Help! I Love my Husband but I Don’t like Sex

Written by Barbara Wilson

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Has love betrayed you? There is hope.

“Why was it so hard to resist sex before marriage, but now in marriage, resisting is all I do?”

“Why do I love my husband, but don’t want to make love?”

“Why was sex so good before marriage when I shouldn’t have been having it, but now that I can, its lost its sizzle, and I’ve lost desire?”

You’re not alone…

Can you relate to any of the women above? Like them, do you love your husband, want to stay married, but struggle with sex? Do you yearn for physical and emotional closeness with your mate, yet shun their intimate advances? “What happened to our sexual relationship?” you may wonder. If these questions have crossed your mind, you’re not alone.

Many married women genuinely want to feel more desire toward their husbands, and can’t figure out what went wrong. They wish their sexual relationship could be more and are dismayed that it’s not. They want to give themselves without reserve to their husbands, but can’t. I know, because I was one of them.

As a newly married wife I was surprised to find that within a short time, sex had lost its appeal for me. I loved my husband, but avoided sex. And when I couldn’t avoid it, I was a passive participant, rather than an enthusiastic one. I thought there was something wrong with me, yet I couldn’t tell anyone. After all, everyone else seemed to like sex…the women in the media seemed to enjoy it and want it all the time. And my husband liked it a lot…so what was wrong with me?

There’s good news

If you’re wondering the same thing…I have good news! There are many reasons why women may have fluctuating desire for sex in marriage. Children, fatigue, hormones, work, illness, medications, emotions and stress are some of the obstacles to enjoying or desiring sex. I certainly experienced all of those. But then God began to take me on a journey of healing from my past abortion, and my past sexual relationships. Even the sexual relationship I had with my husband before we got married.

I never imagined that my sexual past could have an impact on me today, but God was showing me that it had. And with healing, He set me free. Free from the wounds I’d accumulated, free from the lies I’d ingrained, and free from all my past sexual partners that were keeping me from experiencing true intimacy with my husband. Healing set me free to love my husband, and enjoy being loved in return. I thought it was too good to be true. But since then, as God has given me the opportunity to lead hundreds of women through healing, I’ve watched Him do the same thing in others.

I imagine that you may be wondering how your sexual past could be affecting you today.  I want to share what God has taught me about sexual bonding, and how our past – whether from sexual abuse, or trauma or our own choices – can impact emotional and sexual intimacy in marriage.

Sex and the brain

What does the brain have to do with sex? Everything. The brain is our biggest sex organ. Scientists have discovered that we release chemicals and hormones that create a bond during sexual arousal and release. The chemicals released give us a feeling of pleasure, and make us want to do it over again. In addition, the hormone oxytocin is released which is designed to relationally bond us to our partner.

Oxytocin is an amazing hormone…I call it God’s super-human-glue. Its released three times in a human, when a woman gives birth, when she breastfeeds her baby, and in both men and women when they experience sexual arousal and release. In addition, men release vasopressin which also helps with bonding. When we save sex for marriage, the only person that we bond with will be our spouses. And as our marriage progresses, and we’re having sex over and over, that bond gets stronger, causing our love to deepen and mature. I believe God gives us a glimpse of oxytocin in Genesis 2:24 when He says; “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Other versions use the word cleave for united, which literally means to be glued together.

But what happens when we take sex outside marriage, and bond with other partners? What about in the case of sexual abuse? Preliminary science is showing that if we have past negative sexual relationships, we can inhibit our production and release of oxytocin. In other words, every time we have sex in a relationship and then break up, we release less oxytocin in each subsequent relationship. Then we get married. We hope that marriage is a big giant eraser, wiping all the past away, but instead we bring all our past sexual bonds into marriage with us.  They can keep us from releasing oxytocin and bonding exclusively with our spouses.

How does past bonding impact our desire in marriage? If over time we’re not bonding well enough sexually, we can begin to experience sexual withdrawal. Sex can become less enjoyable, less intimate, and less desirable. Bonding in previous relationships keeps us attached to past partners. This can cause us to compare our current spouse with past partners leaving us dissatisfied or disappointed.  During seasons of struggle in our marriage, we may feel drawn to the past, thinking, “Maybe I should have married someone else…”

To summarize, if we’ve bonded to past sexual partners, we will not bond as well in marriage, and if we’re not bonding well, it can decrease sexual desire and enjoyment in marriage.

