When you’ve been raised in an environment in which sex is shameful, it isn’t unusual to be sexually frigid or marry someone who is. I must disclose that I am not a huge fan of the term frigid because it can be used as a diss and in a disrespectful manner.
That said, the way I am using is it to describe someone who is having a difficult time embracing their sexuality and being vulnerable and affectionate with their spouse. It is nothing to be ashamed of. I think it is quite common coming out of purity culture and even in general culture where women who enjoy sex are viewed in a derogatory fashion.
While I am operating with the terminology that the woman is the frigid spouse throughout this article, please understand that the man can be as well. I am choosing to convey it this way for the sake of brevity and what I see most commonly.
It can be frustrating to have a spouse that is seemingly not as interested in sex as you are, and that can lead to marital issues and arguments, among other things. Here are my tips for dealing with a frigid spouse!
#1 – Listen to each other
There are very few times in my life that I have been able to intuitively know what my husband is thinking or feeling about something.
We were close early on, in fact we were practically twins in our interests and similar ways of communicating. But as we grew up, things changed. It became harder for me to understand right off the bat what he was trying to say and the reverse was true as well. We’ve both had to learn to listen intentionally to understand the other’s thoughts and feelings on every topic, sex included.
#2 – Be empathic
Don’t just listen to respond, listen to be empathic. Try to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. It wasn’t until I was being interviewed over at Deeper Waters that some pieces of how men view sex clicked for me.
I didn’t understand that sometimes if women reject men’s sexual advances, they can feel unloved because that is often how they communicate their love. I also didn’t understand that sometimes men don’t realize women can feel used when it comes to sex.
Practice empathizing with what your spouse conveys to you so that it isn’t abstract or unreasonable in your mind.
#3 – Be patient
When you are newly married and your spouse is pushing you away or acting uncomfortable with sex, try to be patient.
Sex is a huge adjustment for those of us raised to believe it was dirty or wrong. We were told to stay pure until marriage, so when you wait to have sex within marriage laboring under those pretenses, there can be not only a physical and emotional adjustment, but also an identity one.
Some wives and husbands feel like they have lost their purity after trying to have sex on the wedding night. They might not even have the words to convey this beyond that they feel deep shame. Finding your worth in your purity or virginity rather than in Jesus and His sacrifice for us is a dangerous thing, but it isn’t something that is impossible to get over.
Try to be understanding and compassionate, even if your spouse can’t tell you exactly what is wrong.
#4 – Mentally prepare
If you’ve waited to have sex until after you got married, it is understandable that one or both spouses might be ready to speed to the main event. Here is the thing: your body and emotions might not be, even if your mind is. There can be vaginal pain, dryness, bleeding, and other problems if you aren’t mentally in the right place and try to rush things.
Take some time to mentally prepare throughout the day or hours leading up to sex. Listen to music that gets you in the mood or thinking about your spouse, write them a love letter. This should make things a lot smoother when you get to spend that time together.
#5 – Set the mood
It can be difficult to focus when you already have the jitters as a newly married couple, but especially if your environment doesn’t exude relaxation.
Try to declutter your space and set up a love nest with candles or roses or warm blankets to help frame the mind for the activity at hand.
#6 – Don’t forget foreplay
Foreplay can be overlooked after you get married. Sex is on the table, so why “waste” time on it when you could just cut to the chase? But foreplay is good for both men and women to relax and enjoy sex more.
I think it also helps to reframe sex as more than trying to achieve an orgasm. It is a bonding experience that is meant to grow spouses closer to each other.
#7 – Go slow
I know that the general expectation is to have wild crazy sex on the honeymoon night. However, having that expectation can sometimes make or break your honeymoon. There is absolutely nothing wrong with recognizing the fact that it is difficult to go from 0 to 60 in the words “I do.”
Don’t feel bad about going slow and taking some time to chill and focus on a movie or read together or take an adventure instead of making sex the biggest part of your honeymoon.
#8 – Replace the narrative
If you or your spouse grew up hearing that sex was bad or dirty, those words could have very easily engrained themselves in your minds. You might be surprised how much dysfunction they can cause.
Those thoughts and feelings can be replaced by healthy ones though. One of my favorite things to recommend is reading Song of Solomon, because not only is it a beautiful and positive take on sex, but it is in the bible!
#9 – Pray
I recommend prayer a lot when it comes to sexual dysfunction because I truly believe it helps. Prayer is an intimate thing and I think it can bring individuals and couples closer to each other and to God. Talking about a situation can often take the pressure off of it, and who better to talk to about broken sexuality with than the One who created it to be whole?
#10 – Get professional help
Counseling, seeing a doctor, or going to sex therapy are great options for couples struggling with these kinds of problems. I firmly believe that prayer heals, but God has also given us trained individuals who are studied in medicine and psychology to help us heal and take care of our health in this life.
Dealing with sexual issues can pit couples against one another and damage marriages, which is why I feel it is important to talk about these kinds of things. I hope that these tips are helpful for you and your spouse.