The sexual mismatch – believe it or not, this can actually improve your marriage.

sex mismatch in the LDS Mormon religion

[wp_ad_camp_3]Generally speaking, husbands want to have sex more frequently than their wives. This probably doesn’t surprise you. But, you may be surprised to learn that this mismatch can actually strengthen your marriage.

But first…

Pop Quiz for You Wives:

Ladies, be honest, do you ever intentionally stay up later than your husband – under the guise of doing important stuff  – though you’re secretly giving hubby enough time to fall asleep before you get to bed?

Or, notwithstanding persuasive evidence about the importance of marital kissing (see my article on the six second kiss) do you sometimes withhold your lips in fear that they may send an unintended message?

Maybe you routinely make not-so-subtle comments as you get into bed?

Monday – “Whew, I sure am tired tonight, that FHE drained me.”

Tuesday – “Those allergies seem to have returned in force, you don’t want to kiss me right now.”

Wednesday – “I’ve got a busy day tomorrow, busy, busy, busy…need some solid REM”

Thursday – “I’m pretty sure I’m coming down with small pox (if not something worse)…I’ll understand if you want to sleep on the couch tonight.”

Friday – “…I’d love to, but I just ‘started’ this morning.”

Husbands, Quit Laughing – Your Turn for a Quiz

Men, do you suddenly become quite a bit more helpful around the house when you are “in the mood”?

Do you find yourself frequently thinking about having sex with your wife yet you forget other details about her – such as her birthday?

Are you surprised to find out that true intimacy includes much more than just sex (if you don’t believe me, ask your wife)?

Supported By Research

These are clearly extreme stereotypes that likely don’t accurately describe your marriage. But, research does suggest that, generally, husbands desire sex more often than wives (often much more frequently).

Of course, your marriage may not follow the statistical “norm”. And, in some marriages, wives may want as much or more sex than their husbands. But, for any marriage that has a mismatch with regard to how often spouses want to have sex, what can be done? What should be done? And, how on earth can this actually strengthen a marriage?

Wouldn’t it be easier if men and women were created more equally with regard to sexual desire? Really, just think about the conflict and frustration that could be removed from marriage if both spouses were completely in-sync with regard to when and how often to have sex. In fact, wouldn’t marriage be easier if spouses were also hard-wired to spend money the same way or if they preferred the same vacations, restaurants, and entertainment?

In short, yes, this would be easier, but we would be missing a fantastic opportunity for growth!

Marriage’s Divine Purposes

If the purpose of marriage was individual and immediate gratification, then a sexual mismatch may seem disastrous. And, while I fear too many people treat marriage in this “what’s in it for me right now” regard, this is clearly not God’s purpose for marriage. Our main goal should be to become an exalted couple like our Heavenly Parents. More intermediate marriage goals should also include learning to truly care about our spouse’s needs more than our own and striving to purge our character of selfish tendencies.

Marriage, more than any other mortal relationship, grants us the ongoing opportunity to overcome our selfishness by striving to put our spouse’s needs before our own. And the sexual aspect of marriage provides an ideal opportunity to be lovingly selfless.

Thus, in a very real way, couples that learn to bridge their “sexual mismatch” by openly communicating and tenderly compromising will become stronger as a couple!

Marriage is Much More Than Sex

While marriage consists of so much more than simply sexual satisfaction, I am convinced that a marriage cannot be truly happy if there is lingering frustration in this aspect of the relationship. I love this quote by Dr. Douglas Brinley:

“Marriage is not just for sex, of course, but sex is a profound means of expressing love and commitment. It is designed to be a physical, emotional, and spiritual union; hence a high form of validation. Just as a good marriage increases sexual interest, so satisfactory sexual relations adds soul-binding emotional strength to marriage. There are few ways as powerful as the sexual union of a man and woman that are so expressive of mutual love.”

How Healthy is Your Sexual Relationship?

The good news is that countless couples thoroughly enjoy their sexual relationship and view it as an important part of a healthy and happy marriage. The bad news is that, for too many couples, physical intimacy is a cause of stress, disappointment, and frustration.

Along these lines, President Spencer W. Kimball noted the following: “if you study the divorces, as we have had to do in these past years, you will find there are one, two, three, four reasons.

