When Spouses Have Different Sex Drives Part 1


If you’re married, you can attest to the fact that Holy Matrimony don’t necessarily mean holy harmony.

Marriage involves the sometimes tough work of learning, adjusting, confronting, putting up with, and blessing your spouse’s differences. When those differences hit the bedroom, couples tend to avoid the necessary work. 

If that sounds uncomfortably familiar, you aren’t alone.

In fact, 1 out of 3 couples struggle with differing sexual desires.

Josh and Kit invite you into a two part series covering the beautiful and sacred topic of Sex. When love and libido for a husband and wife don’t magically align, it can be disappointing, frustrating and confusing.

This challenge can lead some couples to drift apart. Others believe the answer will be found by exploring different sexual techniques or preferences. Both these miss an important truth to building sexual compatibility: The foundation of a good sex life is love–love for one another right there in that place of difference. Let this podcast be a first step for you and your spouse to love each other better in the bedroom.

Listen in for Part 1 and then make sure to come back for Part 2 next week.

The goal through this series is to set you and your spouse on the same path to loving each other in a free, faithful, full and fruitful sex life.


the foundation of a good sex life is love

Love in its purest form has 4 different elements: It’s Free, Faithful, Full and Fruitful

just because we’re talking about the seriousness of love and the sacredness of sexual intimacy doesn’t mean it’s not playful. But it’s playful with the person you’re with in that moment.


FAITHFUL: Sex within marriage reinforces the promise saying, ‘I forsake all others and I choose you.’

FREE: Sex within marriage is not owed or demanded, but given freely.

FULL: All of me with all of you

FRUITFUL: Sex is the method through which new life is created.

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

Kit 0:02
One of the most beautiful and challenging parts of marriage is sexual intimacy. We know that when sex is good in a marriage, it offers a wonderful opportunity to connect with our spouse emotionally, spiritually, physically. And it does so much to build intimacy and a sense of partnership. And we also know that there are problems so what do we do when there are problems? What do we do, for example, when there are varying levels of desire. So here region, we talked to married couples all the time, we personally in our own lives, have struggled with different aspects of married sex life. And one big area is when the couple’s sex drives just don’t match. So it’s a common issue in marriage. And it’s one that we want to explore together today.

Josh 1:12
Josh, what are your thoughts, your music here music, it’s a great intro. So. So were there, there are more than these, we are sure, including medical elements that could get into this for people that that we do not have expertise to talk about. But we’re going to talk about three areas that we that we do run across. And we’re going to do this in a two part series. So we’re gonna address one of those today. But we’re gonna kind of lay a foundation and talk about one of those today. And then next week we’ll talk about together. So here are the three different areas. The first is simply that the husband and the wife are just different sexually. So we accept readily that we are different in our temperaments and the kind of movies we like, and maybe even some of the things we like to do recreationally, the different kinds of books or genres, the different work that we do outside of the home, or inside the home. And, frankly, husbands wives get different sexually. So that’s one area that the couples have to navigate the other to deal more with the brokenness of life, the reality, we live in a fallen world. And so when a husband or wife has a sexual wound from their past, that can make intimacy difficult, or when the husband or wife is being ruled in some way by their own personal sexual desire, rather than having mastery over their sexual desires that can certainly play into this. So we’re going to talk about those in this in this series. But first, we have to, we have to say emphatically, we have to kind of lay a foundation. So kit, just share a little bit about that, what’s the foundation of all that we’re going to talk about when it comes to just navigating sex, different sexual desires?

Kit 2:42
Oh, simply, but again, emphatically, the foundation of a good sex life is love. I mean, and of course, love is a big word and has lots of different meanings. And but we’re, we want to talk about what are the elements of love, but the foundation of all of this is love. Right?

