My Wife Hates Sex

To celebrate OFM’s 2nd birthday we are answering the top 6 reader’s questions:
The #1 Question – What can I do when my spouse doesn’t want to have sex?

Brad says…

Sexually starving, living in a sexual drought, rejected, lost, abandoned, dismissed. These are just a few of the words that husbands have used when talking about what it feels like when sexual intimacy is missing from their marriage.

This is not the first time I’ve written about this topic.

I’ve challenged husbands to make sure they are actively taking part in family responsibilities and making time for sex. (The Libido Fairy)

I’ve talked about all of the ways to introduce and maintain romance in your marriage, a very important part of growing your sexual intimacy. (Sex on the Grill or How to Heat Things Up)

I’ve challenged men that the ways they are asking for sex, and the ways they are testing to see if their wife is “in the mood” might be creating the opposite effect. (Sex: The Art of Asking for More)

I’ve encouraged men to move past begging for sexual release, and start actually talking about making changes in their sexual intimacy with their wife. (Life in Sexual Drought- Begging for Change)

I’ve given tools about how to have meaningful conversations about your sex life with your wife, and how to express your desire for more sexual intimacy with the woman you married. (The 6 Step No Guilt Game Plan to More Sex)

I’ve begged husbands to consider more than their own sexual pleasure, and to really take time to learn about what would please their wife. (For Her Pleasure and Search for the Missing Big “O”)

I’ve warned husbands of the dangers when they feel sexually desperate and their wife feels sexually used. Leading to more hurt and even less motivation to be intimate. (The Sexless Marriage Catch 22)

You are the 99%

Included in those posts are dozens of ideas, and hundreds of things to consider on how to change a sexless marriage. Husbands, we cannot sit back and blame this issue entirely on our wives. We have to own that we have helped to create this issue and we must be an active part of the solution. 99% of the time we have not done all we can to change our marriage. I know it feels like it is all her fault, but as long we have not done all we can, and done our part we are part of the problem.

And Yet…

Every once in a while I get a letter from a hurting and desperate husband who is at the end of the line. He says he has tried it all. He says that his wife feels loved, feels supported, that she understands his desire is for intimacy and not just for sexual release. He says “we’ve tried to get help.”

Is there a point at which a sexless and uncaring wife can be divorced from a Christian perspective?

For the last 9 1/2 years we average having sex twice per year. I 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.

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.

(An OFM reader comment, edited for length)

I don’t have an ending to this post…

My heart breaks for this family. I pray that they are able to find a way to move out of this desperate place and find restoration. I know that God restores, I know that God can save.

I pray that if you are a husband in a sexless marriage you will visit the other posts and be honest about being in the 99%. I pray that you will prayerfully consider and pay attention to how you can change your marriage.

I also want to be honest that living is a sexless marriage is a serious, marriage altering desperate situation.

Husbands: Are you in the 99%?

Wives: How would you answer this letter? What would you tell him, and (if you could) what would you tell his wife?

This is post #12 in the CMBA 1/2 Marathon Blogging Challenge to post everyday for 13 days in October.

52 Responses to My Wife Hates Sex
  1. livinginblurredlines
    October 13, 2012 | 4:50 am

    A wife here….a high drive wife who is in a marriage slowly recovering from being sex poor.

    It does seem most of the time that the low drive spouse is entirely to blame. Your catch 22 post addressed some of our issue. I still don’t know what is the cause of all of hubby’s walls about sex. Thing is I married a man and I thought I was getting the usual man. Instead, I married an unusual man. He married a woman figuring I’d be like most women and cool sexually after marriage and be happy with sex pretty much only when hubby pursues and with being just his sperm dump. After all, that is literally what he grew up with and knew from virtually everyone!

    The biggest and best thing you can do, and something I have NEVER seen a Christian marriage blogger tell people, is to fall before God! I gave it all to God and started a campaign of prayer. I took my pent up sexual energy and put it into prayer. Every time I fixed our bed, I prayed over it. When I wanted to masturbate or look at porn, I prayed for hubby, our marriage (every facet), and myself. I asked God to guide me, speak to me clearly with understanding what I needed to do for our situation. I asked God to help me love my husband as he ought to be loved. I asked God to help me focus, renew and grow in Jesus during this time because He is all I need, especially if our marriage never changes. I prayed that if hubby wants my heart, he has to ask Jesus for it. Christ is more important than your sex life, but His will is for you to have an amazing one with your spouse. But, if it takes away from Him, then there are issues.

    Invite Jesus into your life, your home and your bedroom. Give your spouse into His hands for healing. Give yourself to Him fully. We can follow formula after formula and get no where. True healing comes from Christ, not from doing ABC, now wife should put out XYZ, so why am I getting Q out of her instead of O?!

    God may ask differently of you…this is my testimony, so don’t take this as another formula: God asked me to give up our sex life and to give up hubby. I was no longer to work towards sex, expect sex, or worry about sex. I was no longer able to try to control hubby’s desire and walk with the Lord or worry about his indiscretions, or why he chose to stop pleasuring me. God had me answer what I would do if it never changes: love hubby anyway, still be an excellent wife, and keep focusing on and growing in the Lord. 6 days later, hubby did a complete 180!! During those 6 days of waiting, hubby really extended himself as a remarkable and loving husband.

    God can heal!! Hiccups still occur and the enemy is always trying to throw a wrench into the operation, but healing has occurred.

