The Sexless Marriage Catch 22

Brad says…

Over and over again people are finding an old post of ours that has turned out to be one of our most popular. Apparently people all around the world are taking to the web in search of help for sexless marriages. “We Haven’t Had Sex in over a Year!”  has been our number 1 post for several months! We receive several comments and emails every month from both husbands and wives who find themselves in sexually absent marriages.  In each of these messages there are two themes that are repeated over and over again: “I’m desperate” and “My spouse doesn’t care.”

I think that many people assume a sexless marriage is just a problem for husbands.  Honestly we have received emails from just as many women who express the same pain, the same sexual longing, and the same sexual desperation. That being said, this post is directed specifically at marriages where husbands are desiring for more sexual intimacy and the wife is for one reason or another, reluctant.

Sexual Desperation

Fact: Married couples are not designed to go without sex for any long duration of time. God’s word is actually quite clear on this:

“Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
(1 Corinthians 7:5 NLT)

The reason for Paul’s abundant clarity in this message is probably because sexless marriages were an issue even back when he with writing. Paul says it as clear as possible; “If you stop having sex, make it only for a short period of time.”

Catch 22

Unfortunately, whenever sex is absent from marriage a Catch 22 quickly develops.  No wife wants to feel that sex is just about a physical release, yet the more time that goes on, the more that “need” for physical release becomes a reality.

Wives, you need to recognize that sexual desperation is a real thing. Sexual desire does increase after several days without sex; it will continue to build for several weeks.

Husbands you need to fight this catch 22. Quoting scripture to your wife won’t work. Telling her you are tempted to look elsewhere for sexual release doesn’t help! Saying “I need you” is just not a turn on to low sex drive wife; she only hears “let me use you for my pleasure.”

Reject Apathy

If you feel that your wife is apathetic about sex, or more specifically about your sex life then you need to change your approach. She already knows the 1 Corinthians verse. She knows that it isn’t good for you or your marriage to not have sex. Her lack of knowledge about the need or your desire is not the issue leading to a lack of sex. You need to discover what the real issue is.

Why Doesn’t My Wife Like Sex?

There are dozens of answers to this question here are just a few:

  • She doesn’t feel emotionally connected to you
  • Sex is painful for her
  • Sex is messy
  • Sex doesn’t ever feel good to her
  • She may be taking a medication which has lowered her sex drive
  • She has unrealistic romantic expectations about your sex life
  • She has learned to feel shameful about sex
  • She has emotional effects from past sexual abuse
  • She has too many other priorities that “need” to get done before she is willing to think about sex.
  • She may just not really like sex, and doesn’t understand why it is important.
  • She may have a hormone imbalance which is causing her low sex drive

Guy’s there are many different reasons that your wife may be refusing your sexual advances. You will never discover what your wife’s reason is by convincing her to say yes one time. You need to give up trying to get her to say yes, and instead try to discover the real reasons why she is saying no. I’m not saying that she is hiding the real reason per say, but more likely that you have not actually asked the right questions.

Sexual Connections

At OFM we often write about the strong connection that happens in a sexually intimate one flesh marriage. If you are living in a marriage where you have sex less than one time a month then you might not know this connection even exists. However, your wife still desires to have a greater connection with you, maybe not a sexual connection, but she is yearning for an increased emotional connection. In order to have a different conversation about your sex life then has happened in the last dozen arguments, you need to emphasize your desire for greater connection.

Explain that your desire is not simply about sexual release, but is a desire for your marriage. Tell her you have been struggling, but then allow her to tell you how she has been struggling. It is so easy for her struggling to be lost because she knows (at least deep down) that having a sexless marriage is a problem.  It is essential that you listen to her struggles, listening is the only way to start to get at the root causes of the issue. That is the story that gets lost when you are pressing for sex. Listen. Hear.

Take another look at that only partial list of reasons that might be behind your wife’s refusals to have sex. These are not minor issues; they will not be easy to talk about. You need to be prepared to actually hear about these things. You need to be able to hear, “It’s broke and I’m not sure I ever want our sex life fixed” without going into convolutions. I’m not saying that is where the conversation ends (obviously) but unless you are prepared to have that level of conversation you are not going to uncover the core of the issue.

Coming Soon: What Next…  We’ve talked now what…. We’ll give some ideas and links to resources to think about.

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102 Responses to The Sexless Marriage Catch 22

  1. And then there are cases when a couple has sex once every 4-8 weeks. In a way I feel like I cant complain because once every 4-8 weeks is better than not at all, but its also far from satisfying. There is absolutely a catch 22 though, because the longer its been since you had sex, the harder it is to talk with your spouse about it, especially if you have had fights over sex in the past (I am a recovering porn addict). We have tried the 10 day challenge twice now. The first time we made it 3 days, the second time we made it one day. Both times a series of unrelated external stressors completely shut down my wife’s desire. Now, I am really reluctant to try it again because I dont want to set my self up for disappointment. How sad is that?

    So just to be clear, I do understand that I have some responsibility for our lack of marital intimacy, and I don’t blame my wife for it all. I hardly ever bring up the subject of sex with my wife, and I am sure that our lack of communication on sex is part of the problem. But being a recovering porn addict makes me reluctant to approach sexual topics with my wife … as if im somehow not allowed to have sexual feelings and needs because of my past. Not sure what to do with those feelings.

    • Another husband,
      Thank you for writing! I’m really glad that you did. These stories are the exact reason that I wrote this post. It is important that you recognize that the lack of sexual intimacy is not just “her problem”.

      When you say you are a recovering porn addict that means that your wife is recovering too! Unfortunately, this recovery often gets overlooked. Her recovery might look very different then yours has. She needs to get to a place of healing before sexual intimacy will be able to become one flesh again.

      I understand the reluctance in approaching sexual topics with your wife given your history, but this is the wrong approach. Your fear is based on the thought that talking about it will hurt her. But the opposite is true, she lived through a time where not talking about it meant that temptation was taking you to pornography. She remembers this, and when you get quiet about sexual desire her worries increase. Talking about it probably brings you more pain, because you are reminded of the consequences of your actions (even if they are forgiven there are consequences).

      I recommend that you put aside the uncomfortable feelings and talk about how your recovery is going. Tell her about how you have been tempted, and (hopefully) how you have escaped temptations. (see God’s Exit Ramp for ideas). Then ask her how her recovery is going. You might learn something new!

      Keep working on intimacy! It is a journey to together!
      Blessings Brad.
      (feel free to comment or email me if you want to talk more!)

      • But what if it is her? What if i go through that list and it’s all her? What if she’s had two past affairs. What if I meet all her emotional needs. Then I get the same response. Oh it shouldn’t be THAT important. Then when she ‘gives in’ she just lays there. It’s lame.

        • I’m sorry Bill, but in all my years of going through counseling, it is never one sided. And I fear if you come to the table with that attitude you may find it will never be fixed.
          My husband has also cheated on me. So I pose this question to you, the same one I have asked myself over and over. Do you fear that you won’t perform as well as the people she was sleeping with? Does this run through your head even in the slightest? Then I say you might be holding back just a little bit. How could you not?!
          Next you say ” what if I meet her emotional needs, the I get the same response?” Sounds to me that there is some fear of rejection, which again is holding back. I know because I have been there.
          And my husband has also said the same thing ” when she finally gives in, then she just lays there.” You know why? Because I felt he was in his own world trying to meet his physical needs and I could have been a blow up doll, he wasn’t there for me, he was there for himself.
          You see love making isn’t supposed to be about what I can get out if it, but what I can give to my partner to make him feel loved. Then it becomes love making and no longer just a sexual act.
          Good luck to you and God bless, I hope this helps.

          • ” love making isn’t supposed to be about what I can get out if it, but what I can give to my partner to make him/her feel loved.” – that sounds great, and has always been my approach. But you need to give yourself permission to enjoy yourself too, or you will end up with severe performance anxiety and possibly Retarded Ejaculation (male anorgasmia). If you spend all your efforts on pleasing your partner, and none on enjoying his/her attentions, your own pleasure responses will die.

    • Sex once a month or every other month is MUCH MUCH worse than NO sex. Cut HER off. Trust me its the lesser of the two evils.

  2. Great advice. I truly believe that if we understood all the physical, emotional and spiritual benefits involved in sex we would never refuse to engage with one another. That being said, we ALL choose at times to lay aside God’s best and follow our own ways. Sex may not be that issue for you but if we take time for reflection we will find an area or areas that we need to realign to God’s best for us.


  3. Great post, Brad. It’s so important to figure out why one spouse has a lower sex drive. Exhaustion and low body image are two other reasons that women may not want to have sex.

    • Nicole,
      Great additions to the list especially low body image.
      However, I think many women use exhaustion as the reason they give when there are other deeper issues behind. I get being tired, but if you are tired forever then something else is going on and needs to be addressed.
      – Maybe he needs to help out more
      – Maybe there is other illness
      but this needs to be explored if it is ongoing!
      thanks for your comment Nicole!

  4. What about when the tables are turned….when you have a husband who has no interest in sex? It has been devastating and is slowly getting worse. I read all about wives who don’t want it…but what about wives who do and husbands who don’t?

  5. I thank GOD for my lovely Bride every day! I have never had this issue in my marriage, and pray I never do. But Brad and Kate no what there talking about, that’s why I have a folder on my desk top just for there stuff. Another great one, keep up the good work!!!!

    • Minister Miller,
      Thank you for your comment! I totally agree there are times that I just have to turn to Kate and say Thank You! I am so very blessed and it is easy to sometimes forget how much of a blessing she is! I aim to never take it for granted!

      • Minister Miller and Brad… Those of us suffering out here in sexless cyberspace are so glad to know that your sex life is going so well and that your brides are willing to put out. Perhaps next time you could simply e-mail or call each other to celebrate.

        • Hugh,
          Sorry but I have to disagree. We are bombarded with messages that marriage sex is not something worth waiting for. When it is we need to celebrate it!

          • I think Hugh was simply saying that when others seem to be having a great time, it just makes the rest of us feel worse when they rub it in.

  6. Could the reasons in your original post above, be the same reasons why Husbands are not willing (or seem to be) to have sex regularly? In our marriage its every 6 weeks or so…if I push it. Could my husband be having the same “thoughts/feelings” or are those strictly referring to woman. (may I add its been just over a year since he last viewed porn, so I’m thinking that we should be more intimate now??)

    • Anne,
      Thanks for your question, the comments have had quite a bit of traffic from women who are desiring more sexual intimacy from their husbands, proving my point in the first paragraph that this is not just a women’s issue.

      To answer your question, yes any of those reasons could apply to men too. Some probably more likely then others, and there are some that I would list for guys that are not there (performance anxiety for example). Kate is writing an article to wives who’s husband’s have low desire next, and I’ll post again soon to husbands who have low or no sexual desire for their wife. We know these are really important issues too!

      • Anne,
        I forgot to answer the 2nd part of your question….

        (may I add its been just over a year since he last viewed porn, so I’m thinking that we should be more intimate now??)

