Marriage Missions International

When a Wife Doesn’t Want to Have Sex

I’m going to approach this article a bit differently than others I’ve written because I feel a need to address both women and men on this matter, because it DOES matter. It’s a struggle, whether you’re the wife or the husband. Both feel very strongly about this part of their marriage.

I totally agree with something Dr Phil McGraw has said on his television program,

“Sex might not be everything but it registers higher (90 percent) on the ‘importance scale’ if it’s a source of frustration in your relationship. If your sex life is unfulfilled, it becomes a gigantic issue. On the other hand, couples that have satisfying sex lives rate sex at only 10 percent on the ‘importance scale.’” (From Ten Relationship Myths)

For both husband and wife, it’s a huge problem if they aren’t in agreement.

First, to the men who are struggling because their wife doesn’t respond to your approaches. I can’t even start to know the frustration you’re experiencing. I can guess, and I’ve listened to men (and my own husband) as they’ve voiced their anxiety and grief and utter angst over this issue, but not being a man, I don’t really understand it in the same way another man would.

So, when I came across a series of articles written by Paul Byerly (who along with his wife Lori, have a web site called The Marriage Bed —Paul also has web site called The Generous Husband), and I saw the value of what Paul has written, I determined to let him address this issue from a man’s perspective. So men, please read the following series of articles posted on The-generous-husband.com web site (and you may even want to question him about this matter):

WHY WIVES SAY NO TO SEX, AND WHAT A MAN CAN DO ABOUT IT

NON-SEXUAL TOUCH AND SEX

THE SIN OF BUSYNESS

And then Neil Black, on the web site, Power to Change, wrote the following articles, which you may find helpful:

HELP! MY WIFE DOESN’T WANT SEX

HELP! MY WIFE DOESN’T WANT SEX – Part 2

I hope men find the above series of articles, from both Paul Byerly and Neil Black, helpful!

And for wives who are saying no to having sex with your husbands, I realize that this is a complex issue, as well. There are so many reasons why you may not want to make love to your husband with some of them being lack of desire, his cleanliness, his demanding, abusive, controlling ways, which turn you off when you consider having any loving, physical contact with him, pornography issues —either his or yours, where satisfaction is being achieved through false, sinful entertainment. We deal with many of those issues in other topics of this web site. Please search for them.

There’s also busyness, where  you’re just plain too tired to make love to your husband because of the demands of children and job obligations, household chores, etc. Lori Byerly, of The-generous-wife.com wrote a blog on this, that you may find insightful (I sure did —probably because I have had to make similar decisions):

GET YOUR PRIORITIES IN ORDER BEFORE SAYING YES

These issues are also addressed in other topics of this web site (with links provided to others). Please seek and you will find. It’s not that they will give instant answers, or every answer, but I believe you will find the inspiration and at least some help to make necessary changes so you save at least a part of your energy to connect with your marriage partner.

Also, there is the problem of past abuse from other men and how it may be haunting you today. When your husband touches you it sends off memory triggers, which remind you of the horrible hurt you went through earlier in life. It may also have stripped your desire to have even a loving husband touch you.

I can relate. I’ve been there and have worked through that extremely difficult situation. I write a bit about it in the article:

• WHEN PAST SEXUAL ABUSE AFFECTS A MARRIAGE’S INTIMACY

If this is what you are dealing with, there’s also a few other articles you may want to read:

SEXUAL OBSTACLES: Healing an Emotional Wound

WORKING THROUGH PAST HURT

There may be other issues, such as addictions (yours and/or his), and bitterness over marriage situations (we have articles on those issues on this web site, as well).

But whatever it is, please work on it. They say that “whoever wants sex the least has the most power in bed.” That seems to be true. If a lot of withholding is going on, there is a power struggle going on and the bedroom is “a lousy place for a battle of the will.”

I agree that there are seasons where we need to work on issues, pertaining to our sex life together, but when it drags on to more than a “season” then there are problems. The Bible tells us,

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and like-wise 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. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (1 Corinthians 7:3-5)

You had to have known that before you married that isn’t good to deprive one another. Being intimate and exclusive with each other is all part of being married. If you wanted to withhold having sex with your spouse, you shouldn’t have married.

Perhaps you have changed or your husband has changed in your libido or your desire in wanting to make love. Keep in mind that marriage is not all about you. This is a partnership. And just like your husband needs to work with you on compromises, you need to work with him on compromises too.

But be careful in how you do this. Don’t just lay there and let him have his way, while you pout and think, “just get it over with.” Ultimately, that won’t satisfy your husband (or you) either. Marriage is about giving. If you look in the Bible, you see throughout it, that we’re told it’s more blessed to give than to receive. We’re also told to serve one another, with a good heart. Jesus was our ultimate example in being a servant. As we’re told in Philippians 2 we’re to, “have this same attitude.

You know deep in your heart if you’re being difficult with your husband. You know deep in your heart if you’re asking more of him than you should —letting him know that he won’t get it from you. And yet you’re expecting him to be celibate because you also expect him to stay faithful in all ways.

Yes, he should stay faithful. That’s what God expects of him too. But if you are not being intimate with him if he wants and needs you, you’re putting temptation in front of him. You’re putting him in a corner where he can feel trapped. He can’t be intimate with you and yet he has needs. A life sentence of celibacy can be a frightening life for someone who needs that connection with the one he loves and has sexual desires that won’t quit plaguing him.

I have to admit that there have been times when I didn’t “want it” when my husband approached me. There was even a LONG period of time when I was dealing with past sexual issues where I denied my husband. I now know that I was wrong in what I did and what I expected of him. It’s not that I needed to meet his every need when I was hurting so deeply inside. But I was wrong in not getting the help that I needed so we didn’t stay stuck in that place for as long as we were.

My husband pleaded with me and I just looked the other way thinking, “he just needs to control himself. He should understand how painful this is for me.”

