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. They may 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.


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:





From a 2-part series:



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

  1. (SOUTH AFRICA)  PLEASE HELP ME. I can’t sexually satisfy my wife to the fullest and that stresses me a lot and sometimes affect our bed. I thank GOD for meeting me with you and believe He has purpose for that. Please help me and God bless you.

    1. (USA) You need to be blessed by God. If you do for God what he wants, he will bless you and will give you what your heart desires that is aligned with his word. Your sex life might suck right now but if you fast and pray to Jesus and do for him, like praying for souls to be saved, and evangelize under his provision, worship him, praise him because you love him, God will bless you and show more of his love for you. Like Matthew 6:33 it’s very true. Be patient with God; love him regardless yet count and be grateful for your blessings.

      Something is blocking your pleasure for your marriage. The enemy the devil, doesn’t want you to be happy and live right so he will block that. You have to move that mountain by fasting and praying to God the Lord Jesus. Fast from something you like a lot, something that would be a sacrifice like certain foods, or TV, reading books that are not the Bible. Also, it helps you to know and hear God better. Take the time to fast and pray for a day at a time. Try it for a week and you will see the difference –the longer the better. God hears you. Don’t give up. Ask God to bless your marriage and other marriages and still keep God as the center of your lives. What God has put together, let no man put assunder.

  2. (WASHINGTON DC)  Hi. My sex life with my husband is not good. We’ve been married for 7 months and there have been times I’ve wanted to sleep with someone else, but what stops me is my love for GOD. IT IS VERY STRESSFUL.

  3. (INDIA)  My husband has low sex drive and whenever I initiate sex, I get rejected. I’ve tried to talk with him about it but he just doesn’t want to say anything. He has lots of porn videos which he doesn’t want to show. He never kisses me nor hugs me and whenever I give him kisses he quickly moves away. I feel so unwanted.

  4. (USA)  Well my husband has no sex drive at all. We hadn’t had sex or any kind of intimacy for 30 years. Since married our sex life was sparce to nothing. He’s made me so mad and frustrated! He purposely told me he was going on the night shift and volunteered to work weekends while I worked Mon-Fri. because he didn’t want sex with me or any one else. He is not gay and doesn’t do porn, he hardly ever uses the computer.

    We saw each other only coming and going and at dinner, this went on for years. I should have left him long ago but I didn’t, I thought things would get better. Now we’re on a fixed income and neither one of us could survive in the world alone now. He now has high blood pressure, cholesterol, ulcers, sleep problems and takes meds for all this. I would guess we had sex a grand total of 25 times in 43 years.

  5. (USA)  I have been a wife now for 30+ years. Over the last 5 years or so, my husband has become overweight, lethargic, sedentary, sexless and indifferent to me as a sexual being. He takes many drugs that affect his libido, and the male enhancement pills only work went a man tries and wants to be aroused. I am active & physically attractive. When a woman is denied the physical intimacy she so much needs and desires, it is very hurtful. I have given up being the one who cares. How can this be God’s desire for me? I have tried to initiate conversation about alternative approaches to satisfaction, but I just don’t know if I can stay in this marriage of just living together.

  6. (PHILIPPINES) How can I categorize my situation? My husband only wants the foreplay part and finishes everything there …plus he is unwilling to reciprocate what I do to him. Unfortunately, I feel upset about it. He says this is the only way we can be intimate without having to worry about unplanned pregnancies.

    1. (USA) A REPLY FOR ALL WHO WANT HELP!!! TO: ANJ –I dislike unfairness in the relationship when it comes to being imitate with one another like you’re going through. Your husband is being selfish. Pray the love of Jesus be in him and that he will love and want to make love to you because he wants too, because he loves you, and is attracted to you only as his wife, and vice versa. Also pray that for all other couples that are married that GOD the Lord Jesus has put together for his glory.

      THIS IS A FACT!!! You need to be blessed by God. If you do for God what he wants he will bless you and give you what your heart desires, that is aligned with his word. Your sex life might suck right now but if you fast and pray to Jesus and do for him like pray for souls to be saved, and evangelize under his provision, worship him, praise him because you love him, God will bless you and show more of his love for you. Like Matthew 6:33 it’s very true. Be patient with God love him regardless yet count and be grateful for your blessings.