    • Kate
      October 13, 2012 | 11:43 am

      Hi Living in Blurred Lines! I think what you say is very true and I am glad you have shared it. I will tell you that many of the women I speak with that are the higher drive spouse, do not want to hear it when I tell them to PRAY!!! They tell me that is not fair and it is not that easy. I have shared in several of my articles talking about wives who need and want more sex from their hubby’s, that praying is a must. It is a must in all of life, but especially when we are hurting and are in need. I believe that sex is a need for both husband and wife, even if they don’t believe that. They are not living the way God intended for marriage. I hope and pray that others will read your testimony and be inspired. Please know that we talk a great deal about prayer and getting into the word! The change that happened within me and in our marriage was because of God’s word and praying!! God can and does heal, he did it in us and that is why we write this blog! God can change any heart! Thanks again for sharing your story! Blessings, Kate

      • mark f.
        December 9, 2013 | 4:23 pm

        Amen, I agree, we have to pray. Never stop.

        But along with that, each of us have been given free will – the ability to choose.

        And love is a choice.

        I prayed the Lord would change my wife heart for years. And eventually, He said to me; “Stop praying that I will change her, and start praying that I will change YOU.”

        God won’t change your heart until you repent and change your mind first.

        As one person here said, what are you going to do if this sexless marriage situation never changes?

        I have to decide; either I am going to trust the Lord to manage my life no matter what, (or I’m not).

        And I choose to trust God with my life; no matter how painful the current issue of living in a sexless marriage is.

        Blessings in Christ,

        -Mark

        http://marriage-miracles.blogspot.com/

    • Jay Dee
      October 14, 2012 | 1:00 pm

      I agree, that is the only thing that worked in my marriage as well. It was only until I gave up on trying to “fix” or “make” my wife desire sex more and gave it up to God that we started seeing a difference. In the end, some marriages can only be helped by prayer.

  2. nearly2years
    October 13, 2012 | 6:25 am

    Dear Living….
    Thank you for your words of encouragement. As a husband, who is with a wife with “no desire”, it is encouraging to me to read your story. We have been married for 18 years, have 6 children, and no more sex life. I have resorted to “other means” to get that feeling…

    I am now going to challenge myself to prayer, and leave it up to the Lord. Thank you again!

  3. katd
    October 13, 2012 | 7:19 am

    Eve was deceived and what did Adam do? Caved to sin and blamed Eve when he should have protected her. Your wives are deceived, men, and you need to protect her against the serpent of lies. She needs your support and understanding, not your ridicule, disappointment, frustration and masturbation. She needs to know she us worth it enough for you to help her, be with her if it is medical. She needs to know it is about the both of you and not just you wanting to get your rocks off. She needs you to man up, stop jacking off in secret, and lead her in this situation instead of hiding, grumbling and blaming. Lead her to change. Yes, she has a personal responsibility, but you are called to lead, serve and protect her.

    Also, focus on growing in the Lord, as LIBL said above. I saw once that nothing is sexier or more manly than a man who is truly the bride of Christ.

    • nearly2years
      October 13, 2012 | 4:51 pm

      Kat,

      Great suggestions… but as a newbie to Christianity… how does one lead their wife without the wife always thinking it will end up in bed? Believe me…. I want to man up….

      • Kate
        November 14, 2012 | 5:10 pm

        Hi Nearly2Years,

        I know that we struggled with this in our marriage. Brad would be able to share better from the husbands perspective, but know that you are not alone. He wasn’t sure how to step up and I wasn’t giving him room to-in and out of the bedroom! Brad has written several articles on stepping up both in and out of the bedroom-search the archives and check them out. If you need a list of them or want to chat, email Brad at brad@onefleshmarriage.com
        Blessings, Kate

    • Hurting
      August 21, 2013 | 12:42 am

      This post was insulting. When a spouce is hurt by your actions/inaction/neglect, whether the husband or wife, the offending party is the one who needs to Man-up or woman-up. Men, like in this article, are hurting…the wife is obligated by vows to examine her part…not bash him for hurting, not belittle him for wanting intimacy, and not ignore that she is causing this, at least in part.

      • Kate
        August 28, 2013 | 9:29 pm

        Hi Hurting,

        I am sorry, but I am not sure what you are referring to!?!? Brad and I try to be very sensitive and share our story and how God has broken us and brought us through.

        The biggest thing we challenge on our blog with all of these issues is: When there are troubles in your marriage and intimacy-draw a circle around yourself and deal with everyone within the circle. While we want to be compassionate and understanding, true change in marriage happens when each spouse looks at themselves, steps up and makes changes they need to.

        If we have ever given the impression otherwise, I do apologies!

        If there is something else you would like to ask or clarify, please do. We appreciate all of your comments! Blessings, Kate

  4. Another
    October 13, 2012 | 10:29 am

    So grateful for the first comment from living…everytime I read these articles on this topic, its never about we as woman having this problem- only men. I don’t think people realize how many women are going though this also.
    On the other side of this-( which may be in one of the many articles listed above)Like katd suggested, it may be a medical problem. This needs to be addressed closely. See a physician. There are many natural supplements available that are very powerful to assist in this area. I am a professional,medical, reflexogist-this is very, very powerful! And just by stimulation of the nerves in the body I have never seen this type of situation not change for the better (if not completely!) Touch alone is powerful- so massage your wife’s feet regularly and see what transpires! But as living said, everything should never be done without prayer.

    • Kate
      October 13, 2012 | 11:37 am

      Hi Another! Thanks for writing and sharing. I totally agree that many wives have the same issue, what baffles me is that you say “everytime I read these articles on this topic, its never about we as woman having this problem- only men. I don’t think people realize how many women are going though this also.” My article yesterday was on that very topic and I have written on it several times before. Not only because it is important, but because there is a great need! Please know that we try very hard to present both sides of the issue. Which is why I write on one topic from a wife’s perspective and then Brad responds from a husbands. I would encourage you to check out some of our other articles! Here are a few . . .