The Emotional divide

Human beings are relational. There are five recognized levels of emotional intimacy that we move through as we get to know someone intimately. They have various names, but I call them: lowest, low, moderate, high and highest. With each level we share more of ourselves, placing us at increasing levels of vulnerability. And a greater risk of being hurt or rejected. And that’s why to become truly intimate, not only do we need to progress through the levels slowly, but also at the same pace. Women tend to be more comfortable relating emotionally and therefore can move more quickly through the levels. Men more often (not always, of course) relate in practical terms, with less emotions, and therefore need more time to move through the levels.

Couples who start having sex outside marriage generally are at the moderate level of communication. At this level we’re sharing opinions, beliefs and thoughts. That doesn’t mean we aren’t occasionally sharing feelings, but when experience conflict, we’ll gravitate to our safe zone, or the level where we communicate the most. Once we start having sex, we’re releasing all those chemicals and oxytocin, and now we’re bonding. We feel close, attached, one. At this point, the sex makes us feel closer than we really are. It becomes a false sense of intimacy and our relationship will begin to focus on the physical. Its how we’ll communicate love, and resolve conflict. Outside marriage, wherever sex begins on the levels of intimacy is where our intimacy will get stalled. Because working through conflict is required to move to the higher levels, we’ll avoid greater vulnerability as it may threaten our relationship.

And then we get married.

The sex has made us feel close, but over time the newness of our relationship wears off, and the reality of life settles in. At this point we begin to discover that we don’t know each other as well as we thought we did. We’re not able to communicate our deepest needs, desires or fears. We bring the same communication patterns we had before, into the marriage and continue to avoid conflict in fear of threatening the relationship. Many couples live in this emotional divide long into their marriages. I see this most often once the kids are gone and a couple discovers that they share less in common than they first thought.

For most women, sex is about being emotionally connected. The closer a woman feels emotionally to her partner, the greater desire she’ll have for sex. Women feel emotionally connected through communication. When we’re connected emotionally, we feel heard and loved. This is what stimulates our sexual desire. Men on the other hand feel emotionally connected through sex, and once they’re connected, they’re more open to communication. In other words if you want to get your man to talk, have sex. Men if you want to get your wife to have sex, talk to her.

To summarize; if we’re not connected emotionally it can inhibit our desire and enjoyment of sex.

Shame on you

As I’ve talked with women all over the country I’ve discovered that regardless of how they were sexually wounded, from abuse as a child or young adult, forced into sex as in date rape, or promiscuous by choice, they all carry emotional damage. Shame, self-blame, regret, pain, brokenness, unworthiness, despair, and distrust are some of the baggage women carry into their future. Emotional pain accumulates with each relationship. Although we’d like to believe that we leave it behind as we move on to the next partner, without healing it gets buried deep until it resurfaces in the next relationship.

These emotions can inhibit sexual desire in marriage. How? Because now in marriage when we have sex, it triggers the shame we experienced in the past. Remember that the brain is our biggest sex organ. As the shame, pain, thoughts and memories flood our mind, it robs us of our desire for sex. We’ll begin to withdraw, pull back emotionally and physically. Whether from sexual abuse, trauma or our own choices, the shame we felt in past situations will revisit when we begin to feel the same arousal in the present. The negative associations we had with sex in the past situation will resurface in the present. We may feel unworthy, dirty, shameful. Details of past abuse or promiscuous choices become vivid realities, stealing our moment of desire.

In summary: the negative emotions we experienced in past sexual relationships will be triggered in the present and will extinguish our desire for sex.

God can Heal

The good news is God can heal your past and restore your desire for your husband, and for sex. Yes, its true! Not only has He done it for me, but He’s healed countless others as they’ve trusted God with this area of their lives.

God can break the bonds you’ve created in your past relationships, heal the wounds you’ve accumulated, replace the lies you’ve ingrained with His truth, and help re-bond you to your husband, increasing your desire and enjoyment of sex.  Even chemically, preliminary science is beginning to show that with healing, our brains heal too. As we heal, we’re able to release oxytocin again. I’ve watched this happen in women. As past wounds heal, their emotional walls come down. Gradually you see them feeling more love for their husbands, and being able to receive love. With healing we no longer trigger negative associations with sex from the past, and our desire for sex improves.