      Something is blocking your pleasure for your marriage. The enemy the devil does not want you to be happy and live right so he will block that. You have to move that mountain by fasting and praying to God the Lord Jesus. Fast from something you like a lot, something that would be a sacrifice, like food certain foods, TV, or reading books that are not the Bible. Also it helps you to know and hear God better. Take the time to fast and pray, a day at a time. Try it for a week and you will see the difference –the longer the better. God hears you. Don’t give up. Ask God to bless your marriage and other marriages and keep God the center of your lives. What God has put together let no man put asunder. Fast mainly from food and anything that might keep you from focusing on God, especially when praying and fasting. Love God through the good and bad. Show true love for him. Do the daniel fast from the Bible. Read the the book of Daniel.

  7. (USA) My husband hasn’t touched me intimately or sexually for 45+ years. Sex was a one time deal that happened on our wedding night. From then till today and into the future he told me to not talk to him and to leave him alone. Day after our wedding he moved to the basement where he turned into a hermit. He has no phone, computer, TV, radio and doesn’t read. Just him and his shop and the garage he built out back of our house. He has no friends whatsoever, dresses like a complete slob, long scraggly hair and beard. I believed in my marriage vows so I’m still with this low life. I know he doesn’t care that I’m here and he would like me to just go away. But this is my mistake, plus I’m not educated enough to find a good job, plus the job market is horrible. I guess I created my own pot of stew, so I’ll just stay put. Maybe soon God will take me away.

    1. (CANADA) Hi! Yes you have made your own proverbial pot of stew you don’t don’t have to negelect your own person needs. After 41 years I would say you’ve given this hermit a change to change. Don’t waste the years you have left in misery! Life is too short and change is hard but you can get up out of this situation.

  8. (USA) It is unbelievable the number of women suffering because their spouse denies them sexual intimacy. What a painful experience; one that I myself am well acquainted with. For 17 yrs I’ve endured the lack of a loving intimate relationship with my husband. Within a month of our being married he would make every excuse imaginable to get out of coming to bed. I noticed a pattern of 1x/month for sex. I tried to talk to him about the problem numerous times but he would get so angry and hostile that I soon learned there was no point in approaching him. Emotionally I suffered and like most women I examined myself. I thought maybe he isn’t attracted to me all though he would often compliment my looks.

    For several years I was really confused and deeply hurt by the lack of intimacy and communication. Then 5 yrs into the marriage on a particular evening I discovered that my husband had been seeking out other men on the internet. For months without saying a word to him I monitored his activity and saw that not only was he seeking men but had established relationships and discussed very intimate feelings with these men. I was blown away. It had never occured to me that that was an issue. To this day he has never been honest with me and has vehemently denied any and all of my findings. His online profiles would state that he was bi-sexual, sometimes married, sometimes not, Christian etc… Can’t believe that I stayed in something like this so long but have finally come to a place where I know God loves me and is not asking me to stay in this kind of relationship. I am making plans to definitely move on.

    I know this topic has not been addressed but it is a real possibility that you’re not just dealing with a porn problem but a homosexual problem. All of our spouses need God’s love and healing and I believe that we can still pray for our loved ones and expect God to honor that. I don’t neccessarily believe that staying is the answer, but this is a very individual decision requiring wisdom from God.

  9. (UNITED STATES) I thank all the women for their strength. I too am a very lonely wife. I know God does not want a man’s wife to feel as lonely as we feel. I am forced to know I have to go a women knows when the sex is gone it comes & goes when your husband can’t hold you.

    He wants you to go. My prayer is for God to help fill my emptiness before my heart stops. I used to be his lust & love. Now I am invisible as a woman. As a wife of 24 years I am happy for him yet it’s hard to know I am keeping from a different life by staying his wife. He always told me he wanted both worlds. I told him I wanted to stay an honorable wife so God could be proud he chose me.

    I feel foolish for thinking love could be real. I am not going to force him to sin if he has no wife. It’s not a sin, it’s just his life.

  10. (USA) I have been married over 46 years and we dated 5 years. My story is similar to what I’ve read on here. I’m very bitter about having had to live in a sexless relationship for so many years. I feel cheated. I feel like I wasted my good years in an unemotional marriage. He was ok with having sex once a month when we were first married at 21/24… I wasn’t.

