When I speak to women on issues of sexual intimacy, I inevitably get asked some heavy questions. Christian women are dealing with everything from past sexual abuse to how to overcome a sexual addiction. But women also ask about seemingly less perilous obstacles to intimacy, and this is one of them. How can you be sexually intimate with a man you are no longer attracted to? Is it possible to have a great sex life when there is no chemistry?
As you can imagine, I also get this question from men. It’s funny how we react with a double standard on this issue. A woman will have empathy for her friend who no longer finds her balding husband attractive but will respond with disdain if a man were to say, “My wife has put on thirty pounds in the last ten years. I just don’t find her appealing.” Why is such a superficial expression of love accepted in a woman but scorned in a man?
Our bodies, both as men and women, undergo changes over the years. Wrinkles and cellulite begin to replace smooth skin, and muscle tissue turns to fat. Yes, we can also be guilty to compounding the impact of aging by neglecting exercise, a healthy lifestyle, hygiene, and medical care.
While sexual chemistry and attraction are important aspects of a marriage, they can never be the foundation of your love. Early in your relationship, attractiveness (physical or otherwise) is probably what drew you and your husband together. You enjoyed being in each other’s company and you naturally responded to one another sexually. In those early years, there wasn’t much else to bolster your affection . . . no shared history, no bank of fun memories to reminisce about, and no legacy of weathering the storms of life together. God, in his grace, wired our brains to be drawn to young love with powerful neurochemicals that caused you to find great joy in your relationship. However, those chemicals representing physical attraction and sexual excitement were never intended to last indefinitely.1