      I Can’t Remember the Last Time My Husband Touched Me!
      I Can’t Remember the Last Time My Husband Touched Me! Part 2
      The Sexless Marriage Trap

  5. Scott
    October 13, 2012 | 3:38 pm

    Prayer is certainly the most powerful weapon in our arsenal, as LIBL says. Men don’t typically want to hear that.

    And they don’t often want to hear what katd shared about manning up and leading your wife through and beyond this problem.

    I say do whatever it takes.

  6. Kelly Wright
    October 16, 2012 | 2:28 am

    Great advice. Thx. Kelly Wright, Tableau Software

  7. Chuck
    October 20, 2012 | 2:30 pm

    My answer to this husband about whether or not a sexless wife can be divorced is “Yes.” I know that many will have a pure fit over that, but I’m sorry, the wife has defrauded her husband, pure and simple.

    In his letter, he tells how his wife doesn’t want to have sex with him because that will engender resentment toward him on her part. Well, her refusal to have a sexlife with her husband is going to engender bitterness and resentment on his part. How is that to be preferred over her resentment if she has to have sex with her husband?

    If God has called that woman to a life of celibacy, it wasn’t in marriage. Yes, there are people who don’t like or want sex. They shouldn’t get married, then. For them to have their perfect, celibate life, and still be married means that they have to torture some poor brother or sister, and that’s just cruel.

    • Hurting
      August 21, 2013 | 12:56 am

      Chuck – Good comment. I read in a book that refusing sex is akin to infidelity (The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands).

      Please, if your spouse desires more intimacy, get professional help, your spouse and children deserve that much.

      Man or woman, not making every effort to meet your spouse’s needs/wants, in my mind is sinful. Keep in mind, I’m talking about those like in the story above.

  8. maria
    November 5, 2012 | 10:37 pm

    I really enjoy reading this blog. The information is very helpful to me in understanding my husband.
    However, there is one important aspect of sexuality that has not been mention that I think may influence sex in marriage along with the things you mentioned. I read sexual desire and arousal is spontaneous but not in some women. These women need to think about sex before desire and arousal happens.
    Perhaps these women mistakenly believe that if arousal is not spontaneous then they don’t desire sex.
    Actually, if they allow themselves to be aroused they will desire sex. This is so with me. I need to empty my mind of mundane task and allow my mind to turn to sex and desire and arousal follows.
    Unlike my husband, I don’t often think of sex but I need to make a conscious effort to do so. I am happy to do it for the man I love!
    Do you think that this information may help women like me? That is if you think this is true for some women.

    • Kate
      November 6, 2012 | 4:04 pm

      Hi Maria! I SOOO agree with you and although this blog post did not address that, I wrote another one specifically on that topic because I too find that to be the case with myself. I will tell you that knowing that about yourself is half the battle. Many women don’t and they truly think they are broken! I know I did for many years. Just because you know does not mean it is all better, but you are conscious and can make an effort, knowing that you will most likely get in the mood as you go alone. I DO think it is true for many, many women! You are not alone! I am one of them too! Here is the article I wrote on that subject! Blessings, Kate

      Defeating Delayed Desire

  9. maria
    November 5, 2012 | 10:39 pm

    Sorry some words were missing in my post. I meant I read sexual desire and arousal is generally spontaneous in men but not in some women.

    • Kate
      November 6, 2012 | 4:05 pm

      Totally got it, thanks!!

  10. Josh
    January 4, 2013 | 3:17 pm

    Thank Goodness for places like this. First, Thanks to Jay Dee for his first reply. Here’s my situation:
    I’ve been married for 13 1/2 years which 7 has been sexless. My wife and I got married at 18, 4 months later got pregnant and I was an idiot! I didn’t understand not having sex for 18 years then an awesome 4 months of sex every 3-5 days then the spicket was shut off. I admit I was a horrible partner and fights were very prevalent, almost daily I believe. Then after almost 3 yrs without sex and 7 or 8 months of throwing around the “D” word, I had a 1 night stand. I’m not proud of it but I’ve always felt that it got our attention and jolted us back together. Then once a month or 2( hey I was happy with that) until she got pregnant with our 2nd child. Once a gain almost 2 yrs without sex. Then 3rd child. In the last 5 years we’ve had sex 4 times and we’re knocking on another 2 yr anniversary without it. I’ve tried counseling after the affair, solo and a few months ago tried to go see a marriage counselor and she won’t go. I’m at my wits end and not only is my family suffering, my business is too. I told her if we fixed that part of our relationship I would make sales and she said that makes her feel like a prostitute. I love my kids more than life it self and it pains me to even think about not living under the same roof as them and not to see my babies when they first wake up. And God has placed a special love for my wife in me to where all she has to do is bat her eyes at me and I’m a kid in love again. I’m dying inside and I can’t catch my breath. I have learned to cope as if I was in an accident and a part of me is paralyzed but the bitterness and resentment is starting to build beyond my control at times. Let me end by saying I’ve never said it has all been her. I was a childish immature brat before and the first few years but now I just miss being happy
    Thanks for reading my 2 cents

  11. Kwala
    January 23, 2013 | 6:13 pm

    Hi blurredlines

    Yeah very good post; I would say I’m in exactly the same situation where you were, having done everything for my wife, changing myself etc. Except for going to counselling (which my wife refuses to), there’s nothing you can get me to do which I haven’t. So for the past month or so I’ve completely stopped talking about/making jokes about sex to my wife. Yes it has been good in one sense as she doesn’t feel “pressured”, but it’s done absolutely nothing on the physical side.

