SEX: When A Wife Doesn’t Want to Make Love

“I have already gotten settled in bed, wearing my flannel nightgown and reading my book. Now that you’re in the mood, I’m not sure I want to go to all the trouble…” (A paraphrase of Song of Songs 5:3, 6)

Photo by David Castillo Dominici, courtesy of
Photo by David Castillo Dominici, of

Sometimes the well-worn excuse, “I’ve got a headache, honey,” is actually true. Just the thought of having sex makes your head hurt, and maybe your heart as well. It’s hard to feel amorous when you’re angry or disappointed, and it’s equally difficult to desire your husband sexually if you’re not attracted to him.

Many women in difficult marriages lack a desire for sexual intimacy with their mates —and you don’t have to look far to understand why, at least in part. We’re all aware that women are wired differently than men when it comes to sex. While men often times are aroused by physical and visual stimuli, women usually need to feel affection and trust in order to be responsive to a man’s sexual advances. When a wife receives her husband during intercourse, she is, in a sense, allowing herself to be invaded by him —not just physically, but on emotional and spiritual levels, as well.

Wives who feel loved and secure can welcome this invasion as an opportunity to experience intense intimacy and pleasure with their husbands. But wives who lack sexual desire or who feel animosity toward their husbands often experience sex as a violation rather than as loving communion.

Many women in difficult marriages find sex undesirable. So, if you have problems in this area, know that you’re in good company —and that you can take steps to have a more satisfying and healthy sexual relationship.

You may be surprised to learn that Scripture can shed some insight into why [wives] may be feeling resistant or resentful when it comes to lovemaking. In a well-known but often misrepresented passage about marriage, Paul writes, ‘The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife’ (1 Corinthians 7:3-4).

These verses have been used to browbeat wives into feeling guilty for not wanting to have sex or for avoiding it. But notice that Paul doesn’t say a wife’s body belongs only to her spouse. It says it belongs also to her spouse. As ‘one flesh,’ a wife shares her body with her husband. Bible commentaries also point out that when Paul says we ‘belong’ to one another, he’s not just emphasizing our ownership rights over one another, but he’s also clarifying that our exclusive conjugal rights belong to each other —no outsiders allowed.

This passage does not teach that a wife (or husband, for that matter) should submit to sex whenever, wherever, and however our partner demands it, no matter how we feel. Rather, it teaches that since my husband’s body belongs to me, I should care about it enough to give it pleasure whenever I possibly can, and he likewise with my body. In the same way, since my husband’s body belongs to me, I should also be understanding and generous when it’s not “in the mood,” and he likewise with my body. The emphasis is on mutuality, not selfishness.

At first reading, this passage may also seem to teach that sex is a duty, a required act. But duty is better translated as sacred responsibility. Paul is advising couples to continue to have sex on a regular basis because sex is at the heart of our sacred oneness and helps to protect our fidelity. The intent of this duty isn’t that a wife complies with a husband’s selfish appetite for sex on demand or vice versa, but to fulfill her sacred obligation to meet her husband’s sexual needs, keep the marriage bed pure, and keep each other free of sexual temptation.

Let’s look at another passage. In Ephesians, husbands are told to love their wives “as their own bodies” (Ephesians 5:28). “After all, no one ever hated his own body,” Paul writes, “but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church” (v.29). God describes a husband who loves his wife so much that he puts her needs as high on the chart as his own bodily needs! In regard to sex then, if a husband loves his wife this way, there’s no danger that he’ll mistreat her or take sexual advantage of her, because that would be like hating his own body.

In God’s ideal picture of marriage, if a wife wasn’t feeling up to sex, for whatever reason, the husband would honor and respect her feelings as if it were himself who wasn’t in the mood. If a husband doesn’t love his wife this way, he —not she —is sinning when he expects his wife to be available for intercourse on demand and without regard to her feelings.

Okay, so now we see that God didn’t intend for a wife to be a slave to her husband’s sexual needs. However, on the other extreme —saying that a wife has no responsibility or can shirk her obligation to nurture a healthy, ongoing sexual relationship —is equally wrong and unbiblical. A wife who regularly refuses to have sex or is only willing to be intimate with her husband on her terms is also acting selfishly. If you consistently rebuff your husband’s sexual advances and resent intercourse, you need to take active, positive steps toward restoring consistent and mutually satisfying lovemaking to your marriage.

Here are some suggestions to start you on the path to discovery and change. For starters:

Tell your husband that you want to improve your lovemaking and you’re actively pursuing positive changes. Assure him that you understand that you have a part in the sexual problems in your marriage. Be sure he knows that your goal is for both of you to be sexually satisfied.

