Is Sex What You Expected?

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Is Sex What You Expected?
87 women and 297 men have answered
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  • The more serious a woman was about following Jesus, the less likely she was to say “a whole lot:” and the more likely she was to say “not at all”.
  • For men there was no significant difference in sexual experience based on intensity of faith.


  • For women being more serious about Jesus resulted in a higher rate of “Not at all” and a lower rate of “A whole lot””.
  • For men being more serious about Jesus resulted in a higher rate of “Not at all” and a lower rate of “A good deal”.


  • Forty-five percent of women but only 30% of men find their sex life to be better than they expected.
  • Sixty percent of men and 41% of women find their sex life to be worse than they expected.
  • Women who had “A whole lot” of sex with men other than the one they married were more likely to say it was way worse than expected. However, low number of female respondents makes this finding unsure.
  • Women who had no sex or just a bit with their husband before marriage were the most likely to say sex now is way better than they expected. Again, low number of female respondents makes this unsure.
  • In women, seriousness about Jesus did not correlate with how sex compares to what was expected.
  • For men the less sex with other women the more likely they were to say sex is way better than they expected. This ranged from a low of 9% who had “a whole lot of sex” to a high of 29% who had no sex with other women.
  • For men not having any sex with their spouse before marriage means a somewhat greater chance of saying sex is way better than they expected.
  • In men, being more serious about Jesus meant being less likely to say sex is way worse than expected. A bit better and way better were both somewhat higher for these men.


  • Seventy-four percent of men say frequency is less than they expected, with almost two thirds of those saying way less.
  • Fifty-nine percent of women say they have sex less often than they expected, with half saying say less.
  • Twelve percent of men and 22% of women say they have greater frequency than they expected.


  • Sixty-three percent of men and 45% of women are having less variety in their sex lives then they expected.
  • Twenty percent of men and 31% of women are having more variety than they expected.

Women’s Comments:

  • I find it really frustrating that my husband’s drive is so low. I’d love more sex and wish he’d initiate more often.
  • We were both virgins on our wedding night but did kiss and touch while dating and engaged.
  • We are older and fatter than we were way back then! Busier with work, with family issues, etc., etc. Meaning that we are often exhausted and distracted. We both agree the time has come to get healthier and sexier.
  • Although our frequency, variety and satisfaction was very high in the first year of marriage, once our first child was born it dropped dramatically. We have had sex only three times, for procreation, in 10 years, the last time being 4 1/2 years ago. He uses porn regularly and the situation has been quite devastating for me.
  • I was married before and my sexual relationship was not a good one.
  • He shows very little interest. Doesn’t want to try anything new. Only initiates on rare occasions if at all, and only in the dark
  • Sex? What is that?! I am in a sexless marriage.
  • “Society says” men want sex all the time. This has not been my experience with my husband. It has taught me that much of what “society says” is either untrue or twisted. I have to keep in mind life continues to happen and sex is something that must be kept in the priorities column.
  • I am the higher-drive spouse. He used to be addicted to porn. He still suffers from the after-effects of that. You could say we have a lot of bedroom issues to overcome.
  • When we married we had so much more time to explore each other. It is way better being married under God’s covenant, way, way better.
  • I had no experience before marriage and I expected I would just lie back and let him ‘do it’. I was surprised to find out that I do most of the ‘doing it’. My husband helped me feel free to be playful and try new things.
  • These questions were difficult to answer because I don’t remember having any expectations. Sex wasn’t on my radar screen as something important or to have any expectations of. It was in the same category as brushing my teeth–part of daily life but not particularly meaningful.
  • I married my husband when he was in his mid-50’s. I was naive about the sex drive of an older man. I had been single for 15 years and did not have any sexual relations until I married. I waited a long time and was quite eager to enjoy sex again. I just assumed that a man is always be able and ready and basically wants sex all the time. My wonderful husband is willing to please me as much as he is able and loves me very much and I wouldn’t trade him for anything. That being said, I didn’t fully understand that older men can experience a decline in ability to perform and the urge for frequency diminishes. I haven’t experienced menopause yet so my hormones are still quite healthy and there are nights I go to sleep sexually frustrated.