And yes, it wouldn’t have been too much for some of that to happen, where he could “control himself” for a period of time while I was in therapy. And yes, as my marital partner, he should understand (to a certain degree) how painful this was for me. But I took it way beyond reasonable. He COULDN’T understand. He had never been abused in that way. He couldn’t have known the depth of pain. And even if he tried to understand (which he did), I needed to get help so I could work through my issues and we could work together on ours so this wasn’t something I expected from him without an end in sight.

I was being unreasonable in my expectations of him. He married me in good faith that we would be marriage partners and I was withdrawing an important connection in that partnership. And whether it was because of past abuse or whatever, it was not reasonable for me to ask my husband to stay pure and yet not be with me either. I feel that is true in most every marriage.

If there are physical, emotional, or whatever reasons why you can’t get together, please work on them. Don’t deny your spouse and sentence him to a life without you or anyone else. He wants you and no one else. Please work on your issues.

If the reason you cant be with him is because of physical pain or because of some other physical reason, then work with doctors on this. If it isn’t something that can be resolved (and you’re truthful —that it really can’t be resolved), then find other ways to satisfy him. But do it with a good attitude. And if you can’t do things in a “conventional” method because of physical limitations, then find ways to satisfy each other in other ways. Be creative. Keep in mind that the important thing is that you are together, man and wife, without any other human being involved (physically or visually). This is YOUR time to be together. Please don’t ask your husband to lead a celibate life if that is not what he desires.

As I admitted before, there was a long, long (unreasonably long) season where I pulled back from being intimate with my husband. Eventually, I woke up and realized that I had a good guy I was married to. He didn’t deserve to be another victim to what had happened to me in the past. I got help and we eventually came together and have loved on each other since.

But even so, even though my past is not an issue any longer, there have been a few dry spells where I haven’t wanted it as much as my husband has. The book, Sacred Sex: A Spiritual Celebration of Oneness in Marriage, written by Tim Alan Gardner, and the book, Intimate Issues: Twenty-One Questions Christian Women Ask About Sex, written by Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus helped me. I now “get it” as far as understanding better the emotional and spiritual connection that comes from making love as husband and wife. It’s not ONLY physical connection (although that’s an important one —especially to the marital partner who needs it), but there is more to this whole thing than many people (especially most women) realize.

God showed me that when my husband needed to be close to me in that way, to try to never deny him. Sure there are some times when I fall to bed exhausted or I’m not feeling well, when he approaches me. But instead of totally denying him, I either offer a “quickie” or ask him if we can be together at another time (and then I make sure it’s soon). My husband is a reasonable man and that has worked for us.

And if it’s just because I don’t “feel like it” —even then, I offer the same. But most of the time, even if I don’t feel like it, I’ve learned to pray. I ask God to give me the desire. I know that there is a spiritual component mixed into the intimate time my husband and I have together.

I’ve had times where I’ve started out with NO desire to make love to my husband when he has needed it, but as I pray and concentrate on giving love to my husband —lavishing him with love that comes from a heart filled with the love of God, eventually, I’m totally into it. I’m enjoying loving my husband as much as he is in loving me. It becomes TOTALLY satisfying and enjoyable. I never knew that God would answer that type of prayer, but He sure does!

I hope what I’m writing here helps in some way. I know that there are circumstances where we just don’t want it. And most husbands have those times too, but please make it your mission to work on whatever it is that is standing in the way of intimately connecting with your marriage partner in this important way.

I want to close with something that was written in the above mentioned book, Intimate Issues:

“Making the right decision is never easy but there are benefits to adopting the right attitude. When we choose to love selflessly, we honor God, we make our husbands happy, and we find more pleasure in our lovemaking.

“Dying to self is difficult, but it is necessary if you want to grow in godliness. Being godly means having a godly attitude. Godly attitudes result in godly actions, such as giving your body to your husband. This is easier if you surrender to God and allow His Spirit to work within you. ‘Nothing is impossible with God(Luke 1:37, NIV). He is able to give you desire where none existed before. He can help you exchange wrong thinking with godly thinking. He can cause you to enjoy deeper intimacy than you ever thought possible.

“God, I confess that I have not always appreciated Your gift of sex —or even wanted it. I have shunned You and withheld my body from my husband. Forgive me. I want to be a willing and creative lover —but it’s hard. Please stir up in me passion and desire for my husband. help me get my mind off myself to You and humbly ask that You behind now to work in me.”

This article was written by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.

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Comments

48 Responses to “When a Wife Doesn’t Want to Have Sex”
  1. Tony says:

    (USA) As I’ve said before, I’ve yet to see in the Bible where it says to withhold sex. If you want to withhold something, withhold something you are probably not a fan of, such as laundry, dishes, mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, etc. The Bible is clear that we are NOT to withhold sex.

    I’ve never understood the logic in withholding something because you don’t feel close to your spouse when what you are withholding is one of the most basic means of creating and cultivating your most intimate connection with your spouse. It’s as if you cut off your nose to spite your face should you choose to withhold sex.

    • Pearl says:

      (USA) It’s hard for a wife to completely grasp her hubby’s overwhelming need for sexual intimacy. Just as it is difficult for males to understand that females don’t always share this overwhelming need. We are physically wired differently. Yes, God counsels that this need is not neglected. When I did research and fully understood male biology of sexual intimacy, I finally fully understood my role in fulfilling my husband’s most important need. AND reciprocally, I was able to coach my husband to understand why my libido didn’t always match his. It wasn’t a matter of withholding, it was that we weren’t in sync with each other. Communication, was the actual key to solving our friction and restoring healthy sexual intimacy.

      • Shannon says:

        (USA) Great comment Pearl! Yes communication is very important. My husband and I do not communicate with each other. When he comes home from work, he goes straight to the basement, and I am always upstairs doing chores or with the children.

        • Joe from United States says:

          Sex is a form of communication that is probably your husband’s primary love language. Give him a reason to stay upstairs and he probably will.