Take a “time out” from sex. Paul said not to deny each other except for a time of prayer (1 Corinthians 7:5). The reason for a sexual hiatus isn’t to avoid sex —it’s to pray and take active steps to bring about change. It’s not to stop resentment from building; it’s to bring healing so that resentment is no longer an issue. Talk about this with your husband. Tell him what you’re doing and why. If he knows the goal isn’t less sex, but more and better sex, he’ll likely feel less threatened by a time out and be more willing to see a counselor together, read books together, or otherwise, explore the problem. If he gets angry or refuses to respect your wishes, talk with a counselor in order to gain wisdom and support for what you can do.

Educate yourself. There’s not enough room here to address the myriad of emotional and physical aspects of sexual dysfunction, and there are plenty of good books available. One or both of you may have grown up with ideas or teachings about sex that are inhibiting you now. Some good Christian books include:

• Restoring the Pleasure by Clifford L. Penner and Joyce J. Penner

• Intimate Issues by Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus

• Intended for Pleasure by Ed Wheat.

Check your history. Could it be that past sexual relationships are interfering in your present one? Were you involved in sexual activities earlier in life that you left feeling resentful and used? If you have a history of any kind of abuse, chances are great that you need healing from these hurtful experiences before you will begin to have a healthy attitude about lovemaking. Since this is a complex issue, you should seek help form a professional as soon as possible.

Rule out physical problems. Sometimes physical problems, such as hormone imbalances, inhibit a woman’s desire for sex. If your troubles have more to do with a lack of physical responsiveness than with emotional resistance, see a physician who specializes in sexual dysfunction and explore possible cause and solutions. You should also visit your doctor if you don’t experience orgasms, if you lack lubrication, if you find intercourse painful, or if you are on medications that might be interfering with your sexual drive.

Experiment with being the initiator. In most cases where a wife is reluctant to have sex, the husband is the designated initiator, which can lead to an unhelpful pattern in which the problem only gets worse. Authors Clifford and Joyce Penner point out:

Because the wife doesn’t show her interest in being together sexually, the husband begins to believe she has no interest in him sexually. His insecurity is triggered by her apparent lack of interest, so he anxiously begins to initiate sex more often than he would want it if he were feeling sure of himself in relation to her. She feels pressured by his initiation, so she begins to avoid him or pull away sexually. The more he approaches, the more consistent is her avoidance. The more frequent her avoidance, the more anxious is his approach. It becomes a negative spiral.

Talk with your husband about waiting for sex until you approach him. Many men, once assured that sex will take place, aren’t put off at all by waiting for the wives to signal their readiness. If you are the initiator it may remove some of the feelings of pressure and duty you experience. Instead, it becomes something you are giving, versus something he is always approaching you to take.

Spell it out for him! “If she [a wife] feels uncared for, she may believe the only interest her husband has in her is sex,” write the Penners. “He comes home from work, turns on the television, sits quietly at dinner, and watches television after dinner. Then at bedtime he becomes friendly —and her anger sizzles.”

Sound familiar? Tell your husband exactly what it takes to please you in bed and to make you feel happy to be invited there. You’d be amazed how many men just don’t realize that a wife needs to be courted during the day, instead of only five minutes before lovemaking. And chances are, it probably doesn’t take that much: a midday phone call, kisses on the way out the door, a long hug when he gets home. Be specific about what you’d enjoy and list for him several small things he could do to help you be in the mood more often.

Consider sexual therapy. For some couples, the road to a healthy sex life may require outside help. Often sexual therapy involves literally starting all over again with a clean slate. Couples typically follow a program that begin with nonsexual touching; over the course of weeks, homework assignments build back up to intercourse (Restoring the Pleasure contains a step-by-step program). If your husband is unwilling to see a counselor with you, consider seeking help alone. You’d be surprised how much progress you can make this way. A therapist may not only be able to help you deal with your own issues pertaining to sex, but may also help you find non-threatening ways to talk about them with your husband.

Be honest about turnoffs. It’s important to find a way to let your husband know what dampens your mood. For years, Catherine’s husband Jason had no idea that his wife was repelled by the smell of a prescription lotion. When she finally mentioned it one night, he was hurt that she’d never been honest before. Now he never applies his bedtime dose of lotion until he’s sure that they won’t be making love.

