Although my intended audience is low-libido wives, after answering a curious husband’s question on 13 Ways My Husband Influenced My Sex Drive, another husband has emailed me with a question.
He says, “I’ve sent my wife a couple of your articles recently. They have sparked good discussion between us. The discussions have not always been comfortable, but that’s OK. I had mentioned to her that you and your husband had agreed upon a frequency of sex that seemed good to you both. She was asking how you arrived at that frequency? Similar to what you described, she’s about a once/month person, and I’m about a once/day person. How did you guys come to an agreement on frequency, and what does that look like in practical terms. Obviously, frequency is subject to present circumstances, crises, sickness, etc., but how have you all reached a happy medium?”
In I Love Gently Blunt Sex Conversations and I Love Knowing When Sex is Going to Happen, I refer to the fact that my husband and I hashed out an overarching agreement about our sexual encounters. A Magna Sexualem Carta, if you will.
Come to the table with the right attitude.
“Negotiating is a bargaining (give and take) process between two or more parties (each with its own aims, needs, and viewpoints) seeking to discover a common ground and reach an agreement to settle a matter of mutual concern or resolve a conflict,” dictionary.com.
Yes, sexual conflict, or more specifically, sexual desire discrepancy should be a matter of mutual concern. However, for a long while our marriage was living in a dark place and it wasn’t.
I started to see the consequences of being intentional.
I understood that because of my commitment to aerobic exercise three times a week, my blood pressure had dropped back down to normal levels. I understood that because of my commitment to feed my children, I went to the grocery several times a week.
Being intentional about any relationship requires a commitment, a promise. And just maybe if I commit to letting our light shine in the bedroom 2-3 times per week, our marriage will walk out of darkness.
It wasn’t like I was being commanded to do this or else! If you knew me, you’d know that being commanded to do anything by a human being just makes me dig my heels in deeper. No, I had come to this place because of 13 Ways My Husband Influenced My Sex Drive.
So, how do you smoke a peace pipe and hammer out the details of the treaty?
You commit to commit
You have to stick to this or don’t waste your time. I’m serious. If it takes signing an actual document to make it binding, do so. Which meant I would be sticking to the compromise and wouldn’t back out. It meant he needed to make himself available for the times we decided. This could include him having to say no to certain work meetings or other obligations.
The only real reason to not engage would be for unavoidable scheduling problems or sickness. Real sickness, not just my head kinda hurts or I’m tired, but true horrible cold/flu or severe sciatica, pain, etc…
This served two purposes. He relaxed knowing a sexual encounter was coming. It allowed me to gear up knowing a sexual encounter was coming.
Gearing up sometimes involved prayer for me. And sometimes, a glass of wine or ibuprofen. (Alcohol is fodder for a whole other blog post, I know everyone has different stances.) And sometimes, none of this was needed because my head and body were really in the game!
How many times a week?
We saw that the national average is 2-3 times a week. Of course, he preferred 3 times a week. That’s what we shot for. But, usually having busy schedules it came down to 2.
Honestly, I could see the value of connecting at least once a week. So, it wasn’t a hard sell for me to understand that 2-3 was important. If you look at it mathematically, if a man wants 30 days a month, a woman wants one encounter a month. The median is 15 or 3.75 per week. So, really 2-3 times per week was less than the median.
What time of day?
This was a huge consideration because I am toast by 7 p.m. Seriously, we call it ‘hitting the wall.’ I’m so tired I’m miserable. I’ve always been an early bird, even as a teen. This was more of a compromise for him. In order for me to meet his needs for frequency, he needed to meet my needs and not tax my natural biorhythms. So, most encounters would happen in the morning and at the latest right after dinner. He made his work schedule bend to this.
If you have children still living at home, this will be trickier but do-able.
What counts as an encounter?
Here is where you write your definition of a sexual encounter. Does each encounter have to end in an orgasm for both of you? Are quickies OK? How much do you desire your wife to reach orgasm? How often does she desire to reach orgasm?
Let’s face it. It’s easier (usually) for a husband to climax than the wife. Sometimes, she personally feels it’s not worth the effort for her on that day to reach climax.
In my heart, I committed that my effort would not be ‘pity/duty sex.’ I was going to be fully engaged. My fully engaged just might not end in the big O. In actuality, my rising to the occasion was about 1/week.
He committed to treating the act as a loving event no matter how quick. I wasn’t just a receptacle.
Loving experiences include eye contact, kind, thoughtful, sweet gestures, and honoring words.
Maybe an encounter is just being sexual with each other, but not full-on intercourse. Taking a shower together, playful provocative flirting, brushing up against each other in passing. Your agreement could state 2 days of intercourse per week and 1 day of provocative interaction.
Do not assume the other knows what you are thinking. Be very specific and kind. Sort through all of this with very thorough communication.
What days of the week?
For the initial agreement get your schedules out and compare them, seriously. Determine what days will absolutely not work. Consider whether your wife will need a day or two recovery time between sessions.
If you have consistent, routine schedules you may be able to pinpoint days; Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, for example.
You may be the type of busy couple that needs to make scheduling meetings a part of their overall commitment contract. You commit to sit down on Saturday (or whatever day you determine) for a scheduling meeting to map out when rendezvous will happen in the coming week.
Even though you are committed, it’s important to touch base and keep the conversation going. “I’m looking forward to spending time in your arms.” “We are still on for Tuesday, right?”
If something comes up that a pre-arranged time isn’t going to work, you call each other asap to reschedule. There is never a cancellation without an immediate re-schedule.
What are the limits?
This is for the advanced negotiating team. Each couple will have its own unique set of things that are ‘off limits.’ If a sexual maneuver/act is found to be distasteful by either spouse, it will be deemed off limits. No pushing the envelope allowed. You commit to that!
Marriage expert, Dr. Willard F. Harley says, “Never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse.”
I love what Paul Byerly says, “Lots of vanilla sex is still lots of sex.” I know variety has a ‘spicy quotient’ that can kick in as a physical reaction for low libido gals. However, variety isn’t something you want to push for the hesitant wife, at first. Remember, lots of vanilla sex is still lots of sex.
You can commit to revisit the ‘off limits’ list in 3 or 6 months to see if there has been a change in position.
Some sexual boundaries are a matter of human opinion and others are a matter of God’s opinion. If the trickier subjects are a point of contention (oral sex, anal sex, different positions, etc.), do a Bible study together on the topic. I could tell you what I think, but really it’s up to each individual couple to figure out and agree upon what God’s word says in regard to these tricky subjects. God has boundaries.
This really isn’t about lots of sex or having your wildest sex fantasies acted out. It’s about learning to be united in honoring each other.
“Love one another with brotherly affection.
Outdo one another in showing honor,”
What Does It Take To Satisfy Him Sexually? When it seems you can never satisfy him. Insight from the male perspective.
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