When it comes to physical intimacy, most husbands are enthusiastic participants. But statistics show that in about 20% of marriages, it is the wife who has the stronger sex drive. This unexpected role reversal can be agonizingly difficult for those who have to live with it.
It is no less frustrating for a wife to continually have her need for sexual intimacy marginalized or completely ignored than it is for a husband whose spouse is full of excuses.
A few such women have written to me looking for ways to help remedy this situation.
Unfortunately, there’s no simple solution, but the following few practical suggestions may help.
How to Handle a Disinterested Husband
Just remember: Dealing with a disinterested spouse requires love, understanding, and more than a little P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E.
P = Pray about it
Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment as you address any underlying problems that may be adversely affecting your husband’s desire for intimacy. God alone has the power to transform this area of your marriage into everything it was meant to be, so pray earnestly that He would do so.
A = Adjust his diet
Testosterone is the primary hormone that regulates a man’s sex drive, so you might add foods to his diet that are known to help raise testosterone levels (like salmon, avocados, and bananas) and limit foods that can interfere with testosterone production (such as fried foods, sugar and caffeine). Studies suggest that getting regular aerobic exercise can also improve testosterone levels, so consider taking a short walk around the block together while your food digests.
T = Turn in early
Schedule time earlier in the day to enjoy physical intimacy. Waiting until either or both of you are tired and exhausted is a sure recipe for frustration. Try setting time aside time before dinner, so that you are not contending with full stomachs, as well.
I = Initiate often
Pursue intimacy with your husband frequently, and try not to get your feelings hurt if/when he turns you down. This is especially important if you have consistently rejected his advances in the past. He may have developed a why-even-bother mentality and may require a little convincing that you really are serious about mending your ways.
E = Exercise good hygiene
Take care of your physical appearance. Men are visual creatures, and marriage does not alter that fact. Do your best to look your best: exercise, watch what you eat, bathe or shower regularly, style your hair, brush your teeth, dress in clean, well-fitting clothes. If your husband likes for you to wear a little makeup or perfume, then do that, as well.
N = Never belittle him
Nothing will kill a man’s sex drive faster than a nagging, disrespectful, or resentful wife. Treat him like a man, not like a child. Focus on his positive qualities and voice sincere appreciation for them. Take any negative qualities to the throne of grace and leave them there; God can do a much more effective job of improving your husband than you could ever hope to do yourself.
C = Consult a physician
Disinterest in sex is sometimes a symptom of disease or side-effect of medication. It can also be caused by “performance anxiety” — fear that things won’t work the way they are supposed to work — which often becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Encourage your husband to get a complete physical and to discuss this issue with his doctor.
E = Express non-sexual affection
You can receive many of the same oxytocin-producing benefits of sex through non-sexual touch. Hugs, kisses, hand-holding, and back-rubs aren’t a substitute, but are a great supplement until your husband is ready for more.
How to Handle a Disinterested Husband first appeared on Loving Life at Home. For more information on why cultivating an active sex life is a worthy goal for any wife, please read my book: Love Your Husband/ Love Yourself: Embracing God’s Purpose for Passion in Marriage.