Josh 3:04
If we, if we try to if we start, if any couple tries to kind of navigate their sex life and their sexual differences without getting it this, then you’re really going to shortcut yourself because you’re I think one way to say it is by God’s design, sex is meant to be a subcategory of love. It is one way to express love. Yes. And so if we’re trying to approach our sex lives as something that has to do with technique, or preference, or, or feelings, or any of those things we’re going to talk about in this series without first addressing the that this we’re talking about a form of love here, then we’re going to totally miss the mark and we’re going to end up with a sex life that is either limping along continues to struggle or we’re gonna be dealing with a sex life that never comes close to reaching God’s heart for it and what it can be in a marriage. So, so cute, you mentioned that that love can mean so many things. I one of the definitions of love that I’ve heard or descriptors of love that I’ve heard, I think it really helped frame is that for us, I don’t know where this comes from. I don’t know who said this, originally so somebody else if you know and you want to leave in our comments feel free to but love in its purest form has free has four different elements. First of all, it’s free. It is faithful, it is full, Fq Ll and it is fruitful, free, faithful, full or total and fruitful. So let’s unpack with those those means So again, this is the foundation of a good sex life when husband and wife are moving towards aspiring to their sex life being free, faithful, full and fruitful. So get any of those you want to kind of dive into.

Kit 4:47
Well, I just really want to say that one of my favorite ones and all of these are beautiful, but I just want to highlight faithful as somebody who has been married for 33 years, but had, you know, kind of some a difficult past as it relates to intimacy, sexual and relational, I am so grateful that in my marriage, my husband and I can say to each other, I forsake all others. And I choose you, not anybody else. I’m not going to share this with anyone else. This is just for you. And for me, and I just, I think that is a beautiful, sacred thing. And so I just want to highlight that one.

Josh 5:36
Yeah. And I hear in there too, that the element of exclusivity that love in its purest form, so sex in its purest form, has to be exclusive. It’s not just, hey, I need sex, or I need some body. But specifically, this is about husband and wife. So you know, my wife and me, your husband and you? Yeah, it’s not, it’s not just a generic kind of, you know, fill in the blank kind of situation. Yeah. And I can, you know, I relate that to that, too. I actually had this epiphany recently, where there was a I was, I was scrolling through something on on my computer, and this image of a scantily clad woman popped up my screen, and I felt that kind of instinct of like, some desire and interest and, and just lingered there a little bit longer than I, I felt good about. It wasn’t just noticing beauty, something kind of began to turn a little bit toward this image. And so later, I was telling my wife, I just, you know, I just want to tell you this happen and confess that I lingered there, I saw that. And I, and she’s, you know, we’ve walked a long, long road with each other and receive that graciously and gave me grace. And I left the room. And as I left the room, I, I had this thought, and I turned around, I went back in and I said, Hey, but I also need to tell you, like, you are the only person only person who’s whose body brings me joy, brings me joy in this way. And I meant it, you know, I’m 19 years of marriage, almost 20 years of marriage. And that’s because of exclusivity. That’s because

Kit 7:16
of our commitment to be faithful to each other. And I can only imagine how she received that as quite a profound, again, sacred gift to have to hear you say those words to her.

Josh 7:31
It’s been it’s been a long, long road,

Kit 7:34
which just shows God can redeem in remarkable ways. Right? Yeah,

Josh 7:39
yeah. So. So I want to just talk about these other ones quickly. Free. I think what we mean by that is, it’s not course, if it’s not manipulated, it’s not owed or demanded, you can’t you can’t demand Love, love, nothing can be owed. And so likewise, sex follows that bill, it has to be given freely, it’s of my own free. It’s my own free gift to you, and yours to me. You know, it, there’s there’s marriage advice that goes out there that says, you know, like, hey, if you want your husband to be faithful, make sure that you’re having sex on a regular basis, like, yeah, now? No, that’s not that is not the full picture. That’s not fair. That’s putting, you know, his faithfulness, as something that you have to control by by giving that then you’re not free to give yourself it’s such a good point, Josh. Yeah. Full, I think we’ve had that kind of, I think that’s not a surprise. But it’s, it’s a, this is not just a part of me that I’m giving to you. I think we live in a culture that very much view sex and our bodies is just you know, it’s okay. You just give yourself this to this person tonight. You’re not giving your whole life, you’re not giving your whole self you’re still reserving some elements for you are for somebody else later. But love doesn’t work that way. And so sexual Love is not cannot work that way. It’s not just giving your body it’s not just giving someone pleasure. It’s really all of me with all of you. I love that john legend song. It’s a beautiful song. Yes. And I think I think it’s resonated with so many people because it’s the, it’s the cry of our hearts. That’s what we really want. Because what we really want is love. And that includes, it’s true in our sexual lives, too.