          • Jean from United States says:

            No fair. Why should she give him a reason to come up stairs. He is not a visitor to the home. He needs to be a big boy and come and share in with her and the children. No wonder women do no have interest in having sex, men only come around us when they want to have sex.
            You must always remember that women are not like men. Sex IS NOT on our minds like it is on you men’s minds. Stop scolding us for being different from you all!!

          • Mylo from United States says:

            Jean, I think you may be on the wrong thread here. This is about giving from both sides, and finding out what works for both. No, men and women aren’t wired the same way for sex, but if a man doesn’t get his needs met, what motivates him to meet his wife’s needs? Also, why should a wife meet a man’s needs if he’s not willing to meet hers? It has to be a mutual effort, simply stating that it’s “not fair” or that you’re “wired differently” is not an excuse and doesn’t get you out of being accountable for your marriage.

    • John from United States says:

      The women’s responses on this page are exactly why I will not get married again. Marriage has become an institution of control, there is a deep hatred for men these days. Women seem to re-enforce each others hate for men and it’s not getting better soon. Marriage is like a contract to lose oneself, and learn to hate the other person. It’s not like the days when people needed each other, respected each other, and actually care about the family unit.

      Narcissism is rampant on both sides, but more-so with female. Don’t believe me look on Facebook. “Look at me syndrome is at epidemic levels with women. Not sure what the answer is because religion has lost it’s grip. I wish everyone a happy life, but we need to re-evaluate our society as a whole.

  2. Shannon says:

    (USA) I must confess I am guilty of withholding sex from my husband. He also does it at times. It is hard to find time or energy for sex when I have to: be a mom and student, do laundry, clean the house, cook, wash dishes, mow the law, wash the cars, run errands, take my son to get his haircut, and the list goes on. I know there isn’t a valid excuse for my actions or his. We all fall short of God’s glory. At the end of the day that is the last thing on my mind. I know I need to change my way of thinking.

    • Pearl says:

      (USA) Hi Shannon, You might try reading my post at OysterBed7 called ‘Why Sex?’ http://www.oysterbed7.com/2012/04/why-sex.html It explains the male biology of sex. It helped me be more sympathetic and pro-active in our sexual intimacy. I hope it’s of value to you. Blessings!

    • Jean from United States says:

      No woman needs to change her way of thinking. Do not say that. Men are the ones who want the sex, so let them do things to us that will get us interested, just like we coach them to go shopping or talk with us. Stop trying to remake women. We are not built like men. But since sex is what they want, then they need to take some up some of the slack so that the wife will not have a burdened down mind and tired body. The husband has got to realize that women do it all and after slaving here and there, boring sex with a boring husband who only knows how to thrust a few times is not on our minds.

      • Tony from United States says:

        Jean, Really? You can say for sure that out of the 3.5 BILLION women out there in the world, NONE of them need to change their thinking, but men do? Seems rather closed minded and one-sided.

        But let’s assume you are right. So the same would apply. Women who want conversation, romance or other such things should not try to redefine men. Instead, they need to do the things that will get their men interested in such activities. In other words, stop trying to re-make men, we are not built like women. But since conversation and romance is what they want, then they need to take up some of the slack so that the husband will not have a burdened down mind and tired body.

        The wife has to realize that men do it all and after slaving here and there, boring sex with a boring wife who only knows how to natter on about inconsequential things is not on our minds. Jean, if you find that to be ridiculous and offensive, then welcome to how your words were as presented.

      • Ed from United States says:

        Jean you sound like you are sour? That negative attitude is just poison to a relationship. That’s my interpretation. Nobody wants to change anyone. It is just coming together and giving each other what they need. Things should run a bit smoother.

        • Mary from United States says:

          If Jean sounds “sour” it is most likely because her husband has soured her with lack of love, kindness, and compassion. I totally get where she is coming from.

          I personally refuse to have sex with my husband because of the way he treats me. 12 years of him being nasty and never apologizing has me DONE. The sad thing is he is a huge Bible reading, church going hypocrite.

          You don’t get to treat me like garbage and then expect me to be fun in bed or even open to being sexually vulnerable when you have crushed my heart over and over and over again.

          So many of these articles and blog posts across the Christian marriage boards are really pro men and demeaning to women… expecting us to just give in because the two are now one and our bodies aren’t ours anymore? If the man is not respecting the woman… there is no way God said we have to sleep with them and get them off. The men have to play their roles, as well.

      • Topher from United States says:

        Jean, I and other gents have “taken up the slack”, but still to no avail. Scriptures are clear about the importance of sex within marriage. BOTTOM LINE: Jesus said “They are no longer twain but ONE…” (Emphasis added). There are simply men and women out there who don’t believe this truth, and that is why marriages fail.

      • Joseph from United States says:

        Jean, With all due respect to you and your gender, my wife had no direction in her life when we met. I have provided her with a beautiful house (which we have made into a loving home), a nice car to drive, extensive wardrobe, wonderful food on our table, two beautiful children AND provided for HER three children from a previous marriage, etc. I make every attempt to fulfill her needs, treat her with love and respect and help with the cooking, cleaning and taking care of our boys. At the end of the day, if all I want is for her to honor her vows and be intimate with her husband, I don’t believe I am asking for too much.

  3. Don says:

    (US) Well-written article and great to hear from a woman’s perspective. I need to show this to my wife, though she likely won’t act on it nor change her views, as she’s read some books on Christian marital sex I’ve bought.

    Am always trying to approach her, though maybe too much. We haven’t had sex since March, and it’s driving me crazy.

  4. Jason says:

    (USA) I just can’t get it through my head that my wife won’t even touch me or just avoids me, let alone we haven’t had sex since the ice age. I’m so drained worrying why my wife won’t have sex with me anymore. It takes 5 minutes or less. Really a person doesn’t have time because they’re so busy, yet can go spend money shopping. I don’t get it. I need something in return, right? Why is it so difficult to cope with? No wonder why I have so many gray hairs. I treat her as a queen. Happy wife is a happy life. Well, that’s not true anymore. Any help?