    And like you, I have deaperately turned to pray – on my way to work driving, at work, on the way home, almost continually. Not that this is the first time I’ve prayed – last year I actually did some fasting for it. Unfortunately at the time nothing changed. And unfortunately I don’t have the 6 day turnaround you have experienced; I think mine is turning out to be more like 6 month or years to be honest. And I really don’t know much longer I can hold on.

    I know God can change her heart, mind and body, but when – I don’t know. And it needs to be permanent, not just some one week thing. It is refreshing to find a post like yours – one that isn’t ignorant of end-of-the-line struggles. So I will keep praying hard and ask God for strength because I’m almost empty.
    K

    • Kate
      January 24, 2013 | 10:58 am

      Hi K! Thanks for sharing where you are. I know that you were addressing blurredlines, but I hope you don’t mind me jumping in.

      I just wanted to say that there are times when you have to set boundaries in your marriage, if your spouse continues to neglect things. Ultimatly God would want us to continue to pray and look to him for our strength, yet there are times when we have to talk with our spouse and say, this is not ok anymore. I have sought God and I want our marriage to work, but whether or not we more forward is up to you. The ball is in your court essentially. Then you keep seeking God and perhaps go to a counselor yourself. God will lead you and supply for your needs. Please don’t think that Brad and I are numb or unaware to those who are at their wits ends-and understandibly so! It breaks my heart to hear your story and the many others who share a very similar story! I so wish that I had an easy fix for you, but there isn’t. Sex and intimacy is so complex and both you and your spouse are unique beings created by God.

      Please know that we are praying for you! If you ever want to talk fruther with Brad, please email him.

      Blessings, Kate

      • Kwala
        January 24, 2013 | 5:37 pm

        Thanks Kate, much appreciated.

        Last week I pretty much broke down in front of my wife and said that I couldn’t take it anymore, that I was literally losing sleep because of her not wanting intimacy. Her response was that maybe I should get someone else who is going to meet my needs because she said she can’t. I don’t think she truly means that, but it’s her only way of dealing with it because she thinks she can’t (and won’t) change. So yes I have had a serious talk to her but as for now, all my hard work has resulted in nothing. I appreciate your prayers!
        K

        • Brad
          January 27, 2013 | 11:49 am

          Kwala,
          Thank you for your honest and difficult comments. I wanted to say that I agree with your assessment of the reasons you wife said she couldn’t meet your needs. She doesn’t want you to have those needs met by another, she has simply recognized that part of the issue is hers, and she doesn’t know what to do. As difficult as her comments were, I would say that is actually a good thing. You are BOTH at a place of brokenness.

          Does your wife give any specifics about why she doesn’t like sex?
          Does it hurt
          Does she experience flashbacks from prior trauma?
          Does she feel ashamed?
          Does she not feel any desire or feel “used”

          There are many more possible reasons that need to be explored. In addition I would want to know was there EVER a time that your wife enjoyed sex? If so what was the difference? Stress level, intimacy level, time, anything?

          Last but not least, does your wife experience, or has she ever experienced the pleasures of sexual intercourse? Has she had an orgasm?

          These are all of the questions to uncover once we established that your relationship is good, and your emotional intimacy is strong. (like we’ve talked about in other comments and posts).

          The bottom line here is that don’t loose hope. There is still much to do to uncover the plan that God has for your marriage!

          God Bless,
          Brad

          • Kwala
            January 31, 2013 | 6:21 pm

            Hi Brad
            Sorry only saw your follow up now! To answer your questions:
            Does your wife give any specifics about why she doesn’t like sex?
            - she says she just doesn’t want it as much, that’s it.
            Does it hurt
            - no
            Does she experience flashbacks from prior trauma?
            - I don’t think so but possibly
            Does she feel ashamed?
            -no, but possibly body image, slight chance
            Does she not feel any desire or feel “used”
            -no

            Yes she has enjoyed sex in the past and on the rare occasion we are intimate now she does.

            I know kids do play a role but even before our 2nd one had become a toddler we were more regular than now.

            As I said we have a reasonably good marriage though this is still a sore point.

            Thanks again for your prayers.
            K

          • Brad
            February 4, 2013 | 3:50 pm

            Kwala,
            I’m taking a few guesses here Kwala, but it sounds as if for your wife (as many women) intimacy comes only after desire. This sounds logical, and it probably should happen that way, but it doesn’t always. One of the things Kate has said helped her is understanding that sometimes desire comes after “we’ve started down that road”. In the past she would try to keep me at arms length unless she felt that desire, but in a world of toys, tots, messes, and to do lists the time for desire is almost nonexistent. As the husband your job is to make it as possible as possible. I wrote about this whole phenomina in Defeating Delayed Desire.. I hope that helps.

          • Kwala
            May 23, 2013 | 2:30 am

            Hi guys
            Returning to this post after several months; nothing’s changed, in fact things have got much, much worse. Despite intense amounts of prayer, seeking God, it’s got worse, I’ve ended up with a relapse of a medical condition, and it’s on 3 months with no sex or intimacy whatsoever. I know some go a lot longer but this is unbearable.

            I’m at my compete wits end that I’ve exhausted all online “Christian marriage forums” which basically tell me to do unrealistic things, that I’m not a real husband in the marriage; my new medication is driving me deeper into depression. I am so desperate for any kind of intimacy right now I have even considered going to one of the town’s brothels. I know I won’t but hey I’m cracking here. I’ve looked up therapists but price point is a problem – I mean hundreds of dollars missing from our bank account….

