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!

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138 thoughts on “What Not Having Sex Does to Your Marriage

  1. Odd that this is directed at women being the ones not giving sex. My husband has refused to have sex with me for over 5 years. Why on earth wouldn’t you address this from BOTH spouses point of view???

    1. Thanks so much for your quick feedback! You are so right…this goes both ways. This article was in response to a rash of marriages who got to the brink of divorce from the female refusing sex. I often write based on what is happening in my office at any given time. Because of your feedback, I will address this from the opposite point of view also!

      1. I agree. I am in the same situation. 5 years in a sexless marriage.. And yes..i am a woman but feelings all those emotions of rejection..i have been unfaithful several times with men that dont even care about me and leave me feeling worst. This is definitely not a man’s problem. Love the article but not the perspective..

        1. I’m glad to see an article actually focusing on us guys. When I try to research this I always find the women’s side of it where the role is reversed (Woman wanting sex and guy doesn’t). This is a great article. Finally.

          1. It’s hard being the woman and wanting sex often and your husband having no interest in it. Even though you have a loving wonderful relationship otherwise. Both parties are very good looking and yet, he has no desire. Sure is hard to stay faithful when you hear from everyone else how beautiful you are, yet your husband wants nothing to do with you physically!

          2. Kelly, You are right. It IS Hard. Really hard. Here’s the thing though, it won’t get any easier unless you address the issue and are honest with him about how you feel and what you need. And that’s tough too. It’s easy to want to bury the root causes of our frustrations with our spouses because we’re scared of how our spouse will respond. But be honest. Tell him how the lack of sex makes you feel and what more you need in the relationship. And then be ready to listen to his feedback and together figure out how you can address the issue of his lack of interest. I would also encourage him to see his doctor for a physical to see if there is a medical reason at play. I’ve got a specialist on my team that would be a great resource for you. If you’d like to work with him, I hope you’ll call us. Warmly, Kim

          1. At one point in life, I would have harshly judged you for cheating on your husband. I am now in the same situation. I have tried everything I could think of. I have read about 10 books on marriage and almost that many books on improving sex for women. Nothing works. I am at the point that if I could find a willing woman, I would cheat. I guess that if you starve somebody long enough, they will steal food.

          2. Larry, Books are wonderful and it’s great that you are searching for additional wisdom and guidance from experts in the field. But one thing the book knowledge doesn’t replace is having an open, honest conversation with your spouse and telling her exactly how you feel and how the lack of sex is impacting you. We can help you learn how to do this if you are interested. Regards, Kim

    2. I have no desire to have sex with my wife. 20 year marriage. You like pizza? What if it was what you had every damn time you were hungry?
      I still want sex. I still love her. I want a different sex partner. It’s not rocket science. The monogamy of marriage kills intimacy. Ever try to push a rope up hill?

      1. Scott,
        No desire for sex with your wife but you think monogamy kills intimacy? I’m almost speechless. Almost. Sex isn’t about gratifying your appetite (pizza comment here). It is about connecting with another person. I don’t think your problem is monogamy. I think it is your perspective on intimacy.

        1. Scott is right, It’s physiological. You wouldn’t admit it more than a barber would admit that you don’t need a haircut.

    3. Strange that her husband refuses sex. I’ve been married to my wife for 15 years and never once did I refuse sex. Its alway been my wife refusing. Its gotten so bad that I’ve been seeing a sex worker to ease my fustration so that I wouldn’t be angry with my wife. Sex with my wife is much more fulfilling but so seldom. Thats why i’m seeking help so that I rebuild the physical part of our marriage. This article states exactly the issues and feelings we’ve been having. I started this year telling myself that i’m not spending another year in a sexless marriage. Actually willing to walk away from my family just to be with someone who would enjoy sex. Im in super physical shape and always try to be romantic but she almost always rejects me. I hope our marriage gets the help we need.

      1. Gerald, I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Though we often assume it’s always the woman that always refuses sex, my years of practice have shown that not to be the case. The root causes of the refusal are often different, but the refusal itself knows no gender lines. You made mention of this so I feel compelled to comment.. Getting your sexual needs met outside your marriage so you can stay in your marriage with less resentment doesn’t protect your spouse, and certainly not your marriage. It’s a betrayal and you are simply rationalizing your actions to manage your guilt. A sexless marriage is painful and you shouldn’t settle for it. But seeking sex outside of the marriage is settling. A sexless marriage brings lots of strong emotions to the table for both sides and sometimes the fear of that is enough to keep couples from trying to address them. I’m glad you aren’t letting that be the case and are seeking help for your marriage. If we can help you in that process, I hope you’ll reach out. Warmly, Kim

    4. Thanks for this- amazing how quickly ladies mentioned husband’s not interested! I am not in a full blown sexless marriage. We do have sex but my wife is merely ‘present’ not participating. It is a get it done situation.
      She is introverted about discussing sex. The sexual relationship or what I can do to improve. We are both allowed to talk or make noise during sex as that would sound like I only want it for physical reasons or I want it to sound like a porno film. There is no kissing allowed.

      I totally understand legitimate reasons i.e. tired out from working her butt off. However the reactions if I even mention wanting sex are that I am that “all you want is sex” man. Far from it. I learned long ago to not ask or be reprimanded. So occasionally I do only to be met with that response. It pile drives me. I will be straight up using the cloak of anonymity- I bow use porn. I think about other women- alot. If a woman flirts I no longer resist and change the subject or refuse the flattery. I have at least one woman that I could be with. Porn is instantly available. It is relatively easy to hide now. No stashed away magazines or videos to hide. I am deeply religious. My wife is as well. But the attitude of my wife towards improving this part of our relationship is non existent. She does not read about it, listen to podcasts or go to hear someone. We have tried 2 therapists and it does not get through he skull that this is damaging us and me- extensively. It is far deeper than you can portray in this article. Ladies this is awful to say but I wish I was with one of you whose husbands are refusing them.
      So I now numb my drive and anger through meds and porn. Not asking for sympathy- just stating the fact of where this has ended.
      Ladies if you are refusing or acting like my wife- fix it. Seriously it is sex it is for enjoyment and MUTUAL satisfaction. Why some think it is the worse and most annoying thing is beyond me. Especially if your spouse is loving and respectful.

      1. Dear Anonymous, As you can probably tell by my other posts, I try to shoot straight and not dance around sensitive topics. I try to do the same when I respond to comments. It’s frustrating to hear from women who just don’t understand what a sexless marriage does to a man. Likewise, it’s equally frustrating to hear men excuse and justify their use of porn because of a sexless marriage. By doing so, you are essentially validating your wife’s perspective that it’s all about sex. I encourage you to deal with the issue with integrity. A sexless marriage never justifies porn use or an affair. Ever. It takes more courage and integrity to deal with it head on. Be honest with your spouse. I know you’ve said you have, but almost without exception, in every sexless marriage I work with, it’s a situation where the guy thinks he’s communicated his wishes and need for sex clearly and yet the wife is completely caught off guard when she hears just how bad it is. Try again! Get more counseling, more effective counseling. Put the marriage on hold. Even leave if you feel you must. But getting your sexual needs met outside your marriage so you can stay in your marriage with less resentment doesn’t protect your spouse and certainly not your marriage. It’s a betrayal to everyone and you are simply rationalizing your actions to manage your guilt. A sexless marriage is painful and you shouldn’t settle for it. But living like this is settling. Wishing more for your marriage, Kim

        1. I know now that using porn was a bad choice and hurt my wife, but after 25 years of either sexless marriage or duty sex I truly believe that if it wasn’t for using porn I would have left the marriage. I haven’t looked at porn for several years now, but she just found out about it and it is hurting her like an affair. I get it, but I don’t know why she needs to punish me with this knowledge. Incidentally we are still sexless and have been in counseling for 18 months. The extremely slow process is taking a toll on me.

          1. My husband looks at porn and it is hurtful. Menopause has ruined our sex life. I have very little desire for sex and I have a very sexy husband. I tell him to just start it and it will be ok. He says he doesn’t want to bother me if not interested. So he goes to porn. I walked up on him in bathroom taking care of himself and then I heard his phone click from closing it. I asked him about why his phone clock off while he was taking care of it and he said he didn’t know why it did. Come on , I’m not stupid. I u don’t have the desire because of menopause and you ask him to just get it, ( it might be exciting if he did that). So what is the suggestion for our circumstances .

          2. Penny, Menopause (hormones) can definitely throw a wrench in a woman’s sex drive. And a woman’s sex drive is often different than a man’s to begin with (if you haven’t done so already, read my post “I Wish My Spouse Wanted Sex as Much as I Do). More intentional,longer foreplay along with the use of lubricants help many women through the changes brought on by menopause and can also be fun for your spouse as well. The porn use however, is not going to help you or your husband if the goal is a better, more fulfilling sex life that meets both of your needs and expectations. I have a coach on my team by the name of Eric Tooley who specializes in this area. If you’d like to have a free consultation with him, please call my office 972-441-4432 and one of my office admins will be happy to get that scheduled for you. Warmly, Kim.

        2. I would to hear your opinion on said sexless wives using vibrators as replacements to husbands. Do you also see vibrators as being all about sex? Are you also againt women using vibrators as you are against men using porn? Honestly I don’t see the difference between a vibrator dependent woman who refuses her husband sex yet has a vigorous use of “toys” and over time has trained herself to only respond to the machine, is no different than a man who finds solace in online images. And I would even argue that the porn guy who uses vibrators with his wife who looks up and realizes hes just a 3rd wheel as his wife is really just masturbating with her toy while he is simply present is in far worse shape.

          1. Jarred, Thanks for your question. I’m not going to argue when or if the use of sex toys within a relationship are a good or bad thing. What I will tell you though is that I think ANYTHING that replaces intimacy with a spouse and influences how you experience – your ability to be aroused by – “real” sex with your partner is a bad idea. Porn does both and I would argue a vibrator has the potential to do both as well. Respectfully, Kim

      2. Dear Anonynous,
        Your post could not be better timed for me. I have been through exactly similar situation with my wife of 42 years and known her since we were 15, 50 years ago and grew up together. We are born and raised in much conservative Asian culture where open discussion of sex for women is considered shameless. Having lived in US for 42 years still some of the cultural things are difficult to erase. We never had any intimate relationship before marriage. My advances driven by typical teen age libido with my then classmate, friend who was girl (Not girl friend) were turned down as socially unacceptable but she did clarify that besides she does not care for sexual intimacy. I thought it must be normal things and will change after marriage. After marriage for most part we had reasonable sex life (we have 3 adult boys) but coming to foreign country and trying to establish outselves in our very demanding professional life did affect our sexual intimacy but not significantly – we have never been into any kinky stuffs, you can say typical weekend warrior sex life which kind of got “boring” to a point wife would say ok get it over with. I would not say I am a big stud or anything but age and now with my wife being through her menopouse stage it just got worst for her my sex is still in over drive relatively speaking. She was a high school sweet heart and ideal wife one can ask for, she still does more than I can imagine for me and my family – an ideal loving caring wife, daughter in law to my parents, and sister in law to all my family and friends. But the sex got difficult and I turned into all the same things anonymous and other men talked in this forum. When my wife found out about my these cyber activity the hell broke out. Few years we went to see a marriage couselor on this matter and decided to try harder. She never denies or refuses sex directly but there are indirectly suggestive things are always lined up to essentially signal NO. The fequency of having sex between us diminished to next to zero to once a month if everything falls in place.