  5. Carol says:

    (U.S.) My husband has a lot of stress at work & brings it home to me. He has had trouble with drinking and he combines pills (prescription) with alcohol and was doing pot. He got violent, damaged things, said crazy things, and had blackouts. So now he is not doing pot…drinking only one martini a day (although I think he sneaks shots of alchohol). I left when he became violent & made threats to hurt himself & others who bother him at work. I’m back to see if he has stopped & he has somewhat. He’s getting counseling and listening to tapes, but nothing controls his temper. He is mad at everything & everyone that doesn’t performs up to his standards. He constanty corrects me for everything, speaks in an angry tone no matter what he says & his body language is angry. He always wants to argue. I try to be quiet…I want peace!

    He emotionally abuses me (not physically). He stuck his head through a wall, hit his fist many times in the wall, put a shirt around his neck and threatened to hurt himself…all under influence of who knows what? That’s when I left when it got to that point. He continually apologizes after a few days or weeks of being angry. He says he’s sorry and he knows he’s taking it out on me. Usually he blames it on work, sometimes on the way he was brought up. He has all the common traits of an alcoholic, but he said he always had that personality even before he started drinking.

    Anyway, the problem is, I go through stages…especially when he has a long period of anger before he apologizes that I don’t want him to even touch me. I don’t feel angry, just very disapointed that he never changes. I feel his words are insincere. I have normal desires..physically. I come out of this mood after a while when he apologizes, but I’m afraid someday I’ll never come out of it. Any advice?

    He always seems sincerely sorry, says he doesn’t want to be angry….he just is. How long do I give him to come out of this? We’ve only been married for 6 months. I wouldn’t have married him if I knew he had an anger problem, or an addiction problem. In fact I feel I was tricked…he said he didn’t drink & wanted a happy marriage.

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Carol, How long did you date before marrying? And were there “red flags” that you didn’t pay attention to, thinking they would go away after marriage?

      • Carol says:

        (U.S.) We dated 9 months. The red flags were small, explained away by him with, all the things we had to do before marriage, sale my house, out of town, his work was very stressful, changing formats of computers, planning a wedding, visiting his family. There were small tantrums over things not working right. I believed him. He said he normally wasn’t like that and went with the flow like me. I’m laid back. He said he didn’t drink… drank fake beers.

        I found out he is an alcoholic. He admitted it one time & said he didn’t tell me cause I wouldn’t have dated him, although now he says he just went to AA meetings in the past so he wouldn’t become one. He admitted to having all the common traits common to alcholics but he always had those even growing up. He admitted all this after marriage.

        I remember after finding out he had Irish heritage. I joked, they have tempers, oh, oh. He said sternly, does it look like I have a temper? I thought he was joking cause of his dry sense of humor. Evidently he was irritated over the comment. On our wedding day I almost backed out because he was angry in body language & words all day. But he had excuses & I dismissed it as stress. I said “I do” but felt like running away inside. I should have.

        I wouldn’t have dated him if I knew he had anger or drinking problems. I think I was defrauded. I wanted a peaceful uplifting marriage on both sides. Would God excuse this marriage since I was deceived? I know he would forgive me. I wish I could get an annulment by man & God. I would appreciate Godly advice. I have a stress rash all over and have been very depressed & staying home for long periods. I forgive him …I’m not withholding sex because of anger. I have normal desires. But when he tries to touch me… I just don’t want him to right now. This has happened before. He admits he’s taking his anger out on me and says he’s sorry. It takes me a while to come around, again & again… after he’s on good behavior for a while. But what if some day I won’t come out of this? I just am closed off from him except for talking right now. He knows why its happened before. I’d appreciate comments. God bless!

  6. Cindy Wright says:

    Carol, This is one of those really tough calls. I’m not sure what you should do, honestly, except to say that 6 months is not a long time to be married and then consider divorce, even if you feel you were deceived. Truly, your husband needs to get more serious about anger and impulse control. If this counselor isn’t helping and its been a while that he has been going to him or her, then he needs to get a different counselor. That happens sometimes that you need to change counselors.

    Also, if he’s serious about being “sorry” and wants things to work out, he needs to stop using substances. Going to AA is one of many steps. Obviously, he can’t handle substances of any kind. It’s destroying your marriage and will eventually destroy his life. He might think it helps him to handle stress, but if it contributes to that type of anger and behavior, he’s just relieving one type of stress and is adding on additional, more damaging stress –especially to you and your relationship. What you describe is not “normal” ways of handling stress. If he conducted himself at work and elsewhere like he does with you, he’d lose his job and probably be arrested. How is that working for him in de-stressing? A marriage license does not give him license to be abusive. His ways of handling and expressing anger when he is with you is abusive.

    You may need to separate for a while, if he doesn’t get more serious about working on his issues. Please wipe divorce out of your thoughts right now. You need to put more energy into figuring out how to work things out, rather than dumping out. But separation is a definite option. (Just make sure that you don’t use it as a time to get friendly with anyone else and you look at it as a way to work on your marital issues with a bit of distance between you. You can read more in our “Separation and Divorce” topic.)

    As far as an annulment –there isn’t a magic eraser in life where you can use it to wipe out that which needs changing. You took a terrible risk with only knowing this man for 9 months before marrying –that’s not long enough. But you did marry and now you need to put the work into this to try to work through these issues in a determined way, placing proper boundaries so abuse won’t be a continuing theme. I wish you well on this Carol. I pray the Lord helps you and guides you and gives you insight and hope for a better future.

    • Carol says:

      (U.S.) Thank you. I see what you mean about separating if he doesn’t show signs of change & changing counselors if that doesn’t produce results. It seems like we were at a stand still… stuck in one place for so long. I am praying that God shows me what he is trying to teach me in this trial.

