Hopefully our articles on the topic of "When your husband isn’t interested in sex" have given you reassurance that you aren’t alone in your struggle and have equipped you with some understanding of the variables that may be interfering with healthy sexual functioning in your marriage. But however helpful this information might be, you are likely still left with unmet needs for affection and sexual fulfilment. Following are a couple of suggestions that may be of help.

Accept what he offers

One of the keys to growing beyond the frustration you now feel is learning to accept the many ways your husband is likely showing you love. Many of the women I’ve met with who identify themselves with the 20 Percent Club describe their husbands as very loving and attentive in ways other than their sexuality. These husbands may be generous with words of affirmation or acts of service. Yet their wives discount these expressions because of what is lacking. If your husband tells you you’re beautiful or that he’s crazy about you, believe him. As you recognise the ways that he serves and affirms you, encourage him. Additionally, encourage forms of physical affection that don’t involve the pressure of sexual intercourse, such as back rubs, holding hands, playful touching, and hugging.

Learn to compromise

Whenever one person wants sex more often than the other, the obvious answer is to compromise. The person with a higher sex drive may have sex less often than he would like, and the person with the lower sex drive may have sex more often than she feels the need to. The compromise is based on mutual love and care. Although this compromise typically works when the man is more interested in sex, it’s not quite as effective when the roles are reversed. Here’s why: A woman can have sex even if she’s not into it. A man can’t. He can’t feign excitement or have a quickie just to meet her needs if he’s not aroused.

One way around this is to broaden your definition of sex. If you desire intimacy with your husband and he isn’t able to meet that need, be creative. How can you experience a sexual release with him outside of intercourse? Remember that you’re still engaged in marital intimacy even if it doesn’t involve what you typically think of as sex. There is no shame in wanting intimacy with your husband more often. And there is no shame in encouraging him to seek other ways to please you.

Growing closer through the challenges

In almost every marriage, either the husband or the wife feels sexually unfulfilled, at least at some level. What probably makes your situation more difficult are your expectations. Based on what everyone else seems to be doing, as well as the cultural stereotypes, you may expect that your husband should be pursuing you. This expectation is likely a huge barrier to accepting your sexual relationship for what it is and growing closer to your husband through this challenge.

Remember that sex isn’t love, but it is designed to be an expression of love. The most mature expression of love in your marriage is embracing your husband simply for who he is without demands and expectations. In fact, it is through your disappointment and lingering needs that your love is stretched to encompass more than self-fulfilment. Perhaps God desires to use your lack of fulfilment to foster a deeper love in your heart for your husband.

© 2009 Juli Slattery. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Excerpted from No More Headaches, a Focus on the Family book published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Dr. Julianna Slattery

Dr. Juli Slattery is a clinical psychologist, author and the co-founder of Authentic Intimacy, a ministry dedicated to reclaiming God’s design for sexuality. In addition to speaking, she hosts the weekly podcast Java with Juli. In 2020, Juli launched Sexual Discipleship®, an online platform to equip Christian leaders for gospel-centred conversations about sexual issues. Juli served at Focus on the Family from 2008 to 2012 as a writer, teacher and co-host of the Focus on the Family Broadcast.

She’s the author of 12 books, including God, Sex, & Your Marriage; Rethinking Sexuality; and Sex & the Single Girl. She and her husband live in Akron, Ohio, and have three grown sons.

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