Transcript below from Marriage Steps Podcast Episode 13 on 16 To Avoid Having A Sexless Marriage
Today I'm going to talk about 16 tips to avoid having a sexless marriage. Most married couples have a sex starved marriage for three reasons. The first reason is trauma. One in three females have had some type of sexual trauma in their past. One in five males have had sexual trauma. Sexual trauma usually makes someone either hyper-sexual where they want sex all the time so they're in control or hypo-sexual where they want nothing to do with sex so they avoid it. Another main reason for sexual problems in marriage is differences in libidos. On average, the male has a much higher libido than the female because the sex drive is connected to testosterone. Females also have testosterone, but on average it's much lower than males. So, typically the male has a much higher drive than the female. Having said that, from my experience in the practice and from what I've read, females have a higher libido in around 15% of marriages. In this episode think of women as the lower libido spouse and men as the higher libido spouse. However, if you're in a marriage where it's the opposite, just reverse the advice. The last reason a lot of couples have a sexless marriage is because they're so busy and they don't take time to nurture it. So today I'm going to go through eight top tips for females and eight tips for males on how to cultivate great sex in your marriage.
Tips For Avoiding a Sexless Marriage
These are not in any particular order. The first tip for women is to increase the importance of sex. Because most females have a lower libido, they don't value sex and often don't prioritize it. They don't think about how important it is to their husband or to their marriage. So, it's important to recognize for your husband sex is probably like air. They need it to breathe. It's one of the most powerful ways they feel loved, secure, adequate, and connected to you.
The second tip is to plan ahead. If you have a low libido, adjusting to sex can be quite a process. So if your husband initiate sex, it can feel very jarring because that's the last thing on your mind. In contrast, if you're planning ahead for sex and know you're going to initiate sex tomorrow night, it gives your brain time to get ready. The brain for females is the largest sex organ because the brain needs to get engaged and ready for sex. So, planning ahead can help a lot with that.
Tip three ladies is make the sexual encounter about you, not him. A lot of women lose their voice during the sexual encounter because it becomes all about what the husband wants. Instead, focus on what would make you feel good. What would bring up your arousal? What would you appreciate more of during your sexual encounter? Make it about you. This is the time for you to be selfish because if you are having a positive experience, that's going to be a positive experience for your husband.
Tip number four, use positive redirects, not rebukes. When your husband is trying to touch your body, don't reprimand him. Don't say to him, "what are you doing, I hate that!" Us guys don't really know what we're doing. We're pushing buttons and pulling levers and twisting knobs. We're trying to figure out how your body works and we're not quite clear how to do that. So you have to be gentle. A man's ego rests upon his sexual ability. If he's trying to make your body feel good and he's not doing it right, don't rebuke him or else it will crush him. Instead, use positive redirects with affirmation. Redirect what he's doing to what would feel better, then affirm it. For example, imagine your husband is rubbing your leg and you prefer lite tickles so you would say, "just light tickles (then he does it and you say) yes, that feels awesome!"
Tip number five is to please your five senses. During your next sexual encounter, think about how to increase pleasure with your smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch. What could you do for each one of those to increase your pleasure? We've been given our five senses to experience the world, but a lot of times we don't think about maximizing them during sex. So think about what would that look like for you.
Number six ladies is paying attention to your nervous system. Your sympathetic versus parasympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system means you're in fight or flight mode. Parasympathetic means you're very relaxed. Think of parasympathetic as you're on a parachute ride floating down. Your body will not feel arousal if you're tense or anxious in your sympathetic nervous system. So watch your body. If you start to tense up during the sexual encounter and feel anxious, pause and work on relaxing your body or else it's going to be a negative experience for you and your husband. One of the largest causes of anxiety is past trauma. If you have past trauma, it will often get activated during sexual encounters. Trying to ignore your anxiety and continue to engage sexually can possibly re-traumatize you so it's vital to pause to discern what you're feeling and why.
