When You Don’t Want Sex With Your Husband

Wife doesn't want sex - Adobe Stock When you don’t want to have sex with your husband, what do you do? Maybe you can relate to the wife’s thoughts expressed below.

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…(This is a paraphrase of Song of Songs 5:3,6)

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.

When You Don’t Want Sex

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.

Feelings Make a Difference When You Don’t Want Sex

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. Also know 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).

What These Verses Do and Don’t Mean

These verses have been used to browbeat wives into feeling guilty when they don’t want sex or avoid 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. 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 a husband) should submit to sex whenever, wherever, and however our partner demands it. Rather, it teaches that since my husband’s body belongs to me I should care enough to give it pleasure whenever I possibly can. And he is to do likewise with my body. In the same way, my husband’s body belongs to me. I should also be understanding and generous when it’s not “in the mood.” And he is to do 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. That is because sex is at the heart of our sacred oneness. It 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. The intent is for her to fulfill her sacred obligation to meet her husband’s sexual needs. It is to keep the marriage bed pure, and keep each other free of sexual temptation.

Another Passage

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, 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.

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.

Suggestions When You Don’t Want Sex:

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.

Make sure he knows 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. Additionally, 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. He may also be more willing to see a counselor together, read books together, or explore the problem. If he gets angry or refuses to respect your wishes, talk with a counselor. You need 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. There are plenty of good books available, however. 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.

Additionally:

• 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. Explore the possible causes and solutions. You should also visit your doctor if you don’t experience orgasms, or if you lack lubrication. Also visit a doctor 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. This 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 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 [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. That causes her anger to sizzle.”

Sound familiar? Tell your husband exactly what it takes to please you in bed. Let him know what makes you feel happy to be invited there. You’d be amazed how many men don’t realize that a wife needs to be courted during the day. She needs more interaction than giving it only five minutes before lovemaking. And chances are, it probably doesn’t take that much.

It could be as simple as 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. List for him several small things he could do to help you be in the mood more often.

• Consider Sexual Therapy If You Continually Don’t Want Sex.

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 she was repelled by the smell of a prescription lotion. When she mentioned it, he was hurt that she’d never been honest before. Now he never applies his bedtime dose of lotion until he’s sure 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, 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. Do what you can to try not to let them detract from lovemaking.

Never Give Up

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? Here’s a simple answer. When sex is compared to an automobile, sex is to marriage what 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.”

Here is a prayer you can use as an outline:

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.

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. Others are: Willard Harley Jr., Steve and Annie Chapman, and Bob and Yvonne Turnbull.

— IN ADDITION, TO HELP YOU WITH THIS ISSUE —

Paul Byerly, from The-generous-husband.com web site gives insightful information for you to read:

SEX FOR HER —When She Resists or Limits Sex

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Filed under: Sexual Issues

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365 responses to “When You Don’t Want Sex With Your Husband

  1. I have been marriage for 9 years. During these years, I feel always forgive and try to accept my husband, but constant disappointment and gradually I start to lose emotional feeling toward my husband. I support my self financially; during hard times I have to deal myself as well. Both of us come from different cultures and I moved to his country, but he never supports me. Both of us are healthy and have strong desire for sex. He asks for sex for at least once a week and I still fulfill as obligation. But I found myself crying everytime we had sex. I feel pain physically and emotionally as I dont want to but I need to do as obligation and responsible.

    I can’t have sex with someone I don’t love and I don’t feel loved. I am very stressed as every time I get close to him all I got is pressure as he always tells me what to do. I can’t be myself. I can’t find things I can admire from him. He even teaches my son to lie to me. When he leaves our son alone at home (our son is 8 years old) he did this since he was 6 years old. He leaves our son home alone and lets him play video games while he goes outside to play tennis or do his things. I only require me-time like once every 3-4 months, but when I go during the weekend, he will do this. He treats our son not to tell me or he will be in trouble. And my son sees it as they make a team to lie to me. It hurts me terribly as a mother.

    Please, I don’t know what I should do. I can’t do divorce, as I came from a divorced family and I know the impact for the kids. And I am Christian, I know my obligation to my serve husband and divorce is not allowed. But I am broken inside.

