Help! My Husband Doesn’t Want Sex!

Written by Dr. Dave Currie

You might feel like you’re alone in this, but you’re not. Free email mentoring is available today. Request a mentor.  Also in this series: She Doesn’t Want Sex.

So often I hear about how much men need sex, but my husband has no interest in sex. The only time we make love is when I initiate it. Is there something wrong with me? Why doesn’t my husband want me?

Donalyn: Well first of all, there is nothing wrong with you! The first response of most women in your situation is to second-guess or blame themselves. While your husband’s lack of desire is certainly a problem, it is most likely not a problem with you. In fact, most sexual problems aren’t sexual at all.

Dave: That is right Donalyn. We sometimes have the idea that for men, the sexual experience is detached from what is going on inside. In reality, a man’s emotions can have a huge impact on his sexual desire. If he feels emotionally distant from his wife, and especially if he feels like a failure in any way, it can lead to a lack of confidence and therefore a lack of interest in sex. For a man, sexual performance is very much tied to ego, so if he is not feeling good about himself it will definitely show up in his approach to sexual intimacy with his wife.

Donalyn: As women, we know that our sexual appetite is diminished when we do not feel connected to our husbands, or if there is unresolved anger between us. But we forget that our husband’s sex drive can also suffer for these same reasons. Likewise, if a man is overworked or under a lot of stress, whether inside or outside the home, sexual interest may start to take a back seat.

Love & God
What does God have to do with love?
Has love betrayed you? Is it preventing you from believing that you are a human being who is loved by God? You are intelligent, beautiful, loved, and not alone.

Dave: Of course, there are all sorts of physical issues that could be at play here too. If your husband has had any struggles with erectile dysfunction, that is likely a huge contributing factor. If he is feeling any lack of confidence in his ability to perform, he will almost certainly shy away from physical intimacy. Libido is also significantly impacted by testosterone levels, so if your husband has low testosterone, that could be the cause. Drug use, whether prescription or otherwise, may hinder the sexual desire. The good news is that many of the physical factors are very treatable, so it may be time for your husband to have a doctor’s appointment to get some help with this.

Donalyn: Sadly, in many cases, there are other things going on which are not so easy to deal with. Healthy sexual intimacy in marriage can be totally derailed by a person’s involvement with pornography or other inappropriate sexual activities. That is becoming more and more prevalent in this age of the Internet.

Dave: It is true. So many in our society view pornography as harmless, and some even think that it’s a great way to spice up your sex life with your partner. A man can easily be drawn into porn, where he never fails in the fantasy and where he can be sexually stimulated without facing the issues with his wife. But the truth is, pornography neuters a man. He becomes so wrapped up in this fantasy world that he is no longer capable of being excited by his own wife. She cannot possibly compete with the airbrushed models in the magazines and on the computer screen, so the husband simply loses interest in her.

Donalyn: So in reality, he has as much need for sexuality as ever; he is just getting those needs met elsewhere.

Dave: Exactly. And it is not just pornography, either. Sexual substitutes can include a variety of fantasy sources, combined with self-stimulation. Pornographic movies and books, phone services, and strip clubs are rampant. Some men find release in voyeurism: scoping women out and fantasizing about them later. Others give into their attractions to other women, leading to emotional and/or physical affairs. Regardless of the way it is acted out, the point is this: few men can choose to be “neuter” for long. If your husband has lost interest in sex, and there does not seem to be a significant emotional or physical explanation, he may have fallen into one of these snares.

Donalyn: As you can see, there are a whole lot of issues that may need to be sorted through to get to the root of the problem. You need to have an honest talk with your husband, but do it in love. Rather than attacking, grilling or blaming him, share your struggles with him. Tell him that you are wondering if there is something wrong with you that is causing him not to want you. Be vulnerable and let him see what you are feeling – whether that is your insecurity, feeling unfeminine or even ugly. Even if you suspect that it is more a problem on his end rather than a problem with you, approach it sensitively.

Dave: That is a great suggestion. Realize that this is an extremely difficult thing for a man to talk about. He may feel embarrassed, insecure, humiliated, or guilty – especially if he is living a lie. Coming at him with guns blazing will only push him further away, so be gentle in your approach.

Donalyn: I would ask him how you should interpret his lack of interest. Ask him what you can do to help him re-engage sexually. Maybe he knows exactly what the problem is, or perhaps you will have to work through it together to discover what lies at the root. The best thing you can do is approach it as a team. He cannot be made to feel like this is all his problem to solve on his own. He needs to know that you are on the same side. So share with him your needs and your desires – how you would like things to be. Then work together to get there.

