SEX: When The Husband Doesn’t Want To Make Love

What do you do when your husband doesn’t want to make love? You will find this question plus an answer to it given below by sex therapists, Dr Clifford and Joyce Penner:Upset husband and angry wife in bed - Adobe Stock

Question: My husband and I are newlyweds, but we only have sex about three times a month. My husband doesn’t want to make love. He just says he is unwilling to become more affectionate toward me. Sometimes when I bring up the subject, he pushes me away or gets sarcastic. Am I doing something wrong?


Eventually, you might need to see a counselor, but you can start with self-help. Begin by sorting out with your husband the source of his resistance to sexual intimacy. Ask him if you are doing something wrong. It will be important for him to feel that you genuinely care for him as you attempt to understand what is causing him to avoid sex. Review the following reasons men are resistant to sex.

Childhood experiences

Men who were raised without intimacy (especially the lack of bonding during the first years of life) end up resisting sex. They have sexual drive but no capacity for closeness and warmth with a woman. The sexual retraining process of gradually learning to give and receive pleasure can help a man gain the capacity and desire for intimacy. However, he has to be willing. The decision to pursue sexual closeness may require the help of a therapist.

Sexual addiction

If your husband is uncomfortable with intimacy, he is probably finding sexual release through self-stimulation. A sexual addiction may lead him to get sexual release by looking at pornography or engaging in some other sexual preoccupation. If so, he probably feels conflict and guilt about his secret life. Your sexual approaches then only irritate him because they remind him of his sexually destructive behavior. If addiction is the problem, you will get the most help from one of the 12-step programs.

Personal issues 

Some men avoid sex because of a personal issue, such as their wives’ bad breath or an aversion to vaginal secretions. If that is the case, your husband may not feel comfortable telling you. You will need to free him to express whatever he is feeling, even if it hurts you. A personal issue can usually be resolved by changing the habit.

Sexual inexperience 

Your husband might feel sexually inept. The good news is that a sexually inexperienced male responds quickly and positively to education about sex and to sexual retraining. If you feel competent, teach him by talking him through a sexual experience as you would enjoy it. If not, the two of you would benefit from reading aloud together and following the sexual retraining program in our book, Restoring the Pleasure.

Past influences

Perhaps your husband grew up with a dominant, controlling mother who depreciated men; or he might have received rigid anti-sexual teaching as a boy. If he came to marriage with deeper emotional sexual blocks caused by destructive influences such as these, you should see a counselor.

Feeling crowded

If your husband senses neediness from you instead of sexual desire, his sarcasm and pushing away may be a reaction to your approach. A turned-on woman is a turn-on for a man, but a needy woman is a turn-off. If this is the source of the problem, get help with understanding the gap in your life that you are trying to fill with sex. In addition, allow your husband to initiate all sexual experiences and work on ways to connect with him non-sexually to fulfill your longing to feel desired.


If your husband puts all his energy into his career, he may have no energy left for you. This is clearly an issue of priorities. You will have to schedule time for just the two of you—even if you become an appointment on his crowded calendar.

As you can see, the solution you pursue will depend on the source of your husband’s resistance to sex. If the steps you take don’t achieve the results you desire, find a counselor who specializes in treating sexual problems. You can’t make your husband want you; you can only address the issues that interfere with his desire for you.

This article (along with other great articles) is posted on the web site for Dr Clifford and Joyce Penner at in the “FAQ’s about Sex” section. If you have additional questions about this article or other sexual issues you may want to try to contact them through their web site and pick up a few of their books to see what additional information you can glean from what they write.

— ALSO —

To give you further insight, there are several articles you can read through on this subject, which are featured on various web sites. Please click onto the links provided below to read and glean through:


4 Reasons Why Your Husband Doesn’t Want to Make Love





— AND —

Sheila Wray Gregoire, who wrote the book, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex: (And You Thought Bad Girls Have All the Fun) has more to say on this subject and answers the question:

Why Doesn’t My Husband Want to Make Love?

My Husband Doesn’t Want to Make Love -Day 2 What Can I Do?

— ALSO —

For an article (and then comments below) written to HUSBANDS on this subject, please click onto the web site to read:

FOR THE HUSBAND: Why Sex Is So Important to Your Wife

If you have additional tips you can share to help others on this issue, or you want to share requests for prayer and/or ask others for advice, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

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24 responses to “SEX: When The Husband Doesn’t Want To Make Love

  1. One point was missed in the article. When the husband withholds sex it may be a form of abuse and control. Review the article on verbally abusive marriages and watch the short video to determine if his conduct is another form of abuse. Patricia Evans in her book titled, The Verbally Abusive Relationship states that various forms of withholding are Stage 5 out of 5 in severity. Read her book or another book on emotional abuse to gain the clarity. Clarity is the first step to healing. Blessings…

  2. The reality is that most men (and even some women) have allowed themselves to fall victim to the porn culture. Which ruins real intimacy in relationships and destroys the overall true purpose of sex between a man and a woman. Porn allows a person to dabble in all different types of perversions in addition to creating the what I like to call “ADHD sex mind.”

    It doesn’t really matter if the object is the world’s interpretation of sexy, as long as the object is new, different and somewhat mysterious the victim becomes all game. Therefore this same person addicted to pornography and basically self gratification, loses the desire for intimacy with an actual person and begins to view sex as a self checkout grocery store style commodity.

    They have a pick of many different tastes, styles and varieties, all easily available, affordable and discreet. Why have real sex with my wife when I can become gratified right here and now, easy, fast and all about me! This is a real problem today and what I believe destroys a lot of marriages.

  3. My husband has sex with me only when he wants it. And when I need it he just pushes me away and does not let me touch him.

  4. I have been married for 7 months and my husband and I have not had sex at all. Is there anything we can do? Please help.

  5. I have the same problem. Married 1 1/2 years. He’s hardworking and good to the kids but I feel like an accessory, like I’m just here to cook and clean and work. He gets angry and ignores me for days. No sex when he’s mad or when he’s not. I can’t initiate sex. I’m always rejected. He has sex with me when he wants to and then it’s all about him.

    I don’t want anyone else. It is so painful to think I have to live like this. I’m so tired of being ignored. When I was single men were all over me. I gave my life to Christ, got married and now I am not wanted. That is so unfair. He has had porn problems and flirtingissues in the past. I just want to be happy. Pray for me. I’m praying for you all too.

  6. I have been married for 11 Months. My husband and I have not had sex YET. WE are in MIIDDLE FIFTIES. I discussed the issues many times. Got prescription and vitamins for erectille dysfunction. He has no interest. I have asked for a divorce. HELP.