hint but I don’t outright say. Miscommunication stinks!!
    Then the next day he came on to me and I went along with it even though I really wasn’t interested because I had to finish dinner and leave to drive a carpool all in less than an hour, and I wasn’t really in a relaxing sexy mood. But I didn’t turn him down because I hate being turned down, and because he comes on to me so rarely, that I have to take his advances on the rare occasions that I get them. I knew I wouldn’t enjoy it, but I let him go ahead because I love him and I don’t want him to feel rejected. But then he felt badly that I didn’t really enjoy it, but how could I while I was already racing the clock?
    So we did talk and we are realizing that we need to communicate much better. What he also doesn’t realize is these quick events, he will feel satisfied and be good for a couple days. I, on the other hand, just get warmed up, and then have to walk around “warmed up” for DAYS until he decides he is in the mood again. It stinks!
    I know I sound like I’m complaining, but I’m actually happy. I’m happy that my husband and I are finally talking about this and starting to understand each other. It’s only taken 20 years!
    I recently turned 40 and part of me feels like my time for a good sex life has passed, but maybe not. Maybe there’s still time. 🙂

    1. Communication is a real issue with couples and sex. One will feel they are giving all of the signals and the other acts disinterested. This has happened again and again with Austin and I. So…we put a stop to it. We stopped beating around the bush and we just come right out and ask, “Can we have sex?”. I know that seems bold, but it is so much better to use plain language and not miss the opportunity. I completely get where you are coming from with quickies not satisfying you and making it ok for him for days. That was a problem I have dealt with a lot. My husband and I work hard to make sure that we always have the time to make our time of sex great for both of us. Since we have made such a concerted effort, it doesn’t take me as long as it used to. The more your orgasm, the easier it makes it for you…at least that is my experience.

      I know how hard it is to get in a sexy mood right away. Sometimes, my husband comes to me and I’m not ready, but I want to be with him. here is a post that I wrote of things I do to get in the mood quick fast and in a hurry.

      I think that sometimes, a spouse will think that the one refusing has a low sex drive. My husband thought that about me. I never full out refused, I just asked if we could take the time the next day to do it. Mostly, I did that because I was exhausted or felt sick, and knew it wouldn’t be fun for me, but that he would feel satisfied for days. Since I struggled to initiate, I didn’t have the ability to come back to him the next day when I would need it. So, that was us in a nutshell. I had to learn to initiate, which I realize you have already done. However, your spouse may need to get better at initiating, and it can make you feel he has a low sex drive. He may not have a low sex drive, he may just not have the ability to communicate his needs to you. If he doesn’t refuse you as much as he once did, then maybe you should put yourself out there more. Have a lot of conversations about it over and over. Eventually, something may click for him.

      I don’t think that your time for a good sex life has passed. More often then not, a couple’s sex life only grows over the years as they learn each other. That does require a lot of communication though. It sounds like you guys struggle in that area. So, maybe your tactics of communication need to change. Maybe writing out your thoughts will help him. Maybe he can write out his thoughts to you, and that may help him. It could be that you guys need some questions to prompt your discussion, which is why I have put together sexy truth or dare posts. The truths are conversation starters that get you talking about what you like with sex.

      Keep working on it! There is always hope and redemption in relationships.

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