What Not Having Sex Does to Your Marriage

January 6, 2017


Not 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.

Start enjoying sex again

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!

Stop the misery and get some help

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!

DISCLAIMER: Sex is a hot topic for a marriage counselor and it’s something I’ve written about a lot. This article was written to specifically address one situation (and one situation only) I routinely see in my practice – angry, frustrated men who want more sex and wives who don’t realize how the lack of it is impacting their spouse and the rest of their relationship. It is not intended to be a “one size fits all” answer for every sexless marriage; nor is it intended to blame the women. It is simply an insight into the dynamics for some sexless marriages with the goal being to learn and grow as a couple. For those interested, I’ve also written a companion piece addressing this issue from the wife’s perspective of wanting more sex. You can find it here. Continue to check back for more content on this topic in the coming weeks.

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  1. Anonymous

    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???

    • Kim Bowen

      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!

      • Susan Johnson

        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..

        • Anonymouse

          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.

          • Kelly

            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!

          • Kim Bowen

            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

        • Evelyn

          I’m also in a sexless marriage of 9 Years . I have two kids one is 16 and another 9 . I been unfaithful for 7 years

          • Larry

            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.

          • Kim Bowen

            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

    • Scott

      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?

      • Kim Bowen

        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.

        • D. Cowna

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

      • Kit

        Women in the prime of their lives need reassurance that they are desirable and sexy, even if their husbands are asexual.

        My partner and I had a fulfilling sex life until we were married. Then he shut down sexually. I was tricked into an asexual relationship. I wish “cheating” wasn’t a dirty word. I wish I didn’t have to choose between betraying my life partner and having a fulfilling and meaningful sex life

    • Desirae

      I agree!! What if the man is the one who doesn’t want sex and is refusing all the woman’s advances!

      • Kim Bowen

        Hi, Desirae,

        Kim addressed this very issue shortly after writing this blog post. You can find it here.

        TL for Kim

    • Gerald

      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.

      • Kim Bowen

        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

    • Anonymous

      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.

      • Kim Bowen

        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

        • Anonymous

          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.

          • Penny nny

            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 .

          • Kim Bowen

            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.

        • Jarred

          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.

          • Kim Bowen

            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

        • James

          I don’t think you understand a man’s perspective. There is the intimacy and love aspect of sex and there is the physical aspect of sex. Men NEED the physical aspect of sex, period. I am not speaking for women because I am not one. Men, however, need it. You think porn is bad and so is cheating, or sex workers, which I agree, but then you act like the men should just figure out something else. It’s a lot easier said than done. Acting as if sex is only about connection and intimacy is naive at the least.

          • Kim Bowen

            Hi James. Clearly I’m a woman, therefore my understanding of a man comes not from being one, but from my years of training and experience – and of course the years I’ve spent living with one (my husband!). I think you’ve missed the point of my original article, which was about what not having sex does to your marriage. Sex is a big deal! A BIG deal. It’s is particularly so for most men where the physical desire often precedes the desire for closeness and intimacy. I see so many sexless marriages and almost without exception, they are marriages that are struggling. My goal here is to help both men and women see how important it is in a relationship and even more so, help them learn how to get what they need and want – a sexually fulfilling, intimate relationship that meets the needs of both parties. Respectfully, Kim

      • Anonymous1

        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?

        • Kim Bowen

          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

          • LML

            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!

        • Bob

          I think this is a great article, actually, and really portrays the confusing pain that a man experiences in this situation. That said, if you’re in a spot where the GF/wife has stopped having sex reasons discussed here, and she’s at the point where you’re expected to just stfu about the situation and ‘wait it out’, and every time you make an advance she treats you like all you see her as is a sex doll, then you may NOT want to show her this article. She may read that clause about ‘men turning to porn or an affair’ and take it as a passive-aggressive threat, rendering her mind close to the entire rest of the article. :/

      • Ian

        Wow anon! That’s exactly how I feel. My wife hasn’t touched me for 17yrs 3 months 16 days. I used to get myself so distraught and depressed that it was really affecting my life. I hated being constantly rejected after our 3rd child in 95. I came close to a nervous breakdown. For 4 years I tried everything I could think of to romance her, always making sure I was attentive, beautiful holidays, beautiful clothes, at one point I even tried getting a soft pron movie to see if that would excite her and turn her on. You name I tried it, All to no avail. So on new years day 2000, after feeling rejected again, I decided to tell her that I was no longer going to try and initiate making love or even a hug, she had created the world that she (not me) wanted to live in, and it was up to her from then on to change it. Oddly, the next day driving to work, I felt strangely liberated that I didn’t have the responsibility of worrying about it any more. Id allowed myself to be happy at just being alive.
        Today, I still love my wife and would give anything to make her love me in spirit as well as body.
        Finally, in my experience, it IS mainly women who “go off sex with their husbands” and then get annoyed when they stray. HELP.!

    • DIANA

      AGREE, A woman in a sexless, touchless marriage of 8 years now, we have been married 28 years. I’m DONE!! Leaving asap!!!

      • Kim Bowen

        Diana, I do hope you’ve had open honest dialogue with your spouse and told him exactly what you need in the relationship before you make a permanent decision. You owe it to yourself to do that given you’ve invested 28 years in the relationship. All too often I have couples in my office who have never before had these kinds of direct conversations in an honest and respectful way and yet are surprised when their spouse doesn’t understand what they need. I am wishing you the best, Kim

    • Maz

      You reject him repeatedly while you were younger an all he wanted was to feel alive
      Not to have sex with a women who deprived him an wants to feel validated

      • Alex

        If you don’t have children yet, seriously just leave now before its to late.

        My biggest regret in life was sticking around a sexually dead wife. After kids, its not so easy to packup and go, and share your life with somone better suited for you.

        Life like this is miserable, the worst part is I cannot get out without ruining myself financially for a long time. Also the thought of waking up in a different house then my kids breaks my heart.

        Seriously, shes not going to change, she will just put it on you, and make it your fault. Doesn’t really matter whos fault it is though.

        Don’t make the mistake I did, leave now, your life will be better for it. It ruins you, I have pretty much lost all passion for anything in life, don’t even want to face the world anymore, and can’t wait for it to just end.

        Don’t be me, dont get trapped. Leave before its to late.

    • Karen

      Agree It was 20 years that I begged for even a hug!

    • AJ

      I have been in a sexless marriage for four years and I have come close to cheating once. I felt awful about it getting as far as it did, but still long for something that my wife can’t give me, which is enjoyable sex. I have had sexual partners in the past and that is probably to both of our disadvantage. I had never had an issue getting a woman to climax, but in 4 years haven’t even come close with my wife, and it isn’t for lack of trying. For me, if my partner isn’t enjoying sex, I can’t enjoy it, so I have just been rejecting my wife I order to avoid feeling like a failure. I know how much it hurts her when I reject her, because although she doesn’t enjoy it she is still willing to have sex even though it is painful for her. She really is amazing, but the fact that she doesn’t enjoy sex is really starting to hurt our marriage.

      • Elisa L. Vazquez

        I’m not the one who rejects having sex. It’s him. What to do?

        • Wife SMisersble

          This is the same boat I am in. My husband and I haven’t had sex in almoat 3 years because HE is the one not interested and see nothing wrong. Even when we used to do it, I was always the one who initiated it. We have only been married 5 and a half years.

        • Gail

          Even having a good sex life..my husband cannot stop the porn. He has turned angry, critical and an arrogant narcissist.

          so I am no longer interested in a controlling, angry man who has bonded with a damn computer screen.

          He clearly is addicted and just stares into space at times. His wandering eye has become too much. How about focusing on your significant other and quit looking at 13 year old girls on line…

          i am done and on my way out the door..

  2. Kelly

    What if it’s the other way around and the man doesn’t want to have sex?

    • Kim Bowen

      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.

      • Judith

        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.

        • Kim Bowen

          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.

          • Mel

            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.

          • Kim Bowen

            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

          • Daisy

            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…

          • LML

            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 !

        • Steve

          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?

        • Desirae

          Yes. I can relate to the Angry and frustrated!

  3. GBird

    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!

    • Kim Bowen

      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!!!

  4. JamieR

    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?

    • Kim Bowen

      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

  5. Anon

    My problem too husband not interested in intercourse despite viagra being effective

    • Kim Bowen

      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

  6. Bill

    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.

  7. Sharon

    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.

  8. Anonymous

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      Yes! Stay tuned! Thanks, Kim

    • Theman

      It’s always the wife BECAUSE 99.99% ITS ALWAYS THE WIFE!

      • Tammy

        99.99% of the time it’s the wife….Not necessarily. I happily give my husband of 29 years sex which included me (and yes him too) taking the initiative both inside the privacy of our bedroom and outside in public/private places. Even when he was unable to perform I still would try to make him feel like the man and continue for his happy ending even when I wasn’t satisfied those times. Many wives do not know how to tell their husbands what feels good because they are either uncomfortable with their own bodies and feelings of inadequacy and comparisons and I would bet some men choose not to listen because it requires effort and actually talking. Sex does not start in the bedroom. Sex starts in the mind. Men if you would learn to listen to your wife’s needs and desires and learn to first make love to your wife’s heart and treat her with words of affirmation and build her up to where she both believes you when you say loving sweet things to her because your words and actions towards her beauty and desirability match up then I promise you will release a woman willing to go the extra mile and be the woman you dream about. That and when she does go out on a limb and do something out of her comfort zone then let her know how much you enjoyed it. Women do the same for your husband. Men won’t say it but they struggle with their sexuality and performance as much as we do. Don’t be afraid of the awkwardness of trying something new together. So to say it’s 99.99% the woman’s fault is something I beg to differ with.

  9. roderick allen

    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……

    • Kim Bowen

      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

  10. Lisa

    Is a great resource, forum, support group for people struggling in a SM.

  11. Bob

    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

  12. anonymous

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      We should have this posted by the end of the week!

  13. Penny Y Lewis

    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!

    • Kim Bowen

      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.

    • Steve

      If it’s that bad then why stay?

  14. Ned

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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.

      • Pat

        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.

      • Lost

        I am so appreciative of all the comments in this forum! I truly have been searching for ideas and strategies to help with my marriage and stumbled upon this out of pure frustration. I have been married almost 16 years and the last 10 have been difficult because of the lack of intimacy. I have had to change so many things about myself in order to cope with the lack of sex, that I’m reaching a breaking point. We have done counseling without success, in part because of her unwillingness to acknowledge and take ownership for her issues and embrace the concept of change. This is from my perspective of course. I have embraced change and I’m exhausted of taking the initiative consistently. Kim, you mention taking the direct approach and outlining your feelings. I have done that as well and still no change. I struggle with porn and masturbation enough for me to think of it as an issue. But I often feel like “what else is there to do” other than to say I’m done. I don’t want that. What I do want is a loving and intimate relationship with my wife but this is continually stifled by lack of sex. When we have the conversation about it, it stalls. You get tired of feeling as though you are nagging and then you wonder is the “mercy” sex really worth it. I like all that leads up to sex (i.e. foreplay etc.) so to just do it just to do it gets old as well. I know my wife loves me and she wants better as well but when nothing happens you’re like “what’s up!!??” constantly. I don’t want to be insensitive to her needs but ultimately when you are not wanting to or unwilling to have sex but once in a while I don’t feel that I should be as responsible for being sensitive to her needs. I end up waking up watching her get dressed and immediately feel resentment towards her. If she is on her phone or on Facebook, I begin to feel anger and frustration and it shouldn’t be that way. As a result, I disconnect from her mainly because I don’t want to be cross with her. Her: “Hey, did you pay the phone bill?” Me: “Are you going to have sex with me this month?!” It dominates your thoughts to an excruciating point and it’s not really warranted in everyday conversation. I realize that if you don’t talk it out, you will act it out and I don’t want to be the “jerk” because of the feelings that I keep tucking away. We recently went on a trip to Mexico. You would think that would be the opportune time to have some type of romantic moment. We danced, we ate dinner together, we took in shows, we talked… But guess what we didn’t do… For me that is a problem. I know that you will say “call us” and we can help. I’m willing to but it’s almost to a point where if you try one more thing and it doesn’t work, the level of frustration can only mount so much. My faith in God keeps me together mentally and spiritually and it is Him that’s making me still be a husband to her and a better father for the sake of our children. My concern is that when our kids get older and are on there own, what will be left for us to have between us. Again, that is not what I want, but it’s reality. Any strategies you have are welcomed.

        • Kim Bowen

          Hi Lost, I’ve been a little amazed at the number of comments this post had gotten. It’s been a struggle to answer them all and I often find myself repeating some common themes. I’m actually working on a more in-depth series on this topic of sexual desire and how to resolve differences. I hope you’ll keep on the lookout for it. I can tell you love your wife and desire the intimacy to be with her. Porn is not the answer and resentment and hostility are your enemy. You can’t negotiate a way that works for both of you if there isn’t room for you each to hear and respect the other’s opinions and needs. This is tough to do when it’s a topic where both parties are feeling frustrated by either the lack of sex or feeling pushed for more it. It’s doesn’t sound sexy, but real sex in a relationship must be negotiated in a “curious not furious” approach where the goal is to understand the other’s perspective. My guess is you think you’ve done this already. Most of my clients do until they see what a conversation like that really looks and sounds like. You obviously can only control your input and output – not hers – so start there. And yes, seeking help from a therapist or coach that specializes in relationships may be a necessary part of it.

  15. anonymous

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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.

    • Brandon Jay

      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.

      • Thetruth

        You are on the mark with your analogy. One day women will get it.

      • Mike Steele

        This could not have been better said or written. Bravo!

      • Pat

        Wow, right on brother!

      • Mark

        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.

        • Kim Bowen

          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

      • Alex

        Wow! Great posting. Thank you

    • Pat

      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.

  16. Martha

    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.

  17. H

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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

    • Kim Bowen

      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.

    • Alexander

      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.

      • Kim Bowen

        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

    • Candace

      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.

      • Candace

        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

        • Eric

          Its not an offensive tirade, for many men it speaks the truth, obviously you do not like it and have a different opinion, but its purported offensiveness exists in your perception which you are entitled to, but do not expect your opinion to mean as much as you think it does or to be an effective counter argument which it is not either, people may be justified in assuming you are lashing out at the commentator because of your own frustration and if you are that beautiful, perhaps its your personality he finds unattractive, of course that could never be the case and it must be his fault, low T, how could any fault be yours. Women always assume that men will have sex with any women if she is attractive and desired by other men. Men will often prefer a less dominant plainer woman to a grown up ‘little princess’ who thinks they are entitled to absolute faultless and blameless devotion from a grateful male.

  18. Divine

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      Divine, you sound like quite a strong, impressive woman. I wish you all the best.
      TL for Kim

  19. Prateek

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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.

  20. CJ

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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

  21. Tati

    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.

  22. Mr Gaye

    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

    • Kim Bowen

      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

  23. One H

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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

  24. Mikki

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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

  25. Barth

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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

  26. Matt

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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

  27. Nicole

    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!!!

  28. Nicole

    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!!

    • Kim Bowen

      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.

  29. Maggie

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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.

  30. John

    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.



    • Kim Bowen

      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

  31. Missy

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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.

  32. PJ

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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.

  33. Mel

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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.

  34. John

    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.

  35. Bailey

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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

  36. Bailey

    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. 🙂

  37. W

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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

  38. John

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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

      • John

        I didn’t know till after we were married that esx and intimacy was not for me, touchy feely gives me the shivers. My wife has been really upset for many years and that is her problem not mine. I’m very happy with my life and I will never ever change. To this day retirement is driving me crazy, I have to be busy 10, 15 hours a day, and maybe it will drive me to the grave then so be it.
        For years I’ve had high blood pressure, very slight depression, cholesterol issues, and that caused erectile dysfunction, and I take meds for some of these issues. So taking meds and not that at all in sex just worked in favor of me, its helped me to continue to be me.
        My wife has had all the chances to just leave I wouldn’t stop her if she did! But she’s still here and still whinning and moaning about our marriage. So an old guy at 74 and happy and has no real interest with my wife, I’m not going to change for any one. I thought maybe someone would read this and not feel to bad for there messed up life. I know I don’t.

        • kimbowen

          Hi John, I’m not sure I have words for this though I am a little curious why you even choose to be married. I am always interested to hear from my readers and am often amazed at the unique perspectives some bring to the table. I’ll be curious if others have thoughts on your approach to marriage as well. Regards, Kim

  39. Yasir Ismael

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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.

  40. Pat Durgin

    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.

  41. Jeff

    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!

  42. Rusty

    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?

    • Kim Bowen

      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.

  43. Rob

    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.”

    • Kim Bowen

      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

  44. Just another guy

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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

  45. Anonymousxx

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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.

  46. Anonymous

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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.

      • Dan

        I would’nt feel bad about the porn. If your SO doesn’t listen to you when you tell them about your needs and actively avoids trying to work on the issue, then use porn if you have to. It’s either use porn and get off while staying in the marriage, or get a divorce, which for a lot of men is off the table. She feels cheated on? That’s rich, notice how it’s all about her feelings, or else you would’nt be watching porn in the downstairs bathroom on a saturday night because she would rather play candy crush than participate in anything sexual, even if it’s you pleasuring her.

        • Kim Bowen

          Before you resort to porn, check out http://www.fightthenewdrug.com. Porn does not fix things…it only makes them worse.

  47. Tacos are the best thing in the world

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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

  48. Montrez

    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…

    • Kim Bowen

      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.

  49. Bill C

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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.

  50. Brian

    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.

    • Kim Bowen

      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

  51. Tim

    weve been married over 50 years and really hadn’t had sex intimacy in about 35 to maybe 40 years. When first married we had sex and from there on and off, I really got nothing out of it. I have no reason to watch porn or have someone on the outside of marriage. To me that’s lame! We as a married couple don’t interact and never really have, were more like distant brother sister who live together, more like housemates.
    I’ll admit I probably crushed all my wife dreams of a family and fulfilment. But I don’t really care what she thought, and she is welcome to leave whenever she wants to. The only thing that stops her is the front door, but she likes a nice comfortable roof over her head, nice car and clothes . I don’t know why I feel the way I do, and it’s way to late in life for me to care.