Generally sex is the first. They did not get along sexually. They may not say that in court. They may not even tell that to their attorneys, but that is the reason.”

So how are things going in your marriage (this is rhetorical, please don’t email us with a response) :)? I hope things are going well for most of you! However, some of you may be inadvertently guilty of “sexual ignorance” or “sexual selfishness”. For instance do you know how often your spouse desires to have sex during a week or month? Likewise, do you know if your spouse is currently happy with the state of your sexual relationship? Do you two talk about this sacred aspect of your marriage? Are you genuinely concerned about your spouse’s needs and desires?

Remember, this sexual stewardship has the potential to be a wonderful aspect of a healthy marriage. It can also be an area of disagreement, stress, and frustration. How we respond to the “sexual mismatch” can greatly influence our overall marital happiness!

Next Steps

I challenge you to sincerely ask yourself “how can I be more selfless and less selfish with regard to our sexual union?” For some of you it may mean seeking sex less often out of kindness and love for your spouse. For others it may be accepting a spouse’s advances more often (and even initiating love making periodically). Whatever it may be, have the courage and kindness to act on those thoughts! Your marriage will be stronger for it!


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11 Replies to “The sexual mismatch – believe it or not, this can actually improve your marriage.”

  1. If a guy only helps in the house and compliments his wife when he wants sex, and if a wife has to come up with “excuses” every night from Monday through Friday, this couple needs therapy. And I’m not even joking… go to therapy. There are tons of therapists that help couples with their sexual lives.

    Plus, stop being kids. Is it really so hard to talk about sex in a marriage? My wife and I talk as openly about sex as possible. Sex is such a taboo among LDS that it remains a taboo subject even after marriage.

    I honestly feel bad about couples that don’t actively work on improving their sexual lives, just like we should work hard to improve our relationships in other aspects.
    Women have to actively work on discovering their bodies and communicating with their partner what works and what doesn’t. Experiment, be creative. It took my wife 2 and a half years to start enjoying sex. But some women don’t enjoy sex for their whole lives!! Do you really want to be that person?
    And guys… what can I say… stop being idiots. Stop treating your wives like crap and see a miracle happening with their libido.

  2. You can’t negotiate sexual desire in your spouse. I’ve found that talking about sex (in terms of negotiating) is worse than not. If the man isn’t getting the sex he wants, it is most likely because the woman doesn’t find him sexually attractive. If she is attracted to you sexually, she will have sex with you. This is a very common problem. But there are solutions. I’ve found this site to be very helpful…

    1. I don’t fully agree with this. My husband and I are extremely mismatched when it comes to sex. He’d be happy to do it multiple times a day and I’m perfectly happy to go long stretches without. Not only that, but when we did have sex there were other issues as well. When we started talking about it, it helped a lot on both sides. We were able to talk about the roots of how we feel, our love languages, and what we can do for each other. I have the opportunity to reassure him that I’m madly in love with him and that he’s very attractive to me, while he has the opportunity to assure me that he feels close to me even when we’re not having sex and that he values me for more than my body.
      In my opinion experience, if the way you’re talking about sex with your spouse is harming your marriage rather than helping, then you’re doing it wrong.

      1. If you are madly in love with and attracted to your husband (and you don’t have a medically diagnosed sexual dysfunction) then you will have frequent sex with him. There is no need to discuss or reassure him with your words. It would be incredibly frustrating to me if my wife told me that she was madly in love with and attracted to me and at the same time never initiated sex and frequently rejected my attempts. I’m guessing that your husband has a beta-type personality and that, despite what he tries to show on the outside, he is extremely frustrated on the inside. I’m also guessing that you and your husband go through and endless cycle of long periods of little or no sex, followed by little or no communication, followed by much anger and frustration, followed by a “heated discussion”, followed by conciliatory conversation, followed by pity sex, followed by relative stability, followed by a long period of little or no sex… Maybe this describes you, maybe it doesn’t. But I know this is true for many couples. I was there. Now I’m not. Loving and open communication had absolutely nothing to do with breaking the cycle. I changed. That’s all.

