Updated: Jul 6
Most of the month, he does not annoy you. He is an amazing father, husband, friend, provider, and leader.
But oh, that 25%.
Time and time again, I am hearing this refrain from women:
"My husband wants to have sex all of the time. And I never do. What is wrong with me?"
Dear one, nothing is wrong with you. You are overworked, overtired, overstimulated, and consequently, underaroused.
Women are genuinely confused. We hear that our 30's and 40's should be our sexual prime. We wait, patiently, throughout our 20's and early 30's, waiting for the tiger to be released from the cage. But the tiger never shows up.
Here is the deal: when you are constantly stressed out, your body diverts vital reserve to keeping you alive.
Having a period? Unnecessary.
Procreating? Bad timing.
Enjoying sex? Not a priority.
Keeping metabolism, heart rate, and blood pressure functioning at vital levels?
So the body does it.
Your body synthesizes its steroid hormones from a single master hormone: pregnenolone. In order to make pregnenolone, you need an adequate supply of dietary fats and B vitamins, which come only from animal products (eat meat please).
Pregnenolone will convert into DHEA, a building (anabolic) hormone, which converts to your androgens, like testosterone. Testosterone helps give you a sex drive.
Further down the line, that cascade will convert into your estrogens, like estradiol, estriol, and estrone. Estrogens make you lubricated.
Along a different part of the same pathway, pregnenolone will convert into progesterone (which helps you make a baby, and also helps you make a good mood). Progesterone is needed to supply a healthy amount of cortisol. Progesterone also is a precursor to serotonin, your happy neurotransmitter.
Cortisol is your stress hormone. A little is a good thing. A lot is a bad thing.
For most of human history, we needed a little spike of cortisol whenever we had to run from a bear, or run a wounded child to a physician, or hunt down a supply of food to feed our family.
In this day and age, we do not have to stress out about doing those things. And since we do not have to stress out about doing those things, we have to stress about other things.
Like the laundry. And dishes. And room mom activities. And ministry. And marital disputes.
Since we have fewer large stressors, we obsess over the small things.
This is incredibly unhealthy.
The body's stress response is like a gas pedal. For awhile, when the body is healthy, you can depress the gas pedal at greater pressure to make the car go faster. But after awhile, the gas runs out...and slows down...and stops.
I see this happening to more and more women. The stress response axis, consisting of the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands becomes dysfunctional due to a continued demand for stress hormones. We call this HPA Axis Dysfunction, which was called Adrenal Fatigue until very recently. The concept was altered because the adrenal glands cannot truly burn out. But the hypothalamus and pituitary can start sending wacky signals to the adrenal glands, perceiving stress upon stress when in fact, life-threatening stressors are not truly there.
A healthy individual should be able to weather small, daily stress events without a change to her mental or physical state.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with women today. We are told we need to be more. To do more. To look better. To eat better. To serve better. To have sex better. And to do it all with a smile and a size 4 body.
C'est impossible (one time, I went to France).
Ladies, we are not men. We cannot do it all. We cannot be both woman, and man. We cannot be sensitive and strong. Emotive and logical. Flexible and rigid. Nurturing and commanding.
It is okay to just be a woman. A woman who feels secure and safe in her role as a woman also feels secure and safe to relax sexually.
So what am I telling you? I am telling you to say no more often to things that stress you out so that you have the desire to say yes to your husband more often in the bedroom.
It sounds complicated, but it is not. No one else cares as much about your saying no as your husband does. No one else is disappointed in you like your husband may be when you roll over for the 7th night in a row, too fatigued for a roll in the hay. As one of my favorite blog posts reminds me, no one really cares about me. They don't care if I say yes. They don't care if I say no. They don't care if I leave early, or stay late, or bring a meal, or offer my house up, or look amazing, or have great kids.
They care about their phones.
This is a cynical view of things, but I do not mean it in a fatalistic sense. I mean it in a freeing sense. If no one cares about you as much as you think they do, you are free to say no. And to just be you. And to not be who other people want you to be.
Relax. Stress less. Be less ticked off at everyone all of the time because you are overcommited and over stressed. And have more sex, damn it!
Aside from the abstract, difficult-to-implement, "just say no" directive, there are also a few things you can do in a practical sense to kickstart the ol' libido.
1. Touch more
I am all about three things: the Lord God, my family, and hormones. Hormones fascinate me. The hormone that is released during physical touch is oxytocin. Oxytocin is called the bonding hormone. It is the hormone that is released and shared between a mother and her baby at the breast. It is the hormone that is released between a agitated, hurt child and its soothing mother who swoops in for a squeeze and a kiss. And it the hormone that is released between a man and wife during a good lovemaking session.
If you get a chance during the day, rub his back. Touch his neck. Grab him for a hug. Initiate a small exchange of oxytocin, which brings relaxation and joy.
Make him remember zat you are Elastigirl!
2. Eat a nourishing diet
If you don't know my diet jam by now, allow me to refresh you:
Fat, fiber, protein, greens.
Eat meat. Eat veggies. Eat fruit. Eat fat. Minimize sugar, processed foods, excess carbohydrates, and stimulants.
Eat a nourishing diet, and reap the benefits of being nourished.
A body that is not stressed out physically is a body that is able to relax mentally.
Here is a recipe to get you started:
3. Finish strong
Do you know what releases the most amount of oxytocin? Orgasm. Make sure you are climaxing as much as your husband is. It is fun for both of you when it is fun for both of you. Don't shortchange yourself.
* This week, experiment in a few different ways. Put that adorable little foot down. Practice saying no.
"No, I am overcommitted, but I appreciate you asking."
"No, I am not able to. But have you tried asking (mom whose kid pushed your kid on the playground)?"
"No, my husband wants to have more sex. But thank you!"
* Practice self care by eating more nourishing foods and less crap. Make a great dinner for your family, tell the kids they are cleaning up, and whisk your beloved away to a locked bedroom.
It really is true: if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. If you are not going to practically care for yourself, who will care for you? It is not selfish to rest, eat well, and protect your boundaries. You have to put your oxygen mask on before you put others' on.
With less cortisol coursing through your veins, you have a better opportunity for testosterone (sex drive), estrogen (lube), and progesterone (relaxation) to do their jobs. There is no pill that will make you super horny. I am sorry to tell you. If you find it, let me know so I can sell it to everyone.
But for now, try to stress a little less. Enjoy things a little more. Ask for help if you need it. You don't have to struggle alone.
Leave a comment on Facebook if you feel like continuing this discussion. And download the free three-day Diet Reset from this website so you can start some self-care if you so desire.
And have a great Sunday.
Yours in health,