Keeping desire high in marriage

It appears that in the case of any one couple, the drive of one partner can be considered excessive only with relation to the drive of the other partner and not with relation to any established norm, which, I repeat, is non-existent.

“The case where the wife’s desire is greater than the husband’s is more difficult of solution than the converse. It is obvious that when the husband desires intercourse more frequently than the wife, a truly loving wife can easily gratify the husband’s desire without necessarily feeling that she must achieve orgasm.

The converse is not true, simply because the husband cannot always achieve erection unless lie feels desire. “There are other ways, however, of resolving the situation. First of all, the wife can explore carefully the background of why she has what seems to her husband greater desire than his. She may find that, as she explores, her desires become somewhat modified because she may discover that she is using this desire to prove something, to win a point or for some other reason.

“The husband may, out of his love and desire for happiness of the wife, re-examine his own background carefully and honestly. He may find that it is perhaps a puritanical or repressed upbringing that is preventing him from feeling free to enjoy sexual intercourse as often as his wife. In any case, he might also, by caresses, both manual and oral, gratify his wife’s desire on occasions when he himself feels none.”

As I have said, there are a good many cases in which the problem expresses itself the other way around, that is where the husband’s sexual demands exceed the desires of his wife.

This is a letter I received stating this aspect of the problem, along with excerpts of my reply: “I am married and have a problem in sexual relations with my husband. I think it might break us up or make our marriage unhappy. We have been married four years and my husband still feels that every night we should have intercourse. When I try to talk to him about giving me a chance to want him, he tells me that would be too long a wait.”

couple making love
lovemaking may not always be straightforward

One of the most difficult things in marriage is to adjust the sexual desires of the two people involved. There is no such thing as ‘too much’ or ‘too little’ because each person feels differently at different times. It will help if your husband understands that most of the time, a woman is slower to develop her desire than a man.

You might therefore work out the following kind of compromise: If your husband desires intercourse every night, why not? There is no reason why you and he should feel that you must respond to him every single time. There is no reason why, when you do not feel particularly responsive, that you should not indicate this to him, but at the same time indicate your pleasure at giving him pleasure. Thus, he would have intercourse with you knowing that although you might not be achieving orgasm, he would be free to enjoy his contact with you completely.

On the other hand, whenever you indicated the need for it, he could show great consideration and love for you by prolonging the preliminary love-making, perhaps as much as half an hour or an hour, at least until you indicated whether or not you were aroused. A woman generally can tell whether she is going to be aroused sufficiently to achieve orgasm. If after a sufficient time has elapsed you feel you are not going to have orgasm, you can indicate this to him and he can proceed at his own pace.

There is no reason for a woman to have orgasm every time. Furthermore, your husband should realize that you are in the age range where sexual desire is somewhat less high. Contrary to the man, who has his sexual peak in the early twenties, there is lower sexual desire in the woman at this age. She is likely to reach her peak in the late thirties or early forties and then continue at quite a high level, sexually, through menopause and into the sixties.

Both you and your husband need to remember, too, that you, the wife, must not only take care of the children, but of the home as well. This is the difference between you and the other women your husband has mentioned. Whatever his knowledge of them, it was on a sexual basis only and not on a husband-and-wife basis. Over a period of years, the husband- and-wife relationship becomes far deeper and contains far greater satisfactions than mere transitory sexual activity….”