A couple of years ago, when I wrote the article "What 5 Men Had To Say About Married Sex", interestingly enough, none of the men mentioned something that I hear quite often from the clients that I deal with—that the wife is the one who wants sex more than the husband does. It's not like these wives are rarities either. There is a significant amount of evidence out in cyberspace and beyond that point to the fact that men automatically having higher libidos is oftentimes more of a stereotype; that it's the result of a lack of solid research and talking to women about sex more than anything else.
Case in point—I recently had a conversation with a husband and wife about their sex life. When I asked them what they currently found to be the most challenging, the husband said that he wanted more rest while the wife said that she desired more sex. "Don't get me wrong, the sex is great," the husband said. "But she can literally go 3-5 times a week. They aren't short sessions either." What did the wife say in response? Nothing. She simply winked.
If you've read even a couple of the articles that I've written on marriage, you know that I am a huge fan and supporter of intimacy—and yes, that includes sex. Lots of sex. And since a lack of intimacy, along with sexless marriages are two of the causes of divorce, I thought it was high time that we explore what a couple should do when the person who is sexually frustrated ain't the husband but—shocker of all shockers (and yes, I'm being sarcastic)—it's actually the wife.
Don’t Internalize the Issue
It's pretty common for folks to hang from chandeliers, a couple of times a day, when they first start having sex. But once some of the newness wears off, it's actually pretty rare (four percent of people, to be exact) for a couple to engage in copulation on a daily basis. This is why I wrote the article "Ask These Sex-Related Questions BEFORE You Marry Him" for single women; you never want to assume that the both of you are on the same page about sex based on the beginning phases of your relationship.
Why am I bringing all of this up? Because, if you once had a ton of sex with your hubby and it has dwindled off, there's a huge chance that you'll be tempted to wonder if something is wrong with you. You might wonder if he's not attracted to you anymore, if he's bored in the relationship (or with your sex life) or if there's something more that you should be doing (or doing differently). First of all, you've got to remember that no one put a gun to your man's head—he hand-selected you to be the woman that he has sex with for the rest of his days. So, if you want it more than he does, chances are, it has less to do with you specifically and more to do with a much bigger and multi-dimensional issue.
Also, Don’t Automatically Jump to Conclusions
Ugh. Contrary to what some people—both in the media and out—believe, I do not think that all men, including all Black men, cheat. Matter of fact, I personally know some husbands who have been faithful their entire marriage; a few of them have done so even though their wife was unfaithful at some point in their relationship. So no, it should not be an automatic assumption that if your partner doesn't want to have as much sex as you do (or even as much sex as he used to have) that he is having sex with someone else. While everyone is out here sharing their views on what they think toxic masculinity is, I personally feel that if we're out here saying that either a man has to constantly have sex on the brain or he's cheating—that comes from having a toxic perspective on manhood.
You're only going to add more stress to yourself and your relationship, while potentially emasculating your husband in the process, if you chalk up his lower libido to him having someone on the side.
If you honestly sense valid red flags, talk it over with him and/or a therapist. Just make sure to not automatically blame him for the movie that you've created in your mind. Our intuition is sometimes nothing more than actualized fear or paranoia. There is plenty of research out here to prove it (see "So, Experts Have Something To Say About Your Intuition's Accuracy").
If There Is an Obvious “Drop”, Reflect on When It Happened
You know something that's interesting? Out of all of the years that I've been doing this marriage life coaching thing, I have yet to counsel a couple who didn't have sex with one another before they said, "I do". In other words, each couple I've worked with had sex with one another before marriage. Call that a random coincidence if you'd like, but that's what came to my mind when I read the article "Straight couples who live together before marriage may be less sexually satisfied". There's no time or writing space today to get into all of the reasons why this could be the case, but I will say that if you are a wife who has a husband with a lower libido and you did have sex with him prior to marriage, take a moment to compare and contrast what intimacy was like when the two of you were dating vs. when you became a married couple. While, ideally, sex should become stronger after marriage, there are some husbands who find "single sex" to be more sensual and alluring and married sex to be more obligatory and routine. Hey, I'm not saying it's right, I'm just saying that is some husbands' (unspoken) truth.
