Why Do Some Women Have a Low Sex Drive?

References Dr. Ruth Morehouse in “Why You Don’t Want To Have Sex” from Oprah Magazine July-August 2010 and “Passionate Marriage” by Dr. David Schnarch

Women often bear the brunt of the details of managing the household and daily family life. When they feel like they can’t catch up, they often become stressed and overwhelmed, leading to a sense of depletion and exhaustion that can carry over into their sex lives and lead to a low sex drive.

Sex can start to seem like one more chore to add to the to-do list. How could her husband possibly expect more out of her than she’s already doing?

The lack of sexual desire sometimes leads to a feeling of guilt or shame. Why wouldn’t you want to have sex? You must be dysfunctional in some way, right? That’s probably not the case at all.

If there’s no underlying physical problem, take time to explore the reasons for your low sex drive, and realize that they are legitimate issues that deserve to be addressed, not glossed over.

In fact, sex therapist Dr. David Schnarch says that being honest about your lack of desire shows good judgment: “Healthy people don’t want sex when it’s not worth wanting.” (127)

Reasons for a Low Sex Drive in Women

Clinical psychologist Ruth Morehouse has identified several reasons why women often experience a decline in sexual desire as they get older. Her husband’s book Passionate Marriage builds upon this information with suggestions for how to address these issues.

1. The Effect of Stress on Sexual Desire

The process of pregnancy, childbirth, infant care, and possibly breastfeeding can make a woman feel that her body doesn’t belong to her anymore. Sex can start to seem like one more physical demand placed on an already depleted body. Saying no to sex can be one of the only ways a woman regains a sense of physical autonomy in the midst of the demands of motherhood.

This perspective unfortunately assumes that sex is something the wife does for the husband, instead of being a time of mutual enjoyment. This mindset often develops due to one partner having a higher sex drive than the other; in this case, the husband has a higher drive than the wife, although the reverse is frequently true as well.

When the higher drive partner initiates frequently, the lower drive spouse may begin to feel pressured. Consider how you can take some of the pressure off and rekindle a feeling of romance and mutual desire.

Here are some ideas:

  • Request that your spouse take a break from initiating for a brief period of time to give you some space.
  • Schedule some time away for just the two of you to spend alone together.
  • Put sex on the calendar. This doesn’t have to be unromantic; it can give the higher drive spouse reassurance, while removing the pressure on the lower drive spouse. This also has the benefit of giving a wife time to prepare mentally and emotionally. Taking time to de-stress and invest in self-care beforehand can increase a wife’s sexual desire when sex is on the agenda.

2. Marriage as a Low Priority

It’s one thing to say your marriage is a priority, but it’s important to take practical steps to keep it that way. This involves altering your view of sex, trying to see it not as an act of service or a task on the checklist, but as a way to connect and build intimacy in your marriage.

Take time to actually think about sex during the day, and consider the physical benefits—a release of tension being one of them. Sex can de-stress you once you get over the initial mental barrier.

Acute stressors in life can result in marriage being deprioritized, but this will only result in more problems. It’s important to work on marriage problems as they arise in order to reduce their negative impact on the relationship, including the sexual relationship.

“Clearly, emotional issues have a direct physiological impact on sexual functioning. Generally, the more unresolved issues that intrude during sex, the further away you are from your sexual potential, because these issues limit your sexual preferences and pleasure: you can relax, focus, and enhance the physical stimulation you’re receiving only when it fits your dynamics.” (86)

3. Dissatisfaction in the Sexual Relationship

If sex has become monotonous and routine, this may impact your level of desire. Over the years, it’s easy to slip into a familiar pattern, but this can start to seem rote and impersonal.

A wife may feel taken for granted instead of cherished. She might want to ask for a different approach, but doesn’t know how to without making it sound like her husband is inadequate.

The early stages of a relationship are usually full of intense connection and physical attraction, and when this naturally fades, sex can start to seem like a letdown.

It’s important to stoke the fires of intimacy and passion once the honeymoon phase has passed. The sexual relationship within marriage needs a solid foundation built on a holistic relational approach.

Physical attraction can’t be the basis for everything; the emotional connection needs to be cultivated and maintained as an integral aspect of sex.

“As you age, feelings and thoughts must replace biological drive and sensory awareness as the major determinants of your sexuality. Exploring your sexual potential isn’t just easier to do; it’s a necessity if you want to keep sex a vital part of your life as you get older.” (89)

Years into a marriage, many couples have figured out what works for them in order for each partner to feel satisfied, but it’s important not to allow the relationship to settle into a rut. You can’t expect to have an intimate bond if you treat your spouse like a checklist.

Schnarch emphasizes the need to seek beauty not in the act of sex itself, but in the person that you’re with. “There’s no beauty in sex–the beauty is in people. You can’t save the beauty in sex, you have to put it in.” (75)

The book of Song of Solomon illustrates this excellently. Sex isn’t the point; the lover and beloved are the focus. Physical satisfaction isn’t an end in itself, but the result of pursuing and enjoying the other person.