    • Kim Bowen

      Hi Tim. Admittedly, it made me sad to read this. You say you’ve crushed your wife’s dreams but believe she enjoys the secure lifestyle too much too leave. And you don’t care. I feel for BOTH of you. I must admit I’m little curious as to how you found my blog, and even more curious as to why you took the time to read it and respond, considering you make it clear that you don’t care. If you were working with me, I’d want to explore that more. Marriage is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do but can also be one of the most rewarding. You are both missing out and it doesn’t have to be that way. Kim

      • Tim

        Well! being in our mid 70 what does it matter. To old and I’m not about to change my life. Finding your blog was easy the internet doesn’t hide a whole bunch. Cruising is fun and I’m interested in other peoples feelings toward sexless lifeless marriages.

  52. William

    I warned my 3 sons to never ever get married if they ever wanted to have sex again and the oldest chose not to listen. My ex-wife began refusing me within a year of my youngest sons birth and eventually asked me ‘why was I still interested in that silliness.’. So needless to say we divorced. My oldest son got engaged, got married and now less than a year later they are divorcing because she is no longer interested in sex except to have children…Quite an eye opener. Now he’s telling his younger brothers not to get married and to listen to their dad….I guess kids have to learn the hard way.

  53. JWK

    The hardest part is having been “friendzoned” by my own wife. It’s been since November 2013 and she is the one who cut off everything. I guess I can’t complain since she’s the same way around our special-needs boys. She had a mental breakdown in 2016 (I became basically a single parent for about six months or so) and has been seeing therapy ever since. She also comes from a family where the fathers took advantage of their daughters-her own mother was molested too. I cook, I clean, I take our boys to all of their doctor/dental visits, I pay the bills, I drive her where needed. She basically lives upstairs. She “feels” not only not in love and not married.

    It hurts, especially when I see random couples kissing and older couples being affectionate. As a Christian, I know Agape love can often be bittersweet. I guess what set me off today was having seen a couple kiss while my little guys and I were at the grocery store. I can’t even compliment her when she looks good. She doesn’t want to be hit on.

    I alternate between being at peace with Yeshua, but then days like today it’s hammered home.

    I’m reminded of the little blessings – like when my autistic boys wanted to be tickled by daddy as I sat in the recliner. I’m there for them, and even her.

    Maybe I shouldn’t have even posted. But, I have. You couples that kiss and even show simple affection – don’t ever take that for granted.

    • Kim Bowen

      JWK, My heart goes out to you and I’m humbled by the selfless love you’re modeling, even under these less than desirable circumstances. I can only imagine the childhood trauma your wife experienced that caused her to shut down as it sounds like she has. You mentioned she’s in therapy… I hope it’s consistent therapy and targeted at that childhood wounding. I also hope you’re seeking out therapy and support for yourself. You are hurting too. As I know you know, you’re on a long road with no easy answers but you aren’t alone. Good bless you JWK. Thank you for sharing your story. Kim

  54. Andrea

    I love affection and intimacy and I need to be close. And to me having sex with your spouse is as close as you can get to being with a person. And it makes you crave that closeness with them again and again. I thought that was what marraige was supposed to be about, love and affection and the uniting of souls becoming as one. A beautiful thing. I don’t understand how someone would want to get married if they don’t desire that type of bond and closeness! I think it just seems unfair to marry someone if you don’t have those intentions.

  55. ConfidenceMan

    I can tell you how not having sex has affected my marriage, I share the story as a lot of men who have posted here. My wife and I are 50 years old, high school sweet hearts married for 25 years. Our sex life has never been good, probably had sex once every 4 to 6 weeks and I can say it was ever really good sex. I was not a dead beat husband/father, I was always there for my family, good provider, very involved in raising our 2 children, my wife was a stay at home mom so she was not juggling the kids and career.

    I know my wife is very attractive, she is a great mother to our kids (who are grown and away at school now) and I still lover her very much. I thought our sex life would improve over time, that never happened, we had the same arguments others have discussed in their posts. I was always the initiator and was rejected almost every time. I reached a point 5 years ago where I belive I had been conditioned to no longer want to have sex with her. I stopped pursuing her and focused on my work, hobbies, sports, etc. I also told her I do not want to live like this any longer, as friends in the same house, with no intimacy, I told her I wanted to try a separation for a few months and we could determine how to proceed after the trial separation. My wife finally realized how serious the issue is and decided she would try working on it, the problem now is I am no longer interested in having sex with her. She has been initiating, I still won’t initiate because of past experiences, I turn her down for sex most of the time, not out of revenge or because I can’t have sex but because I really have no urge or interest to have sex with her. When we do have sex now, I just want to get it over, it’s really not passionate or enjoyable, it’s more of a chore, sometimes I don’t even finish. Most of the time she’ll initiate and I’ll tell her to just give me oral. So this is what our sex life has become, people who no interest in sex shouldn’t even think about getting married.

    I decided to take back my confidence, I refuse to have my sex life controlled by her again. I have sex with her when I feel like having sex with her.

    • Kim Bowen

      Confidence Man, If you read some of the other comments and my responses, you’ll note that you are not alone in these sentiments. I get it. Over time, the lack of sex becomes personal. You internalize it and the resentment and feelings of rejection take hold. You pull back and convince yourself you don’t want it to protect yourself from the emotional pain caused by wanting and not getting it. It’s typical and understandable. But what it’s not is a recipe for a closer, more intimate relationship with your spouse and the relationship you originally envisioned having with her. In fact, eventually your rejections will result in her not initiating anymore either and you’ll be at a physical and emotional standstill. You’ll either live as house mates or one of you will throw in the towel. The real solution is being able to talk about it openly and honestly without either of you getting defensive and upset at the other’s perspective – and then coming up with a plan that works for both of you. It is possible and I’ve helped many couples do it. It’s not a quick fix band aid approach to things though. I hope you’ll consider using your newly found confidence in a way that can re-engage the both of you in the relationship. Regards, Kim

  56. Bob

    I’ve been married for 25 years and have had to fight for it about that long. I’ve complained about being treated like a roommate, I’ve tried pressuring her, backing off, I stopped giving her back rubs, foot massages, and regular massages hoping that she would complain that I don’t touch her anymore so she could find out how it feels, but she doesn’t bring it up. I’ve even had two heart-to-hearts with her asking her if it’s even important to her and she responds with “I guess I’m just a terrible wife”, or “I guess you married the wrong person”. A few years ago i took her to a hotel to get away from the house and we romped and I thought we had a great time, but she never reciprocated. Then on my 50th birthday she asked what I wanted and I said another afternoon in the hotel with her but she declined and said she was too fat. Yes, rejected on my 50th when what I asked for was her. The last few years when it did happen it was totally perfunctory — she would literally lay there motionless and I would have to put her hands on me. When I complained she said she was “complying” so I had no case but her heart is clearly not in it and I feel there are a thousand miles between being willing to and wanting to, and obligatory sex makes me feel that much lonelier so I stopped even trying and we haven’t done anything in over two years. She has never complained, approached me or brought it up. That said, my question is this: Is it even possible to make someone want to do something that they simply don’t want to do? Even if we have the talk again and she’s willing, her heart is clearly not in it when it happens, and it makes me feel worse than not having it at all. If it’s not possible then there really is no solution is there? There are no external factors that would influence her lack of interest –all the other components of are lives are great.

    • Kim Bowen

      Bob, thank you for sharing your story. The short answer to your question is yes – you can “make” (in the form of coersion, guilting, bribery) someone do something they don’t want to do. That’s not what you are wanting though. You want her to WANT sex and that is trickier, though not impossible at all. To get there though, would require effort and patience. If you both were working with me (or one of my counselors) one of the of things I’d want to explore is your wife’s background and formative years to better understand how her experiences influenced and shaped her view on sex and intimacy. They are always linked. If you are serious about wanting things to be different, it also means you’ll have to do things differently too. 🙂 I imagine you’ve built up a pretty good wall of hurt and resentment by now as you’ve dealt with the pain and lonliness of a sexless marriage. That is certainly understandable, though it doesn’t – and won’t – help you get what you want and need in the future. If you are interested in exploring this further, I hope you’ll give us a call. This is just the kind of work we do. Warmly, Kim

      • Bob Smith

        It’s tempting because I’ve never seen a description of the sexless marriage dynamics that’s as accurate as the one on this website. Problem is I’ve already had the hard conversations with no effect. After the talk, she initiated a couple of times but I can tell her heart’s not in it, and in two weeks it was back to nothing. Other problem is that if I tell her I’m unhappy about how she treats me, she gets angry because I made her feel bad — now she’s mad at ME and the tables are turned. My interpretation is that she’s saying “if you don’t like it, keep it to yourself because I’m not interested in doing anything differently.” so I keep it bottled up and I imagine a counseling sessions would trigger the same reaction. The other reason I’m reluctant to try counseling is because I wouldn’t be able to unsay the things that would need to be said in hopes of turning things around. Given her history, if I tell her how unhappy I am she will move away from me, not toward me, guaranteed. But here’s another question: If counseling is effective, why are there so few success stories? If there was a solution we would all be sharing it — the only happy endings I have ever heard of ends with the guy leaving and finding a woman who also needs physical intimacy as a part of emotional closeness. Of course the family unit is dissolved and there are many innocent bystanders (kids) who are hurt, which is a price I’m not willing to pay.

        • Kim Bowen

          Hi Bob. Your email really touched me. I can hear the pain and frustration you are feeling. You are in, what we call, a “double bind”. If you do nothing, you get nothing. If you try and talk to her (even respectfully) you get punished. You have to suppress your unhappiness so she is comfortable and has less anxiety. Ironically, there are a lot of marriages out there that operate on this principle. It may not be around sex, but it is usually something important where one person has to hide how they really feel or what they really think so their partner won’t have a negative reaction. We call this undifferentiated. It sounds like you have accepted your situation and have decided it is worth giving up your happiness for the sake of keeping your family together. I get it. I get the fear of rocking the boat. I work with clients like you every day. But I cannot let this go without saying just a few things. First of all, congratulations on having the tough conversations you have already had with your wife. That took courage. A lot of people in your situation never work up to that step so I want you to realize just how huge it is that you have done this. Secondly, your situation is not uncommon and counseling really is and can be effective. Obviously, not for everyone. But I see many more successes than failures. I’m not sure why you haven’t been hearing about the success stories…other than people tend to be really tight-lipped about this kind of thing. No one wants to advertise they had marital issues…especially around sex. Your wife may be so unreasonable that she cannot make space for you to have a valid complaint. But I’ve found that is often not the case if you have a skilled expert to help you maneuver this minefield. If your wife really is that unreasonable, you are only left with 2 options. Stay and remain silent and hope you don’t build so much resentment and contempt that it causes you to treat her poorly (also not good for your kids)…or draw a line in the sand that could potentially dissolve your family. Neither are great options. Before you deal with either of those scenarios, I would hope you would take one more courageous step to find someone to help you communicate how this is affecting you. I know you think she knows. I know you think you have said it all before. But therapy using the developmental model is truly life changing. If you haven’t tried that, you have not tried everything. Thank you for taking the time to read the blog and post your comment. I truly hope things shift for you in this marriage. If you do try counseling, let me know how it goes. Warmly, Kim

          • John

            Kim, I know you seem to be a well meaning person. However, logic is logic. There is no changing anyone who does not want or care to change. My wife has been sex dead since saying “I do.” I have tried all the tired gimmicks I find on sites like this. California divorce laws will literally make me homeless, and she knows it.

            Over the majority of my 60 years of life, I have met hundreds of married men, maybe thousands. I have yet to meet one single man who is past the “honeymoon stage” that has any sex life at all.

            There is no hope, no future, no solution. If someone was to find one, they would be a over night billion heir. Que the crickets. Marriage is a total lie. Sex outside of marriage is a doomed losers game. Porn is a joke. Life has no purpose.

            I will join a church. Find a charity to join and check out of the lie called marriage.

        • Greg

          Leave her, kids will be fine, you will be happy, she will be happy.


    So here we are…been married for just over 20 years. There has been a steady decline that has recently picked up steam. We have had the “talk” twice in the last two years. I was not rude or pushy. The first time she broke down crying, basically said that I think about sex too much, and that she would try to get better. Things did not improve. Second time I was told that I should never expect spontaneous sex if I initiated it and that from now on I should just not initiate it. I have been thinking a lot lately, perhaps overthinking and a lot of seemingly unconnected dots have started to connect. I am at the point now where I am not sure if I am connecting things that are unconnected or if I have been a complete fool from day one. We did not have sex on our honeymoon. At the time I gave it a pass. We were tired. She said she was on her period. Over the last few years we moved to separate bedrooms. It seemed logical. I tend to stay up later and we both snore…but when I think back on it…there were many refusals for sex involved, she would get angry when I touched her, (she got angry a lot) and when we set up separate bedrooms it almost felt like a relief. However, over time putting my arms around a pillow at night has just gotten really hollow. The second “talk” went worse. I was told that sex was never going to be spontaneous and that I should not initiate it. She would when she was ready. She very angrily said that if we needed to we could find me a “prostitute”. WTF? When we have the house alone she rarely does and is able to make a sex blocking excuse at the drop of a hat. If I initiate I am an asshole. When she initiates it is often “where do you want me”. I told her I don’t want sex with someone who has sex with me just because I want/need it…I would like sex with someone who also needs/wants me. Crickets. Now, here we are. Our child will be going to college in a little over a year and I have begun a countdown in my head that I will be leaving shortly after. It’s a shame. I love my wife. I love our family and my in laws. That being said there has to be more to life than this. Not expecting a solution…just glad to see an article that focuses on the man’s side for a change.

    • Kim Bowen

      Jeff, As you can see from the other commenters, this particular post has touched a nerve with many men (and women) who are in sexless marriages and feel stuck. There are a lot of you out there in similar situations looking for answers and some hope. I often feel like I a broken record when I respond to these comments and I hate that because, though there are similarities in the stories, each one is uniquely personal to the writer. But here’s what I what to tell you – If you want things to change in your marriage, you must be willing to be the one to make the changes first. Blaming your wife entirely for the lack of sex is not only unfair, it just leaves you in the role of victim. It won’t get your more sex. And planning to leave after your child graduates tells me you have already emotionally checked out of the relationship – something else that will not get you what you want. You may decide you have to end the marriage anyway, but I can promise you’ll be stuck in this same pattern until you are ready to rock the boat and manage the anxiety that will come with having productive honest conversations with your wife. I know you say you have already done this, but if the conversation was just about needing more sex, you really haven’t. You both will have to make changes. This is tough stuff. I know because, as I’ve written about before, I dealt with it in my own marriage many years ago. Thankfully we were both willing to shift and make it work. I wish that for your marriage too. If we can help you with this, I hope you’ll call. Kim

  58. Greg

    Dress it up anyway you want to, but the bottom line is women who do not fully understand how a mans body works should never get married. Regular men need sex every other day, its built in, we cannot change it. If you refuse sex, we will find it elsewhere, its built in, may take 2 years or 20 but you will be history. If we get sex, you get love, it is a reactionary act from us, it is not so much a spontaneous act. You need to give sex to get love. It has to be this way around as men are the one with the uncontrollable urge. You may not like this, nor understand it, but it is fact, read all the above and you will finally realise this. Do not make us forsake all other women if you are not prepared to be all other women.

    • Kim Bowen

      Greg, you certainly have a right to your opinion. And to the extent that “sex is important” and “men need sex”, I agree with you. I feel confident I’ve made myself clear on that in this blog and others I’ve written on similar topics. But beyond those two points, your view and expectations of ‘regular’ men is underwhelming. I think you sell yourself and your same-gendered friends short. Men are capable of so much more than just uncontrollable urges and reactionary love. I know it because I see them in my practice every week and I’m lucky enough to be married to one who is also much more than that. Regards, Kim

  59. Bob

    Out of curiosity, do you point out the double standard as a strategy to get the non-sexual partner to see the impact that their behaviors have had? In other words, sex is viewed as unimportant right up until you have it with someone else (the 3rd option) , then suddenly it has very deep meaning and it’s finally acknowledged as what it has always been — an expression of closeness, the establishment of an emotional bond, and a very loud indictment of the state of your relationship with your spouse. The hypocrisy of it all is something I’ll never understand. Plus it’s been so long that I’ve conditioned myself to view her as more of a relative than a spouse, which will be very hard to undo. Did those issues exist and were they addressed and overcome in the success stories you mention?

    • Kim Bowen

      Bob, your marriage situation is, unfortunately, not uncommon. You can see from all the comments that others are frustrated and suffering as well. The reasons for the problems are varied and complex and there is no way to appropriately address them through a blog post or follow up comments like this. But I will say this…Nothing will change if you don’t change something about how you are handling yourself. Throwing blame at your partner will only keep you in a victim position. Telling yourself you are doing it for your kids is being a martyr. Neither one will solve this problem or satisfy your needs. Relieving your stress with porn or prostitutes or affairs is the cowardly approach. Many who post comments here feel very justified in those kinds of solutions. Here’s the key – until you are willing to tolerate the anxiety it brings up for you to approach your wife on this subject in a productive way, you are stuck. You may absolutely have to end the relationship at some point. But it sounds like you’re already well on your way to exiting emotionally and every day you distance further. Yes…there is hypocrisy in this when the woman wants sex less often than their husbands do. But I’m telling you, both of you need some work here. It sounds like you are no more willing to do anything different than she is. Yes….I have worked with many couples who have been able to overcome this difference in desire and have worked out a solution that satisfies them both. In fact, I had to do it in my own marriage. Years ago, my husband was in a sexless marriage and I didn’t get it. But there were things he didn’t get either and until we both worked our edges, we were stuck. He had to go first because he had more motivation for things to be different. But I quickly got on board once I really realized what was happening. It took more than my husband complaining or getting angry about not getting more sex though. Those reactions just made me angry too and I put more distance between us. I was perfectly content for him to feel like a roommate with me because I didn’t understand what the consequences were for that shift in our marriage. And when I finally did, I had no idea HOW to want more sex. I simply did not desire it. We both felt trapped – he in a sexless marriage and me in a position of having to have sex when I really didn’t want to. It seemed like a no win situation then but clearly it wasn’t. We just had to find a way to work it out. And we did. If/when you ever decide to make a shift, I hope you call us. Kim

      • Ben

        Kim, can you explain why some wives don’t think a no-sex situation is a such big deal? Is it really a question of information not flowing to the right places or is it just being in denial (until the situation reaches a head)? I mean, in this day and age, it’s hard, at least for women in the developed world with access to the internet and to books, to claim that they do not know the importance of sex to their husbands. So I’m thinking that it’s more of denial and procrastination at something they find onerous, in the hope that their significant other magically forgets. I mean, I totally get it, I procrastinate too at things I hate to do, and so I would not put it past a wife to deny the importance of sex if they weren’t all that interested in it. Your thoughts please?