    1. I think there is a middle ground somewhere. Can you seek counseling? Emotional love and support is also part of marriage and is what I think helps makes sex sacred…

  2. We have been married for ten years. My wife has always continuously refused sex. Unusual as it may sound, in a year we have it less than a handful of times, and when it happens, it would be after a lot of coercing by me. This year 2017 it only happened once (now end of May). Bad as it is, I had a mistresses to satisfy my physical sexual needs. I do not condone extramarital affairs and will never prescribe it as a solution to men in my situation. Sadly for the sake of desire for intimacy I did it. My suggestion to women: be open to your husband and tell him your reasons for your reluctance so that you both decide whether the causes can be fixed.

  3. I’ve had premarital, extramarital, and marital sex. The extramarital sex was the best although I assume this was more the character of the man and his wife’s marital sex with his wife was probably of superior quality than my affair sex as a mistress.

    Premarital sex was hard at the start because sex is like learning to ride a bike and learning to read rolled into one, but once I got hang of it after the 3-4 months it was fine. I assumed this would be the same in marriage. Being young, in love, hormonal, living together, having privacy, and being with a man who knew what he was doing was willing to talk and having draconian boundaries and knowing when to say no kept the sex focus on mutual pleasure and intimacy and buffered it from relationship problems.

    Oddly enough marriage was the absolute worst sex, especially after being together a long time and having children. I assumed it would be the other way, but, well motherhood puts a woman in a subordinate position.

    Men regret the kids and resent the time the woman takes in caring for them. Nobody wants to spend the money on a sitter, do the work watching a baby so a new mother can go out with her woman friends or alone, and no one wants to take out a frumpy new mom, so forget about romantic or sexual anything, no matter how eager and willing or sexually frustrated a new mom is.

    I figured a sacred union and more sex and a lifelong commitment of opportunities to explore sex together would be hot. Nope. Not the case at all. In fact it’s the opposite. Marriage and children and sexual desire in a wife kick a stong sense of contempt, loathing and hated in a man and make him seek to trap his wife and pursue keeping her home with the kids 24/7, I’m not sure why, but something about married with children kicks off the “keep her barefoot and pregnant” impulse in men very strongly.

    Sex is required in marriage unless both people are happy without it, or extremely elderly or medical issues are in play. A wife can beg, plead, and grovel all she wants but at the end of the day, honesty and female sexuality is just not something most long term husbands and fathers are going to deal with. There are certainly men like the man I had an emotional affair with who do want to be wanted and care how sex effects the woman and care how she feels about it and find a woman’s desire erotic, but ehh…try telling most men what you want, that you have no desire, or what if woukd take to spark, rekindle, or maintain your desire and the response is usually: That’s boring. So what, do it anyway. Female feels, female hormones, not wanting to, not being in the mood, and having no desire, are and reasons not to have sex. nA woman who controls a man’s access to sex is emasculating him.

    (Hint this means the man, not the woman, should sexually control both himself and the children.) Men need sex to feel loved. (Apparently women don’t need to feel loved through sex, don’t need sex to feel loved. Also men’s emotional need to feel loved should control a couple’s sex life, but a woman’s sexual need to have erotic desire for the man penetrating her shouldn’t enter into the couples sex life.)

    If you loved him you’d want him to be satisfied. (And not care about anything else because nothing except his satisfaction maters.) What if the man doesn’t go to work/contributes financially/parents/does housework when he doesn’t feel like it? (I admit this one never made much sense to me. Then the guy is a deadbeat who thinks his wife owes him a free ride through life, so he requires sexual favors when he does anything?)

    Spend 5-6 years talking through this BS trying to get somewhere and you can come away with a very dim view of men.
    However it’s not men who do this. It’s married men. Sex is required in marriage. A woman can’t say no, not really not permanently and as far as most counselors and outsiders are concerned as long as he’s satisfied and she’s providing sex and its frequent the marriage and the sex life is good, so most marriage advice, Christian and secualr, unless it’s aggressively consent based and feminist, is to pressure the woman into putting out and shutting up, no mater what is going on the marriage. Men need sex to feel loved and woman get their needs men in other ways.