If it’s something he can change, let your husband know that while you accept and love him as he is, you’d think he were sexier if he could deal with this particular problem. If it’s not something he can change, the problem then becomes yours. In truth, your sexual responsiveness to your husband, if all else is well, shouldn’t be dampened by baldness, graying, or wrinkled skin. If they trouble you, you need to deal with your own thought patterns and values and try not to let them detract from lovemaking.

Making changes in your sex life won’t necessarily come easily. Some changes might not come at all. However, never give up or relegate sex to the old days. A healthy sex life is foundational to every marriage. The Penners put it this way: “How important is sex in marriage? A simple answer is that when sex is compared to an automobile, sex is to the marriage what the oil is to the combustion engine. At least a little oil necessary to keep the engine running —without sex, one’s marriage will eventually break down.”

Dear Lord,
Thank You for the gift of sex! I want to become more and more grateful for this miracle of oneness You created. Help me, I pray; to do everything in my power to make my love life with the husband You gave me all that You would have it be. Restore our passion, revive our affections, and fill us with mercy and grace for one another. Amen.

The above part of this article came from the book, Lovers for Life: Strengthening and Preserving Your Marriage, published by Christian Publications, Inc. This book is a compilation of writings from over 30 different authors on the subject of marriage. Kenneth Musko is the compiler and Janet Dixon is the editor. Some of the contributing authors include: Gary Chapman, Kevin Leman, Cheri Fuller, Willard Harley Jr., Steve and Annie Chapman, and Bob and Yvonne Turnbull.


Paul Byerly, from web site gives additional insightful information you might find helpful as you read:

SEX FOR HER —When She Resists or Limits Sex


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213 responses to “SEX: When A Wife Doesn’t Want to Make Love

  1. I have been a Christian now for over 30 years and married to a Christian woman for 25 years. When I say Christian, I mean born again bible believing. Not nominal. But for years now my wife has consistently refused to be intimate with me; she rejects my advances and thinks the whole sex thing is unnecessary. I am just so fed up. I love her dearly but I am just fed up with a loveless marriage. She wants cuddles, hugs and hand holding, but nothing more. So I resort to masturbation and on line porn, because I have nowhere else to turn. Judge me if you want. But I am trapped in a marriage where we are just totally incompatible in the sex department. Once a month would be a nice dream…Just feeling so utterly rejected. When I raise it, she gets cross and tells me to stop being so “needy”. Hurting, bad.

    1. Hello, I quote what you said… “So I resort to masturbation and on line porn, because I have nowhere else to turn.” “I have been a Christian now for over 30 years and married to a Christian woman for 25 years. When I say Christian, I mean born again Bible believing. Not nominal.” And my response is that, whilst I hear what you are saying I have this question for you… Did you really have nowhere to turn to other than Porn? Yes, your wife is rejecting you and that is not right neither is it ok, but you say you are a Bible believing Christian. I pray you turn to God more than you turn to the devices of this world. Turning to porn will make things worse and you are adding gasoline to the problem and increasing the flames.

      Please, please don’t go down the road, which will lead you to drawing away from God. No wrong justifies another wrong. I pray our God gives you more strength to overcome and that your wife will open up and talk about why she is rejecting your needs. Perhaps she is rejecting herself more that she is rejecting you… these could be symptoms of something deeper. May Jehovah Jireh provide you with answers and Godly solutions.

      1. Well said, Mandy. I join you in prayer for Martin and his wife –may the enemy of our faith NOT gain ground here, as it appears is happening. May the Lord bring victory!

    2. I dont judge you at all buddy. Name’s Jamie from Georgia…been married four years now, no kids and Christian to the bone. I love my wife dearly but she isn’t the affectionate type. Even in the beginning she wasn’t; I felt maybe it was because we were waiting till we were married to have sex but even after marriage she’s still cold. We may have sex twice a month if I’m that lucky. And even through all that she has expressed her disgust in online porn. And I’m like if you dont like me spamming to it, then do something about it. I even try to ask what the problem is only to get her silent response like she didn’t hear my questions or she’s being downright rude and ignoring them. I feel for you, brother.

      1. I’m not criticizing anybody so please don’t allow what I say bother anyone. I’ve been married for 42 years now and I love my wife more today than ever. She is a wonderful wife and a great mother of our two children and 3 grandchildren. I just want to say that I feel so sorry for all that are married and in a sexless relationship. For the past 15 years our marriage has been just that, completely devoid of sex. A few months ago I came right out and asked her if she no longer wanted sex. She told me no she no longer had any interest in sex at all.