        Upon tracking my recent in appropriate browsing – I got following angry response from her

        “I am so humiliated and angry that is beyond your understanding. Just when I thought i was finally able to connect with you, I have gone thousand steps backwards with no point of return.

        This step of yours shows how much respect you have for me or any woman. It also shows you are disrespectful to your kids including the one you think you were trying to help. You have lost your boundries.

        The worst part is you don’t even realize that this is wring.

        I am mostly angry with myself for investing my whole life for a jerk like you.”

        Except for this biggest dissatisfaction in our relationship I feel I have betrayed her and replied as follows:

        “I am sorry I have disappointed and caused you so much pain. You are the only friend who has understood and be there always for me.

        All I can say I have to try harder and delete/stop questionable browsing and related activities, difficult it may be and be transparent.

        Your standards in life are too high even for a saint, I am just an ordinary guy with normal human weaknesses.

        Can’t say anything – I have to work harder to get my acts together in whatever time we have left to show I am not a jerk. There is mental struggle within for any of my wrong doings.”

        I don’t know how to discuss this with her she always says I never refuse you but there she can’t see the things that has changed and anymore my actions have just said to her I have made my choice. I sure want to have happeir married life with such a great lady.

        Advise? suggestions? – What is the right thing to do in this situation?

        1. Anonymous, Thank you for reaching out. You are not alone. We see many men who are struggling with online porn – most of whom come to us after their spouse learned of their secret. My first suggestion for you would be to seek help and guidance from an expert in this field. Overcoming pornography use is a process and most need a structured approach to do it. We have a specialist here by the name of Eric Tooley who can help you. Please call us at 972-441-4432 and my admins can schedule a free consultation for you with Eric. And second, you and your wife are both hurting in this relationship. Counseling with a therapist who specializes in relationships (w/ a caseload that is 75%+ couples work minimum) would be my next suggestion. I’m not sure of your location, but we have counselors that work with couples here locally as well as counselors that work with clients by video chat. In fact, Eric is one of them. I hope we hear from you and have a chance to help you. Wishing you better days ahead. Warmly, Kim

          1. Where to even begin?? Well, the reason I’m reading this blog in the first place is because Of an argument with my husband which would probably be normal if it didn’t always end up with me lashing out my resintment towards him for not including me in intamicy for a VERY VERY VERY long time! So I get in my car and go for a ride in the snow to get a coffee and reassess my attitude .. then feel guilty about the things I said out of anger and resentment. So I’m sitting here in the snow in my car reading this blog and at least after reading This I don’t feel so alone!
            I’ve addressed my feelings , concerns , resentment, anger, and most of all hurt! It’s been addressed! It’s been addressed nicely and it’s been addressed meanly! I can’t be any more clear of how it makes me feel that he has not come near me in a long Time .. it’s embarassing to even admit ! And not to be vain , but Im not a troll by any means, I’m classy with a hint of sexy and many , many other men have expressed their interest. Which then makes me more mad that I hear compliments from strangers but not my husband and that my husband would rather take care of himself than include me! I am
            Not perfect.. I have a strong fiery Italian side and i don’t take shit from anyone.. but I also have feelings and it hurts me and breaks my heart when I don’t feel like he sees me as a priority in his life! He’s a great guy too.. he would do anything for me, if I ask! He’s very much laid back and not aggressive.. but I love him and that’s why it hurts me! So many factors .. I could go on forever but at the end of The day , When he and I are not united .. everything else doesn’t run so smoothly, like my overall attitude , which then reflects my 10yr old daughter.. we are both excellent parents .. the three of us are great together , but he and I struggle to even be alone, never mind being sexual! I keep telling him We neee alone Time !
            I’ve been telling him for years what not being intimate will do to our marriage, and I don’t mean just sext .. there are so many other forms of intimacy. I’m not asking for a lot. And I’m not asking for anything More than what we should already be doing!
            He says he loves me, but how can you love someone and not make them feel like a priority , especially after they have told you directly how you hurt them! ?? I’m a problem solver but I can’t seem to solve this one!

    1. Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for your question. Please stayed tuned. Because of your feedback and others like it, I’m planning a follow up blog to address it from the perspective of the man refusing sex. Regards, Kim.

      1. That is exactly my situation. It’s not just men being denied sex by their wives, but men denying their wives. I’m in a sexless marriage and have been for years. This year we’ve had sex once and it wasn’t very good. I struggle with feelings of being undesirable and unworthy. I’m so sad, angry and frustrated.

        1. Judith, you are right! It’s not just men being denied. The roles can be, and often are, reversed. I think it’s harder sometimes for women – perhaps because of what society tends to label as norm for men versus women – to admit they want more sex! But the truth is, women need and want sex too!! I have a coach on my team that specializes in this area that can help you or you and your husband understand and work towards improving your sexual intimacy. Please feel free to call my offices and we can arrange for you a free consultation. Thanks for being willing to share you story. Kim.

          1. I’m in the same boat, every time I try to initiate affection or sex with my partner he rejects me right away & it makes me feel so unwanted & I hate it. I’m at the point where I could walk away due to the lack of sex. It’s literally once a month if I’m lucky & im over it. Rejection hurts & im sick of being hurt on a regular basis.

          2. Mel, I hear stories just like this almost every week in my office. In most cases one of the two parties has been unhappy and felt rejected for years before they have the gumption to finally speak up and do something about it. If that is you, don’t wait any longer! If you aren’t happy with amount sex in your relationship, do something about it! I encourage you to raise the issue and then seek help from a therpist. Often, though not always, there are underlying issues such as sexual function, low T, or pornography that could be playing a role and can be addressed. Regardless, speak up and let your truth be heard! Kim

          3. You ladies should consider the possibility that your husband’s ‘get off’ in other ways. Mine never wants sex either, and I now know that’s because he fulfills his own needs by dressing up like a slutty woman and masturbating. He has had this fetish his whole life apparently, and never thought to tell me. Now I’m too disgusted to ever have sex with him.

            There might be more to the story…

          4. I would love to read this !! Is it out yet? Did I miss it? A woman can only take so much rejection in her life, never mind from her man! Mine have exceeded !

        2. I am in exactly the same situation you are in Judith. I was hurt, humiliated from having my advances rejected all the time. I am a great Dad to our kids and decent husband. We are financially stable and have no bad habits like drinking/gambling. I can’t work out why things stopped but I got to the point after talking about it and being cut off all the time to look elsewhere for love and intimacy. I’m still at home but want to end the relationship with the least fall out. What should I ndo?

  2. This was my life exactly 3 years ago. My husband admitted an affair, but we both agreed to begin long-needed couples therapy. After months of intense couples and individual therapy and even a “healing separation”, our marriage is better than it’s been in 25 years. Kim, you gave me invaluable advice and truly changed my life and my marriage. I know God brought me to you. Thank you for continuing to help hurting people in hurting marriages. It’s worth the fight!

    1. Hey GBird! SOOOO glad to hear this. I have been thinking about you lately and wondering how you are doing. It sounds like things are going very well. 🙂 It was such a pleasure getting to know you. You are delightful. I’m so grateful for what God has done in your marriage. Take care. Stay in touch!!!

  3. I’m in a similar situation. It’s been a year that my husband has been refusing me. I look forward to the conversation from the other side. Are there any group settings avaiyfor couples to discuss these topics?

    1. Jamie, we are in the process of adding a group coaching option that will give clients a platform to discuss many different topics, sex included. I do have a coach on my team, Eric Tooley, that specializes in this area. If individual or couples coaching with Eric is something you’d like to consider, please call my office and my admins can help you get the process started. Regards, Kim

    1. I am sorry to hear this. If he hasn’t done so already, he might consider talking to his doctor to see if there is a medical cause. Often low testosterone (commonly referred to as “Low T”) plays a role in a man’s lack of interest in sex with his partner. There are other things however that I also see routinely that can play a role. If you are both interested in working on this, I would encourage you to consider therapy. Wishing you the best, Kim

  4. This was the case in our marriage and it started within the first year. There were things in my wife’s past that she never dealt with and so brought that baggage into our marriage. We tried several different therapists throughout the years, but nothing helped. So many things you said in this article were spot on. From the feelings of rejection to turning to porn to eventually having an affair. Unfortunately after 26 years of marriage with very little intimacy, we recently divorced.

  5. In the case that the woman is no more enjoying sex because the husband is not active and not have energy to satisfy his wife and he want the sex all the time but he want the wife to do all the job. We have talked about it several times i have encouraged and advice him to start exercise and to change some of his diet, all this things I practice is it ,I work out a lot and watch my diet, I have advised him to go register for personal trainer and I always call him whenever am going to gym but all is not working, that always make so angry and if i didn’t satisfying him on bed he will be complain am getting tired of the situation.

  6. My first thought after reading your article was why isn’t Kim looking at the problem as if the man isn’t having sex. Why is it always the wife? Then I read the responses. So now I am looking forward to your article that addresses this.
    Thank you.

  7. My wife states that she doesn’t want to have sex with me because she feels its a waist of time. I have been trying to rebuild my marriage with her for the past year. I admit that I have made mistakes but I am faithful to her. Due to some health issues, I don’t last as long as I would like, but I do enjoy time with her. The time where she does have sex with me she states that she has to force herself to be with me and that I am mostly disgusting to her. I am hurt. No idea what to do……

    1. Roderick, I am sorry to hear this. Rejection in a marriage is devastating. Consider calling our office and arranging a time to speak with one of my coaches who can help guide you in how to respond to your wife in a way that can improve the situation for you. Warmly, Kim

  8. Kim, Thank You for posting this – I’m one of the men who you have profiled their feelings and experiences precisely (unfortunately). I have sent a copy of this to my wife and our therapist, as we are well down this path, but my wife still ‘pooh-poohs’ this and denies that the withholding & avoiding is anywhere near the reality of the situation.

    Agree that there needs to be the same posting for Women suffering from a sexless marriage.

    FYI, there’s a great forum for men & women who suffer from sexless marriages – and it’s been very helpful to be able to share experiences anonymously. http://www.iliasm.org

  9. Please do revisit the gender assignment. In an online forum I’m a member of, the ratio is roughly 50/50 of couples with husbands who refuse. My own Ex also had Cialis as treatment but it was more the shame & embarrassment around it that prevented him from using it than a physical ineffectiveness. He was also scared of potential side effects, which did not come out until after/during divorce.
    The sex itself is an expression of the underlying health of the relationship, I think. It’s a self-feeding cycle or something that goes both directions. If the relationship is truly healthy, then the sex is good. If the sex is good, it reinforces the healthy state. But the opposite is also true: just like a marriage can be strengthened both directions, it can also be eroded from either direction.
    I’ll be interested to see the “refusing husband” post on this.

  10. This whole thing is me and my husband all the way. We have alot of issues that we both are incapable of dealing with. Communication between the two of us SUCKS! I feel trapped……i hate sex…….abandonment, betrayal, used, abused, angry, hurt, defensive…….and a host of other emotions i feel everyday!

    1. Hi Penny. Thanks for taking the time to respond. If you haven’t done so already, I would encourage you to take a look at one of my other posts “Not Having Sex? 6 Possible Reasons for a Sexless Marriage”. I talk alot about the Why’s there. Sex comes from abundance. When you are depleted from the anger and frustration in the relationship, there isn’t a lot to give. Consider calling my office and arranging for a time to talk with one of my coaches. We can help you and your husband work through these issues and emotions impacting your sexual relationship.