    This leaves a woman to get her needs met for emotional intimacy **during sex**, her need for erotic desire, and sexual release and pleasure, her need for autonomy and respect and tenderness and understanding **during sex and in sexual decision making** met outside the relationship or in other areas of the relationship. Married sex is about making the man feel good, making the man feel loved, and making sure the man is satisfied so he avoids temptations and sin.

    Marriage requires sex.
    Marriage requires a woman to stay.
    Marriage entitles a man to sexual satisfaction,
    Marriage obligates a woman to provide that satisfaction.
    So, if a man won’t do what it takes to make sex enjoyable for a woman in a marriage she can talk all she wants but in the end, her job is to force herself to fake it and take one for the team to keep a “good” marriage.

    Despite what feminists, idealists, enthusiastic consent supports and the Bible may say, in the USA, in 2017, on the ground a wife has no right to sexual satisfaction in marriage and a husband has no obligation to attempt to provide it.

    Non-marital sex is about care, respect, and mutual pleasure. Marital sex is about regulating the man’s internal emotional state, making sure the man isn’t frustrated and making the man feel good about himself. In marriage, the woman and female sexuality are irrelevant except in the way it serves the man. Now some men will care, but the woman only matters if the man cares, and to the extent he cares. Erotic desire, the mental aspects of sex, emotional intimacy during sex, and physical pleasure and release are still primarily for men in marriage.

    It’s incredibly frustrating as a woman who is emotional about sex, but also has a high drive. If I could shut off the emotional and meaningful aspects of sex and just treat it as mechanical exercise I’d be fine. If I simply don’t and it or didn’t care I’d be fine. But I can’t turn off my sex drive, and I can’t shut off the longing for emotional intimacy during the act. And I still, even now, find it infuriating that my decisions are so easily brushed off and disregarded if I can be manipulated into giving grudging permission.

    The saying that it’s better to be lonely alone, than lonely while you are with someone you love is true. Its painfully true during intercourse. Being sexually frustrated in top of it **while being lonely for the emotional intimacy of sex during intercourse** and being able to clearly explain how to fix the situation while being ignored because it’s just not worth the bother, is just too much to take long term. This is why so many married women stop having sex. For some reason after the first 5 years or so, and especially after having kids, many men snap back into a framework where they actually prefer duty sex, and don’t have to deal with the woman.

    However, providing pity sex doesn’t do much for women, no matter how high or low the sex drive.

    Marriage seems to breed entitlement and contempt for women in the sexual arena. It destroys any real hope of having a mutually satisfying, emotionally intimate, honest relationship where both people get to keep self respect and basic human dignity. This kills passion for women, and to the extent the man doesn’t like pity sex, it kills it for men too. But that doesn’t stop the demands to fake it, or just do it anyway.

  4. If a wife only has sex on her terms…that’s basically consensual sex. How often do I have to have sex when I don’t want to and do things I hate? This Biblical requirement that women tolerate sexual violations and force themselves to have painful, revolting, degrading sex, so that the husband can control himself all the time and control her half the time is why so many women stop sex. And how the heck am I supposed to want sex with man who knows perfectly well I hate what he’s doing, doesn’t care, expects he has the right to do it anyway, and knows I don’t want him there, and is unwilling to change it to do anything about it?

    And you say sex on my terms, meaning sex when I am willing and desiring is abusing my husband and I have no right to confine sex to what I desire and enjoy? You say I have to compromise and have the unwanted sex that leads to resentment and trust issues or I am sinning and abusive? Why? Why can’t I have sex on my terms? Why is care respect consideration and enthusiastic consent never for woman and always for men? What is married sex so cruel and hateful compare to sex outside of marriage? Why?

    The Biblical standard sounds higher than the secular ones in the Bible when I read it, but it’s only in the secular standard that the woman’s feelings, desire, and choice matter for every single sex act every single time. Biblically in marriage, at least according to everything I can find the woman always has to give up and force herself to endure the violating leave you cold and dead inside sex some of the time to cover the gap between her and her husband, no matter what caused the gap, or why, or what the man is willing to do about it. The depression, anxiety, and self loathing this causes for the woman, and the physical pain do dry sex, and the resentment and trust issues this causes in the marriage are require of Christian wives because she must sacrifice self respect and bodily integrity so she’s not alway having sex on her terms. Consensual sex, or at least enthusiastic consent, is such a different standard.