        I have no idea how to handle it other than how I have been doing it, which is forget about it. After 15 years it’s killing me not to have sex with a woman. Masturbation only works for so long and then it too becomes very lonely and the excitement is no longer there. In all it has lost it’s appeal. I no longer know what to do and I’m searching the internet for answers.

        I’ve been to the experts but they’re worthless. One year ago I had to begin testosterone injections because my level was almost non existent and was causing other problems besides low sex drive. Now my levels are normal and I really don’t know how to handle any of this. If anyone has answers please help me. Thank all of you and I hope we all find our answers quickly. GOD BLESS ALL.

    3. I am in the same boat as you. My wife is no longer interested in sex, and has said that since I will not meet her needs (larger home, higher paying job etc.), she will not meet mine. It has been 3 years since I have had sex with my wife. We haven’t even kissed. She is just fine with this, but she still wants to have all the other benefits of a marriage. I haven’t cheated yet (just a lot of masturbation), but would if something came along. I would no longer consider it cheating since she stopped having sex with me. I vowed to be monogamous in marriage, not celibate.

  2. The article doesn’t represent what the true husband is experiencing. My wife has denied me sex for 20 years. I’ve taken extremely good care of her including washing dishes, laundry, pay all of bills. If a wife doesn’t want to have sex simply tell him, verses lying or giving excuses. Let her be the one that allows open and honest communication.

    Many websites and articles blame the husband about not getting her in the emotional state to have sex. It’s sad when those writing articles truly haven’t experienced what they wrote about. I’ve prayed so many times for Jesus to help my marriage. I’m a great husband and father. It’s time for some writers to stop being politically correct and allow some blame to go on the wife.

    1. I was faithfully married for 15 years, and she had sex with me once, on my wedding night. From then on, it was absolutely nothing. Essentially, once we got married, she did it so that she could say that she consummated the deal, but her ‘obligation’ was done, in her own words.

      How ironic to discover that after divorcing her I found out that she was in a relationship with someone else the whole time, and this is why she wouldn’t do anything with me. I was the the provider, that other guy was her affair. Women cheat, too.

      1. Wow, she is a total hypocrite and you’re so much better off finding someone else as I’m in the same boat as you. I’m going to confront my wife tomorrow night as I know she’s doing the exact same thing as you’ve mentioned below. I’m sorry for your position but please know posting your experience has given the courage to someone else to say something to their spouse before it’s too late!!!!

    2. Why do you oppose a husband giving love to his wife before expecting sex? The Bible is fairly cut and dry on the issue. I’m a little confused as to why you would complain about her not meeting your needs, when you’ve openly said that a husband shouldn’t have to care about his wife’s needs.

      1. My sex life changed the moment we moved in together. We lived in different cities and had seen each other on the weekends and once maybe during the week. We had sex over and over countless times when we saw each other. We went to nice dinners, I gave her flowers, basically I treated her with love and respect! Royalty if you ask me, even till this day! Her excuses has been I’m tired, my hormones, I’m not attracted to you anymore ect.

        Needless to say I cheated on her after 6 years of it and felt so guilty I had to tell her. I’ve given her material things, pleasure in bed, vacation trips, if she wanted it she’s gotten it. I will do anything for my wife except to continue living like this with no intimacy! If I’m not who or what she wants, I need to know because I’m ready to end it! No man/woman should endure emptiness from their soul mate. I pray that I find happiness whether it’s with her or not!

  3. Why is all the blame on husbands? I have a beautiful, sexy, desirable wife of 25 years. But for the past 10 years or so she has steadily rejecting me in the bedroom. All the advice I’ve read on the MANY websites I’ve tried. I consider myself a very good communicator. I do dishes, clean the house, laundry, you name it. I praise her for looking beautiful on a daily basis. I’m sympathetic to her needs, and always made sure she organisms before me. Sometimes multiple times.

    I recognize that she may be going through life changes. But when this subject comes up she gets mad at me and shuts down even further. She refuses to go see any doctor for help or advice because she feels nothing is wrong. She was sexually abused by her dad and brothers at a very young age and I am very understanding and sympathetic towards that as well. But again, she refuses to seek counseling for that as well and tells me that is not an underlying cause.

    I recognize this is an issue but again, she will not seek help!! And furthermore, I knew this before we were married and for 15 years that never seemed an issue in the bedroom. We went from making love 2 or three times a week to may be once every three months! I married a very sexual active woman 25 years ago. She sleeps on the couch every night! The excuse I get is that I toss, turn and snore so she can’t get any sleep.