        I’m only guessing here not knowing your specific situation, but I would guess that if your husband had porn issues, and is in recovery from them, that he would LOVE to be more intimate with you, BUT he probably doesn’t know how to ask. In recovery sexual desire can seem like a double edged sword to a guy. He might be desiring you, but he doesn’t know how to tell you of his desire without raising your fears of his pornography use.

        I hope that makes a bit of since, it is a topic I can explore more later in another post…. Please let me know if you have more questions!

    • its been 5 years since I looked at porn, but I still find it difficult to approach the subject of sex with my wife. Part of it is that when I think of discussing sex with her, images of the pain on her face at the first discovery of my problem come flooding in just as fresh today as they were 5 years ago. Part of it also is that most sexual addiction recovery literature (which I have read a lot of) admonishes us men to give over control of our sex lives to our wives to create trust. Well, I did that, but now I don’t know how, when, or if to take it back.

      Perhaps, if your husband tends to be passive/introverted, like me, he may not know how or when its appropriate to start taking control back? If I ever figure that out, I will be sure to share.

      • Hi Another Husband! Thanks for writing and sharing. This is Kate responding, so my take may be different from Brad’s, but here it is . . . I hear you and completely understand where you feel lke you are in a Catch 22 with taking the reigns again in the bedroom. You are right, and so is the literature (I feel) that there needs to be a time where you hand the reigns over completely to your wife so that healing and trust can begin. You have done a very smart thing within that. Yet it has been 5 years and it is time to start moving forward together in your one flesh connection. Talking about your past will always be painful for both you and her. But if you want to move forward, to grow, then you as the hubby needs to step up-slowly. If you and your wife are in a better place and trust is established, then share with your wife, your desire for her. The desire to show her how much you love her and think she is beautiful. These too, have to be baby steps. You would not want to take steps backwards by pushing to hard.

        You being passive/introverted, will definitely make it a bigger hurtle to get through, but you can and I believe your one flesh connection will grow. Truly, your wife wants you to lead her in ALL things-including sex. You are right in that she also wants to trust you in sex. Talk to her, as hard as it is. Share your feelings of devotion and how you want your sexual intimacy to grow and be something very special between the two of you. Then take things slow. You know what she likes . . . wine and dine her. Recommit yourself to wooing her and showing her how much you adore her.

        Another big part of making her feel safe sexually, is to make her feel safe emotionally in all other areas! Hold her lots, hold her had, whisper in her ear how much you love her, leave her notes, send her emails, etc.

        I believe you can start to slowly take back leading your marriage, even in your sexually intimacy. Know that we will be praying for you and your wife! Blessings, Kate

        • “You know what she likes . . . wine and dine her. Recommit yourself to wooing her and showing her how much you adore her.”
          My experience of trying this just leads to a contented wife who sees no need to “go all the way” and just wants to stop at a hug. When she has everything she needs, why should she even consider her husband’s needs? She doesn’t.

  7. I, too am in a tables turned situtation. The longest time period has been a month and when we did do anything it was very painful for me. My thing is I can’t tell him that it is paingful without the fear he will pull away more than he has already. I start to feel depressed and not wanted by my husband. This is very much a struggle for me.

  8. Great article. Seems like there is an explosion of sexless marriages in the last few years! Bottom line is we live in a stressed out society. And it comes home with us and into our bed rooms.

    • Edward,
      We are seeing the same thing too, which is why we decided to bring back this article. I’m not sure if anything has really changed though. I’m guessing that at least in North America the nice weather makes everyone think about the birds and bees! Then their awareness that everything else is alive and green kind of reminds them that this part of their marriage is lacking. I hope that some couples can use this info to elevate their marriage and maybe start to get things back on track!

  9. Just wanted to mention that Athol Kay’s Married Man Sex Life (book and blog) has a lot of helpful things to say to men who find themselves in this situation. He is not a Christian and some of his ideas are not acceptable to Christian men, but there’s still a lot to learn there. I really don’t think, for example, that many men have any idea what kinds of things cause their wives to be sexually attracted to them (as opposed to feeling comfortable or happy with them). A lot of Christian men are posting there and saying that they have found ideas that really helped them.

    • XY,

      I just wanted to chime in on this in case someone new reads this blog post. I started reading Athon Kay’s MMSL book and blog.


      Honestly, it messed with my head at first, because to many of his concepts are counter intuitive to what we’re taught being brought up in 21st century Western civilization.

      And yeah…there are a few things that I have tested by the scriptures and have omitted. But a good chunk of his basic principles are biblical.

      Before I go on a full on tangent; I’ll just say that I was doing a lot of counterproductive things in my marriage. My wife liked me, she just wan’t attracted to me…

  10. Wonderful wisdom in this post. Once hurt, women have a hard time seeing ‘his’ side of things. Re-establishing the emotional connection was paramount in the return of my libido. Just today in my blog, I spoke to married women about the physiological necessity of male sexual orgasm for our husbands to bond with us. Understanding this helped me on our marriage’s road to recovery and success.

  11. Brad,

    A few notes:

    1. A sexless marriage is defined as a relationship in which sex occurs 10 times a year or less. However, many people feel rejection even when sex is more often.

    2. One needs to look at physical reasons before they jump to conclusions. Various medications and issues can lead to a reduction in a person’s sex drive.

    3. People need to understand that this is more common than they believe and that there is no shame in this. It is simply something that happens.

    • Kate,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure where your definition of “sexless” is coming from. I would agree that 10 times a year is very minimal, but we have heard from many many couples that have a sex life well under 10!

      I agree that it is much more common then we realize, or people want to admit. There is no shame that it happens, but it is very important to pay attention to!

      When a marriage lacks sexual intimacy it has vast impacts in other areas of their marriage too! It is very important that couples take this seriously and look at all of the potential causes.

      Thanks for your comment!

  12. I keep coming back here. It’s hard to be a husband who loves his wife, but she has no interest in sex. She wants to hold hands and a kiss goodbye but anything past that is a bother to her. Its hard to hold her hand in church thinking she won’t go any farther in our marriage. We end up making love every 2-4 months. The problem is that gives me hope, she enjoys it, but then goes another 2-4 months before I can get her to commit. I see why its so easy to give up on a marriage.

    • Frustrated,
      Thank you for your comment! We hear these same sentiments again and again! You are not alone! Don’t give up, but it might be time to switch your strategy.

      Stop asking,pleading and begging for sex.

      No I’m not crazy. I know you’re thinking if I stop asking we will NEVER have any!

      The problem is you are at the point of desperation. You have reached the place where the lack of sexual intimacy causes you to question the whole relationship. The answer is not just to have sex.

      Having sex is like giving a cracker to a starving man. It’s nice but it doesn’t change the situation.

      Stop asking for sex, and start asking for change in your marriage.

      Your wife might not even know that her denial has made you question giving up on the marriage. You don’t even know why she doesn’t want sexual intimacy because she seems to enjoy it. You must start dealing with these root issues.

      I encourage you to read “Life in Sexual Drought Begging for Change” Hopefully that will give you some ideas of next steps to start the very important conversations!

      God Bless! I’m praying for you both!

      • “I know you’re thinking if I stop asking we will NEVER have any!”
        That’s exactly what happened to me. I decided to stop asking. And she was just relieved. Frequency went down to her level (once every 3-4 months) and because I wasn’t asking anymore, she thought I was OK with that. In reality I had just given up.

        • Me too. I don’t expect we’ll have sex at all for the next 15-20 years. Then my kids will be gone and we can separate.

          Its MUCH better than trying to have sex, and getting turned down constantly. Zero sex a year really is better than 12 or so times. Sex around 10 times a year is akin to torture. Like feeding a starving man the absolute minimum to keep him alive rather than having the mercy to let him die.

          At first I thought I’d just put her in charge, and only have sex when she initiated it, depriving her of ever being pursued, but now I’m determined to tell her no or avoid her when that time of the month comes and her body overrides her personality and she wants sex. Maybe if she feels how the rejection actually feels she’ll stop doling it out. But since she only wants sex every blue moon, its going to take a while.

          • The problem is that rejecting her sexually is probably not going to affect her very much. You have to reject her in a way that gets her attention, you have to treat her like a roommate, refuse any meaningful communication with her other than “see you later”, “what’s for dinner”, etc, etc. Maybe you’ve done that for years and her refusal is you reaping what you’ve sown.

  13. We can go through all kind of politically correct mumbo jumbo but what I think it really comes down to is this:

    The reason your wife won’t have sex with you is because she doesn’t like you anymore.

    That, I think, is the cold hard truth of the matter. Now we can delve deeper into the why of it. But really, that’s a different issue.

    Does that answer the question for every couple? No. But for probably 90 percent of them, yes.

    If she likes you–I mean, really likes you–she can’t wait to spend some quality time with you, in your arms, in your bed.

  14. Adam,
    I really appreciate you putting voice to what I think alot of men think. “If my wife won’t have sex with me then she doesn’t like me”.

    But I have to disagree with you. This is looking at the issue only through the brain of men. We couldn’t imagine NOT having sex with someone we love. So using that theory in reverse. If she won’t then she doesn’t.

    This really is an over simplification of the issue. There are many many many legitimate reasons why some women don’t like or enjoy sex. I say legitimate because they are real, not because it give a “pass” to not work on these issues.

    I do agree that sexual intimacy is critical for a marriage! Guess what, the Bible does too.

    Yet, just saying “my wife doesn’t want sex so that means my wife doesn’t love me”, is totally missing your 1/2 of the equation. I’m sorry but Ephesians 5:25 does NOT say “Husbands love your wives as long as they have sex with you”. Nope! there is absolutely nothing in that verse about loving in response. In truth it is the opposite, we are to love sacrificially, like Jesus did.

    Adam, I really do appreciate your comment because I think that many men feel the exact same way you do! Please keep reading, asking questions and commenting!

    God Bless,

  15. Brad & Kate,

    Thank You for your site & comments. I need to say that I am in a “sexless” marriage. It has been over 5 years. Both my wife & I are Christians and we both know what the Bible says about the sexual relationship. I am a minister who is seriously in love with my wife & will stick out the marriage because not only is a life-long committment between my wife & I, but it is covenant between us & God. I do need to say that I have had discussions with my wife with zero results. I am considering giving up the ministry because I feel my house is not in order and I feel I am no longer qualified to be a leader in the church. Please keep us in prayer because I know that miracles can happen.

    • Danny,
      Thank you for your honesty! What a challenging position you find yourself in. I don’t disagree with your thoughts, not because you aren’t qualified, but because I fear the temptation that will come your way. (As you know that is Biblical!).

      Does your wife know you are thinking of leaving the ministry and why? Do other church leaders or pastors? Do you have a support system around you that you can discuss these important decisions with?

      It sounds as if you have taken all of this very seriously, however, I would still challenge you not to approach your wife with simply the lack of sex. You need to recognize and own that the lack of sex is a reflection of deeper issues. Approaching your wife with only no sex, is approaching only seeking to meet your needs.

      Make sure you understand what is lacking in her needs. Only after she says “everything is perfect in our marriage” can you then add the lack of sexual intimacy.