      I did get a revelation about harboring anger & resentment because of my treatment. So even if he did do something nice I always saw it as trying to make up for being so bad because he always repeated the behavior again. I almost resented it… or looked at it as insincere… thinking he is so abusive & then he tries to make up with one good act & expects me to to just kiss & makeup over & over. It’s almost like saying I’m sorry but repeating again & again negative behavior.

      I saw a Joyce Meyers sermon. It seemed to speak to me. She said it’s important how we handle the trial while we go through it –that God is wanting to teach us something. So I told my husband I was sorry. I realized I had anger inside & I did want to make the marriage work. That freed me and gave me at peace with myself & I think that’s what God was trying to teach me. So whatever happens I know that I am giving 100%… not holding anything back. If my husband does the same then we will succeed. If not, I will separate as you mentioned. This is an excellent idea. Thank you & God bless!

  7. Sara says:

    (USA) Sooo what I get out of this is… If I don’t want to do it, talk myself into doing it anyways to please my husband and God while losing myself inside.

    • Jupo says:

      (USA) Hello Sara, We have to remember that in marriage, everything we do in it is unto GO whether we enjoy it or not. HE doesn’t care about what our feelings say. HE only wants us to be willing and obedient. We must stop trying to operate in our marriages in the flesh. Stay encouraged Sara, because I don’t know your situation. Remember GOD will never give you a man that cannot lead and you are definitely not a woman who cannot follow. It’s all to please HIM!!

  8. Esther says:

    (USA) Well, the reason I’m here is I must care about what God wants and my husband wants/needs. I really struggle in this area of godly sexuality. I am beginning to think much is because of my disobedience of having sex outside marriage prior to my current marriage. I get offended when my spouse sins against me regarding sex, which turns me off from wanting sex. I pray God gives me clarity about what the core issue is. I often feel more like an object even when I try to have a godly attitude. I don’t or cannot see where the blockage is in my mind about this area! We are married and it should be okay and I should want to be with my spouse!

    I am coming to see and agree this IS a real need for men and not that they or my spouse just wants to use and take advantage of me. Why is it so complicated in my mind? I wish God could cleanse my mind in regards to sexuality! Sometimes I am positive and pumped about it and it’s well, but when I really think how I feel about it I must be honest and acknowlege I don’t want to be intimate. And the conclusion why is that it feels empty, meaningless, and like an act (in my mind). Maybe my spouse really cares about me, however. Maybe he truly loves me? I struggle to believe this… especially when his actions reenforce… this area is not special. Any thoughts!?

  9. Tom says:

    (USA) My wife is ready to divorce me right now. We haven’t had a sex life in forever. In a recent argument, I admitted that I masterbated to relieve sexual tension. I’ve done it since I was young, and hoped to get away from it during marriage. But when my wife was pregnant with our son, all drive seemed to have been lost on her part. So what now? Counseling? Didn’t go across well. My wife is disgusted with me like I’m some sort of sicko.

  10. Jessica says:

    (USA) Well, I have been married for 15 years to an alcaholic who uses pot regularly. When he drinks and/or smokes pot, his personality changes. Normally he is very negative, controlling and critical of everything and especially me. However, after her drinks it escalates. He talks non-stop, even when I walk away from it. He follows me to talk more.

    I live with Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde. He puts on his temporary facad in front of people especially new ones, but eventually, his negative and critical side comes out. This is all the explanation I felt was necessary to state my point. I do not want to have sex with him when he is drunk. He is disgusting to me. All the negtive feelings come rushing to my head as soon as I see him. I have told him that when he can stay without drink through the day, then I will make love to him, alas to no avail.

    He does want sex every day, but it seems disgusting to me to lay with him while he is drunk. Do I have to? I have stayed in the marriage because I know God hates divorce. Also, I am a coward too. Even though, thank God, I have a good job. I am scared.

  11. Sousou says:

    (UAE) We have been married for 38 years. I was very very young, and he was as well; I suffered all the way with his irresponsibility and selfishness till now. He cheated on me many times… he still does. Due to this, our relationship has great emptiness now. I’m a very atractive woman. I’m an artist. I am the one who handles everything, from spending on the family to the smallest thing in our lives. He just helps when he can to keep himself with the family, not because of his good will. He knows if he doesn’t do that he will be thrown out.

    My question is what can you tell me so I can handle the remainder of this relationship that is dead except from the outside in front of friends and other people? There is no more anything to share, but some dysfunctional stuff at home. We are getting further apart; he killed every possibility to work on the relationship with me because he got hooked on having sex with very young women. I feel he doesn’t have any love left for me but he stays in the relationship just because he doesn’t have money to survive outside the marriage. I sometimes think that he is too jealous of me… I cannot even count the bad things he has done throughout our life together; I have no idea why I kept the relationship going even though it’s not really fulfilling to both of us. I’m eager to know if there’s any solution at all.

  12. ST339 says:

    (USA) Where is the article about husbands who withhold sex from their wives?? I’ve been married for 7 years and usually get sex about once every 2 months. I’m so sick of it. But everywhere I look someone is always on the wife about withholding. What about the husband?

    • Cindy Wright says:

      If you look in the “Sexual Issues” topic you will find an article to read (with links to many others) titled, “SEX: When the Husband Doesn’t Want to Make Love.”

      • ST339 says:

        (USA) Thanks! I’m new to this site. If I had looked around a little bit more I would have seen that. I just became engrossed in this article and the comments.

  13. Jerry says:

    (USA) I am desperately seeking some Christian advice on how to handle the fact that my wife’s normally low sex drive has now completely disappeared for the last 5 years. She refuses to go with me to any type of marital counseling and goes into a derogatory tirade if I do. I am in the holistic medical field and have begged her for years to let me help her but she won’t even try the nutritional/herbal protocols that I have offered. When she goes for a well woman exam with her OBGYN she won’t even bring it up as she says “she doesn’t have a problem” …except for me.

