I want and need more sex than my husband in our marriage. It’s a lonely struggle. I’ve heard men want sex all the time, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with my husband. He only wants sex once a week or every few weeks. I’m struggling to understand what’s going on or what I should do.
I get asked this question often in my practice – you are not alone! It’s probably not shocking to read that 40 to 50% of women struggle with low sexual desire, but did you know that 20 to 25% of men struggle as well?
One of the best-kept secrets among married couples is that some men suffer from low libido, which leads me to believe the percentage of men who struggle could actually be higher than 25%. If couples aren’t talking about it, how can researchers document it?
Here are some tips to help you move forward if this is an issue in your marriage.
Stop buying in to the myths.
Not all men want sex all the time, and not all women are pulling the old “I’ve got a headache” routine. The truth is some men want less and some women want more. Avoid stereotypes and become an expert on the unique design of your marriage.
Social norms are not normal.
Social norms drive conversations. It is socially acceptable to discuss low female libido; it is not as acceptable to talk about men’s. Just because no one is talking about something doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Low sexual desire is a common complaint among couples. You are not alone, and you are certainly not abnormal.
Sex is meant to be enjoyed.
Some women are uncomfortable with their need for intimacy. There is no shame in desiring your husband. Longing and pleasure is part of God’s design.
It’s not about you.
The first response for most women is to second-guess or blame themselves for their husband’s low sex drive. The impact of low desire is significant to the health of a marriage, but most of the time the problem has nothing to do you. In fact, most sexual dysfunctions have very little to do with sex.
Men and women struggle for the same reasons.
Fatigue, anxiety, anger, shame, trauma, poor diet, poor theology, poor body image, poor hygiene, relationships problems, pornography addiction, side effects to medication, and hormone imbalance are just a few of the variables impacting sex drive.
Stay clear of the complainers.
People complain . . . a lot, and the complaint of one person is someone else’s deepest longing. Murphy’s Law for complainers suggests complainers will inevitably whine to the one who longs the most:
- The woman who is tired of being pregnant will complain to the woman who suffers from infertility.
- The woman who wears a size two will complain about her three ounce food baby to the woman who has just started her weight loss journey.
- The woman who feels like sex belongs on her chore list will complain to the woman whose husband hasn’t touched her in two weeks.
You’ll see this happen in the comments when this article goes live on social media. There will be several women who are thankful for the conversation, and there will be the complainers who are insensitive and shaming. Don’t read those comments! Complainers only add to the pain you are experiencing, so avoid them.
Avoid shaming and manipulative comments.
In the same way women are not motivated by shame or manipulation to have more sex, men aren’t either. Comments like, “You’re a man, you’re supposed to want to have sex,” or “Why can’t you be more like Kelly’s husband?” will increase distance in the marriage.
Viagra does not increase libido.
Viagra improves erectile functioning, not sexual desire. However, having your husband’s testosterone and dopamine levels checked could be effective.
How much is enough?
I am going to be talking about this question in great detail in the next few weeks, so hang tight. In the meantime, take this list of questions and think about what you need. Then talk them through with your spouse to help understand how to best see and know each other in the bedroom.
- Talk about your favorite intimate memory with your spouse. What was your favorite sexual encounter as a couple? (Sometimes remembering your story can lead to increased closeness.)
- Our life looks completely different than it did before we had kids, jobs, the mortgage, etc. What do you miss most about us?
- I feel like we are in a sexual rut. How can we make intimacy feel like it is more of a priority? (This is a great time to talk about sexual and non-sexual relational needs.)
Consider talking to a counselor.
A good counselor can help you find hope and healing in your sex life. It can feel awkward to talk about sex, but I know in my own practice it’s never awkward to help a couple restore intimacy in their marriage.
I want to give a huge shout out to the woman who bravely started this conversation. One in five marriages are glad you took the risk and asked the question. Keep your questions coming to firstname.lastname@example.org! Women helping women through honest conversations brings community and hope to us all.
Tasha Levert, Ph.D., is a licensed professional counselor in New Orleans who provides face-to-face and online care. She is a conference speaker, worship leader and the author of Stories of Hope for the Sleep Deprived. Tasha and her husband Tim (Pastor with Students at the Vineyard Church of New Orleans) have three beautiful daughters and a lazy schnauzer named Gumbo. To find out more about Tasha or her practice go to