        • Kim Bowen

          I can give you some ideas why many women feel no sex is no big deal. Just like you have trouble understanding how a woman can’t understand the need for sex, females have trouble understanding how men are always thinking about sex! Our brains just do not work that way. I realize as soon as I say this, there will be women who will post and tell me how they want sex much more often than their husbands. This is true….in about half of the cases, the women want sex more. But men are wired to think about sex so much more often. You are visually stimulated on a constant basis from bill boards to magazines to internet images. Women need much much more to get to the same place of desire. The real problem stems from what happens as soon as one spouse starts to feel frustrated whether it is the spouse who wants more sex or the spouse who wants less. When we personalize this it becomes much more difficult to work through. The one who wants more sex feels personally dismissed and rejected. They feel their needs are being ignored and it feels very unloving and thus resentment builds. The spouse who wants less sex, starts to feel pushed, pulled, manipulated, suffocated and guilty. They begin to resent always having to do something or consider doing something they have no interest in doing so they feel unloved, misunderstood and unsupported.

          It isn’t that your wife is in complete denial about the importance of sex. She probably has a lot of guilt about it. But she also resents feeling like this is something she has to do frequently to satisfy you. I think the solution is more about understanding how BOTH of you feel and making room for that conversation without the emotional discharges that often happens. No pouting, no resentment, no hostility…just curiosity and a desire to negotiate a way that can work for both of you. This often feels unfair or unsexy and the higher desire spouse starts to think “I don’t want sex with her if she doesn’t want me” but that is unproductive and unrealistic. I want a lot of things from my husband that he doesn’t necessarily want to give me when I want it….like help around the house, a listening ear at 2:00 am when I need a friend…you get what I mean. I am convinced that porn, Hollywood and even literature has idealized sexual intimacy to the point that all of us have unrealistic expectations. I’m going to be doing an in depth series on this soon. Stay tuned for this. I hope it will help answer your questions and everyone else’s here. I’m going to go much deeper into desire differences (including women who want more sex than their spouses) and how to heal and resolve the differences.

          • Bob

            It seems to me that instead of saying the women are surprised by the impact of withholding sex (every single time) that it would be more accurate to say that every single time they use ignorance as their alibi. There’s just no way they don’t know that it’s important, otherwise why would they care about sexual infidelity? But here’s my question: Once they do realize it (or pretend that they suddenly realize it), what does resolution look like? A negotiated, obligatory event is not even close to being wanted and I’m curious about the dynamic after the epiphany. What typically happens next? I’ve had the talk with my wife and it has resulted in few half-hearted sessions and we quickly dissolve back to roommate mode. It’s not like I’m misinterpreting anything — I fought for our sex life for 25 years; she fought for it for 1 day and hasn’t brought it up in the almost 3 years that we’ve been completely sexless.

  60. Beat and Broken

    My story: 30 yrs sex 1 in 2011 and 1 in 2012 and nothing after. She treats me like crap. I will go to bed and just try to feel where she is in the bed and she will slap punch and the like, like I am a killer or something. She does have some female issues but has flat out refused to try to get assistance with. She always say “Sorry about your luck”. We are just there and go through life.And I hear if you would do this or that making it all on me so to speak. I could wright a book on how she talks at/to me but let me just say I am not a “sally” by any means I have just givin up! Am I wrong for that? I have eyed others but not touched I have been loyal am I wrong for that also? I am just at a total loss.

    • Kim Bowen

      Dear Beat and Broken, As you can see from all the comments, you are in a tough place, one with lots of company. I get more questions and comments on this single topic than all other topics combined. There are lots of frustrated and angry folks out there who want more sex with their spouse and don’t know how to get it. I will tell you what I’ve told the others – nothing changes until you are willing to make changes. Demanding more sex will just make her more angry and more distant. Engage your wife in respectful conversation about your needs and listen to hers. This kind of work has to start outside of the bedroom and will involve both of you making meaningful changes in the relationship beyond just sex. It’s tough work but it can be done successfully. I would highly recommend you seek out a coach or counselor that can help you do it. Warmly, Kim

  61. J

    I agree with most of this post and I am surprised by the all the frustrated women. I wont say much about my situation other than it has been a long time and positive solutions are few. Over the years i have learned that it all starts and ends with communication, which i am getting better at (slowly). Mental. Emotional. Physical. In that order gives me the connection i want from my spouse. Missing any one of those is hurtful. But, the physical makes me want to respond with a physical solution.
    There is no one answer fix and it wont be found online. Best of luck to everyone posting and not posting and don’t give up on Love.

    • Kim Bowen

      Hello J, Thanks for your thoughtful feedback. I agree – it does all start with honest, respectful and brave communication. All too often I think we let our fear and anxiety around having these tough conversation keep us silent. And with the silence comes suffering. Warmly, Kim

  62. Liz

    I’m Sorry but I cannot help committing to all this,I’m sorry I have been searching answers & advised from sites to sites to lightin my disappointment. I have been in this kind of horrible situation but why most of the advised directing all men’s are the one in more pain. I’ve done all suggestions was givin but nothing have ever changed so now I’m closed to making a motion of divorce I believed soon, very soon. I’ve done all my part now,I have been open to him & letting him know what I feel but nothing have ever changed. Not all guys are the one in hard times about keeping relation, they are most of them, self centered & selfish. I’m sorry, I don’t believe in it now!

  63. WILL

    we have been together for 28 years, we married two years ago. Sex in the beginning was good and frequent, but now she rejects me every time. Since the marriage sex has disappeared, she says sex isn’t important and there is more to marriage than sex. She gives me the old line of its not you its me, she says she is not attracted to me and never thinks about sex. I tell her I find her attractive and want sex, she says its all I think about. At times she told me she would never turn me down and all I have to do is ask but when I do she says no or ignores me.
    I told her I would wait for her to initiate sex, so I knew she was ready. She never does and when I complain she gets mad and says when she is ready I don’t seem interested. She never makes a move or touches me , I only find out the next day when she yells at me that she was ready for sex and I did nothing. She never says anything or touches me to let me know she is ready, she ignores me all the time. She is always on her cell phone. I am very frustrated with this and am getting more angry as this continues.
    When I do bring up sex, she makes every excuse or tells me I pick the dumbest time or says something to hurt my feelings. I usually withdraw and feel hurt,rejected and mad. She blames a recent hysterectomy for her lack of interest, but this was going on way before she decided against my wishes to have the surgery. A surgery the doctor said she did not need.
    She says she loves affection but she never shows any to me or anyone, not the kids,her parents or anyone. She has a teenager mentality, she has no more than one friend at a time because if they make her mad she dumps them and hates them forever. She is unforgiving and always plots to get even with whomever wrongs her. I along with others have tried to help her let go of her hate , she resists all attempts
    We even went to counseling once , when she was told to come alone, to work on her she refused and stopped going. They told me she needed help and with her I was damned if you do / damned if you don’t.
    I need affection and sex from her , I believe she either doesn’t want to or is incapable of doing it. HELP!!!!!!

    • Kim Bowen

      Will, It sounds like your spouse probably has some emotional trauma in her background that she hasn’t yet addressed. Since you can’t control her (or anyone else), my encouragement to you would be to remain focused on you and what you need to do. Complaining doesn’t ever work so your approach will need to be a different one. If you want this marriage, you’ll need to be willing to do the heavy lifting while she is unwilling to do so, in hopes that as she sees changes in you, she’ll be willing to buy in as well. Otherwise, you have a tough decision to make as to whether you can live with the relationship “as is”. If you haven’t done so already, I’d suggest you read my post on ultimatums and how to use them effectively. Wishing you better days ahead, Kim

  64. blacc

    hey im a 30yr man that is married. An before i go too deep into my life i loved this article. ok so me an my wife are going threw a hard time an i REALLY i have nowhere to turn. we been separated, had different partners during our 5 yrs marriage, bt we ALWAYS seem to get bacc together. just over the years it just hasnt been the same between us an i have spoke to her an she has spoke to me about how she feel. she says i only want sex bt that REALLY is not the case. i wanna feel loved, needed, cared for. i can say i never told her like that bt I’ve told her it deeper then sex. she wants me to do everything she needs like rub her bacc, listen to her about work, rub her butt when she wants, do romantic things like flowers an everything in between. i dnt have a promblem about doin those things bt i feel like she has pulled away from me an our marriage. we have 2 kids both under the age 10. i think thats y she/we deal with it. bt every nite like as im typing this message she will MAKE me cuddle with her naked because she can’t sleep bt to her i am not supposed to want sex. she says its because she is stressed an i understand bt this have been goin on for the last 7months an i really dnt kno what to do anymore. we mite of had sex 10x in the last 7months. i kno it hasn’t been as long as others bt i just turned 30 an my wife just turned 28. so i need advice on what to do/go for help. ive been reading everyone’s story’s an i never knew woman go threw this type of thing

    • Kim Bowen

      Hi Blacc, Thank you for writing. I’ve been overwhelmed by the response to this post and hope you’ve had a chance to read through some of the other comments and my responses to them. I think you’ll find some relevant themes in them. I’m also working on a more in-depth look at the differences in sexual desire. I encourage you to keep on the lookout for it. Boundaries work and honest communication are two themes that come to mind in reading your story.
      Honest communication comes without reactivity and should be about what you need in the relationship as well as having open ears and mind to hear her perspective and needs. Warmly, Kim

      • Charles M. Cullen

        How does a husband initiate honest communications when his wife doesn’t even want to think about it, much less talk about it?
        Such a wife doesn’t want to talk to anyone (like counselors) and so an honest communication can’t happen – unless the husband forced his wife to visit you. Does such forcing actually work to create honest communications? Frustration then results in despair and giving up trying, no matter how much he loves her and wants the best for her – which I do. If forcing will really help us, I will do it.
        Wouldn’t it useless to have a conversation with your coaches without her?
        Thank you for your patience with us all,

  65. Anon

    I’ve written and deleted what I want to say on here more times than I can count.

    My relationship is only being held together by our 8 month old daughters smile.
    We do have sex which has been put on a schedule of once a fortnight as that’s how much she deems necessary.
    There is no passion or lust its just means to an end. It’ll last 10 mins if I am lucky before she rolls over and tells me she’s done and to finish.
    I’ve told her I need more from her which she responds just go jerk it off.
    She doesn’t understand the need I have for being “together” whilst having sex. She talks to her friends about it and since they are not sexually driven people she feels she is fine setting such schedules.

    She thinks I am the one with the problem because I want to have it a few times a week and that I should ask my Dr for help.

    When we first started discussing the issues with our sex life she said if I wasn’t happy with sex with her I could go get it somewhere else. I told her I didn’t want it somewhere else I wanted it with her.
    It’s got to a point that nothing has changed so I do want to have sex with other people but she’s against the idea now.

    I don’t want to walk out on the relationship but I feel if it continues I am going to start hating her.

    • Kim Bowen

      Anon, you are in a tough spot and certainly have a lot of big decisions to make. When I respond to readers I always try to do so directly and with honesty. I will do the same here…. Even a sex deprived marriage doesn’t justify porn use or cheating. Those are the easy way outs and do nothing but further damage the relationship. Talk to to her again in a respectful way and without emotional reactivity – even if she reacts. See a therapist, go alone if she won’t go with you, even put the marriage on hold. Or, if you must, leave it. But don’t stoop to cheating and justify it by the lack of sex. One of my coaches can help you do all of this in a way that is respectful and most effective. If you’d like a free consult, call us 972-441-4432. Regards, Kim

  66. James

    Sex is designed to be torture. If you don’t eat for long enough you die. If you don’t drink for too long, you die. If you can’t breathe for even a few minutes, you die. But no matter how long you go without sex, you never die from it. You just go on, getting more and more miserable and feeling more and more like the chump that you are for allowing someone to torture you–for just taking it.

    9 years. What this does to a marriage is make it into something other than a marriage. I love the woman I live with, (who I was once married to, and still am as far as the law and others, and maybe even she, think) but I now live in a house, not a home and while I haven’t, and won’t ever cheat, I don’t consider myself married. My life is draining away as the years pass, like water from a leaking container–my self-respect is long gone.

    I thought she was special and that she thought I was special. I wanted to share myself with her and thought she wanted to share herself with me. She has forced the realization that I was wrong. She doesn’t see me as special, she doesn’t want to share herself with me, and that makes her no different from any other desirable woman who has no plans to be intimate with me.

    I’m not even mad at her any more. I’m just angry and disappointed at myself for being such a loser, for having stayed with her, for having continued to support her, for having continued to take care of her, even after it’s obvious that she isn’t interested in meeting my needs.

    I’ve tried to talk about it over the years, I’ve tried to communicate, but I think she doesn’t want to understand because then she would have to acknowledge that she has been torturing me for nearly a decade. The crazy thing is that she really does love me–it’s just not the kind of love that does me any good.

    This is probably the part where you expect me to say that I wish our marriage was like my friends’ marriages. But every guy I know who’s about my age and has been monogamous is in pretty much the same predicament. At some point their wives just stopped having sex and never started again. Oddly enough, the guys who have demonstrated that they are willing to leave a relationship seem to have better luck in terms of maintaining a physical relationship. Unfortunately that’s just not the kind of guy I am and my wife knows it. I’d like to think that doesn’t play a huge role in why she doesn’t seem to be worried about the situation, but I think it probably does.

    • Kim Bowen

      James, I am sorry you see sex as a form of torture now. Your frustration and bitterness come through loud and clear. My guess is they do at home as well which is self-defeating in your quest for more sex and intimacy with your wife. In fact in my hundreds of clients, I’ve never met anyone who has been able to achieve more sex and intimacy using this strategy. You may be willing to stay in the relationship without more sex because you aren’t “the type of guy” to leave. But will your wife stay with a man whose anger and resentment continues to grow? I’ve seen this happen more than once. Rather than getting angry, I encourage you to get help and learn some strategies and tactics that change your approach and potentially the outcome of your efforts. Warmly, Kim

      • Rich

        Kim, after reading all of these comments, I have a thought. If counseling did convince the withholding spouse to try again, would the receiving spouse ever feel it wasn’t just charity?

        You know, I told my wife that exact thing not long ago when we had one of our discussions on the problem. Her answer was that she could fake it and I’d never know. Since then I’ve wondered if she always faked it. That sure doesn’t help a man’s ego.

        • kimbowen

          Fair question, Rich. The short answer is yes, the receiving spouse CAN feel it’s something more than just charity. But it’s rarely that simple. It’s a growth process and it’s also about more than just the sex. I find intimacy and sex get tossed around interchangeably, and the reality is sex is just a small (but very important) part of true intimacy. When a couple is struggling in the bedroom, we look at the rest of the relationship too. We also tackle differentiation within the couple and how sexual desire fits within that. Thanks for your question. Kim

  67. Chris

    I really don’t know what to say? I love my wife with all my heart. I know she loves me too. But the last few years have been a crazy rollercoaster emotions, work issues and health issues that I believe has broken down our sex life. Four years ago I rejected a transplanted kidney and slowly started to lose the ability to sexually stimulate my wife or myself. Of course the battle of life came first and sex was easily put on the back burner. Then, two years ago I started my battle with stage 4 thyroid cancer and sex was forgotten about all together. Yet, we remained happy and focused on recovery and family. Now I have been cancer free for over a year, though still on dialysis waiting for a kidney we found ways to enjoy the sex we could have in bed. That was a year ago! Now it seems this last year has been nothing but issue after issue when it comes to managing our daily lives and our sex life. The stress with her job has gotten greater causing arguments. The stress of my health and work causing arguments and of course the pressures sex start arguments. I am afraid to initiate sex because of my own inabilities and the usual rejection. We have survived so much and now every time we seem to turn around it’s like throwing gasoline on a fire. The house is never clean enough, she is always exhausted, we don’t have time, I wait to long to initiate and she is already too tired. The truth is in my condition not only do I have such a small window (even with medication) 1. Sex does not last long if at all 2. I know it can’t be exciting for her. In all honesty I feel since I can’t perform like I used to years ago she resents me and would rather just not try anymore. But, how do you get across to a woman you have loved for years “this does kill me inside”? Also the fact that she believes she initiates sex but in all reality she does not? Hopelessly lost in this situation!