    Let me quantify this: In the last 14 years she has initiated intimacy less than 8 times!!! And that was only when she had been drinking. For the last several years I have gotten so beaten down with excuses to not engage or either a “hurry up and get it over with” attitude that I have basically given up. After all how many times do you get bit by the neighbors dog before you quit trying to pet it? I’ve tried flowers, cooking, dinners, vacations… I even bought her a nice little convertible last year.

    Maybe it’s just me but I am continually baffled how everyone wants to come up with a laundry list of how it is the husbands fault as listed above. “There are so many reasons why you may not want to make love to your husband with some of them being lack of desire, his cleanliness, his demanding, abusive, controlling ways, which turn you off when you consider having any loving, physical contact with him, pornography issues —either his or yours, where satisfaction is being achieved through false, sinful entertainment.” Really?? Is it always the husbands fault??

    We have been married 30 years and despite a sporadic at best intimacy I have never cheated on her. And NO I am not ABUSIVE, CONTROLLING, UNCLEAN or any of the other “justified” reasons that seem to be offered above. In fact I have gone out of my way to stay in excellent physical condition. I have been approached by women and have had NUMEROUS opportunities to stray over the years, (so at least someone wants me). It’s my wife who absolutely refuses to do anything to take care of herself physically, at least for the past 15 years. She is more of a platonic room mate, who really despises me and whose life centers around watching tv till 3, 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning while getting drunk. She then sleeps till 12, 1 or later. We (the kids and I) considered an intervention several years ago but she can become EXTREMELY abusive and violent, so to be honest I figured it would be less traumatic to just suck it up.

    I do not believe in divorce my marriage vows are at least one thing that I can honor God by following his commandment, but I feel like an idiot and it is a miserable existence.

    Any advice from a “I’ve been there too” perspective would be greatly appreciated but please don’t give me a list of why it MAY be my fault. Thanks.

    • Bridg says:

      (CANADA) Jerry, it’s not your fault and it sounds like your wife has worse issues than sex. I can see that you have tried to help her by offering therapy but trust me I know how difficult that can be. She will need to “want” to help herself. Not sure how to get her there, I have been in a similar situation so I do empathize. I wish I could help, really I do. But all I have to offer is, it’s not your fault.

  14. Joe says:

    (GHANA) Carol, please pray. Marriage to people who don’t appreciate their partners is worst. Just keep praying for God’s guidance in this issue.

  15. Michael says:

    (SOUTH AFRICA) I have been married for almost a year now and my wife is not interested in sex and she doesn’t want me make love to her and it is affecting our marriage as I’m starting to pull back now and my eyes are starting to wander around. I love my wife and not making love kills everything we have together. I told her way too many times but there’s no change. What should I? do?

  16. Mischelle40 says:

    (USA) I have been married for 24 years this summer, and I no longer want sex at all. It has been fading for several years. My DH wants it daily. I don’t want it. I provide for him, even though I no longer have any desire. However, it does not make him happy, as I don’t care for it. I can orgasm, and I do, but I don’t even want the orgasm. I find the act just too much work to be enjoyed. He gets his sex 3-4 times per week. Still not enough. I, personally, feel disgusted and used because he wants it so much, and he can’t understand why I don’t.

    Men have sex to relieve stress. They say it makes their stress just float away. It makes mine climb. So I provide and take on the stress so he can be relieved. They don’t (no matter what anyone says) do it as a way to feel close to their mate. If so, there would be no before marriage sex, no rapes, no child molesting, etc. They do it because it feels good. Yes, he cuddles after, but we all know it’s because he got his way. If men really wanted us to feel good, they would pay more attention, as a gender, to what women want and need. This will NEVER happen.

    I have been married 24 years, I love my husband dearly, he is my best friend, and I would give my life for his, but I am just being honest. Men use sex just as much as they say women do. They say we withhold for power? I’ve never done that. That seems a little too contrived. However, he has pointed out to me several times that he doesn’t get what he wants, and he pouts and cops an attitude and won’t talk to me (I don’t pout after giving it). That’s also using sex, but men don’t see that, do they?

    God said to honor, cherish, forsake all others, until death do us part. Where is the honor and cherish part? I see posts on here for people leaving because of lack of sex? Really? If we choose to, we can relieve ourselves. I don’t do that, either. No need to. So, marriage is sacred, as long as the man gets his way? Seems one-sided to me.

    By the way, I’m still married to my wonderful man, still provide what I can, and still plan to stay that way. I’m just sick of people telling us females it is all our fault. Life is what it is.

    • Tony says:

      (USA) Mischelle40, You may be honest about how you feel, but you engage in a logical fallacy if you are arguing that because a small minority of men rape and molest children, that all men do not feel closer to their wives because of a sex life.

      If that’s true, then this argument would also be true. Because some mothers kill their children, mothers really do not feel close their children, contrary to what they say.

      Just as you cannot judge all mothers on the actions of someone like Andrea Yates, you cannot judge the motives of men based on the actions of a small sample of rapists and child molesters.

      I feel sorry for both you and your husband based on the faulty judgments you’ve presented here. I know you didn’t ask, but I advise you stick to what you know best, and that’s how you feel. When you delve into judging the motives of others, you demonstrate a genuine lack of understanding.

    • At Last says:

      (S.AFRICA) Mischelle40, At Last someone has explained how I feel to the T. I too love my husband and provide for him sexually even though I no longer have the desire. Yes so true – it is never enough for him. Where do my needs fit in here? No wonder I feel used. All “one sided”? – Certainly! Us women are sick of taking all the blame.