    It’s easy to believe a man who would never pursue sex with you when you didn’t want it loves you, and with the enthusiastic consent standard it’s so easy to keep wanting. But that means sex in the woman’s terms because she always has a right consider her feelings and the right to a controlling say. It’s sex in her terms. (And yes sex on the man’s terms too.) Enthusiatic consent would be where both the terms overlap. I thought the Biblical standard would be the husband obeying the wishes and boundaries without her w forcing them and vice versa. But no, the wife can’t set her terms and must force herself to do things she doesn’t want to do and won’t like and won’t enjoy, and may even find revolting painful or repulsive.

    Reading the Bible the Biblical standard seems higher, but that’s not what I find. The wife has to have sex she hates sometimes, alway, and the husband is required to keep the right to accept that pretty much every single article in Christian sexuality I can find.

    It’s only the secular standard that require a husband to treat his wife with care, respect, consideration and tenderness every single time. And it’s only under the secular system the wife has a right to refuse if the husband doesn’t. Biblically this article is very clear that withholding sex is sinful, no matter how the husband treats the wife. She may not want it for obvious reasons, but she owes him anyway, like it or not. So Biblically, if he doesn’t want to treat her lovingly, she owes him forcing herself and faking it no matter how harmful or revolting or damaging it maybe. He may sin by not attempting to please her or be caring and kind in and out of bed, but she owes him sex no matter what, yes?

    1. And it’s worth noting women always owe men consideration, respect and care and tenderness during every single sex act every single time under both the Biblical and the secular standard.

    2. Just because a woman has a hole it doesn’t mean she should have to give sex on command. A man can reject his wife because of the lack of erection but a wife doesn’t have that excuse. It’s actually something I recently experienced. At one point in time I would have sex when he wanted even if I wasn’t in the mood but then when he wasn’t in the mood nothing happened because he is able to listen to his body. I don’t feel like that’s the case for women most of the time. My husband and I actually had a good dialogue about society’s expectations and how they are really one sided in this regards and it’s really not emotionally healthy.

      My libido disappeared after birth and no matter what I do I’ve got nothing. I’ve sought help and nothing. I was told this was normal. I tried to keep things going the way they were pre-baby but it was so painful, and I was only doing it for him that honestly after a while it made things less sacred and not special and it hurt our intimate relationship. The pain also caused me anxiety, and the fact that I “wanted to be a good wife” but my body didn’t care and it was so emotionally distressing that it made things worse.

      My guy is a good one for the most part and eventually we talked about it and we had to adjust expectations and talk about desires. We both agree the sex is definitely not as often as it used to be but we rather wait until there is a mutual intimacy. Don’t get me wrong sometimes you’ve gotta help a brother out but that’s not the kind of love we want all the time. We want intimacy and respect. So we had a baby and had to go through a rough patch to learn. Yes, things changed but we want to mutually respect each others bodies and our relationship. And no things are wild and crazy like before pre baby but we feel like we are growing together as a couple and evolving with lifes changes.

      If someone doesnt feel the same way thats ok. This was just my experience and I wanted to share it.

      1. It is extremely common to lose any and all libido after childbirth for the woman. You would hate if your husband only did things he fully WANTS to do. Work, chores, household responsibilities, child care, your side of the family obligations are ALL things he would skip, I promise you.

        Being an adult is almost entirely forcing ourselves to do things we’d rather not do in order to function or meet goals. One of your goals should be a satisfied husband. He only has one life to live and he’s committed to you. Stuck, if that helps illustrate. Making him go through his one and only life without the thing men think about most is cruel and selfish. I can promise you he resents the infrequence.

        Men want a good girl/woman, good girls dont like sex, we aren’t animals in bed or freaks in the sheets. In fact sex hurts us and we don’t require it at all. Men know this but still like the good girl, otherwise they would have pursued a leather and lace type. I could go without for the rest of my life. But I do it for him almost every day. I dont fake orgasms or moan with pleasure, in fact if a few days go by and he’s got some frustration built up he will be a lot more rough. I don’t hide my pain from him, and it hurts my lower stomach for hours after he’s done. But you should see the effect it has on him. He has come to appreciate my non desire by focusing on the fact that I am doing something just for him.

