The Four Levels of Sexual Interest

The Four Levels of Sexual Interest 1

In our marriage we’ve noticed that we have basically four levels of sexual interest, and the level we’re at generally determines how we have sex each day. We believe these interest levels can be a useful tool for communicating with your spouse when he or she isn’t able to read your mind. This post will describe the four levels we experience, and then present a table that illustrates how the the levels affect the sexual activities in our marriage.

Level 0: Wants no sex. At Level 0 you actively do not want to have sex. Level 0 might be due to illness or fatigue, or it might be the result of emotional distress or disconnection between spouses. Level 0 should be rare for healthy people, and if you’re frequently at Level 0 then you should take steps to figure out why and see what you can do to improve your sexual interest. Health issues can’t always be fixed, but they can often be mitigated. Emotional difficulties, tiredness, and disconnection from your spouse can be repaired, and you have a responsibility to work at it.

Level 1: Willing to have sex. At Level 1 you are willing to have sex with your spouse, but you’re not particularly aroused or needy yourself. In a well-functioning marriage Level 1 should be the minimum you aim for, for the benefit of your spouse. Say yes to sex. At Level 1 you’re willing to have sex, even if you aren’t likely to initiate it yourself. In our experience, Sexy Corte generally doesn’t want an orgasm when she’s at Level 1, but sometimes she decides she does want one after she gets warmed up. Women are often more sexually responsive than spontaneous, so don’t neglect the wife’s orgasm just because she may not want one immediately.

Level 2: Wants to have sex. At Level 2 you’re feeling aroused or horny and you want to have sex. A healthy person should hit Level 2 periodically, perhaps in sync with ovulation, other bodily rhythms, or relationship events. When you’re at Level 2 you’re likely to initiate sex, either directly or with indications of interest that your spouse should learn to read. When Sexy Corte is at Level 2 she generally knows that she wants an orgasm. You can encourage Level 2 interest in many ways, including flirtation, foreplay, sleeping naked, and flashing. If you’re not at Level 2 and your spouse is, open yourself up to being elevated.

Level 3: Ready for anything. At Level 3 you aren’t just aroused, you’re Down to Pound. Or DTF, as the young people say. You’ve got high sexual energy and want to do something special. When you’re at Level 3 you want to invest time and create an exciting sexual experience with your spouse. This is the time to try out a sex game, sexual role-playing, a new position, a new location, or whatever else is on your sexual bucket list. It might seem like the stars need to align just right for you both to be at Level 3, but we recommend that you aim for this at least once a month.

Now that we’ve described the four levels of sexual interest, he’s a table that shows how these levels generally impact the sexual activities in our marriage.

The Four Levels of Sexual Interest 2

This table shows how our sex life works in general — yours may be different. You can use this table as a tool to have a conversation with your spouse about how the two of you will act when you’re at each of these levels of sexual interest. There are a few features of our table that are worth pointing out.

  • Sexy Corte’s arousal turns me on. If Sexy Corte is turned on then it’s almost inevitable that my arousal will rise to meet her.
  • When we have sex, I always have an orgasm. This may not be true in every marriage, but it’s true for us. The way we think of it is that each of us should have as many orgasms as he or she wants. I want to have an orgasm every time we have sex, but Sexy Corte doesn’t. As long as we both get an orgasm when we want one the system is working well.
  • If we’re both willing, we lean towards having sex. When we’re both at Level 1 we make an effort to have sex. This usually means that I’ll initiate and we’ll have a fairly vanilla encounter; we believe that setting the expectation for sex is very healthy for our marriage. We’ve created a habit of daily sex, and not having sex is the exception.
  • When Sexy Corte has high energy, we do something special! These are the days when we try all the crazy or weird activities that you read about here on our blog. Hopefully we can hit this level once or twice a month, and it’s awesome when we do.

How do you and your spouse make decisions about sexual activities? Have you talked about it explicitly? Leave a comment and share your experiences.

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  1. I wish my wife could move from zero to one more than once a month. She has never seen two or three. Of course, I am 2 or 3 all the time.

      1. We’ve talked dozens of times. She understands, and she’s a wonderful woman, but she just has very little interest in sex. It’s to the point where if I bring it up she rolls her eyes and says, “Oh boy, here we go again. No matter what I do it’s never enough. You’ll never be satisfied.”

        1. Well, there are a few things that might be going on. Take all of this with a grain of salt, because I don’t know you or your marriage or your wife’s perspective!

          1. You can ask your wife, “do you want our marriage to have a satisfying sex life for both of us?”

          2. If your wife’s low libido is frustrating to her, she can see her doctor. There are often medical or hormonal reasons for libido to be lower than normal.

          3. She says, “you’ll never be satisfied”. Have you told her exactly what you think would satisfy you? You could respond with something like, “I’ve thought about that. I believe that I would be satisfied if we had enthusiastic sex about 3 times per week. You don’t have to jump through any hoops, but it would mean a lot to me if you were willing to put forth your best effort at engagement and enthusiasm.” If you can make an agreement, then as mature adults you can both hopefully stick to it. You won’t nag her for more, and she will invest and participate. Plan to revisit the agreement in a few months and talk about how it’s working for each of you.

        2. Jim – are you and your wife aware of the concept of responsive desire? Related to that, does she end up enjoying herself when you do have sex? If she really enjoys it after you get started but never seems to want to start, she may have responsive desire (and I think something like 75% of women experience more responsive desire than spontaneous desire).

          And related to enjoying it, does she get an orgasm most of the time? My DW and I had no idea that nearly all women can/should O during sexual encounters (at least when they want to). Since getting her the O with the help of vibrators, I’ve been sensing a bit of a shift in my DW to be more willing.

          Just some thoughts,


          1. Thanks Scott. We are absolutely aware of responsive desire. When we do have sex, she has multiple orgasms every time. I make sure of that. Her orgasm is the highlight of the encounter for me. Everything is great, except that I can only coax her into it about once a month. It’s certainly not because she doesn’t enjoy it. She will “take care of me” (or help while I do myself) 2 or 3 times a week, but it’s not nearly as satisfying as when I get to pleasure her. When it’s all about me, I feel like she is just placating me, and nobody wants that. Like everybody else, I want to be wanted. I just don’t feel wanted.

  2. Great article! My wife and I do talk about sex frequently. She has a pretty healthy appetite for which I am grateful! There are times when one of us may be at a level 1 and the other is at a 2. But we are really good at reading each other. Her famous line is, “I may not want to have sex, but I’ll give you two minutes to convince me.” You have to gave fun with it. And be honest with each other!

    1. That’s a pretty tough situation! You’ve got to have a difficult conversation with your wife, with a lot of love and a lot of honesty. There’s no way that her feelings won’t be hurt, but difficult conversations are still worth having.

  3. This seems like such a simple, practical, and effective system. I look forward to trying this out one day (with the table customized appropriately given my spouse’s desires, of course). Thank you both for sharing your ideas and your personal experiences.

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