    So what do I do? I go get help. I’m an meds, and wear a very uncomfortable CPAP Machine. Every excuse she gives, I try and rectify the problem. I asked if we could go to counseling, she says nothing’s wrong! I ask if it’s me, she says she loves me with all her heart! I go to prayer, but when it comes to the “sex” subject, I go to prayer alone! Again, she says and thinks nothing’s wrong and makes me feel like a sexual pervert or a sex maniac. Which always makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me. I’ve tried everything!

    So many websites give advice from a woman’s perspective. I’ve tried ALL!!! I gave space, I’ve mentioned counseling, I do house chores (all time), I try and open conversations about sex, I constantly tell her she looks beautiful and sexy, I pray about it every day!! Sex is a very important part of a marriage. She knew this 25 years ago. But now she no longer thinks so. We go to church and are both very active in the church. She can live without sex and tells me so. But I can’t and I tell her that!

    She is not who I married when it comes to sex. The first 15 years of marriage she initiated sex as much as I did. We are roommates and are bonded by marriage of convenience!! I don’t believe in divorce in a biblical sense. And honestly the only reason I stay in this marriage is because I am a Christian and hope and pray that one day God will give my wife back!!!

    1. If the sexual abuse was not an issue from the beginning, then the sexual abuse is not the issue at all. She didn’t get re-sick. You say you do dishes, cleaning, etc. You didn’t mention anything about giving love to your wife. Is that something you won’t do?

      1. Lily, I’m sorry, but the response you just gave to Richard shows the completely biased and insensitive viewpoint that you have. This woman is putting this poor guy through hell, and you still have the guts to chastise him! I can understand exactly what he’s going through because I’m in the same boat. I treat my wife with great love, affection and care, and she returns it by becoming more and more entitled, and less and less interested in meeting my needs, as I am with hers. I am convinced that the more a man does for his wife, it just becomes her “new normal” and has no impact on her reciprocation.

  4. This is the reason for the prevalence of extramarital affairs and thriving of prostitution. Indeed, some men would still have mistresses but the numbers would likely be very low if they were largely satisfied at home. I am shocked that some men continue in their marriages for all that long without intimacy. I am pretty sure on occasion they would do something else where. I don’t blame them at all. Again I would not condone it but what can they do? Masturbate? That would never be like real sex.

    It is in everyone’s interests to understand the importance of sex in marriage. Any spouse who continuously refuses their partner sex should expect that they can get it from somewhere either on occasion or on a regular basis. That should obviously not be a good thing but the cause should be acknowledged.

    1. I agree that a spouse denying the other to make love to him or her (because sometimes it is the husband who is denying his wife) is absolutely wrong. It sets in motion all types of problems. The denying spouse is turning her (or his back) on scriptural principles laid out in 1 Corinthians 7 where spouses should not deny each other “except by mutual consent for a time.” But please don’t allow yourself to believe the lie that because you hurt so badly, solutions to cheat and do that which you should not, are acceptable. Wrong is still wrong even if your spouse is doing something wrong to you. Violating God’s principles of cheating on a spouse is wrong no matter what the reason.

      In 1 Corinthians 7 we’re told to “flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? Yu are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” I don’t see an exception clause in this where we’re told that it’s okay to act out in sexually immoral ways if our spouse denies us. Again, yes… that denying spouse is wrong, but two wrongs committed against each other does not cancel each other out to make something that was wrong right. We are held accountable for what we do that is wrong, and cheating is wrong, no matter what the circumstances. It’s a tough place to be, but it’s the truth.

      Something that Gary Thomas (the author of “Sacred Marriage”) wrote applies here: “Your greatest temptation to sin is when someone sins against you. But THEIR sin never justifies YOUR sin. Fighting your mate’s irresponsibility [or sinful actions] with irresponsibility of your own is like pouring gasoline on a fire; it just makes things that much more explosive, that much worse. The Bible recommends a different approach: let love conquer evil; let responsibility shame irresponsibility.

      “It’s a spiritual fact that kindness kills wickedness far more effectively than nagging, complaining, or disrespect. Remember, God won us with grace when we were His rebellious enemies. He doesn’t ask anything of you that He hasn’t already done for Himself. And this same God says that we are responsible to love, even in the face of another’s irresponsibility.