    • Kim Bowen

      Chris, I’m so sorry that you’ve had so many serious health issues in the last few years. These kinds of things tend to take a heavy toll on relationships. But it’s not a hopeless situation unless you are unwilling to address it. I don’t pretend to know all of the dynamics of your situation – both physical and emotional – but you can have both sex and intimacy in a relationship without intercourse. You just have to figure out what works best for both you. Sex is a sensitive topic to navigate and one that many couples hesitate to want to discuss with a therapist. If it’s important to you – and I can tell it is – don’t let this stop you from seeking help from a professional who can help you navigate it in a respectful way where both of you can listen and learn what the other needs. Warmly, Kim

  68. Steve

    So I came upon this article hoping to find some solace, I am very amazed at how accurately this article was described how things have been with me. I am commenting, because, although this is very accurate it doesn’t fit the history that has brought my marriage to where it is. To get started I have abandonment issues due to my mother leaving at the age of 3, she came back a few months later but it is still something I still deal with. I felt very rejected through out my childhood and always heard the “I like you as an older brother” the entire time. When I met my wife, she was very affectionate, though she wasn’t into romance (that should have been a clue). The day we got married, that affectionate person pretty much ended. We started at once a week, then to once a month, to once very three months, to currently a couple times a year. For the first 12 years of our marriage we did talk about the issues fairly consistently, and she would always come back “you equate sex to mean love” and then would reject me due to that. She has a seizure disorder that causes memory issues, so I eventually gave up hope of her retaining these conversations and building on them to find a solution. I have deep depression, I constantly feel rejected/unloved, I really have a hard time mustering any energy to care about anything anymore. I could be happy with non-sexual intimacy if she was willing, but I nothing but a very robotic response. Even when it comes to sexual matters, I make sure she is fully satisfied before myself (traditional intercourse doesn’t do it), but her response to my needs are very wooden and “let’s get this over with” attitude. In general, so I don’t feel so rejected, I will just try to enjoy her enjoying her experience and then leave it at that, this way I can enjoy with out being considered a chore. Due to her medical condition I have stopped try to fix this area of our lives, and as in the article, we are fitting the profile to a T, I just have no idea what to do. I wanted to feel desired and wanted, I want to feel she has pleasure when she touches me, and I would love to have non-sexual intimacy but I am at a loss of how to get there?

    • Kim Bowen

      Steve, I found your comments to be very insightful. Not everyone I meet and hear from recognize how impactful their formative years are on how they show up in their adult relationship now. It seems you’ve already made some of those connections. If you haven’t already done so though, I’d take it another step farther and consider participating in a trauma workshop that can help you address the hurt and shame and depression you still experience. This is foundational work that will change how you show up in your relationship with your wife, which in turn can change how she responds to you – which is really what you are wanting…a different response to your inputs. We actually offer a Trauma Workshop monthly here in our offices. We call it Breaking Free Workshop. Wishing you the best, Kim.

  69. Mandy

    We have been married for 12 years of which at least 10 have been celebrate, bar me initiating mostly without success. I have now discovered that my husband has a porn addiction and has been seeing prostitutes. It has been agonizing to say the least. Battling to understand why he would go to these lengths when he has a willing partner at home. We are now in therapy but I do not know if the damage to the marriage is too severe. I have hung in there as he always told me he suffered from anxiety and low libido and was relatively good husban in every other way. We have a 12 year old daughter.

    • Kim Bowen

      Mandy, I’m so sorry. The porn industry has grown exponentially in the last 2 decades and the media and Hollywood have also done us such a disservice with their portral of sex and porn. I’ve seen so many marriages damaged by the resulting sexual addiction. You’ve got some tough decisions and tough conversations ahead of you. I don’t know anything about your therapist but I do encourage you to make sure you working with someone who is pro-marriage and will take your relationshis as his/her client. Also, your husband needs to be seeing a therapist who specializes in sexual addiction. If we can help you, I hope you’ll call. Regards, Kim

  70. Anthony

    After many years of being rejected sexually (she just didn’t enjoy sex) my wife had an physical and emotional affair. She said it made her feel “electric” and “alive” amongst other things.
    That is largely behind us although she now no longer enjoys sex.
    All those years i accepted it now i know she can and does enjoy sex very much… my self esteem is smashed, i feel so undesirable which i know i’m not.

    A year ago a close friend (was there for me during the affair although she never knew it) told me she was in love with me and would do anything for me sexually. I told my wife and haven’t spoken to the friend since.
    Now a big part of me wonders what if i had left my wife (i’d never put anyone through the agony of infidelity)

    I’m at the point now that i love my wife very much, we’re closer than we ever have been, more affectionate but having my needs go unmet is no longer acceptable. I don’t want to just put up with it anymore.

    • Kim Bowen

      Hi Anthony, I can imagine how painful it was to figure out that your wife could enjoy sex as a result of the affair. We work with a lot of couples recovering from infidelity. Though every situation is different, one of the consistent and devastating consequences of the infidelity is the the crushing blow to the self-esteem of the partner. It’s something we always have to address in the counseling or coaching process. You didn’t mention whether or not you sought therapy – either individually or as a couple – to recover from the affair. I hope you did. If not, I hope you DO. That’s where your work should start. If at the end of the process you decide you cannot stay in the marriage as it is now (assuming there is no change), then that is a decision you can make knowing you’ve done everything you can to address the situation. I’m not sure of your location but either one of of coaches or counselors (depending on your location) can help you do this work. I hope you’ll call. Warmly, Kim

      • Anthony

        Thank you for your kind words Kim, I didn’t seek therapy at the time I have recently started this process on my own though and am finding it’s helping to finally talk about it instead of suppressing how i feel about it. The affair was over 2 years ago but I still haven’t come to terms with it. I have spoken to my Wife several times about the issue of sex though and for the last couple of weeks things have been infinitely better – I think 7 times in a fortnight hasn’t been heard of since we first got together. – at the moment i’m still not 100% sure want to stay married to someone who could stand by and watch me sink like she did but that’s a decision i’ll come to in time.

        • Steve

          Leave her. You don’t need a woman that doesn’t need you.

  71. DiAnna

    What does it mean when the husband, who is perfectly capable of having sex is the one that is refusing?

    • Kim Bowen

      Hi DiAnna, I obviously can’t speak to specfically what is causing it in your relationship without knowing more, but there are a few causes that are pretty common. I discuss these in this blog post: /2017/01/husband-doesnt-want-sex/ If you’d like help understanding more about your relationship and more specifically, some guidance on what to do and how to do it, I encourage you to call my office and arrange to work with one of my marriage coaches. Warmly, Kim

    • Miss Billie

      DiAnna, I’m in the same boat at you.

  72. Hank

    This was a powerful message. I have been in this sexless marriage. It’s been 6-7 weeks and nothing. I’ve asked, I’ve romanced, cooked, shower her with attention, I’m a great listener and still nothing. My efforts are not just for sex, I love my wife however I also need intamacy and yes, sex. We used to be a 2 to 3 times a week couple and some multiple times on weekends. I’m at a point where I’m seriously thinking about finding an escort. I don’t want an affair, I just need a woman to make me feel good. I am at the point of resentment. I am also at a point where I look at her and think of how good things “were” but are no longer. It’s like we are just good friends, roommates and not much more. When we are out at BBQ’s or parties she flirts with me to no end. It’s almost as if she is putting on a show. Once we get home and my passion meter is off the chart suddenly she feels I’ll or sits in the bathroom for literally an hour. I’m past the breaking point and I’m wondering if an escort is a good idea. I don’t want to fall in love or have a relationship but I need an “escape”. Please send me a bit of advice.

    • Kim Bowen

      Hank, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Over the years I’ve answered many posts like this, each with a similar answer. Going outside of your marriage for sex cheapens your words and it cheapens you. If it’s not just about sex, then the escort idea shoudn’t even be on the discussion table. After all, sex is all you get with an escort. What I didn’t hear you say here was that you’ve engaged your wife – from a place of vulnerabilty – in a thoughtful, heartfelt conversation about how the lack of physical intimacy is effecting you. That’s where I recommend you start. And because this is a sensitive topic, I encourage you both to engage a marriage coach or counselor who can help you sift through what is causing this relationship gap. My coaches and counselors are experienced at helping couples work through desire differences like these. Warmly, Kim

      • Rudolf

        I also thought about that „escort escape“. I did that talk coming out of vulnerability with my wife. I also was the one initiating consulting. After the second appointment Together she bailed out. I read a ton of books and listened to countless audiobooks. I bought her the 3 books which impressed me the most and asked her if she would like to read those books and to talk about it. After several months now, she finished 2/3 of the first, at least. Whatever I do, she isn’t really interested in solving the situation. I always get „don’t harass me“ or „you are obsessed with sex“. We are getting along very well and we both love each other. It’s just that She lost any interest in sex. She sees my situation but won’t grasp the magnitude. She said that she wants to be available to me. But honestly, charity sex is worse than no sex. So, I find myself at night besides her masturbating while she is sleeping or masturbating with a flashlight when she is out of the house. That feels more than degrading To me. Using the services of an escort just for the sex part wouldn’t lessen my word or selfworth at all. Beging my wife for sex In contrast would be and therefore will never happen!

    • Miss Billie

      Hank, I read your comment and I’m like “Oh my God, that is me!” But the twist is, I’m the wife 🙁 My husband puts the “show” on in front of people but when we are alone…NOTHING! “It’s not you, it’s me.” I’m so sick of hearing that crap. We do not hug, cuddle, barely talk and get the “good morning,” “good night” peck on the lips but that is it. I don’t even respond and kiss back anymore. I use to grab his head and push my body against his to get him to “come with it.” I get the gentle push away or the jokingly “watch out now.” I’m tired. I’m frustrated. I’m hurt. I’m angry. Good luck. We are going on 4 months of nothing.

  73. Dazed and Confused

    I have been married my wife for a little over a year but we have been together for a total of almost 6 years. When we first started dating, sex was wonderful. But then, into our 2nd year, we hit a rough patch where she cheated on me with someone emotionally. She begged for a second chance and so I gave it to her. I never had an issue with being jealous, however things started to change the second time around. Moving on…here we are married now. I’m having a hard time with us not having sex frequent. If it was up to me, I would like it twice a week. But to her, that is still too much to ask for. The talk of us not having sex has come up, numerous times. I’m exhausted because every time the talk comes up, she makes me feel like a dirtbag and says that I’m treating her like she’s a piece of meat. Which clearly she’s not, or else I wouldn’t have married her
    However, I’m starting to feel resentful and I’m feeling the urge to satisfy my needs outside of my marriage.
    My question is, should I get over that I might not get sex frequently anymore or leave my marriage?

  74. Sam

    I read this article and it’s as if the author knew me personally and wrote about it. Then I browsed the comments and saw my situation over and over.
    I eventually divorced the woman who was spending all the family’s money, swiped credit cards left and right, and denied me sex for three years after several previous ones of slow decline. I will NEVER marry again. In the three years since my divorce, I’ve had more sex than during 13 years of marriage. I’m now in my 50’s and I keep getting asked out by women in their early thirties who gave up on the effeminate man-children their own age. What’s more, I’m financially better off without that parasite having access to my bank account. I thought post-divorce life would be lonely and miserable and I was very wrong. Divorce laws have changed so men aren’t quite as victimized by it. Did you guys know joint custody of children is the default in most states? I spend more time with my kid than I could when I was married.

    My strong advice to any man being treated like this is get the hell out and let that woman sink in her self-made pond of misery. Have children? Keep ’em and enjoy them. Alimony is only for exceptional cases too. None of us live long. Ditch the baggage and live happy.

    • Bluedout

      Brother….you just inspired me.

  75. Rose Fulmer

    This article almost brought me to tears. The whole “Poor rejected husband and it’s all your fault! Shame on women”. I grew up hearing those ridiculous stories that men always make jokes about, the ones about how after you put a ring on it she cuts out the sex. What a joke. It’s been my experience since my first marriage that this is the complete opposite and that men tell this story to be cute. My husband is so pathetic he wouldn’t even be bothered on our wedding night. I’m attractive, he’s attractive, I’m game and he’s just lazy.

    • Kim Bowen

      Hi Rose, I am sorry this article hit a sore spot and made you emotional. The article you describe certainly isn’t the article I’ve written though. It was not intended to be a “one size fits all” attempt at addressing sexless marriages and there certainly no intent to shame women. Sexless marriages are one of the topics I get asked about most and I’ve tried to approach it from all angles. If you are interested in seeing the issue from the woman’s perspective of wanting more sex, you can find that one here: /2017/01/husband-doesnt-want-sex/ Kindly, Kim

    • Sandra Beal

      I agree..it brings me to tears as well..I know more men rejecting women in their bedrooms than the crazy way this article reads. When a guys needs are met on paper or computer….no need for the real thing. 10 painful years of rejection in the bedroom….and yes it is HIS problem and addiction.

      • Kim Bowen

        Sandra, You are correct – it does go both ways. In fact I’ve addressed it from the woman’s perspective of wanting more sex in a separate blog post found here: /2017/01/husband-doesnt-want-sex/ Pornography is frequently a huge contributor in situations like this and I’m sorry you are experiencing the same in your marriage. Society has been feeding us the message that porn isn’t harmful – and can even be helpful – to a marriage and that is just plain rubbish. I have sexual addiction specialist on my team that has helped many clients and/or spouses of clients struggling with sexual addiction. There is a way out that can help restore real intimacy in a relationship. Warmly, Becca

    • lonely

      That happened to me on my wedding night :/ It does feel like laziness. This is the only article I’ve found so far that didn’t just tell me it must be my fault as the husband.

  76. sandra

    Sometimes there are very good reasons why you are not being intimate. In my case, my husband stopped being a husband. He has a very good job but did nothing to help with family expenses. I worked 7 days a week 10 to 14 hours a day to keep a roof over our head, food on the table, etc. I raised his 2 children because he and his ex-wife were too selfish to do so. In the end I no longer could be intimate with a man who refused to provide for me physically, emotionally or financially. All his money went to drugs, alcohol and other people. His personal hygiene was non existent – would come to bed with dirt on his hands arm and face and probably brushed his teeth 4 times a year. We are no longer living together. He moved in with the woman he is now having an affair with (to my knowledge this happened well after I asked him to leave) My stepson still lives with me.
    To be honest I feel rejected, by him now providing a roof over another woman’s head, when he refused to honor his obligations to me and our children. It angers me when people talk about him now going to church. He is going to church with the woman he is living with while still married to me and people say god is blessing him. Really, god is blessing you for dishonoring an arrangement he holds sacred?
    In my mind, I know we will never work and I am better off, but that does nothing to ease the pain and betrayal I feel. I did not separate from him for petty stuff I did so because he made life miserable for me and the 3 teenagers in my home and we needed peace.

  77. Marc

    WOW, This really IS our marriage…. with a twist.

    We have been together for 23 years and married for 17. Sex at first was great, multiple times a week and for hours on end. She actually was the first to initiate sex in our relationship. About 16 years ago it slowly started to decline, on her end. We then started a family 15 years ago… After our first child was born sex really declined, and I understood as having a newborn is very time consuming and exhausting. This went on for about 2 years and really started affecting me emotionally. I kept trying physically and verbally telling her she’s is beautiful, I love her and her body… which she HATED after giving birth because of her stomach and her breasts got larger. One night I said to her, “Do you want to have another child?” and BAM, sex was incredible for to weeks… She initiated it 4 times a week for two weeks before finding out she was pregnant again. After having our second child it again slowly started to be non-existent. It got worse and worse over the next few years even though I tried everything, including having talks with her… All she ever really said was she will try. All it did was get worse…. Tried cuddling in bed and on a few occasions she actually moved my hand from a portion of her body to her hip or something because she didn’t like her body… Eventually I started giving up, it’s now to the point that unless she has been drinking, she won’t even touch me. The last time we had sex was a year and a half ago and before that was another year and a half (both times were after a Christmas party so she had been drinking a lot). Now the part that really confuses me… For some reason, and I have NEVER gone through her things before, but I went through her drawers and in her lingerie drawer (which the last time she wore any lingerie was over 10 years ago) was a life like vibrator wrapped up in an old pillowcase! My wife has never been one for toys, ever!, and is very cheap with money… So not only did she buy a vibrator, she has hidden it from me and I have no clue how long it has been in there…. I’m at a loss and very upset over this… If she isn’t into sex anymore and has to be drunk to even touch me… why this?!?!?!

    Please help,


  78. Terry

    I have asked my husband for sex and I keep being told No, i know he dose alot for me considering he work,clean house,and caters to my every need except for Sex. See I am handicap and can’t do nothing more than lay around but I desire his intimacy, I think him taking care of me is wearing on him. I need to fix this WE been together for 14 years and been married since February 2018. This is getting old I can’t stand not to have him.

  79. Miss Billie

    I’m reading these comments and it lets me know I’m not alone. I’ve been with my husband for 14 years (9 married). We are a blended family (I have a 30 year old and a 21 year old daughters, he has a 29 year old son and 28 year old daughter). We had awesome sex when we dated and one of the things I loved about him is that he let me be me. He said that sleeping with a woman that sleeps nude drove him crazy which amazed me because it was normal for me. He use to not be able to keep his hands off of me. Fast forward, we have been in and out of counseling, he gets angry because he thinks he is the “perfect” spouse…his words. Told him, there is no such thing. He finally said he realizes that but I’m not sure…his actions. I’m still in counseling for myself. I know I have issues, PTSD, depression and anxiety. My outlet is the gym but lately it is not enough. He will not seek counseling for himself….he’s Mr. Perfect! I have left him twice and both times he would act “right” and I would come back. Then he slowly goes back to ignoring me and not acknowledging me. He doesn’t want me unless he feels threatened (scared someone else would get me).
    Every female in our families, and friends, he is attentive to and loving. In public with me….he is awesome (holds my hand, opens doors, talks to me, etc.) We get home, nothing. This is the longest we’ve gone without sex….4 months! I try to talk to him, he gets angry. Blames his T-levels and such, so I suggest seeing a doctor. He reluctantly finally went. But in the meantime, no intimacy. I said if he would just hold me sometimes while we watch TV (happened twice), find other ways of being intimate (he agrees but does NOTHING). I have resorted to sex toys to pleasure myself. He would see one and no reaction from him. I hide now when I get undress/dress because I feel ugly to him. I want him to see me naked and want me…he could walk right past me to get his comb and walk right out of the room. I use to walk around the house in my tshirt and panties and he would tell me he is going to get me, so I would laugh and dare him……not any more…..I could bend over in front of him and he MAY say “alright now” but nothing happens.
    When I share how I feel about all of this, he gets angry and/or shuts down. I cry alone because he won’t comfort me. I find a place alone to cry to myself….it hurts. Counseling advised him that I needed acknowledgement and that angered him. He tried once to console me after he found I had left the bed in the middle of the night to go hide and cry. I could tell he was uncomfortable and could feel his body tense up….didn’t help my situation, so I still cry alone. I’ve tried initiating sex, tried seducing him, sent him naught texts, left him loving messages on his bathroom mirror, praise him when he does the yard or such (his Love Language)….I’m tired!!!!! I feel like the man in the marriage and he’s the wife! And no, I have not let myself go. I am 5’4″, 130 lbs (10 lbs heavier from when we met) but I am very fit…I’m a gym rat. I’m starting to think he may be in the closet and that scares me.