            So once again stuck in this hard place, feeling like I well and truly could end up with serious mental health problems. I have cried out for God to act, I’ve asked Him what to do. However I still won’t raise this with my wife as I know the same response I am going to get – no interest, too tired; might even get the “find someone else” thrown in again. But the sexual temptation I am facing each day is slowly eroding my sanity and I don’t know how muh longer I can stay sane, literally.
            So maybe you’ve got some last resort advice or prayer you can offer because I’m going downhill very fast.
            K

          • Brad
            May 25, 2013 | 10:03 pm

            K,
            I’m sorry to hear that nothing has changed. You say that you’ve exhausted all the online resources because the tell you “unrealistic things”. Well, I’m not sure what exactly that means, but I see a problem right there. If you are unwilling to change, unwilling to do the hard work then nothing is going to change. You simply can not look at your wife and keep saying “why don’t you change.” It won’t work. I have never said that turning a marriage around is easy. It isn’t. It is hard, and maybe even seems unrealistic. I don’t know your situation exactly but I would challenge you to take a serious look at what YOU need to change. What is it that your wife says needs to be different? If she saying anything at all then focus on changing that. If she actually says that everything is absolutely perfect but still dislikes sex then you need to be taking her to her physician, because that is not the normal physical response to a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. If it is neither then obviously your issue is around communicating there is a problem. So before you destroy your life by visiting prostitutes, or going insane you need to have a very serious talk with her. I know that isn’t much, feel free to Email Me with more specific questions if you wish to talk deeper.

    • ilovearainynight
      May 8, 2013 | 11:07 am

      hey guys,you that say your spouse wont’t go to counseling. don’t worry about that. I’ve been there. and when I FINALLY got him to go, it was a dud. It didn’t work.. it actually made things worse. Some time later I talked to another counselor (by myself) who told me that individual counseling is necessary (for both spouses) for a certain amount of time BEFORE couples counseling can work. So if your spouse won’t go, no problem.. YOU go, alone. I think it will help! I have yet to try it, but it’s in my plans..

      • Brad
        May 25, 2013 | 10:42 pm

        Ilovearainynight,
        I have to both agree and disagree with you here. I agree that if your spouse refuses, then you go by yourself and make sure to focus on what YOU need to change. Here in lies the problem. We all want to feel validated, and when you go to counseling by yourself your counselor wants to “join” with you. It is very easy to make the spouse who isn’t there the “bad guy” and you the victim. The problem is nothing will change. You might feel better, but it won’t help your marriage. As a Marriage and Family Therapist I regularly work with couples when they have not done individual work. I know many counselors who do work individually but they have to stay vigilant to make sure that you are focusing on what YOU can change, not what your spouse should be changing.
        Thank you for your comment!

  12. tag
    January 27, 2013 | 4:34 am

    I have the same problem. sex twice a year for the last 10 years,maybe.
    You are all missing the point. My wife is okay with refusing sex because she is in control. She gave the same “reasons” rationale for her refusals(quite a laundry list over the years), I have given up asking for sex so I don’t give her the satisfaction of refusing. It took me a lot of years to realize I am responsible to fix myself, no one can fix anyone else, only they can do that if they choose. She said no to counseling or discussion, I was beaten out of our bed long ago. At this point, I am stuck. I can’t fix it, she can’t or won’t fix it, divorce or an affair are not options for me. I pray daily that the Lord will change her heart.

    • Brad
      January 27, 2013 | 11:29 am

      Tag,
      Thank you so much for writing. I am really glad that you did. Your journey is one that I have heard from many other men. I wish I could give you a magic pill that would change your wife’s attitude towards sex. At the same time I would bet that your wife would like me to give you a magic pill that would make sexual intimacy less important then emotional intimacy.

      This is actually the only tip I can give you. Reading your comment it could sound like your goal is to increase your wife’s sex drive. You said you pray daily that the Lord will change her heart (towards sex). I encourage you to keep praying this, but make sure to pray it only after you pray, “Lord, help me be the husband you want me to be today. Show me how I need to change my actions and my words to show my wife love today.”

      This is a risk. Before you write it off, I would encourage you to pray that somewhat dangerous prayer every day for a month. Don’t tell you wife you are. Just listen to what God tells you, and do your best to implement it. See what happens.

      God Bless!

      • ilovearainynight
        May 8, 2013 | 11:11 am

        I agree with Brad.
        You can pray FOR your wife, but praying that God will help you be the man you need to be is more essential.
        I am going to pray for you as well.

    • Kwala
      February 6, 2013 | 12:03 am

      Tag, I wanted to let you know I am praying for you and your wife.

  13. Wolf
    February 6, 2013 | 12:36 am

    OK –

    What do you do with a spouse that has even told others that she is “so glad to be rid of sex”. (something I though she enjoyed…always was careful to make sure she got hers too. Always made love to her not just got one her..as it were) She is menopausal…she has health issues. She speaks to me only about the weather, my day at work, or future plans (which I really do not want at this point), and will be asleep before I get upstairs tonight. There is NO intimacy at all in this and I would be forced into a loud and ugly argument if I started any conversation with Honey -I love you very much and I have noticed….

    During the health issues, I worked 4 hours – visited her in the hospital, talked to the doctors, prayed, got in trouble with the family (in-laws)for asking the doctors to speak only to me (wife was in ICU sedated – I was having to make all treatment decisions for her -and that at the time could include ending it.)…I would talk to the docs visit with her….stroking her arm as that was the only thing I could touch on her. I would then return and work the other 4 before going back to the hospital and checking on her again…then home where I cooked and cleaned for the family (mother with dementia and 3 kids). This went on for a month and a half.