        1. Good night journeyman, this describes my current situation to a T. I’ve basically given up on it now, not worth the hassle of this cycle, as you described above. I’m done with accepting the occasional pity sex. I’ve finally found its just easier to just let her have her way, and eliminate sex from our life. It sucks, but unfortunately my love for my kids far outweighs in importance the desire to leave the marriage. I couldn’t bear saddling them with a broken family, so I’m still here, pasting on a smile, helping around the house, giving back rubs and support, and fighting the good fight. I’m assuming my wife is secretly happy I’ve just finally “given up on the sex thing”. Just going to keep working on my abs, and getting ready for the day after all my kids are grown and gone that I can maybe just maybe find someone who appreciates me enough to care about my physical needs the same way I care about hers, and her emotional needs. I’m so freaking unhappy. Maybe when the day comes, the kids are gone, and I can finally lay that ultimatum on the table, it’ll wake her up.

          1. I understand where you are coming from. That cycle is insane! I also came to the point (in fact, this was almost part of the cycle) where I was so sick of it, that I just threw in the towel, and determined in my mind to just give up on sex entirely. The problem is that I’m a man. And the drive for sex is nearly impossible to ignore. I think that is great to focus on self-improvement, making yourself physically attractive to women in general (which, incidentally, will create soft dread in your wife and increase the likelihood of sex), but I wouldn’t give up on the sex thing quite yet. I don’t know how old your kids are, but that could be quite an excruciatingly long dry spell.
            I’ve been out of the cycle for about a year and a half now. It’s not like I get sex whenever I want it (every morning and night), but it is consistent (twice a week on average) and it is no longer a source of conflict in our marriage. Our marriage has improved dramatically as a result.
            Here is what I did to break the cycle:

            1. I refused to negotiate for sex. No more doing extra chores or trying to appease her in any way in order to get sex. No more giving her a back rub in exchange for sex. No more submitting to the “we need to have a big talk… ie. more communication in order for her to feel comfortable having sex.”
            2. I initiate on a regular basis and try to do it playfully.
            3. I maintained the “frame” of the relationship. This is highly conceptual, but once you get it you get it. It’s essentially taking on the Alpha role. Leading. Not letting her emotions overrun conversations, etc.
            4. Getting more physically in shape.
            5. Rewarding her for sex. This might seem like negotiation, but it’s not. It is just a way of helping her to associate positive relationship dynamics with sex. Nothing is agreed to.

            These are just a few of the more important changes I made. Bottom line is that you don’t want pity (star-fish) sex. You want her to be attracted to you physically. There is also nothing wrong with her just wanting to satisfy her man, even if she isn’t interested at times (or most of the time). But never put yourself in the position of beggar. It gives her waaaaay to much power. This is extremely hard to do, especially when you feel so needy inside. It is a huge mind shift though. Again, I highly recommend reading through the posts on I never understood women until I read that site. But now I’m finally starting to get it. And my life is improving significantly as a result.
            Don’t hesitate to email me if you want to discuss further. [email protected]

  3. This left me in tears. 19 years of marriage, the second for each of us. Husband raised Pentecostal with puritanical and unhealthy views of sex and affection. No kissing. Not in the entire marriage save the first few months. Sex only a handful of times. Wife embodies long suffering and tries to see intimacy in other aspects of the relationship. Never thought of this for eternity.

  4. I don’t agree at all. I enjoy sex much MUCH more frequently than my husband and there is nothing I can do that will change that. It is very frustrating to say the least. However, our love for eachother and eternal perspective tells us it’s ok the have a fight once in a while and that we will get thru it. I think this article is very one sided. Many of my gal pals are the same as me. Husbands use the ‘I’m tired’ excuse more often than not. If we are going to talk about sex and marriage, let’s make it about both parties and not just ‘wives, sleep with your husbands more and make him happy’

    1. Sandy, you have a very fortunate husband. I also know of a situation like yours where the typical sexual imbalance is reversed. I can definitely empathize with your side of the situation as can most men. But I find it really frustrating when women post stuff like this without also acknowledging that their experience represents an outlier in terms of the general population. Men’s sexual desire is typically much more intense and constant than that of women.

      As Joe Rogan put it, “Booty is so strong that there are dudes willing to blow themselves
      up for the highly unlikely possibility of booty in an other dimension.
      There are no chicks willing to blow themselves up for a penis.”

      I’m not going to go into details here, I think it is pretty self evident. The following article does a great job of explaining the difference:

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