When a Woman Isn’t in the Mood

Lucky in Love I Print

I have listened to Dennis Prager a few times when he was on our local radio stations and I like what he has to say.  I didn’t know he was so knowledgeable about the male/female relationship, though.   Check out this great two part essay on men, women and sexual frequency.

When a Woman Isn’t in the Mood, Part I




When A Woman Isn’t in the Mood, Part II


He articulates his points very clearly:

“A man whose wife frequently denies him sex will first be hurt, then sad, then angry, then quiet. And most men will never tell their wives why they have become quiet and distant. They are afraid to tell their wives. They are often made to feel ashamed of their male sexual nature, and they are humiliated (indeed emasculated) by feeling that they are reduced to having to beg for sex.”


“…A kind woman who is not sexual with her husband is not feminine. She is a kind roommate.  Furthermore, a woman who denies the man she loves sex is not kind.”  


“…Many women believe that it would simply be wrong to have sex with their husband when they are not in the mood to. Of course, most women never regard it as hypocritical and rightly regard it as admirable when they meet their child’s or parent’s or friend’s needs when they are not in the mood to do so. ”

I believe these articles are well thought out and reasonable.  He explains how a man feels and how important sex is to him.  What do you think?

15 thoughts on “When a Woman Isn’t in the Mood

  1. The problem I have with the Prager columns is that I don’t my wife to have “duty sex”. Even when our frequency is monthly or longer, it is still more like a chore than anything she wants to do. I want to feel like she desires me sexually. I want to feel sexually attractive. Even if we were having sex on a regular and frequent basis, I think I’d still feel like something was missing.Is that wrong of me? Do I have a faulty perception of how a wife can feel about her husband?

    During first several years of our marriage I formulated the idea that all women disliked sex, and simply used sexual attraction and favors as the means of trapping men in marriage. I felt deceived and cheated, and was becoming mildly misogynistic and quite anti-marriage. It has only been in the last few years that I’ve begun to be disabused of that notion (partly through conversations with female friends, blogs like this, and other internet forums). As I listened to other women talk about their own sexual feelings (namely that they indeed had sexual feelings and felt sexually attracted to men) I wanted my wife to feel attracted to me. But that just hasn’t happened. In recent weeks, she has made a real and appreciated effort to be more sexual, but it is still approached like a chore or duty. There is no desire or attraction in it.

    So I feel kind of like she has read the Prager columns, decided to take the advice and is now saying yes more often and occasionally initiating. But somehow our sex life remains unfulfilling for me, and neutral (at best) for her. Am I setting us up for failure, by thinking that marital sex is supposed to be more than that?

    And that is the true danger that underlies Mr. Prager’s column. A man who feels unattractive and undesired is going to have a very difficult time ignoring a woman who is attracted to him and communicates even the slightest desire.

    • Foo, I think everything CM said is right on the money. I just want to add that the fact that your wife is even trying to increase frequency is a wonderful thing. That is her showing you that she loves you enough to meet an important need of yours. She may never “feel the desire” like you describe, or act like she’s sexually attracted to you. Some women just don’t. That’s why women like that shouldn’t wait until they’re in the mood. But if she’s trying to meet your needs, she’s on the right track. I hope that you do not back down and that you make sure she knows that you need this all the time, not just for a month or two and then back to the same old, same old.

      About her taking an hour to reach orgasm, well, there is possibly a reason for that. She isn’t having them often enough! She isn’t used to it! It’s a weird thing. The longer it’s been for a man, the faster the O. But the longer it’s been for a woman who has little to no sex drive, the slower the O. That is not your fault. CM gave some great advice in that area! Do you do oral sex? Will she let you? If a woman has a hard time reaching an orgasm, that seems to be the best way to achieve it.

      I used to have a hard time reaching orgasm, too, and I really didn’t care if I had one or not. I would get frustrated, I would get self-conscious, I would want to stop trying. I felt like Conan couldn’t possibly be enjoying himself, he was probably getting as impatient as me, his hand or whatever must be tired, and on and on, and the pressure to reach orgasm would become so frustrating that I would just say, no more, it’s not going to happen, let’s move on, please. What Conan did was constantly reassure me that he was perfectly happy working to make me happy, he wasn’t tired of it, he didn’t mind, he wasn’t impatient, and he was still aroused. That finally did sink in and I learned to relax and get into it more.