Kit 9:23
And I think that that’s such an important point because it is not to be compartmentalised. You know, this is really a full bringing of yourself. And that’s the way God designed it. And you know, that may not happen every single time. You and your spouse make love that you feel completely fully. But that is the hope and the desire, you know, that we really would be able to bring all aspects of ourselves spiritual, emotional, physical, sexual, to this place and give to one another, you know, all of ourselves.

Josh 10:00
Can I think what you’re what you’re saying, really gets at the reality that love is not just something you experience. And so sex is not something that you experience sexual Love is not just something to be experienced in a moment that kind of happens to us. There is an element to that. I mean, there’s a grace in, in a sexual relationship between husband and wife, but, but love is a virtue it’s developed. So sexual Love is a virtue, it’s developed. And so I think you bring up a good point, like free faith, faithful, full and fruitful. These are things that we aspire to we aspire to grow and having a heart that approaches our husband or wife in this way. Yeah, that’s something that we just kind of, you know, unwrap on our wedding, on the wedding night, and it’s all you know, put together, great. You know, when when other definition of love is that it’s self giving, and that, that that’s a, that takes time to learn and to grow. And it takes intentionality. So

Kit 10:52
it can Evan flow, and that’s okay, as long as you don’t, you know, just give into it, we’re not really connecting in the way that we know God wants us to, or the way that we really hope that but it’s okay. You know, but it will Evan flow, you’ll go through times, and we’ll talk about that a little bit later. But, you know, again, it’s just very forgiving. And also, you know, we want to have our eyes set on, you know, the best that we can bring to it.

Josh 11:18
Yeah, and I think that will kind of unfold that more as we talk. Yeah, even just in a couple minutes. And the last of the of this four is fruitful. And specifically what I mean by that, and is that is the scandalous secret of sex in the 21st century, that actually, it’s a part of procreation, it is the method through which God designed that new little babies would be created. So sex by God’s design is, is as I think it’s important to kind of unpack and wrestle with the reality that it’s not just intended to be a moment between husband and wife is that, but it also is deeply, deeply connected to a love that is expansive, that is open to life, as God may give it. And that is about family, it’s about children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. And that, I mean, we could talk a long time about that. But as I’ve wrestled with that reality in my own life, I It is my conviction that that’s the fertile ground for love and for chastity to grow. There is something and and I think a lot of couples even might notice if they’re later in their lives as they look back and think, you know, like this is the only wife or the only husband that I will have that has these children with me. And so you kind of see your children have become a part of who you plural are in that way. And I think sex is meant to be in intertwined with that. And that doesn’t negate just the preciousness of sex between the husband and wife when when children are not possibly Kitt. I don’t know if you want to say something. Yeah,

Kit 12:54
I think for those of us that have been struggled with infertility, I know that my heart resonates with what you’re saying. It’s truthful, all that you just said, and I know, in my experience, it has not been, that has not been the case for my marriage. And so it doesn’t take away though, in any way from the sacredness, and the beauty and the power of our sexual intimacy. And our children are adopted, they did come through, you know, biological means, they also are a very significant integral part of the big love that we have as a married couple. And, you know, they we talked to them about, you know, intimacy, they giggle, sometimes, we don’t want to know that you do that. But you know, it’s important that we talk about this beautiful thing that we share. And so in that way, our children have been a part of, you know, knowing the sweet, sacred way that we view, you know, that that aspect of our marriage.

Josh 14:05
Yeah, that goes back to what you’re saying earlier about, this is not you know, just kind of, you know, pull this one piece out as though it can kind of thrive on its own, it really is a part of a larger fabric of your relationship of love in your home. So, to wrap this up, like making love, make, that that loving the sexual love between husband or wife, something where you aspire to give it freely, faithfully, fully and fruitfully. If that’s the mutual aim of the of the couple in their sexual intimacy, then a lot of the other issues that come in, become easier to navigate through. But with that foundation laid let’s let’s talk about navigating some of those different sexual desires in marriage. And I gave the list this way I said we’re going to talk about when the husband and wife we’re just different sexually, husband wife has different sexual wounds from their past that are making intimacy today difficult. And husband and or the or the wife is being ruled by sexual desire. We’re actually going to flip that over. And we’re going to start with the last one. And then we’ll wrap up today’s podcast. And then next time, we’ll come back and talk about the next two. But I thought it just kind of flowed in what we’ve just been talking about to talk about what, what happens in the realm of differing sexual desires, when one or both of the spouses is ruled, or another way of saying is overpowered, personally, by their own sexual desires. So, yeah, let’s talk about that a little bit. And we know this is very, very common