      I know that isn’t easy! I would be happy to talk further about it! Feel free to email me. We’ll be praying


  16. Hi Brad,
    I actually first stumbled upon your wife’s posts, but have discovered yours this morning; and I want to say thank you to the both of you. You may have addressed my question elsewhere and have just not found it yet, but here goes.
    Is there a point at which a sexless and uncaring wife can be divorced from a Christian perspective?

    A little background: We have been married for 10 years, and for the last 9 1/2 years we average having sex twice per year. Giving you some info about my life and wife: we have 3 kids ages 2.5 to 6, she is a stay at home mom, we make enough money, we are very connected in church and a small group, sex is not painful for her (in fact I can count on one hand the number of times she has not had an orgasm during our sexual encounters). About me: I work 40hrs a week, am not fat, I usually do all the cooking, clean the main floor regularly, yard work, etc., I love and engage with my kids and give her time away from them when possible, and love my wife more than I can express.

    I have brought up and talked about our sex life every single year, usually a couple of times. Her reasoning for not having sex with me is that she has no desire and that she does not want to just lay there because then she will resent me. I have told her how I feel, how hurt I am, that this is destroying our marriage, and that more than anything I want the closeness and intimacy in our marriage that should be there. We have seen a councilor, been to the Dr. (she does have low T, and is being treated to a point where it is now normal), and about four years ago I told her that if we could not find a way to change things I felt that I should leave the marriage. Well, things changed for about 3 months, and then we got pregnant, and then it was complicated and Dr. says no sex (which I completely got, and was okay with), but after the birth and ever since: back to the old way.

    I have just done what I consider to be my last ditch effort and brought in the Church in the form of our Small Group Leader (which she was really, really mad about). I know that God can, and does, change people (I am a living example), but despite years of prayer and asking this has not changed. I believe that she values herself more than anything but her kids and dogs. I do not think that this will make a difference. She thinks that the verses in 1 Cor. 7 do not tell the whole story, that a woman’s body is still her’s too and that she has the right to “protect it”.

    All of this is to say that I do not know how to live in a home with a woman I love and want so much, and yet cannot have and who is unwilling to change. I am absolutely willing to see how she reacts the Church (though I think that she might actually want to find a new one after this after I ‘exposed her this way’). If that does not work however I am trying to decide on next steps. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Josh,
      Thank you for your comment and your compliments. Your question is not an easy one to answer, but I will try my best.

      First. Your assessment of your involvement in the family and emotional connect to your wife is excellent. This is for obvious reasons where I often focus when there is a question of not “enough” sex in a marriage. Given your assessment the only question I would ask is does your wife agree? Would she say that you you “love and engage with your kids and give her all of the time you have possible” and that she feels “loved” by you? I’m going to assume that the answer is yes, she would agree, but that is the first thing to consider.

      Second, It sounds as if in the past you were able to take appropriate steps on the path toward change. Visiting the doctor, seeing a counselor. It actually sounds as if you were on a path towards healing until pregnancy occurred. As you said that changes everything. At least for a time. You said “things changed for about 3 months, and then we got pregnant” I know that isn’t a long time, but there was positive change. It is so easy to see and feel the pain of “it returned to the old way” rather then hanging on to the victory of “it changed for 3 months.”

      It sounds as if what you need is to take the same steps you did 4 years ago, as an effort to get BACK to the progress you were making. If you (and your wife know) she has medical issues, address them. You’re wife has shown willingness to in the past. If she is ashamed to talk to anyone in church, then go back and find the counselor that helped.

      Last but not least, we have written many posts on this topic, check out the OFM Library, and visit the Sexual Intimacy for Husbands and Sexual Intimacy for Wives pages. You might find some additional thoughts and ideas.

      I know that doesn’t actually answer your question if is it Biblical to divorce in a sexless marriage. I’m not going to answer that question. If I give you any answer you are either going to love it as proof, or reject it as wrong. The only way you can answer your question is to search it out yourself. Check out scripture, what do you see? Pray, what does God tell you?

      Thank you again for writing!
      God Bless!

      • Brad,

        the divorce question is a serious one. What if there was no answer from God through prayer? What if checking out scripture just led again and again to 1Cor7:5 which she knows but rejects? What if divorce has taken place through this? the Christian community is very condemning of failure, especially in any matter relating to sex. Can such a man ever recover his self-respect, his worth or his position before God? Can he ever love again without feeling guilty about doing so?

  17. we stopped having sex as soon as my husband’s adult, biological daughter who was given up for adoption at birth began a relationship. At first I encouraged them to get to know each other. It turns out they were attracted to each other and started dating. He flew to her home state and moved her to our home. I had to leave because he moved her into our bedroom. I was sleeping on the couch.

    • Hi Nancy! I wish I knew what to say, but clearly there are no words. Anyone would feel hurt among many other things and then you have the unusual side of that story. Keep relying on God to be everything you need in that darkness! Please know that we are praying for you! Blessings, Kate

    • Nancy,

      I. Have. No. Words.

      This reply is a year late, because I just read this when they reposted it, but I am praying that you are out of that marriage. I do not normally condone marriage (as the bible only gives one clear reason for divorce: sexual immorality) but this man is sick.

      I know that as Christians we are called to repent and forgive and reconcile…

      But I hope you left him. He is a bad man.

  18. Our marrage has been like seeing a bad horrer film. Married 45 years and we hadn’t slept , had sex, intimacy, no sleeping in the same bed all this time. He distances me as far away from me as he can. He eats and sleeps in the basement, and I was told to leave him alone and don’t bother him. As of right now I’m way past my prime for sex, but I have never experienced it so I don’t miss it. But in time it will all end and I will not have to think about the depression, and hate I feel.

    • My heart breaks for you, Amy. I am so very sorry you have been denied what God intended for you for all those years.

      • Hi Amy, I second what Andrew has said, my heart truly breaks for you. That is not a situation any person desires to be in. I hope you know that you are loved my Jesus and that he would never leave you or forsake you! Never!

        I also want to say that when someone is being mistreated as you are, you have the right to put boundaries in place, therefore placing the ball in your husbands court. If you are uncertain as to how to place boundaries and where, I would find a good Christian counselor and seek their guidance! Please know you are not alone out there! I am praying for you! Kate

        • Almost another year has went by, and I’m still in this very lousy marriage.
          Putting up boundaris is OK, but he just really doesn’t care. I now have the whole house to myself he has moved to his brand new garage, apartment thing he built out in the back corner of our property. We have a couple of acres and his home is now way out in the furthest corner, has his own drive way. He now personally has changed his whole appearance. Long scraggly hair and a beard to match. Plus old 60s type clothing. Now the only time I see him is when he does chores around our property. I want to leave so bad but really can’t, I have no money weve always lived on the edge. Now that he built his fancy garage were in worse shape and owe a lot. I think in his mind why save money for future things. Just a horrible place to be.

  19. Based on the post dates and the cobwebs it looks like I’m the first person (other than myself) to post in quite a while. Anyway, here’s the quick version of my sad story. Married 20+ years and haven’t had sex for the last 12 months. Have had sex maybe six times in the past five years. My roommate (wife) just ‘doesn’t have any desire’. Given just one word to sum up our arrangement (marriage) I would select ‘Misery’. I’m becoming increasingly resentful of her and would love to find a biblical passage giving me permission to divorce for sexual abandonment. It appears this passage does not exist. So now it appears, based on this blog’s advice, that I must convince my roommate to jump through many hoops to communicate with me, counselors or whoever to figure this thing out. I already know that this will not work out because she is not interested in me or working through her lack of desire (for me). If I were to die tonight, she would be remarried in a year and making her new husband fall asleep with a glow and a smile on his face each night. Seems that it would be so much easier to solve my problem of a sexless life to move on (if I could just find that passage) while simultaneously giving her the opportunity to solve her problem of being desired by someone she doesn’t. I’m really having trouble coming to grips with the scripture quoted in this blog. My current relationship is the same relationship I have with my secretary… idle chit-chat, news of the day, absolutely no sex, task lists, etc. I have the power to fire my secretary but I must continue to live with my roommate? Granted, I don’t sleep in the same bed as my secretary because she sleeps at her house with her husband (who always seems to have a grin on his face). I’m to the point where I feel like… okay roommate, you don’t like me, don’t want me and definitely don’t want to get naked with me. No problem. I don’t want to make you do anything you do not want to do. However, unlike you, I cannot continue this life of sexlessness. As Kevin Cronin sang with REO, ‘its time for me to fly’. Unfortunately, biblically, I cannot do this. Again, I am having serious trouble coming to grips with this. I see myself as a guy with a lot to give but my roommate is not interested. Its all I can do to refrain from trying to hook up with the female posters on this blog. Its all so pathetic. I think I’m getting sick…

    • Hugh,
      Thank you for your comment. I do appreciate it! It is abundantly clear the amount of hurt and pain that you are in. I can hear it dripping from every word. I wish I had a magic answer, I don’t. There are no simple reason that marriages end up in this difficult place. Even if it is difficult to face, you have a positives going for you, above some other men I’ve talked to. You say that if you were not I the picture, your wife would choose to have sex with a new husband. That says to me that your wife still has a sex drive, she still has desire, only that something in your relationship is causing that not to turn in your direction. Believe it or not that is hopeful.

      I’m positive that you both have much you can do to change. The key is not waiting for her to be the one to start. Figure out what she is missing, what is lacking in intimacy, romance, communication… Then do everything to fill it.

      If you say no way to that, then just know you are just as much the cause of the lack of sex in your marriage as your wife is!

      God Bless!

    • Hugh,


      How is your friendship with your wife?

      What was sex like 5 years ago?

      Was there ever a time that you and your wife were sexually ‘free’. with one another?

      The most terrible thing about female desire is that it is responsive desire. And yes there are a lot of possible ‘desire killers’ (SSRI’s post partum depresson, weight gain, lazy husband) We as husbands have to kindle that. The bible tells that God loved us first; before we loved him…our love is in response to God. So if we are to image this to our wives as the head of our marriage we must love our wives first. And too many men seem to think that loving their wives means making them happy…instead of coming along side them and helping them to be holy.

      I know that a small response like this isn’t going to fix your marriage. But maybe it can be part of the conversation that gets something moving in your life.

      I’ll be praying for you brother…

      • What if the answer to “Was there ever a time that you and your wife were sexually ‘free’. with one another?”
        is “no”?

        What if you thought dumping this “perfect on paper” wife for sexual incompatibility was “shallow”.

        What’s the advice? That was by far the worst decision of my life.