That said, a drop in a man's libido could be tied into other things as well—stress on the job, age, the state of their health, a breakdown in the relationship, a challenge with scheduling intimacy…the list goes on and on. But in order for you to figure out if your man's lower libido is a temporary or potentially permanent thing, paying close attention to the timeline is a critical piece to the puzzle.
Encourage Him to See His Doctor
There's a wife that I know who's always had a higher libido than her husband. Quite frankly, it has been the thorn in the side of their relationship too because, what has kept her baffled is the fact that when he was single, he was all up in these streets (he really was). Now? He can go weeks without having sex. For a while, she thought it was because he had some shadiness going on. But when they both went to get a check-up, he found out that his blood pressure was affecting the quality of his erections. Did he know that things weren't on the, umm, up-and-up down there? Of course, he did. But he was afraid to tell his wife that; especially since he didn't know what was causing it. So, rather than share that his penis wasn't what it used to be, he would avoid engaging in sex altogether.
While I'm not saying that a man with a lower libido is always a health-related issue, sometimes, that is indeed the case. The only way that you and your man will know for sure is if you set an appointment to meet with a medical professional. Honestly, while you're at it, it couldn't hurt for your husband to see a reputable counselor for a session or two. If all checks out on the physical front, there is a chance that something psychologically could be transpiring; something that may be in the back of his mind rather than the forefront of it.
Naturally Boost His Testosterone
There is also a chance that your husband's testosterone levels are low. With age, it happens. Again, a quick trip to the doctor can confirm this, but if your man is someone who has to damn near be on his deathbed in order to see a physician, there are some natural ways that he can increase this particular hormone. He can exercise more often. He can eat more protein. He can take a Vitamin D and/or zinc supplement. The herb ashwagandha (it reduces stress) and ginger extract (it improves sperm quality) are both proven to spike testosterone in men. Something else that men with low testosterone need is lots of rest and less stress. You know what this means, right? Nagging him about having a low libido is not going to work in your favor, so try to avoid doing that at all costs.
Be Gentle with His Heart, Feelings and Pride
"Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it." When it comes to topics like this one, no truer words have been spoken. A lot of men think, in theory, that they want a woman who is always good to go. Then, once they get her, if they're not able to keep up, they feel intimidated; possibly even threatened. If after all of the things that I already mentioned prove to not be the root of the cause, you may need to accept that the two of you simply have a sexual incompatibility issue when it comes to your libidos. There's nothing "wrong" with that; it just means that you both need to learn to do what marriage is all about—compromise.
For him, he may need to be open to there being days when he makes sure "you're good" even if he's not totally in the mood to have a full-on sex session. For you, it's important to keep in mind that just because he might not want to get it on as much, he's probably still open to giving and receiving physical affection. In fact, him knowing that you want to be close to him, even if it doesn't always lead to sex, may be what makes him want to have sex more.
Bottom line, being in a marriage where you're the one who wants sex more isn't something that you have to simply—pardon the pun—lay down and take. Communicate. Get to the heart of the matter. Express your needs and, if you've got a good man, he'll find a way for them to be met…one way or another. A husband having a lower libido doesn't mean that something is wrong with him or that something is wrong with you. All it means is there's a challenge that the two of you need to figure out together. And, so long as mutual love and respect are present, you will.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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From Monogamy To Polyamory: 'I'm In An Asexual Poly Marriage With My Husband Of 7 Years'
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be asexual and in an open marriage? Relationship Coach Mikki Bey shared her first-hand experience with us as well as answered some of our burning questions.
Like a lot of people, Mikki met her now husband, Raheem Ali, online. As soon as they met, they instantly fell in love and got engaged on their first date. Just 90 days after they met, the couple tied the knot and have now been married for seven years. Raheem and Mikki aren’t your typical married couple, and despite being married for almost a decade, their marriage is anything but traditional. Mikki and Raheem have what she calls an "asexual polyamorous marriage."