        This carries over into our daily lives and he treats me EXTREMELY well, kinda spoils me, and a big reason for that is appreciation and an attempt at repaying the gift i give him at night. You really do have no idea what youre missing out on. Your “win” and “dignity saving” only feels like a win. My mom told me to check my dignity at the bedroom door. That has been the single best piece of advice I have ever received. But to be fair I used to think just like you. Swallowing my pride has been the most positive thing in my 34 years. Doing it your way for the first 8 years of marriage almost ended in divorce.

        1. Great post Stacy, you are obviously a woman who “gets it”. Marriage and life itself is often doing things we may not like or take pleasure in doing. In issues regarding frequency of intercourse, saying no is a disservice to both partners. In a partnership, the two should always do what is best for the partnership, especially in the marital bed.

          Your husband’s reaction to your giving of yourself has benefited you both, and had you deprived him, there is no doubt he would have much resentment toward you, and I speak that from experience. Blessings to you both.

  5. This is a feminist post. Sex is, was and always will remain the basic a woman provides to husband for all hundred things he does for her.

  6. To what extent does emotional abuse affect sexual intimacy? My husband has been extremely harsh to me with his words during arguments, but thinks everything is ok because he apologizes. However, those words stick and I cannot find it in myself to be intimate with him. The arguments stem from an emotional affair he had been having for 5 years. I didn’t find out until almost two years ago, as he intended to take it to the next level. When I want to talk it through, mostly how it has affected my trust for him, the way I used to feel about him, and why I feel the way I do in the present, I have been met with defense and resistance.

    It has been a vicious cycle, but I believe that if he understood and appreciated my pain, then he would resist less, and we will move on quicker. He says he loves me and doesn’t want me to leave him. However, his actions do not show this. I can’t trust his heart. I am left with feelings of unfairness, because I don’t want to feel like this towards him and never would have without reason. Ironically, and incidentally, at this point in our marriage, it is not his infidelity that has affected our intimacy. It is what he says in response to me expressing my feelings. I tried to explain it to him with hopes that he would understand and become proactive in helping us get through this time but he seemingly has become somewhat withdrawn in his attempts to initiate sex now.

    It’s as though since I am not feeling him, he’s not going to try to encourage me either. I don’t think he’s responding this way intentionally, but I understand that is the “nature of the beast”, for lack of a better term. I don’t know what else to do and our marriage continues to suffer for it.

    Should I expect him to wait until I am ready? In the meantime because I don’t trust him, it crosses my mind that he will be unfaithful. As everyone knows many men struggle in this area. I feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place…

  7. “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. ”

    That is a lie! The verse says EXACTLY that. It is a SIN to not do so, UNLESS it is mutually agreed.

    1Cor7:2-4 “But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.”

    To prevent sexual immorality, husband and wives should have sex with each other WHEN THE OTHER SO DESIRES. Your feelings are not superior motives to that. The ONLY exception is mentioned: upon mutual agreement and ONLY for a SHORT period!

    This is the source of a lot of marital unhappiness!

    1. Our spousal obligations are a lot more than just sexual. 1 Corinthians 7:3-4 is not a stand alone script about marital duties, it needs to be taken into context with other scripture regarding marriage like 1Peter 3:7 (ESV) “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

      Can I be harsh with or neglect my wife in other matters and then quote 1 Cor 7:3,4 and say you must perform your marital duties when I have neglected my duties to love and honor her? Not so, Ephesians 5 has much to say about the marriage relationship.

  8. Hello, my husband and I got married two years ago. I quickly learned he lied about almost everything. Since I’ve been married we have had so many issues, I have tried seeing a couples therapist but he quit going, now I go alone.
    I don’t want to be bitter, but he lied to me about so much and I never would have married him had I known who he was. He’s still a sweet good guy, but a very immature child at heart. I don’t hate him, I just thought he was someone who he portrayed himself to be.

    He prefers me to pay all the bills and go to school while putting in the absolute bare minimum. He’s so scared of failure he never try’s anything new. He has over 11hours of free time a day and I have none. I resent him because he’s so mean. We haven’t been able to have sex In forever. I cry and can’t look at him. I feel so hopeless, yet he doesn’t cheat, he somewhat try’s and just says I ask too much. I feel in hopeless despair all the time. He’s very immature and refuses to change. My heart hurts, I don’t ever want to have sex and cry and can’t ever look at him when we do.