      “Peter wrote, ‘Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing’ (1 Peter 3:9). Did you catch that? We’re called to respond to evil with blessing. It’s not human nature to be sinned against and think, ‘How can I bless this person who is hurting me?’ But such a spiritually powerful practice yields every effective results. Regardless of how anyone else acts, we’re still accountable before God for our responses.” So Bido, while I agree with the horrible place this puts the denied spouse into, when another spouse won’t make love to them, I have to go with God’s principles. When things get tough, we go God’s way regardless, otherwise we are denying what God tells us to do. We are not to live as the world lives –we go God’s way no matter what.

      1. When a wife refuses to submit to her husband’s sexual advances without good cause – menstruating, recovering from childbirth, infection, other physical problems, she is unfaithful to him and to God. Many wives will have relations only when they want to. Some of these insist that the husband must respond when she wants him to. Many imagine themselves “good Christians” and convince themselves that nothing, nothing at all, is wrong. If she refuses him for a week, a month, a year, three years, ten years, she can see no problem.

        When apostle Paul counseled people to marry to avoid fornication, he did not mean the legal agreement of marriage but to be married. To be married means to have sex together whenever either spouse so desires, subject to reasonableness as the examples above. Hopefully having sex is making love but just plain sex satisfies the minimum marital duty and honors God Who created man and the woman to be his suitable help.

        Men also refuse their wives and it isn’t always porn that gets in the way. Perhaps the wife has let herself go. Flabby, overweight, unkempt, just plain unattractive. Crabby. Bossy, determined to be the “man of the house” (used to be called “wears the pants” but that has lost its meaning). Gets angry when she doesn’t get her way. So maybe he has become unable to be aroused by her. Husbands should also keep themselves up. While women are not affected as much by the husband’s physical appearance, they are not oblivious either. Somewhere sexual refusal becomes sin. No one can fix an exact point in time but it’s there.

    2. True. And a partner who continuously withholds love will drive his partner out of the sexual relationship. So, if you refuse to give love, then just know your marriage will be sexless. Don’t get married or have a relationship.

  5. Martin from UK, for what it’s worth, have you ever asked your wife if she was was sexually abused? How should one feel when the wife abides by her vows and proceeds to agree with sex even when she does not want to? Whenever I ask her 99% of the time now the response is “I guess” or it’s “whatever” or it’s “fine, whatever”. I know when she is really excited when she answers “OK”, and not an enthusiastic one at that. Just kidding but that is one of her answers.

    The cause: 10 years of chronic pain with failed back surgeries and she with past childhood abuse really put us up against some horrible obsticals to overcome. We are active and in our church and I deferred to the scripture previously discussed about we “own” each other’s bodies. So, now she does not say “no” so much. It’s just too bad there is nothing in the Bible that the responses to your desires need to be said with any sort of enthusiasm, is there?

    1. When a person has been in chronic pain for 10+ years physically and emotionally, I think you should be happy with any response you would get. If she’s still doing it with you, despite her pain, then you don’t have much to gripe about… you are still getting physically satisfied while she is having to calm herself down afterward emotionally and physically from the pain that this has stirred up within her.

      Life is tough, and deals us some tough stuff. And yes, it would be nice if she could be enthusiastic, but at least she is doing what she can physically for you, despite her pain. The question is, what are YOU doing to help her in her pain, after she has helped you be physically satisfied? That might help her in a lot of ways to know that you realize this is painful for her and you care.

      Yes, we all want to be wanted. I get that. And yes, many men really, really need the physical satisfaction of sex. I get that too. It’s not only a physical release but an emotional one. But when a person is in ongoing chronic pain, it takes a toll on them physically and emotionally to the point that it’s difficult to react as loving and enthusiastic as they may have been otherwise.

      Here are some scriptures that I challenge you to prayerfully consider –there are many, many more, but these are a few (I would give her different ones if she asked… but you’re the one asking): “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (1 Peter 3:7) “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” (Ephesians 5:28) I hope these will help your relationship in some way.

      1. All I keep hearing is what about the pain the wife might be in, what about if the wife might not feel right, what if your wife was abused… what about the wife, wife, wife? How about the wife take her share of the responsibility and start addressing some of her issues? Should a wife simply let her abusers continue to abuse her and rob her and her husband of a satisfying sex life? Get some freaking help for crying out loud STOP making excuses and start making some changes.

        1. I agree Brian, and we state so in other articles posted on this web site (this is not an “all inclusive” article, otherwise the length could get ridiculous and hardly anyone would read it). This is just an article to make some men aware of SOME of the reasons, and that’s important. But you’re right… a line can be crossed when the wife needs to get help so the husband doesn’t become another victim to the original abuser. To expect him to live within the marriage as a eunuch is totally unreasonable. She doesn’t want him to cheat, but she doesn’t want to make love to him, as it’s normal to do within marriage. He’s not an unreasonable freak if he wants to make love to his wife.