      Anyway, I’m so glad that there are some positive things happening in your marriage! And thanks for coming to my blog and thanks for the comments!

  2. Foo,
    Its baby steps. Understanding each others needs, wants, and desires and acknowleging that they are valid is step one. Your wife’s understanding your sexual needs and having a desire to meet them does not automatically turn her desire switch on so that she matches your level any more than it turns your desire switch lower to meet her level when you understand her sexual needs are far less than yours. But understanding that you both have needs and wants and expectations in a marriage and having a desire to meet each others needs is a huge step.

    Then you have to take the next step and then the next step and so on. For some women this means faking it till they make it. Her sexual desire level can be ramped up but it takes time and effort on both of your parts. But you have to be realistic that your wife is probably never going to have the same desire level as you. However keep in mind that we women have many motivations for having sex with our husbands, and many times find it fulfilling or meeting our needs without being driven by sexual desire to have an orgasm. Often we just desire the physical bonding, sometimes we desire to just please our spouse by meeting his desire for sex. In your mind – does that constitute “pity sex”? If you expect your wife always to be turned on and driven by sexual desire in the same way you are, I think that may be unrealistic.

    So to answer your question, if you expectations aren’t realistic you could be setting yourself up for failure. But if you and your wife are BOTH willing to work together, step by step, I think you will find your marital sex to be very fulfilling. But understand it will take time and patience.

  3. No CM, I don’t think what you described is “pity sex”. You noted that there was a desire, weather that be for physical bonding, emotional closeness, or just to please. When I think of “pity sex” it’s the kind that happens after days of asking and finally she relents. I think her general attitude towards sex (very little interest or patience to reach her own orgasm) contributes to my perception of what our sexual relationship is missing.

    In other words a woman who conveys an attitude that she couldn’t care less if she never had sex, much less an orgasm, again in her life is likely to leave her husband feeling undesired, unattractive, and unfulfilled.

    I understand that there are asexual people in the world. I just think they have an obligation to disclose that to anybody considering marriage with them.

  4. Foo – you sound very frustrated with your wife and your marriage. Are you? I think you are missing the point here (or maybe I am and it would not be the first time haha). Can I ask you some questions to see more of where you are coming from?

    You said in your comment “In recent weeks, she has made a real and appreciated effort to be more sexual, but it is still approached like a chore or duty. There is no desire or attraction in it.” I am guessing you have been married awhile and there has been an issue with sex most of that time – correct? What is she doing or not doing that makes you feel like she is approaching sex like a chore or duty? Is this the first time your wife has made an effort to have more sex with you? What brought upon this effort she is now making? Do you think it is going to be a short term effort or do you think she is really committed to improving your sexual relationship? What would your wife need to do to help you feel that she desires to have sex with you? Do you believe she is capable of ramping up her sexual desire level with enough time and patience and a good deal of work from both of you? What will your wife get in return from improving your sexual relationship that she is not now getting from you? And most importantly – Right now, at this time in your life, do you REALLY want to try to improve your sexual relationship with your wife if she is committed to making the effort?

  5. I had a similar issue with Prager’s article. He’s 100% right that women need to understand what sex means to a man, and what rejection means to a man. But if they don’t learn to desire sex for themselves then any generosity isn’t going to last. There’s nothing like obligation to kill the libido. So I agree that the focus of the article (just do it!) isn’t the right message, or perhaps isn’t a complete message. It’s not a bad starting point, though!

    Foo, it might be a long journey for you. I’ve walked the same path, to some extent. As hard as it is, don’t let it make you think your unattractive, etc. It’s likely her issue, not you. Don’t stray – that will just serve to make you feel worse about yourself than you do. Do be sure to thank her for her recent attempts to make things better for you. That’s really important. Also, do things to build yourself up – exercise, hobbies, etc. Be a good, strong, emotionally self-sufficient man. Not only will she be more attracted to you, but you’ll be happier yourself. Win-win!

  6. I totally agree with Rob’s statement “He’s 100% right that women need to understand what sex means to a man, and what rejection means to a man. But if they don’t learn to desire sex for themselves then any generosity isn’t going to last. There’s nothing like obligation to kill the libido”

    However, i DO think the focus of the article IS exactly the right message!!!