    When she was finally allowed to wake…and my praying had paid off. The first thing she said to me was …HOW dare you mess with MY family…they told me what you did. Then chastise me for hurting her arm by stroking it too much. That was four years ago and the last time we were intimate was about 3 1/2 years ago. She has since told ladies at church that she is happy to have gone through menopause because now we can get over all that sex stuff. She also told them how thankful she was that her FAMILY (meaning the in-laws) were there for her…she never once mentioned that she thanked God for a husband that would learn to run Iv-s and pack wounds. That she is fortunate that the Lord has blessed me and I have never in the nearly a quarter century that we have been married been without a job and health insurance for more than 6 months. I am just a convenience now – I guess.

    Where do you start that conversation…

    When after 4 years of prayer…do you assume the answer is – “”its up to her and she is not willing….son”" -

    How – can I work, start a business on the side, assist her in anyway I can, give her my whole paycheck, rarely hang out with anyone..then – be an improved husband that she might actually want..(I realize no one is perfect and I am sure there are things I need to work on..but really…if she will always move the bar. If she has no interest in and assumes that intimacy is behind us ….what would my improvement result in – other than other women finding me more attractive because of it…and making that issue even greater temptation.

    Why – should I feel like trying?

    At some point in these years (about a year ago by my best recollection) I reached the point where I do not want her to say yes, if she never initiates that is fine, I don’t want to reach our 25th anniversary at which she plans on us renewing our vows….because I don’t want to stand in the church, or where ever and lie..

    What then Dave?

    • Brad
      February 6, 2013 | 8:09 am

      Wolf,
      I can’t even imagine the world you have lived through, but I can easily see the pain of hurt and rejection. It sounds as if you have bound all that rejection up into the one issue of sex. I understand that might be a great symbol of the hurt you feel, and it might be a physical need, but it is not the core of the hurts you are feeling. And if I can guess, it is not anywhere close to the core that your wife is feeling too. Yes, you will get in a fight if you go to her and say, “I’ve noticed we don’t have sex anymore”.

      In your case sex will not repair lost intimacy, as you are hoping it will. There is hurts and pain in between you that need to be resolved and intimacy that needs to be recovered before you can even consider what happens in your sex life. Your wife’s rejection of sex is her saying there is no intimacy so why would we have sex. It is not the root of the loss of intimacy.

      See what you can do to put aside your “need” and focus on how you can repair and rebuild your relationship. I pray that at least gives you some hope and maybe a place to start!
      Blessings,
      Brad

      • Wolf
        February 6, 2013 | 9:31 pm

        Thanks Dave,

        I think somewhere you missed – or I did not explain – something fully. There has not really even been so much as a hug for years. You said “bound into one issue” – kind of – depending on your meaning. To me sex is just the ultimate physical act, that becomes one result of expressing love via touch. The main function of this touch communication is to allow both partners to feel loved and cared for. To be able to be vulnerable to each other. To express the feelings inside by actual feel. Like a picture being worth a thousand words…touch is to a relationship, the method for expressing that which cannot be found words for.

        There is here a drought of all of that. When I say that if I start any conversation with Honey – I love you but I have noticed..(that could be followed with something as simple as)….it is cold in the house tonight. She will respond to the negative. (by the way the actual temp in the house on this occasion was 62). Her response was that she was not cold. – hence I must be either nuts or have something wrong with me (though the last bit after the “-” will only be implied by voice inflection and body language (that way we can preserve her innocence should I retort). Note – how things were turned back on me for a simple statement of actual truth. 62 in the house is pretty darn chilly. If it is not within her reality…then it is simply NOT.

        She hates me for something. Or blames me for something. OR ??? Trying to find what that ??? is seems to matter little, as the result is the same no matter the reason applied. Neither can I ask – since doing so will no doubt turn into a mind-blowing argument in which she will bait me to hit her…something I have never done and will never do. This is the method she uses – if a conversation is started – call me immature, call me angry, call me anything that comes to mind in order to escalate – then call me out for becoming irrational. Ends the argument /conversation by turning it into a fight about nothing….so nothing is learned or gained or changed. Lack of change is what she wants…I will still provide the income, the illusion of a “great family”, and all else she wants. She need provide nothing more than she is already bringing. If she is cornered by the direction of the conversation -get in my face and berate, or obstruct further progress. Rile me up until I cannot effectively communicate. I can write…I cannot always speak like I am here. When frustrated I become unable to find words…and it will be at this point that she will up the attack. It has been like this since she recovered. I feel like I brought home someone else from the hospital. Though there have been times this personality has shown during the 23 years we have been together.

        I feel no closure /forgiveness from her family…nor understanding. I am the bad guy…though I did nothing but that which I felt necessary..and which I had bounced off my pastor and received encouragement to do in regard to the hospital. Else – I am the bad guy – though I have done the fixing around the house, worked our whole marriage to provide a good living, and brought home the occasional gift. I cook on occasion..romantic dinners, vacations …all of that. I asked once on our anniversary about the situation – why did it feel like we are moving apart. I was told that is all in my head – and asked why I was trying to start an argument….really…no hug even for years…and it is in MY head>

        There are women who express more loving words for drunk, abusive husbands..

        How do you know when it is time to simply say – enough??

        • Brad
          February 7, 2013 | 8:35 am

          Wolf,
          It sounds as if you are in an extremely difficult position. Not knowing her side of things it is impossible to tell you what she is thinking or feeling that has created this distance between you. Especially if she doesn’t acknowledge it.

          It sounds as if you have reached a point where something needs to change or you are considering ending the marriage. I would encourage you with that in mind talking about change can’t make the situation worse then doing nothing.

          You obviously have some hints about what might be the problem. I would encourage you to take a long look in the mirror and see what God would have you change about how you approach and treat her today.