  20. I am a woman in my second marriage. Who I am now as a sexual being is night and day to who I was then-I am now sexually confident, feel good about enjoying sex, love to where lingerie, and appreciate my less than perfect body (most of the time). Maybe my perspective can help a couple in a near sexless marriage start the process of healing and change. On reflection of how and when I was raised (Midwest, female, white, Catholic, born in the ’60s)-it was ingrained in the fiber of my being that it was not ok to be a sexual being, not ok to enjoy sex, want sex, think about sex-ever, males only want one thing from a female. Sex=being used. Sex=being immoral. A teenage boy who was curious about sex was a boy being male a teenage girl had better not be curious and if she experimented in anyway she was a “slut” or “whore”. I was never taught in the home or church that sex was a gift in marriage and never heard that a husband and wife express love to each other in making love. I was sexually molested by a distant relative as a preschooler and date raped in college. Sex was only presented as something that was a sin outside of marriage. I could go on but I would guess most American women my age have similar stories. When I got married at a very young age I was not a virgin and had no better understanding of God’s gift to us as sexual beings. My then husband was a decent man with the same level of understanding, ability and skill to communicate about this topic as me-pretty much none. Getting married did not change the fiber of what my whole life I had learned about sex. Also my ex and I were completely ignorant to and about the differences in the way a man and woman each perceive the world, how we process, feel, need, etc differently-no clue. Really no idea that we think in such different ways. (A woman needs unconditional love and man needs unconditional respect and what that looks like to each)

    Yes men your wife probably does enjoy sex. But–she needs to learn to permit herself to enjoy the sexual part of her womanhood. she needs to feel safe, protected, emotionally connected, understood, beautiful and accepted in every way by her man. And the physical act and desire itself is much more complicated for a woman-as in if you are trying to build a good sex life be patient in every way. Learn!

    I would say the suggestion to work on your marriage being better and you two being more emotionally connected and working as a team-as one–is the best way to promote change. I think being willing to be completely vulnerable w your feelings is necessary. A wife in a sexless marriage may be fine w the marriage as it is-the facade to family and friends and community–but I would guess she gave up hope for how she wanted her marriage to really be and got used to feeling very lonely and unknown long ago. If you are this unhappy do you think she could be truly happy and fulfilled? You will both need to take chances w your true feelings.

  21. I don’t imagine anyone finds this blog without some firsthand experience. I’m not the exception.

    I don’t have decades in this situation, but I have a couple years now. And the more clearly I’ve seen that I didn’t want sex (thirsty, yes), what I wanted was her to want me. Unfortunately, that has lead to resentment because I gave up a lot and still do for her, and still don’t get that foundational joy that husbands and wives are supposed to share.

    I’ve since realized, especially as I read blogs like this one, that there is no “solution”. Nothing I do “will” fix the problem. It’s an act of God or nothing. As long as I hold to the false hope that I can fix what’s really wrong, I will always be frustrated when it doesn’t work. “I did my part, what is wrong with YOU?!?!”

    It’s kind of left me in the place of just learning to accept that as Messiah suffered with us. I must suffer with my wife. In a sense I get to help bear the burden of the sexual abuse in her past, as she also bears the burdens from my past.

    It doesn’t make it better, but sometimes it allows me to see that God is allowing me to truly love as Messiah loved. It’s still suffering, but its suffering for the ministry, for God. So what’s helped me is three things:

    1) Forgive. Daily, I’m beginning to acknowledge that I have been wronged. This wasn’t the relationship I agreed to. But I forgive her. I can’t keep dragging forward all the past hurts. It’s too heavy.

    2) Pray, because I’ll never be able to do this on my own. I can’t solve her needs, and neither of us can solve my needs. I have to bring it to the one who knows the depth of my hurt and is also the one in position to heal it.

    3) Trust that when God says He can restore the years that the locusts have eaten, that includes marriages.

    But, one thing I wish would come out of this blog . . . maybe you’ve written about this and I haven’t found it yet. But I wish there were more stories like the one above. The comments are filled with people in the depths of despair, do you have any stories of people who’ve seen this turned around?

    Then again. Maybe that’s just this false hope. It doesn’t matter what’s happened for anyone else, only faith in what God will do in my own.

    • Hi Jesse,

      Thanks for taking the time to share so openly! You are right that there is nothing you can do to fix this. You can only be the best spouse you can be!

      Your last questions . . . the reason we write on this topic is because we ARE a couple that has been turned around. I (Kate) have shared that sex was a huge struggle for me and I knew it hurt Brad and yet I didn’t want to care. So if you search some of my older posts, I share how I came out of that, how God changed my heart and the ramifications of all of my earlier choices. That being said, Brad will share openly that he was not prefect in the area either! We were both VERY selfish in our marriage. So I would encourage you to read further into our story! There can be change, we are living proof of that and THAT is why we right on this topic-ALOT!!! Blessings, Kate

      • Kate,

        I’m going to disagree with something you said…sort of.

        “You are right that there is nothing you can do to fix this.”

        I would say ‘There is nothing you can do to fix HER.’

        But Jesse can be the best Husband he can be, he can fix him! He can grow as a husband and head of his house and as a man. There are two main problems in any marriage…man and wife. And one thing sexually starved husbands usually bring to the table is an odor of desperation and helplessness…which helps perpetuate their wives not being attracted to them. And Jesse has the power of the Holy Spirit (since I’m assuming he’s a brother in Christ)dwelling within him. The power which raised Christ from the dead can empower change in our selves that we never imagined possible.


        Brother. I don’t know if these words will reach you, but you can change. I know this hurts, but you can change you, and God can change your heart. You can love your wife well, and You can grow into a leader that she can trust and depend on.

        Especially if she has sexual abuse in her past, this will be critical on your part. You will need to earn her trust way more than any ‘normal’ husband (whatever that is…). And is she talking to anyone (pastor, counselor, biblical counselor) about her past abuse? This may be something you lead her in…not tell her to do.

        And Jesse, I’m not saying that you have the power to do this. You don’t. God does. I believe that God wants godly marriages with two of his children walking in holiness…

  22. Thanks! I really like your website.

    Intimacy in marriage is a desperate problem among Christians today. And a symptom of that underlying problem is the rampant divorce epidemic in the Church.

    1 Corinthians 7:15 is an extremely important verse, and, even though the husband is the spiritual leader of the family, this verse should be heeded, in love, by both husband and wife equally.

    The same Holy Spirit who dwells in a godly husband, dwells in a godly wife.

    One can debate over the wife being the “weaker vessel” and many other valid truths. But here’s the bottom line. Jesus said,

    If a man (or woman) loves Me, he (or she) will keep My commandments.”

    Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. And then love your neighbor (your spouse is your closets ‘neighbor’) as yourself.

    When a husband or wife who struggles with a lack of sexual desire for their mate, or for intimacy itself, contemplates this difficult topic, what must become the all-important question, is, “how much do you love Jesus?”

    I can say I love Jesus, but if I am not keeping His commands from the Scriptures, then the proof in the pudding is, I simply don’t love Him as much as I say, or think I do.

    “This people draw near to Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” said the Lord, of a people who give great lip service, but their actions reveal hearts that didn’t really love Him.

    Agape love is a sacrificial love that seeks to love his or her mate even if it is not reciprocated. Nevertheless, we as human beings are weak in our flesh. We have needs. Strong needs. God created us this way after all.

    The divine purpose of marriage is companionship; “It is not good for the man to be alone”, said the Lord, after he created man who did not yet have a companion.

    So, the question Jesus would pose for all spouses here today, is; ‘How much do you love Me?’ ‘Will you love Me enough to minister to your husband or wife’s sexual needs, even though you don’t feel it or desire it?’

    Satan [only] comes to steal, kill, and destroy. And his first act of destructive division was to come between husband and wife in the Garden. And we’ve been letting him continue this for the last 6,000+ years.

    If I really love my wife (and I DO), then I am going to esteem her needs (sexual and otherwise) above my own; because I do love her, and because I really love Jesus.

    It’s all about love, and putting the needs of others; especially our spouse’s, before our own feelings or needs.

    If a wife or husband understands that the Enemy of our souls (and of our marriages) seeks to destroy us by tempting us in our sexual weakness, because our spouse has forsaken us in that area, then if they really love one another, they will send the Enemy packing by submitting their hearts to God by loving their spouse and ministering to that sexual need.

    It’s all about love.

    If you really love Jesus, then esteem the needs of your spouse above your own needs or feelings.

    And by this shall the Lord be glorified.

    God bless,


    • Mark,

      it’s clear from your post that you really love Jesus and you esteem the needs of your spouse above your own needs or feelings and that by this you glorify God.
      What do you have to say to someone who the Enemy of our souls (and marriages) has destroyed by tempting us in our sexual weakness, because our spouse has neglected us in that area?

      • Hi Barney,

        My wife has neglected me in this area for many years. And I am not perfect, and am ashamed to say that I have given in to temptation at times.

        But Jesus said, “It is he who loves Me, who keeps My commandments.”

        I have had to step aside and allow the Lord to work on my wife’s heart (and mine) in this matter. I don’t know if our situation will ever change. The ball is in her court, so to speak. This is extremely painful.

        But what it comes down to is this: Will I choose to love the Lord more than my needs or my personal pain?

        The Bible says we are not tempted beyond that which we are able to bear, and with the temptation, the Lord always provides a way of escape.

        So when I am tempted and don’t choose the way of escape, it’s my fault and no one else’s. It’s because at [that] time I chose the needs of my own flesh over loving Jesus.

        This is not an easy thing for me to say, but that’s a form of self-idolatry.

        God bless you,

  23. My husband became suddenly and completely unable to maintain (or sometimes even achieve) an erection in 1999 when he was 39 and I had just turned 40. We have not had any intimacy of any kind since July 1999. (We had been married 18 years at the time.). He never sought medical treatment–which from what I understand is unusual. Because he had never had this problem before, I assumed the problem was psychological; he argued it was physical. That is pretty much the extent of our discussion of the subject. He is selfish anyway, and since there was “nothing in it for him” there was also no attempt to recognize that just because he was unable to perform did not mean I no longer had needs and desires. There is no foreplay, no kissing, no oral, nothing. And, as is to be expected, I suppose, he is “mean as a snake”–for almost 15 years now!

  24. After 19yrs of marriage, I’m at point where I hate sex. I spent so many years forcing myself to have sex, be loving, do my duty as a Christian wife….being told that the Bible teaches me that my body is not my own….having my husband mad at me for days when he didn’t get the sex he thought he had a right to and mad at me for days when he DID get it ’cause it wasn’t to his liking. I wasn’t “into it” enough, I guess…..
    It’s gotten to the point where I’ve decided that, I won’t refuse sex. Because God has commanded me to have sex with my husband, but the quality and richness of the experience will always reflect the emotional intimacy of the relationship and how much he actually pays attention to what I tell him. 19yrs of marriage and I have NEVER had an orgasm. I’ve asked him to do and not do some things – just preferences, I guess….I’ve graciously reminded him and asked him more than once, but he doesn’t remember, or doesn’t care, continues to do them and these things become a big TURN OFF!!!
    I’m usually last on the list after his work, stress and the kids….even church sometimes…..
    I’m applying 1 Cor. 13 love, but in that passage I see nothing about passionate sex.
    I’m at a loss. We’ve been to counseling. Nothing has changed.
    Everyday, I choose to love him and to turn my resentment over to God…..
    I’m tired.

  25. Thank you for the forum. I hope someone would be able to help in my situation. I don’t know if there’s a way for my and I to start having sex, but I really hope there is.

