Transcript below from Marriage Steps Podcast Episode 18 on the "Top Ten Ways To Avoid the Sex Starved Marriage"
Today I'm going to talk about ten ways to avoid a sex starved marriage that so many couples find themselves in. The majority of marriages, as I'm sure you know, have a high and low libido partner. Sex drive is connected to levels of testosterone and since women typically have much lower levels than men their libido tends to be lower too. When a couple is first dating and married the newness boosts the female's sex drive to roughly the same as the man's but that falls off after around 18 months. However, the husband's libido stays consistent and this difference in sexual desire is the cause of many problems in marriage. Around 10-20% of marriages have a role reversal where the wife has the higher libido so if that's you just reverse my advice throughout the article.
The top need for most women is emotional closeness and they need that before being open to sexual contact. However, most men need to feel sexually close before being open to emotional connection. The perfect standoff! A lot of women will say, "I can't be sexual with you because my emotional needs aren't met" and a lot of men will say "I can't be emotionally close because my sexual needs aren't met." Who's going to fill up each other's bucket first? Usually, neither does and it creates a spirit of scarcity in the marriage. Instead, we want to move towards a spirit of generosity where both partner's strive to out give one another's top needs. Imagine if couples immersed themselves in that mentality? I'm going to out-give you in the area you desire most. Generosity is contagious!
Now, there's a couple of options for couples in a scarcity standoff where neither of their top needs are being met. One option is for the husband to take initiative by flooding the marriage with emotional closeness for 30 days. During this time, lavish your wife with anything and everything that will make her feel emotionally cared for, cherished, and close with you. Most likely, this is how you behaved when you were dating or first married. As long as there's no sexual trauma history for her, this emotional flood will open your wife up sexually towards you. The other option is for the wife to take initiative by flooding the marriage for 30 days sexually. During this time, lavish your husband with anything and everything sexually you know your husband would enjoy. Most likely, this is also how you behaved when you were first dating or married. As long as there's no emotional trauma history for him, this sexual flood will open him up towards you emotionally.
A third option is both of you start taking steps towards one other, even if your bucket is low. I hate it when I hear a spouse say, "I can't fill up your bucket because mine is low." What I want to hear them say is "my bucket's low, but I'm still willing to take a step or two towards filling yours because that's the right thing to do" Obviously when our buckets are low it's harder to fill up our partner's bucket but it's not impossible. Here are some steps to get started.
Write your wife a note on all the reasons she's special to you. Think back throughout your relationship. Why did you choose her? What do you appreciate most about her? What are her qualities you admire most? Write all of it down, soak it in, then express it to her in a letter so she can re-read it over and over.
Another option is compliment your wife in front of other people. A lot of partners make the mistake of criticizing their partner in front of others and that's the worst thing you can do. Instead, the next time you are in a crowd or with some other family or friends, intentionally compliment your wife in front of them because that shows respect and admiration.
Carve out some extra time for doing a head heart check every day. The head is your agenda, the things you're doing throughout the day on your day timer. The heart is the part a lot of couples don't talk about and that's mad, sad, glad or fear and why. Sometimes those emotions are going to be connected to your agenda and sometimes they will be an undercurrent that has nothing to do with your agenda. Every day carve out focused time without kids or tech and ask your wife what's on her head and heart. Then, when she asks you share your agenda items plus if you've been feeling mad, sad, glad, or fearful and why. As a word of caution, if you're feeling something negative towards your wife, this is not the time to share it. Instead, discuss what you're feeling in other areas of life. If you're feeling something negative towards her, be sure to bring it up using a soft start-up at a different time. Doing a daily head/heart check is one of the best ways to nurture emotional closeness in your marriage because it keeps you updated on each other's world. So guys, that's a wonderful way to take a step towards your wife to fill up her.
A fourth idea is schedule a nice date with a babysitter. Take the initiative and call the babysitter and the restaurant for a reservation, etc. Take charge and do something special for her to make her feel special. Start dating her again. Regular dating made you fall in love with your wife in the beginning and made her feel cherished so start doing it again.
Provide lots of affection with no strings attached. So many guys fall into a pattern where they only touch their wife when they want something sexual. Women catch onto this pattern quickly and start resenting your touch because they know you have ulterior motives. Guys are very sexually wired so it makes sense you touch her when you desire sexual connection. However, if that's the only time you touch your wife she won't appreciate it. Women want to feel your affection without sexual undertones because then they can receive it without feeling like there's pressure to move onto something else. So provide regular affection when you expect nothing sexual in return. Give her back massages, stroke her hair, hold her hand, put your arm around her waist when you're walking, etc. Ask what type of affection she likes and dislikes. I had to learn how to touch my wife because she was touched differently than I was growing up. I was touched more roughly and firmly growing up. My mom would pat me or pull me tight and squeeze. My wife was touched by her mother growing up with really light tickles up and down her arm. A lot of times in our marriage, my wife would say, "you're not giving me any affection." And I'd say, "what do you mean? I'm squeezing you and patting you firmly all the time." She would say,"I hate that type of touch, I want light tickles." So I've had to learn how to touch my wife. Maybe that's you. Maybe you have to figure out how your wife likes to be touched. Ask her.
So guys, those are some options for you. Even if your sexual bucket is low, don't let that be an excuse not to take steps towards filling your wife's bucket with emotional closeness.
Okay ladies (or whoever the lower libido partner is) now I'm going to be speaking to you. Even if your emotional bucket is dry, don't let that be an excuse not to take some steps towards filling up your husband's sexual bucket to get the ball rolling. Here are some options to try out depending on your comfort level.
First, consider wearing lingerie to bed several nights a week. Find some that are comfortable, you feel pretty in, and are practical for sleeping in. Watch out for the extra slippery type that make you slip right out of bed and onto the floor! Men are highly visual and your husband would love seeing you be sexy by wearing lingerie.
Second, consider texting your husband something suggestive, such as the color of your underwear, a sexy picture of yourself, a text suggesting something sexual you want to do together, etc. Use your phone as a way to flirt sexually with your husband. Think about what would feel natural for you and be authentic. However, you also may need to push yourself a bit out of your comfort zone. Don't be scared to experiment. Your husband will love it!
A third option that's more racy is get in the habit of not wearing any panties and each time whisper in your husband's ear "I'm not wearing any panties." Your husband's heart rate will probably double! It's a huge turn on for most guys to hear things like that. If this option would be too uncomfortable for you skip it. Only do what you would feel good with. If your sexual flirting leads to more sexual desire from your husband, be sure to follow the wedding cake model to ensure your sexual connection is a mutually enjoyable experience for both of you.
A fourth option is consider using your chest to flirt with your husband. For example, when you have to move past him consider rubbing your chest against him. If you have to reach for something, rub your chest up against him as you reach for it. Using your chest is a powerful way to sexually deposit into your husband's bucket because most men love breasts.
A fifth idea is think about a sexual fantasy that you've had in the past or you currently have now with your husband. What would really turn you on? Imagine everything about the scene. What would you be seeing, touching, feeling, hearing, and tasting? Next, write out the scene in a letter and give it to your husband. He will eat it up!
Now you have ten options to get the ball rolling again in your marriage. Both of you can start taking steps today to get out of the spirit of scarcity. Don't let your low bucket be an excuse not to move forward! Move towards a spirit of generosity and start trying these options to get you there.
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What else would you recommend to avoid having a sex starved marriage?