    • Bridg says:

      (CANADA) I guess men AND women have sex at different times for different reasons. Sometimes it is a biological urge (like when I’m ovulating) sometimes it’s to feel close (when I’m lonely), sometimes it is to please him and show him my love (like when he is very romantic and I can feel in my soul his love for me). Sex is a complicated thing. Society says that “women” look like Demi Moore and even though I don’t, most men will sleep with me if I treat them nicely enough. What I do agree with, is that it is really annoying that many men have this biological urge more regularly than we do. very annoying, I agree. But we cannot change it. They are happy with practical things and they don’t understand that we are not.

  17. Kristin says:

    (USA) You know… I am a Christian, and I “get” what you’re saying -BUT -you have completely minimized the women’s perspective. I didn’t have a low libido when I married my husband, but I have one now. According to you, I just have to suck it up, get him off and push through it with “love and prayer.” I wasn’t standing at the altar, reciting my vows, making a holy covenant before God, and snickering behind my veil thinking, “Dear, new husband, you will be forced into celibacy before our ten year anniversary! I trapped you, now!”

    You view this as a one-sided problem -MINE! Most of my low libido is a result of his failure to meet my emotional needs. But his contribution to “MY” problem doesn’t matter, apparently. Thank you for further invalidating an already broken heart. It’s just like people to point to Scripture and shove it in your face as a “YOU” problem. Nothing like taking the heat off the husband! Shove this Scripture and that Scripture in her face, make her feel even more guilty and insufficient and she’ll be begging your forgiveness and slipping into those sheets, eagerly. NO! NO! NO! You want to empathize with the man, and victimize HIM -when sometimes he’s the perpetrator of the problem.

    • Jean from United States says:

      Dear Kristin, Hi, I am not an all wise, all knowing woman. But I do know some things for sure and my eyes are wide open when it comes to relationships, especially women-men relationships. So please read this comment carefully. I also hope that as many other frustrated women as possible will read this. You may copy what I wrote, that is, if it is okay with the site owners. Then you will be able to read it later and spread the message to other females. We must be strong and stand together and pray, because there is something evil going on in this country and around the world. Men have become lovers of themselves and are blaming us for their sins.. there is a frightening movement that is out to destroy women and separate us from the love of God. Read on:

      We live in a world that is dominated by men. Men control everything and have all the power in money, status, strength, assets, position, class, etc. Yes they do! Women have lower and less of everything than men. Men know this and use this. Read on:

      Adam was formed first and the disciples and religious leaders were all men. Pastors, priests, ministers, were and are men, even the ones who molested those boys. You all with me: Read on. Men began making rules that allowed for punishment and scorn of women, when women did hardly anything wrong. Every now and then a woman may have gone down a wrong path. But no more than men. Men got by with their sins. Women were raped, tortured, stoned, disowned, sold as property, given labels such as, slut, whore, jezebel, and other names, for committing the same sins as men, who by the way went unpunished. Isn’t that interesting? Read on:

      So men made all the rules. Women made no rules and were not permitted to speak, or to have a voice and opinion. Women in men’s eyes, were only for only having babies, cooking, cleaning, and being used for sex. The poor women already had to deal with female body issues, such as monthly cramps, periods, dicharge, menopause, harmones, etc. Life was hard for a women then. Read on:

      So now here we are today and we have the internet and other media where men continue to exploit and objectify women. They brainwash those of us who are weak. Those of us who speak out, such as myself, are called uptight, got a hang up, men-hater, troll, lonely, unloved, and many other anti women names. But I continue to try to spread the word to women, so that we realize that we have power if we use our voices and speak. We must speak out because we are tired of being scolded, blamed, and objectified by men.

      To sum up my message. I want to tell women everywhere, that we are to not remake or change ourselves for any man. Get close to your mother. You do not need to be a daddy’s girl anymore than you are a mommy’s girl. You see that this the beginning of wroshipping men. We as women were made to be different from men. There is notheng wrong with you if you are not interested in sex all the time. You are a woman who was wondrously and marvelously made. It is up to the man to be a loving leader and make sex worth your while. He is the one who needs and wants sex. He is to love and make love to you, not scold you for your being a woman. Stop kissing up to him, stop exalting him, stop bragging on him, until he realizes that he must do the same for you. There is a balance that is needed. You are not validated by your daddy, husband or any man.

      Women, you are vital and important. Don’t tear other women down. Support your sisters. Help other women. Lift other women up. Pray that God will help men to be loving men and not weak, sex driven cheaters who blame women.

  18. Jim from United States says:

    I am not going to criticize anyone for their views as expressed above, though I will say that I can identify with Jerry who posted back in February 2013.

    I have been married for 21 years, and have been forced into celibacy since November 2005 (the past 7 years and 9 months). I think our problem began after my job forced me to travel for 2-3 weeks at a time without returning home. My wife simply got used to me not being home, and when I came home she complained that it disrupted her routine. When I was home, she was not interested in sex. Despite having a healthy sex drive, I have never been unfaithful, abusive, unclean or any of the other issues many of you have complained about.

    I have become very frustrated, and my wife knows this. At first she tried to plan on having sex on a particular day and would try to create a relaxed, intimate mood. I sensed this and tried to respond, but her anxiety level was so high that she could not reciprocate. After several of these episodes the frustration we both felt was so bad that we stopped trying. I persuaded her to see a medical doctor, and she was humiliated and embarrassed in having to answer the doctor’s questions. The doctor ran tests, and concluded there was nothing medically wrong. I then tried to get her to agree to seeing a counselor together, but she refuses to do that.

    Having no other recourse (I view divorce as a last resort), I have gotten involved in other activities and pursued a graduate degree. However, the frustration has just gotten worse, and we have grown so far apart we have difficulty finding something to talk about. Also, I have become quick to anger, not only towards her but other people I encounter and do not even know.

    My wife has tried to keep all of this secret from family, because the idea or illusion of having a marriage is all that is left. However, her family can sense tension in me, and they assume I have a problem. I’ve always been a good provider, until very recently when I lost my job. I have never been unemployed, but cannot find a job near our home. So I’m applying for jobs in other states, realizing we will probably have to sell our home. She, however, is not willing to move. However, I realize now that the marriage ended long ago – around seven years ago -so I’m really not concerned if she follows or not. At this point, I am 55, lonely, unemployed and frustrated. So, constructive change is long overdue.