          It’s important for the wife to get help if she can’t resolve these matters herself. I had to do that. For years I was clueless to the fact that I was prolonging my own hurt, and I was heaping hurt upon my husband who was not the least bit abusive. The victimization needed to stop. I finally woke up and got the help I needed — we needed. We are doing SO great now, as a result.

        2. When the sexual abuse is IN the marriage, there is little she can do about that. I don’t know why this issue is so hard to comprehend. You want sex, give love to your wife. Be loving during the act of sex. It’s not realistic, or loving. So many men brutalize their wife during sex, and then wonder why she doesn’t like to have sex with him. Yes, the Bible says she must submit. Yes, the Bible says you must not take her in the manner of a heathen who does not know God. There are, and have always been, two parts to this story. You own your part, she will own hers.

    2. Better than nothing, brother. If your wife suffers actual physical pain that is not psychosomatic, such as vaginismus, take it easy and find a position that causes her the least pain or discomfort, even if it’s not what you (or she) prefer.
      Circumcised men tend to pump with long strokes to get enough stimulation. Try slowly going in a little at a time, then doing little short strokes. If she has a shortage of lubrication, the littlest short strokes may help. If necessary an appropriate lubricant can be used.

  6. My husband stopped going to church, hasn’t gotten a job that I find acceptable, and has become completely boring. I’m sorry if I’m so turned off by the thought of sex with him that it literally hurts like labor pains. Maybe I’m unreasonable but then again he knew I was demanding since we first met.

    1. Ummmmm ummmmm, going to church may be pointless if you’re not actually learning, or living by the teachings. He hasn’t found a job to your liking? Has he found a job to HIS liking? Isn’t his happiness important to you? It should be if you expect your happiness to matter to him. He is boring? It takes two to he boring. Reading your comment, I don’t get the impression that you’re filling the home with laughter.

      My sweety gets a bit dull when he is tired, but it’s nothing a tickle fight won’t cure. When he isn’t watching, I will run across the room and pounce on him, sometimes knocking him to the floor. That gets the laughter flowing (and usually ends up with nudity). Be light hearted, your grumpiness is probably bringing him way down.

  7. Well one thing is for sure, there are no success stories here. Just bantering about the topic of sexless marriages. Stay or leave is the only question for all to answer in their own time. My wife tells me to jokingly “get a girlfriend” when she consistently rebuffs my approaches. She knows I wouldn’t do that, nor seek a divorce. Sure I could easily absolve myself of infidelity and would take full blame. That does seem to be the crutch on this post site –jockeying for placing blame on the spouse. I’ll gladly take all the blame, if I fail to find a solution where none may exist. Taking blame is the least I could do to save my spouse the embarrassment of a divorce. But I’ll never judge others for their own decisions to stay in a sexless marriage or split.

    1. Gunny, that’s not true about there being “no success stories here.” Ours is buried a bit, but ours has been a success story. For years and years I just didn’t get it as far as the importance of making love to my husband. Because of past sexual abuse, I eventually withdrew from my husband Steve and denied him. It’s like I kept him as a sexual hostage — but without sex. I didn’t want him to cheat on me; if he would have turned to masturbation I would have lost respect for him (because I didn’t see the strong sexual urge he had), and yet I denied him the one who he COULD make love to –the one he WANTED to make love to… me. All I saw was my pain, my not wanting to have sex, my side of things. I just kept going on denying him… not getting the help I needed to get past my issues. I don’t know why I thought this was okay, but it wasn’t. Thank God I woke up –for my husband’s sake, my sake, and for the sake of our marriage.

      Several years back I read a book by Linda Dillow titled Intimate Issues: Twenty-One Questions Christian Women Ask About Sex and something went off in my spirit. I had an “ah hah moment.” All of a sudden I realized how different my husband and I approached making love. I also realized that I needed to get help for my issues. It wasn’t fair to allow my victimization to spill over into victimizing my husband. The power those abusers had over me because of past abuse had to stop.

      Eventually, I prayed, found good help and God helped me to learn how to love my husband in intimate ways, like I should. It didn’t happen overnight, but I can tell you that our marriage multiplied in how good it has gotten since then. My husband and I are close in so many ways. I was clueless before, but not any more. Thank you Lord!

      So yes, Gunny, there are a lot of bad endings, but there ARE some good ones. And I work hard to try to help other women see what I’ve seen… and Steve is helping other men –to help them with their issues. We can’t help all, but the ones we have helped are more than grateful.