Below are some of the steps of healing that I’ve experienced and led others through. If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or sexual trauma as in rape, you may also need to enlist professional help with a licensed counselor.

The Steps to Healing:

  1. Acknowledge what’s happened and surrender it to God.  Write out your story using the life map exercise in Kiss Me Again.
  2. Break the silence…tell someone. A counselor, trusted friend, your husband.
  3. Grieve your losses and wounds. Let God show you what and how you need to grieve and the wounds He wants to heal.
  4. Break past bonds.  Write out your sexual history list. Ask God to show you everyone you’ve created a bond with. Write the names, or details of the event down. Ask God to show you how each one of these situations and/or people hurt you, and damaged your view of yourself, others, God, men and sex.
  5. Pray this prayer with each person/situation on your list asking God to sever the bond you’ve created with them.

Lord, I ask forgiveness for sinning against you and against my own body. In the name of Jesus, I sever and renounce the bonds I created with _____. I release my heart tie with this person physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I choose by faith to forgive _______ for their violation against me. Please forgive me of my violation against _______. Please remove the negative emotional baggage I’ve been carrying around with me. Restore to me a virgin heart—as though I’d never been with this person, and heal me completely of the damage this sin has caused me and my marriage. Thank you for your forgiveness. I accept it fully.[i] Amen.
The pain that heals

Its hard work, I know. But I promise you, its worth it. You’ll go through some pain as you bring up the past, but its what psychologists call ‘good pain’. Good pain allows us to heal. Good pain is allowing God to expose what’s hurt us in our pasts, and surrendering it to Him so He can heal us.

He’s done it for me and countless others. He can and will do the same for you. He’s just waiting for one thing…He’s waiting for you to ask.


[i] Used with permission

Do you want to read more of Barbara Wilson’s articles? The first two in her series can be found here:
The Five Levels of Intimacy
Kiss Me Again

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84 Responses to “Help! I Love my Husband but I Don’t like Sex”

  • Aldo Aldo says:

    Thank you John says, for the excellent job of monitoring these websites for undesirable content. Keep up the good work. God bless.

  • John says:

    editor’s note: Hi John, your comments have been removed. Please refrain from name-calling on this site. You may have intended to be funny but sometimes that humour does not translate well in text.

  • Red says:

    Good God! Who on earth would suggest people who were raped pray to God for forgiveness for what they did wrong when they didn’t consent and didn’t want the sex? How could it possibly be a sin on your part if you didn’t wanted at all? What a horrible thing to tell people!

    Also, you don’t have to forgive sex offenders. Not even God forgives everybody. In the book of Matthew it states that perverts will burn in the lake of fire. I think we can take this as evidence that God is probably not going to forgive rapists and pedophiles.

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi Sujata,

    You said that you are giving your husband a second chance and that there had been abuse in your past. If he’s willing to do the work of changing that’s wonderful, but sex is the result of a repaired relationship, not the path you walk to get there. It’s going to be really hard to have a positive sexual experience with someone you don’t trust. I wonder if he’ll be as willing to do the work of repairing your marriage if he’s getting this thing that he wants? His needs are real, and so are yours, but having sex can make you feel closer than you actually are and when you’re trying to put things back together that can get in the way. It might be better to work on your relationship and strengthen that before you get back into bed with each other. Have you had a chance to talk to a counsellor? If you’d like to talk to someone privately we have email coaches available. You can use this form to request a mentor and you’ll hear back, usually within a couple of days.

  • sujata says:

    thanks for this article.
    I realize my resistance to sex is not because of my previous relationship but due to the fact I felt I was being used in my marriage with my husband. He has promised to change and I have a 14 year old with him, so I am giving him a second chance. But he wants to have sex and feel everything is normal. I also feel the urge sometime, but then if I succumb to it, he thinks things are back to normal. I do not know how to handle the situation.

    I cannot trust him again, yet feel sad for him when he really wants it, and I argue with myself when I want it.
    We are living apart and meet only once in two-three months.

    Please help me.

  • Mischelle says:

    This would be interesting if first, I still was a Christian and second, if we were all as permisscuous as apparently some of the people on here were. It also would make sense if I ever really cared for sex, but it was a brief novelty at best. Orgasms just aren’t that big a deal. If God gave us sex was to make us closer with our mate, then why can’t most females orgasm during intercourse, but need manual stimulation? Further, if it is wrong to stimulate yourself , why is it the only way some women can climax. And, if sex is such an important part of human life, why do many of us females not even have the urge to masturbate? I love my husband of 24 years, but I don’t have any sex drive at all. He is upset, and I am upset because he is upset, but it doesn’t change my level of desire. He doesn’t understand that women just may not find it as fascinating as men seem to.

