By Benjamin Deu, MA, LMHC, Seattle Christian Counseling
References Dr. Ruth Morehouse in “Why You Don’t Want To Have Sex” from Oprah Magazine July-August 2010 and “Passionate Marriage” by Dr. David Schnarch
This is the first article in a two-part series about reasons older women experience low sexual desire. You can find the second article here.
For many women, it can seem as if the demands never stop. They leave the stress of work’s deadlines and paperwork, for home’s laundry piles and dirty diapers. And then their husband actually expects them to feel like having sex?
Who is he kidding?
Dr. Ruth Morehouse, clinical psychologist and sex therapist, did an interview with O, The Oprah Magazine about four reasons more mature women struggle with sexual desire. Accompanying the bullet points is information from her husband’s book Passionate Marriage building on Morehouse’s statements and offering suggestions about how to address them.
Balancing Sex and Stress
- Turning away from sex may be a way for women with children to reclaim their bodies as their own. Women start to view sex as one more thing they have to do for someone else. Women feel stretched so thin that saying no to sex gives them some sense of control over their lives.
It says a lot about you and your spouse’s sexual relationship if you view sex as something you do for them, rather than something both of you share. Schnarch writes about the tension in relationships between the low desire partner and the high desire partner. This means that one spouse will always want sex more than the other. The frequency is split about 50-50 between the genders.
If you are the low desire partner, you may find yourself not wanting sex because your high desire husband initiates so often. Ask him to give you a break. Or, schedule a romantic evening in or a weekend getaway. Scheduling sex can feel unromantic when you’ve been socialized to link romance and spontaneity. But arranging a time for intimacy doesn’t reduce it to all the whimsy of a dentist appointment. You schedule vacations and birthday parties, but that does not make them any less fun, does it? Scheduling sex means you can plan it when you are least likely to be interrupted by work responsibilities or your children, making it more likely to be enjoyable.
Making Sex a Priority
- People say their relationships are their priorities, but they don’t act that way. Women need to see sex as a way to connect with themselves and their partners, rather than as something they’re doing for someone else. Focus on the possibilities of sex, and how great it can feel.
It is easy to let immediate problems, such as an ailing parent, push marriage hiccups to the backburner. Unfortunately, this means they are often allowed to worsen until they are too serious to be ignored anymore, making them that much more difficult to solve. “Clearly, emotional issues have a direct physiological impact on sexual functioning. Generally, the more unresolved issues that intrude during sex, the further away you are from your sexual potential, because these issues limit your sexual preferences and pleasure: you can relax, focus, and enhance the physical stimulation you’re receiving only when it fits your dynamics.” (86)
Christian Counseling for Sexless Marriages
In Genesis 2:24, the Lord says it is his plan for people to supersede the importance of their birth families for the new union they create with their spouse. It is an awful challenge to become “one flesh” with someone when you put that relationship behind everything else. They will provide a safe, mature environment for discussing the intimate difficulties in your marriage.
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