    In closing, my view is that sex is an important part of marriage that requires total trust and giving of yourself to your spouse. Neither party should withhold for prolonged periods without talking openly and resolving the problem. My wife is not able to talk openly to me, her sister, her priest or her physician due to insecurity and at this point a very tormented mind. Sex is more mental than physical, and if there is trust and love, the act of making love should not be burdensome. At least for me, it was not -and I hope will not be in the future.

  19. Chris from United States says:

    After reading this article and comments, which were helpful by the way, I felt the need to comment and tell my story. I have been married to my wife for 1 year now. It’s my second marriage, and by far, I am much happier. She is an amazing woman, and I couldn’t be luckier.

    Soon after dating, I noticed that she would withdrawal when I asked for sex. I never pressured her, or made her feel like she had to. At first, I wouldn’t tell her of my disappointment. But now, when she asks if I am, I tell her the truth. Recently, she became irritated when I said I was disappointed we weren’t having sex. I feel bad that I tell the truth when it makes her angry.

    The problem is this: she’s a very beautiful woman, and is very sexy. She’s sexy in the morning, during the day and at night. I find her very attractive, but I don’t think that she sees me the same way anymore. I treat her like my queen. I help her in any way I can; doing laundry, dishes, the yard work, running errands, babysitting… you name it, and I do it. I also give her her space, and don’t do everything for her. We share in the jobs around the house, and I feel we are equal in that.

    Most of the time, she’s too tired to have sex. And I get that. But, I still get frustrated, and it’s hard to hide sometimes. We are both 42. The way I see it is that eventually, my sex drive will go away, so why not be intimate with her while I can? None of my feelings towards her are forced; they are completely natural.

    My last marriage had virtually no sex life. It happened days after we got married. Sex isn’t everything to me, but it’s important to a marriage, I believe. If we didn’t have that kind of intimacy, why get married? I could just live with her, and share everything but that. I do not want to have another marriage like that. I was made to feel so small and unimportant. After 7 years of devotion to my wife, she left me.

    And, contrary to comments before me, I do have sex to feel closer to my wife. I don’t use sex as just a stress reliever.
    I’m trying to get better with this. I am sometimes made to feel like a pervert who wants sex all the time, and doesn’t try to understand her feelings.

    • Nat from Canada says:

      Hi Chris. Not sure if I can help, but in case you did not know, women are (generally) detail-oriented creatures who see things very different than men. A woman has to be mentally-aroused before she feels like having sex. Therefore, a host of things could be attacking her thoughts and keeping her from getting those desires.

      I don’t mean to oversimplify, but for the sake of clarity, here’s a list of potential issues: husband’s body hygiene, husband’s inability to listen/understand wife’s opinions (about anything), husband fails to recognize wife’s “love language” (i.e., gifts or kind words or touch or acts of kindness or quality time), wife’s rebellious spirit, wife’s unforgiveness, wife’s low self-esteem, financial instability, wife’s emotional attachment to other men/cheating, wife may think sex is unholy or unclean, wife may not know how to accept husband’s advances, wife may not like the various positions used during sex, wife may need a lot of romance/foreplay to get ‘in the mood’, wife may not know who to de-stress from daily life, etc.

      When all else fails, the issue may be spiritual. Don’t mean to get too heavy, but a lot of women AND men need deliverance from things/people with which they have made spiritual/emotional/physical covenants. Marriage is the expressed image of God’s love in the earth so it’s no wonder there is such an evil bombardment against its success. That’s part of the reason why it is so easy to have sex in dating relationships while marriage relationships struggle. If you want a real-life example of what I’m talking about, watch emmanuel.tv online where you’ll see people being freed on a daily basis from ‘spiritual husbands and spiritual wives’. God bless and all the best.

  20. Erica from United States says:

    Not married yet. Engaged to be. You know I can see myself as a woman struggling with this issue in my upcoming marriage. I’m trying not to be discouraged by what I’ve read but it’s hard not to. I’m younger and more inexperienced than the rest of you but I wonder if there isn’t some point being missed here. Please anyone correct me if I’m wrong in anything. I appreciate it.

    In the scripture husbands are instructed to love their wives and wives are instructed to respect their husbands. Why the different directions? Is it because the two halves have to work to do a better job in different areas? I feel as bride to be it’s important for my man to know that I respect him. I’m tempted not to and there is a reason for that. Our adversary wants it that way. It would destroy our relationship if I give into that sin or let it take over my feelings…or if I let it happen and refused to repent. Just as our relationship would suffer if my husband to be merely went about respecting me as society told him too but didn’t choose to love me as I need to be loved.

    As it has been said…communication, mutual effort are important. I can see that. I feel that there is a guarantee though that if something is wrong the problem lays with both and never just one person. I’m not blaming men, I’m not blaming women. I’m not blaming anyone. Merely stating that I think responsibility is yours if you claim it. And when I say my vows I’m expecting to claim that responsibility.

    As a young woman who recognizes that I have faults and that this could potentially be a problem for me I want to do my best to prevent a problem in our future. I have issues with being affectionate and concerned that I can never match my fellow’s passion. But perhaps the solution is not in comparing myself to him, but being content with how I do feel… Why should the men or women try to feel something they don’t? Some of my greatest contentment is from making him happy.

  21. Dave from United States says:

    I really enjoyed reading your article. I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to put this up. My wife and I have been married for 5 years now and things are starting (have been now for a while) to slow down drastically. I don’t know how to respond, I love my wife too much to move on but like you said I feel like I’m in a corner sometimes. When we do make love she just has the get it over with attitude. It’s really becoming depressing very quickly. Anyways, thank you for your story, I don’t feel alone with this anymore…

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