  • Shelley Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord I lift up all married couples that is having this difficulty in there lives. Lord I pray that You will mend the sadness in this situation. In Jesus Name Amen

  • Gerald says:

    it takes three to make a marriage. you, your spouse and the LORD. He is the glue that bonds it all together. it is true, that we all carry some sort of expectation of what a marriage relation should be, but remember, we are all flawed, sinful creations from the fall. The baggage we carry can be from past relationships from other sexual partners or even emotional relationships from father or mother figures or any adult figure of authority that may have input into our thinking of sexual relations. all form of love rejections hurt. improper male or female relationships hurt. improper teachings or what you may have even read about it can even lay a bad foundation for your future relationships. can we start clean, have a fresh start? yes, but not by your self. whatever hurt that someone has imposed on you can be changed. I did not write this message to indoctrinate you about Christianity, but to let you know that Christ can change all these things for the better for all. He knows what you are going through and where you have been. he will never force himself upon you nor offer you a false hope or even lecture you. Faith in Christ is the key. to many play church or treat as a social club. not many even know if He is real or even really cares. I tell you He is both. He waits for you with open arms and a rejoicing Love. Nothing is greater than Love. not just some sexual feeling, but a love that will not only make you better ,but grows exponentially in your heart to make you stronger and able to give more back to someone than you ever thought possible. who wouldn’t want that kind of love. not judge mental, but more than willing to go he extra mile for you and any who honestly ask him. I truly hope you know He LOVES you all more than his very life itself or he would not have laid it down for you or rose for you. Call him and he will come. his name is Jesus. try him not because of what I say or some pastor, but because he is Love.

  • Alfred Alfred says:

    Hi Jamie and Dan, I can relate to that, sad-to-say. I found that what helped me to stay away from masturbation, is to say that I am not my own, but I have been bought with a price and am the Lord’s. HE tells me that He did not give me sex for self-gratificatioon, but to enhance my marriage. Then, when I controled myself, saved my energy for something constructive, and I felt good about that. Then God would give me the joy of being able to show love to my wife in many ways. That is not always an easy thing to do; it takes will-power and prayer. Sometimes when the devil comes knocking at my privat door, I say “Jesus, will you get that for me please?”

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Dan, that can certainly be a problem in some situations but I don’t know that it explains all the problems that face husbands and wives. What do you see are some ways of dealing with the problem of self-sex?

  • Dan says:

    The biggest problem is men bond with themselves through masturbation. Self-sex = Selfishness. And women just KNOW this. They know a selfish man when they see one. No wonder they don’t want to “bond” with that man!

  • Andrew Andrew says:

    @noodles when you ask Christ to heal you and ask the Holy Spirit to remove the bond with someone you have has sex with you will become free from the bond of the person you have slept with. God designed physical intimacy for a man and woman to express their love towards one another. When we stray from this plan guilt happens and we are unable to move on so to speak which is why it is important to break the bond through Christ. God Bless.

  • noodles123 says:

    @Andrew…Most likely that story is false as wolves are actually VERY smart…People assume animals are dumb but everything they do usually has a purpose…But I get at what you’re saying.

    Your second paragraph did get me though in part…I had dated around but rarely found what I wanted/needed when I did I would try as hard as I could to bond with that person and the last 2-3 times…I bonded they didn’t…Which meant I ended up remembering their voice, their touch, their scent which made it almost impossible to move on…Usually I’d date and see there was no future, excuse myself and move on…Now I was stuck.

    Time and tears were the only things that cured it…I can pretend I never want to bond with anyone for fear of the future but the thing is I feel the need to.

  • Andrew Andrew says:

    @Noodles glad to hear that you are reformed… I heard a story once whether or not is true I don’t know. If your discussing primal instincts as in the wild someone once told me that when are hunting wolves they took a roast beef and put a sharp hunting knife into the roast beef and tied the roast beef to a stake in the ground. The wolf finds the roast beef and begins to devour the meat and it gets further excited as it smells the blood that it works itself into a frenzy eating the roast beef only problem is it is his own blood that it is smelling. Soon the wolf dies as he has killed themselves with animal instinct and the hunter gets his wolf!