    My wife and I have been together for nearly 12 years, married nearly 9. Our son was born 7 years ago. Up to the beginning of the last trimester, the sex was frequent, fun, and satisfying for both of us. Out of fear for hurting the baby, I suggested that we cool it with the sex, but that otherwise I found my wife more attractive than ever (not sure if she believed me but that’s a different matter altogether).

    After the baby was born, I felt that I would leave it up to her to when we could have sex again. I wanted to make sure her body was fully healed from such an ordeal, plus I could only imagine how exhausting it was to take care of a brand new baby, and I didn’t want her to think I only cared about the sex. Well, 3 months passed, and I decided to try initiating sex, at first nonverbally, then outright asking. In all instances I was routinely rejected. Furthermore, she refused to teach the baby to sleep in his own crib, preferring to have him sleep between us. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son more than anything in this world, but I really craved to have time with no one else but my wife. She was not interested and at the slightest whimper from my son, she would go up and take him back to our bed, saying “he’s only this little for a short amount of time.”

    After six months, I got tired of all the rejection, so I felt that the best thing for me to do was to expend my sexual energy somewhere else that wouldn’t be destructive like cheating or porn, so I decided, and I distinctly remember the night, that I would release the pent up sexual tension by getting out of bed, into the kitchen and cooking. I know it sounds silly or crazy, but I rationalized this by saying that the whole family would benefit from my learning to be a better cook, it would be a creative outlet for me, and it would help nourish our family (my wife and I, and my 2 stepkids). I was still being rejected, but it didn’t hurt so much because I comforted myself with food. I continued to try, but the frequency of attempts diminished. Finally, it was Valentine’s Day, nearly a year since my son’s birth, and after bringing gifts for baby, stepkids, as well as my wife, I essentially received no reciprocation or hardly any acknowledgement. I told my wife I was frustrated by how little thought she put into the holiday meant to celebrate lovers, as well as all the other meaningful days, like holidays, birthdays and anniversaries, days I always imagined would be overflowing with sex (at least those occasional blips on the calendar anyway). She reacted to my frustration, was apologetic and we had sex. But it wouldn’t last longer than that day.

    Ever since, we’ve been on a sexual life marred with fits and spurts, never gaining momentum. We’ve moved twice since, and both times it would be at least 4 months before we had sex in our new house. We’d have sex once every 2 or 3 months, but over the past six months or so, I’ll be in bed next to her, I verbally ask if we can have sex, when she agrees, I’ll have an erection but when I try to move into position, the erection goes away. I don’t know if it’s because of all the weight I’m carrying, or because I forgot and can’t get that sexual connection going again, or that I truly stopped caring. It’s something I want to do at this point because now my wife is concerned that we’re not having sex (even though she hasn’t made a move on me… ever, I believe) but she thinks it’s something we should be doing. I’m hoping someone here can give some direction on how to proceed.

    God bless all who may read this post.

    • I started having the same problem with my wife. When she would agree to sex, she would still push me away some during it and she would make a face or something. I knew she wasn’t into it. I would often lose my erection when that happened. I wasn’t just there to use her body, I wanted to make love to her. I wanted her to want me as much as I wanted her. Duty sex is no turn on. Not sure if that is the case with you but it’s what happened with me.

  26. My husband and I have been married for 4 years now and we have two beautiful children. Our problem started when see became painful for me while i was pregnant. And for the longest time after the baby was born, or sex life was non existent. Fast forward a few months and I’m really trying to meet his needs after many talks and fights. But it seems the more I try the more it isn’t enough for him. We are up to having sex twice a week from once every 3 months. He’s begun to sit me out emotionally and will only “spend time” with me when we are intimate. Any other time he goes to bed early or will go on the computer. He says it is his way of protecting himself from rejection. He says that it is still not enough for him. He used to have a porn addiction and would spend the whole day in his bedroom. I feel like he had channeled that into our marriage and I can not keep up with it! At what point does this become an issue he needs to work on?

  27. I gave up on sex in my marriage this year. We just had our 20th anniversary a few months back. Sex has always been a struggle but it had been getting worse. It seemed every time we tried I felt rejected and she ended up mad. I finally decided it wasn’t worth the heartache and that I have to accept that it is just not something that will be a part of our marriage. The fights have decreased but my loneliness and resentment have not.
    I feel like I am having to choose between being loved and being faithful. If I obey God and stay faithful, I will live a very lonely and rejected life. I know now she will never change. I also know I cannot go on without some kind of physical expression of love. I know that will only come from outside my marriage. I’m struggling trying to hold it together for the sake of my kids.
    I would love to hear advice on helping people cope who choose to stay in a sexless marriage for the sake of their kids. Most articles try to tell you how to fix your love life. That’s not always possible nor realistic. Some times you just need to know how to endure and end up with some kind of sanity.

    • Scott, this is exactly how I feel. Surely God doesn’t want our lives to be miserable and lonely? I continue to remain faithful but at a cost.

    • Scott, I am in the same boat as you, and I pray that you get God’s spirit to persevere. This situation eventually tarnishes every shiny thing and makes every sweet thing taste of ash.

      Ignore the trite, rote response you are going to get here asking if “you are are doing x,y,z to ‘fix’ things”..essentially blaming you for not being able to force the horse that you lead to water to actually drink.

      At some point, a willfully disobedient and self-centered spouse has to to take SOME share of the blame.

      In my case it turns out in addition to that my wife just isn’t attracted to me anymore (possibly never really was) despite the fact that when we did have sex orgasm was nearly never a problem for her. Not for lack of physicality either, we were and are still competitive athletes, both of us are attractive alpha-type people, I am built like an NFL lineman, the only time she ever shows me any attention is when other women notice me, either at the gym, or the pool in the summer. Then she clings all over me, only to stop as soon as we leave.

      The only time she ever had sex with me regularly ( a six month timeframe, 4 years ago) was, I later found out, when she was having an affair…giving away freely what she always denied me.

      The only reason that we are still married is because, other than sex and the conflict from not having it, we coexist peacefully and I refuse to have my children suffer through a divorce.

      I’ve even fallen to temptation since, seeking what I was missing in the arms of others, but gave that up because my conscience wouldn’t leave me alone and affairs don’t satisfy the combined deep emotional and physical void any more than diet pop quenches thirst.

      Beyond frustration here, given up and just tired and waiting for the burden to be lifted.

  28. I really liked this posted. I always look for scripture in regards to marriage and introspection of believers.
    And here’s why. Once legally married and then later the marriage wasn’t legally recognized as in being joined together. That was many years ago and I could careless about what is legally recognized as a marriage anymore. I’m a deportee’s wife. I’ve spent too much time, effort, traveling to make a separation in marriage (forced separation) work. I haven’t found my true “happy” ending yet; and most laugh at my situation. It’s really not funny because it brings me pain, but I laugh with them when they listen to things we both tried to do to make it work. Deportation basically means separation in terms of marriage. My marriage is like a catch 22 in and of it’s self if it should even be called one.
    And also mostly a sexless marriage too; another catch 22.
    Well at least I’ve learned one thing in all of this, is that I would rather have sex with someone who knows me, and it’s not about another person’s merits.

    Even after all these years the person who knows me best is my husband. Even after transitions of trying to make a change to other people in both our lives, we’ve found something that didn’t work out with them; and that is the person who grew to know you best good and bad is going to have the best sexually intimate connection (marriage connection) with you. Not all the time, but it carries an intimate meaning of feeling recognized. And sometimes we don’t see it that way because they are constantly there. And sometimes we see a conflict and withdraw. And sometimes we want to know if others have the same needs or sometimes it’s just plain adventurous needs. It doesn’t matter; the person you knows you is the person that has the potential to have the best possible sexual connection.

  29. I have recently learned of these websites that offer such a variety of thoughts and insight. My wife and I have been married for 34 years. We struggled like many couples raising 4 children and providing for them. But we did it with a lot of help. The kids have been gone now for 8 years and it has been the last 12 years that my wife first mentioned she was having the change in life and would I please put up with it with her without her using medication. Then the less sex started to come into play, once it was twice a week, then twice a month, then twice a year, now no penetration, but she would agree to helping me out by hand. That seemed to be the last straw for me. I can’t stand the rejection. I find her very desirable but if I mention it or even touch her, she thinks I want to hop into bed. She says I am always badgering her for sex. But it is not true. I can go weeks or months without mentioning sex and as soon as I do, I am badgering, demanding, all I want her for is her body, etc, etc, etc. I am so Mad! But mostly, I can’t stand the rejection.

    She was never the one to say I love you, or to give me a kiss, or to hold my hand. I have always had to be the one to initiate this. Now I can’t even do that. I lover her dearly, but the pain that I feel is immense. She does not either understand or believe that this is so heartbreaking. She says no one ever died for lack of sex. I disagree. I am dying on the inside each and every day that goes by.

    She won’t go to counseling, doesn’t believe there is anything wrong with how she feels toward sex and that I should just accept the status quo. I can’t ignore my desire for her. I miss the intimacy afterwards and the just cuddling.

    I recently invited her to go away for the Memorial day 3 day weekend. She at first said yes. Then that night, instead of coming to bed in our bedroom, she went to bed in the guest bedroom. When I asked her about it in the morning, she said we were just not getting along and she did not want to do this anymore. She said no more sex. She went from going away for a weekend to rebuild relationship to moving out of our bedroom and being roommates! It devastated me. I can’t get over it. I am so upset. I have tried books, counseling, praying with partners, but nothing has happened. Everyone says be patient, but I have been living thru this for over 10 years. We have not been intimate on our birthdays, anniversary, valentines day for the last 5 years. If you were to ask her, she would say we have had sex recently, but if you pressed, she would not be able to give you a date. She is perfectly content with this. I am not. It doesn’t matter to her that I am unhappy. She does not want to make any changes. When asked if she is aware there is a problem, she acknowledges there is, but when asked if there is anything she is doing to help resolve it, she just shrugs her shoulders. In effect, it is my problem, not hers, she is happy without sex. To me that means she is happy without me in her life. I have not stayed in this marriage to have sex. I stayed because I love her deeply. But to just have a roommate? This is beyond painful. Juan

    • Juan. This woman has left you. SHE HAS LEFT YOU. So feel better about making it official. If what you say above is objective and true, then take joy in your kids and leave this woman. Leave everything behind. Cut off all the material bondage of that marriage. Shake the dust of that house from your feet.

      Buy a futon and start fresh. You’re alive, you have living to do, and you’ve been left alone, my friend. Are you Catholic? Talk to a priest, describe how you believe she never understood her commitment to you. Set up an annulment. Clearly she never understood what marriage is. Don’t you know how little western women understand and embrace marriage? Isn’t it clear? The evidence is in your heart. Continue being a gentleman towards here. Be loving, but leave and start anew. Be at peace. Pray for clarity and grace.

      If you proceed as above, you might get her attention. Maybe then she will struggle with her weakness and then fight to keep things together. If she lets you go with no effort to heal the marriage… then that is the last evidence for a clear conscience that you need.