  11. Obviously you can’t generalize everyone, but 12 years of marriage in, and this article describes us exactly. And I have not dealt with it effectively – she knows it’s bad, but I think she has no idea how bad it is. If I just shut down and quit pursuing her and fighting for our marriage, we would turn into the flip side all the commenters are asking about. As it is, it is not worth risking the rejection just to (best case scenario) get a “hurry up so I can go to sleep” type of response.

    It would be infinitely easier to give up and do the best I can to get my needs met some other way as she’s not interested. That would exactly turn us into the flip side all these other posters are asking about, and I did read the article about men who are saying no today. Seems like all the reasons apply to either side. Sex seems to be a good thermometer for the relationship, and miserable icy sex is pretty indicative. I believe a man responds to great sex with his woman by warming up in the relationship which in turn warms up her up in bed. It’s a wonderful cycle that unfortunately also works in the downward spiral way and gets out of control bad really quickly.

    I just really think the men who are saying no (generally) must be shut down from her being shut down in this way for a long time first. I have fought long and hard and am still fighting to not shut down, but it would be oh so much easier… Then she would be one of the wives on here wondering why her husband doesn’t want sex.

    1. Ned, I hear stories like this all the time and it makes me sad. A couple knows it’s bad and they keep doing the same things the same way because they don’t want to or aren’t ready to do the heavy lifting required to make meaningful change in the relationship. The problem is things don’t stay the same. They get worse and resentment builds until one you announces one day “I’m done”. I implore you, don’t wait! Find a therapist who can help you both understand the role you’ve each played in this and help you establish a new normal. It takes a lot of time and effort but it can be better for you both! I see it in my practice all the time and it’s why I’ve dedicated my life to doing what I do! Warmly, Kim.

      1. That is my wife… “no desire to do the heavy lifting”. She can be on Facebook for 6 hours a day, but having meaningful sex for 15-20 minutes? What a burden. Selfish people ruin relationships.

  12. Kim, I appreciate hearing the male side of things as you’ve described and it does make sense. However, in this article compared to the reverse (what to do when your husband doesn’t want sex) there seems to be more understanding and respect for the husband’s side than the wife’s and the emphasis is on the wife to take responsibility and fix it. In this article, you don’t ask the husband to question how his own behavior may contribute to the situation (you do offer that insight to the wives though in the opposite article). I’ll give one example; In the 2nd article, you list several reasons why a husband might not want sex with his wife, one being the category “the quality of your relationship”. Couldn’t you offer the same advice to the husbands in the 1st article? You might use your exact words but just switch out the gender… “If a woman is feeling criticized or belittled by you, she will shut down sexually. You can’t rage at her or tell her she ‘needs to be a wife’ and then expect her to want to have sex with you. A woman needs to feel respected by you. If you are talking down to her, treating her like a child, telling her what to do and when to do it, your sex life will suffer”. Woman DO need emotional connection to increase physical desire. Is the husband doing what he can along those lines? You say “everyone knows that” but I’m not so sure some men get what that means. Perhaps you could make some suggestions?
    Some husbands can come across inattentive, controlling/ intimidating and critical at times… (You acknowledge this as a problem but direct it to the women to deal with, not the men). There may be drinking involved (even if functional, can have an effect). To some of these men, this article may invite further anger and intimidation on their part. It is a complicated subject, not one sided and every couple is different. I would be careful about giving such strong blanket advice without addressing both sides.
    I could list more examples but the bottom line is this; In this day and age (with Trump’s past behavior towards women as a more obvious example) many men feel entitlement to sex and the attitude put forth can be disrespectful and a turn off. On behalf of all women and wives who may be avoiding, please respect our side as well. We may not be aware of it all to express it clearly, but we are deserving of your compassion in the same light as the men. Yes, therapy and healthy communication surely is the answer. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for the insightful, well-thought out feedback. You are right…some men feel entitled to sex and don’t seem to understand that their words, attitudes and behaviors have a direct impact on how their wives respond. I cover all of these additional dynamics in other articles. The truth is, both genders often withhold sex as a passive aggressive way to deal with the pain in their marriage. I only approve this method if both parties know why sex is being withheld with clear direction on what needs to be done to fix the problem. For example, a husband who is highly controlling or critical. Withholding sex and putting the marriage on hold will certainly get his attention and could provide the motivation he needs to stop the abusive behavior. Men often complain that wives withhold sex and then deny they are withholding or that it is having such a negative impact. This isn’t appropriate and is abusive in its own right. Thank you for reading and giving me another viewpoint. It just proves further that this is a topic that needs more discussion.

    2. It never fails that someone will politicize an issue that is common to all. Nor is your view insightful as Kim too graciously suggests. Rather, it is an annoying exercise in equivocation. But before I address that let me point out your fallacy of special pleading. If you want to withhold intimacy when you adjudge you aren’t being treated right, you are doing exactly what you complain of since withholding of sex is not treating your spouse right. Aside from its inherent hypocrisy, from a practical standpoint, it is a juvenile tactic and it will surely backfire.
      Moreover, your comment misses the context of Kim’s point that many wives withhold sex because its just not that important to them even if it is to their husbands. It does not address the situation where the husband is demeaning, belittling, and treating his wife like a child, etc. Your comment seeks to side step the problem discussed by raising a different one. Straw-man arguments that substitute factual predicates are annoying to the wary and deceptive to the unwary.
      Kim’s article addresses the apparently pervasive problem that is repeatedly confirmed by research and Kim’s recent clinical observations–that many women withhold or avoid sex with their husbands because it’s not important to them. She, like many other experts, say these women might want to be careful here or they might be surprised and disappointed with the consequence. From my reading, Kim was not talking about the wife that doesn’t want to have sex with a geuinely abusive spouse. Note the examples, where the wives act surprised and didn’t think withholding sex was a big deal. They did not complain they were reticent or ambivalent about sex because their husbands were abusing them. Don’t confuse the issues; it is unhelpful to the point at hand.
      For a wife or a man that is repeatedly denied sex by their spouses it is best to face the reality that you are not attractive to them. Think about it. They don’t want you to touch them when you are passionate for them. Now that is humiliating, demeaning, and in time it is heartbreaking.
      Though I respect Kim’s mission to help people in this situation, it would humiliate me further to hire a third party to try to talk my wife into wanting to have sex with me. Hey, if she didn’t want me then at some point I am not going to want her. Maybe that would be her plan because she lacked the integrity to say she didn’t want the relationship anymore. In any event, I certainly would not spend my life, time and money on someone who strategizes to avoid physical intimacy with me. You have got to be kidding me.
      The inadequacy sex blocking causes in the fenced off spouse makes them afraid to leave because they think no one else will want them that way either. The sex blocker knows this, which makes the tactic even more insidious. But alas, it is a lie.
      If you are in this situation you need to start taking special care of yourself and regain your confidence. Eat well, get more sleep (after all you’re not having sex) get in shape, and start planning a life without the sex blocking humiliator. Remind yourself that your spouse is still expecting a lot from you but she doesn’t want you to touch her sexually. Come on, have some self respect and find someone that wants to affirm your masculinity.
      Sex is very important to men in expressing their love and being affirmed. Men, never apologize for that. You aren’t immoral or base because sex is important to your well-being. You want sex because you’re a man and it’s good for you. If you’re wife doesn’t get it, then she doesn’t get you–your time, your money, your anything. I feel sorry for you if you remain under the thumb of a woman that has effectively turned you into a eunuch. No woman is remotely worth that. Please.
      Find a women who gets it and wants you. There are many who are not sex blockers and rejoice that they are consistently desired. Your wife doesn’t think you are worth having sex with and she doesn’t think you’ll do anything about it. Take your time, take care of yourself in every way and then get away from her. And for pity’s sake, don’t beg. Again, she doesn’t want you to touch her. Why would you pine for that?
      If her feelings and actions change, great, you might salvage the relationship. If she doesn’t, you have rebuilt your self worth, restored your health and you can look forward to being a man again with a passionately loving woman. Your ex can find a low-libido sulker or some other poor man to sex block. There are many women that will affirm you sexually if you are a hard worker, kind, respectful, and you have self-respect. And let’s be honest here. Those are the kind of women we men really love. We may love a sex blocker but we won’t always love them. Why would we?
      Finally, we are often told that in marriage women prize understanding and security, which means that she prefers a man that will provide financially, empathize with her feelings, and be a reliable partner in the challenges of raising a family. We are also told that men in marriage prize respect and a deep physical union. Many people of both sexes generally agree with these assumptions.
      So what if a husband started withholding security: “What’s the big deal honey. I gambled all night and I’m too tired to go to work today. Ah, I’ll get another job. I don’t need much. Happy as a clam staying out of the rat race. We will wait until next month to go grocery shopping. What, you want milk and salad? Again, geez? Well, I didn’t think it was a big deal. There are 20 cans of pork and beans in the pantry. What are you, a gold digger?
      So here is what the sex blocking wife sounds like to husbands: “What’s the big deal, honey. We had sex six times this year. I’m just too tired. No, I didn’t row corn all day but I did go into the office. You know how tiring that is. And you know hard and tiring sex is. It’s like exercising for fifteen minutes and I went to the gym for an hour today already. I also went to the store to get milk and salad. I’m beat. I don’t feel sexy. How can you ask for sex now? Maybe this weekend .. we’ll see … did you take the trash out? Take your hands off me, mister. Are you some kind of pervert? All guys are the same. All they want is sex. Don’t you think about anything else?”

      Men are scoundrels if they withhold security. But women are higher beings rejecting the base pantings of the male beast when they sex block their husbands.

      Women may not like it, but sex is as emotionally important to men as security and reliability are to women.

      1. I’m not a perfect person of course but my wife married me 17 years ago. When we got married I thought that she would be my only sexual outlet for the rest of my days. I was good with that. Slow decline in her interest in sex over the past 15 years however. She’s never suggested that we should try to make some “us” time. Always me. There’s always kids, bills, carreers. That stuff isn’t going away anytime soon. How to make time for each other is the question. Everything else matters more than intimacy apparently. I kissed her on the neck last night in the kitchen and saw her almost wince. I apologized which was humiliating. It’s pretty sad and not too many options seem to be out there for me. We have two wonderful kids and I don’t want to break up their home so that’s not an option. I feel like the quintessential statistic. Treading water. I even bought her a vibrator for Valentines day just to see if she was curious to explore something different, alone or with me. She hasn’t touched it or even mentioned it. She’s still beautiful to me. Not confident that she feels the same about me. I think women and men are just so different hormonally and not so sure that they were ever designed to be with just one person for the rest of their lives. I agree with the post above, going to a therapist so that they might be able to cause her to look at me like her only sexual outlet again seems like a real long shot. I know she’s not involved with anyone else but I’m really tired of the easter egg hunt that my sex life has become.

        1. Mark, I’m so sorry you’ve found yourself in this situation. When expectations and reality are vastly different the disappointment typically sets in. I love that she is still beautful to you despite the disappointment. You call it a long shot, but I don’t believe that has to be the case. Sometimes a good therapist can help you uncover the root causes that may otherwise remain unknown and help a couple completely reframe it and find healing and lasting change. For something that is clearly this important to you, I hope you won’t give up or resign yourself to a “This is as good as it gets” attitude without doing everything you can to encourage a different outcome. I have coaches that can work with you remotely or if you so desired, you both could come to me for an Intensive. I would love to hear from you. Warmly, Kim

    3. I can’t image living with this “anonymous” woman who read this article because her husband wanted her to understand how hurt he was. She has been fully warped by feminism. Simply no way to live with a woman who wants to be a man. Very sorry for the husband of this “independent” angry woman who is blind with pride. Men need reverence, women need love, and feminists need everything and give nothing.