    You may have very well bean a player in your former life and made a game out of bedding woman however I think you would agree with me that each woman you slept with a part of you was left with her until you don’t have the ability to love. Only way to break the bonds with woman is through asking the Holy Spirit to break each bond otherwise you will always be tied to the woman you had sex with.

  • noodles123 says:

    Hmmmm the problem I see here is no one here mentions the difference between love making and sex…It really is two different things…When I was younger I was a @@@@@@ and tried to sleep with any woman that caught my eye…Married or not.

    I found many of these women loved their man but were bored…It’s not just a matter of technique but of letting go and releasing to just sex to “Get off” as opposed to trying to be gentle and sweet which actually bores the @@@@ out of me…Hence why all these “50 Shades of Gray” books are hitting so hard…Sometimes we want to release and just have primal, heart pumping, sweaty sex not ponder love, bible passages and Jesus while in the bedroom.

    The primal part of us needs freshness and hunger for our mate otherwise both men and women end up cheating because nio-chemically they click with a co-worker better.

    Husbands better wake up because even though I’m reformed there is an army of men out there who will try to tempt your woman if they get the scent that there is lack of satisfaction.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Claire, thanks for having the courage to post an opposing opinion and being honest about how you feel at intimacy with your husband. Can I just say though that while your husband may want you to be honest with him, I really hope you haven’t posed your feelings like this to him? That would really be a man-killer. I am not suggesting that you lie just to make your husband happy–obviously there are issues in your relationship that need to be dealt with and they will not be fixed by lying about them–but I would recommend that you consider carefully how you state your feelings so that it does not really hurt him.

    Let me also caution you about saying that he could have a sexual relationship with someone else. Sexual intimacy is more than just a physical release. It is an ultimate connection of two people’s body and soul. If you allow your husband to make that kind of connection with another person I guarantee it will destroy you, him and a host of other people as well (i.e. your children, your friends, your families, not to mention the other person that he connects and all of their friends and family).

    So what do you love about your husband? How is your love for him expressed?

  • Claire says:

    Well, it seems to me that after a while sex is just plain boring. I have had sex probably thousands of times with my husband and I am done with desire for him. I am fed up with hearing about how women have to change something to keep their men. Sure I can have an orgasm with my husband but there are so many more interesting things to do. Men don’t lose the desire because their testosterone just keeps going. My desire is much more situational. I know that if I sought out someone new I could rekindle my desire but I’m not going to do that. I think my husband may eventually leave but I can’t and won’t fake desire for him. Why can’t we be a bit more honest about expectations in relationships – it is unrealistic to expect desire to keep physical desire going year after year. I don’t even mind if he has a sexual relationship with someone else, but I don’t want to lose the father of our children and our joint life.

  • Vanessa says:

    I feel totally identified by this article. I would die for my husband and for him I initiate sex even when I don’t enjoy it hoping I will this time…
    For those who didn’t like this article let me just say u don’t have to… It took me like forever to find this, the article that described my story best, so it’s just not your story girls…. So keep looking ;) don’t loose hope.
    And why some of u attack Christianity? I’m Christian by choice, nobody forced me into Christianity and bringing God into my marital issues helps me.
    I was forced into breaking my promise to Jesus the first time ( I didn’t have a choice but my ex did) and the second time i chose to break my promise to Him ( I did have a choice but I choose well ), which only made me understand how free i am to choose and Jesus has given me that.
    We all choose our paths…we might not see the bumps without help sometimes… SO THANK YOU!!!!!

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi Mel, I am so glad that you found this article helpful. Have you seen Barbara Wilson’s article, “How to Heal From Your Sexual Past”? It’s an excellent article. Barbara also includes several practical exercises for you to go through. If you find that this is helping then I would also recommend Barbara’s book The Invisible Bond. Sex is a very important part of marriage. Have you considered talking to someone about this? Perhaps a pastor (if you have a female pastor) or a trusted, older friend? You may also find that a Christian counsellor is an excellent resource as you work through this process.

    You are right at the beginning of your marriage which means that you and your husband are just starting to set the patterns for how you will live together. This is an excellent time to sort out these problems that you’re having with your sex life. Work through them now, heal from what has happened and you’ll lay a strong foundation for the the future of your marriage.

