Sex Isn’t the Problem, But it Might Bring A Fix

April 10, 2015

in Uncategorized

Earlier this year JayDee over on Sex Within Marriage wrote a post entitled When do I give up hope? The following jumped out at me:

When we finally did resolve a lot of our issues regarding sex, we had daily sex for a while. Turns out that’s not what we needed. What we needed was intimacy, not just sex. More sex led to more intimacy, which did lead to more sex, but intimacy was the need, not just sex.

Sex was not the problem, but more sex pointed out the problem. I’ve heard similar stories from other men, and experienced it myself. 

Road Closed © sourabhj |

When a man knows the amount of sex in his marriage is too little, it’s easy to start assuming all his marital problems are about sex. Of course, men and women do this with all kinds of things. We identify a problem, especially a problem we can pin on our spouse, and then we use it as a scapegoat for everything wrong with our marriage. It’s convenient, and it lets us off the hook for the things we’re doing wrong.

When Lori and I got married, she had significant sexual problems because of her past. We weren’t having sex nearly often enough by any sane standard, and we both knew it. I decided this was our only problem, and focused all my time and attention of fixing her sexually. Amazingly, things got better despite this (I credit the grace of God and the truly amazing woman He gave me). It took time, but sex got better and better. While this did cut my frustration level, it didn’t make things as wonderful as I expected. Gradually two truths got through my thick head: 1) sex was not our only problem, and 2) she was not the only one who needed healing and a change.

I’d like to think I would’ve come to the conclusion there were other problems, and some of them were mine, even if sex had not improved. I’ll never know. I can certainly see not ever admitting those things to myself. I could have let sex be my scapegoat, and our marriage would’ve gotten worse and worse.

If your husband thinks sex is the big problem in your marriage, or the only problem in your marriage, it’s unlikely you can change his mind. In fact, it’s unlikely anyone can change his mind. If he’s willing to really get with God he might get a clue, but otherwise it’s not looking good.

So, you can waste time and energy trying to convince him he’s wrong, you can just give up, or you can prove to him he’s wrong. Have so much sex he can no longer claim sex is a problem. If this doesn’t fix all your marriage issues (and we all know it won’t) he may admit to himself there are other problems. If he won’t admit to himself, you can suggest it. Something subtle like “I’m glad we’re having more sex, but we still have problems we need to address” – maybe right after sex.

The only risk I see is you find out he’s deeply selfish and will take all the sex he can get while denying anything else is wrong. While that would be very sad, at least you would know and could figure out what to do next.

Bottom line: Sex may not be the biggest problem in your marriage, but it could be a road block to dealing with other issues. 

~ Paul – I’m XY, and sex affects me in ways I wish it did not.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris April 10, 2015 at 11:04 am

Working on sex is exactly what worked in our marriage. Sex wasn’t the only problem, and it wasn’t even the central problem. However, it was the primary source of tension between us. Once that tension was gone, it was easier to see and work on the other things. Working on sex was a good first step for us in tackling our marriage difficulties.
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Paul Byerly April 12, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Yup, it can be a huge road block, especially when I man decides it’s the big issue.

It’s common for counsellors to put sex on the long term list and try to deal with other things first. Logically this makes sense, but all to often it means the man is unwilling to engage in the process.

My preference is to deal with sex first and last. Do some stop gap work so the man is less desperate and sees a reason to work on the marriage as a whole. Then deal with all the other stuff. If there are still sex issues after that, go back to sex. Often the sex problems have all but disappeared at that point.
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Jerry Stumpf April 10, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Isn’t it amazing that often a wonderful gift, such as sexual fulfillment, between a husband and wife become such a stumbling block for couples. I let infrequent sex keep me from serving my wife since I wanted to have my needs met and then I would meet hers.

We fellows too often create self centered roadblocks that our wife must hurdle. Or the wife will create an emotional barrier in her mmind that the husband may know nothing about. Creative confersations that can break through the issues that fog our life can help get to the actual problem.

When I began to serve her uconditionally, life got better and she initiated sex with me! Imagine that! Hmmm, isn’t that what Ephesians 5 & I corinthians 7 direct us to do?

Chris is correct, serving eliminates the tension.
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Paul Byerly April 12, 2015 at 1:53 pm

This is a part of headship no one wants to own! If the man is the head, he should go first!
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John April 13, 2015 at 4:30 pm

I think you have to be careful here If you tell men that if you follow Eph 5 and be a servant leader to your wife, your sex life WILL get better, you are setting him up for a fall – because sometimes it DOESN’T. Nowhere in the bible does it say this, and I think its a lie straight from satan himself when people says it does.

It is not a guarrentee, and if you put it that way, I can tell you from experience it will lead to even a harder fall for the guy. Why? Because the wife is also a fallen sinner, just like he is.

Can it happen? Yes. Will it always happen – NO.

Its a form of the prosperity gospel, and its just not true.

That doesn’t mean he SHOULDN’T do it – Men should sacrifice and be servant-leaders for their wives because its the right thing to do, period, because thats what God says to do. And this has its own reward.

But to say service will lead to better sex – not always true.


Paul Byerly April 16, 2015 at 10:25 am

I Agree it will not always happen, but it happens far more often than it does not. I always try to give the caution. I also generally point out it’s the right thing to do even if it does not result in a change in bed.


Keelie Reason April 10, 2015 at 8:32 pm

What a great post on this. I agree, we can sometimes think it is one problem in our marriage, but there is usually a root problem that causes us to be at odds. Usually it is a lack of intimacy that is a marriage killer, not a lack of sex. I think the sex will happen if there is intimacy going on.
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Paul Byerly April 12, 2015 at 1:54 pm

True. And sometimes intimacy will happen if there is sex going on. It can be a chicken and egg thing in some marriages.
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Ronnie April 23, 2015 at 4:39 am

Thanks for the encouraging words. My husband hasn’t slept with me or initiated sex in over 3 years. He says I said no so often he has no romantic feelings for me anymore. I don’t recall saying no to him as often has he says I did, but I was not intentionally malicious or disinterested in him. I have admitted to being self-centered at times, having my own agenda and to-do lists and obviously too busy in keeping our home and tending children. Asking for forgiveness and reconciliation has brought no change. Hind sight is 20/20 and oh, how I wish I knew 30 years ago what I know today. I continue to read great books on Christian marriages (he is a Christian), and wonderful blogs like this one that helps me when I feel despair. I don’t know what I would do without God; trusting Him to restore our marriage as he brought to life the valley of dry bones.


Paul Byerly April 23, 2015 at 11:30 am

So sorry for the pain and frustration!
It’s been shown the higher drive spouse underestimates sexual frequency, while the lower drive spouse over estimates. So neither is working with reality, and their two recollections can be significantly different.
After awhile the why of no stops mattering. The man (or woman) hearing no may believe the reaosn(s), but it changes nothing.
Losing interest in sex is usually a self-protective thing. If you don’t want it as much, not getting it hurts less. I’ve talked to men who admit they resits giving into their sex drive if their wife starts showing interest after years of saying no. They fear they will start wanting it and get hurt all over. They would like to enjoy sex with their wife, but they do not see it as being worth the risk of feeling deeply hurt again.
Being able to convince him you have some understanding of how much it hurt him is a good starting place for healing. Chris over at The Forgiven Wife | is a great resource for this.
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