If you find yourself anxious and are in your sympathetic nervous system, capture what's going through your mind. Capture your thoughts by writing them down and counter them with truth. Some common negative automatic thoughts inducing anxiety can be "I am being used, sex is dirty, I'm dirty, sex and love do not go together, I'm voiceless, etc." These automatic thoughts usually stem from past trauma and feel like truth unless you write them down and look at them objectively. It's vital to counter them with truth then ruminate on the truth statements while practicing deep breathing exercises to lower your heart rate. Don't move forward sexually until you feel safe and relaxed.
The eighth tip is to flirt sexually with your husband. Your husband will eat this up and you can be as racy or as mild as you want. Some options can be texting your husband and telling him what you're looking forward to doing with him tonight, or write on your bathroom mirror with lipstick the fantasy you're having about him, or send him a suggestive photo, or text him what color underwear you're wearing, etc. Whatever you feel comfortable with. This type of sexual flirting is your husband's language. He's going to devour it and have all of his sexual energy on you, which is where it needs to be.
Court your wife like you were newlyweds to have great sex like you were newlyweds. One of the reasons your wife was so open to sex in the beginning of your marriage is because you were probably courting her. You were doting on her and making her feel like a princess. How much do you still do that? Probably not very much because it tends to fade away the longer a couple is together.
Be affectionate with your wife when you don't want sex. This is part of the base of the Wedding Cake Model of sexual intimacy. Women are smart and quickly learn you only touch them when you want sex, which makes them resent your touch. However, most women really crave physical closeness through affection so touch them often with no strings attached.
Aim for 3/4 sensual activity and 1/4 intercourse during your sexual encounters. Women tend to be like a crock pot and men are like a microwave sexually. It tends to take a female around 15-30 minutes to reach orgasm and it takes a man around 3-5 minutes, so you have to allow your wife time to come online sexually. Sensual activity provides time for her to come online, such as providing a sensual massage, taking a bath together, etc. You also want to slow down for sensual activity and foreplay because that tends to be the main event for women because arousal often decreases after intercourse because there's not enough clitoral stimulation.
Look into your wife's eyes during sexual activity. Now, you don't want to be staring into her eyes the whole time during orgasm because she may think you're having a heart attack and it may traumatize her. However, most guys avoid eye contact during sexual activity. Look at your wife. Eye contact is one of the best ways to integrate emotional intimacy during sexual intimacy. Also, when you are touching skin on skin and during orgasm your brain releases Oxytocin, which is the bonding chemical. So you want to be looking at your wife during your sexual activity to be bonding with her.
Make a plan on frequency and implement. Unless you have the same libidos, I recommend considering a schedule for sex so you're both on the same page with expectations. Some couples are very rigid and they'll choose the same day each week, such as Wednesday since it's "hump day." Other couples mix rigidity with spontaneity by having one partner initiate sex Monday through Thursday and the other partner initiate sex Friday through Sunday. Discuss these ideas with your wife and try to reach a compromise that would work for both of you.
Learn how to flirt emotionally with your wife. A lot of us guys are so sexually driven we tend to go up to our wife and start grabbing body parts. Most women hate that because then they feel like a piece of meat. Instead of groping your wife, convert your sexual impulse into her language, something emotional. For example, say you're feeling aroused and you go up to your wife and instead of squeezing something you whisper into her ear how special she is to you, why you love her so much, and how beautiful she is.
No obligation sex is allowed. Research shows the majority of married women have obligation sex where they are fulfilling their wifely duty. Unfortunately, obligation sex makes a women's libido go even lower. So if you are having a sexual encounter with your wife and you see she's just going through the motions stop because that's going to make things worse. Talk with her about what's making it feel like obligation. Maybe there needs to be more emotional connection. Maybe there are some conflicts that need to be resolved. Maybe there needs to be more non-sexual touch. Talk to her about what she needs so sex does not feel like an obligation.
Ask your wife what would it take for you to have more sex? You may be surprised at what she says. One time I asked my wife this question and she said, "whenever you give me time to hang out with my friends it makes me want to come home and have sex with you." Astounded, I said, "how does going out with your friends make you want to come back and have sex with me?" And she said, "because when you let me go out with my friends if feels like you're serving me and filing my love bucket and that makes me want to come home and fill your love bucket." So I said, "you need to start going out with your friends every night of the week, ha ha."
Click here for the marriage training modules
Click here for the free marriage podcast
What are some other ideas for avoiding a sexless marriage?