  • Mel says:

    Thank you for this article. I don’t care what the rude naysayers have to say… This article is exactly what I needed. I’ve only been married 3 months & simply don’t enjoy sex with my husband. I definitely feel a part of it is due to guilt and pain from my past relationships. I definitely need to work on giving it up to God. Thank you again…. Really. It’s great to know I’m not alone.

  • Doris Beck Doris says:

    So glad that you enjoyed this article Lizzie. Did you make it to Church yesterday? What a great idea to go to church to learn more. The other option is to write into one of our online mentors and ask any questions that you have about who Jesus is and how His life and claims impact you. If you would like to do that just go to this page and fill it in and one of our mentors will email you back. http://powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor/

  • Lizzie says:

    I’m not religious. I don’t pray to Jesus, but I do to God. This article is definitely going into my bookmarks and I’m going to church tomorrow to learn more. Thank you.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Guest, you’re right: all difficulties with sex in a marriage can be explained away by emotional bonding with multiple sexual partners. I have also known couples who have been negatively impacted by having sex with each other before they were married. There are other couples whose sexual intimacy has been impacted by the messages about they received as young people from parents, peers, social culture, etc. There are also problems caused by emotional issues, physiological issues and spiritual issues. I don’t know which avenues you have explored to get to find healing in your own marriage but let me invite you to talk with one of our online mentors. They can hear your story and perhaps suggest some things that you could investigate. Just fill out the Mentor Request Form at http://powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor and one of our mentors will get in touch with you by email.

    I am glad to hear you identify yourself as a Christian. You know that Jesus promised to bring you life in all of its fullness which would include your marriage relationship. He said that Satan comes to steal kill and destroy but He has come to give life in abundance (John 10:10) So when there are struggles in your life it is right to be honest with God, tell Him about your questions and look to Him for healing. When we are honest with God about all of these things it opens the way for us to get to know Him in a better way. When we hold back from Him things that are impacting us we close off areas of our lives which results in a shallow relationship with Him.

    I guess the same is true with marriage relationships: when an issue becomes taboo and you don’t talk to each other about it we close each other out of true intimacy and so our relationship suffers. I don’t know what your conversation with your husband has been like around the issue of sex but I know a lot of couples who eventually stop talking about it altogether because it doesn’t seem to get resolved or it causes too much pain or it just is too awkward. But closing off that part of life from each other begins a pattern of inauthentic communication which is devastating to a marriage.

    I can tell this has been a serious issue in your life but I know that Jesus can turn things around for you and your husband. Remember Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and weighed down in life; I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Jesus wants to give you rest from the negative drain this has had on your life and marriage. Let me pray for you: Lord God I pray for this couple as they struggle with sexual intimacy. I ask Lord that You would bring healing and rest for them. Direct them to the areas that need healing and empower them by Your Spirit to find fullness and love and joy in their union together. Help them to discern godly helpful advice and to have the courage to face the things that seem overwhelming. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  • Guest says:

    This article is full of crap! I was looking for some answers on why I don’t want to have sex with my husband who I love and all I got was a Christian lecture. I am a Christian, go to church every Sunday and never had sex with anyone besides my husband. So why did I come online looking for answer to a question like that? Everything should be great, shouldn’t it? This lecture about not being able to let go of past partners and shame about what we did before is a total LIE! Obviously I don’t have any baggage and attachments to previous sex partners and shame of what I did and with whom, because I didn’t do anything with anyone besides my husband. Stupid article. Maybe others will believe it if they’ve slept with other people in the past but obviously the solutions author gives don’t work if people that only had one sex partner (husband) still don’t like sex.

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi Meghana, There’s a really great article by Barbara Wilson that talks about how the sex you have before marriage can affect your marriage, and what to do about it. I’d recommend starting with that and seeing if what Barbara says resonates with you.

  • Meghana says:

    I had a relationship with one guy before marraige, that’s still somewhere back of my my mind…also m unable to enjoy sex with my husband now.We do have sex but i am somewhere not satisfied,we are also planning for a kid hopefully my dissatisfction towards sex doen’t affect my conceiving, this bothers me every day. CAn anyone suggest.