  30. I’m sick and tired of marital advice websites treating women like gossamer puzzles that aren’t expected to behave as adults and act pro-actively in their marriage. I don’t accept the idea that women must be “figured out”. I reject the notion that women need psychological tweaking in order to perform sexually. That’s ridiculous. I reject the idea that husbands must engage in elaborate psychodynamic choreographies in order to “court” a woman they’ve married!

    MARRIAGE. MARRIAGE. She said: “I DO”

    “The reason you’re not sexually fulfilled in marriage is because you’re not asking the woman the right questions.”

    Geez. How little is a woman’s intelligence respected within this sentiment!! My wife is a whole, full, responsible person. She’s not my child, she’s not mentally incapacitated. Why can’t she be expected to exert effort towards the marriage? No enigmatic tea-reading required here. She’s supposed to LOVE me! Remember?! She’s supposed to LOVE me!! I’m in a MARRIAGE and I should be LOVED!

    Love. Is. A. Verb…. PERIOD.

    If I can offset my sexual identity for months on end out of love for her, and desire for her to be happy, then she can be expected to extend LOVE to me on occasion. LOVE, people. Respect and regard for the person you MARRIED. Remember that novel concept?

    There’s no riddle here. I’m right, she’s wrong, I’m patient, she’s frigid, this website is full of western, post-feminism, quasi-egalitarian nonsense, and I’m fed up with listening to it.

    • I am not religious but I suffer from the same problems. I am so relieved to read your post. Finally someone is not shifting all the responsibility to the man.

      I am so sick of websites where women tell men to do more cleaning, more housework, more wooing, making the woman feel beautiful, more flowers (incidentally, I did buy her a beautiful bouquet this morning, for no occasion), more caressing but with no absolutely sex afterwards, rose petals on the bed, all this and much more, all in order to get the woman to have all of her million mental moving parts in the right place so she finally desires sex with their own husband on her terms. Really? Anything else?

      My wife used to have sex with me daily before marriage. Why is it that women turn it off after marriage? I haven’t gained weight, I haven’t become a different person, and I don’t ignore her. I do so much for her in fact, from gifts to acts of emotional and personal kindness. She will attest to all of that.

      So why does this have to be so difficult? Why are men obligated to expend so much physical and mental energy to create some idyllic scenario where their respective wives will want to have sex with their own husbands for complicated intrinsic reasons? In my case, the more I want it, the more she feels like she is just a sexual release, and the more she resents it, because she feels like she is being used. So I have to not want it at all, and not enjoy it, and then it’s ok, because there’s nothing in it for me…. is that how it’s supposed to work?

      It also effects my ability to perform, because having sex with my wife is so unfulfilling, because she just lays there and wants me to get it over with. She won’t allow any other positions, mostly because she knows I enjoy those other positions a lot. She doesn’t say it, but I know it makes her feel like she’s being used. She also allows me to give her foreplay, which I always do, but she will not reciprocate on any level, except on “special occasions” (usually my birthday, and even then begrudgingly). She “allows” me to have sex with her once a week (completely her call which day and at what time and only when she’s good and ready for it), which many will say is a lot in terms of frequency, but frankly I’d rather be abstinent. Last time we had sex, when we were done, she said “are you happy now?” with a great amount of sarcasm. Prostitutes should say that, but not one’s wife. I love my wife to death, but I don’t need this. I really don’t.

      Since leaving her is not an option (I do love her and I do want to be with her forever), I’ve made a decision to stop initiating sex and to just see what will happen. If she continues like this, I think you reap what you sow in life. I have concluded that withholding emotions and intimacy in a relationship is a form of punishment, and I’m totally ok with getting fulfilled elsewhere, and I would support anyone else in the same position to do the same.

      Every person in every relationship deserves to have shared intimacy. If you do your part to give it, you should be able to receive it too, without having to be a psychologist, a knight in shining armor, a motivational therapist, a mind reader, a celibate shoulder to cry on, a romantic prince, and many other things. This shouldn’t be so complicated, and the traditional answer is that it’s all the man’s fault, and if it’s the woman’s fault, then it’s her hormones, post-partum depression, her body image, how she was raised to believe about sex, etc.

      Enough is enough, and it’s time for some accountability people. Stop making it so complicated, and stop creating so many excuses. A woman and a man in a marriage should be able to have sex with each other, for the joint purpose of pleasuring each other, at least once a week. If one partner has a greater sexual desire, which is usually the man, because like it or not, we have testosterone racing through our body, then the other party should make reasonable accommodations. It’s not that hard.

  31. My wife of 30 years tells me that sex to her is as much fun as eating breakfast. Not wrong, not evil, not “messy”, just not worth it. I do not want to be seen as selfish. I self-medicate with alcohol and am trying to stop looking at porn. She’s also super-spiritual and works 50-60 hours per week at a Christian organization. My ED doesn’t help matters but I’m thankful for the once a month ration I get from her. Glad to hear other couples enjoying themselves but I see little hope for us.

    • How ironic, she works at a christian organization, but is living in direct disobedience to those values she promotes. I wonder what marriage advice she would give someone else?
      I would take a good hard look at yourself first, porn is only feeding your lust and enhancing your ED situation, stop the porn, and let God heal your body. Are you meeting her needs? perhaps that is why she doesnt meet yours.
      I dont think divorce is neccesarily the right option all the time, but a separation for a time might help. Obviously she doesn’t realize how serious this is, it sounds to me like she doesn’t care. When she is crying out to God because she is lonely and can’t understand why you left in the midst of her ‘christian service” to Him, God can then speak to her and let her know how she is destroying her marriage. Like an abusive husband that doesn’t realize how he mistreats his wife until she leaves, it takes a major situation like separation to wake people up so they can hear from God.
      Good luck

  32. This is also to reply to “Frustrated and hurt”, that posted on 12/05/14 … Brother, I hear you. Your story could also be mine, with some odd twists.. My wife and I are at the opposite spectrum of sexual desire, or libido. One a month is a good month for us, twice a month a record, and once every 6 to 8 weeks is the norm. I am 51, she is 44, married 22 years, with 3 kids. There is a long back-story to this, but there is no time for it right now. Let’s say that after agonizing for a long time, we came to have the most calm and serious conversation on the “our intimacy and our marriage” topic. And what came out of it, just about blew my mind. I knew she had low desire, I knew and I felt that our intimacy was getting more and more .. weird. She was absent, going through the motions, even though she had assured me in the recent past how happy she was that our relationship had been restored, and called it a miracle.
    So last Monday we finally went out for coffee and laid all the cards on the table. Well, at least she did. I was mostly listening. She told me that all her emotions and feelings for me had been gone for a long time ( even though just two years ago she repeatedly was commenting how great we were doing..) and for the last 15 (!!) years she had being “dissociating” when we had sex, and she was going somewhere else with her mind. So I told her that maybe, all things considered, we should just call our physical intimacy (sex) off for 6 months, and really work on our relationship, so she would not be under the (apparently frightening to her), pressure to have sex with me. So we both agreed not to have sex until next June, and then re-evaluate the situation. In the meantime, we both agreed to work on us and our marriage. Well, I am the one that would be doing all the work, because she said she does not think she needs to, and she asked me “just about why do you want to have sex with me..?”
    After I got up from the floor, since I fell off the chair after she asked me that question, I gave her my answer.
    “Honestly ? Because I like it. Because I enjoy it, because it is the one thing that allows me to shut out the outside world for 10 minutes or one hour. No bills, no mortgage, no kids, no car repairs, no career and work decision. Just you and me, falling into the marriage bed, together, as one, and forgetting everything else. because I need that, and because it makes me feel like I matter, like I exist. It is rough out there, I think I need “us” to connect physically, emotionally, skin to skin, I want your smell, I want to feel the touch of your skin. I really need that, as your husband. And it would make a world of difference to me if you somehow could show me that it matters to you too.”
    Well, after this speech I was crying, because I opened my heart to her. And this is what she said to me.. “You should not need me for your emotional needs. God and God only is supposed to meet all your emotional needs, without me. God meets all my emotional needs just fine, and I do not need you to fill my needs.” Do you know how it feels to be stabbed into the heart ? I do now. She has a point, to some extent. I agree that God is an absolute part of the formula in a marriage, without fail. What I cannot understand and I am willing to fight for it, is the notion that .. between husband and wife, we should not need each other emotionally. that is insane. “it is not good for man to be alone” I think it is somewhere in the bible, right ? What, do we marry to play cards or monopoly, or have coffee together, or to connect at an emotional level as well? After a week of work, I get home, and I “need” my wife to be with me. Not only for the physical sexual release, that is only a small part. I need her for all the reasons I wrote above. I have my prayer life. I read the bible, I do my soaking music, and listen to my favorite christian speaker. After all that I still would love to make love to my spouse. Is that theologically wrong now ?
    The other not-so-funny part came after a few minutes, when I told her that yes, I agreed to the six months period of no-intimacy, and that it was going to be a challenge for me, but I was prepared to do it, and to work to save our marriage. Then she said that if she would try and “initiate” sex, that would be OK. I am the one that shall not initiate anything for six months, and just wait to see if she is in the mood. June can never come soon enough.. Please, comment on this. I think I am gone insane.

    • You agreeing to not approach her sexually for 6 months is wrong, you should have agreed to not talk to her or just move out for 6 months. She obviously does not understand men’s needs, or care to work on the marriage.

    • Mark,
      As a Christian marriage counselor I’m going to tell you that what you are doing is great. It is well within both you and your spouse’s right to agree to be abstinant within your marriage as long as it is for a season. The correct translation should be ‘season’. You’ve both placed a starting and stopping point to this season in your marriage. Use this time to try and draw closer to your spouse. Try to appreciate her as a person of equal value and strength. Don’t fall for line that women want flowers and candy and to be told they’re beautiful. Sure, that can help – BUT, the bottom line is that women want respect every bit as much as a man. And men want love every bit as much as a woman. You should verbally tell her what personal attributes you admire in her. Honesty, faithfulness, ambitious, loyalty, hard-working, assertive, outgoing (you get the picture). Your wife may be feeling like you just see her as a servant and not as a person. You may not see it that way, but are you telling her, out loud? If she’s working in the yard, don’t just say “I’m glad you like to do yardwork” – instead say “you have a landscaper’s eye for what plants go where and which ones go together”. Do you see the difference in those two???

    • Interesting, 6 months of no sex sounds like hell in itself! Im really curious if this will turn things around for the two of you. I hope youll be able to share how it works out.

      But I kind of agree with justino. Men arent built like women. Women can turn their sexual desire on and off at will. For men, it pops into our minds often as if our sexual desire has a mind of its own! Us men sometimes have morning wood and Im like “hey, I never asked for this!”

      ” God and God only is supposed to meet all your emotional needs, without me.” I think is an excuse that really means ” Im not sexually attracted to you anymore.” Which in that case, nothing would change. But I digress, do the six months, I hope Im proven wrong for your sake.

      All the best!

  33. Scripture is very clear about physical intimacy – if you must abstain it should be for a little while and only for prayer. Sexual separation is extremely damaging to the relationship.. seek counseling immediately–ideally for both of you or at least for you. Waiting six months is a mistake.