    2. Neither of those is a crutch. The fact is, it takes two to make a relationship succeed, and it takes two to make it fail. Men do cause their wives to leave the sexual relationship. This is fact. Women do lash out in very unhelpful ways. This is fact.

      Nothing will ever get better until BOTH people accept and own their part. Being honest about this isn’t a crutch. Men do more to push their wives away from sex than they do to attempt to connect with her emotionally. You’re not gonna get the sex you want without giving the love she wants. This is common sense.

  8. Exercising one’s right with force cannot be called rape by any sense of human imagination. If a wife is not happy with the sexual behaviour of husband she can take divorce and move out of the relationship. But it is wrong to criminalise marriages and calling your husbands rapists just because they wanted some happiness out of their lives.

    1. You don’t have any rights. Please read your Bible. You have responsibilities! The Bible does not say “you can use your wife for sex whenever and however you want, and you don’t ever have to give love or treat her like a person.”

  9. We are we so adamant about avoiding the truth in this matter? Let’s just say it. Wives need to feel loved by their husband, sexually women need to feel safe having sex with this man. The two things she needs most to have a connected relationship are the two things he refuses to give. It’s him, not her, that’s withholding love. He feels that sex is owed to him; he disregards his sacred responsibility to love his wife. Give her love, she will give you sex. Do not betray her safety during sex. “Be not immoral in your sexuality. Be giving of yourself in love to your wife. Do not take her in the manner of a heathen who does not know God.”

    When you choke her, hit her, sodomize her, brutalize her… it’s YOU who have violated the safety and trust of the relationship. YOU communicated two things to your wife. 1) you hate her 2) you enjoy making her suffer. After all of this, ask yourself, why would she have sex with you? The Bible says she must submit to her husband. The Bible also says you must love her. YOU are the head of the relationship. YOU lead the family into contempt and disconnect. By refusing you she is submitting to your leadership. This article questions about sexual abuse in the past, when it should be asking about sexual abuse in the marriage. I don’t know why we are so reluctant to address the truth.

  10. I’m a female and got married to a wonderful guy a little over a year ago. We had a great relationship prior to marriage and sex was great! Once we got married, I changed only in the sexual area, as I can count on one hand how many times I made love to my husband. My husband’s good looking, smart, funny at times and very loving. There are few things we do not see eye to eye on and that is a problem for me which makes me reject him in bed.

    When he drinks, he says means things but states he’s joking when he’s confronted or denies he even said that. He takes his families side over mine etc. There are other small little things but it all adds up. When I talk to him about it, he plays reverse psychology and makes me feel like it’s my problem for upsetting / hurting him, so I just keep quiet as I don’t want the issue to escalate, but there are times my mouth has run.

    Anyway, the point is, regardless how good looking a guy is, how sweet/caring he is, how buff he is, how educated or rich he is, if you and your wife are not able to communicated about the small issues, it will build up and the wife will resent you by not giving you what you desire; sex. Being a female I feel like this is the only way I can get back at my husband for making me feel bad when he plays reverse psychology. I’ve been called selfish, and told that I’ve forced him into celibacy etc. My response, “you are free to go find someone else”. My girlfriend says, I’m not in love with him which is why I don’t make love to him. This may be true…as your wife may be in the same boat as me.

    ” I didn’t lose you, you lost me. You’ll search for me in everyone you’re with, but I won’t be found”.

  11. I have been married for almost 3yrs. My wife doesn’t want to have sex on a regular basis and always coming with the excuse that she is tired. There was a time she wasn’t working for about a year and still comes with the “being tired excuse”. Note, She doesn’t have any health problems. We normally have sex only once a month now if I am lucky; twice a month and I am always the one to initiate it. She only likes to cuddle. Note, we never had sex before marriage but I noticed the red flag 1-2 months after marriage when we would fight alot about me not getting enough sex.

    We are still a very happy couple except for this side of sex. I help her with house chores as well and we pray together everyday as Christians. We do not have kids yet but I foresee troubled times ahead after we start having kids soon that our sex life might die completely. I have a very high sex drive and its killing me. I am thinking of calling off the marriage even though I love her but I am not sure I would like to stay like this 10, 15 yrs, 30yrs down the road. Before you ask me to talk with her one on one…We have gone through this round and round. She promised to change in the first year but no improvement and it’s getting worse. Now I dread the lonely night time. I know she loves me and her life might never be the same again if we divorce. For me I will move on with my life as we don’t have children yet.