  • I knew sex would be good, but I was not prepared for how awesome sex is. Such a tremendous gift from God!
  • I think both of us were/are disappointed in different ways. We were both virgins when we got married. I thought before we got married that sex would be easy! I never thought that we would have any kind of conflict with it… it’s SEX!!! Ha! Was I wrong. Turns out it’s full of unexpected surprises! It’s a work in progress and probably always will be. 🙂
  • Things are less frequent and less varied than I expected, but that’s not a horrible thing. I have learned a lot together with my husband and we have a great time! We are slowly trying new things and it’s a blast…sometimes things don’t go as plans but that’s when you laugh and go on!!
  • I didn’t really know what to expect before we got married as both my husband and I had never had sex before. It was more uncomfortable and painful the first time than I had expected, but now it’s better. However we don’t have sex nearly as much as I would like, and when we do my husband climaxes very quickly. Though he always makes sure that I am satisfied as well, so I really appreciate that 🙂
  • I don’t think I went into marriage with any expectations on how often or variety.
  • When I first met my husband I was a believer in Christ but wouldn’t say we had a relationship. My husband and I were friends back then and never had sex or engaged in any sexual activities, but I was extremely promiscuous with others. Years passed and I began to calm down sexually but had absolutely no relationship with God when my husband and I started dating. I made him wait about 3 weeks which was a big deal for both of us. Then after we had dated for 4 months I got REALLY close to God and our relationship changed. I felt guilty about having sex out of wedlock so we got engaged. We lived together, slept in the same bed together, had no sex for WEEKS. But then about a week before the wedding we had sex and I still felt guilty. On our honeymoon I still felt guilty. Our sex life suffered a little because of my guilt, but since then my husband and I have both built stronger relationships with God and in turn, with each other. Our sex life is GREAT now. Sometimes we can’t get enough of each other. But we are also now FIRM believers in waiting until marriage. No guilt and nothing to compare to.
  • No variety ever and very infrequent since child was born.
  • We did everything but penetration before marriage. Once we opened the door to penetration after marriage, he pretty much shut the other doors.
  • I did not expect to enjoy sex as much as I did after I got married. My husband and I never had sex before marriage, we did kiss and “make out” while we were dating.
  • There are days when our intimacy doesn’t meet my expectation/needs. But I have no complains because those days are few and far in between.
  • Having been sexually abused as a child, there were things we couldn’t do before we were married. Specifically that I couldn’t do. I would fall into a panic attack or shut down in the middle of everything. God has worked in both of us, him for patience and in me to trust. It’s a work in progress, and we are more spiritually close during sex after marriage than before. It’s a level of intimacy I could never have imagined. I am overcoming my fears and he loves that he helps me through it. We are so much closer than before. I’m amazed That this is what God intended for me!

Men’s Comments:

  • It’s not what I expected, not because my wife doesn’t want sex but mostly because I never expected my own desire to be so low. I’m sure some of it is due to my own issues with lust and past pornography use, in addition to current stress, but it still surprises me how low my own desire is. Most of the time my wife is the one who initiates. I think another factor is sex quite often feels like work. It’s worth it after the fact, but with low drive it’s hard for me to take the initiative knowing it’s going to be a lot of work.
  • My wife and I were firsts for each other as far as the act of sex… As far as the steps before, my wife had gotten a little further than me (because she was so freakin’ hot and all the boys wanted to be with her..!) I had kissed only 3 other girls and touched 2 sets of breasts, but that was it for me… We met at 16 and 17 (in 1991) with me a year older, so that’s the way it should have been. We started getting physical (touching and dry humping) almost immediately and began to escalate with sexual experimentation (naked touching and oral sex a few times…) within 6 months… We saw each other every day so our relationship progressed quite nicely. I am African American and she was born in India, so we had to sneak and date, so that added an element of excitement that progressed us as well. After a while her family found out and she was forced to choose me over her family… We were still young so that courageous move saw us live together… Thusly began our love affair with real sex with each other… (Yes before marriage, but God forgives… We also made a pact with each other to marry before we committed to the actual act…) December 11,1993 was the first time… “We” got pregnant in August ’94 and she was pregnant at the altar when we married in ’95. Sex then was great… We were having it all of the time..! She would even try things with me… (I asked to “leave it in” for my 21st birthday and she obliged…!) But that was us when we were 20… Now that we are in our 40’s our sex life is still the same..! We had some hardships the past few years, but somehow the frequency and “freakiness” has increased. We can do it every day for weeks at a time… We may miss a few days every now and then, but #TheMarriageBed has taught us that you can be Christian and freaky too..!