    He has always been very good to me. He was always helpful with my son and helpful around the house but my sexual life and little itimacies were non existent! I was a normal, sexy 21 year old and I thought once we were married we would have sex about twice a week… never happened!!! In those days (back in the sixties and seventies) there was no google or blog sites. I didn’t know what to do or who to talk to. I couldn’t afford to see someone professional and I was way too embarrassed to talk to friends, my mother or my sisters! I ended up talking to him from time to time or complaining. He would try for a short time and then nothing would come of it. We would go back to having sex once a month like clock work!!! Eventually, I gave up. I was tired of begging, complaining and constantly being rejected. We ended up having a decent marriage with a boring sexual life. After all what choice did I have?

    I should have left him… before I had my son five years into our marraige. I wasted my youth on a man who had no interest in doing anything exciting, like bathing together and just waiting for him to initiate sex once a month. The longer we were married the sex went to every 2 or 3 months! We retired in our early 60’s and I had made the decision to insist on having my own bedroom!!! If we weren’t intimate I wanted to be comfortable. One evening I came into the living room and found my husband masterbating to a tv show. And I thought “why would a man choose to masterbate when his wife was 3 feet away in another room?” At that point I decided I would never ask or give him any sex again… I told him I had lost interest in sex and not to bother me.

    It has been 6 years since that happened and I find he likes to run around in the nude in the morning and coming in and out of my bedroom. I think he may be sexually frustrated… too bad …let him masterbate!!! He is now getting an inkling of the rejection I felt for 45 plus years. The bitterness never leaves you and you always feel cheated. I am too old and have lung problems at this stage so my sexual escapades are done. I can still satisfy myself from time to time. I have never lost my desire for sex even at my age but I still feel I wasted my entire youth on a cold fish. I wrote him a long letter this winter and asked what the reason was for his lack of sexual libido? He never really gave me an answer… I wonder sometimes if it had to do with control.

  11. Just ran across this sight and the info was very helpful. My husband is a soldier, which leaves me alone a lot especially on back to back deployments. We are newly married 2 1/2 years and he has been gone more than he has been home. When home he’s not very good with intimacy, very dry and inexperienced, meaning with intimacy not sex. He has shared past molestation from an early age and a lot of sex partners, since with me he realized he has a porn addiction.

    He sometimes says I just don’t feel like having sex, but has also cheated in the past so I’m not sure what’s going on because I am very open to him sexually and our first time together he cried during it. I mean I broke down, saying I knew it. I knew there was supposed to be more. After he explained that he felt a connection with me that he never felt before and he always knew he was missing something. That’s the day he said he was going to make me his wife and he did.

    But now it’s like he forgot the beauty of intimacy and will go weeks if I don’t say anything to him without mentioning sex. This is mostly while he’s deployed but we had very good sessions via video chat at one point. It didn’t last long, but now nothing. I have been faithful and never stayed with anyone who has cheated so for him to deny me intimacy isn’t fair. I’m not sure if he will be open to counseling and then too not sure if he is even aware his behavior isn’t normal. My faith is strong but marriage is lacking in a major way, hard for a woman who’s alone a lot and attractive. I fight men off daily. It’s stressful because if I was getting my needs met by my husband, I wouldn’t be going thru this. Any advice?

  12. I can connect with you all because I am equally passing through the same thing. I have been married for 3 yrs. It was only during our honeymoon that I felt desired as a woman. My husband prefers his sleep to any other thing. He wouldn’t initiate sex and if I do he will tell me he’s tired.

    I have lost sleep over this issue. I have tried talking to him a number of times but he says nothing is wrong or he finds one lousy excuse to give or he says he likes it when I initiate it (forgeting he has turned me down a number of times). I have decided not to say anything about it again because it makes me feel so needy and whiny. But guess what? So far this year, my husband and I haven’t had sex. I feel so unloved and undesirable. For how long will I take this without losing my mind? Not to mention that am just 29 yrs old and get a lot of attention from guys. In this aspect, I regret marrying as a virgin.

  13. Hi, My husband is not eager to have sex but he denies it. I suppose that he doesnt want to tell the truth. He’s so tough that doesn’t let me to talk and takes action on me.

  14. My wife told me that she had a fling for a year with this guy and he was really good in bed and I asked her if he was better then me and she admitted, yes. And he gave her orgasms more often than me. Our sex life is done.