  13. Married 50 years and sex was terrible, and when I asked it made it worse, why bother any more so I had no reason to continue. So it’s been years since we’ve had sex, I didn’t care any more. I know I didn’t deserve it, but it happened.

  14. We’ve been married for almost 9 years. There was no slow decline in our sex life. It never really got started. We waited until marriage and now I regret that decision. She acted like she wanted sex until we actually got married. She doesn’t really like it or have any desire to pursue it. Our wedding night was depressingly uneventful and we only had sex once on our ten day tropical getaway honeymoon. The only reason that happened was her guilt over depriving me was forced to the surface by her monthly emotional rollercoaster. Sex has been limited to an average of 10 times a year for the entire time we have been married. Once a month, her hormones force her guilt to overcome her aversion and​ a narrow window of opportunity for sex occurs. If anything prevents us from having sex at that time, her hormones and guilt will pass and I will have to wait another month until the next narrow window of opportunity. All I get is her guilt and pity when what I want is her desire. I’ve tried talking to her several times with no change. I have written her letters to spell out exactly how I feel but all I get is about a week of half-hearted effort before everything goes back to the way it was. I quit initiating years ago because the pain of rejection was just too much to bear. I’m​ available to her when she has physical needs and we still do everyday life together but there is no passion and I feel lonely and unloved. I don’t even feel like a man anymore. No children due to the limited sex. Can’t divorce for financial reasons. No option left but to wait to die and hope for a nice car accident to end it all sooner.

    1. H, my heart goes out to both you and your wife because you are both so unhappy. Your feelings of hurt, disappointment, rejection, and shame are coming through loud and clear. So is your feeling of despair – it’s palpable. Kim says “If you aren’t having sex in your marriage, it is a big deal” and your comment shows exactly how big a deal it is. It affects both partners in the marriage – you don’t want to continue feeling rejected and she doesn’t want to feel the guilt. After nine years of things not changing, I can understand why you would think they won’t ever change, but I would encourage you to change that way of thinking. There are options other than waiting to die – do not give up like that. I work for Kim, and I know what she and her counselors & coaches can do – for couples and for individuals. I strongly encourage you to call, text, or email us and see what we have to offer. TL

    2. H, I can hear your pain and frustration in this post. I can hear some resignation as well but since you made this post, I know you still have some hope something can change. I have a coach on my team that specializes in helping couples work through sexual issues – everything from addiction to avoidance and everthing in between. If talking to someone interests you, please consider calling or emailing our office so we can help. 972-441-4432. Warmly, Kim.

    3. Oh my! This hurts.. You just helped me explain my situation though we are just a year in this marriage, HONESTLY, I’m so getting tired of this scenario. Before marriage, I always think she will improve and never bothered to ask for sex but now…I think I’m getting upset at myself everyday for this. Now she is pregnant and worsened the whole thing! I’m sad.

      1. Alexander, If your married sex life is already a source of pain and concern for you, please don’t wait to get some guidance and help. Left alone without positive changes made, time will almost certainly make it worse, not better. I have a specialist on my staff who can help you (or you both) work through these issues and help you create a sexual relationship that is meeting both of your needs. Feel free to reach out to my office and we can get you set up with a free consultation to see if it’s a good fit. Warmly, Kim

    4. As a woman I would rather have sex than financial security since I make more money but my husband never wants it. I initiate 98% of the time and am same weight as in high school, plus gorgeous blonde, with heads turning everywhere I go. I’m happy and successful, but no matter how much I ask for, initiate or beg, he isn’t interested. You have no idea what you are talking about. 23 years of marriage isn’t something you just leave. Otherwise he is a loving spouse whom I respect and admire greatly. I think his testerone is low but he won’t go get it checked and I’m not a nag. This isn’t 1954 when women needed financial security from their husbands. Get with the times. Women need sex too in order to feel connected. We love orgasms and oral and getting off. Most women whom I have talked to loves masturbating because they know that PIV sex rarely gives women orgasm, but men don’t seem to care. You aren’t smart or insightful, just a sexist bully who thinks men’s pleasure is all that counts. No wonder women don’t want sex with you.

      1. My reply is to Brandon Jay, my apologies, Kim, but it got messed up in chronological order. Can you put it under his offensive tirade? Thanks

  15. I know exactly why I didn’t wanted sex in my marriage. Years of emotional disconnection, deaf ears to seek for help, irrealistic expectations, neglect of teamwork at home chores and raising children, over exhaustion (not an excuse, but true health issue dealt with Rheumatologyst), denial of passing an STD to me, talking to someone else about our sexual intimacy issues, and pursuing another woman. I really can’t get this situation clearer, and certainly don’t agree with a lot of what’s portrayed in this article. I will overcome this. I’m not afraid of the future and even if I feel afraid at some point in the process, I will keep going. And I’m no victim. We are two grown adults who messed it up big, but we will grow from this, and hopefully become better people.

  16. Hey Kim,

    It’s a great article to read. Thank you so much for putting in so much time and effort helping people like us!

    I am myself in the middle of a very complicated situation. I am married for 3 years now. I did make some mistakes (in fact, too many to be honest) in my marriage. This might be the reason my wife starting having an affair.

    I came to know about my wife’s affair in March, 2016. I confronted her, to which she agreed having an affair and physical relation with his friend. We had several rounds of constructive discussions, but we eventually decided to get separated. Though, we were still in touch and 2 months after that she decided to get back to me, promising to end her affair and give a fresh start to our marriage.
    It’s been exactly an year since then, and unfortunately, she is still continuing her affair. She never agreed to have sex with me in last 1 year, despite the fact that she had sex with her boyfriend on several occasion in the same period.
    I decided to end this marriage to which she never agrees. She cries her heart out, every time I initiate the topic of separation. She says she still loves me, and can’t live without me. I can’t stand her crying to sleep every time I ask her to get divorced.

    I am STUCK and can’t find a way out. Before I can arrange a visit to your office, I would be grateful if you can help me out of this mental block. Would request the audience to share their feedback too. Would be a great help.

    1. Prateek, I’m not sure I understand the “mental block”. But I do see that you need some serious boundaries in this relationship to PROTECT your relationship and your wife. Right now, she is acting out destructively and it seems you are enabling her because you don’t want to see her hurting. What she is doing is hurtful to her and to you. Holding her accountable is a loving act. Not turning a blind eye while she sleeps with someone else. I hope you will call our office. We can work with you over video.

  17. Just wanted to chime in a little as to why I as a husband started refusing sex. I’m in the position of roughly sex every month or two. I am given the entire role of initiating it. I have to some how figure out she is interested with no outward signs from her. This puts me in a bad position to start as if I interpret it wrong all I want is sex so auto deny is now activated. As I am the one initiating I am the one who is gambling with taking the rejection hit. My current stats would have to be 1 in 10 in about a month half a half. So yes I am resentful that I have to put my head on the chopping block over and over again and take the hits. To add to this, when I get the rejection she will generally role over and go to sleep as if it meant nothing. So to lessen it I started initiating less and less to the point of none. Then she will go out and talk with all of her friends about me losing my love for her because I’m not interested in sex anymore…… WAKE UP! I love the you like crazy. I’m still here with you but I have stuck my hand in the fire and gotten burned so many times. From my perspective your asking me to do it again. Yes I tried to talk with her about it. I couldn’t translate it into terms that she understood. I’m pouring a very vulnerable part of me out to her and believe me a guy doesn’t want to make themselves vulnerable any more than you do. I even asked her what I could do to help. Shrug of the shoulders and “I don’t know.”. Wait I just put a piece of me out there and you shrugged it off with no thought. Now I’m vulnerable, hurt and angry. I know that she just didn’t get it but still. In a guys perspective its “a dagger in the minds eye” an affront to the “Love” you say you have for me . Imagine that you are leaving for work. Your husband gives you a hug and a kiss as you leave and you each say “I LOVE YOU”. You head out the door and close it. As you are headed to the car your you realize… I left my car keys inside. You head back and open the door to find you husband in the arms of another woman. Do you feel that? The dagger in your minds eye. You just said you loved me and you betrayed me. The shame and anger that courses through your mind. The utter disbelief and reality warp. This is a very bad analogy but I wanted to frame it as best as I could so that the two seeming unrelated issue have the very same effect on the opposite sexs. I want you to understand in the closest way I can think of. This, for me at least, is how I felt when she shrugged her shoulders. That action literally screams in a guys head “SHE LIED SHE DOESN’T LOVE YOU!”. Did she say that…. no. But did the guy cheating and my wifes shrug and “I don’t know” convey the same message? Yes. Sorry this is long and jumbled. I hope that I did, at least in part, translate my perspective.

    1. CJ, yes, you have conveyed your hurt, dismay, and anger very well. Your wife truly may not know how to make things better or know what’s going on with her & why she isn’t interested in sex, but that doesn’t negate your feelings of rejection or your fear of being turned down every time. I hope you will both seek the help and guidance you need to find a way to communicate in a way where you both are truly hearing the other. If she isn’t willing, you can seek help alone. It’s clear that you have tried to do this on your own in the best way you knew how. Unfortunately, it didn’t go the way your heart wanted and needed it to. If you decide to try something different, we are here for you.

      TL for Kim

  18. You say “fix it” if you don’t want to have sex but what does that mean? How!? Most women would prefer to want to have sex with their partners rather than just doing it to make their partner happy.

  19. My husband and I just got married 3 weeks ago. We’ve been together for 3 years and throughout these three years we’ve been celibate. Ever since we got married I am not turned on by him at all. Prior to this when he holds me or come closer to me I get turned hot and turned on, but since we got married I don’t feel those things anymore. I love him very much and his the best thing that has ever happened to me so I really want to make this work. It’s getting to the point where I am getting scared. I thought I maybe overwhelmed with emotions as it is a new phase of my life and I have never lived with a guy before and with moving in and being newly Wed.
    We’ve tried having sex few times but I only do it because of him, I don’t enjoy it as I am not turned on. Also it doesn’t really help the situation when my husband doesn’t last or it’ll be pre ejaculation on and off then it just kills the mood.

    It has also gotten to the point where I reject his sexual advances as I feel empty inside and I am left dissapointed everytime. I most do it because he wants it.

    Any advice? Not sure what else to do. We’ve decided to give it time

    1. Mr Gaye, Thank you for sharing your deeply personal story. Most of us assume that being a newlywed means lots of passion and great sex. Society certainly sells that vision. The truth is though, great sex and passion aren’t automatic and sometimes there are issues that need to be addressed first. Sex is complicated! Hormones, physical reasons, depression, and performance anxiety are just a few things that can impact and impair the quality of your sex life. I’m glad to hear you’ve decided to give it time, but I’d encourage you during that time, to seek some guidance. Get phsycial checkups to ensure there isn’t anything going on physically or hormonally. I would also suggest you consider working with a coach or counselor who specializes in marriages and relationships and are equipped to address the sexual relationship. Feel free to call my office and we’d be happy to get you matched with one! Warmly, Kim

  20. interesting read, i have learnt from this…okay so let me ask a question. when i first got married i really wanted to be intimate with my husband. I pulled out all the stops and often times he wasn’t in the mood and when he was in the mood it would last all but one minute. I would make advances for a second round but to no avail After almost a year and a half of trying to get him to see a specialist for the premature ejaculation he finally admitted that it was a problem. And frankly speaking i basically logged off mentally about sex. He has since come around to it but i don’t know how to get back that strong desire and with a lot of arguments, ttc etc its still a major issue-plus when we do have sex now it still doesn’t last, it has never lasted up to 15mins but he now blames this on the infrequency and that i am now only interested when i’m about ovulating. I have never had an orgasm in my 5 years of marriage. i came on here looking for answers or to get to the root cause of my not desiring my husband. Just clueless at this point.