  • She approaches sex like she does everything else in life: like an item on a list to be completed before moving on to the next item. It’s not that she does not enjoy it but it is no more important than laundry or grocery shopping and she wants to get done as quickly as possible so she can get on to the other items on her list.
  • My wife has no desire for sex. I love my kids, so I just grin and bear it. Our sex life is so dull and repetitive that sometimes I wish I were dead.
  • I would divorce her in a New York minute if we did not have kids
  • I didn’t know what to expect and didn’t even consider what sex would be like after many years of marriage. I wish I had begun with the end in mind. But I wouldn’t have had a clue how to do that without help from someone and there was no one to ask.
  • It’s not as often as I would like (but often enough), but the quality is WAY better than I dreamed of.
  • I married in my sexual peak (men’s sexual prime is in their twenties) and was sure we would be having sex multiple times every day. I also thought / expected that there would be all kinds of variety such as positions, places, lingerie, etc. However, life has a way of placing things in our path. Things like jobs, children, bills, stress, workload, health, children’s health, priorities, etc. My spouse has other thoughts about variety. Now, I’m lucky if we have sex once a week. Variety occurs much less frequently. Both of us are tired from our day. Kids won’t go to sleep. One of us are so tired nothing happens. Medication drops my libido severely. We do enjoy variety using an app called Avocado. We flirt, exchange sexual messages and photos, and can enjoy each other that way. That does help lead to other activities during that day or night…
  • Our sex life is CURRENTLY better than I EXPECTED before getting married. Until a couple of years ago though we were far, far worse than I would have ever feared prior to marriage. As we continue to improve our relationship we are getting closer (and hopefully eventually exceeding) what I had HOPED for before the wedding.
  • 33 years of marriage and sex STILL doesn’t work. Multiple counsellors were no help – either bad matches or scheduling issues prevented progress, so now she won’t attempt it. I lost 5 years to depression because of our marriage.
  • Do not confuse my answers above with level of satisfaction. I just figured when I got married that I’d wanna have sex all the time like I did then.
  • Being married to the right person rocks.
  • We did a lot before we got married that she’s not interested in doing now. I miss what she used to do but I know that if we didn’t have sexual activity before we got married then I couldn’t miss what I didn’t get before.
  • The “how sexual were you” questions are hugely subjective. I was what some would call a “technical virgin” on my wedding night, but that “technicality” was very, very important to me. So I don’t know how my “just a bit” or “moderate” compare to anyone else’s. It would have been nice if there had also been questions about sexual satisfaction over the course of the marriage, rather than only “now” questions. My answers would have been very different for the early years of my marriage (until having babies), which were fantastic. Recent frustrations are due to physical difficulties my wife is experiencing (joint pain, lack of libido post-menopause), not a lack of willingness, and they’re not related at all to any sexual experience prior to marriage.
  • We have sex once every few months, and when we do, it’s missionary.
  • Both abstained till marriage. Been married almost 6 yes. Have had it 2x this year.
  • We’ve had our issues and pregnancy hasn’t treated her great both first and second time. Now we both tend to have very little energy but the desire is there. Sometimes communication is an issue too. We were like rabbits and above expectations the first 6 months we were married!
  • After 24 yrs, hard to remember what I thought or expected. However now, I’d like to enjoy a bit more frequency and variety.
  • Sex improved after the first 10 years of marriage. The last 5 have been way better than the first ten.
  • Because my wife has little sexual experience, she doesn’t know what turns her on and doesn’t really know what to expect, so we’ve had a hard time agreeing on sexual expectations.
  • Before marriage I would have thought sex would have been natural and easy. Not something you would have to fight for and pray over. In the end our sex life continues to get better and better. Hope that it continues to do that each year.
  • Expectations set by media, porn, so no wonder they weren’t met. Sometimes feel the disappointment is punishment.