    Meghana

  • Able says:

    LN, I feel the same way as you. My parents did similar things. I did, however, have sex outside marriage. Either because of rebellion or whatever it was…doesn’t matter. Anytime anything good happens within my marriage, I self-sabotage. I shrink away from the good-feeling sex as it makes me feel wrong, disgusting, inappropriate. And all other nasty things. I wish everything could be fixed by one prayer. I would certainly be praying all the time.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    You are right LN, abstinence is not what leads to perfect sex. And there have been many unhealthy attitudes about sex that have been developed by Christian people. I know in this article that Barbara focussed her attention on the negative impact of sex outside of marriage but if you read her books and other articles on our sites you will know that she sees many other reasons for people’s intimacy problems.

    Let me also say that God does not present sexual intercourse between a husband and wife as a shameful thing at all. It is His desire that the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual union that happens when a husband and wife come together will be an expression of great love, joy and pleasure. The writings of Solomon in the Bible are explicit love songs that celebrate the love between a husband and wife. The opening line sets the mood, “May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine. Your oils have a pleasing fragrance, Your name is like purified oil; Therefore the maidens love you. Draw me after you and let us run together! The king has brought me into his chambers.” (Song of Solomon 1:2-3) Or what about this, “How beautiful and how delightful you are, My love, with all your charms! Your stature is like a palm tree, And your breasts are like its clusters. I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree, I will take hold of its fruit stalks.’ Oh, may your breasts be like clusters of the vine, And the fragrance of your breath like apples, your mouth like the best wine” (Song of Solomon 7:6-9)

    My encouragement to people who have issues with intimacy in their marriage is to talk to God about it. He is the one who created marriage and sexual union and He knows how best to experience it. He is the healer of all that is broken and as we allow Him to work in our lives, we will discover that all parts of our lives are made new, even our sexual intimacy with our spouse. Whether the issues abound from a promiscuous life style, prudish shame, or the effects of abuse from others, God is able to heal it all and make us new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2Corinthians 5:17)

    Does that make sense LN? I know it probably doesn’t sync with your experience of the Church but believe me, the church is full of people who are still in the process of being made new and they are still prone to mistakes. We all are! And God works in all of us to help each other to come to a true understanding of who He is and who He has made us to be.

  • LN says:

    I also just want to say that I was raised in the church and I think one of the BIGGEST LIES that women are taught is that perfect sex happens simply because you wait till marriage to have sex. I did things the “right way”, waited till marriage and, frankly, my sex life has been a huge let down. Many of my Christian “waited-till-marriage” girlfriends feel the same way. I think that sexuality is complicated and things like past abuse, what we’re taught about sex, our personal sex lives (masturbation, etc) ALL contribute to what marital sex is like — whether you ‘wait for it’ or not.

    First there are the mechanics of the thing. If you wait till marriage to have sex then, well, chances are you will not be good at it right off the bat. It took me two years of having sex with my husband to achieve the *beginnings* of an orgasm. Prior to that it was two years of me squirming around while he was on top of me, trying to figure out why I wasn’t really feeling anything. Even now the orgasms I do achieve are extremely faint and, frankly, I feel FAR MORE INTENSE orgasms when I masturbate (which I DO NOT make a habit of. I mainly do it when I’m up at night and can’t fall asleep.)

    Then there’s what I was taught about sex as a child. As a teenager, my Christian parents SHAMED ME for liking boys. They SHAMED ME for the hormones and NATURAL sexual desires I felt as a teen girl. Their response was to lock me up in the house (basically) and not allow me to go anywhere where I could interact with boys. The lesson I learned? Sex is shameful. When my husband and I started having sex, it would feel so good when he touched certain parts of me (not orgasm-good, but good nonetheless), and it would make me feel SO dirty. I felt like a whore and when sex started feeling too good, I would switch to a less pleasurable position or even ask him to stop because I felt so dirty. This hasn’t stopped and, to this day, sometimes I can’t get through a sex session without tears of shame rolling down my cheeks.

    Now… All that I’ve described has NOTHING to do with having sex before marriage. Because I didn’t. But I struggle with my sex life nonetheless.

    I haven’t given up on sex. My husband and I still make love about once every 10 days. But sometimes I want to give up on our sexual relationship altogether. It’s disappointing to need real help and happen upon an article like this that seeks to simplify a COMPLICATED issue, and basically tell women who don’t connect with their husbands that it’s their fault for having sex before marriage.

    NOT HAVING SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE IS NOT THE ANSWER TO EVERYTHING!! Sure, it’s a good idea and a great start, but it is NOT a guarantee to great sex. TRUST ME!

