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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55 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!

    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. 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…

        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.

  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.

  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.

  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

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