Tag Archives: marriage therapy

When Your Husband Doesn’t Want Sex

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

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

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

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

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

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

They feel frustrated, alone, embarrassed and angry.

They also feel insecure.

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

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

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

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

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

A sexless marriage feels so powerless and frustrating.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So your conversation needs to go something like this:

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

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


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

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

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Not Having Sex? 6 Possible Reasons for a Sexless Marriage

You Are Not Having Sex.

At least that is what the statistics report.

Married couples are simply not having sex.

A marriage is considered sexless if the couple is only having sex on average once a month or less. By some reports, 15% to 20% of marriages are sexless.

It isn’t just the women who are saying no, either. There seem to be plenty of men who are avoiding physical intimacy with their wives. 20 to 30 percent of men and 30 to 50 percent of women say they have little or no sex drive. — USA Today

Married Couples are Not Having Sex

The “low sex” category is even greater.

This means having sex once or twice a month.

While there is no specific guideline on how much sex is the right amount, couples who have it on average of once a week seem to report the greatest levels of satisfaction in their marriages.

I work with couples every week, and I’m amazed at how many of them are going months and years without sex. Years!

I just don’t think we are talking enough about this problem.

These types of marriages can go on this way until the partner who wants to have sex has had enough, and gives the ultimatum that the relationship is over unless the problem is dealt with. That’s usually what it takes to get the lower desire partner in my office.

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There are many reasons why a couple is not having sex.

A low sex drive can certainly have a physical and biochemical component. Hormones play a huge part in how much you want sex. Some women have problems with painful sex as well. But honestly, physical reasons are rarely the cause for the sexless marriages I see in my office.

Sometimes it is an undisclosed affair or emotional infatuation with someone else. But most often, it is something going wrong in the relationship dynamics of daily living. Here I’ve listed the ones I come across most often.

6 reasons couples are not having sex

Six Possible Reasons Why You Are Not Having Sex

Number One: You’re too busy and too tired

Sex comes from abundance. When you are depleted, there is nothing left to give. Some spouses are parents, students, volunteers and employees. There simply isn’t enough energy for sex and that is a problem. If this is your situation, you may have to be strict in protecting your time and resources and become a master at saying “no.”

I’m the worst at self-care, so I get it, but I also know when I don’t leave enough margin in my life for relaxation, I usually hit a wall that forces me to slow down. So these days, I’m forcing myself to have down time.

Number Two: There is resentment in the marriage

I see this one a lot. If your spouse isn’t wanting sex, ask yourself this question: “What has my spouse been wanting or needing from me that I am not giving?”

Does your wife want you to help more around the house?

Does your husband want you to curb your spending?

Resentment can start with the little things, and if they aren’t dealt with openly, the resentment will eat away at passion. Trust me on this one.

Just because it isn’t a big deal for you, doesn’t mean your spouse isn’t upset.

I just met with a client who now wants a divorce because he doesn’t feel in love with his wife. She really hurt his feelings 10 years ago, and he never worked it out with her. He never even told her his feelings were hurt. He built up so much resentment he shut her out emotionally. Resentment kills relationships! Don’t let it happen to yours.

Avoid resentment with two simple techniques:

1. Talk about it.

Do not expect your spouse to read your mind, pick up on cues, or just know what you are needing or feeling.

Relationships are about constant negotiation.

If something isn’t working for you, re-negotiate!

2. Put action behind requests.

If your spouse isn’t willing to meet you in the middle, stop settling for less and getting angry about your position. Learn how to set limits without being controlling that will actually protect the relationship.

Number 3: Criticism and Complaints

I see a lot of critical spouses.

When women are critical of men, it almost always kills the men’s sex drives.

Men have so much performance anxiety anyway. If a man feels heavily criticized by his mate, he will shut down. Besides, who wants to take their clothes off around someone who is never satisfied?

If you are in a sexless marriage, pay attention to how much complaining or criticizing you are doing.

Don’t approach your partner from a position of complaint which focuses on what they are doing wrong or not doing well. Instead, focus on what you like and ask for more of that.

For example, if your spouse is coming home late without a heads up, instead of saying “You never let me know when you are coming home!” Instead say “When you call me and let me know you are running late, it tells me you value my time, and that makes me feel loved by you.”

Number Four: Bad technique

I’ve said this a hundred times and I’ll say it again:

For a man to have good sex, he just requires a woman who looks and acts like she is enjoying it.

For women to have good sex, she requires good technique.

Great books on sex to explore:

Number Five: Porn Addiction

Porn is often linked with lower sex drives. The irony here is that it is often used by couple to enhance their sex lives, and in the beginning it sure seems to do just that. But this is a danger zone. Marriage doesn’t solve pornography use, but pornography can destroy a marriage.

Curious to know what happens when you look at porn? Click here to learn more about the studies being done on Your Brain On Porn.

Number Six: A Needy Partner

When a partner is emotionally needy, it drains the relationship quickly.

If you are depending on your partner to bolster your self-esteem, to frequently reassure you that you are ok, or to help you manage your own emotions on a regular basis, you are too needy.

It is very likely that you and your partner are co-dependent and that is a big problem. Co-dependence creates addictive relationships that can become toxic. I recommend Pia Mellody’s Facing Codependence.

Are you in a sexless marriage? Time to make a change.

Sex is important.

If you or your partner feels you aren’t getting enough of it, something needs to be done.

I’ve never yet met a couple where the high desire spouse wasn’t feeling resentful and angry about all the sex he or she wasn’t getting.

The low desire spouse has all the control, and it doesn’t feel good to be constantly rejected.

Then all non-sexual physical touch also goes away.

The low desire spouse is afraid to cuddle because they don’t want it to lead to sex. They are afraid a back rub will “lead to something else,” so you wind up in a marriage without any physical affection!

I’ve seen many couples where one of them really doesn’t care to ever have sex again. If this is your partner, it may be time to give them an ultimatum.

Do it before you don’t care anymore.

I’ve seen too many times when the rejected spouse put up with it, until they finally decided they wanted out and nothing could persuade them to try again.

There simply was too much hurt and rejection.

And the irony is the lower desire spouse almost always says, “I didn’t know it was that painful for you. If you had told me years ago, I would have changed something”.

If you are in a sexless marriage, and you are unhappy about it, raise the alarm and do it LOUDLY!

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Contact us and let us work with you to help you build a healthy sexual relationship. If you aren’t local, our coaches can work with you over the phone – which some clients prefer because it feels more anonymous to them.

Just stop ignoring the fact you are not having sex!

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