  80. Steve

    I’m at the point of leaving but I stay for my two girls. They are getting older 12th and 9th grade but I can’t bring myself to leave them. It’s been 20 yrs. There have been at least a blow up fight a year and little ones about no sex. And not just the sex but the passion, intimacy. She says she will try and she sorry but she is not a sexual person and is not that affectionate. And when we do have sex it’s dead fish lay there. She has never had an orgasim with me…..in 20 years. She can’t let go with me. I have had other girls before my wife they all had came. I have been crushed as a man and I have now at 48 have had enough. I started TRT and working out. I am going to have an affair. And I never thought I would say this but I want to find new love. I’m keep a log of how I feel and the times she says no to sex request.

  81. Giselle

    I agree that not having sex can negatively affect a marriage. However, this article is one-sided. Why is the assumption that the wife is the one rejecting sex? Sometimes men are the ones not wanting sex. In these cases, are the feelings that arise in each partner the same? Does that dynamic affect the individuals and the marriage differently?

  82. Bluedout

    My wife let herself go. Starting eating bad, stopped exercising and sex became a choir then it was out of the picture. I was going crazy, but I didn’t want to have an affair so I discovered massage parlors through a friend who had similar issues in his marriage. It helped a little. When the wife found out, she was devastated which confused me. To me it was just like going a robot…no emotion involved. The problem is, some of us healthier guys have something called testosterone, and if you have too much you become a little hyper sexed. Most women have a hard time understanding this. The annoying feeling is multiplied if they withhold sex. My wife tells me now that I should have never been married. She also added that I’m the type that should just live out the rest of my life with maids and prostitutes…now that’s cold and not true.

    • Euan

      You cheated on your wife and you’re not sorry. I’m sure if she went to massage parlours and other men ‘took care’ of her needs you would be totally fine with that, right? Or do you think your healthy male hormones leave you no choice but to cheat? Your wife’s comment is true and possibly still kinder than she should be. Having burning physical needs that need to be fulfilled is defensible; cheating is not. Take care of your own needs yourself, alone.

  83. Raine

    What a crap article. Blame the woman. My husband has been addicted to porn… I was the more adventurous one in sex and he wanted me to be more submissive… (his porn talking) this has killed my sexuality and self esteem. ITS NOT ALWAYS THE WOMANS FAULT!!

    • Kim Bowen

      It isn’t about fault. Men withhold sex just as often and we have addressed that in other articles. Also check out http://www.fightthenewdrug.com

  84. Ron Allen

    I don’t know really where to start, but I will keep it simple. My wife of almost 51 years has cut me off sexually. She has no timetable to return to our intimate ways if ever. Yes, she says I am the cause, not from her losing libido, but of all the times I have mentally abused her. She is just not interested in me anymore. We have never cheated on each other and have no plans to do so.
    This is killing me, not from losing affection as much as knowing she probably doesn’t love me anymore. My first reaction is saying to myself that I can hold out as long as she can. But, her mind is made up. There is a strong possibility she will never come back to me. I have apologized profusely for the abuse in the past but to no avail. I could share more but you get the picture. By the way, I have erection problems that I am trying to overcome. My urologist wants to place a shot in my penis and measure the blood flow. But, what’s the use? Why go through that when she doesn’t want me? What do I need to do?

  85. Betty

    This is a pretty sexist article. Apparently the “ladies” are the ones withholding sex and the men are deprived.

    • Kim Bowen

      Betty, this article address the women who are withholding. There are other articles that address when men withhold. Both sexes withhold sex and it is damaging coming from either one. This article is just one perspective.

  86. John

    We’ve been married for almost 50 years and for most of those years we’ve had sex about once a month. Since menopause, frequency dropped to once or twice per year and we now have not been intimate for over 2-1/2 years. The only time we had a good sex life was way back before the kids were born.

    This leads me to believe that she has never really loved me or wanted sex other than to satisfy herself. The once a month thing was almost perfectly timed with her monthly cycle. In fact, years ago she told me that it wouldn’t bother her if we never had sex again. Any communication on the matter would end in an unpleasant disagreement so I’ve given up trying.

    I’m kind and considerate, compliment her on her looks, have never cheated and barely remember what she looks like without clothes. On the few occasions that I’ve asked for a kiss it was like kissing my grandmother–no passion whatsoever.

    I’m not sure why I stick around. I guess I’m too old and lazy to leave and still love her.

  87. Nunn

    Hi, Your article and insights have cut me deeply. I’m in a 35 year marriage where sex has always been a struggle. We went through long period of time where our relationship didn’t really support a good sexual relationship. But over the past several years, I don’t believe that has been true. We both went through serious health crisis that left the other a care giver. In my case, I became disabled (back injury). Historically, any time I’ve raised the possibility of trying something new, or expressing something I would like, I’ve been met with resistance. I heard the “it is never enough for your” or “you want me to be something I’m not”. Each time I soldiered through for the sake of the marriage. We’ve been through decades of counseling and when sex was part of the discussion, my wife’s response was always to play the victim. Curiously, over the last few years (as a result of the health issues, we have become closer that ever, able to talk about meaningful things, able to hold one another through difficult times, able to be supportive of each in all kinds of situations. An ideal marriage in many ways. EXCEPT sexually. My health issues have me on high does of main medication just to function. This had a direct impact on my sexual experience. My wife continued to be responsive as she was before, but I’d reached appoint where I needed more stimulation to stay in the game, often unable to finish out of exhaustion. I came to her several times with specific requests, and she became hurt, offended and angry with me. I explained that I needed help in this area but that did not seem to really impact her. All that was last October. Today, I have almost no sex drive left. I don’t feel attracted to my wife at all. I don’t even feel normal attraction to a beautiful women. When we talk about these things, the conversation always goes to my wife “limitations”. Limitations has been a common theme in our sex life. This translates to me is “you are not worth working through my fears and hang-ups to get past these limitations”. Again, a common theme. We both suffered some sexual abuse as young adults. But honestly feel this is my wife’s way of exerting power in the relationship and protecting herself. As a result, I feel totally undesirable to her. Even on the infrequent times where we have sex, it is tense and I’m on egg shells. I have shared my heart and soul with her on these issues. But it always comes back to her feeling no obligation to work through these issues in a meaningful way. I questions if we will last another 35 years. I’ve been very honest with her that this situation puts us both at risk to going outside the marriage for physical or emotional support. We just started a new counselor recently, but my initial impression is she is chalking this issue up to stress in my life and “well women just don’t work the same way sexually”. I have little hope that path will result in any change.

  88. Chris

    I’m 50, and my wife and I have been married for 25 years. From day one, when we were dating, she had always felt uneasy about us going too far. She didn’t think it was right to have sex before marriage. Affection was never forthcoming on her part, either. I was a virgin when we met; she had been married before to a guy with whom she claims she had a wonderful sex life, and she simply wanted to “start over the right way” with me by remaining celibate while courting. It puzzled me that she could willingly turn off her sex drive for what turned out to be a three-year relationship before she finally decided we could marry. Well, we eventually did wed, and since she and I both wanted children, she and I finally had sex (awkwardly, admittedly) a week after we returned from our honeymoon. Ten days in a romantic getaway with a legally binding marriage contract, and she still didn’t feel she could do anything with me yet. When she finally allowed me to experience lovemaking, I was a bit let down from the brevity and lack of enthusiasm on her part (I remember her saying “hurry up” and “are you done yet”), and she seemed somewhat relieved that we got it out of the way. I was allowed to have sex with her a handful more times those first few months, presumably for procreation purposes, and she even seemed to enjoy it a couple of times I think, but when she got pregnant, sex was immediately put on hold, at her insistence, until after the baby was born. So another nine months passed, her pregnancy progressed normally, and we had our first (and only) child. At that point, I was more excited to be a father than at the prospect that my fledgling sex life would soon resume, so it actually didn’t frustrate me when my wife wanted to wait a couple more months so she could fully recover from childbirth. I didn’t bother her about it for three months actually, as I wanted to make sure she would be fully ready to get going again. If you’re keeping score at home, that was over a full year together in holy matrimony, and I think I got to see her naked maybe four times in low light. Even on our first anniversary, we spent the evening painting a room or something. Sexy and romantic!

    After the three-month waiting period, I attempted to again begin making amorous advances towards her which were quickly and soundly rejected. The excuses ranged from her being tired from taking care of our son, to she hadn’t lost the baby weight and felt unattractive, to I was not being attentive to her needs. I worked 60-70 hours a week then, and I couldn’t be around much to give her a break. I was doing what I had to do to keep the bills caught up, and she said she had no intention of going back to work to supplement my pay. Because we agreed to maintain a one-income family in order to keep her at home at all times to care for him, I was perhaps being inattentive at times, but I felt it was understandable. At any rate, the excuses persisted, and my frustration grew exponentially. We began to argue feverently about the situation, and after I interrogated her about why she never wanted sex with me, I learned a little more about her previous marriage. Apparently, she had been a sexual dynamo with her former husband, and he was with her, having copious sex and affection almost nightly and in many enviable positions, and the thing that drove them apart was a simple lie he told her about a small, really insignificant purchase he made behind her back. This lie made her distrust him enough to end the marriage. Upon this revelation, she hinted to me that I might wind up like him someday if I was dishonest about anything, meaning I’d be smart not to even think about having an affair. I was always upfront in every aspect of our lives together, never having given her any reason to doubt me, but it made me feel as if she was taking the dissolution of her marriage out on me. Maybe she just got burned out on sex…is that really possible??

    In my wife’s defense, for the better part of the last twenty years, she has had various health issues which have made her further disinterested in any physical intimacy. These things I don’t blame her for…she could not help these things I realize, but even during the infrequent times she’s felt fairly good, she has refused to be with me in this way for fear the physicality of sex will trigger relapses in the conditions she complains about. As a result, this two decade period of intermittent good health has yielded maybe another handful of half-baked attempts at marital relations. And for those who are counting, a reasonable estimate of our time together in bed would be perhaps a dozen encounters in a quarter century. Absolutely pathetic! I am justifiably frustrated, but at the same time, I am so accustomed to a platonic marriage that I don’t know if I should even try to change things after all this time. I’m 50, on the downhill slide in my life, I have no prospects for another relationship (no apparent interest from other women that I can ever remember). I can’t imagine a woman my age being attracted to me, let alone someone 20 years my junior. I am too poor to afford a mid-life crisis, so a sportscar and a 30 year-old golddigger are out of the question. It seems to me that if the woman who agreed to spend her life with me can’t even make herself hug me, then what are my chances with another in the hopes of having a fulfilling sexual relationship? My self-worth has bottomed out from so many years of rejection, so I’m trying to rationalize why a divorce would even be a sensible idea. I really can’t afford to leave her, as the alimony would prevent me from being able to live on my own. In all honesty, I couldn’t live with myself leaving while knowing that I left her in a vulnerable position considering her ill health, just when she needed me the most. I’ve thought about the “ultimate solution”, but my beliefs keep me from acting on it. Besides, I’m worth more dead than alive, and I really wouldn’t want my wife to profit from my demise after all the years of emotional and physical neglect she’s subjected me to.

    I guess I really wanted to vent today more than anything, but it is nevertheless a deeply painful thing to tolerate, especially for such a very long time. I truly wish for nobody to have to go through it, but if you are putting up with a disinterested partner, remember it’s not fatal…just highly demoralizing and agonizing.

  89. Michael Wilson

    You don’t cover my problem in your discussion above. I love my wife very much, but she avoids sexual intimacy because it is painful due to operations on her vagina and she is on depression medication that eliminates any sexual desire. I avoid touching her in any sexual way because it is too frustrating for me to even think about sexual intimacy and out of concern for her feelings and anxieties. I just don’t know what to do to get rid of or in any way satisfy my desires for intimacy.

  90. Checked out

    Don’t know what else to do but leave at this point. Talking about it with her hasn’t worked. Been to couples therapy, had my own private therapy. Church groups for couples, couples retreats. I dont want to cheat but what gives? 16 years of marriage and she wont even try anymore. Last year in 2017 we had sex 4 times. In the entire year! I try the romance, the flirting, I keep myself neat looking and in decent shape. I cook. I clean. Everything in our home was bought and paid for by me. I take great care of the kids. Bill’s are always paid. I’ve come to the realization that it’s all her. I’ve had multiple opportunities to have an affair but chose not to.

    No sex even on a special occasion. Holidays, anniversaries, my birthday, her birthday, Valentine’s day. Nothing. It’s summer of 2018 now and we are in track to break last years record of consecutive days with no sex.

    Ive even gone as far as showing her articles like this one, but it only turns into an argument. Sucks because if I cheat, then I’m a good for nothing dog. I’m so done. One day soon she will wake up one morning and I’ll be gone.

  91. Suki

    I came across this article & took a certain comfort from reading it bc it just about defined what I am currently experiencing… my sexless marriage is heading for divorce… I recently found proof my husband is cheating.
    I think this article has helped me to understand why my marriage failed but in a way I took offense to the line: “Ignoring the problem & avoiding sex is the cowards way out.” For the most part everything in the article was profound & made sense except for that line.
    I am a person who has significant health problems, I’m a diabetic. I have to take five shots a day, which make me nauseated all the time, I have nerve damage, these are but a few… not to mention clinical depression. So how can a person who doesn’t feel well most of the time, physically & mentally, be interested in sex? Sadly, reading this article I figure my husband felt his needs outweighed mine…. but I digress…
    Maybe someone could research & write an article on how sick people can manage to have sex, keeping their marriage intact.

    • Kim Bowen

      Thank you Suki for sharing your thoughts. I’m sorry you have had to deal with so many challenging health problems that impact sex and sexual desire. It certainly was not my intent to offend. When I write these blogs I’m writing to a large, very diverse audience and there will almost always be exceptions and caveats for individual readers that I can’t address in the article to the audience at large. I see many couples where one spouse is withholding sex but isn’t willing to have an honest conversation to address the why. In these scenarios, I do believe the avoiding spouse owes it to their marriage and their spouse, to speak the truth and tackle the issues. I hope you find a coach or counselor who can help you worth through the issues in your marriage (including the infidelity) and help you explore how to achieve a level of sexual intimacy that can meet both your needs.

      • Sumi

        Kim Bowen,
        Thank you for your considerate reply. This article has truly helped me to see things from a different perspective, & for that, I’m truly grateful to you.
        I guess, altho I still love my husband dearly, maybe it’s best for both of us to free him by divorce. He’s been miserable & unhappy & maybe bc I love him I want the best for him… to find some sense of happiness. Reading & reflecting on this article has helped me to realize the situation & wanting the best outcome. Thank you again for your profound insight. Take Care.

  92. Anonymous

    Me and my wife are not around each other much. Work schedules..but when we are there is no sex. 4 to 5 months between..i help clean cook and pick kids up and take too all their afterschool stuff..we both work the same hours..but she doesnt help out..she wont clean..cook..or take kids to afterschool stuff..only thing she does is watch tv..sleep work..and take one kid to school in morning because no bus for them as we are close by…but she pushes away my advances..says she is tired. Say the kids are home. The kids are up. She is never in the mood..and when i try and talk about it..she barly responds. Gives me sex about a week later..and then it feels like..here is a advance on your sex allotment…then she also dead fish in bed…i give her a massage..then i kiss her on her chest..and preform kisses elsewhere till she you know…2 or three times…then regular sex…but she never wants to reciprocate…no kisses or rubs for me…and she never wants to be on top..my back hurts..my knee hurts..i dont like it..but she acts like its a choir to lay there and so nothing….i just feel so fucking bad..the last time we did it..she had a look i had not seen on her face in years..the look of..get off me..away from me..im only doing this for you..and i dont want you on me look..only time i saw that look..is when she slept with me..when we were dating..and she had a ex at the time she hooked up with on the side..cause we were not exclusive..just dating..but that look told me..she felt like she was cheating on him…and i saw that look again..after 9 years and 3 kids..so i dont know..

    • Anonymous

      …Sounds like what is going on in my world… I do pretty much everything. Cook (says I’m a better cook), clean (she hates bathrooms and dusting), fix the cars, mow the lawn, do laundry, fix the house…months go by.. She never initiates..and I’m usually rejected… currently, it’s been 4 months.. she’s always “tired”..never in the mood.. or she says she is but grandma’s here or some other reason . It wears on a person after a while.

  93. John

    Good article, but she’s telling men to solve this problem the way a woman would, and it won’t work.

    Guys – you know why she won’t have sex with you: it’s power. This gives her tremendous power over you if you let it. Once she starts this, just realize that your marriage is over. The only thing you can do is stop initiating sex immediately, and turn her down if she initiates. That instantly returns the power to you. Do not have an affair or go to porn; that’s what a weak man would do.

    Don’t talk to her about it. There’s nothing to discuss. She knows what she’s doing and so do you. And she’s not going to stop. Divorce her immediately. Get custody of the kids and have her removed from the house. Don’t give her a reason and don’t discuss it; she knows exactly why you’re dumping her. Once the papers are served, cut off all contact except to get the divorce finalized to your satisfaction. And once it’s final, cut her out of your life completely. She started this game, but you’re going to finish it.

    Find someone else. Someone who isn’t power hungry and doesn’t hate men. That’s if you can find one these days. If not, it’s far better to be alone.

    • Kim Bowen

      wow. Just wow. I have no words.