    It’s so hard to believe this horrible mistake is God’s will. Every single day he does something that breaks my heart. He belittles me or spends the entire day devoted to himself while I take care of everything.

    1. You say he’s a “sweet good guy, but a very immature child at heart;” next you say you “resent him because he’s so mean.” You say he “doesn’t cheat and somewhat try’s (sic) but then you say that everyday he does something that breaks your heart, belittles you, etc. You’re contradicting yourself; which is it?

        1. I’m not judging; I’m asking her to explain/clarify seemingly contradictory statements. If you took it as being “mean,” then that’s more on you than me. I would suggest maybe you’re not ready to hear honest feedback?

        2. “Why are you men so mean to women?” – That’s the kind of atheistic feminism that’s destroying men and women today.

  9. You need to reread the scripture you are quoting. You are not to withhold sex from your spouse just because you don’t feel like it. It is your duty to satisfy your spouses sexual needs. As often as they need it, unless you are truly ill or you have both agreed to a time out to pray. “Not in the mood” is NOT a valid excuse for withholding sex.

    1. Will – I oftentimes said this to my wife and only after a tremendously difficult situation arose did I confess that I used this to manipulate my wife for my own selfishness. When I confessed this to her we experienced God’s healing and blessing on our marriage. I began to serve her, not myself. In turn, my wife and I are having more frequent and pleasurable sex than ever in our 19 year marriage. Connect with her and love her in her way. Pray to see her as God intended. You won’t be sorry.

    2. So God requires that I submit myself to sexual torture at least once a day? Even though he refuses to support me, is verbally, emotionally, sexually, and sometimes physically abusive to me by his own admission?? Yet according to your interpretation of scripture, I’m sinning when I don’t submit to his demand? I’ve been a Christian my whole life, and I cannot wrap my head around a loving God approving and requiring a woman to be mistreated in this way.

  10. Ok, when a woman does not want to have sex, a husband needs to respect that. But on the other hand, women need to understand, after a while a man needs sex; good for his ego, self confidence, helps keep his eyes at home. A lot of benefits from a just a few minutes on your part. Better than any therapist or book can do. (Said from experience)

  11. Read the Bible. Other than illness, a spouse has zero right to refuse to have sex with their spouse whoever they want to. If you don’t like that, don’t get married.

  12. What is a man to do if his wife loses sexual desire after menopause? My wife and I have always enjoyed a wonderful and pleasurable sex life, but for the last two years she has not wanted to engage in sex at all. She is now 60, and though I am almost 66, I still have occasional desires for sexual intimacy about once or twice a month. She insists that she still loves me, but she just does not have any desire to be sexual and she no longer gets any pleasure out of it. Any suggestions?

    1. Fred, It may not bring comfort to you, but you are in the company of multiple hundreds of men who write to us every year about this exact same situation. You may have read a few of their comments when you came into this article and posted yours.

      Unfortunately, as they saying goes: “There is no ‘magic’ bullet (or pill)” that can fix this. What it will require is a wife who is willing to explore medical options to address her lack of desire. Sadly, it has been our experience that very few wives (where your wife is right now) are willing to do this. If she says the loves you then ask her if she loves you “enough” to at least explore (she doesn’t have to commit to any treatment) her lack of desire.

      A lot of post-menopausal women (more then you can imagine) go through this. And there are a lot of different options available that your wife could try. Because it appears you and your wife have a really good relationship otherwise, I pray your wife will listen to your heart and be one who will follow through. I hope this helps.

      1. I am pre menopausal and myself as well as friends libidos have suffered greatly especially after children. We ALL went doctors, several in fact and were basically told have a glass of wine, which is pretty offensive. I know MANY women with libido issues and most doctors just say it’s in your head and push it off. It’s VERY frustrating and upsetting. You have to find a pro women’s health, obgyn (sounds silly but a lot of doctors don’t see woman’s libido or orgasm as a necessity).