    I heard a radio show awhile back talking about sex – and they stated that a study showed that back in the 50’s (I am going on memory here so this may not be exactly right) married couples were having more sex than they do now! So – given the sexual revelation, what has changed? I believe that Prager’s article hits upon exactly what has changed. Now some would argue as Rob and Foo, that the women in the 50’s just had sex out of obligation and that the sex was probably not very satisfying for either the men or the women. This could be true, as I have not read the study and don’t know if it included any info on quality.

    What I do know is that my parents are of that generation. My mother told me when I got married that sex was an important part of marriage and I should not turn my husband down for sex unless I had a very good reason. In my enlightened state (ha ha) I thought she was wrong and did not follow her advice. In the later years of my mother’s life (after the “yuck” factor of discussing parents having sex faded a tad) I had some discussions with my mom about this subject and found that my mother was very satisfied with her sex life with my Dad, even though most of their sex was probably focused on him and not her. The reason she was satisfied was because she loved him and wanted what was best for him. She believed that meeting his sexual needs was part of showing her love for him and it was a way she could give him with what he needed. She derived great pleasure in providing for his needs.

    This attitude is what many women of our generation have lost in our “sexually enlightened” state. #1 – Many women don’t beileve that sex is a need for a man. and #2 – Many women don’t believe that frequent sex is an important part of marriage. In their mind It is a side benefit to be had ONLY if they (the women) want it and the husband is the one who should adjust as necessary. In other words – these women have become very self centered (selfish) where sex is concerned. I can say this because I was one of these women!

    When this selfish attitude is changed (which I believe is the main point of these two articles) then the husband and wife can work together to build a happy, satisfying, and frequent sexual relationship. Changing the attitude is the first step and it is a necessary step. When both the husband and the wife lose their selfishness, then and only then, they can work on making sex good for both of them. For me, I have found that my “desire” begins with a selfless attitude! This is totally opposite of what we are being taught in today’s world. What happens for me, quite frequently, is that when I relax and go with the flow even if I am not in the mood – yet I only want to please my husband, during the process my mood changes and I also get turned on physically. If we waited for my natural physical desire to be on first – we would seldom have sex. I think this is what is happening in the marriages that these articles are talking about.

  7. CM, I really liked your last response. It gave me quite a bit to think about. I think I do need to adjust my expectations of what our sexual relationship should be like. Maybe my picture of mutual desire and attraction are not based in reality. I’ve been reading at another blog about sorting out a man’s role in his marriage and family. One of the posts was about the lead a man should take in the sexual relationship. The writer based his premise on the larger amount of testosterone that a husband has compared with his wife. He suggested, much as you have, that if a couple’s sexuality is left up to the wife it is usually going to be rather infrequent or for procreation only.

    In my marriage I gave up initiating after a couple of years of systematic rejection. I left our sexual relationship up to my wife, and frequency dwindled monthly at best. There were periods when this issue would boil over in our marriage. Frequency would increase for a couple of months, but then refusals would reset the old status quo: Me avoiding the discomfort of rejection and her comfortable with the separation.

    I’m trying to retake the lead again, and for the past couple of months the frequency has improved, but I’m running up against the same feelings of failure and inadequacy because my wife doesn’t seem to enjoy our sexual relationship. She can reach orgasm, but it can take almost an hour of manual stimulation. Generally she gets frustrated and wants to quit trying. I guess I just need to let her do this for me and quit expecting fireworks or whatever. There used to be fireworks before we were married (and we weren’t even having sex, just making out) but everything changed once we got married. She doesn’t even enjoy making out anymore.

  8. Foo,
    It sounds like maybe your wife does have the right attitude! So you are on step 1 with her. I hope you will now take step 2 and you probably are not going to like what I suggest that is! lol

    Having gone through a marriage almost exactly as you describe above for – well too long – I can say that the sexual issues with women’s ability to physically respond sexually are extremely complicated. (And you say – tell me something I don’t know lol). Knowing what I know now and going through what I did with my marriage – I am suggesting that step 2 is that you and your wife go find a GOOD sex therapist.

