My Spouse Does Not Enjoy Sex

My Spouse Does Not Enjoy Sex

If your spouse does not enjoy sex, that’s not unusual.

“Sex can be quite fun. So why do married couples have so little of it?”

That was a question asked recently in a New York Times Op-Ed by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a former quantitative analyst at Google.

The Prevalence of This Issue: My Spouse Does Not Enjoy Sex

Based on the results of his recent study of online search trends, Stephens-Davidowitz disclosed, “On Google, the top complaint about a marriage is not having sex.” And the top search is as likely to come from a wife as from a husband for my spouse does not enjoy sex.

“Searches for ‘sexless marriage’ are three and a half times more common than ‘unhappy marriage’ and eight times more common than ‘loveless marriage,’” he added. “There are 16 times more complaints about a spouse not wanting sex than about a married partner not being willing to talk.”

This Google search trend is indicative of what marriage counselors say is a common problem faced by many couples: mismatched libidos. A wife may have a stronger sex drive than the husband—or the other way around. And it may switch from one spouse to the other over time. Dozens of factors add to the mismatch, including daily demands, work pressures, body image perceptions, health, age and changing seasons of life.

In this age of Viagra for men and now Lybrido for women, it’s not surprising we frequently get questions from Ask Pastor John podcast listeners in marriages who find themselves coping with different sexual interests.

Personal Questions About My Spouse Does Not Enjoy Sex

One listener, Steve, emailed us to ask,

Pastor John, in episode #475 you talked about sexual attraction and argued that it is not essential for marriage. I am married to a gracious woman who will gladly oblige me if I ask her, but I find that though I do need sex, I do not desire it when I know she obliges without any sexual desire for me. If I sense she is getting no enjoyment out of the act, it makes it feel utterly disgusting to me. What advice do you have for me?

More important than personal advice, does Scripture have an answer for Steve and the many spouses who face the predicament of my spouse does not enjoy sex?

What follows is a lightly edited transcript of Pastor John’s response.

My heart aches for Steve when I hear his question. I know exactly what he means. And I think it’s normal and healthy—maybe with the exception of him saying, “I feel disgusted.” I want to come back to that and caution him.

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Tony Reinke serves as the editorial and research assistant to C.J. Mahaney. He wrote a book called Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books (Crossway). It will be published in September 2011. In the book he addresses four main topics: (1) why Christians prioritize book reading in the first place, (2) how to personally select the best books to read, (3) tips and tricks on how to go about reading them, and (4) how to overcome common challenges to book reading.