  • Don’t know that I ever considered what the frequency would be in marriage.
  • I have no complaints, not even mild ones. As a young man in my early 20s who was committed to remaining a virgin until I married, I was absolutely certain that I would have sex at least twice a day until I was too old to walk! Of course real life doesn’t work that way, but I’m married to a fantastic partner who is more than willing to consider my needs as carefully as she considers her own. She’s learned to connect with me sexually because that’s one area where I feel extremely close to her, and she’s taught me to connect with her through conversation and spending time connecting outside of the house because that’s one way she feels close to me. I have sex far more frequently than I need to, but the connection that’s there is so much more powerful than I could have ever thought in my early 20s was possible!
  • Our sex live has improved dramatically over the years as our trust and communication has improved.
  • My wife is a “good girl” in all the senses of that term. That is, she is a good person, and cares a lot about other people. She even cares about me. Except when it comes to sex. With respect to sex she is stingy, cool, and indifferent. She will tell you that, generally, I meet her needs. But she doesn’t seem to feel bad that she doesn’t meet my needs. And it is not that I haven’t explained this to her. She just isn’t that motivated because her needs are met. I tried to move our marriage forward by reading His Needs, Her Needs. That sex is usually at the top of a man’s list was really news to her. Why that is so I can’t say as I have said that to her many times. But apparently she did, at least on some level, believe the book. However, when it comes to ranking her needs she won’t do it. She says she wants all of her needs to be completely met. As your wife said in a recent Generous Wife, it is hard to work with someone for whom everything is important. Several of these books reference First Corinthians 7. However, that seems to have no impact on her.
  • Near daily sex is a good system only problem is avoiding ruts doing the same thing all the time you feel a little less connected but satisfying none the less.
  • How can we honestly expect our kids to save sex for marriage when all the conventional wisdom about how boring and rare married sex is- is in fact correct. This is not about the sin of sex outside of marriage. Yes it is a sin. This is about denying your spouse what is promised. At what point will it be acceptable for one spouse to withhold all other aspects of marriage in retaliation for the other spouse withholding sex. – only sex is the exclusive domain of marriage. Yes, I am bitter. I am hurt- deeply.
  • One word.. Kids
  • Before we married my wife seemed passionate and I had no reason to expect she would not be a good lover. However once we married it became clear that she had a lot of sexual issues and inhibitions. Everything from family issues to bad church experiences and teaching were an issue for her around sex. Pleasure was a thing of shame and she had no desire at all. After 16 years of marriage things are somewhat better now but we still have major issues with sexual frequency, variety and her ability to let herself enjoy sex and related pleasure.
  • Getting better, slowly; Praise GOD!
  • I didn’t consciously expect much before we married. ..I guess I just thought we’d generally take care of each other. I didn’t realize AT ALL how hard it would be to awaken any sort of sexual desires in my wife. None of that “doing the laundry/dishes…etc… is the best foreplay” advice seems to be true.
  • Among men, I am most blessed!
  • Sexless marriage since the beginning (23 years). First 3 years – sex 5 times, just to get pregnant. Currently, at 16 months since last time. Past 3 years, 8 times.
  • We struggled in our sex life until we found this marriage blog and others like this one. We now have a very good sex life. I feel we have a ways to go till we have an awesome sex life but we are really working on that.
  • I went pretty far with a girlfriend before my wife. With my wife, we progressed physically at a comfortable pace for both of us, and we made out a lot. We’ve always been sex-positive Christians, but about six years into our marriage, we stopped judging each other’s deepest fantasies and started asking, “So why does that turn you on?” Single-handedly a huge turning point toward crazy amounts of deep intimacy, evaporation of shame, and total acceptance of each other in ways that made our previous progress look like amateurs. Again, we’re serious about Jesus, we just think that there is a huge misunderstanding about the implications of Jesus’ teaching on arousal.
  • Chronic illness has put a damper on our sexual exploits. My wife uses a lot of her energy on things that are not really all that important (Facebook), as opposed to time together. By the end of the day, too much pain or tired for us. Can’t convince her to examine her priorities. But I continue to try to love and support her.