Dave: That is right. Support him throughout the process as he works through his fears and insecurity. Remind him of your love and your desire to grow in your intimacy – emotionally, physically and spiritually. And even though you might not be able to fully relate to his perspective, work hard to genuinely understand where he is coming from.

Donalyn: Right. But that is tough to do if you discover that pornography or other illegitimate behaviors are part of the picture.

Dave: Yes, that is very true. But if you do suspect that this is a factor, you are going to ask him the tough questions about where he is having his sexual needs met. And as hard as it will be, if your husband has the courage to open up with you and share his struggles in this area, he will need your support. These issues can be worked through and overcome, but not without a great deal of patience and understanding.

Donalyn: It is also important to find out if there is anything that you have been doing to contribute to the problem. Not that it ever excuses wrong behavior on his part, but you need to know if you have said or done anything to turn him away from you. It may be that you have a critical spirit, that you have been controlling him or cutting him down, or that you are making him feel less of a man. If so, these are behaviors that you can take responsibility for and begin to change, in order to improve the situation between you.

Dave: Absolutely. If a man is feeling constantly criticized or dominated, it creates big damage to his self-worth, and that filters down to his sexual interest. So find out what issues may be coming between you and take positive steps to resolve them. You might even read some marriage and sexuality resources to help you through this process. Sheet Music, by Dr. Kevin Leman and Staying Close, by Dennis and Barbara Rainey are good places to start.

Donalyn: Finally, make sure you are taking care of yourself. Do you feel good about how you look? A failure to take care of yourself can put extra strain on him. Remember the woman that he married? Keep yourself looking your best and you will feel better, regardless of his response.

Dave: Keep in mind 1 Corinthians 7:3-5.

“The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self control.”

While I would not necessarily recommend preaching at your husband, every couple needs to remember that depriving or denying each other increases the temptation to have sexual needs met elsewhere. Again, it never legitimizes it. But a wise person will work to keep their spouse satisfied within the marriage.

Family Life offers hope and resources for struggling marriages. Does your sex life need help? Find out why men can have a low sex drive.

Learn more about intimacy anorexia

devo-interact-icon-42x42So, how’s your love life? Do you need to talk? Either contact us privately so one of our confidential mentors will contact you, or make a comment below.

EmailPrint

1,462 Responses to “Help! My Husband Doesn’t Want Sex!”

  • Chris Chris says:

    tasha….sorry to hear about your marital struggles. its true that the romantic element of many marriage doesnt last and perhaps that isnt all bad. you see, jesus has a higher purpose for marriage than just romance, feelings and sex. his design is to teach us how he loves us so unconditionally as we are spiritually married to him, so too does he want us to show that kind of love to our spouses and to others as well. try to elevate your thinking to the spiritual realm and you will find yourself less discouraged and dependent upon romance to be happy in your marriage. its just a simple fact that there is no way to maintain romantic feeligs and emotions after the inital newness of the marriage wears off but that is when Gods love can and should kick in and take over. for more information on knowing jesus in a personal way, log onto knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above…i pray now that your spiriutal eyes would be opened to understand and see what it is that jesus is wanting to do in your marriage, life and future in this world amen!

  • Shelly mutt says:

    I was searching the web and found this. My husband is the hottest man I can imagine and I am far from ugly. We have been married for 2 years and he hasn’t been passionate in 3. I gained like 15 pounds and he swears he loves me more than anything but I have to beg for sex. As a woman I want to feel desired so begging doesn’t work for my self esteem. Any advice?

  • tasha says:

    hi l have only been married 3 years and already l feel he is not interested in my the only time he wants sex is when he wants it if l want it he can not move away from me fast enough l do not know what l am doing wrong.
    l even planed a romantic dinner for two the other night set a lovely table candles and spent all day cooking to make it as perfect as possible he used to love that once but this night it seemed he couldn’t wait for it to be over fast enough helped pack it up and when in the lounge and put the TV on. l was guttered to say the lest then last night l tried again he came home from work gave me a kiss but l tried to turn the kiss into a romantic kiss and to try and show how much l loved him and wanted him and he pulled away could not get away from me fast enough saying footy is on l suppose l now know were l stand in the pecking order. when l asked latter that night why doesn’t he want me the way he used to anymore all l can get out of him is lm tired.
    l really feel like treating him in the same manner when he wants sex but l cant as [a] he is so good at it and l have never had anything like it in my life and [b] if l did that l would never get it and l feel like that wouldn’t really bother him. am l the one with the problem do l expect to much what am l doing wrong and what can l do to fix it should l just except that this is just the way it will have to be an l have to just except it. l feel a bit of a failure as a women. when there is nothing l can do to turn him on anymore. like l used to once.