Kit 15:29
in a lot of marriages. And unfortunately, you know, the first thing that comes to my mind and is that when one or both spouses is overpowered by sexual desire, and you kind of alluded to this earlier, that other spouse then can easily become an object. And then everything we just talked about, kind of flies off the table. So you know, when someone is overpowered, and doesn’t have control of their sexual desire, then then they’re kind of, they’re not able to bring all these beautiful things we just described to their spouse. So you know, it’s going to be really impossible for you to give yourself as a gift to your spouse, if you don’t have control over yourself.

Josh 16:14
It’s okay to say more about, about that idea of when you don’t have control of your sexual desires, and your spouse becomes an object to flesh that out a little bit more.

Kit 16:26
Well, you know, it’s kind of an instinct I had when we were talking, I was like, Oh, my gosh, if, if if a person’s coming to the marriage bed with this uncontrollable, like, overpowering sexual desire, they’re not, they’re not seeing you. There, they’re just coming with this overpowering sexual desire. And so kind of by design, then you would be getting the spouse then would become the object of it, it just, it does not align with what we just talked about.

Josh 16:58
Yeah, I mean, what comes to mind, as you’re saying that is, is then sex as kind of as this separate thing, or maybe more accurately said, sexual pleasure, then becomes what I’m coming to a person for, not coming to you for your own sake, or with myself as a gift to you, I’m coming to I don’t mean you that this conversation really got awkward. I’m coming to my spouse for for some thing, rather than for, for her, and for her sake, it’s almost more animalistic, more, more of a carnivore kind of approach, as opposed to a loving human to human connection. And it’s, and I think kind of,

Kit 17:46
in that it would, it would be not just maybe seeking pleasure, but it would be control. So that’s where the object thing comes into, you know, there’s this control this power that comes versus, you know, a humbling joining together. So I think it it just really has a lot of repercussions to how it would play out for sure.

Josh 18:11
So are you saying like control in the sense of, you know, now, because I’m, you know, if one of the spouses after a thing, yeah, then they have to control the other person to get that thing, as opposed to letting the other person be fully who they are. Yeah, and fully in them in that space. And in that moment, as they are, now they’ve got to perform, they’ve got to somehow deliver. And that that requires the first control in some other way. And that goes back to the manipulation, coercion of the Yeah, never that we were talking before. Yeah. So just to be very clear, here, where we were talking about out of control in the area of lost or flirting, watching inappropriate stuff online or on TV time at sexual fantasies, indulging in sexual fantasies, not just the, you know, the occasional flip of an idea, but, but really kind of delving into sexual fantasies role playing pornography. And unfortunately, we’ve heard a common prescription today where marriages are struggling with difference with sexual differences. One of the prescriptions that is being offered is we’ll just, you know, try it, try some stuff with each other, like roleplay a little bit like, you know, hear what his fantasies are, and try to fulfill them and, and hear you know, about the pornography. She’s been watching and try to replicate that in your marriage bed. This, this is a that is a horrible prescription. I mean, it’s, it is a it. First of all, it’s a misdiagnosis of the problem, because it suggests that the problem is, is the difference between us and we’ll talk about that in the next podcast, but the problem is not ours are sexual differences. The the problem in this case is a lack of control. It’s being controlled by your sexual desire. So I think an analogy would be to say You know, hey, if you feel disconnected for me because I’m living in this cage, then you should, you know, climb in this cage and be in prison, you’re with me. This is this is a, that’s a prescribing a poison to try to fix it a disease, it doesn’t work. In the end, it leaves both. It either leaves both spouses, as slaves to the sexual sin. Or it leaves, one of the spouses continuing to be a slave and the other of the sexual desire and the other spouse becoming a slave to this bout to that first pass is sexual desire. Does that make sense? That Yeah, what I’m saying?

Kit 20:37
Yeah, absolutely. And the other thing that this is what is true about this, if you are role playing, or doing anything to create, you know, thinking about something else, the power of being present, right? We know that the power of being present in any moment, is incredible. And being present to God in any moment in our life is a life changing way to live. But it absolutely is true in the marriage bed to to be present in this moment fully to this other person. And if you’re doing these other things, you are not present to that person.