        But there are hormones out there that are supposed to help with dryness after menopause but you don’t hear much about it helping libido. I was recently told of a thing called a pellet. It’s testosterone and is injected into the buttock. This will help with libido. It’s expensive. But otherwise there aren’t many options to help with libido.

        There is also a pill called ADDYI that helps with desire however, you have to just like with the pellet, look up specific doctors that will prescribe it. But low blood pressure can be a side effect. I will say I try to take care of my husband out of love but my body doesn’t want to do it despite my head screaming something else. It’s a very emotional experience when your body and head don’t line up and are not in a good way, which then results in more frustration.

        We are going to get the pellet in the future but it is a big deal because you are putting hormones into your body. I hope you can find a happy middle ground. I understand it’s hard for both of you. Just know there aren’t many doctors that care about women’s sexuality so go with her if she seeks help and support her to find medical remedies if she chose to do so. I hope some of the things I wrote might give you some direction to.

        1. Thanks Melissa for writing about this. I’m sure it will be helpful to many women. We do have a couple of articles about Menopause on the web site. Here’s a link to one of them: https://marriagemissions.com/menopause-a-season-we-didnt-see-coming/. And then here is another one, written from a different perspective that both husbands and wives can benefit from reading (there are several linked articles within it, as well to read). You can find it at: https://marriagemissions.com/what-wives-wish-their-husbands-knew-about-menopause/. There are different articles linked within it that have additional tips that you and others may find helpful. I hope so. God bless!

          1. I’m not sure if this is your article but I want to say I really appreciated it. I have found a lot of articles very demeaning to women where no ifs, ands, or buts, it’s your duty so hush up. (What’s funny is I come across many of these when I’m looking for articles to help me with my low libido!) But this article made me feel like both partners are respected and loved and focused on working together because of a deep, intimate love and not just duty. I felt like it respected both partners’ sexuality and emotions and I think that’s so important and I appreciate this article because there arent many like it.

      2. Steve, the “options” you mention here are related to prescription medications that can lead to other issues. No medicines are without side effects or risks. At 60 years old we may not be meant to have hormone levels of a teenager anymore. Perhaps there is a medication a man could take that might lessen his libido so we would be on the same page. A page that God ordained by the way

  13. Married 40 years. No sex last 8 years. Wife says no. Both Christians. She is very involved with church and Beth Moore Bible study with other women. After no, then what after 8 years. I love her and don’t want to hurt her feelings but it’s destroying me in many ways.

  14. Wow. I am reading through the comments and am shocked at how pervasive 3rd-wave feminism is and the damage it’s doing to people’s marriages. So much anger, resentment, entitlement, frustration, people even justifying affairs! When you allow the “he vs. she” mentality or you go looking on the internet for what you want to hear, the devil will lead you with expediency.

  15. From my experience there is no changing a woman’s heart in this area. Women have always held the power of control over sex and the man can either fight it and lose or submit to it and receive what she gives or suffer what she refuses. I’ve been married 37 years and have not had intercourse for over 22 due to both physical and fabricated (her admission) reasons.

    My wife and I love and respect each other but the absence of intimacy affects me where its absence is virtually unrecognized to her. I continually need to crucify my flesh and die to my desires in order to maintain contentment and focus. At times it’s much more difficult than I expect and certainly more than I ever wanted. Loving my wife as Christ loved the church and living with her in an understanding way is my daily walk.

    Sometimes I do much better than others – but the realization that I’ve lost so many years of intimacy promised at marriage and the lack of hope that I’ll ever have it again can generate great despair and cut off my motivation for other things – like working hard to provide. The long term denial of wants can result in the refusal to address needs. I’m certain this is behind my giving up on my business and resignation to poverty.

    1. Sorry to hear this. Are there physical issues preventing this? OB\GYN Dr. could have resolved the issue. Hormones are in play? HRT helps that. I commend you on staying faithful. You may need some hobbies, golf, cycling, etc. to help you mentally.

    2. Right there with you Lee; I’m so despondent every day about the years I’ve lost in the delusion that it would get better that I honestly don’t care whether I live or die; my sex life is a long-ago abandoned dream and now that I’m unable to physically function as a man, who would want me? For that matter they didn’t want me back in the day either. I just want life to be over with so I can be free of the shame, embarrassment and uselessness that is my daily existence.