  • Chris Chris says:

    hailey…i am sorry to hear of your stuggle. certainly your husband being older and having this life-threatening problem, might have a challenge along those lines. perhaps simply getting some natural supplements would help in this situation. many are available on the market and natural in their origin. at the same time, prayer to christ as we give him our lives and the lives of our mates is always effective also. you might ask yourself first about how your relationship is with your spiritual husband, christ, so that your relationship with your earthly husband can be improved too in all its aspects. for help with marriage in general, log on at focusonthefamily.com. for help with knowing jesus better, log onto, knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above…father come to hailey and her husband today and join them in you. restore her husbands spiritual and physical health in you and grant them to be like minded spiritually, domestically, physically, in every way in jesus name amen!

  • hailey says:

    My partner was in a coma over 2years ago but since then his sex drive has gone, there is a 17years gap between me and my partner, I have tried lots things to get hum in to bed but nothing, we still cuddle kiss but don’t have sex, I’m lucky if i get it once a month, but we r trying for my first pregnancy.
    I’ve said that he needs to think sex more maybe that would work but nothing dose, so plz could someone give me some advice. thank you x

  • Anna says:

    Kara,
    Have you made any progress on figuring out what the issue was?… I have been making progress on my marriage problem…. It has been that he is very affected by porn and fantasizing about the women he has seen there… so much so that I could never live up to the fantasy… he wanted to know what it would be like to have sex w/ other women for soooo long that he finally went out and did it w/ the 1st woman to offer him free sex.. and her girl friend and he had just met them… when I asked him to tell me about the woman he slept w/ bc originally I did not know there were 2… he described a totally diff woman then the one I saw by texting her as him… she was real man-ish looking the kind of women who want to be guys… and her girl friend as they are gay or one is bi-sexual or some confusion like that I asked why he lied about the way she looked– he said bc he was ashamed of it being the lowest level he ever sank to. He now confesses that his many fantasy woman that he would have mental sex w/ for years would satisfy his sexual desire… he confesses that he has a problem w/ that as a result of watching porn. and that he lost touch w/ reality when it came to sex so much so that it was hard to get pleasure w/ me sometimes. Here I am going along thinking he is in-love w/ me as I was w/ him- my thoughts are did it ever occur to him that he was the problem?!?!?!? that he was not even trying to share anything w/ me!?!… If I knew then what I know now- I would have done things differently– even tho I know this is not my problem– it is his!!! I still would have jumped in to help him .. to help us… before we got to the point we are at now.. if you saw us you would think we were an odd couple.. he is not very attractive ata glance by most womans standards… but that was not a big deal… I truly look at the whole person bc I know that anyone could have a wreck or something and ;oose the outter beauty.. so outter beauty was not the measure of ones true value.. I never wanted to be the type of person who was all caught up in my looks or anyone elses.. bc it has nothing to do w/ their true beauty the whoelistic vew of them inside and outside… ANYWAY… my point is press in hard to learn what is going on bc we started having problems w/in 8 to 10 yrs into our marriage and we are almst 25 yrs into it now and I am jst now finding this out… only bc I looked at the phone bills and then went back over the prev 6 mos bills and saw activity that didn’t seem normal… and it got worse from there… and he had sex w/ me and put me in danger bc although he wore a condom for penetration- had oral sex w/ those girls them on him and he on them :( … they were not into him– they were offering favors for sex.. they would get these guys to come over go thru a boring routine so they could start saying how they needed money for this and that and the guys give them money…so basically prostituting them selves w/ out coming right out and saying it.. they didn’t have a car they couldn’t pay their bills… they just let their lust spirit connect w/ his lust spirit to get a conversation going that quickly lets the guy know theres some free sex available… this mingled w/ his probs frm porn of long time wanting to see what sex would be like w/ other women was the recipe for infidelity… long story short porn addiction and fantasy blinds a man to the true beauty and I am not just talking about her INNER beauty!! but to her “actual sexiness that his real wife ACTUALLY HAS!! WHY?!?! BC she does not look like the air brushed models he has been feeding on thru nude pics and videos and he imagines in the fantasy that he wld have explosive sex w/ a tighter vagina and he fantasized that he would eject lot of fluid in his orgasm w/a different woman. … these mental videos and occasional porn ventures kept him pretty satisfied.. to where he didn’t need much sex bc I could not please him like that!!… even though we do the SAME positions and I gave him oral sex which he said he didn’t really enjoy but I kept trying!! and was always asking him what he wanted bc I really wanted to please him. I would take his hands and put them on the sides of my face and tell him to just feel it and just show me what feels good. Kara the point is– just learn from this what you can and do your own due diligence in the bedroom and other wise.. bc when smthg does not seem right– I am learning that it probably isn’t.. I look back at the times when I feared that porn and his few phone sex escapades several yrs back wld and his dwindling sex drive… but I believed what he would tell me and ignore my own gut!!…. I wish I never did that!!!!!