Josh 21:17
Right. Right. Yeah. And in some cases, you’re, you’re asking the other person to be somebody that they’re not. And we have pseudo human hearts.

Kit 21:25

Josh 21:26
Yes, we are. Our deepest desire, deepest desire is to be seen, and to be loved, fully seen, fully loved, that goes back to the garden. It’s a primordial desire in us that we would be naked and unashamed. And not just not ashamed, because there’s nothing to be ashamed of. But unashamed, in a sense of fully seen, embraced, loved, treasured, cherished, honored, respected for who we are. So whether it’s, you know, fantasizing about somebody else in your marriage better, or asking your spouse to roleplay, or trying to bring pornography into the marriage bed, and to replicate what’s happening there, or in some cases, you know, trying to bring somebody else into the marriage bed to spice it up, or having an open marriage or people going outside. I mean, all of these are just, it’s prescribing poison, to fix a deeply, deeply broken problem and to fix an imprisonment. The better antidote, better prescription is, is is actually actual freedom to work, some breaks free and is able to steward their sexual desire, and to submit it to the greater the greater reality of love as opposed to trying to push love underneath sexual desire and make love conform to sexual desire, which does not work.

Kit 22:42
And in that freedom, comes playfulness. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t playfulness, but it’s present moment with the person you’re with. Yeah. And that’s a completely different thing. And I think, because we’ve kind of been formed and taught these other things we don’t need, we know very little about that. And so you know, that, just because we’re saying, we’re talking about the seriousness of love, and the sacredness of, you know, sexual intimacy doesn’t mean it’s not playful, but it’s playful with the person you’re with in that moment.

Josh 23:19
Right, beautifully. So I’m so glad you said that. Because I think, you know, once we start talking about kind of, you know, don’t do these things instead, you know, be with the person you’re there, I think some people listening, especially if they’re struggling with their own their own relationship with their spouse or with with ideas and interests, you know, different sexual differences between the husband wife, I think it can kind of feel like, Oh, you just kind of asked me to have plain oatmeal, like, here. So here’s a fitting analogy. Maybe we can even wrap up kind of discussing this a little bit. I heard this from from Bishop Robert Barron. I don’t know if it originated from him or not. But he asked the question, he said, Who is the most free? When they sit down at a piano keyboard? Is it the person who has never been trained a day and playing the piano and just kind of, you know, hammers away the keys? Or is the person who since childhood, or for years and years and years and years has practiced and been trained and had a mentor, and learn the scales and learn technique and, and really set themselves to learning the piano who is has more freedom at the keyboard to be playful to be beautiful to bring about something marvelous? Hmm, it’s the master. It’s the person who spent the time to master and so we think about our sexual lives become coming underneath the canopy of the virtue that we are all trying to grow in, of love. What we’re talking about is having greater freedom, greater playfulness, greater joy, in the sexual part of a relationship between husband and wife. Yeah, the shortcut That are cultures suggesting you don’t even have to know the person has happened to bed. That kind of quote unquote freedom, actually truncates and produces a much smaller, more stunted, inward facing version of sex. It does not bring joy. It does not bring life. Yeah. So,

Kit 25:26
all right. Well, that’s, that’s part one. Yeah. Great. So can I pray just over this content?

Josh 25:33
Yeah. And I also just, you know, say anybody listening, if these are areas where you want to grow in, yes, or you’re wrestling with with any of those things, and all that all the stuff I just talked about being captive to? We’ve, we’re familiar with that stuff. And I personally, you know, I mentioned as part of my journey, too, as being out of control and controlled by sexual desire. So we are a ministry here to walk people doing this, there’s no judgement, no condemnation here like we are for you. Yes, with you, as Jesus does. So, yeah, kid, please pray to critical stuff.

Kit 26:05
So Lord, we just offer all of this in your name, and in the spirit of you’re designed for marriage. And so Lord, I just pray that you would open all of us, all of us who are married, at thinking about getting married, with someone engaged, that you would open us up to the beauty and the sacred views of what you intended, that Lord, we would begin to see differently, understand freedom differently and understand love differently, and understand it the way you intended it. soulard we’re grateful that you are just remarkable and your design for all of this and we just surrender in whatever way we can to it. And we thank you again, Lord in Jesus name.

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Original music by Shannon Smith. Audio engineering by Gabriel @ DelMar Sound Recording.

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