    1. One H, Thanks for sharing your story. When there are different expectations around sex in a relationship or when there are barriers to a strong sex life (these could be physical, emotional, or outside influences like porn or infidelity), it throws the entire relationship off kilter. I would encourage your husband to visit with his physician and get a full checkup to address any physical challenges. I’d also offer up to you the opportunity for you (or you both) to work with a coach on my team who specializes in sexual matters within the relationship. If you are interested, please feel free to call my office and we can get you scheduled for a consultation. Wishing you the best, Kim

  21. My husband has told me that he loves me but is not “in love” with me and he no longer wants to have intercourse with me. He is willing to cuddle but intercourse is out of the question. I feel angry, rejected, and hurt. I saved myself for marriage–which I don’t regret-
    but his rejection of me truly hurts. I really could use some advice on this.

    1. Hi Mikki, Thank you for sharing your personal story with me. Sex (or the lack there of) is one of the most common issues that prompts couples to reach out. I cannot emphasize enough how important sex is to a relationship and when it’s not happening, seeking help should be a priority. Kudos to you for being willing to do just that! Please check your email for next steps on how we can help. Warmly, Kim

  22. This article and some of the comments posted hit home. First off I want to say that there is always another side to every story. I can only speak from my perspective and I wish there was a way to get my wife to add in her comments at the same time. I think that would make for an invaluable post that could generate some serious discussion. This however is part of the problem. When one half of the relationship doesn’t see a lack of sex as a problem, it is very hard to get anywhere communication wise. There has to at least be an agreement between the parties that something is wrong and when one side is getting what they want (no sex) it is hard to get beyond sounding like a broken record when you repeatedly try to bring the subject up.
    I have been married to a wonderful woman for the past 30 years. We raised a family together and I could not ask for a better mother for my children. Both are now adults so my wife and I now have free time together that we didn’t have for the past two decades. I consider my wife to be my best friend and that is actually a big part of the problem. In addition to finding my wife intriguing as a person, I also find her to be beautiful and I am highly attracted to her physically. All of this may sound corny but it is true. We met in high school and I fell in love with her even before she knew who I was. I would watch her from afar and as much as I wanted to speak with her, I was shy and she was one of the “popular” girls. Oddly enough I was friends with her bother and we eventually did meet and dated. I was very happy. We hit some bumpy roads where she decided to date other people and we broke up but we met again and resumed a relationship. Many of my friends felt this was a bad idea but I was so stricken with her I could do nothing but get back with her.
    We married and I have to say that the first 20 years of marriage went pretty well. As with all relationships there were some battles and rough times but they were always resolved. I worked a lot of hours during this time in order to support the family. The time spent together was limited but when we did see each other it was always pretty good. My wife has a very large physical space that she protects. She doesn’t like to feel trapped and I learned to show affection in a way that didn’t upset her. I learned what she enjoyed and we had good sex when we had the chance. Things changed severely about 10 years ago. Sex became less and less important to her and about 7 years ago was the last time we were intimate. Other than an occasional kiss goodbye there has been no physical contact.
    At first I thought that it was a hormonal problem and attributed it to her age. I have suggested that she see a Dr about it but she has failed to do so. At first I was angry about the situation and this gave way to depression and at one point I moved into a different room in the house to avoid going to bed with someone I wanted to touch, only to have that person have no interest in it. I know all of this probably paints a picture of me as a “pussy”. Someone who doesn’t stand up for himself. If you actually knew me, you would know this isn’t the case. Other than this particular problem I have never had an issue with portraying myself as anything but a man. I was a cop for 30 years. You don’t survive in that environment if you can’t assert yourself. My problem is that my love for my wife will not allow me to do anything but put up with what I consider to be a very unhappy situation. I have read a lot recently about sexless marriages and often the suggestion is to “get out” if there is no resolve. Unfortunately I feel I have moved into an apathetic stage in which I just have given up. I have resolved myself to living the rest of my life with a “good friend” instead of a wife. The worst times come when I think I am a sap for dealing with it this way. I know there are other women that think well of me but my love for my wife is great and I have a thing about being a quitter. I refuse to give in. The commitment was for better or worse. I don’t break promises.
    All this was too long for this format. I am sorry. However it was cathartic and I appreciate your time.

    1. Barth, Thank you so much for sharing your deeply personal story. The undying love and affection you have for your wife comes through so clearly in your writing, as does your commitment to your vows. But I also hear the yearning you have a renewed sexual relationship with your wife, though you are obviously resigned to the idea of continuing to live without. I’d encourage you to rethink this resignation. Instead of loving her enough to live in a sexless marriage, love her enough to share the desire you still have for her. Be curious. Strive to understand her pespective and why she hasn’t been interested in sex. Perhaps it’s hormonal, but perhaps it’s not. But do this – not only for you, but for her and for your marriage! After all, you’ve both invested 30 years in this! Now I know the vulnerability this requires of you is significant because you are risking rejection on the most personal level. But without the risk, the potential for the reward – a more intimate relationship with the woman you love – is out of reach. If we can help you with this process, I hope you’ll reach out. With warm regard, Kim

  23. Not saying it’s okay, but if you have a good husband that loves you and your family, and you love him too, but you just don’t enjoy sex, then that was you’re responsibility to communicate before the marriage ever happened. That men are almost always up for sex is common knowledge, and if you marry one, you should be ready to have sex periodically for the rest of your time together. When you failed to tell him you don’t enjoy sex, you invited an affair or a prostitute habit. I know I’m good at sex and there are plenty of women who would enjoy sex with me, as I am a much more generous lover than my wife and I’m hit on at work all the time, and the day I feel like she doesn’t want it anymore is the day I move out. Didn’t marry to be”friends forever”. I want more. Are people just so sheltered these days that they don’t know what marriage entails? Maybe you all just don’t understand what it’s physically like for a man to go without. Imagine a chain smoker quitting cold turkey and multiply his bad mood by a thousand. Now go through your shitty work day with that feeling knowing it won’t get any better when you come home. What do you do? Leave and find what you need elsewhere.

    1. Matt, This is about expectations, in this case sexual expectations. The marriage is going to suffer if the couple cannot come to a compromise and one spouse’s expectations continue to go unmet. I’m an advocate for dealing with issues in the relationship honestly and compassionately. This includes differences in sexual expectations. That doesn’t mean leaving and finding what you need elsewhere without first, doing everything you can to address your need. You’d be amazed at how often I hear one spouse says “I’ve tried everything” and the other spouse says “I didn’t know. He/she never said anything.” Warmly, Kim

  24. I have female issues..lots of surgery! My husband and I don’t have sex too often but at least once a week but this still isn’t good for him. He gets quiet..angry..lashes out an big attitude without wanting to talk about it..I don’t know what to do about it!? I try I really do but it physically hurts me as I’m seeing a doctor for the problem but he doesn’t understand?? Help!!!

  25. It’s like he doesn’t care that it hurts me??? Accused me of not loving him or being attracted to him! But I am it just hurts bad!!

    1. Nicole, I am sorry that sex is painful for you. It must be frustrating for you both. If you haven’t done so already, please discuss this with your doctor. There may be some things you can do (or do together) that will help with the pain or provide sexual pleasure in a more comfortable way for you. Often, when a woman feels pain during intercourse, her husband feels personal rejection and embarrassment which further complicates an already sensitive topic for most. Despite the awkwardness, please consider seeking help and being willing to discuss the issue openly. It’s your best chance at a resolution that is satisfying to both of you. Wishing you the best, Kim.

  26. I tried everything I could think of for 8 years to get my husband to want me. I literally climbed all over him every time we got in bed, verbally told him how much I want him. All to no avail. I believe I have heard every excuse why a person can’t have sex that there is. It’s too early to go to bed, it’s too late, you’ll be tired in the morning honey, can’t you sleep, do you need some water, or he would pretend to snore or just get out of bed and go to the bathroom for 30 minutes. I would even ask him to make love and he would say yes and 3-5 days later I was still trying to get it off of him. Now I have given up and I show him no affection at all. So now his excuse for not giving me affection is I don’t want it LOL!! The truth is he gets his pleasure from his own hand and his cell phone AND by texting a male friend dirty pictures of women and sharing back and forth what they would like to do to them.

    1. Maggie, I must admit, as I was half-way through your message, I was already thinking ‘I bet porn is involved’. Porn has because become so prevalent and socially acceptable. Many couples even jointly elect to bring porn into their marriage, believing it will have a positive impact on their sexual relationship. Trust me when I say this has not been my experience based on the couples I see in my office. Porn literally changes the brain. It makes it more difficult to find fulfillment in a real relationship. If you want things to change in your marriage, you are probably going to have to set some healthy boundaries and potentially even an ultimatum as it pertains to his porn use. It’s a tough road but if your marriage is worth it to you, I encourage you to seek some help on how to do this the right way. I have a sexual addiction specialist on my staff (Eric Tooley) who can help you, the spouse, as well as your husband, if and when he’s willing to participate. Please consider reaching out. You can tell my office staff that I’ve asked you to call and that you’d like a free consultation with Eric. Wishing you better days ahead, Kim.

  27. Kim,
    Thanks for the article. Very insightful.
    I have existed in basically a sexless marriage for 23 years and it’s getting worse. You are so correct in suggesting a man has a direct correlation between sex/intimacy and marriage/love. It’s what makes me tick. I feel humiliated, angry and lost all the time.
    I try and show her what she means to me. I do all the cooking, I clean, I look after the kids and I work fulltime. All to no avail. She freely admits she can never be who I want or need her to be for me. She shuts me down whenever I try and raise it. She even will start arguments if it looks like we are getting on too well and I’m a chance, for want of a better term. We basically do nothing together anymore and are nothing more than co-habitants.
    I have finally told her I can’t do another 20 years of this and have made an appointment for counselling.
    I still love her but I can’t continue.
    My question for you is, “how do you know when it’s time?”
    How do you know when the tears, the anger and the frustration is enough and you need to leave?
    How do you know when my needs are greater than my kids which is why I have remained up till now.



    1. John, First, I want you to know how sorry I am that you are in a sexless marriage. I also want to commend you for keeping your commitment to your spouse while speaking up for what you want and need in the marriage. Kudos to you for seeking counseling. I always call children the glue of a relationship. We often tolerate things or are willing to experience productive pain in a relationship (pain that brings about change and growth) when we put what we think are the needs of our children in front of our own. I hope that whatever therapist you choose to see will tell you the same thing we tell our clients. The ONLY two people who can tell you if the relationship is over (or worth saving) are the two people IN the relationship. The counselor however should help you discern and fully vet each of your options. If you haven’t done so already, I would encourage you to read my blog post on ultimatums. Sometimes standing up for what you need in a relationship means drawing a line and giving your spouse a chance to meet your need. An ultimatum can be scary but not more so than continuing in a relationship in a way that breeds additional resentment and frustration. I have counselor and coaches here that would be honored to help you with this. Please call if you’d like to discuss in greater detail. Warmly, Kim

  28. My husband and I are fighting about sex constantly. I do not refuse sex but he gets angry that I don’t initiate. He has MS and diabetes and as a result Erectile Dysfunction. Due to physical decline, I have picked up additional responsibilities. I work full time, care for our 13 & 15 year old daughters, manage the house, yardwork and finances. Not to mention all of his healthcare needs. I am tired. He has horrible mood swings and anger. I can’t turn it on and off like he can. It’s turned into this sad, terrible game — if I don’t say the right thing, or respond the right way it turns into a fight. Sex has to be somewhat planned, because he has to take his ED pill. He says I put everyone and everything else in our life before him. I don’t know what to do from here.