  94. Arianne

    What about NEVER denying my husband sex EVER yet he uses his anger towards me in other aspects as an excuse to use porn. Further, because I’ve invested in the marriage, I’ve been there for him even if his hygiene wasn’t the best. Our sex is disconnected because he is untrustworthy with a track record of lies, hidden pictures, lists of saved porn links over the years. No, I never cheated nor have a need for porn.Therefore, I’m disgusted with any other affection towards him.We did agree on occasion to watch together. The history is also his back problems and ED. I never used that to hold back sex. I initiate it often, but he can’t satisfy me- but I always made sure he was satisfied. 1x a week and I’m in my prime, also 16 years younger- he got a younger hotter wife.He is also very unfit and back problems don’t help. I never used his health or appearance as an excuse not to keep the marital sex alive. I’ve always kept up my health and appearance but he ignores it, never says anything nice to me and won’t even look at me during sex. He only wants oral. He got so mad when I told him I’m not fulfilled with such detached, selfish sex which only satisfies him. I tell him I don’t trust him. He said to get over the past. Well, I have let the past go. Currently he admitted to using porn and that I’m going to have to accept it. What kind of husband who has a hot willing wife who doesn’t deny him sex- when I should as unhygienic and gross as he is ( loved more than his appearance) chooses porn over real? It’s because the issue isn’t with me. The issue is with him. I know he’s depressed and sad about his ED , weight, and job. He won’t, even after loving, encouraging support improve his health or job. So he confirmed my suspicion about his porn use, and I’m haunted by his trends. I haven’t talked to him for a week since he said I now have to accept his porn usage- more like addiction. 5 years ago I made him feel uneasy when he saw that I opened and read sexually explicit junk mail. It was not solicited content, nor was it continuing off of some effort I made to look at, meet or otherwise interact with some stranger. I’ve pointed those facts out, yet he compares my trust issues from hundreds of links and pictures and hours logged on the router of porn to 1 junk mail that I didn’t initiate.I deserve better. I’ve had anxiety symptoms return this week like in the past- same issue with his lies, and I can’t take a full breath on demand. His behavior is not worthy of my companionship and I took off my rings all week. He is silent too. The cause of no affection and emotionless sex were his porn usage in excess, his banking of erotic images in secret files and even emailing them to himself yet denying he did it even when it is from his own email. If I wanted to, I could have sought to view much more attractive men, but I didn’t marry them. We had a bond, until he broke it over and over and the trust has not been restored-especially after this…. AGAIN. He’s toxic to me. And I’m not just saying that. I’m not a dramatic person. I’ve tried to talk so many times and all he says is that I only focus on the bad things, then veers to ask if I contributed to any of it. He also has a need to hear that he is right in an argument even if he is not;he wants me to “admit” like a 5 year old if he thinks I was wrong. It is dysfunctional. And yes, I was abused growing up and yes I was cheated on by my ex husband, for which my current promised he’d never treat me that way. I’m putting this out there, texting on my phone screen, barely able to take a full, deep breath, because I won’t carry this burden. I won’t suffer in silence. I have tried. I’ve actually had a counselor tell me a few rounds ago of the same issues, that he’s a loser who takes me for granted. Hinting that I am also for tolerating it. Someone pray for me. And pray for my deceptive, depressed, abusive husband. He is imperfect like us all, yet repeats the same trespasses against me, deliberately hurting and deceiving me for his own benefit. All I have asked is that he invest in us and build us up. That won’t happen based on his past and present behaviors. I’ve always been ready and willing to be open, honest and vulnerable. I find it limiting to try and convey the history here so if you want some clarity to make up your mind about this scenario, then please ask. I have been called every name in the book- hurt all my life by those closest to me, yet I’m still standing. I have an open mind and am willing to listen to fresh advise/wisdom. I might have heard some of it before. Tone is sometimes hard to read in these desperate rants by angry spouses, so please ASK before you make a conclusion. Thank you for taking time to read, and for those who replied

    • Kim Bowen

      Arianne, Thanks for taking the time to share your personal story of how porn has hurt your marriage. I hear stories like this regularly.For the one couple who tries to tell me porn “helps” their marriage, I can show you 100 that it’s devastated. Porn changes our brains and distorts reality. It literally tears away the fabric of a marriage and we see it time and time again. You know this though because you are living it. My suggestion to you is to decide whether or not you can live with things the way they are now. If the answer is no, I encourage you to do what you can to change how you show up in the relationship. This may mean setting an ultimatum on what you will and won’t tolerate. It may also mean counseling for both of you. We have a sexual addiction specialist here who would be a great resource for you. Please reach out if you’d like to schedule a session. Warmly, Kim.

  95. R

    What if the husband is the one who doesn’t want to have sex, he’s rejecting the wife’s advances. Not because he’s cheating but because he can’t percorm.

    • Kim Bowen

      we have articles here that deal with just that issue. 🙂

  96. Lee B

    I have talked to my wife on 4 occasions over a 8 year marriage. The first time she told me, it was becasue she felt trapped in the house. So i made a effort for us to get out more. Still sex got worse, and slowed down more. Then she gained weight (this has a back story as to why but its a personal thing) and i asked why after using being away from one another, why she still did not want sex with me…blaming myself like this artical says, and feeling sad, angry, and hurt…She said ” she would feel more like it if she lost the weight and was sexy feeling again….She went on a diet and the weight started to fall away…but the SEX got even worse. 2 or more months between encounters..The third time i brought it up she said to me….she didnt know why, but she would ask her doctor, so she went…she said something about some pill that would spike her libido…but then never went to the follow up…and the sex life got worse…2.5-4 months between…and now…just a week ago i said something…and she responded with…that due to her weight lost she has lose skin, thats not sexy, and makes her feel ugly, and work make her tired….and its all her..it has nothing to do with me….yet no change…she did not even try and have sex with me after that..to try and show me that like before…when she just i think tried to use shut up sex….So now i cry when she is away, i think she no longer loves me sexually, intimately, or romantically…as a husband father friend and other ways she does..but not the way i want to be loved by her…I have not nor will i ever cheat on her…I want her, no one else…when we have sex i make it a point to please her, many times…before seeing my own gratifications…and she does not reciprocate back…she most of the time DEAD FISH…i massage her and rub her back for 30-40 min…i then go down on her orally, and then she says…do you want me to turn over..or stay like this…and she just lays there on her stomach or back…i have tired to spice things up…begged her to be on top..begged her to give me oral, begged her caress me to…to kiss…to touch…but nothing….sometimes it makes me feel like…in her mind…i should be grateful she is willing to let me have sex with her…that thought makes me angry, and sad….and the thought her words of love…are bull shit…and i cant even get her to give me good kisses…i get excuses to that as well…i have not brushed my teeth..i just ate…not now i am busy…blah blah blah…and i get half pecks…I blame myself, did me going bald make her hate me, is it the beard, is it my weight gain…i went from 190 to 270 mainly cause i eat my emotions…and let me tell you…i have had alot of emotions to eat…but when i try and diet as soon as i get sad…i start to get hungry..until i eat…even if its a few bites to get rid of the hunger it comes right back…i even developed a video game addiction, to try and bury my feelings…nothing is working now..food, games…nothing is making me forget the pain of heartache i feel.

    • Kim Bowen

      Lee, I’m sorry you are experiencing this pain in your relationship. I hope you’ll consider giving us a call and scheduling a time to talk through some of this with one of our relationship coaches who can help you figure out what you need to do to work towards the kind of marriage you are desiring. Wishing you better days ahead. Regards, Kim

    • Anonymous

      Sounds like what is going on in my world… I do pretty much everything. Cook (says I’m a better cook), clean (she hates bathrooms and dusting), fix the cars, mow the lawn, do laundry, fix the house…months go by.. She never initiates..and I’m usually rejected… currently, it’s been 4 months.. she’s always “tired”..never in the mood.. or she says she is but grandma’s here or some other reason . It wears on a person after a while.

  97. Matt

    I see a lot of pain here and I understand and hear you. I have been through it too. I am now divorced and getting on a plane in two days to start my new life. I wanted to share a bit of my experience to see if it helps anyone who may be reading these articles and the comments below them. For the first 3-4 years everything was great. We talked, laughed, did things together, we were physically and emotionally close. As far as sex goes, we had developed a natural balance where things just happened. I never kept track or cared to. But after four years or so she began to change. She was worried about spending money in general. So I shared with her the budget and showed her all that comes in, what goes out in bills, saving, and investing and what is left over. I told her she could buy whatever she wanted but if it was over $100 then we talk about it, develop a plan, save, and get it. Simple. Things began to go down hill steadily from there. She began trying to control me. That should have been a red flag, but I responded by telling her to stop. This extended into the slowing down of our sex life as well. It got to the point where one evening I was trying to get close to her and she slapped me away looked at me with this hate in her eyes and said “Stop touching me. What do you want?” I was shocked and only told her that I would not bother her. Over the next 4-5 years I have tired everything. When I talked to her about our relationship she just got loud and angry and proceed to engage in the kind of arguments that only go in circles placing blame on me for everything, even her choices.I told her she was hurting me but she did not stop. I told her that I felt we were going in different directions in life and that our relationship was in a downward spiral. She just responded with the same cyclical arguments. I even suggested talking to a psychologist together. We did later but she quit after 2 sessions. Here is what she was doing: She throws tantrums like a 3 year old, shifts blame, tells me how I feel or what I am thinking (even when I corrected her), threatened to hurt herself (I knew she was not serious), emotionally blackmails her parents, acts way different with her friends, says my family hates her, withholds physical contact then love bombs me, and in the end tells all her and our friends that I am some cold manipulator who ruined her life. What I have come to realize is she is a covert narcissist. She is driven by her ego and by fear. Her Mom is obsessed with what might happen (always negatively and with fear). I am sure she gets her disposition from her mother. Her father is nice and my she told me that the only reason her parents had anything they ever had was because her father took a risk without telling her mother. How she can see her mom honestly and not herself baffles me. I have always created an environment where we could talk without judgement about anything and everything. I believe in looking at problem with compassion, understanding and love. The only response I ever got from her was fear, anger and denial.

    Guys and gals here looking at this remember, sex may only be a symptom of something else. See all the facts without your own emotions. See the patterns. If you love her, do all you can to start a change. Remember, changing is not with words but with actions. In the end, it is your choice. Do not be afraid to be on your own. When you are single, where you life goes it completely up to you. Time is the one thing you are spending right now and you will never get any more of. I still love her and will the rest of my life, but you can not heal someone who does not want to be healed.

    • Kim Bowen

      Matthew, I wish you the best as you move past what sounds like a painful divorce. You’ve mentioned two things here that I want to echo. One, the change starts with YOU. Couples spin their wheels when each spouse only wants to focus on their partner. It unfortunately doesn’t work that way. And second, sex is almost always a symptom of something else. My coaches and counselors are looking to help their clients see what is spilling over into their sexual realtionship (or lack therof) and address the cause. Thanks for your thoughtful response, Matthew! Warmly, Kim

  98. Marian Peee

    This website makes it seem that only women withhold sex! It’s only the women at fault. There are men who withhold sex as well. Believe me, I know! What about men who withhold sex in a marriage? Oh well, too bad according to your chauvinistic approach.

    • Kim Bowen

      geez people! One blog post on one perspective and we are chauvinistic or misogynistic or whatever. There are articles here from every angle on sex. Men absolutely withhold sex AND we have written about it. But we cannot cover all possibilities in every article.

      • Rich

        It has little to do with the gender. I think it has to do with one partner having some kind of dysfunction about intimacy. I’m gaining a better understanding of my own predicament by reading these comments. Let’s not start putting blame on either husbands or wives. We’re all in the same dang boat.

      • Just Me

        I get your articles point and that men teach for this more than women so stating it the way you did makes sense. If I might suggest using HDP (high desire partner) and LDP (low desire partner) may help some people. They’ll still find something to complain about but that won’t be one.

      • Tim Poole

        Wow, yes, come on people, it maters not the gender of the denier, but the pain for all involved. I have actually been on both sides of this and don’t like how either side feels. I do believe, however, there are deniers who don’t care how the other feels. They would be closer to antisocial. There are multiple factors in each individule case, This artcle gave me understanding of what now seems the norm. Unfortunitly in my case there is no real solution, as I want sex and want her to want it. She does not. All the therapy in the wold doesn’t change desires. You can’t squeze blood from a turn-up, but have you ever seen one after you tried. Not attractive. I see no solution, just a plan B.

        Side note, now I read the comments because I get a good laugh on how some people respond.

  99. juli

    I am 62, look great, everyone says so, my husband says so, but we have not had sex in over a year. Why? He has been watching porn and this has been going on for years. When I was 50 I told him I was sick of begging for sex and being turned down. Things would get better and then the same thing no sex. talk again and he says he will TRY!!!!

    Now I have to accept that my sex life is over and pretend everything is ok. I feel old and ugly and like I just do not know how to explain how I feel.

    I do not want to go on vacation with him that is coming up in Nov. to a place we went to in our 40’s and I thought romantic. I feel sick at heart. I have been working out like crazy but no matter what I know I will never look or be in my 20’s again. I will not get divorced as all my retirement is planned with him and I have to have money secure for our disabled son. Now for any women who thinks that sex does not matter in a marriage, get out while still young. I am stuck and I feel like life is over as it has been a lie for years.

    • Star

      Hi Juli, your comment resonated with me. I’m in my mid-40s – so is he – and we’ve been together over a decade. For the first couple of years we had a great sex life now he doesn’t want me. He rather do it with himself looking at porn on the net. I’ve put porn filters on because it affects our sex life – I can’t remember the last time we made love – but he still finds a way round it somehow. Yes, it hurts us women too……… 🙁

  100. Euan

    Anyone, man or woman, who is living in a relationship with one-way desire has my profound sympathies. I imagine the partner feeling less, or no, desire might be angered at the idea that they should just have sex anyways for the sake of their relationship, and I kind of agree they shouldn’t just suck it up in spite of not wanting it. It’s a difficult and painful subject. I’m a 30 year old man with a 30 year old wife, who I’ve been with for 8 years, married for 3, and we have wonderful a 2 year old daughter. I have a much higher libido than my wife, and I always have, but until our daughter was born that was never a real issue. I never minded that we weren’t intimate as often as I liked, or that generally I did the initiating and got shot down from time to time, but from when our daughter was born there was a shift that has crushed me. We would go months without anything, in spite of my trying everything I could think of to get her in the mood, and then if I pushed really hard, and the circumstances were perfect, something would happen that clearly meant a heck of a lot more to me than to her. Things improved a little over time, and actually the quality of sex we would have would sometimes be really high, but only ever if I made every move, did all the work, pushed for it, weathered the rejections and pass-offs from earlier efforts, and literally made pretend in my mind like she genuinely desired it.

    But that’s the thing. After two years of initiating virtually all the intimate contact, every kiss, every lingering touch, every nice caress, every backrub, being the only one to talk about sex or sexual topics, being the only initiator of sex, getting shot down, passed off, going to bed every night with someone who goes from their phone to turning their back to me and trying to go straight to sleep – the thing that crushes me is that while I CRAVE my wife, she has no desire or lust for me whatsoever. I can’t stress enough how hurtful that is – she would hurt me less if she cheated – and how I have come to dread night times where we go to bed and I get to stare resentfully at her back as she drifts peacefully off to sleep. It’s reached the stage now where my own desire for her is waning because I see her as being a sexless person, and what few times she might touch me or kiss me or even say something nice about the way I look, I find myself just thinking that she’s checking that I’m still here, that I’m still interested, or that she’s making a weak effort to feel connected to me – I NEVER think she simply desires me. Sometimes I wilfully delude myself that she does, but the delusion ends up hurting me when it shatters in the face of reality. In this case, hope is more dangerous than acceptance.

    But we can’t change how we feel – we can only change how we act. My wife doesn’t desire me, and that’s my problem. She thinks about having sex as often as I think about watching films I liked when I was a kid but have no interest in now. If we never had sex, or any physical contact ever again, but my wife desired me like crazy, I would happily live that way. I don’t want sex, I don’t care about sex, I don’t care about getting to touch someone or being touched by someone – I can pleasure myself and control my own needs just fine, thank you – I would rather nothing than be touched by someone who doesn’t want to touch me. What I want, more than anything on earth, is for my wife to desire me.

    We talk about it from time to time, but it’s not a conversation that goes anywhere. I am told I just want to ‘get’ sex, and that my behaviour when I’m hurt turns her off, as if she was ever on at all. Ugh. She’ll obsess about and read up about all kinds of issues with our daughter or her friends or her work or her family, but with me and this I doubt she’s even once entered a google search. It’s just not a subject she cares about or considers remotely important. I will never cheat on my wife, I will never even think about it, and I will not leave her. I love her, and she loves me, and we have a beautiful, happy little girl. Who knows – maybe if I’m distant for long enough she’ll miss what we once had, or maybe her libido will turn back on again for some reason. Hopefully I don’t just see her as a sexless roommate by then. Either way, it crushes me, and I know she doesn’t care about me or our relationship as much as I do. I envy the ever-loving crap out of couples with similar, mutual levels of desire. How nice that must be.

    Sorry to go on, but that was cathartic to write!

    • Mark

      Sorry too say bro, but you sound like me. I have been with my wife 18 yrs now. I actually stopped trying to be intimate with my wife yrs ago. It hurts too much being shot down all the time. I am finally at the point that I have stopped blaming myself for everything that is wrong, and stopped trying too do everything I can so that she can be in a good mood and be happy at my own expense.

      Good luck!

  101. Sean

    I am definitely in the No Sex Club. I’m in my mid 50s and my wife is in her early 50s. I’ve always loved sex and consider it an important element of a a marriage. Over the past 10 to 15 years my wife has withdrawn from wanting sex. We have it about twice a year. I can’t even remember the last time we had it (maybe in the spring?). She was once a very attractive woman but has let herself go by gaining significant amounts of weight in the last year or two and she refuses to do any exercise anymore. We use to work out together but she isn’t into that anymore either. She gets very angry if I try to bring it up. She says sex is for younger people and that I have a “problem” and need to grow up! Grow up?? If growing up means no more sex then I’ll stay immature, thank you. Of course I can feel the resistance when I try to hug her or, God forbid, give her a kiss or be a bit playful by squeezing her rear end, lol. I don’t even bother doing those things any longer. Unfortunately, my wife has also cut me off emotionally. She doesn’t care about anything I do. One example is last year I had to take a very rigorous test to get certified for a promotion for my career. I studied for several months and took the test. I passed. She never asked about it and still doesn’t know I passed! She probably has forgotten about it at this point. Just one of MANY examples of her emotional distance. I am angry and bitter and she flat out doesn’t give a damn! Yes, I’ve thought about cheating. What normal guy wouldn’t at this juncture. But I haven’t. FYI – I keep myself in good shape. My weight is in the normal range and I still have women (younger ones) that flirt with me. I’ve done all the BS about helping around the house and paying attention to her needs and Blah Blah Blah. NONE of that matters one bit. If a woman has decided she no longer is attracted to you then it’s pretty much over!

