Monthly Archives: January 2017

When Your Husband Doesn’t Want Sex

What not having sex is doing to your marriage, part 2

Ok, ladies. You’ve asked for it and here it is.

We sent out Part 1 of this topic (which focused on women not having sex), and within minutes we started receiving comments from women complaining about their husbands not wanting sex.

So many people wanted to know why I took the slanted approach of wives who are refusing their husbands. Honestly, I took that approach because that is what I have been seeing in my office in droves lately.

But listen, the problem goes both ways, and by the end of the day, it was obvious I was going to have to address this issue from the opposite point of view.

Women who find themselves in a sexless marriage have many of the same frustrations as men.

They feel frustrated, alone, embarrassed and angry.

They also feel insecure.

They wonder if they are sexy enough, attractive enough or thin enough.

It is confusing to hear female friends complain about husbands who want it all the time and then come back to a home where no one is pursuing her. Our culture feeds the notion that men are hypersexual, so if you are married to a man who isn’t all that interested, well…there must be something wrong with the woman.

If you are a woman whose husband isn’t interested in sex, you feel like a freak.

Marriage is a partnership. You enter it voluntarily and there are spoken and unspoken agreements.

One of those agreements is that there will be a sexual relationship. When one partner refuses to participate, it is exceptionally selfish.

A sexless marriage feels so powerless and frustrating.

There just isn’t any way around it. Sex is important in a relationship.

It is the one thing that keeps you from just being roommates sharing the same bed.

There are several reasons why a husband doesn’t want sex with his wife.

  1. Physical reasons – It’s always good to start with a checkup to make sure there isn’t something going on physically or hormonally. Low testosterone is fairly common, but I find that raising T levels doesn’t always fix the problem. Still, this is the easiest place to start and begin ruling out factors.
  2. Pornography – This is a touchy subject for many people. There are experts out there who will tell you that pornography enhances sex for couples. I strongly disagree. I find porn causes many more sexual problems than any other single item on this list. Porn changes the brain, and not in a good way. Check out www.yourbrainonporn.com to see what I mean. I don’t recommend it for either men or women, and I’ve seen it cause a lot of harm in relationships. You can also check out the posts we have here on porn use. If your man doesn’t want sex, it could be because he is using porn. If this is the culprit, the fix is cutting off the porn use cold turkey and retraining his brain to increase his desire for a real person.
  3. The quality of your relationship – I think everyone knows that women need emotional connection to increase physical desire. This same thing can be said for men as well. If a man is feeling criticized or belittled by you, he will shut down sexually. (See also: Help! I don’t find my wife attractive). You can’t rage at him or tell him he needs to “be a man” and then expect him to want to have sex with you. A man needs to feel respected by you. If you are talking down to him, treating him like a child, telling him what to do and when to do it, your sex life will suffer.
  4. Performance Anxiety – Men have a lot of pressure to perform. They cannot fake what they don’t feel. Some men are so worried about maintaining an erection or ejaculating prematurely, they shut down and avoid sexual contact altogether. Anxiety is certainly a mood killer. Please don’t minimize the impact performance anxiety can have on a man. I worked with a couple where the man had one episode of not being able to maintain his erection. All his wife said was “Well, that was disappointing”. He became so worried that he would have a repeat performance that it happened again several times. After three or four failed attempts, he shut down. They couldn’t resume a normal sex drive until he dealt with his anxiety. Drugs like Cialis can help but many men are resistant to taking them. The best defense is to deal with the anxiety.
  5. Lack of non-sexual touch – Many women don’t believe this one but I see it quite a lot actually. Not every man needs a lot of physical touch like holding hands, hugging and kissing but many of them do. If you are stand-offish and you are constantly thwarting his attempts to be close to you, he will likely pull back sexually as well. When your guy comes up behind you and puts his arms around you, he is risking rejection. If you stiffen or push him away frequently, he feels unwanted and unwelcomed. This carries over into the bedroom as well.
  6. Depression – Men often get depressed and the symptoms go unrecognized. Depression in men often looks like anger and withdrawal. Sexual desire would be one of the casualties of depression for both men and women.
  7. Your attitude about sex – You may not ever openly reject your husband’s advances but if your attitude is “get this over with quickly” you are certainly dousing the mood. For a woman to have good sex, it requires skill on her lover’s part. For a man to have good sex, it requires an eager partner who is obviously enjoying herself. I have heard many men tell me they would rather masturbate than have sex with a woman who just lies there.
  8. He is having an affair. I can’t count the number of times I have had a couple in my office where the man doesn’t want sex with his wife but comes to therapy to work on the relationship and it comes out later that he is having an affair. This disinterest in sex is usually accompanied by a general disinterest in being together at all. He may say he is working on things, but if he remains very detached and disinterested it is certainly a factor I would consider.

If your husband doesn’t want sex, it is time to find out what is going on.

Too many people keep ignoring this situation and hoping things will get better on their own. Sometimes they do but if things have been going this way for months or years, stop waiting and start pressing for some answers.

If you ask your husband why he doesn’t want sex, he is almost certainly going to tell you he doesn’t know. And that may very well be the truth.

He may have no idea why he doesn’t want sex.

He may not be able to make the connection between how he feels and his libido. He just knows he doesn’t want it as often as you do.

So your conversation needs to go something like this:

“Honey, we aren’t having sex enough for me to feel like I’m getting what I need and want from this relationship. This is really a problem for me. It is very important to me that we get to the bottom of what is going on. I’d like for you to make a doctor’s appointment for a physical checkup and if everything is normal there, I will make an appointment for us to see someone who specializes in this area. I know this may make you uncomfortable, but I love you and our life together too much to just let this go any longer. I’m building up some serious resentment and I’m afraid if we don’t tackle this problem together, I will continue to detach and continue to feel hurt and rejected.”