4. Insecurities and Stagnancy in the Sexual Relationship

Perhaps you haven’t considered the role insecurity might play even in a seasoned relationship. You can take responsibility for your own satisfaction by realizing it’s up to you to improve your sex life. Simply going through the motions prevents you from being fully present. This contributes to ongoing stagnancy.

Morehouse describes women who have dissatisfying sexual relationships due to feelings of insecurity in their overall relationship. They’re uncomfortable with disturbing the status quo. The sex is fine, it’s acceptable, so why rock the boat?

What if this makes things worse instead of better? What if you feel embarrassed by asking your spouse to change the familiar routine?

But if you’re so worried about creating problems that you never speak up, this actually leads to other issues. Sex may feel boring and unsatisfying, leading to a lack of desire, and it becomes a vicious cycle. Even though you’re not doing anything to improve your sex life, you might begin to resent your spouse for not making it better.

It’s important to own the fact that if you want your sex life to be more satisfying, you have to be willing to acknowledge your lack of desire and initiate change.

In Romans 7, the Apostle Paul describes the battle between his indwelling sin and his desire to live in obedience to God’s commands. He knew God’s will, but he still sinned.

In the same way, knowledge and action can remain polarized in marriage as a spouse knows they’re struggling with the current state of things, but doesn’t move forward to change them.

Begin a conversation with your spouse about trying something new in your sexual relationship. Think of it as exploring a new facet of your favorite hobby. Any favorite activity needs a change in routine once in awhile for it to remain enjoyable. Doing the same exact thing every time is more like an assembly line than a gratifying sexual experience.

When to Seek Counseling

Genesis 2:24 emphasizes the high value of the marriage covenant, which creates a new union that supersedes one’s family of origin. If your marriage is last on the list of priorities in a busy life, becoming “one flesh” in all areas will be very difficult.

Christian counseling San Diego can provide a safe, mature environment for you and your spouse to work on your intimate difficulties and develop a deeper understanding and bond.


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Common Types of Depression and What to Do About It

Depression is a complex issue. Research shows that millions suffer from some form of depression each year. The problem, however, is that many who suffer from it are not even aware. It may take months or years before the sufferer realizes that there is something really wrong.

And to make things worse, though they realize there is a problem, only one third of them choose to seek help. Christians, especially, can be quite reluctant to do so, believing that depression means there is something wrong with them mentally or even spiritually. They are afraid to be labeled as “different” in their church or inner circle so they keep it to themselves.

Types of Depression

There are various types of depression that may be triggered by a number of factors such as the surrounding environment, major issues in life, stress and even genetics – in fact, those with a family history of a depression disorder have a higher risk of suffering the same.

Some types are instantly noticeable as a sudden event (e.g. death in the family, loss of job, broken heart) that may cause immediate changes in the person’s life. Other forms, however, gradually build up with the sufferer passing it off as something minor until it is too much to bear.

Here are some of the most common types of depression worldwide:

Clinical or Major Depression

Some medical specialists call this “major depressive disorder”. A person suffering from such feels depressed almost all the time. They may have difficulty sleeping, focusing on work and other life activities, or even remembering important things. Physically, there may be a loss of weight and a lack of energy. Emotionally, they may be quick to anger or immensely sad at times.

For them, life itself may seem quite meaningless, greatly troubling the people around them. There are many triggering factors such as genetics or biological changes; though commonly, it is a major life upheaval (e.g. separation, bankruptcy, health crisis) that causes it.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

The symptoms of this are similar to major depression but in a milder form. The difference is that PPD lasts much longer, with a person being diagnosed with such if it has lasted for at least two years.

PPD is a recurring depression, possibly disappearing for a month or two, but then striking again. Sufferers often claim that they have been depressed “forever” due to its long-lasting nature.

Atypical Depression (Subtype of Major Depression or PDD)

This is a subtype of either major depression or PDD. It is characterized by certain symptoms like a change in appetite (e.g. eating more or less than usual), excessive sleepiness, tiredness, and sensitivity to rejection. Mood swings dependent upon environmental stimuli are another characteristic since someone with atypical depression can become happy for a time if something positive occurs.

Postpartum Depression

At some point in time, most mothers, particularly new ones, experience the case of “The Baby Blues.” As they deal with hormonal changes, fatigue, and the overwhelming feeling of being responsible for a new life, it is quite understandable why slight depression may set in.

However, those with severe postpartum depression have a higher feeling of despair which may last for months or even a few years after the birth. Such depression may make it difficult for the mother to connect with the child or even cause thoughts of harming the child.

Manic Depression

Also known as Bipolar Disorder, this is a serious form of depression where the sufferer experiences periods of intense sadness followed by periods of mania. The exact levels of mania depend upon whether the person is Type 1 or 2, with Type 1 being the more severe situation as the level of elation is considered very abnormal. Professional help ought to be sought for anyone with this disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Those with this disorder have a depression connected to the seasons of the year. SAD usually sets in during the colder and stormier parts of the year such as fall and winter. During such times, the person falls into a depressive state and has difficulty functioning, similar to someone with major depression. However, once the season ends, the person usually returns to normal.

