I know this topic is bridging on the questionable . . . but I suppose because we talk about marriage and physical intimacy on the podcast, women feel open to asking me this often. And I'm glad they do!
It's hard to know where to turn for advice with such personal matters. And while I'm no expert in any of this, if my experience can encourage you, then forging ahead is worthwhile.
I have always placed a particular emphasis on the bedroom in our marriage. Perhaps because we got married young and had plenty of energy and hormones to spare, perhaps because it was mentioned in any marriage resource I read.
But I think it was primarily because I loved what physical intimacy with my husband brought into my life.
I love feeling desired and wanted. I love feeling unified with my husband emotionally, mentally, and physically. I love knowing that this is only something that can exist between us--that he needs me and that I need him. I love the gift of it all. And with each additional child, I have fallen more and more in love with this treat God has given us in purity and joy.
I think culture shortchanges us, with the message that sex after marriage and children is only a man's game. What pleasure we miss out on, by wishing to "only get it over with," or to inwardly grumble that our husband has such needs.
Intimacy was designed to bless us both. Both of us need it. And both of us were meant to find mutual satisfaction.
But what about the seasons of low libido? When you want to desire your husband, but you just plain don't.
This surprised me when I became pregnant with my fourth born. Suddenly, all I wanted to do was to go to bed and be left alone. It dramatically impacted my marriage as for the first time I was not as eager as my husband.
I didn't want to reject Elisha, but I also didn't want to fake enjoyment.
Elisha tried to understand, and I tried to communicate. But we were both frustrated, confused and feeling alone.
I hesitate to go on, because there are no golden rules to this sort of thing. Each woman is different. Each marriage is different. Your past, your experience, your health, and your hurts, your needs . . . we won't be coming from the exact same place. But here are some things that brought us out of this season and into a renewed fulness and closeness.
A podcast of how we communicated through my low sex-drive in real time.
A big thing for me during my season of low desire, was that I did not feel desirable. I felt unattractive, and sweaty, and annoyed, and the last thing I wanted was to be looked at and touched. Just please hand over the flannel pajamas.
(This was through no fault of Elisha, who has always been more than blind to my physical faults.)
When I realized this, I told Elisha. I was rejecting him, because I was rejecting myself. I asked for some time to be able to pull myself together, and told him I didn't feel ready-Eddie to enjoy all the spontaneity in this season of life. I asked if he would let me initiate when I felt up for it, and I started putting a lot of effort into my appearance. I say "a lot," because it. was. effort. I didn't want to put on a self-tanner. I didn't want to do my hair. I didn't want to shop for a few affordable dresses that fit me in this weird sausage-like state. I didn't want to put on makeup.
But when I did, I felt beautiful.
And when I felt beautiful, I went to my husband on my terms. With gum and perfume and deodorant included. He felt loved, and I felt confident.
I knew that physical intimacy was a unifier in our marriage, and yet my mind wanted to be a million other places. So I started taking serious mental effort to enjoy it.
This might sound silly, but sometimes you have to work to enjoy things. Like I had to start working to write this blog post . . . it was the last thing I wanted to do. But now that I'm here, it's enjoyable and the words are coming faster than I can type.
We have to "labor into Christ's rest," and there are a lot of things that bless us even when it is work to enjoy them.
My husband didn't just want me doing something for him. He wanted me to enjoy it too, and so I fought hard to stay present and throw my energy into the moment at hand.
It worked. Even if it wasn't on my agenda when Elisha got that sparkle in his eyes, I was able to get into the moment and enjoy my husband.
This one is big. If you are experiencing a low libido, chances are, something is out of balance, and that can look different for all of us. Hormones were against me during my last pregnancy. Due to nausea, I had to take a break from the supplements that had balanced my hormones for the past 7 years and I felt tired and out of whack.
Over time I was able to add back in my former supplements, but I also got advice from a sweet cousin about what she took to improve her libido. Wow. I mean, it's no cure all, but I started taking this Vitamin E as soon as I heard about it and I haven't stopped since. (And let's just say things keep getting better.)
Don't just take any vitamin E from the grocery store shelf, though! It can be glorified petroleum and incredibly unsafe. My mother trusted this company for 25 years (through 11 pregnancies), and I can tell you it's effective . . . and yes, I will earn about $2 commission if you buy through that link, so no worries if you want to purchase on your own. ;)
As women, we go through a lot of changes. Child-bearing, periods, menopause, weight gains and losses . . . and desire is going to ebb and flow through the seasons.
Maybe your lack of desire for your husband may stem from a hard conversation that needs to be had. Words that have been spoken in anger, or a general disconnect or hurt.
But pursing a healthy sex life, regardless of our drive and desire, is going to bless our marriage in the seasons when it's more challenging, and in the seasons when you just can't wait to put the kiddos in bed.
May the Lord richly bless your marriage,
If you are looking to create more systems that simplify your home, check out Katie's Free Masterclass to learn her top three tips for creating a peacefully productive home!
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