Defining Her Sexuality
It wasn't until last summer that Mikki found the language to define her sexuality. "I didn't have the language for it until last summer," she explained to xoNecole. "Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing.”
Mikki always thought she was broken because she had no interest in sex. Mikki noticed after her friends came to visit and started discussing their sexual fantasies that she realized something was different about her. “At that point, I knew something was definitely different about me since I do not have sexual fantasies at all. It was truly news to me that people are at work thinking about sex! That was not my experience.” This led to Mikki researching asexuality, which she soon realized fit her to a T. “It felt like breathing new air when I was able to call it by name," said Mikki.
"Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing it."
Asexuality refers to people who experience little or no sexual attraction, experience attraction without acting on it sexually, or experience sexual attraction differently based on other factors. Like most things, asexuality falls on a spectrum and encompasses many other identities. It's important to remember, however, that attraction and action are not always synonymous: some asexuals may reject the idea of sexual contact, but others may be sex-neutral and engage in sexual activity.
It's possible that some asexuals will have sex with someone else despite not having a libido or masturbating, but others will have sex with a partner because it brings a sense of connection.
From a Traditional Marriage to Kitchen Table Polyamory
Although Mikki never really had a high sex drive, it wasn’t until after the birth of her son, that she noticed her sex drive took a real nosedive. “I never had a high sex drive, but about a year after my son was born, I realized I had zero desire. My husband has a high sex drive, and I knew that it would not be sustainable to not have sex in our marriage at that time.”
She was determined to find an alternative to divorce and stumbled upon a polyamory conversation on Clubhouse. Upon doing her own research, she brought up the idea to their husband, who was receptive. “It’s so interesting to me that people weigh sex so heavily in relationships when even if you are having a ton of sex, it’s still a very small percentage of the relationship activity," Mikki shared.
They chose polyamory because Mikki still wanted to be married, but she also wanted to make sure that Raheem was getting his individual needs and desires met, even if that meant meeting them with someone else. “I think that we have been programmed to think that our spouses need to be our 'everything.' We do not operate like that. There is no one way that fits all when it comes to relationships, despite what society may try to tell you. Their path to doing this thing called life together may be different from yours, but they found what works for them. We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us,” Mikki explained.
"We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us. We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sex partners to lifetime partners if it should go there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it."
She continued, “We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sexual partners to lifetime partners if it should get there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it. Our dynamic is parallel with kitchen table poly aspirations.”
Kitchen table polyamory (KTP) is a polyamorous relationship in which all participants are on friendly terms enough to share a meal at the kitchen table. Basically, it means you have some form of relationship with your partner’s other partner, whether as a group or individually. A lot of times, KTP relationships are highly personal and rooted in mutual respect, communication, and friendship.
Intimacy in an Asexual Polyamorous Marriage
Mikki says she and her husband, Raheem, still share intimate moments despite being in a polyamorous marriage. “Our intimacy is emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical, although non-sexual. We are intentional about date nights weekly, surprising and delighting each other daily, and most of all, we communicate our needs regularly. In my opinion, our intimacy is top-tier! I give my husband full-body massages, mani-pedis and make sure I am giving him small physical touches/kisses throughout the day. He is also very intentional about showing me his love and affection.”
Raheem and Mikki now use their lives as examples for others. On their website, thepolycouplenextdoor.com, they coach people interested in learning how to be consensually non-monogamous. “We are both relationship coaches. I specialized in emotional regulation, and Raheem specializes in communication and conflict resolution. The same tools we use in our marriage help our clients succeed in polyamory."
Mikki advises people who may be asexual or seeking non-monogamy to communicate their needs openly and to consider seeking sex therapy or intimacy coaching. Building a strong relationship with a non-sexual partner requires both empathy and compassion.
For more of Mikki, follow her on Instagram @getmikkibey. Follow the couple's platform on Instagram @thepolycouplenextdoor.
Featured image by skynesher/Getty Images