  102. Sam

    Imagine sticking with someone who didn’t want to speak to you, considered every conversation with you a literal chore, and would only be willing to humour you with a chat as a considerate, loving gift for the sake of your relationship. Would you stay with that? Why? Such a person hasn’t cheated on you or literally dumped you, but they’ve essentially abandoned you, haven’t they? It doesn’t matter that they don’t have a choice about their feelings – THESE are still the feelings they have. They’ve no interest at all in speaking to you or hearing what you have to say. They’ve left you, but you are expected to linger in this agonising twilight out of loyalty to them, and then waste away the one life you have to live. Honestly, from the bottom of my heart, screw that. Why fight to be humoured, like you’re wrestling your hostage into submission, just to prolong a marriage to someone that doesn’t sincerely desire you.

    If anything the comparison is even less favourable for physical intimacy, since this is pretty much the defining feature of a romantic relationship – something exclusive to your relationship, that makes it different from your relationship with your good pal or your mother or your pet. If you are coming to this from the perspective of someone who is the denier, you simply cannot, CANNOT understand the pain and rejection of the person in the position of the undesired. It subverts and colours every aspect of the relationship, every shared experience, every gesture, every expectation, even every past memory. The only thing I can think to compare it to would be a young child having their parent’s love and concern withdrawn, and then understanding their parents don’t truly have any interest in them.

    There’s too much hurt – and both parties, and their children, deserve to be free from such despair. You should break up as amicably as possible, with as little finger pointing or blame as possible. It’s terribly sad, but one person can’t help that they don’t feel desire, and the other person can’t help that it crushes their soul, and maintaining that just nurtures pain and resentment. If the emotional bond is very strong, and the no-desire partner is willing to own how unimportant they consider intimacy to be, then perhaps an open marriage can work where the person still experiencing desire and lust can explore physical relations outside the marriage – but given that the person who still feels lust does place importance on intimacy I think it would be inevitable they develop strong emotional feelings for their intimate partner(s). Some battles aren’t worth fighting.

    … but the heart wants what it wants. She can’t help that she has no interest, and, try as I might, I can’t help that she is all I want. So I sit in the icy depths that is my marriage, dreaming of summer, and do my best to keep my pain and resentment from affecting her. Ugh – all you guys and gals shut out in the cold have my sympathies – none of you deserve this pain. Hang in there.

    • Keisha

      Wow… that really touched me deeply. For several reasons. My husbands sex drive has always been significantly lower than mine. But I was ok with that and willing to compromise the frequency but over the years it’s become less and less. It makes me feel unsatisfied to say the least but touch is my love language so it also leaves me feeling unloved unwanted alone and depressed. On the other hand he likes to cuddle and seeks my attention and affection in other ways which really confuses me. I’m holding back tears even writing this. He is thoughtful and kind and generous with gifts etc. But that doesn’t replace sexual intimacy for me. I feel like I’m hoping crazy. We have a relationship others around us envy… little do they know I’m miserable. I’m active attractive and have a successful work life and business, I am very vocal about my feelings and my needs and yet they still go unmet. I’d rather get things right with him than to cheat! I don’t even want to cheat so then I feel like a hostage! Everyday I’m rejecting men’s advances and sometimes I think I should just give in. I’m unwilling to live my whole entire rest of my life like this.

  103. Wells

    My wife & I have been married for a little over a year- no children. While dating, having sex & being intimate w/each other was never an issue for us. We not having sex now & she not desiring to be intimate with me is truly affecting my happiness. She says that she doesn’t know why she doesn’t want to have sex, but she attributes it to a trust issue. My lack of urgency & failure to handle certain household matters & financial matters has caused her to doubt me as a leader. After her voicing how my inadequacies have made her unhappy, I have committed to change & I am currently in the process of actively fixing things. When I shared with her that not having sex is causing my unhappiness, she says that she doesn’t know what to do to fix it. She then becomes sad; she says that she doesn’t want me to be unhappy or be the reason as to why I’m unhappy. I don’t know what to do. I just don’t want to have sex, but I only want to have sex with her! She asked me, “What if it doesn’t get better?” That is leading me to believe that she may not want to change. My biggest fear is one day losing my desire for her. Our marriage is already feeling like we are roommates rather than lovers. I NEVER thought we would be here!

    • Kim Bowen

      Wells, thank you for taking the time to share your story. You are still a newlywed by just about anyone’s definition and I’m sure your current situation isn’t what you imagined for the honeymoon period of your relationship. My advice to you is to don’t wait to get some help from a qualified couples therapist or coach who can help you both understand – and address – what’s causing the new differeences in your desire. So many couples wait years before they seek help and the relationship continues to erode making things harder to fix. If you want to work with us, please contact us 972-441-4432. If your wife isn’t ready, I’d recommend you start solo. After all, so much of couples work is each spouse working on their side of the street. Wishing you happier days ahead. Warmly, Kim

  104. Joe Dodd

    My wife and I need so much help, I don’t know where to start.

    • Kim Bowen

      Joe, please call our office at 972-441-4432 and we can help you get started.

  105. thomas

    i’ve been married for 40 years……..known her for 43 years…….haven’t had sexual intercourse in the last 12 to 14 years……….i forget what its like to have sex……….she has NEVER intiated sex sober or drunk in all that time……has never dressed sexy for me in the bedroom or going out…………won’t even wear or own a pair of high heels in the bedroom or out on the town……………i went to marriage counseling but she would not go………..i bought her sexy clothes for the bedroom….silk to satin….leather to lace….nothing ……..but would never wear anything……..so i threw the clothing away……..so now the last 5 years i sleep by myself in my own bedroom…………i’m resentful about my being married to her……….she can’t figure out why even when i talked to her about it……..when we did have sex years ago……..oral sex either way was awful and perverted……….anything else was sick and dirty and perverted other then laying on her back…….i thought i was making love to the dead……..no fun at all……..she says that she was never sexually abused…….i think that she is asexual………….she has all the signs of that………….so now in the last year in a half …….i took a vow of celibacy…..i told her that i will never touch her ever again as long as we live………that way i won’t bother her…………she says that its not right…..so i tell her the difference between me and a priest is that a priest has a white collar………..never did i think my marriage would turn out this way

  106. Al

    It’s not that we never have sex, we just don’t have near enough sex. And if I ever push the issue she will make a halfhearted attempt to have more but I would be better off with a blow up doll at those times. She will even fall asleep during foreplay. So I’m going to leave as soon as the kids do, and you know what, she’ll probably act surprised. But I been very clear about this to her. I’ve told her very clearly if it wasn’t for the kids I would have been gone long ago because of her low sex drive. I’ve been as plain about this as I can and she just doesn’t get it because low sex drive people don’t understand what it’s like to be frustrated in this way. She is just a true asexual. Always has been. We didn’t have sex before marriage because that was the “right” thing to do. LOL, I always wondered how she wasn’t acting frustrated like I was. Oh what an idiot I am. I could have dated many, MANY other girls and I chose an asexual, thougtless blob.

  107. c.a.

    This is EXACTLY how I’ve felt the last several years. Talk about a powerful way to create a crapload of resentment… Women don’t understand.

    Thanks for writing this, I’m glad not to be alone.

  108. Cate

    Key phrase: who wants to have sex with a jerk? Men are cheating nasty jerks. If a woman doesn’t know, that’s the only reason she has sex with him.

  109. Rich

    It’s been almost seven, yes 7, years since we’ve had intercourse. The last time was on our 40th anniversary. We’d gone on a trip together and it was right after that she told me that sex was a bit painful and she’d like to try things other than intercourse. That became frustrating within a month or so. It’s now been well over six years since we’ve been intimate at all.

    After about a year, I realized that it wasn’t going to change on it’s own. I suggested she talk to her doctor but she said she didn’t want to and that she was fine with our situation. I should have been more truthful of my feelings then but didn’t want the drama that could come of it.

    For years I held hope that something would change and rekindle our passion. That hope kept me going enough to be sort of happy.

    On October 30th, 2018, I wrote her an email expressing my feelings. On our morning walk, we walk together over two miles every morning, she let me know that it wasn’t going to change and she was content with the way our relationship was.

    We’ve been a couple for too long to even consider not being a couple. Most people who know us envy our relationship and always have. And, honestly, ending the relationship would solve nothing for me because I’d never want another one anyway.

    I don’t know the real cause for her lack of desire for intimacy. We had a very active sex life for years. Now I wonder if she was always just going along.

    Before we married, and were engaged, I was deployed for a month. I expected a passionate reunion. She didn’t. Looking back, that should have been a sign.

    I guess that I should just accept my situation since there seems to be no solution for change. And I feel a little guilty about a few things that I’ve said, or done, that are really just to get even.

    We met on a blind date and have always considered that one of our anniversaries. We had sex two days later and have always joked about that being our ‘F-ing anniversary’. Well, on February 15th I told her that Valentines Day is sort of like our F-ing anniversary and, as we’ve stopped even mentioning the F-ing anniversary for years, I didn’t want to participate in Valentines Day anymore. I guess that was mean of me but, seriously, it just seemed phony.

    Now I’d think that want I said would have made her upset or even angry but she was back to near, the new, normal the very next day. We do kiss, well a quick peck on the lips, every morning with a short hug. I give her a quick kiss before I go to bed every evening. That’s as close as we come to intimacy. We do sleep together but our King Bed is large enough that we never touch.

    I’d be dishonest if I said that I wasn’t depressed. Slowly and surely I’m losing interest in most of the things I once enjoyed. I’m almost 71 and am very healthy for my age and simply feel that it only means I have more years left than I want.

    • kimbowen

      Rich, Thank you for sharing your story. I would consider you at a crossroads with a big decision to make. You can either stay the course you are on where nothing changes sexually but you have to find acceptance of your circumstances and let go of the resentment and contempt you feel (otherwise both will be destructive to you personally and to other areas of the relationship). Or, you can decide to shake things up and make changes in an effort to get you want and need sexually in the relationship. Neither is an easy option unfortunately. If we can help you through this process, I hope you’ll call us. Warmly, Kim

      • Abbs

        Im no therapist but if hes depressed over this and she doesnt mind maybe she wont mind him leaving and taking care of himself first. 7 yrs is too long. I would’ve walked over mountains to fix my “painful” Sex problem though i dont believe that. Theres help for almost every issue regarding that. She is greedy and hes too nice and getting the crap end of the stick. Its never too late to start over. I am and im almost 40 with no job and havent worked since havin kids. Imagine that and he took it all. Even my self esteem.

  110. Charla

    I absolutely love this article and I am gonna take the advice it has given me and use it for my marriage and I am so glad that you wrote the article because I was going through a difficult time with my husband not being faithful and talking to other girls behind my back and we almost got a divorce because he was so very interested in other girls that he had forgotten that we had a great marriage before he started talking to these other girls on social media behind my back and I was so sick and tired of being told that we would not be happy with each other because he didn’t want to be with me so I did my best to be a better wife and mother and we finally got our problems worked out together for our family and ourselves. I did realize that us not being intimate with each other that it would eventually be the reason we were not gonna be able to work on our marriage and it would be the end of our life together and we had to do something about that so we have both been able to get our crap together and we couldn’t be more happy with our lives together then we have ever been.

    • kimbowen

      I’m so happy for you Charla! Warmly, Kim

      • Ashley

        I’m sorry but this article is rediculous. Women can have an emotional issue but to tell them to try and work out an abusive relationship is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Or just try to have sex? Wow
        Do you know what happens to a woman when she tries to have sex when she doesn’t want to? It kills her inside. She is giving away her most intimate moments when she doesn’t want to and it makes her shut down, become depressed, and not want sex at all. And those sometimes that she actually does want it will turn into a zero time situation. Men if your woman doesn’t want to have sex, it is for 2 reasons… You are not keeping her happy in other ways, or it is a natural thing for a woman’s libido to die down after age 30. It is a NATURAL part of the female life. Don’t gripe and moan about sex and figure out or ask her what she is unhappy with in your relationship. I guarantee that when she is happy of all the aspects of your relationship, giving you her body will be a more comfortable situation. The very LAST thing you want to do is make her feel like sex is an obligation and a chore.

        • kimbowen

          Hi Ashley, I think you have conflated my words and your assertions do not at all match my perspective or intentions with this post. It looks like the one thing we may can agree on is that when there is little to no sex in a marriage, something is off in the relationship – something that needs to be addressed for the betterment of the relationship, sex included. Kim

  111. Makayla Ludwig

    I find this article extremely one sided and its frankly obnoxious. Sex is very important in a marriage and I realize this article says (for women) so I assume it was written for women… unless I have the perspective wrong. I am a women who is awkwardly not being pursued whatsoever sexually in the past three months. Not that bad, because when I initiate I am not turned down by my husband. Frankly I related very much so to how the men were feeling in this article because while I am not being rejected sex is not enthusiastic or passionate. It feels like he is fulfilling an obligation. This article just feels so frustrating to me because I find the tone condescending. I feel like many of your patients do have some knowledge of the importance of sex and are purposely denying it from their partner. I feel as though some of you patients are trying to get back at their partner or they could be so wrapped up in their own feelings they are being selfish. Most people know what they are doing and that is why they do it. (Not all cases) What was the worst part of your article is the assumption and lack of acknowledgement that many women are being denied sex. Not all men are sex crazy and have a higher sex drive then their partner. I feel as though I have a higher sex drive in my marriage as I would like it every night at age 21. While my husband age 24 is unwilling to perform. I realize I am not sex starved but your article was not useful and painted things too black in white (Men are in this situation. Women think this.) The frustrating part is while scouring the internet for information there are women where their husbands haven’t touched them in months . By your attitude about men and women I feel your response would be (He must be having an affair.) I have been feeling inadequate as I have put on some weight although my partner is a larger man. I also realize larger men have more estrogen which also dampens sexual appetite as does stress. This all isn’t as simple as, women just don’t realize how big the problem is. The women could be dealing with depression or a hormonal imbalance. Just as my husband could currently be dealing with that as well. When we have sex their is no communicating of how physically or verbally of how great it was, (no moaning either.) I have been resentful not keeping up with household chores. I still got something out of your article but feel like it was written insensitively about a very personal topic. Hope you consider writing an article about the women who are being sex starved and want more intimacy

    • kimbowen

      Hi Makayla, Thank you for sharing your perspective. I certainly have no intentions of being condescending. It’s a complicated topic and certainly doesn’t come in a “one size fits all” package. I’ve tried to tackle the topic of differences in sexual desire from all angles. In my blog I try to cover the most common scenarios I see in my practice here but you are correct in saying that other relationship dynamics exist. For instance, weight can indeed play a role in sexual desire issues. I did write a piece a couple of years ago for wives whose husbands don’t want sex. Here’s the link: /2017/01/husband-doesnt-want-sex/ Regards, Kim

  112. Lynn

    I’ve been in a sexless marriage, but it was my husband who turned me down night after night. I would initiate, he would come home and I’d be in $70 worth of lingerie, and he would just say he was too tired. One time he said “you look uncomfortable” and the he laid down. I went to the bathroom and sobbed for about an hour before I came back to bed. This who not wanting sex thing is not just a “wife thing”! Men do it too, and it’s totally unfair and hurtful either way! So many comments here say that “women don’t understand”, but if a woman doesn’t want sex, she needs to die to herself and try for her husband anyway. Men! Y’all need to make sure you are doing plenty of foreplay! Take it slow, tell her how much she means to you and just talk to her and show her how important she is. Don’t just expect her to be ready right off the bat! Sometimes when a woman is having trouble getting in the mood, it’s embarrassing for her to say so. Communication is key!

    • kimbowen

      Hi Lynn, thank you for sharing your perspective. It does go both ways. I’ve tried to tackle the topic from all directions and you’ll find multiple blogs here on the topic of differences in sexual desire. I have plans for additional ones as well so stay tuned! Kim

  113. Michelle

    Why is this article only geared towards women being the ones who don’t want sex!? What about the men who sexually reject their wives?! They also exist! Am married to one!

    • kimbowen

      Hi Michelle, if you haven’t already seen it, I address this very topic in another blog. This has been and continues to be a hot topic. In my blogs I choose to tackle the most common scenarios I see in my practice, but every situation unique and there will be some relationships where the sexual frustration plays out differently. That’s why I recommend couples seek a coach or counselor who can help them look specifically at their marriage. For your reference, here’s the companion piece for wives who have husbands that don’t want sex. /2017/01/husband-doesnt-want-sex/ Warmly, Kim

  114. John

    Wives initiate therapy, when all they really need to do is initiate sex. I feel like therapy is for the partner who has to accept their shitty situation of being trapped in a relationship where their SO doesn’t want them sexually.

    • kimbowen

      If only it were that simple, John.

  115. Kathy eannetta

    I’m married 35 years. I fell madly in love. Sex was constant. His parents didn’t like me I was divorced w 4 kids. He was torn. 3 years later I said I want a commitment or leave. He left. Months later her came back. He took me to buy a diamond and threw it at me in the parking lot. Shortly later he began an affair with my best friend and brothers wife. I married him not knowing about the affair until 3-4 months after. The girls (kids) wanted me to keep him. I was devastated. I was still in love. He lied and said she offered a blow job but I found out later it’s not at all how it started. He said he was a young punk with no morals. After brow beating him I said was I a financial asset..2 paychecks not one, a house I owned and good child support from first husband. Suddenly about 8-9 years later all he wanted was to jump me and climax giving me nothing. I cried to him. We fought about it and the end resort was I got a vibrator. I told him hoping he would be jealous or shamed but still nothing changed. Recently I found out he had a second affair while on the road working. I think there were several. Our marriage has been rocky a long time but I thought he was my best friend. He’s selfish in the bedroom. I got tired of it and stopped having a relationship with him. I’m mad as hell that he didn’t desire me but could use me. He also admits he wasn’t in love with me way back but is now. I’m angry, I’m confused and frustrated. I hate him for lying to me when I was so young and I’ll never understand comp,Evelyn why he married me. I kicked him out yesterday. I’m totally blown away with the hurt hearing the truths he shared with me. Why was he so selfish. Was I used right from the beginning. I’m 68 now. And now alone and afraid of my future with being alone. I list my best friend. I list my husband first..years ago. I knew he was gone but my best friend..who lied to me and used me but says now he’s a man not a punk. But where’s he been all this time.

