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Old 11th May 2004, 12:58 PM   #1
JohnS
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Imbalance in sex drives / temptation

Thanks for this opportunity to share my dilemma and for this site - which I have already begun to use as a great resource.
My wife and I are Christians and have been married for 18 years. We are great companions and have 3 lovely children. We will never be unfaithfaul and ours is what would be classed 'a stable relationship'.
Our appetite for sex however is one of the few areas we feel incompatible in.
My wife freely admits she almost never thinks about sex and would be happy almost never to make love. I am almost at the opposite end of the scale.
To cut a long (and probably obvious) story short, I have drifted - intermittently - into 'using' TV and internet 'imagery' to relieve what i see as my 'sexual tension'. I always feel guilty afterwards. I have confessed it to my wife and to a 'mentor' at church, and have periods where I feel in control. But I drift back. And I feel it is reducing my effectiveness as a Christian, especially as we sense that are being called into leadership roles.
We have looked at various ways of trying to 'regulate' our sex life, but the situation has just 'drifted back' to a pattern - which consists of my feeling guilty about asking her if we can make love, her making it clear she is reluctant, and lovemaking often being unsatisfactory as a result. I then feel resentful but am reluctant to 'force her' and so 'bite my lip' as much as I can.
I guess I am just keen (a) to hear that I am not alone; (b) to have an opportunity to 'confess' it again as part of my own spiritual walk and (c) would be grateful for constructive advice / resources.
I don't believe our situation is 'out of hand' and in one sense that is its weakness! It could continue just to 'drift on' through the rest of our married life and I know we can do better - and certainly that I can do better.
Thnaks for the 'space' to do this.
Many blessings for your work here
John
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Old 11th May 2004, 02:32 PM   #2
completelygutted
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Re: Imbalance in sex drives / temptation

"I have drifted - intermittently - into 'using' TV and internet 'imagery' to relieve what i see as my 'sexual tension'."
John,

I am not religious and therefore can't comment on whether or not the above is a sinful act. However, what I will say is that you are human and humans have urges. Your urges are completely natural and there is absolutely nothing wrong with what you are doing. You are not being unfaithful to your wife. You are not cheating on her. In fact, you are doing completely the opposite. You are avoiding the temptation to stray.

Like I said, I'm not religious and therefore don't know whether such acts are sinful. However, even if they were sinful I'm sure your God would look at the overall picture here and see that what you are doing is merely choosing the least sinful act available to you at this time.

You obviously love your wife and obviously respect her wishes. Just enjoy the few sexual encounters you do share with your wife and don't worry about those other times when you seek satisfaction through other means providing they are not with another.

Andy
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Old 11th May 2004, 02:54 PM   #3
Liz
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Posts: 662
Re: Imbalance in sex drives / temptation

Dear John,

Thank you for your candidness and for opening up a subject area in which I am sure that you are not alone. I know that we personally have had to struggle with differences in this area, though perhaps not to the degree that you have. Many couples find that interest in sex fluctuates with childbirth, illness, stress and other factors affecting things.

One of the things we have found helpful has been to be able to discuss how we feel when we are particularly aware of our differences and to discuss the things that help us to be more open to making love. In particular seeing lovemaking as something that runs through the whole of the day and the way we respond to each other has been helpful. I have found it useful to try to understand how David feels when he is desperate to make love and he has tried to understand what it is like for me when I don't. It took us some time to get to talk at this level of openness and to be able to stand in each others shoes.

Understanding the different ways male and females respond has been important, the male as a “gas cooker”, ready to go, the female as a more slowly warming up electric oven. Men being stimulated by what they see and women often needing time to relax and feel close emotionally.

I believe that understanding some of these differences can help to bring a couples sexual needs and responses closer together. I don't think seeking relief in pornography is ever beneficial to a relationship. There is a real danger that is can lead to addiction and replacing the wife by the "others". It can blunt the desire for the husband or wife, just as surely as having real physical partners can.

On the other hand I see making love as a gift one can give to the other. The one who has the lesser appetite can make a decision to love by making a decision to make love for the sake of the other. By their initiating love making, the cycle of pressure and retreat can be broken.

Similarly the one who has the greater appetite makes a gift of love to their partner by not pressurising them.

Of course there can be fear holding us back from intimacy and keeping us from talking about our sexual desires or lack of them. There can be past experinces that affect our attitudes and our expectations of each other. These can be difficult to talk about but it can be helpful to do so.

I believe that sexual love is at the very heart of marriage and something that God wishes to bless and sees as holy. He can and will give you the grace to find a way forward especially if you submit to His will and keep from paths that are not pleasing to Him.

As far as books are concerned, The Act of Marriage by Tim LaHaye and the Act of Marriage after 40 are both good books in this area. I hope this gives you soem food for thought.

Liz
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Old 17th May 2004, 10:04 PM   #4
mimi2004
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Re: Imbalance in sex drives / temptation

John

There is an excellent book for men called Every Man's Battle by Steve Arterburn. It deals with the subject of pornography and sexual issues men deal with. It also goes into how damaging pornography can be...and really dives into the issue of sexual integrity. I believe there is a chapter that is for women/wives to read that explains the sexual needs of a man. I understand ...my husband's sex drive is stronger than mine...before I got married a female friend of mine who is married explained to me the physiological need a man has to have sex on a cyclical basis...this book addresses it as well. I think if you explain this to your wife she might be more sympathetic and understand that your body actually needs the release! I don't know if you have confessed your viewing of pornography to your wife or not...I believe the book goes into how to tell your wife. The book is definitely helpful for men and women to read--this issue is rarely talked about in Christian circles.

Also, are you doing what you can to get your wife excited about sex? I know when my husband spends time talking with me and bonding with me emotionally or even taking time to play a game with me...something that he knows I like....it really helps get me excited....men are visual and women are emotional (I know these are general statements), but all my husband needs is a visual (me) to get him excited and yet I need to feel cherished and loved to get excited...I guess that is just how God made us.

As Liz said earlier, pornography can become addicting and that would be even a bigger problem....it can lead you to do things you probably would not imagine doing....and as you continue to move into a position of leadership in your church, I am sure the enemy is going to try all he can to tear you both down with all kinds of temptations....don't let him!

I hope this helps!

Mimi

Last edited by Dave; 19th May 2004 at 02:18 PM. Reason: Link added
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Old 22nd May 2004, 03:13 PM   #5
professor_penguin
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Re: Imbalance in sex drives / temptation

JohnS

These imbalances must be normal, not very many couples can be identically matched yet most are not as brave as you to mention them.

I gained success in business at an earlier age, i worked hard to achieve my aims, therefore relationships took a back seat, I therefore took comfort from a mistress, I supported her financially and she supported me with my requirements. I was single, it is acceptable and from 19 until I was 29 this worked well.

Then I met somebody whom I wanted to my wife, and within months we were married, I could not be unfaithfully to my wife so my mistress went, but afer years of gaining comfort when and where I wanted suddenly I was in a relationship that involved a person with a much (very much) lower sex drive.

Over our 15 years of marriage, and like yourself having a wonderful family (four boys) we have had to learn to compromise, find different ways of satisfying each others needs and requirements.

Love is a very powerful tool so long as it is not used as a weapon, lovemaking needs to be special not a chore - make it less of a chore any often it means you get more.

I wish you well, and hope you both find a happy solution that suits you both well. But you are lucky to have the basics right love, respect and caring about eachother.
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