          Then see if there is anything you need to go and ask forgiveness for. Before you jump on that, saying “I didn’t do anything” make sure to think from her perspective. Does she think you did something that you need to ask forgiveness for? If so then it is between you. If you truly can’t ask forgiveness for it, why? And then what are you going to do to fix that issue?

          This isn’t easy. But I really encourage you to count the costs of doing nothing to change. Too often we don’t do something because the risks are too great. You need to remember that there is great risk in doing nothing too!

          I pray that you are able to find a way to take a step toward reconciliation. A glimmer of hope can go a long way!

  14. Petey
    March 1, 2013 | 10:18 pm

    Ive had relations twice the past year. We gone more than a year. She dont care. No matter what i say never changes. And im expected to b faithful. Crazy

  15. early on
    April 2, 2013 | 7:44 pm

    I found this site wondering if there was someone else that had a wife who didn’t care much for sex. We are 4 years in and have had our fair share of hardships, but she makes a point to make sure I’m taken care of every week or two but it is usually a Phil 4:13 moment for her. She will go through with it and usually as lovingly as she can. I feel like some of you guys have some issues that outway whether or not your “love life” is vibrant. The best book we read was Love and Respect. This solidified a lot of issues for us but it didn’t address the issue of me being a guy and “always” wanting to rip her clothes off, at least thats her point of view. I hope and pray that ya’ll can get past your marriage issue’s. I pray the same prayer for myself and my wife. It seems the most successful people in life, and in marriage are the “DULL” ones. I remember reading in a focus on the family book one time where Dobson said something like, It’s called living the straight life that makes a family work. He of course said more than that, but I took it to mean living the straight, narrow, focused, and not able to veer off to smell the roses and daisies was the way to keep everybody happy in life…all happy except myself that is. You see I’ve lived a very exciting life. I’ve been able to see and do things, to up and travel the world on a moments notice. I’ve been around many celebrities as well as people through the top ranks of the military making huge decisions for all of us. This has made it tough to “settle” in to a marriage that is, well “introverted.” I know that is a little selfish to say, and we are working on that issue, but it’s refreshing to be able to say it. I try to bring her into my world of “quality time” but sometimes sitting on the couch in front of the tv is as quality as it’s gonna get. I’d rather have a relaxing day skydiving. I’m rambling a little so i’ll sum this thing up with a simple thought. Proverbs 31 talks about a woman that I’ve always dreamed of being married to. We will never be able to have a woman that jumps at our every whim and we know the D rate in this country is astounding. I thank God for my wife and I will continue to. I may not get my socks knocked off in the sack at my every whim, and I may not be able to go sky diving or break a new speed record with her, but I will go on loving her for who she is because God has blessed me with a wonderful woman. I am about to go tell her how wonderful she is. I’m appreciate this post, it has let me know how much I truly love my wonderful Godly wife.

    • Kate
      April 10, 2013 | 2:25 pm

      Hi Early On,

      I greatly appreciate what you have shared, in both struggles and in cherishing what God has blessed you with. Keep seeking Him and he will draw near to you and lead you in being the husband he desires! Blessings to you! Kate

  16. Joe
    April 28, 2013 | 2:27 pm

    I skimmed through most all the post and this may have been touched on, but the lack of sexual desire can be (and more times than not) related directly to having been sexually abused in some manner as a child. I know this is true with my wife. Her entire way of relating, trusting (or in her case not trusting) and loving have been “textured” by abuse she suffered at the age of 4 at the hands of her Uncle. It’s taken us 30 years, 15 years of psychiatric care (including several hospitalizations), and much pain and heartache to finally get down to a reason. Now, the hard part begins by trying to “heal” her wounded heart through much prayer and guidance by some great folks who have been there too and are walking us through this tough process.

    • Kate
      April 30, 2013 | 2:39 pm

      You are absolutely right, Joe! There are many marriage stories out there dealing with the same thing, in one form or another. Please know that you are not alone and I thank you for sharing with us! I am lifting you and your beautiful wife up right now! Blessings, Kate

  17. ilovearainynight
    May 8, 2013 | 11:44 am

    hey, I am very impressed by the words of encouragement and hope I am finding here. thank you.

    I am a wife who doesn’t like sex anymore. It’s a long and a bit complicated story, but I’ll try to be brief. Sex was great for the first 2 or 3 years of marriage. Then it naturally declined a little, as the novelty wore off.
    Then I had our first child. That is when my sex drive really dipped. At first I thought it was hormones. But looking back now, I can see that was when my husband starting picking at me: criticizing, finding fault, complaining, putting me down. I am wondering if he felt jealous because he had to share my time and love with our new baby.

    fast forward almost 20 years. 20 years of NO compliments, only statements like: You need to get into shape. So-and-so’s wife has been going to the gym and she looks great. — This kitchen looks like a total pigpen. I’m just disgusted. Why don’t you care that we live like pigs? — Those pants make your ass look 3 miles wide. — You’re so boring, you don’t even have a real personality. — You know you’d be trailer trash without me.

    just a few examples… anyway this kind of treatment KILLED my sex drive completely. yet I was determined to keep the marriage together for my children’s sakes (we now have 5).
    I knew sex was ultra important to him so I had sex with him without complaining whenever he wanted it. Which was about once a week. However, about 6 years ago, he started trying to get sex more than that. I had to ask him, “Please, I am burned out. I’d rather we only had sex about 3 times a month.” That made him so mad. He lost his temper. Punched a hole in the wall. Slammed the door. Left on a business trip without saying a word.
    Came home and told me that he NEEDS sex. that Sex is important for him to feel Loved, and it has to be at least once a week or he’d have to find a different wife. So now I give him scheduled duty-sex every saturday, but I hate it, I dread it, and what love I had for him has dwindled down to something microscopic. I prayed and fasted and studied scriptures like crazy up until just about a year ago.
    I’ve asked God for ANYTHING, to help our situation. But it seems God has forgotten about me. Our marriage sucks, sex has become a repulsive obligation, and I just feel like a prostitute — buying peace and the appearance of happiness for my children by giving my husband the sex that he requires.

