Remembering that each person’s sexuality is as unique as their fingerprint, let’s consider for a moment the wide variety of complexities involved in a person’s sexuality. First, there’s the family we grew up in and what our parents taught us (or failed to teach us) about sex. Then there’s what our siblings and peers taught us, as well as whatever our pastors, Sunday school teachers, youth group leaders, or other spiritual or moral influences may have taught us. Of course, we can’t leave out what kind of sexual messages we were exposed to through a wide variety of media outlets.
Next, we must take into consideration the gender-specific messages we received from the culture we grew up in. Now toss in the fact that you’re at a certain age, and in a certain season of marriage. Some of us are “dinks” (double income, no kids), others are in the thick of parenting, and still others are empty nesters. Obviously, there are a lot of factors playing into just how “sexual” we may feel during certain times of our lives. And the thing is — it’s always changing! How we feel sexually in our twenties isn’t the same as how we feel in our thirties, forties, fifties, sixties, and beyond for many folks, God bless them!
With that being said, hopefully you understand why I think sexual stereotypes are incredibly unfair! As mentioned previously, what sexual stereotype is most common? All men want sex. All women do not. Husbands are sexually frustrated. Wives could care less. Isn’t that the message presented on most TV sitcoms and in movie theaters? In my coaching practice, however, I’d say there’s about a 50/50 split. Granted, some couples complain that he wants sex far more often than she does. But at least half of my coaching clients say that she’s the one wanting sex more often, and the husband is the one with the lower libido.
Therefore, notice I didn’t phrase this section, “What if one of us wants sex more than the other?” That can be the case from one day to the next! Sometimes he’s feeling frisky and she’s feeling frigid that night, and the next day it can easily be vice versa. These differences can be ironed out as we practice mutual submission in a sexual sense. It’s a lot healthier for a spouse to simply muster the energy to cooperate for the benefit of their spouse’s sexual release than for “not tonight” to become so standard of a response that sexual tension builds to the point of resentment in the relationship.
Instead I chose to phrase the question: “How can we balance mismatched sex drives?” This terminology indicates that it’s not just an occasional “one wants it, the other doesn’t” kind of issue. It’s more like a “we simply aren’t on the same page sexually during this season of our lives, and it’s become a burr underneath our marital saddle!” So let’s examine what could be going on, and what can be done to improve the situation.
To be continued...
Excerpted from The Passion Principles: Celebrating Sexual Freedom in Marriage by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved. Published by W Publishing Group, and imprint of Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.