    Take the stigma out of your mind of what a sex therapist is. The fact is that you and your wife need help to learn how to navigate this sex issue. You have both built up negative patterns and thought processes in your marriage that are going to be detrimental in navigating a new path if you don’t know what those negative patterns are and how to fix them. Some of those patterns you probably already recognize but I am willing to be there are many you don’t.

    A sex therapists is a trained counselor – trained in the same way as marriage counselors and individual counselors. The only difference is they have ADDITIONAL training in sexual relationships. From my experience – sexual issues in a marriage that have been going on for a while are not solved alone very easily. If you were sick, you would seek a doctor. Your marriage is sick – SEEK A DOCTOR. I think you can have the fireworks back, in fact I know you can!

    It works – it really really really does! I am a firm believer and only wish we had done this years earlier. We lost too many precious years. I hope you won’t do the same.

    Sorry Zookie for highjacking your blog. As you can tell I am very passionate about this subject. (years late however) lol

  9. Another very important suggestion. Forgive me Zookie, I promise I’ll stop!

    Foo, If you wife has not already done this, your wife should find a gyn/ob that will openly talk about sex issues and will do a full test on her thyroid and hormone levels, including Testosterone and especially the free floating Testosterone levels. This will help to find out if there are any physical problems. Also if she is on any oral birth control, I would check that out also. Common use of birth control pills is another thing that has changed since the 50’s. It is being proven over and over again that birth control negatively affects women’s hormone levels and thus their sexual response ability.

    Finally- if you wife doesn’t have this book – I strongly recommend it. “And They Were Not Ashamed – Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment” by Laura M Brotherson. It is a book written by an LDS woman, and specifically targeted at women but also for men. It is one of the best books I have seen for LDS couples. She has a web site too. http://www.strengtheningmarriage.com/

    And finally – one last piece of advice that you could possible use immediately with your wife. OK – two pieces of advice. First (and this is one you do no matter what)- work on yourself to make sure you are attractive to your wife – physically (in shape and well groomed the majority of the time), emotionally (supportive and yet a strong family leader), and spiritually (whatever that means to you). Second – and this advice was given to me by my sex therapist when I was struggling to reach orgasms – take the orgasms off the table for your wife. Don’t make it your goal, and she should quit trying to reach them. Instead, concentrate only on creating pleasure for her. This pleasure can be all over her body. Experiment to find what pleasures her. Kisses on a certain spot of her body, a light touch down her thigh, light and slow touches on her [clitoris], back massages, foot rubs, soft and very light kisses on her lips, brushing her hair…. whatever Just experiment on finding ways where she feels pleasure from you, but don’t try to give her an orgasm (well unless she begs you too lol) She can do the same to you except for you go ahead and have the orgasm. But don’t make the orgasms the focal point. The more relaxed she can become with your lovemaking the more likely she will eventually be able to work on her orgasms. But that is down the road. For now sensual pleasure for both of you should be the only goal.

    OK – I’m done. Good Luck

  10. I like the quotes that you shared. I have noticed that unless I am consistently the instigator, then we rarely have sex. My wife would only initiate sex about once a month, when her monthly shot of hormones kicks in. The longer most women go without sex, the more content they are to go without. So, if they are constinantly being “not in the mood”, they are only aggrevating the situation and prolonging their being “not in the mood”.

  11. “A man whose wife frequently denies him sex will first be hurt, then sad, then angry, then quiet. And most men will never tell their wives why they have become quiet and distant. They are afraid to tell their wives. They are often made to feel ashamed of their male sexual nature, and they are humiliated (indeed emasculated) by feeling that they are reduced to having to beg for sex.”

    Amen. I’m in the “quiet, emasculated” stage myself.

    “…A kind woman who is not sexual with her husband is not feminine. She is a kind roommate.

    He is so right on. There is nothing feminine about a woman who is not sexual.
    Too bad some women just don’t get that!!

  12. These points are right on. But, men need to step up to their personal responsibility for the relationship. The Man is the Head of the Family. It’s his responsibility to make sure the marriage relationship is right–and if they’re not getting enough sex, it’s not right.

    A man who just gives up and withdraws and grows quiet (and, I suspect quite commonly turning to porn and masturbation) without ever telling his wife is NOT stepping up to his personal responsibility,and his behavior is also out of line.

    The man has the lion’s share of the testosterone in the relationship, so it’s his job to initiate, teach his wife what he(and really they both) need, and pursue her.

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