  • Rashid says:

    Tonya
    Every one of us need love but love that speak clearly as man I never have experience of love care fir each other is different that love.He may come looking for you men are different when men have woman at home they think and believe even he don’t sex it will be ok because she is his wife it like comfort zone but I don’t know how woman think. Children bring bond in marriage as long as both know the importance blessing to you

  • Rashid says:

    Kim
    You both love each other which good but need some patient everything will be ok I pray to mighty God who will bring the guidence to both of you in Jesus name Amen

  • shi says:

    Theres something wrong about denial of sexin a marriage. The bible is very clear on when it can be withheld. Some of men with holding sex are Christians abd tgey say the love God and their wives…well my husband does anyway. I feel for you Kim..may be you had children…for me sex is being denied because he decided 6 months after we got married that he didnt want children and weve only been married since june 2012. So ive spent all that time praying and fasting and waiting for change but theres none. SO like Kim and others im considering divorce n have completed the forms needed just waiting to get over the fear ..the last bit of realisation that I am going to be a dovorcee n a failure by many who will never know what ive been through the last two years..we need to get on with life dont we? And we can. GOD’S LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL always!!!

  • shi says:

    Theres something wrong about denial of sexin a marriage. The bible is very clear on when it can be withheld. Some of men with holding sex are Christians abd tgey say the love God and their wives…well my husband does anyway. I feel for you Kim..may be you had children…for me sex is being denied because he decided 6 months after we got married that he didnt want children and weve only been married since june 2012. So ive spent all that time praying and fasting and waiting for change but theres none. SO like Kim and others im considering divorce n have completed the forms needed just waiting to get over the fear ..the last bit of realisation that I am going to be a dovorcee n a failure by many who will never know what ive been through the last two years..we need to get on with life dont we? And we can. GODSS LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL always!!!

  • Tonya says:

    I to am in the same boat as you are Kim. It had become so hard that not only have I lashed out but spoke to my attourney. I am not an ugly woman by any means and yes I get hit on a lot. But, I wanted my husband more than anything. Now, I have decided due to other issues it is time for me to let go. I have to be happy again and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life so alone. It isn’t fair and no matter how much I would have loved to be the only woman he desired. It is just not real in this case. His actions have screamed louder than his words. I should mention that I did talk to him and he didn’t care. Maybe one day he will look back and see how and what I did do for him and our marriage. But for now it isn’t there and I refuse to try if he isn’t doing the same. I see no reason I have the one who has been lied to and abused. Then I fought back, now I walk away. If he ever wants his marriage he knows how to find me. But for now, I have to feel free to live and love myself again. I tried everything except walking away for good. Until now. I hope that you have a better outcome than I did. Truth I was loved once by another man who God took to heaven so I do know that there are men out there who want to be loved just as much as a woman wants to be cheerished. Good luck to you.

  • Chris Chris says:

    Kim…i am sorry to hear of your struggles with your husband. it appears he isnt making an effort to stay committed to you. there really is no excuse for a man to be looking at pornography any time, especially when he is married. this is quite an affront to you as his wife especially since he appears to not even be trying to hide this. there are basically two approaches to your situation. one is to demand faithfulness to his vows or else as you say, seek a divorce or at least a temporary seperation. the other would be to pray for him and ask God through christ to bring true repentance into his life so that he can return to you in faithfulness as his lawful wife. only you can seek God for the right answer of course but it is so necessary for us all to see jesus as the way, the truth and the life for our lives. we really cant live life or be happily married without him being the head of our families. you might ask yourself how your relationship with jesus is before trying to see improvement in your relationship with your husband. how do you think you could draw closer to christ today in order to have peace in the midst of this challenging situation? if you would like more information on knowing jesus personally you can log onto knowingjesuspersonally.com or click talk to a mentor above. also check out focusonthefamily.com for great insights on marriage life in general from a Christian perspective…i pray for you now Kim that you would find first and foremost your fulfillment in the man christ jesus as you have learned in life that people, whomever they may be, will ultimately disappoint us. i pray you would see the man christ jesus offering you peace and the true love you really need and that he would become all you would ever need in this life and surely in the next. i also pray for your husband, that he too would find the love of christ and the restored love in his heart from christ for you in jesus name amen!

Leave a Reply