We left off last time with the question, “What is the real reason a woman has no desire for her husband?”

In biblical counseling we believe that often the surface problem is only a symptom of a deeper heart level problem. My goal would be to determine what in the heart (thought, belief, desire, will, attitude, emotion) needs to be changed for the symptom (lack of sexual desire for her husband) to be relieved.

There are numerous things that can contribute to the lack of desire in a woman.

First a medical check up is always in order. Women’s bodies are complex by design and throughout our lives our hormonal levels adjust. Our monthly cycles bring times of more or less intense sexual desire; fear of pregnancy makes women want to run away from sex, pregnancy, and post-partum hormonal changes bring physical and emotional changes with increasing hormones, and peri-menopause and menopause also bring their share of symptoms as hormones begin to decrease.

I also believe the use of many chemicals in our food and the relatively poor nutritional value our foods carry also may influence our hormonal balances. Getting a good overall physical exam including blood work to rule out endocrine problems such as diabetes, and thyroid as well as a measure of estrogen and progesterone may be helpful in determining if there is a true physiological cause to a lack of interest or desire in sex. The rule of good biblical counseling is to treat a physiological cause first when it can be objectively and scientifically proven one exists.

When a physical cause is not the problem, the only remaining option is that it is a spiritual problem.

In this day of blatant immorality it is unfortunately unusual in most relationships that the couple enters into marriage sexually pure. When my eldest son married a part of the marriage ceremony was to celebrate their purity through the exchange of the purity rings they each have worn since entering their teen years. They exchanged the rings with each other to signify that they had saved themselves for each other in marriage. By maintaining purity they have saved themselves from one aspect of sexual difficulty in marriage. While I have not been able to find a term for this in any book on sex I have read I believe there is for the woman something I call “sexual guilt.” Sexual guilt seems to be a result of engaging in sexual contact prior to marriage, even if the only prior partner is now her husband.

In my years of counseling women I have seen this numerous times. A woman who has been sexually active prior to marriage (whether saved or unsaved) may struggle greatly with sexual desire after marriage.

Fran says, “While I really enjoyed sex before we were married I knew deep down it was wrong, however I really enjoyed it! I thought it was ok, because we really loved each other and planned to marry anyway. I thought about how great it would be not to have to sneak around anymore, not to fear getting caught. I couldn’t wait to be free of the guilt I felt at all the sneaking around. When we married I carried these thoughts into our marriage but what was once fun and exciting was now very unappealing to me. I was just not interested anymore. I felt dirty and like my husband was always pawing at me wanting to get me into bed. Sex became a chore and I wanted to avoid it at all costs.”[1]

Betty says, “It never bothered me that we had sex before marriage. I was in love with him and we were going to be married. Once the marriage vows were said I lost all interest in him. I would rather go to bed with a good book. I don’t want to be touched. Once and a while I give in but I really would be fine if we never had sex again.”

Jenny says, “I always knew it was wrong, but I let him talk me into it. I was raised a Christian and so was he. We had sex for months before our wedding, and I begged him to stop as a wedding present to me for the two weeks prior to our wedding. He reluctantly consented. Our wedding night was a disaster for me. I had no joy or anticipation for the event of our becoming husband and wife in the physical sense. It felt like there was nothing special about it at all. After he was asleep I went and cried in the bathroom for hours. I thought, ‘is this all there is now?’ I dread sex now. I change in the bathroom or sneak to bed ahead of him because I don’t want to give him any opportunity to become aroused or to have to tell him “no” again. He gets so mad at me when I tell him I am not in the mood, and it has begun to affect our marriage. I am so angry at him for making me have sex when I don’t want to! He is selfish and is only thinking about himself. He says he needs it, and I don’t believe him. I am fine without it, why can’t he be?” When a woman is involved in sexual immorality it affects something in her thinking. God tells us in His Word that all our sin has consequences. While nothing will change the believer’s position in Christ before God, all sin carries the inescapable weight of consequences.

More next time…

[1]All “counselee” representations are fictitious and do not represent any one person living or dead or their actual case histories or personal stories.

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