  34. Madk Fill, I feel your pain and empathize with you. I feel your wife’s thoughts on sex resonates well with my wife’s. We’ve been through everything mentioned in this entire post… EVERYTHING!!! Except the affairs though. Things were tough, they still are at times.
    I can tell you now, your six month plan is a very bad idea. Have you met resentment yet? If not, you’ll soon be introduced to her. She’s a nasty piece of work and will drive you up the walls. She’ll make you a nasty person too. At the end of the six months your wife is not going to want to make love with you coz of the resentment you’ve built up and the hurt she’s had to endure the last six months. You’ll turn into a bitter person. When you guys eventually do make love again, probably around August/September, because she’s then gna feel that you guys need to now only make out and go on date nights and hold hands and talk and stuff, by that time, things are going to be extremely awkward when you eventually try making love again. That in itself adds a whole new player to this ball game.
    Like I said, I’ve been through all of these situations mentioned in this threads. No amount of: me cleaning the house; looking after the kids; giving her her space; not initiating sex; date nights; weekends away; flowers; gifts; showing her that I loved her instead of “only just saying it”; etc ever got her in the mood.
    Turned out the problem WAS her in the end. Long story, but after counseling, it did come out. She apologized and we prayed over our situation. With the help of a great Pastor who walked with us, we overcame, and are still overcoming this thing daily. Some days are better than others. Some days I have to remind myself not to lose it again. Other days I can’t imagine how lucky I am . It’s hard work. It’s constant work. It is work. But, the biggest secret here is, BOTH PEOPLE MUST WORK AT IT TOGETHER!!!
    Good luck to you my brother, and all my other brothers here.
    I’m praying for every one of you.

  35. My husband and I have been married for 20 years and have 4 children. We are deeply devoted to Jesus Christ and to our marriage. We have learned to be vulnerable and transparent in all aspects of our marriage, a journey that has been neither tidy nor easy to travel together. We are comfortable discussing our sex life, and have at times, and for a season, abstained from sex to break various physical and/or emotional addictive patterns and deepen our mutual dependence on God. I totally agree with previous posts that, given open and intentional parameters, abstinence from sex can be very healthy in a marriage. I also grieve with all those who have posted stories of loneliness and pain and brokenness and despair in your marriages. If we are honest, we all have them. But, and I do not mean this in a cliché way, God can truly raise up your marriage from the ashes — no matter how bleak it might seem. It does, though, require you both to surrender.

    Early on, my husband and I experienced a lot of passion in our marriage. Gradually, our physical passion for each other became dulled by burdens and expectations, mistrusts and insecurities, that grew up out of the converging of 2 imperfect, messy humans who were creating more imperfect, messy humans all the while making multiple frantic, feeble and occasionally godly attempts at managing the mess. We worked hard. We talked. We fought. We prayed. We laughed. We cried. We had sex, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes for not so good ones. My husband eventually conceded to sex being “just about him”, which I encouraged as it satisfied us both: he experienced the physical release he craved, and was then able to relax and give me the emotional closeness I desired. It seemed to be a practical and “mutually submissive” solution to the fulfillment of our different needs for intimacy. For nearly 20 years, making these minor concessions, we experienced relatively satisfying sex about 3-4 times per month. We accepted this as pretty good, and often teased one another about the differences in our needs and expectations regarding sex. I could go months without sex, while my husband could have it daily. And so we had reached a compromise which seemed to work well. Maybe 1 or 2 times out of 8, I would “really enjoy it”. This was fine with me and seemed to give my husband at least some consolation that he could please me sexually. And yet 6 times out of 8 (that’s 75% for you math heads), I was mostly disengaged during sex and merely accommodating my husband’s engagement. Occasionally my husband would bring this up, but I dismissed it as simply due to the physiological differences between men and women. After all, at least I was willing to have sex pretty frequently, even if I didn’t always enjoy it as much as he did. And I did sometimes enjoy it, when I was really relaxed and not distracted. I could turn it on, and I could turn it off because, “I’m a woman,” I reasoned. Women don’t need sex; we need cherishing. If I could give my husband sex, he could cherish me and we could both be satisfied. It wasn’t like some shameful secret that we didn’t acknowledge or talk about. It just was the way it was, and we were both good with it. I would simply enjoy the intimacy we would share after sex more than the sex itself. I was still enjoying my husband, just not in the same way he was enjoying me. Recently, though, this all changed.

    It began when I had violated my husband’s trust in what felt emotionally to both of us like a really big way. It was not a new experience, but it seemed somehow more momentous for both of us. I had shamed him (privately) over a project he had done in our home. He had left a mess which I perceived as a deep violation of my trust in him. And so rather than show appreciation for his hard work, or at least be silent, I told him in no uncertain terms how I felt. How could he do this? After 20 years of marriage, he knew that I needed him to contain the mess and now I was having to spend time cleaning it up. It opened a deep rift in our marriage which sat in us both like a pit of despair. I was out of town, and we voluntarily did not speak or communicate to each other for days. I wondered whether this would be the last straw for him, whether he would not forgive me and our marriage would wither. In fact, I might not forgive him either. I felt in my own way violated, that our trust in one another to love and to cherish had been broken. What happened next has truly transformed our marriage.

    After days apart, we began both of us to long for each other. As I drove home, we spoke briefly on the phone for the first time in days. We discussed the kids’ schedules that day, what time I would arrive home and various other practical details of the day. In the tone of his voice I could sense his forgiveness. My longing for him grew the closer to home I got. I felt like a young girl going to see a boy that I liked; like a young woman coming to my husband for the first time. I felt innocent and excited and the intensity of my anticipation of our being together grew with each moment that passed. There was also some fear in not knowing whether my affection would be reciprocated, whether my repentance would be received. But that did not matter; I just wanted to be near to him. The longing for our reconciliation was a thrilling feeling. It wasn’t really sexual, it was deeper even than that. I guess I would say it was mystical.

    When we finally saw each other, we embraced tightly. We discussed the hurts we had experienced and the worse hurt of letting the hurts separate us. We voiced our forgiveness and then, through our tears, we made love. It was incredibly vulnerable and mutual. It was slow and long and full with the pain and the goodness of our vulnerability in the midst of this breach in trust we had both experienced so profoundly just days before. It felt for me like we had transcended some trust barrier that had been lurking in our marriage all these years. I opened up in ways I never have. I felt free of something I didn’t know I’d been chained to. I experienced cherishing during sex, and I began to feel like I wanted it to be like that every time. I can truly say God took my desire for myself, for safety and security and self-preservation, and has transformed it into a desire for my husband. Since then, we have been having sex multiple times daily, and each time I am fully surrendered and open and experiencing amazing pleasure and intimacy in our coming together sexually. I find myself responding in collaborative ways to my husband during the day, rather than being critical and directive. And I’ve noticed he does small things just to help me. When he is physically affectionate, I do not feel annoyed by his perceived sexual advances but cherished. I feel like responding.

    I want to encourage all married couples, men and especially women, not to give up on giving and receiving sexual pleasure with your spouse. Whatever your situation is, whether you have a sexless marriage, a marriage of sexual convenience, a good marriage, a bad marriage or something in between, there is hope. God’s design is not just for sex in marriage but real, fulfilling pleasure-filled sexual intimacy for both husband and wife. Sex is not just for men, and it is a wonderful gift. Above all it is a discipline in trust and vulnerability which, once uncovered, is truly an unquenchable fire and a deep mystery. This is why both the Apostle Paul and the writer of the Song of Solomon so brilliantly use marriage, in particular sexual intimacy in marriage, as the one human experience above all others which illustrates for us the most profound mystery of love between Christ and the Church. So please, I beg you all husbands and wives, do not dismiss this mystery in your marriages! Husbands, understand that trust and vulnerability are huge for your wives. Bring her to a place where she feels safe to surrender. Be emotionally vulnerable. Wives, your husbands want to please you, let them. It takes work, surrender, courage, patience, deep prayer, but it is there for us all. God bless.

  36. How about the other reason women didn’t have sex with their husbands… They never liked it, only faked liking it so they could get married and have a providing husband. Women misrepresent themselves to get what they want. God knows this is true. Women should meet their husbands needs, just as husbands should meet their wives needs. If it’s selfish for a husband to quit working and no longer support his wife, why is it ok for a wife to quit her moral duties to her husband? And BTW, I’m a wife, not a husband.

  37. Hello,
    I’m a 29 year old male and my wife is 31, and we have two beautiful kids! She is my world and I love her so much and I know she loves me the same! But we also have a sexless marriage, once every 4 to 6 weeks is far then enough for me! I’m a very sexual person and my wife knows this!! We have great communication skills, and have talked often about our sex life! I’ve done everything I can to help improve it, but no luck still!! She says no explanation as to why she has no sexual desire and ensures me if she did she would have no problem telling me! She went to see if she had a hormone imbalance but it’s not that!! It’s no longer about the physical part of sex, but more about the intimacy! I crave for my wife to desire me as I do her, I want her to want me! I love her , and I find her so sexy and she still turns me on easily after 10 years!!! But I’ve haven’t been faithful to her in result of it, I have never actually had sex with another women! But I’ve talked and sexted with some , and I met with one once , and I wanted to have sex with her at first, we kissed and felt each other, but then I got freaked out and couldn’t follow thru with it!! It made me realize that my wife is the only women I want to be with and how much I love her!! I never told her about none of this and I feel guilty , but I’m afraid if I do she would leave me! And I don’t want to loose her and I would never cheat or go as far as I did before! But am I wrong for not telling her??

    • Hi Zac, I’m glad that you wrote. I know that you don’t want to destroy your marriage. the problem is, that what has happened already has damaged it. You keeping this from her is not going to help. In fact, it will increase the distance between you. Intimacy is all about being transparent, being honest. If this happened in your marriage already, then there are problems that you both need to address. You not telling her, will not help. You need to be honest, and get real. Will that make things difficult, yes. I’m not going to lie to you, it will be hard. It will hurt. Your actions while not “technically” a sexual affair, were totally inappropriate. You can restore and rebuild. You can repair. But not if she doesn’t know. If she doesn’t know it becomes the thing that is hanging between you not allowing you to move closer. Take a step of faith and confess. I promise that has a much better outcome than if she finds out inadvertently. And even if that never happens, the secret between you will damage your marriage deeply.

      I hope that helps,

      • You mentioned that you have kids, then you are in a very dangerous position financially should you get divorced from telling your wife about what happened. Only you know what type of person she is and whether or not she could forgive what you’ve done. I would keep it under wraps until the kids are grown and left. I would however let her know that this could lead to infidelity and will kill the marriage unless things change. In the meantime stay strong and keep something else under wraps as well.

  38. Don’t abstain from sex unless by agreement and then for prayer! Paul is clear that abstainence is a bad idea. What I find is that one spouse holds the other to an unattainable standard. My spouse would attack me all day (diagnosed with borderline personality disorder) and demand 4+ hours on the todo list, followed by a meal at a nice restaurant, finally saying, “I’m too tired for sex, let’s do this tomorrow.” Rinse, and repeat.