If he refuses to talk to anyone with you, let him know you will be going alone. If you are at the point where you are considering leaving the marriage, I would respectfully let him know you are disappointed in his decision to avoid the subject and you aren’t sure what this means for the future of your relationship. You aren’t giving idle threats. You are just being honest and letting him know this is serious.


Then the most important part is to FOLLOW THROUGH. Make an appointment with someone who is comfortable and knowledgeable to talk to you about sexual problems.

Contact us online or call us to make an appointment today. Calling us can be your first step toward restoring the sexual pleasure in your relationship.

Learn More

What Not Having Sex Does to Your Marriage

Not Having SexNot Having Sex

A lot of couples I see in my office eventually end up sharing that they’re not having sex. Lately, I’m seeing a lot of angry, shut down men. That’s a good clue for what is really going on.

When a couple isn’t having sex, it is usually the wives who initiate therapy. They feel they are losing their husbands or they are worried because their husband is often angry and irritable. Sometimes they are in my office because the husband had an affair, or because he said he wanted a divorce.

I start the therapy process and eventually it comes out there has been very little sex for months or years. I say eventually because the wife doesn’t mention it – she doesn’t think it is that big a deal.

She knows they don’t have sex often but they get along in every other way and he doesn’t complain about it much. The husband doesn’t mention it right away because he is embarrassed or even humiliated. What man wants someone to know his own wife doesn’t want him?

If you aren’t having sex in your marriage, it is a big deal.

It means something is off. The longer you ignore this the harder the punch will be when you are forced to deal.

Every. Single. Time. Every single time, the wife is surprised….shocked at how angry and hurt and rejected her husband feels because they aren’t having sex. Sure. She admits knowing they weren’t having sex. She admits knowing it was a problem for him. But she didn’t realize just how much of a problem.

Let me tell you what happens to the guy you sleep with every night when you reject his advances: he feels inadequate.

He questions whether or not you love him at all.

He fears he is disappointing you sexually and that is the reason you turn him down. He feels completely helpless and then starts to resent the hell out of you for putting him in a powerless position.

He may act out in ways to alleviate both his sexual frustration and his building resentment toward you by using porn or having an affair.  He often avoids coming home and works longer hours.

He will justify this by believing you forced him to do it.

Then he may get even angrier with you.

Because he really just wants to be loved by YOU.

At least he does until he is so angry and so shut down he starts to despise you. When it gets that bad, he tries to stay civil but the contempt leaks out at times and this confuses you. But it also helps justify to you that it is ok not to have sex. After all, who wants to have sex with a jerk?

All of these intense feelings are going on under the surface and you are oblivious to how much pain he is in. Partly because he has not been direct enough in telling you. But partly because you don’t want to see his pain.

When he has tried to talk about it, you have responded by telling him “all you want is sex.” This infuriates him and widens the chasm between you. It makes him feel hopeless and he thinks if all he wanted was sex, he sure wouldn’t be here with you.

Then he notices that you have also started pulling away from non-sexual physical affection. You stiffen when he hugs you. You give him “push off” kisses that let him know you don’t have the time or desire to linger. At some point, to protect himself, he comes to accept this is his “normal.”

He is trapped in a sexless marriage.

And he starts to detach.

This is the point most men leave the marriage.

Men Not Having Sex: Here’s How to Talk With Your Wife

If this is happening in your marriage, wake up now! Guys, if this sounds like your situation, be direct with your wife about your feelings.

Let her know that something has to change. Tell her how much pain you feel and how much it hurts to feel so rejected time and time again. Don’t hide behind your embarrassment or humiliation.  You aren’t the only man who feels trapped in a sexless marriage.  I see it all the time.  Your only way out of this is to speak up or leave.  Leaving may seem easier but it rips the family apart.  

Stay respectful, but tell her! If she doesn’t get it, force the issue by making an appointment for the two of you to talk with a marriage expert. If she doesn’t want to join you, go alone.  Don’t make the excuse that you have tried to tell her.  Every couple I’ve seen in this situation has a wife who tells me she didn’t know things were this bad.  You haven’t told her directly enough until you put the marriage on hold in other ways to get her attention.  Don’t be afraid to find out exactly why you aren’t having sex.  Whatever the reason, there is very likely a solution but you may never resolve this without some answers. 

Women Not Having Sex: Here’s How to Respond

Ladies, there are a lot of reasons why you may not desire sex or desire sex with your husband. Ignoring the problem and avoiding sex is the coward’s way out. If you don’t like the quality of sex, talk about it, go to therapy, read some books together. Fix it.

If there are emotional issues that dampen the mood, deal with those also. It is natural for you to not desire sex if your husband is inattentive, controlling, critical or abusive.  If this is happening in your marriage, you have some big problems to address.  Use this opportunity to make things better.  If you love your husband, find a way to deal with this because one day you may get an ugly surprise.  You may think all those “not tonight” moments aren’t that big a deal, but I promise you, they come with a price.  Your husband needs to know you love him.  He views his sexual needs as a huge part of the marriage deal.  

Call us or contact us online, and let us help you figure out what you need to start enjoying sex with your husband again. But if you keep avoiding the issue, you may find yourself discussing these things with a divorce attorney instead.

Not Having Sex is a big deal!

It’s time we start talking about it and learning how to enjoy each other more. It is heartbreaking to see the pain that not having sex is causing couples.

Stop the misery and get some help. At The Marriage Place, we can work with you to help you figure out why you aren’t having sex–and even better–help you enjoy it!

Learn More