Helpful Methods for Dealing with Depression

These are some ways to handle depression:


By discussing your situation with a trained therapist, patterns of behavior or thought that contribute to your depression may be discovered. Important tasks (e.g. identifying and reframing your cognitive distortions, journal writing, mood tracking, and coming up with a self-care plan) are then given to help you at home.

The therapist may also introduce exercises that help reduce stress and anxiety; assist in understanding your disorder; help come up with methods to avoid the triggers that may aggravate your depression, and teach you how to cope should depression set in.


Medication, alongside therapy, is a typical component of depressive disorder treatment. Depending on the severity, this may be prescribed for just a short time or even long-term. Some common medications given include benzodiazepines, sеlесtіvе ѕеrоtоnіn reuptake іnhіbіtоrѕ (SSRI’ѕ), sеrоtоnіn-nоrеріnерhrіnе reuptake inhibitors (SNRI’s), or trісусlіс antidepressants.


When one is depressed, personal care is often the least of one’s priorities. But intentionally trying to deal with your circumstances can really make a difference. This includes improving your mental outlook, nourishing your body, and caring for your spiritual needs. The following are some helpful activities to try:

  • Mental self-care: deep breathing, journal writing
  • Physical self-care: regular exercise, adequate sleep, proper diet
  • Spiritual self-care: prayer time, connecting with family and friends

Though such strategies really do work for many, should you need something different, do not be afraid to discuss other options with your therapist.

Depression can be beaten if proper treatment is sought. For Christians, depression is not a sign of spiritual weakness nor is it a sin. With professional help, one can address the situation before things become even worse.

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Couples Counseling Techniques to Try at Home

If a single person’s life is considered dynamic, it is all the more so for a married couple as two very different people establish a new life together under the same roof. Counseling is an important way to ensure that both positive personal and relational growth occurs as the challenges in a married couple’s life increase.

Couples undergoing counseling receive deeper insight into one another’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Practices and techniques are taught to allow the spouses to develop a stronger connection in order to overcome obstacles in their lives.

And most importantly, as the couple prayerfully seeks improvement together, God’s power and love may be experienced which will inspire, encourage, and heal.

However, counseling alone is not enough to sustain this positive growth. At home, the couple needs to implement what was learned. This is why counselors give assignments to help establish better habits and practices for a stronger and more fruitful married life.

Couples Counseling Practices to Take Home with You

Here are three exercises which are useful in reinforcing gains made in couples counseling:

1) Checking in Emotionally

Focused attention is something that most individuals appreciate and even crave, especially in today’s world where people are experiencing less face-to-face time compared to the past. When someone attentively listens to us, we feel that we are special to him or her.

This practice – which is known to others as an “emotional check-in”, a “connection time”, or a “heart check in” – is vital for spouses to know one another’s inner world. When their inner being is expressed and understood, the couple grows closer emotionally.

To achieve this, the couple is asked to commit to a specific time to share and listen to one another’s heart. A specific day, time, and place are set for them to share regularly. A time limit (20-30 minutes is an okay start) is decided upon for sharing their feelings and any resulting needs.

As one spouse shares, the other listens attentively, interrupting only to clarify things or to summarize what was understood at that time. When the first person is done sharing everything, the spouse who was listening reflects back the sentiments and emotions heard, and then asks, “Is there anything you need from me regarding those feelings?” This is then the time for the sharing spouse to express what should be addressed in the relationship.

After that, the first sharer becomes the listener and the process is repeated. Through this, not only is empathy for one’s spouse strengthened, each spouse also develops more awareness of their own emotions and needs. It really is a beneficial way for each spouse to feel loved and understood. 

2) Using the Time-out Method

An additional important tool needed by couples is the “time-out.” It is natural that conflict may arise as burdens and frustrations are shared. Although a natural occurrence, couples need to ensure that it does not escalate to the point of causing a further rift in the relationship.

In the time-out, physical distance is asked for and granted so that emotions may cool down, thoughts may be gathered, and a fruitful conversation may be returned to. Without it, things may boil over into something very hurtful indeed – emotionally and possibly even physically.

Aside from allowing the heated discussion to simmer down, the time-out is also a trust-building practice. This is accomplished as the spouse acknowledges the anger and then takes a non-destructive step (the time-out) to de-escalate the situation. Trust is further built up as the conversation is resumed once things settle down. It means that both seek a resolution rather than an escape from the discussion.

3) Taking Time to Pray Together

Praying together for the marriage is another powerful practice. While it is always important to pray individually, when it is done together, each partner is given reassurance about just how important their relationship is to one another, helping to deepen the shared spiritual connection.

Prayer is an act of humility as we acknowledge our finiteness, seeking God’s wisdom and assistance. But though it is something we must do, it can be difficult at times because of our pride, our past experiences of unanswered prayers, or even spiritual opposition.

So as the couple takes time to fervently pray together for God’s help, it means that they have realized they cannot do things on their own and that they are truly seeking for the means to keep their bond strong.

It is why it has been generally observed that couples who pray together tend to stay together.

The above-mentioned are just some of the practices that may be assigned during counseling sessions. If you believe that this article pertains to you or to a couple that you know, it is recommended that you contact a professional Christian counselor to help you build a strong and prayerful marriage.



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