Episode 46: High desire wife, low desire husband

There will always be a high desire and a low desire when it comes to sex (actually with every topic).

Typically, the high desire spouse is the husband while the low desire spouse is the wife. But what about when this is reversed?

That’s what we discuss in this episode.

Show topics:

  • Is there something wrong when the wife is the high desire?
  • Big steps to create a change
  • Playing to your strengths


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  1. SM says

    You say relationships with a higher female sex drive is “common” and give stats that 30-40% of females are the higher drive spouse. In the next breath, it’s asked, “Should it be this way?” Really? We even have to ask if women *should* be having higher sex drives than their husband?

    The answer to “Should it be this way?”, is “No, it [women having a higher sex drive] should not be.” Really?

    The male sex drive is naturally (divinely) “wired”, but females who have a higher sex drive are “creatures who are not designed” to have a higher sex drive than their husband, really? It should not be that way? If men are naturally “wired” for a higher sex drive but women are not, from where then does the higher female sex drive come?

    As I’m listening, I wonder, how you account for the stats and real life situations where the males are the lower drive. Again, from where does the higher female sex drive come, if it is not “natural” for her, and if she is not a “creature wired” as such? Typical, in evangelical pop psychology, if a man has the lower drive, clearly something has to be wrong with his “wiring”? So, much for being naturally (divinely) “wired” for the higher drive. If the husband is the lower drive spouse, something must be “off”, “something is wrong”, “something major” even, despite this “natural wiring”. A lower drive male must be in pornography, right? He must have made childhood or early adulthood choices that have skewed his perception, right? He must be sedentary, right? There must be hormone imbalances or insufficiency, right? He must be distracted, right? And this couldn’t be part of his natural wiring, of course, because we can naturally assume at one time in the marriage he had the higher drive, but something had to happen for him to become the lower drive, right? Can we really not fathom healthy men have throughout their relationship had the lower drive than their healthy wife?

    What is the correlation here for the higher female sex drive? What weaknesses, or sins, behaviors, or choices have women made to account for their unnatural higher drive?

    Historically, female sexuality has been considered equally powerful as male sexuality so much so that some cultures have sought to constrain it while others revered it for its power. Our culture, and specifically religious subcultures appear to be in the former category. Speaking of the higher female sex drive in terms of “it should not be that way” is another way of shaming female sexuality and telling higher drive females they are not normal and telling lower drive males something is wrong with them. If this climate did not exist in our culture and in evangelical subculture, I suspect reporting and stats would reflect little disparity between the two.

    It’s a message that is tiring, inadequate, and unhelpful.

  2. robert says

    Well said, SM!

    Another point that is not discussed in this podcast is any sort of absolute measure of high and low desire (as opposed to husband relative to wife). If the husband wants sex 2 times per week and the wife wants it 4 times per week, does he really have a low desire problem? That is probably well within the typical range of desired frequency for men in marriages where they are the higher desire partner (HDP), but in this marriage it just happens that his wife wants sex more often than most women, and that is OK too. They are both part of the healthy range of variation. Now if the wife wants sex twice a week and he wants it once every other month, then we can say he has a problem that he/they need to deal with. Most situations probably aren’t this clear cut, but I think we need to think about the principle of some measures of desire that aren’t just husband relative to wife.

    I also felt like the pain of men who have low desire wives was minimized. They said (paraphrased): Women have it tougher because they are more relational; Sure men feel the pain of having their masculine identity rejected, but they are able to brush it off and keep trying.

    I went through two years where getting my wife interested in sex was like pulling teeth. I felt so lonely, unloved, and depressed. The blow to my masculinity was terrible too, but the relational aspects were just as important. And it was not something I could just shake off. I thought about suicide.

    I think women do have it tougher, but not because they are somehow more relational. They have it worse because we are all taught that men are supposed to want sex all the time, so women must feel like there is really something wrong with them if their husband has little desire for sex with them. Men feel this way too, but it is worse for women because men are “supposed to be” the HDP.

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