  • The biggest area that missed expectations is that I love giving oral and before getting married, the girls I dated loved receiving. However, my wife really dislikes it and allows it once a year or so. Same goes for placing fingers inside her. My wife isn’t having it, yet I feel like it’s a very intimate act. On the flip side, my wife will strip tease for me, give me oral (not all the way, but that’s fine with me), masturbate in front of me and sometimes use a vibrator or dildo with me. So she’s no prude. I really do have it good and have nothing to complain about.
  • Except for the first year or so of marriage, marital sex has been the biggest disappointment of my life. For the first two decades it was rare (once or twice a month) and since then it has been completely absent. Not what I envisioned, or was promised, or what God designed. Not my choice, but I’m stuck with it.
  • I’ve been married for 20 years. Now the sex life is better, but the first 10 years after marriage it was much worse than expected. My wife had a lot of personal value issues to work though, and that reflected more in our sex and personal lives than I realized it would. Now many of those issues are still present but don’t hold the sway over her thinking that they used to. Sex is much better, but we’re still not free to just ‘go for it’ the way I would like.
  • We both knew that we were relatively inexperienced when we were married, but my frame of reference was that it would be a lifetime of learning and growth and openness with each other. That has been very far from reality. In fact, it has been very vanilla, with a very slow thawing of openness to try new things. We are now empty-nesters, with an empty house, and there is no more interest now than there was before. She is not open to having discussions about sex, so it is very difficult to express how I feel and why and what my expectations and desires are. All this leads to a great deal of frustration.
  • Frequency has been an issue for a very long time but quality has been improving in spite of this. ED has robbed us.
  • I thought it would be easy. I didn’t anticipate conflict.
  • Before marriage I had to be the one putting the brakes on every day or we would have been having sex before marriage. That set a false expectation as the roles have revered ever since.
  • Wish the information that is so easy available today in books and on sites like this one, would have been there for us when we married. Would have given us a much better start. Sex is much more than the physical side, both for men and women, but even on the physical side we were ignorant. Then comes the “why are you so weird (= so unlike me)” reaction.
  • Married 12 years with 2 Kids. Great life and a nice home… unfortunately, her interest has DIED. She is on some medication that I suspect is causing an issue. However, she will not listen when I mention I think she needs to stop the meds and try something different. It’s frustrating. We’ve made love ONE time in the past YEAR and her comment was “You need to hurry up because I have to be up early in the morning”. Frustrating, frustrating, frustrating.
  • Maybe it’s because we had sex before we were married, but once my wife said, “I do,” any desire she previously had left and checked out. We didn’t even get to enjoy the ‘honeymoon’ phase before there was a frequency issue.
  • For questions 5&6 about “sexual”, my assumption was that was Intercourse.
  • It’s are sex like was better before we got married.
  • Didn’t really have any specific expectations.
  • It feels like a bad cliché, but the engagement and wedding rings were like kryptonite to her sex drive. Nothing-but-missionary eight times a year is not the quality, frequency, or variety I expected (that she led me to expect).
  • The last few years, things have gotten a good bit more satisfying since discovering foreskin restoration. Circumcision, especially if tight, results in a tremendous loss of sensitivity. Restoration, even partially complete so far, has been well worth the time and effort.
  • Questions about sexual experience prior to marriage were phrased vaguely. I answered meaning, “No intercourse prior to marriage but some non-penetrative play.” I was a virgin, at least technically. My wife wasn’t. I was 39 when I married, so that’s about 25 years of built-up expectations. Naturally, reality hasn’t lived up to that. I’m not sure reality could have lived up to that. So, at least I can recognize my expectations were unrealistically high. My wife’s good, she was responsive during our first year of marriage. Now, in our 2nd year, her health condition is such that she is essentially unresponsive and uninterested except for the few days near her ovulation. Other than that, she avoids, delays, and diverts away from sex. I must admit to much anxiety about what the next several years bring. Will I end up in a sexless marriage?
  • I have been surprised by all the struggles we have had with sex in our marriage. My bride has difficulty finding pleasure with Intercourse. Often having pain. This has caused the frequency and quality to be much less than I would like.
