Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Address Low Female Desire So You Can Make Love More Often

Sexless and sex-sparse marriages leave men (and some women) more vulnerable to porn problems. No one gets everything they want in the sex department, but if yearnings are rarely or never fulfilled, despair may cloud judgment and good-hearted people may end up falling to temptation in weak moments.

For this reason and countless others, it's a good idea for all couples to keep their sexual relationship vibrant and active. At times that's easy and comes naturally to both partners. At other times sex is less enjoyable than usual and may not even seem worth the effort.

Levels of sexual desire can wax and wane for either partner, but sometimes the problem is more persistent. In some cases, chronic low female sexual desire is the end result of a downward spiral that includes:
  1. Inadequate time and attention being given to foreplay and the buildup of her sexual desire.
  2. As a result, she isn't adequately lubricated during sex. 
  3. Therefore, sex is not only less pleasurable than it might be, sometimes it's downright painful. 
  4. Her nervous system keeps her body out of "relax and enjoy sex" mode and in "brace myself against pain" mode. 
  5. Enjoyment and orgasm become nearly impossible. 
  6. That distasteful sexual experience creates a lasting negative association.
  7. She finds herself wanting to avoid sex altogether.
  8. She goes into their next encounter tense, bracing for another bad experience.
  9. And so on the downward spiral continues. 
When a couple works patiently together to assure the woman becomes adequately aroused before sex and climaxes during lovemaking, it makes for a much more fulfilling experience. Such positive experiences also create lasting associations, and she finds herself more eager to have sex. 

Sometimes, however, even when a couple diligently works to foster mutually fulfilling lovemaking experiences, desire, arousal and orgasm remain elusive. They may try and try but never get there, or finally succeed but only after a great deal of effort. They don't always have the time or energy to go through the process in the ways that work. Sometimes, even when they do persist, she doesn't find it as stimulating as usual and they tire of the ordeal. 

I've found a particular approach helpful for about 70-80% of such couples. If you try it out, remember that sexual desire and enjoyment require a delicate balance of many complicated factors, particularly for women, so don't get too discouraged or critical of yourself if the technique doesn't "work" for you.

This technique adapted from Claire Hutchins' book, Five Minutes to Orgasm Every Time You Make Love. The woman is on top, in the straddle position. Close your eyes and turn your attention to your own pleasure. (Don't worry that you're depriving him--most men are plenty turned on by this process.) Use your index or middle finger to rub your own clitoris. Use KY Jelly or another lubricant if needed. Experiment and vary the rate of movement and intensity of pressure. Some women find it stimulating to imagine various scenarios of lovemaking, talk about things that turn them on, or moan to express their pleasure. However, if it works better for you, don't hesitate to keep your focus inward, on your own sensations and experience, particularly when you are first experimenting with this approach. Over time as you get better at finding your pleasure zone and reaching orgasm, you'll open your eyes more often during the experience and communicate more freely. In general the process will become more interactive.

Some of my conservative religious clients are hesitant at first to try out this technique because they equate it with masturbation. I encourage them to consider whether self-stimulation during intercourse with their husband might be different from the masturbation that is discouraged by their Church. (I agree that masturbation can be detrimental when individuals are off on their own pleasuring themselves--having a solo experience--rather than channeling that sexual energy back into connecting with their spouse.)

I also ask, "How successful would your husband be at experiencing pleasure and achieving orgasm if he did not stimulate himself during sex? He thrusts because it stimulates him. You don't view that as him using your vagina to masturbate himself. You don't ask him to abstain from thrusting and only let you stimulate him. If you decide to experiment with this technique, as you do, consider whether rubbing your own clitoris during sex may be comparable to him engaging in the thrusting motion."

I don't try to talk a couple into doing anything they're genuinely uncomfortable with. Most of them have simply never considered this kind of technique as an option. I want to give them permission to explore and discover for themselves and then follow their own consciences and sensibilities in the matter.

The majority of my religious clients report after trying this approach that they're comfortable with it and it becomes a part of their lovemaking repertoire. It is a nice way to awaken her interest, heighten her pleasure, and more readily reach orgasm--even when she's tired, not as easily aroused as usual, or they don't have a lot of time or energy. 

When both partners reliably experience ecstasy and orgasm, they're both more invested in making sure they make love on a regular basis. And that's good for each of them as individuals and for the vitality of the bond they share. 


  1. I agree with some of this in marriage when there ISN'T a sex addiction. Sex addiction changes EVERYTHNG. My husband's addiction came long before we were married (as most do). And since he already had very false ideas of how sex should be, how I should be, sex didn't work very well. And why would I want to have sex with him when I always came up short, no amount of sex was enough, and sex was far more about lust and "needs" than it was about love or emotional connection. I tried to be that wife that "fulfilled his yearnings" so there wasn't a problem with pornography, as you say, and it didn't work. Because it doesn't work that way with a sex addiction. No amount of sex will keep them away from pornography. That's why it's an addiction. And I feel like this post, intentional or not, comes too close to the falseness of "be more available for sex with your husband's and they wouldn't have a problem with pornography" that guilts wives. For the most part, I orgasm every time we have sex. Did that make me "more invested in making sure we made love on a regular basis" or want sex? No. Because even with orgasm, it's not fun to feel like a piece of meat, have no emotional connection (because sex addicts are unable to if not in recovery) and wonder if he was with me or the woman on the porn film screen.

  2. MK, thanks so much for your comment. It's tempting for addicts to believe, "If my wife were more sexy or more sexual I wouldn't be tempted to relapse with my addiction." I think you're right, there is a danger this post will foster that line of thinking. I hope couples take this post in the context of all the other material on the blog--and therefore steer clear of blaming, justification, resentment, and self-pity. I think you also touch on an important point I thought of after I posted this blog, so thanks for giving me the chance to make it now: most women who are dissatisfied with their sex lives aren't complaining it's not stimulating or pleasurable enough. (Some do, or I wouldn't have written the post all.) Most ache for more respect, connection, and emotional closeness. What would you say to men who want to do better in that regard and address their wives' real concerns?