  • LN says:

    Wow. This article is so disappointing. I feel that the author is trying to twist the science to fit her Christian beliefs. I know MANY Christian women who DID NOT have sex before marriage who are still struggling to be intimate with their husbands. I recently had dinner with a friend of mine who said that the only time she wanted anything to do with her husband physically is when she was trying to get pregnant. So what about them?

    I wish Christian people would stop trying SO HARD to force a faux-Biblical perspective onto everything. Just treat people as PEOPLE. Whether we had sex before marriage or not, whether we believe in Jesus or not, MANY women struggle with desire towards their partners after marriage. It is a HUMAN condition.

  • Renee says:

    Thanks for the article. As a Christian, I believe there is a reason God tells us not to have sex outside of marriage. He knows us well because He created us. He knows there is a bond formed between two people who have sex outside of marriage because sex was created to keep the husband and wife close and was intended strictly for that purpose. When we misuse that, we become that close with other men. I can attest to the fact that I could be very upset with my husband, but after sex, it seems to melt away. I also agree that this can become a band-aid if we’re not careful, focusing on the physical and never dealing with the issues.

    From my own experience, having several sexual partners before marriage has not helped me create a healthy sexual bond with my husband. It has had a negative impact on my ability to give and receive intimacy. But my sister and brother-in-law did just the opposite. They were each other’s first sexual encounter, and they have a very strong relationship, as well as a healthy sex life. I, on the other hand, am on my third marriage and I struggle so much with intimacy. My mind occasionally wanders to my past relationships and how I still feel connected to them in ways. And I know this should not be.

    There is something very spiritual about sex, and so it stands to reason that God can remove that bond on a spiritual level as we pray and believe. There is much power in the prayer of a believer, and most people really don’t understand this.

    Cthulha, even if there are more than three ways we release oxytocin, that does not take away from the fact that sex is one of those ways, the affects of which should not be piled up with other ways oxytocin is secreted and the results of those particular secretions. That is not at all what she was saying. If that is true, then the release of oxytocin from giving birth to a child or breastfeeding would also cause your sex drive to diminish later. And we know that is not true.

    There is the chemical/physical element to sex . . . and then there is the spiritual element. I think the spiritual element has a much greater impact. As we come to terms with our wrong choices and seek forgiveness, we are healed from the inside out. As with any way God heals his children, it starts inside and soon the results show on the outside.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Cthulha, I am no expert in this area and am dependent on other people’s studies to be able to understand the link between promiscuity and the production of oxytocin. What I did find was an article that addresses the very thing that Barbara is referring to. You can read the article for yourself and all the supporting citations of the different studies that have been done that support the idea that contribute to the authors’ findings http://www.physiciansforlife.org/content/view/1492/36.

    You are right in saying that there are more than three situations where oxytocin is secreted but there are only three in which large amounts of the neurohypophyseal hormone is released. The authors of the article are clear that the role that oxytocin plays in bonding for sexual mates is decreased when sex is not joined with a long-term commitment.

    Now that is just looking at the biochemistry of love and commitment. Some people need that kind of explanation to encourage them to make the commitment of marriage. Another compelling reason is the impact that a stable committed marriage has on the children being raised in that home. There are piles of studies that support the importance of a stable, loving marriage relationship in the emotional, social development of children.

    For me, another crucial reason for remaining faithful to the covenant of marriage is that God instructs us to love as He loves. He then models that love by remaining faithful even when the object of His love rejects Him. He models a love that is self-sacrificing in order to serve the ones He loves. His love is generous and gracious in all circumstances. So I follow His example and command to love in that same way. Fortunately He helps me because I know I could never live up to that expectation on my own.

    So what is the basis and example for your love?

  • Cthulha says:

    This article is garbage. The rate at which the brain replenishes oxytocin has nothing to do with how many partners you’ve slept with outside of marriage. Also, there are more than just three occasions in which oxytocin is secreted. It happens to you when you pet your cat, for example & your cat’s brain is performing the same mechanism. So following the logic of this article, petting the family dog which was tragically hit by a car one day led to the fact that you’re no longer feeling sexual towards your husband. This prayer will restore your libido. What a bunch of junk.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    That is a very complicated situation Rakisha. Is it your desire to make your marriage into a healthy one or are you looking for a way to get out of it so you can marry your ex-boyfriend?

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