    1. Missy, in reading your comment I can see why sex isn’t fun and why your desire for it has waned. You have nothing left in the tank for sex! You’d be surprised how often I hear stories very similar to yours from women sitting in my office. You are tired and your husband is unpredictable. These together are the perfect recipe for lack of desire. There are absolutely things you can do here. The first one is understanding the “dance” that the two of you are doing. I don’t know enough from your post to fully evaluate your dynamic, but I can tell you there are some core patterns (“dances”) at play that are negatively impacting your relationship. I would really like for you to reach out to my office and request a free consultation with Sara Snyder. Sara is one of my coaches, and she is particularly adept at helping clients understand the patterns and how to work through them. I do hope you’ll call and wish you better days ahead, Kim.

  29. CJ(oct 13th)Your every word is my story too. Married over 35 years and sex, touch, intimacy never initiated by my wife, rejection the norm. Have all the anger and resentment you describe and so much more. Any effort to discuss the issue is met with dismissive resistance. Finally on one particular night 15 years ago, I vowed never to be rejected or humiliated again and vowed that our next touch would be at her initiative. Still waiting, lonely, angry and now in separate beds.
    I’m a sexual person, trim, fit and energetic, who needs sex like I need food and sleep. But I need the intimacy that goes with sex so much more, little touches, holding hands, smiles while listening, looking in each other’s eyes, the very essence of companionship and marriage. This is my biggest loss as is the fact that that my 3 wonderful children have never witnessed love, touch, warmth or affection between their parents. I don’t understand the concept of marriage any more- nor will they. At a time when life should be cherished I am sad, angry and very bitter.

    1. PJ, The last 15 years must have been so difficult for you and I very must respect the commitment you’ve made to your marriage despite it not being the relationship you desired it to be. When we feel repeated rejection, our human nature is to withdraw and protect ourselves from further hurt. Unfortunately, this withdrawal doesn’t fix the pain because it doesn’t help address the issues underlying the pain. It sounds like you tried to address your concerns in the marriage early on and then gave up when the hurt of repeated rejection became too much to bear. I am so sorry. I wish I could talk to the PJ 15 years ago and help him see and implement a different plan to address the rejection and humiliation he understandably was feeling. Clearly there has been a lot of water under the bridge since then, but I also don’t think you have to live the next 15+ feeling sad, angry and very bitter. If you’d like to talk to one of my coaches, I encourage you to take the chance and reach out to us. The free consultation will be enough for you to get a feel for how we can potentially help and the coach will be able to tell you straight-up if he/she feels like you’d be a good fit for their coaching services. Thank you sharing your story with me, PJ. I wish you happier days ahead, Kim.

  30. My husband and I are currently in the process of getting a divorce. The only way I could possibly ever consider staying in this marriage is for it to REMAIN sexless. The thought of having to do that for the rest of my life crushes my soul. For the first fifteen years of our marriage, we had sex whenever he wanted. I hated it. Sometimes I cried and hoped he didn’t see me. The thought of him even thinking about me in a sexual way is hurtful to me. I have to just go to another place in my head while he gets it over with, because it completely disgusts me and makes me feel used. No history of abuse here; I honestly do not understand how anyone could not be disgusted by it. He will not have sex with me now that I’ve gotten honest with him because now he feels like he’s forcing himself on me. But he is not happy without that closeness. I am miserable with it. It is nothing personal against him. I just find it disgusting.

    1. Mel, my heart goes out to you. I can’t imagine what the first 15 years of marriage felt like, with sex being emotionally miserable for you. I want to be honest with you here though. Your view of sex tells me something more is going behind those feelings. Whether you choose to stay in your marriage or not, I hope you will consider seeking counsel from a therapist to investigate why you have such strong negative feelings about sex. I have two coaches on my team who I think would be particularly helpful to you. If you’d like to call my office, my admin can arrange for a free consultation with one of them so that they can learn a little bit more about your story and tell you if their services are a good fit for you. Warmly, Kim.

  31. I thought your post was very good. One of my love languages is physical touch, so I feel very unloved when I get rejected by her. I get so frustrated, I tried talking to her about it and her typical reaction is to just get mad at me and if I continue threaten tp start throwing things at me. I love my wife and my family, I would never leave them. I got busy with college and it put a strain on the marriage. I am done with college but she just seems mad, rejects me and to be honest, I feel ashamed of needing sex. I hate feeling dependent on anyone and just wish I could turn things off.

  32. Thank you for the insightful article. Reading it, I realized just how resentful I’ve become. To the point where I don’t even care enough anymore to go to a counselor alone (she has repeated said she will not go). I’ve asked her if it would be okay then to meet other women for sex. She reluctantly said yes, but I know she was hurt by it, plus I couldn’t ever do that while in this relationship. And I’m not even sure I would enjoy having sex with someone I didn’t feel something for.

    We met 40 years ago and have a deeply spiritual relationship. I am hurt yes, but at the same time I respect her life path and accept her choice. It’s just I’ve reached the point where something has to change for me. I now spend my days secretly planning my exit, and that’s something I just can’t tell her or talk to her about, I don’t want to hurt her like that. It all makes me sad, nevertheless I have come to a place of unemotional acceptance. I would rather be alone, and in a position to meet someone else who values physical intimacy.

    1. Bailey, I’m sorry to hear this. It sounds as if I could have written this about you. You’ve detached or are at least in the process of detaching, which is a natural response to protect ourselves from the pain of rejection. You have a lot of years invested in this relationship and you are hurting. I want to challenge you in one area though. You say you respect her and you can’t tell her how you feel because you “don’t want to hurt her like that”. But not telling her and giving her a chance to address your concerns is not respect and will hurt her far more than respectfully sharing your heart now, while you are still in the relationship. I’m not going to pretend this isn’t hard stuff. It’s incredibly hard, which is why I see many couples who want help navigating these rough waters. I encourage you to seek help from a professional too. If she won’t come with you. Go alone. I’m rooting for you. Kim

  33. Hello Kim, thank you very much for the reply. This is an online comment section and so I will try not to turn this into a personal therapy discussion. Rather, I’d like to look at the what I consider to be bigger picture questions pertaining to relationships in general.

    I hear you. And I appreciate your thoughts. My reply to you is that much of what makes up a relationship is particular to the two individuals involved. The person I am with is someone who would be hurt by my suggesting there is something wrong with the relationship. Rather, she would prefer me happily saying goodbye and walking away. She would see this as my exercising my freedom as a individual, something she expects me to honor as well when it comes to her life choices.

    I have had many talks with her about my feelings and how I see the state of our relationship. That’s the type of person I am; I feel a couple talks things through. She doesn’t feel that way. Her position is if you’re not happy, then go find something else in your life. That’s one reason she refuses to go to couples therapy. For years, I have placed a part of me aside so as to accommodate her needs in this regard. I no longer discuss certain topics because I know it will cause her grief on some level. She does not do well when there is conflict and turmoil. And so I honor that, and then just get on with things.

    Love does allow for that on one level. Love also allows me to see that a sexless marriage is not the end of the world. It is not a bad thing. It’s just a particular thing which the particular couple is experiencing. How long they experience it, and whether they choose to resolve things or not, is up to the particular couple. In my case, I may well choose to move on soon. But that’s my answer to my situation. At the same time, I can see a couple staying together for the comfort and security, and loving each other as platonic soul mates if that’s what they choose for themselves.

    Thanks again Kim, I won’t take up any more of the comment section with my dissertations. 🙂

  34. Hmmm. There was a time when I was trying to initiate, give space and also got all sorts of excuses that led to frustration. After the birth of our last child it seemed like she simply didn’t want intimacy anymore, particularly as we’d gone through an immensely difficult period in our marriage due to both outside events and the tensions it created within our marriage. Yet when she was infrequently willing it just felt like she was merely doing it out of obligation.

    I didn’t like that either.

    My own desire ebbed and became cynical in a sense. I even began to take bets with myself that she’d backtrack when it came to time after she’d initially expressed her interest a few hours or days prior. I’d later find myself oddly amused whenever I’d correctly predicted her backtracking and she seemed uncertain when eventually I began to shrug at her refusals, not realising I knew it was never going to happen in the first place.

    So slowly the time spans between intimacy grew and my own drive for her eroded. Everything else took precedence over me and I had to just accept it. My view of her as a lover changed to an acquaintance.

    Now it’s her turn to feel the frustration and ask when we’re next going to be intimate again. Indeed, things have shifted to such a degree I now find it amusing in another sense – I realised she either has no idea how to initiate or doesn’t have the courage to try, so I use that barrier of her needing me to initiate to deny her even when she’s dropping blatant hints.

    That’s when I just play the stereotyped clueless male/husband that mainstream media likes to portray lots of men as for laughs. Granted, my own desire is degraded by other things like her general nagging or heavy demands that leave me tired. However our history has also left me feeling resentment that makes me think she can damn well deal with her frustration herself.

    She even now tells me how much she wants to increase the frequency of intimacy and for me to be more aggressive going forward but I simply don’t believe her. I’m sure she’ll just backtrack again later once she’s gotten the validation she wants.

    1. W, The story I am making up here is one of payback. For a long time you’ve felt hurt and rejected by her lack of interest (or lack of initiating) physical intimacy and so now you’re going to make her hurt too by rejecting her advances. My question for you is who really wins in this scenario? She doesn’t. But do you? Does the relationship? I think you all 3 lose, assuming of course you really want a fulfilling marriage. Now if you don’t want that, continue on with your current plan. It will work. But if you DO want this marriage, I would encourage you to take a step back and re-evaluate your game plan. If it’s a closer relationship with your wife you want, stop what you’re doing and make an appointment with a qualified coach or counselor who can help you address the past hurts and work toward a mutually satisfying honest relationship. Kim

  35. Married 50 years had sex couple of times, and I really have no interest in sex with wife or any one else. My work and my cars are my mistress and always has been. I’ve always worked the midnight shift at least 12 hours a day, then sleep and do it all again and most weekends. I also worked most holidays and took really no vacation. Now I’m retired and just work in my shop and my cars. In my 70’s and don’t bother going in the house, I have a place to eat and sleep in my garage. I guess I’m a terrible person but I really don’t care, to old to care.