  • It’s hard to remember in terms of expectations when I was a Virgin till marriage and just not sure I’d use “expectation.” I didn’t want to be a disappointment. I wanted equal passion. I wanted to explore and be explored. I didn’t think I’d still MB. I didn’t think oral would be off limits on her. I didn’t think her period would be off limits. I didn’t think she’d want me only when her hormones peaked. I’m pleased she likes mirrors, she use to be much more vocal but still is a little. I guess I know or have more hopes of what I’d like now on all above, but feel it’s a closed door.
  • Sexless marriage for multiple years.
  • It boils down it could be better if we didn’t have so much to do. She is tired a lot. Her past has issues. Maybe she used sex as a lure to catch me. But I love her dearly and we are growing together as a couple. Sex is a bigger deal to me then to her. So I learn how to deal and she does as well, bam both get happiness. Christ sets us free from our past but only as we allow him to. Took a long time to give into the Lord in this area of life and not feel weird because we started off poorly in the sexual aspect of life. Always wondered what it would have been like to start off right. But at least I can say my wife is my one and only lover.
  • I enjoy sex with my wife now after four years of marriage. This enjoyment has required that I throw my expectations out the window and enjoy what I have with her. When we were dating we had to try hard to keep our hands off of each other and for the most part we did. I was expecting that it would be the same after we were married and so I had high expectations. Things didn’t work out that way, so I had some frustrations. Through prayer and open communication, we are getting on the same page.
  • My wife and I are a bit above average from what we have learned from our fellow married friends and our counselor during tune-up sessions. It has dropped off a bit with the third child and following hysterectomy. It’s getting better with time.
  • My wife’s own insecurities about her body make her apprehensive about sex. She is a big refuser but denies it. Her list of excuses and avoidance behavior are extensive. I have expressed how I want and need her more and she says she will try but the next day it is like Groundhog Day.
  • We have gone through different seasons in our sexualising life together….. The honeymoon, period of concern with falling pregnant, the childbearing and young parent years, what I describe as the freedom years when birth control was no longer an issue. We hit our sexualising peaks in our 40s. Slowing down now due to health issues. Overall though our sexualising life together has far exceeded our expectations from when we first married.
  • I would enjoy more frequency. She makes me wait too long for intimacy.
  • I had the expectation that sex with my wife would be frequent and fun. It’s fun, but has NEVER been frequent, at least not since she got pregnant with our first child 4 months into marriage. The quality of our sex life would be much better if the frequency were greater – the whole “practice makes perfect” mantra applies.
  • DW has very vanilla tastes when it comes to sex. Missionary with just a little foreplay once a week. I would love more variety more often.
  • Sexless marriage for over 4 years. Not at all what I expected or want.
  • Disappointing and frequency is a joke. So often told just to sort myself out or just live with it. Creates so much anger in me and distance between us.
  • My wife and I have been married for 6 years. My wife has little to no sex drive at all. We have sex once every 10 – 15 days if that. We are in upper 20’s. I definitely thought by now she would be more engaged in our sex life. She is not willing to try new things and all she wants is intercourse and that’s it. When we have sex I enjoy it but I would enjoy foreplay sometimes too and not just intercourse. I wish we would have sex more frequently but I know that will never happen. I am the high drive spouse and she could care less about meeting any of my needs.
  • Definitely over sold, under delivered. However, she probably didn’t fully understand what it is she was promising.
  • I enjoyed sex with my wife before we were married. I never could have imaged what it could be like once we were married and grew together as sexual beings. It is incredible now, 12 year married, and keeps getting better as we continue to explore, learn and grow together as one flesh.
  • The past, control issues, physical issues and self-esteem has played a huge role at ruining what should be a healthy sex life together
  • There have been vast improvements as we’ve matured, learned to discuss instead of fight, and made the effort to build a better marriage. Frequency is way up over the lean years. My only complaint is that some basic stuff is still off the menu. Pretty much anything that involves me pleasuring her (oral sex, manual sex) is off the menu…
  • What does it take to get her to be on top?
  • I think I sort of fooled myself a bit, because there were signs that there could be issues. Still, there was a sharp decline immediately after our engagement, and it only got worse after our wedding. We have 2 kids now, both conceived in periods of sexlessness, and they give her an “excuse” which further confounds things. In a nutshell, sex has become a chore for her, and it also has a very low priority. I’ve gotten to the point that I’ve given up.
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