    My spouse calls themself a Christian and listens to Christian music, but never studies the Bible, prays, joins a small group, journals. They are completely insular to spiritual inputs. Emotionally, and spiritually are as undeveloped as the first day of our marraige, I have given up hope. There are selfish, immature people who are Christian In Name Only. 28 years of this crap and they lie to counselors and pastors (over a half-dozen) successfully. That is, at first. Over time the counselors reach out to previous counselors and/or pastors. They find out that my spouse is abusive, both physically and verbally. When confronted, my spouse admits to their lie.

    Strange thing is when I am thought to be the abuser there are threats of church expulsion, or reporting to the authorities, or one pastor threatened to beat me up in his office ( when I accepted his challenge he backed off). Once my spouse is found out to be a physical and emotional abuser, no such consequences have ever even been suggested.

    Of coarse, once my spouse is “found out” we need to leave that church immediately.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the original blog. Communication is the key. But communication assumes a baseline capability. By that I mean that some spouses do not have the required abilities to treat others with respect.

    In subsequent counceling with a psychiatrist, my spouse was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. The therapist described how limited my spouse was in terms of empathy and I was shocked. The complete in ability to recognize other people’s perspectives. Irrational anxiety and fear, and expectations put on coworker,kids and me. And these symptoms were on top of the borking symptoms that were hideous.

    My spouse hid these qualities with great rigor and zeal for over two years while we were dating. Don’t ruin your life as I have mine. I highly recommend a professional analysis along wih implementing the other interventions mentioned in the blog. I have been expecting my spouse to run a marathon and never realized until 25 years into our marriage that they didn’t have legs. No strategy, short of bionics, was going to work on my spouse’s handicap.

    My advice for Christain’s specifically:
    – Don’t allow your spouse to violate the scriptures.
    – Don’t allow your pastor to not talk about this issue or two maintain a double-standard in the area of abuse.
    – Do have a conversation about your respective love languages.
    – Forgive wrongs but demand repentance.

    Finally, a secular Phychiayrist informed me that my spouse’s behaviour of manipulating pastors and counselors to bludgeon and shame me with lies was actually very common behavior. Be careful out there! Stay single if you can. Choose wisely if you feel compelled to marry!

  39. I know that this post has not been commented on for a while but I have just recently been lucky enough to stumble upon it. A quick note about my situation.

    Wife and I have been married for 9 years, together for nearly 13. We have 2 amazing children 6 and 16 months. Our marriage became “sexless” after around a year or so and would kick up when we decided it was time to have a child. Once we conceived, things would go back to status quo. I believe the longest gap we had between times we were intimate was around 3 and a half years.

    I have been faithful during this time and try to do my best as the leader of the home. We attend a missional community, church on a regular basis and I lead my own ministry. I have created a life where my wife is able to stay at home with the children as was her desire and what she felt was her calling from God. We have tried counseling a few times. She has not been much of a fan as the counselors have all indicated that she has a lot of issues she needs to work through from her past in order for her and I to move forward. She will go individually for a few sessions and then something will get in the way (children, health, etc) and she will step away. She has gone through a number of therapist and is still looking for the right one.

    I would say we average being close maybe 1 time a year. In the mean time we discuss the situation, she will feel bad, she will apologize, and then things go back to normal a few hours later. I am trying to maintain hope and a positive attitude throughout the situation. I know that there is some true mental illness on her side that she needs to work through. I cannot force her to get help. I cannot force her to have more desire. I can try my best to protect my children and protect my home. I will wait….and wait and wait. I am a product of a broken home and will never wish that for my children regardless of the direct impact it will have on me.

    I do find myself feeling angry and bitter at times but I am doing my best to control those emotions as I know she can’t do anything about the position she is in. Maybe one day things will change. My confidence is damaged, my self identity has become a bit warped. I have really rough days and a little less rough days. But maybe tomorrow will be different. I think what I am struggling with the greatest amount is the “meantime.” What about me? What about the things I need? What about the time I am waiting for the help to give her the assistance she needs to maybe come back around to me?

    I have prayed and prayed and fasted and prayed with her and over her and our home. I have met with therapist and pastors and wise council. I don’t know what else to do?

    Any bright ideas?

    • You should ask your wife for permission to have a concubine, that might wake her up to how serious this is for you, then continue asking her.

      • That is stupid. Jesus will help if you ask him. Remember your vows. Get into the Word. Get her into the Word. God’s Word makes a difference when it is applied

  40. I think we have everybody on this thread beat except for one. 27 years married and soon 25 years of no sex life. The past 3, zero. Our kids have never known their parents to share a bedroom (now that’s really sad especially when they approached us years ago and told us that we were the only parents that they knew of who lived like this). Am I happy about this. No way but I live a pretty independent life and never think about this grim aspect of my life 99.999% of the time. A couple of months ago we went away for our first ever romantic weekend. I secretly hoped that something miraculous would happen but I just could not bring myself to find any interest in my wife whatsoever. I’ve lost every gram of physical interest in her, completely. Actor Tim Allen one said, “What does marriage have to do with sex?” I know what he meant.

  41. While Jesus clearly states that no couple is to divorce, the Bible does make a few exceptions, such as Matthew 5:32, where sexual immorality is deemed permissable grounds for divorce. A spouse who withholds sex from their spouse is commiting a sin of sexual immorality (Infidelity). While most would prefer to work things out, but in most sexless marriages, the spouse withholding sex refuses to openly and honestly discuss the subject, leaving the other spouse without recourse.

  42. As a husband in a virtually sexless marriage (once every 3-4 months) I’m more frustrated after reading this article. I have had porn issues in the distant past (free for 10 years) and I’m sure that this plays into the current sexless situation I find myself in. However, I’m married to a woman who views everything she does, says and thinks is “perfect”. She makes no mistakes, though she says she does but cannot ever list any when asked. She has NEVER apologized for anything in our marriage. She casts every problem and issue squarely on my shoulders. When we have a discussion, I have learned my place. To nod, say I agree, and endure the bi-monthly 2-3 hour lecture. If I dare say anything other than complete agreement with her, I’m belittled and told how wrong and even evil I am for thinking or saying such things. I’m continually told I’m not saved and do t know God, and frankly, I’m starting to believe it. Maybe if I were a better Christian she would desire me more.

    Heaven forbid if I try ANYTHING sexual with her. If I do, I’m a pervert and just evil.

    Otherwise we are a very good team. We have 3 grown kids, 2 grandkids and both have successful high paying careers. But the sexless was is making me crazy to the extreme frayed ends of sanity. I feel total rejection both by her and God. We have been to counseling and both counsellors some how ended up taking her side and reinforcing her justifications for treating me this way. I honestly am at the point of waiting for the right time, then I’m out. Not the Godly thing to do, but I lost me a long time ago. I’m holding on by a fraying thread.

    • I am a Christian counselor AND also struggle in a sexless marriage of 27 years. I hope by sharing some of what I know and have learned over the years…someone can be helped or at least enlightened. Even before marriage, there were red flags that all was not well in the sexual department with my wife. We both had previous marriages and there were rumors from a friend (her neighbor) that introduced us that “she didn’t like sex.” Of course in our subsequent dating, she denied that was true. We were pretty successful in abstaining from sex during our dating, which was attributed to our Christian beliefs. Still, there were flags, but I rationalized them. I was very naive. I felt that even if issues existed, I could make the difference, so we married after a long dating time. She was personable, pretty, and we shared a strong Christian belief system. During the first year of marriage, sex was good but not great…and I always had to initiate. Much of the time she was not open to sex. I am a very patient person and reasoned that it would get better over time; BUT after the first year things went downhill fast.

      Fast forward to the present. We have not slept together for the past ten plus years and sex occurs once or twice a year, but it’s a very inadequate form of “sex” and is simply a quick release. I won’t spend any time describing what all these years has been like for me, because I agree and identify with the pain and torture already shared in this thread. I am still married because of my faith, and the fact my wife and I are very good friends. We have have covered a lot of “ground” together over these years. In short, we have a very good partnership.

      Knowing something about human behavior, I feel I have pursued every possible solution or path to healing for my wife, to include looking at issues I may have. We have been to various counselors to no avail, including top specialist in sexual issues and dysfunctions. We have also tried hormone therapy (testosterone). At higher levels, testosterone did have a profound effect on her and she was very sexual for the first time…BUT after a short time she quit taking it saying it was causing unwanted hair growth. I tried to get her to simply cut back some, but she basically refused. That was six years ago. Since her testosterone is normal, I became concerned that she could be harmed by excessive amounts…so I dropped the issue. I have a low testosterone reading, so I have taken it for several years and it works very well….even though I don’t have a partner to enjoy sex with, I still feel good with the adequate amount. I have found that many men, especially those that are somewhat older, have a lack of testosterone, and of course this affects sexuality and performance.

      The cause of some sexless marriages may be porn or an affair…but in most cases, such as my wife’s, the best secular term to describe the condition is ASEXUAL…which means the person does not like sex with anyone…NOT just you. This is a very hard concept to come to grips with for those that have “normal” sexual appetites. People that are asexual vary in their sexuality or lack thereof. They may have zero desire or some desire that is variable, depending on the timing and the situation. Because these people have no (or limited) sexual desire, they are seemingly clueless as to the anguish and torture their spouses are going through…because no-one wants to feel guilty or inadequate; therefore they will be very defensive and not open to discussion of the problems a sexless marriage presents…mostly they just want the spouse to “get over it.”

      Some asexual people will argue they are “normal” and that being devoid of sexual desire is an “okay thing.” Unfortunately for their spouses, this is not true. The Bible is explicit in 1-Corinthians 7:35 that marriage partners are NOT to abstain from sex as it leads to sin. We know this is true in that spouses will use various subterfuges to try and cope with a sexless marriage. Pornography, affairs, and prostitutes are among the unfortunate results.

      One of the hardest to understand aspects for the spouse that has a normal sex drive is the fact that up front in the relationship sex was engaged in. Asexual people want a partner and in the initial stages they are trying to have a sexual relationship because they know it’s desired, expected and normal…BUT unfortunately they are not able to carry on long term and that’s when the anguish begins.

      Nearly all normal people strongly desire a close, passionate and intimate marriage…of course that goal becomes impossible in a sexless marriage…and in fact the marriage relationship is profoundly impacted. Love and friendship can and certainly does exist even in sexless marriages. It is a deeply personal and agonizing decision as to staying in a sexless marriage…or leaving. There are many factors to consider when contemplating such. It is heartbreaking to consider leaving a spouse…yet for younger people especially, staying may be implausible…and it’s only by the grace of God that any normal spouse will navigate marriage somewhat successfully and be able to stay.

      I strongly feel that an asexual person has somehow been damaged…in fact I am confident of it; Therefore I look at my wife as a “handicapped person”…that cannot help her condition. It’s not a “choice” she made. I have talked to some asexual people that feel terrible and forlorn regarding what their spouse has to go through. For me….I cannot and will not abandon my friend…my wife.