    1. John, First I want to thank you for taking the time to share your perspective and offer my congratulations on your retirement. After wears of working the schedule you did, it must be nice to have time for the hobbies you clearly enjoy. I must admit though, I’m insanely curious why you – someone who says they are disinterested in sex and content to live in a sexless marriage – not only found, but read (and COMMENTED), on my blog about what not having sex does to your marriage. May I ask that? The story I’m making up here is that on some level – either your wife or you (both?) – DO care and are not satisfied with your current marital arrangement. If that is the case, I hope you’ll stop for a moment and reconsider. Allow yourself to care – about your needs and about your spouse’s needs. After all, you can’t really ever be too old to care or to make changes. And if that’s something you do want to reconsider, I hope you’ll call us. Warmly, Kim

  36. I spent with my wife 20 years together, the first ten years i was behind her for sex , less time it goes amazing and the most go bad, forcing me to find my way out which became a disaster later when she found it out, regardless of her less experience she had about sex and the side effect of medicines she was using ; i felt i was not satisfy with my sexual life which turns me in the second ten years of our life together to defence my self and became less desire to sexual relation, now she starts to compline, when i tried to talk to her frankly about the issue and show her what might turn me on again to back to the fun , she deny completely her role in the issue and blame everything on me and asked why do i need extra or new ideas to turn my self on when she thinks that her beautiful face and shaped clean body is more than enough for me to turn on.
    now and day by day i’m sexually fading and withdrawing , i can see the pain in her but she will never do the effort to do something.

    1. Hi Yasir, it sounds like the last 10 years of your marriage have been tough. Once couples let go of or lose the physical intimacy in the relationship, it can often be challenging to rekindle it without some help from a professional who can assist you both in working through the issues that caused the disconnect in the first place. If you haven’t tried marriage coaching or counseling, I’d encourage you to start now. An experienced couples coach can help you both understand the dance/pattern your relationship is in and help you to begin to rewrite it. A sexless marriage is a marriage that is at risk, so don’t wait. Wishing you better days ahead, Kim.

  37. It is amazing to find articles like this. So often men can’t communicate this because they struggle with the words, fear looking like a weak and needy man, and are afraid of the answer. All of this is true for me, however I did swallow my pride and try to make my feelings heard. Happy ending right? Wrong! My wife (a professing born-again Christian) first got furious when I told her. She could have cared less about my needs. They were unreasonable and I was putting an undeserving burden and pressure on her – so, by “my own fault” I made it even worse. When I tried again to address it, she cried and was deeply “hurt” because I was (somehow) telling her that she was not good enough. Now I was hurting her because of my “blame” and insensitivity to her ego. The truth is that she doesn’t want it. As I pressed I got all kinds of reasons and excuses, and we have had many fights. Never any love, empathy or care, just fights and defensiveness.

    My belief is that she doesn’t want it because she is not attracted to me – I found out through old journals that she had lots of past relationships and a lot of past sex before me. She claims to be attracted to me and claims to love me. When I tried to leave she begged me to stay and apologized, we had great sex and she stayed very close for a few weeks, then it faded quickly. Same thing. I tried again, and she begged again and we had a “few good weeks”. She changes her story and goes back to her same arguments and fights. Now, of course, it’s my lack of unconditional love that has hurt her and makes things so hard for her “never knowing” when I may leave. She even claims I only acts as though I was going to leave out of manipulation. The truth is I loved her so much and her reactions were so strong, that I didn’t want to hurt her. She convinced me to stay and I believed things would change. I no longer trust her, or believe anything she says. She is a selfish woman who actually thinks (per a bible course) that empathy is one of her gifts. To date I haven’t left because I decided through much prayer, pain, and sacrifice, that God and our kids needed to be first before me. I try to be nice and do things for her because the Lord wants it, not because I feel it. My pain is sometimes mixed with resentment. I want to think she is truthful and will hopefully see the error of her ways, but my hope is very limited. I am now living life I would never wish on anyone, and become despressed each time I see a “real” and unselfish couple. I have become very fit over the last couple years and am a good looking guy. I now have to justify occasional pornography while lying in our bed when she leaves, so I can mentally justify “the marriage bed” being “undefiled”. Each time, I become more ashamed and depressed… and resentful. I also become less attracted to her. I know of no other way to deal with my sexual desires. My real hope is that things will get easier. I now believe my wife if a phony Christian.

    I understand that most women are so hypnotized by the lies of the world today that feminism warps their mind. They don’t have the try to empathize when they think men have it all. They feel and act like even their own husbands are being unreasonable. Plus, who wins in a divorce? She cries. We don’t. She is a victim. We are not. She gets sympathy. We don’t. She gets the kids and the money. We don’t. She sees it all as our fault. We don’t.

  38. Hi Kim.

    Don’t let anyone tell you this article is not RIGHT. ON. POINT! There are indeed cases where the man withholds sex, but in my experience, this is extremely rare. Yes, this article somehow attracted a lot of unsatisfied women. but if you ask me, it still amounts to only anecdotal evidence – if indeed they’re even telling the whole story. It’s a matter of simple biology. A woman begging her man for sex comes up about as often as a cat chasing a dog, I’d imagine. It happens, but it’s rare.

    Did you hear about Twitter earlier this month? There are companies out there that are selling “support” in the form of well designed web bots. So a business or individual can manufacture followers. Not that it’s what’s happening here, just saying…

    Keep up the good work! You’ve really connected with us men here, especially with me.

    Thanks again!

  39. Respected her desire to wait for marriage before sex. Almost Immediately discovered a multitude of issues. No desire to ever do it a big one! I say almost because it happened the third day of our honeymoon! I wanted it before the door even closed! Super long story short, but after 30 years together, multiple therapists, nothing has changed. Sex or receiving pleasure just never felt good to her, and somehow she feels no desire or reason to ever to give sexually to me. So after 25 years of a handful of times a year, many years with zero times, I got her to agree to lay there and allow it once a week. Yea, right, maybe it happens every season. The sex is so boring anyway, I might as well just have blowup doll.
    My well thought out opinion is this. Being a product of an unloving or caring mother my wife decided to be anything but her. She is a wonderful caring mother. But, she always feels inadequate and developed a perfectionistic personality that makes her blind to seeing or acknowledging my issues with her. Something in her mind cannot accept she made a mistake or has a problem. Never once have I ever heard the phrase, “I’m sorry”. Admitting failure will never happen.
    Any words of wisdom out there?

    1. Hi Rusty, I can only imagine how it felt for the anticipation you had for your wedding night to turn to disappointment when your wife didn’t share your same level of desire. Clearly I don’t have enough information here to fully understand the dynamics of your relationship, but I would suspect you are on the right track by tracing it back to family of origin. In fact, ALL of us are shaped by our family of origin. How we give and receive love and how we show up in relationships as adults is first largely determined by our FOO experience. And when 2 people from different FOOs connect, there is a pattern – a dance – that develops and plays out. This is the kind of work we do with our clients – understanding how FOO impacts us, what our love style is, how we “dance” with our partner, and ultimately how to change that ineffective dance. If this is something that interests you, you please call my office and we can get you partnered with a coach that can help you. Kim.

  40. This has been an ongoing thing in our marriage for over 10 years. I’ve brought it up multiple times over the years. When we dated and shortly after marriage she wanted it as much as I did. I felt tricked or deceived for a long time, like “this isn’t what I married.” It would get better for a while then just drift off into nothing again. And honestly…I’m tired of asking about it or hinting. I don’t even try to initiate anymore. I’m not leaving. But I’m not happy either. And I’m don’t trying with this area. And you’re right. It does feel like she doesn’t care about me. We’ve talked about it several times. She knows how it makes me feel. And she still doesn’t care. At least that’s how it makes me feel. So then when she does initiate after while I pretend to be sick or something because I feel like its pointless and I tell myself “she doesn’t want it really” and “I don’t want to have sex if she doesn’t really want me.”

    1. Rob, you are in a very difficult place to be and it certainly doesn’t sound like you got what you thought you signed up for in the marriage. I hear this kind of resentment a lot, along with the feeling of being deceived. Honestly this comes down to whether or not you are happy not being happy. You say you aren’t leaving so if you can live sexless going forward, then your current plan of no more trying and rejecting her few attempts will certainly work – work until SHE gives up and ends the marriage for you. As I’ve told others, it takes more courage and integrity to deal with it head on. Be honest with your spouse. Get counseling. Put the marriage on hold. Do whatever you can (respectfully) that gets her attention. But playing payback and rejecting her advances is certainly not a plan I’ve ever see work for someone in a sexless marriage who is wanting more sex and intimacy from his spouse. If you’d like to talk with one of my coaches who specializes in situations like this, I hope you’ll call my offices. Warmly, Kim

  41. I too know the feeling of a sexless marriage or at least unmatched libidos. Sure the feeling of who did I really marry comes out, for me it was about 5 years into the marriage that I found my once very sexual wife did not want sex at all. We were a young couple and just having 2 children I was okay with things since I wanted to be understanding and compassionate to my new wife and family. I did my best to take some of the stress off by cooking meals, cleaning and taking care of the kids. Over the years we tried different things to ignit the spark and even just doing it to get her engine going during sex. After 5 affairs to keep myself with her and 25 years later now that the kids have been gone for a few years I thought here’s our time to reconnect. I work less, we are secure in our lives and we should be able to enjoy each other more. Date nights, I took over most of the chores at home, I planned vacations for us to get away and be with each other and did whatever it took to make her life as happy as it could be. Still nothing changed ever in our sex life. I talked with her about it over the years and how important sex was to me and what I needed from her. I talked about ending the marriage before and all I really desired was her to have sex with me more, once a week would be enough. Didn’t have to be intercourse, I would be good with anything. Asked if she would like to go to counciling which the answer was no, we are so good together and there is no problems. I would answer back with the problem of sex and that was returned with”that’s just sex”
    So now Im separated from my wife whom I love dearly, she blames me for the seperation since I let our sex life be like that. It’s all on me to make it better, to reach out to her and come back. My real take is sometimes you can try really hard for years and years and even tho its painful and selfish there comes a time you need to look after yourself. I dont blame her but its who she is and I cant expect her to change and become more sexual or for me to want it less. I did that for 20 years and tho parts of my life were so happy the sex issue just got worse for me.

    1. Dear Just Another Guy, 25 years is a long time to be unhappy in your marriage. I so wish you’d have reached out sooner and sought outside help from a therapist who specializes in couples…someone who could get to the root of the issues and help you both make changes. Actually, you can still do that, if you are willing. 25 years is a lot to give up on without trying everything first, and that includes counseling. If your wife won’t join you, go alone. But go! You both have a lot invested in this relationship and even grown kids are impacted by the divorce of their parents. If you’d like to work with someone here, I hope you’ll call us. Kim

  42. This is a big problem in my marriage. I’ve literally done everything that you suggested and I still get no sex from my wife. We had sex 3 times in 2017. 3! I love my wife and family and I don’t want to cheat or leave her, but I’m finding myself looking and flirting with other women more and more these days. When we do have sex, as rarely as that is, I’m always the one initiating it. I honestly don’t remember the last time she did. I’ve even put myself through sex addiction therapy because I thought it was me. The therapist disagreed and told me I wasn’t addicted. Only deprived. I’m at a loss here. If I cheat, them I’m a dog. If I leave, then I’m a deadbeat husband who left his wife over sex. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    1. Dear Anonymousxx, I’m sorry you are living in a sexless marriage. I also commend you for being willing to look at yourself and your part of the relationship in an effort to bring healing. It sounds like you’ve done a lot to try and address the sexlessness in your marriage. I hear from men weekly that are living in your situation and almost without exception they each feel like they’ve done everything and nothing worked. But, even still, most of the time I see their wives completely shocked to find out just how bad it was. Why? Because, however their husbands tried to tell them, the message was not received. Anonymousxx, if this marriage is important to you – and clearly it is – and you want things to change, try again! Be direct. Be respectful but be direct. Tell her exactly how not having a sexual relationship with her makes you feel and tell her exactly.. EXACTLY….what you need and expect in the relationship. Insist on counseling with a relationship specialist. If she won’t go, you go. And put the relationship on hold if you need to.