    • Kate
      May 28, 2013 | 8:26 pm

      Hi Iloverainynights,

      My heart breaks for where you are. It cannot be an easy thing. I think that you can keep praying the Holy Spirits guidance. As you commented above, you can only pray for your hubby and then seek to be the wife he desires for you to be. Just showing up for sex once a week, while I know you want to be doing a good thing with that, are actually hurting the situation. God desires for you to desire your husband. If you are not there, then you need to pray for restoration of that desire.
      What your husband has done to you mentally is not right in anyway, please know that. You have to decide if the situation is so bad that it is mentally abusive, if that is the case then you need to place boundaries in your marriage and place the ball in your husbands court to how he will respond.
      Even in that, I challenge you to seek to be the wife God desires, in all ways. I know it is not and will not be easy, but we always have a choice in how we respond to our spouse and that is what God is concerned about with you.
      Please know that you are not alone, that there are many others out there in a similar situation and that God has never once stopped loving you or has left you alone during this. He will never leave you, or stop loving you! Know that I am lifting you up right now! Blessings, Kate

  18. joe
    May 19, 2013 | 6:31 pm

    Sorry to say this but I have known numerous Women that got divcorced because they abandoned their hiusband in the bedroom. Shortly there after they went on a tear and slept with a pile of men and performed all the sex acts they could with these new men that they never would have done with their husbands. So this talk of women’s resentment and how tough they have it in their lives goes right out the window for me from what I’ve seen they are just tired or bored with their man and want something else. The husband is always viewed as some sorry creature because he desires sex with his wife. The divorce rate in the USA would probably vanish tomorrow if women could find a way to keep their husbands happy in their sexual lives. It seems that Sex is just used as a weapon by women toward their Husbands. I’ve known Husbands that have been true to their wives even though they rejected them for years and years, but men are always portrayed as the cheaters and less worthy when in fact it’s probably the opposite. Is it really all that difficult?

    • Brad
      May 25, 2013 | 10:10 pm

      Joe,
      I think you are looking at one 1/2 of the picture. I don’t disagree with much of what you said, but you forgot to look at the husbands picture. There are so many husbands that think nothing of ignoring their wives needs, their desires to grow an emotional closeness, and even their physical and sexual enjoyment. We have worked with women who long ago gave up on the idea of sex, not because they didn’t want it, but because their husbands never thought beyond their own experience of “release”. Some women abandoned the idea when they recognized that in addition to working a full time job they also were full time house cleaners, cooks, and bottle washers. Even for wives who are full time mom’s their job doesn’t end at 5:00 when his does, it goes on and on an on, and often with little help from him.

      I’m going on this rant specifically to remind you that there is another side to this coin. There are reasons that wives turn away from sex with their husbands and then upon divorce “re-discover” their sexuality. We challenge them to figure out how they can discover it again with their husband, but it is also important for husbands to do their parts!

      I hope that helps you to see and understand the other part!

    • Conner Sturdivant
      February 8, 2014 | 9:11 pm

      Amen brother.

  19. Will
    September 29, 2013 | 1:59 pm

    Compounding all of the above, with acute residuals of prostate cancer/surgery…raise the degree of frustration and anxiety, even higher! For many, after coping with issues of ED, the lack of desire for intercourse is quite inevitable! Thinking outside the box of tradition, as it relates to INTIMACY…is a worthwhile
    challenge, but has enormous
    benefits. Learning to redefine
    SEX, is a major role in
    maintaining the concept of “one-
    flesh!’ It begins and ends, in one’s mind, but both partners have to operate from that same sheet of music. The physical, emotional, socual and psychological growth pains are very real for both, which requires mass communication skills. My wife and I have accepted our reality and no longer view SEX in the way we did 20 years ago. Griefing the lost of a natural erection, was the greatest battle I have ever faced, but discovering “the green grass”, on the other side…doesn’t have to be a myth! “As a man thinketh…!”

  20. aaron
    October 27, 2013 | 12:44 pm

    I have a bit of a different thought. I am 7 years married, and we are only having “duty sex” if she hears something about husband’s needs on Dobson or re-reads Care and Feeding of Husbands or some such.
    Naturally, in our 30s, I would like to keep having that component of marriage, but she definitely would not. She is very fit (she is a mma fighter) and most male friends are extremely jealous of my gorgeous wife.
    We have 5 kids, two from her first marriage, 3 together. She is in all other respects a Proverbs 31 girl, home-schools the kids, lots of fun outings, we run the church youth programs together, etc.
    The only issue is men. She thinks penises are really gross. Does not recall sex fondly (though she orgasms nearly every time, gets tons of oral and manual stimulation, everything in the book) and only kisses me when she’s had a couple drinks.
    Her hobby costs thousands and I have never complained once. I am very helpful around the house and reasonably good looking. She even says I look good.
    All this could be anyone else’s story, here is the diference: divorce being not an option for biblical reasons, what can be done to reduce my libido?

  21. amy
    December 1, 2013 | 1:00 pm

    I probably don’t belong in this hub, but I’m a wife who doesn’t know if I hate sex or not. Married 45+ years and we only had sex once and that was our wedding night. My husband has hated sex and me since day one. I’ve never really slept with a man. I could never figure out why I’m and out cast.

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