  43. I’ve been married 34 years and we have been sexless for the last 25 unless you count 4-6 times a year as active, and nothing for the last 5 years. I got very resentful and angry years ago and started to use pornography. I stopped about 3 years ago and we have been in counseling for 18 months now. She just found out about the past porn use and is very upset. She says I cheated on her and I get that now, but I thought what I was doing was harmless and better to stay in the marriage if I just take care of things myself. Now, I fully understand how I could have hurt her, but I truly don’t think it was something I should have to be beaten up over forever. I was faithful to our marriage in my mind. I could have had an affair but chose the simpler route. Like I said, I get it that I hurt her now that I look back. We have spent the last 3 counseling sessions basically telling me how awful I am and I just don’t understand her position…yet no one seems to want to get mine while I think I do fully understand hers. How horrible was it to use porn to satisfy my needs when they were’t being satisfied by my wife? I also fear that when I bring this up it will be turned on me as I am always thinking about me.

    1. Hi Anonymous, First, let me say I’m truly sorry you’ve been in a sexless marriage for the last 25 years. I’ve seen the emotional pain it causes and the significant damage it does to a relationship. Now when I hear you ask “How horrible was it..” what I translate that to be as an attempt to justify your actions (porn use) and truthfully, I simply can’t go there. As I’ve written about many times before, I don’t believe even a sexless marriage justifies porn use. Ever. As my mom used to tell my brother and me, “Two wrongs don’t make a right”. Showing remorse for how your actions have hurt your wife does not in any way pardon her for how’s she’s hurt you. She has a right to feel hurt by your actions. And likewise, you have the same right. You need to be honest with her and share exactly what living in a sexless marriage has been like for you and – here’s the key – you need to do it without it being justification for your porn use. I want to encourage you both to look to the past only as a way to learn how you want things to be different in the present and future. Dwelling in the past will leave you stuck. I would recommend you find a counselor or coach with significant experience helping couples in exactly your situation (sexless marriage, porn use). If you’d like to consider working with one of them on my team, please give us a call. Kim.

  44. I’m 40. I’ve been married for 15 years. I have two beautiful children, and I love them dearly. My wife and I have had sex once in the last 7 years, when we made our daughter. We’ve talked about our issue a few times. She assures me that she wants sex, but refuses to initiate. This leaves it to me to initiate. I’ve been successful once, and I felt that it was out of pity. I didn’t “finish” I just sort of brought things to a close if you will. We don’t hug, or kiss, and frankly physical affection on her part at this point would be unwelcome; just shy of gross ( think I fall into the category of Resentful/Detached, per the article). Everything else seems to be fine. We get along, care for our children, discuss things (outside of our physical relationship) that need discussing, have BBQs with fiends and neighbors, host events, attend events, vacation, etc. No topic or issue seems off limits save for “the topic that shall not be named.

    However, I’ve given up. I’m not going to reach out for help because I find the entire idea humiliating. I don’t want to “rescue” this failed part of our marriage because the most loving, fun, playful, exciting, trusting, intense, vulnerable, and safe act that any two people can experience with one another, I now associate with rejection and anger. The mere thought of engaging in the act makes me instantly angry, it’s like I need a shower because of my thoughts, and that’s horrible. I know I should make plans to separate. I make a good living as does she, I don’t think I would be looking forward to Ramen and living out of my car or anything. But I would lose my children. Under the best of circumstances I would see my kids 40-50% of the time; at worst I’d be every-other-weekend-guy with a few dinners in between. I honestly believe that if I left my grief for them would kill me.

    Luckily, from the outside, everything is copacetic. We’re engaged in our children’s lives, we each have our own hobbies, shared friends, etc. I will see my children grow up, and they will see cookie cutter mom and dad. After they leave and we are left in an empty nest, I don’t know what will happen, right now it’s hard to imagine or to even care. Thank you for letting me share, and for helping me to see that there are people out there who get it, and that I’m not alone in any of this. I’m not angry at her anymore, I’m just, deep down, sad at her.

    It felt a little better to share. Best wishes.

    1. Dear Taco, It made me sad to read this. The anger and resentment you’ve shared is common and certainly understandable. I work with many men in sexless marriages who feel the same. I think though, it’s the complete resignation you’ve expressed that’s made me most sad. I want more for you than that. Most of the time I hear this kind of resignation it’s in an attempt to manage the hurt and pain. It’s the “If I convince myself I don’t care anymore, the rejection I feel wont hurt as bad” approach. The problem is that approach doesn’t typically work. And truthfully, I don’t think it’s working for you either because I think you DO care, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading my blog or taking the time to thoughtfully and honestly respond. Please think about reaching out and talking to one of my coaches who specializes in this situation. I think he could be a huge resource for you and show you how things could be different. Wishing more for you. Warmly, Kim

  45. Don’t know who I’m talking to, but I want you to answer this question for me…. why do women’s tell there husband when they get off work we can have sex, but when you get out the shower and start touch them they push you away!!! I been in a sexless marriage for almost 6 years and I’m ready to cheat on my wife, with a person who wants to have sex…

    1. Montrez, Acting out in hurt or spite and cheating on your wife is not the answer. That’s just settling. Do the heavy-lifting and be honest with her. Tell her how her rejection of sex makes you feel and what you want/need from the relationship going forward. And then find a experienced therapist who specializes in couples who can help you both address the issues in the relationship. I see this scenario play out in my office regularly and almost without exception, the wife is shocked…floored…in session when her spouse finally tells her how the lack of sex has impacted him. Be honest, be direct, be respectful. But tell her and give her a chance to address it. Consider calling our office and setting up a free consultation with one of my marriage coaches who could work with you on this. Wishing you better days ahead, Kim.

  46. Hi- first thank you for the information above and your willingness to address the comments and questions. I have learned a great deal from them. I have an issue that seems a bit different.

    I married my high school sweetheart. We were both virgins and have had no other partners. We both are 47, and have three children. We didn’t marry until after college and followed a life plan that wasn’t predicated on circumstances. I believe we were and are in love. I hope not to get judged by what I write next, but it’s germane to the problem. When we were teens, her father walked in on us having sex. I will not go into the details of the reaction, but it was relatively predictable. He didn’t want us to see each other but we did anyways. Eventually, we fell deeply in love, and after college, after getting careers, we married. The advice her father gave her (the only marital advice) was to give sex whenever I wanted. To quote him, “you do not understand men- they have to have sex and you do not. You will have to appease him.”

    Well for the last decade that I can remember, our sex life has been incredibly boring, without passion, and I feel no intimate connection. We have been to four different therapists and each time my wife has some complaint about me and why her reaction is no intimacy. I have worked hard to fix those issues and made an honest attempt at them. When she told me about her father’s advice this week, she did so in kind of an epiphany for herself. Some days have passed, and this is a very important thing to me. When she first admitted the discussion she had with her father, she added that her whole sexual relationship with me was from a place of obligation. Not love, passion, intimacy etc. I have been going crazy wondering if I had something wrong with me. She doesn’t come on to me, she isn’t particularly interested in sex, Amd she comlains about having too many orgasms. When I talked to her tonight it ended as it always does. Something I need to correct is causing her disconnect. I am tired of this and told her that the problems are separate- meaning she had to work on her crap and I would work on mine but there would be no preconditioning where I would fix whatever issue she had prior to her commencing real efforts to help this.

    I am 47 years old with three kids. She suggested that I start over with someone who could fill my needs, but honestly, that pisses me off that she is willing to through out the entire family over her ambivalence to address her issues. We have been to 5 diffeeent therapists, three of which deal with sexual intimacy issues and each time it’s a different thing. I don’t think she is having an affair as I work from home and she does as well. It would be very hard to conceal that. I am at a loss as to what to do. I agreed to more counseling, but I see this as a choice for her to admit the advice was wrong and to move on. Why is this so hard? I have told her that what I want is an intimate sexual relationship.

    1. Bill, Thank you for sharing your story. I have no doubt the experience you both had in your teens when your FIL walked in on you along with the “advice” he gave her, heavily influenced your current sex life. How could it not? Your wife has likely been carrying shame and guilt associated with that experience with her for the past 30 years and you as well. Family of origin experiences impact so much of how we relate and love in our adult relationships. Obviously your comments don’t give me the full picture, but I can hear both the love and pain in your words. I don’t know your location, but if working with me is something that interests you, please call my office and inquire about an Intensive. But regardless, I hope you don’t give up. I see so much potential here. Warmly, Kim.

  47. Thank you for taking the time to address this subject and especially for sharing your thoughts on the comments of your readers. I hope you will take a moment or two to put your thoughts on my situation.

    I’m 43 years old and my wife is 39. We have been married for twenty years and have two daughters.

    I am the sex nut. She doesn’t want it as much. This has been a constant source of friction in our marriage ever since the beginning.

    As of this writing, we have had sex one time since October of 2016. Almost a year and a half.

    Her problem isn’t mental or emotional; It’s physical.

    Five years ago doctors diagnosed her with stage 3 ovarian cancer. A very rare case in that occurred when she was only 34. The result of that diagnosis was a surgery to remove her ovaries, cervix, and uterus; all of which were impacted by the disease. Becuase of her cancer diagnosis, hormone replacement therapy isn’t an option as it creates an environment that doubles the reoccurrence of her type of cancer. The lack of hormones caused the thickening of her vaginal wall to disintegrate like a worn out rubber band, making intercourse painful for her.

    On at least one level I don’t blame her for our dwindling sex life; I know she can’t help it. We have had multiple conversations about it and she’s aware of my need for it. She agrees and understands how important this intimacy is for us both.

    Outmarriage has suffered as result of this lack of intimacy. Affection between has gone away and I’m starting to notice that we are beginning to live separate lives within the same house. We don’t talk anymore unless it’s to discuss something about our girls.

    To make matters worse, I’ve turned to pornography for a “release”. This has caused issues within myself because I’m a Christian. I don’t judge others for what they choose to do, but this isn’t something I consider moral for my own life or something I should “partake” in. I don’t know what else to do though. I feel like I might go crazy if I didn’t get something out of my system.

    I once believed our marriage was strong enough to outlast any crisis we faced. We were best friends and we were “in like” just as much as we were “in love”. Now I’m worried that might have been a bit naive. Now, I find myself dreading the day my girls grow up and leave the house. I’m afraid I won’t know anything about this woman who shares my bed when the only thing we have in common has left us.

    1. Brian, I am so sorry for both of you. First, if you aren’t doing so already, I would highly recommend you find a qualified couples counselor or coach who can help you both process what you’ve been through in the last 5 years. Between the cancer diagnosis and treatment and lingering after effects, I imagine its been tough. Regarding sex, when intercourse is painful for one partner I always remind couples that physical intimacy and release can happen without incourse. Right now you’re using pornography for that release, but I believe anything that replaces physical intimacy with your spouse is a bad idea and helps create the emotional separation that you’re feeling in other areas of your relationship. Though it’s vastly different than the sex life you probably once imagined you’d have, you and your wife can create physical intimacy together without intercourse and in doing so, reconnect not only physcially but also emotionally which is vital for a healthy marriage. A good therapist can help you with this. If working with someone on my team is of interest to you, I hope you’ll call. Thank you for taking the time to share your story, Brian. Warmly, Kim

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