  116. KD

    my wife and i have been married for about 6 years now and we have never had what i would consider a normal sex life we are both 29 years old and in fairly good health…we don’t have any children…i go out of my way to make things easier on her i have talked to her openly about feeling rejected and unwanted multiple times in our marriage, we have sex maybe once a month i literally almost beg her sometimes and i can’t handle the rejection anymore…its wearing me down. I’ve come very close to walking away from our marriage a number of times and here recently I’ve began looking on dating sites. i felt guilty for this and quickly closed and deleted the profiles because i love my wife, but im not getting what i need from her and I’ve been dealing with this for 6 years. i really don’t want to give the towel in and i don’t want to cheat on her but i don’t know how much longer i can remain faithful in a dead relationship. im starting to resent her for not having children because i feel like we haven’t had enough sex to even say that we are trying to conceive…i don’t know what else to do

  117. Danica

    My husband and I have been married 18 years and we have never had the sex life I was hoping for. He made me feel like there was something wrong with me for years and that I didnt deserve love. But the real truth has come out. In fact he has recently been diagnosed with bipolar. It sucks because our relationship has always been based on what he wants
    including sex. It sucks.

  118. Eric

    Wow! This article is so dead on. I’ve been struggling with this for a long time, and I’m at the point where I just can’t take it anymore. The thought of not having someone that pulls me into the bedroom from time to time or never even wants to just make out, has reached a head. I love my wife and everything else couldn’t be more perfect, but I just can’t live this way anymore. I’m going to talk to her and figure out what we can do about it. Thanks for the push I needed and for taking the time to craft this beautiful article.

    • Tim Poole

      Ok Kim, how can you say you must talk to her when we know it falls on deff ears. I have told her multiple times. I even left this up on the computer and asked her to read it while I was at work. She sent me a text saying it was amazing how that was our story. When I got home, not a word was mentioned, and she cotinued to lay on the couch focused on TV. When I pour out my feelings and it goes in one ear and out the other, that is just more rejection given to someone on the verge of a breakdown. Only see two options. Move or affair. My next step is to ask her if she minds if I have affairs. I have two dogs. The big female takes the toy away from the smaller male. She doesn’t want it, she just doesn’t want anyone else to have it.

  119. Joe Incognito

    Riddle me this with these articles. Who wants to have sex with someone who needs to be guilted into having sex? I don’t. I wish my wife was into it, I wish she would initiate it, but if we went to therapy, and a therapist said “Your husband is hurt by your lack of wanting him”, would anyone be happy with pity sex? If she’s not into it, then I’m not into it.. that’s how I’m wired. We’re going on 30 years, and it’s been a struggle for the last 29. The last time was almost 2 years ago, the time before that was a year and 1/2.. so since 2015, we’ve had sex twice.. and those times were awkward as anything. I have to go through the motions of celebrating our 30 year wedding anniversary, but honestly, I’m just not into it. Oh..we’re both fit, I help with the chores, and not doing the porn thing, and my libido has taken a major hit as I’m stewing over the situation (something I knew would happen).

    • Just Me

      Oh Joe, I can relate to you 100%! Like you. I’m “wired” to hate, as you put it, pity sex. Maybe that’s why we’re loyal because we need more than just the motions? Anyway, I’ve been in your shoes, not quite as long or as severe. Our sex life went from weekly to maybe 8 times a year in just 3 years. No, no, no became the norm. Endless excuses. I felt all the things you feel. You are in the downward spiral. Here’s what happens if you don’t stop it.

      Longing for more physical closeness, you talk to her so she’ll understand the importance of having a good sexual relationship. Since she doesn’t place importance on a sexual relationship, the words fall on deaf ears and she makes no or temporary changes. So you try again to get through. Now she feels pressured, angry, and resentful. This goes on until a break occurs. The point where intimacy on all levels begins to drop out of the marriage.

      You seek attention with small acts of affection (hugs/kisses). Feeling pressured, the she pulls away from even these acts (either physically or replying with a perfunctory “that’s enough” kiss or hug). You see this as a rejection of all advances or worse, you as a spouse. While she becomes more resentful believing they are simply attempts to control or influence her actions. You each see the other as wanting control over the relationship. She wants to “dool“ out affection on her terms. While she believes you just want physical gratification rather than a “mature” relationship. Soon you stop sitting next to each other on the couch to avoid any miscommunication of desire or risk of rejection. You stop laughing at each other’s jokes. You walk past each other with only minor acknowledgment. You stop making eye contact. Your talk is perfunctory. You quit being friends. Your marriage is at risk.

      Sound familiar? Been there/am there. I urge you, break past the resentment and hurt feelings and talk. I finally sent her some articles explaining how I felt and I started packing. I think she understands now. I didn’t leave and think we are on the way to healing at least I hope so. Please try talking/urging/threatening but break the spiral. I know, it’s hard to go through the drama but it’s better than where you are, isn’t it? Do it, demand better. You deserve it. Be well.

    • Bob Smith

      Notice how there’s no reply to your post. You can’t make someone want something they don’t want, and I too have experienced the half-hearted mechanical sex that happened after I told her how I feel, and it was worth than nothing. If that’s enough for you then therapy might be the solution, but it’s not enough for me, and there are virtually no success stories where the uninterested spouse suddenly becomes interested. It’s been 3 year since I finally gave up and let her off the hook and she hasn’t initiated once and we too are approaching our 30th anniversary. I live my life behind a pane of glass…

  120. M

    This is sad that’s how affairs start and it’s not right..the outside person gets used and the married individual goes back home ..business usually
    Couples should get help…I don’t think you have the right to abstain you married this person…when dating the couple should make sure they are compatible..if one person has low sex drive and the other has high sex drive not going to work…when you are discussing buying a home when getting married..you should discuss your sex drive

  121. Dave

    Thanks for the article! I’m a 42 year old married(21 years) male. What if our marriage counselor dismisses me for wanting sex from my wife by saying that sex is not really a need? I understand it’s not a need regarding living and dying. But should I look for another counselor? She’s also a sex therapist, so she must know that sex is a physical, spiritual, & relational need for a husband? Thanks for your help.

  122. Melisa

    A few years ago I got on drugs and it almost cost me everything. Thank GOD I have been clean for over 3 years!!! My husband and I started working on our marriage we went to counseling. We have been married almost 28 years and after I get myself straight I find out he’s been having an affair. We get past that everything is better than its ever been. He starts having health issues I go to all his doctor appointments with him and I’ve been very supportive. Yes he has low T and ED . I feel like hes not attractive to me anymore cause he wants nothing to do with me sexually he doesn’t even try to touch me. Is there something wrong with me? Are could he still have feelings for her?? Now it’s been 2yrs since the affair and I know for sure he hasn’t been with her for the past years we have been together. Why do I feel like something is wrong with me,are maybe he’s just not happy with me. I’ve ask him he says it is his low T. We have been to the doctor and they want him to take a blood test so a doctor that deals with this can decide what he needs to do . Well for some reason he want do the test…. Am I missing something here??? Please help me understand!!!! Thanks melisa

    • Rudolf

      Melisa, I had exactly the same problems and attitude like your husband. Turned out I had Testosterone levels of a happy 5 year old. Also I had a prolactinoma, flooding my body and brain with prolactin. Both together will pretty much shut down any man sexually. Also being 58 at that time I decided to undergo gainswave therapy to improve penile blood flow. Also, I lost 60 lbs of weight… Check for yourself, how much of this relates to your husband. If he takes care of those things, he will feel better and Libido probably will return. Good luck!

  123. Nick

    The problem with talking about it is then it becomes “negotiated desire.” Negotiated desire only ever leads to obligated compliance. Men want their wives to WANT to have sex with them. Not to do it out of obligation.

  124. Just Me

    I’ve been married for 30 years with sex waining for the last 10. Last year it was 2 times and “No” or “We’ll see” was the normal response. We’ve been together since we were in high school and deeply in love. So I won’t leave but I have thought/threatened it. I’m also a psychologist (not marriage therapy but it comes up) and this article is spot on. But yeah, I’ve lived it as well.

    I see at it as LDS, low drive spouse and HDS, high drive spouse because yes, men turn away too but the media jokes about in one way (honey, I’ve got a headache). Here’s what I’ve seen and experienced. When faced with the reality of a long-term relationship in trouble due to a breakdown in the sexual relationship people ask, “Is a sexual relationship that important?” Most often it’s the LDS who asks this, commonly followed by a statement of how other parts of the relationship are, in their view, great. Unfortunately this is a singular viewpoint as the HDS usually experiences this on a much more personal level and believes it affects the entire relationship. My experience and what I often relay in response is something both usually relate to given their current situation.

    Longing for more physical closeness, the HDS tries to get his or her partner, the LDS, to understand the importance of having a good sexual relationship. Since the LDS doesn’t place importance on a sexual relationship, the words fall on deaf ears, and as a result, the LDS makes no or temporary changes. So the HDS tries again to get through. Now the LDS feels pressured, angry, and resentful. This goes on until a break occurs. The point where intimacy on all levels begins to drop out of the marriage.

    The HDS seeks attention with small acts of affection (hugs/kisses). Feeling pressured, the LDS pulls away from even these acts (either physically or replying with a perfunctory “that’s enough” kiss or hug). The HDS sees this as a rejection of all advances or worse, them as a spouse. While the LDS becomes more resentful believing they are simply meant to control or influence their actions. They each see the other as wanting control over the relationship. The LDS wanting to “dool“ out affection only on their terms. The HDS wanting physical gratification rather than a “mature” relationship. Soon the spouses stop sitting next to each other on the couch to avoid any miscommunication of desire or risk of rejection. They stop laughing at each other’s jokes. They walk past each other with only minor acknowledgment. They stop making eye contact. Their talk is perfunctory. They quit being friends. Their marriage is at risk. So yes, a sexual relationship is important. Anything that can end your marriage should be given its due respect. And all of this risk freely taken and relished in for an act each truly enjoyed and can still receive such pleasure from.

    So take what this article says to heart, it’s not porn, it’s not masturbation or vibrators, it’s not fighting… in a healthy relationship these are symptoms. It’s hurt feelings, it’s resentment, it’s not communicating, it’s wanting to win a disagreement rather than understand. Luckily, we are well on our way to resolving our problems because we recognized them, are committed to solving them. Give up winning and try problem solving either between yourselves or with a therapist. I say this after living in your shoes and with only my best wishes as you take on this journey. By the way, we’ve had some form of closeness or sex every week for 5 months (after 2 in all of 2018) but who’s counting. There is hope. Don’t quit.

    • Jim

      We have been together for 31 years this June . Last night things got heated but not the way ,me the HDS wanted. I had finally been rejected for the last time and went off like a nuclear bomb ! Ready and willing to be alone for good . Words have been said and a line drawn which I jumped over . After an hour of yelling from LSD & HSD we retreated back to bed went to sleep . She went to work and I helped her get ready as I always have done .
      I personally felt as if I had written what you wrote it’s to a T . I DO NOT want to leave her . But I’m sick and tired of feeling this way . I plan to talk with the marriage place and fix it “hopefully” she is stubborn . Thank you for telling your story , and I hope your marriage gets better and better each day

  125. Kevin

    I agree with much that’s been written here by frustrated men.
    Here’s another angle on our situation that I haven’t read anywhere yet.

    I don’t want to own a grown woman’s sexual identity.

    Let me explain.

    When I met my wife she was an individual with her own moods, opinions, and sexuality with all its attendant ebbs and flows.

    Now it seems, and much of the writing and advice I read speak to the idea that her sexuality, moods, and desires are my responsibility to create, manage, and negotiate.

    It is my job to initiate. It is my job to ask or not ask what is going on with our intimacy. It is my job to care. She no longer exists as a sexual being independent of me as long as we are married. I have to create the situations and her role in them otherwise they don’t happen. She will stay silent and inactive as if a part of her psyche has been carved out of her if I do nothing as well. The burden of initiating and the risk of rejection is just for me.

    This is exhausting and demoralizing.

    Believe it or not men have feelings beyond our genitals and complex interior lives too. I’m a parent, a provider, the financial planner, a son, a brother, a parent board member, a recent student, etc.

    I don’t want to be the owner and sole creator of a grown woman’s sexual identity too. It’s not a turn on. And it’s not what I signed on for as a husband.

    Women: please god figure yourselves out and let us know something.

    As it stands now I just turned 40 and plan to be single again by 45.

    Marriage is painful and lonely.

    • 10yrswasted

      I understand your point here. But imagine your wife reading this. It is totally her job to make herself happy as well as yours for yourself. Then and only then can this imply. But with no sex a marriage wont be happy so there is when i say fake it until you make it. Give her that extra attention longer than a month or so and youll see changes. We get comfortable too soon after marriage whe. You’re supposed to do all the same things you did when you met. Never stop trying to win her heart. And her as well. Suck it up Buttercup. Almost all couples that are happy have sex no matter what. Shower is one place. If shes ashamed of her body think of why and change her mind. Tell her shes beautiful no matter what.
      Or maybe its not meant to be. Most men in my experience stop saying those things and stop cuddling leaving us in our thoughts on why. We are emotional creatures. Men are poviders.

  126. Jason

    I want to send this to my wife but I’m sure all it will do is make her mad and she will say I’m trying to make her feel guilty. This is exactly us. I’m tired and frustrated. I don’t want any other woman besides my wife. I live with the frustration and think about it every day. She had someone hurt her in the past and has brought that into our marriage and this is the result. I feel guilty asking for sex. If we ever do have sex it’s hard to enjoy because I know she doesn’t enjoy it. She mostly makes up excuses like she has to go to work that night. We can’t have sex during the day because she won’t let me see her body but she is beautiful and I’d give anything to see her body. I love my wife. I just wish she could love me back sexually. Your article is perfect in every way to our situation.

  127. Steve

    I think your article is right on. Describes both of our reactions to a tee. I have been in a sexless marriage for 10 years; we are both emotional detached from each other anymore, both in our late 50 s. I quit pursuing sex with my wife a year ago, the constant rejection was too much emotionally so I bury myself in work now. My wife will turn away when I try to kiss her gives me these side hugs that you would give to a relative you do not like. And I get mad and snap at anything anymore. Endless cycle of tit for tat. We no longer dress in front of each other, I remember when I chased her around the house naked, and she would walk around in only panties. Those days seem like a distant memory now. I apologize for walking into the master bath as she was dressing the other day, gee wiz how far we have fallen. We are both in great physical shape, my wife walks, and I ride a bike. She a very attractive women she still gives me an erection. The only thing that keeps me going is my love for my 4 grandkids, maybe my wife also. We just do not talk anymore. Its s so unbelievably awkward anymore.

  128. Young Man

    What you wrote in this post is very true and perfectly describes our situation…

  129. Amy

    We’ve been married or a better word together for 51 years, and right from the beginning he told me he had very little interest in sex or intimacy. Also he suggested that if that wasn’t for me we should just say goodbye. I never make good choices and this was one of them. First off he was drafted into the Army and sent off to Viet Nam for a couple of years. Being there he was not a happy camper. When he got home he found a great job but worked the midnight shift, from the get go i worked days and we never saw each other also he worked long hour and 7 days a week. He hadn’t changed any in fact he moved into a small home shack and I had the our original house. He rebuilt his place its small but nice. I’m to old to care anymore and just learned to live with my situation as much as I hate it. But I do have a roof over my head which is pretty nice, fairly new car, clothes and a bunch of great church friends. He has made sure I was taken care of and money in my checking account.

  130. SadGuy

    I’ve been married for 7 years and my wife told me she doesn’t want to have sex with me anymore. We had great sex for 5 years then it turned into once a week to maybe once a month to nothing. I ask her why she didn’t want to have sex with me anymore and she said just give me time. I said time for what.? She want tell me? Now she gets mad at me when I bring up sex. She gets so mad that she starts hitting me and throwing things at me. I have never hit her and never will. I don’t know what to do, but leave at this point

  131. Abbey

    If you’re in a sexless marriage either get it back or take the next step. Sex is the most important thing in a marriage imo next to date night. I they dont want it there’s something deeper going on. And it could be anything from depression, cheating, not feeling needed or wanted, withdrawn etc. My case was he was emotionally checked out even though our sex life was more spicier than ever. His dad died and that was it.

  132. Cosmo Topper

    A wife can drive her husband away even if sex isn’t nonexistent. She can disrespect him every chance she gets, tell him that nothing he does is done correctly, tell him his feelings are wrong, and ignore anything he says which she doesn’t like. When (not if) the sex dries up, that’s just the last straw. He already knows she doesn’t love him. No sex is just the punctuation on the declaratiion.

  133. Moose

    This is truly unreal how many of these stories match exactly – word for word – what is going on in my marriage. What I’m curious to know from KimBowen is what things specifically you guys implore to fix these types of situations? I am interested in perhaps reaching out, but I want a bit more detail in understanding what to expect? All of us seem to have the common element of thinking we’ve talked to our spouses (in my case, I really have tried several times in a calm non-confrontational non-judgmental way to have her reveal anything bothering her that is leading to the non-desire without any repercussions, but am always reassured that there’s nothing wrong with me and she simply will not reveal what is the root cause of the problem, despite how very obvious it is. I feel there is something deep-seeded that she is afraid to reveal to me, but I’ve given her so many chances to just air it out so we can discuss it — I don’t want to go as far as to say she’s lying to me and is intentionally withholding information, but it’s clear that (to her), discussions perceived as awkward are very quickly swept under the rug and she can change the subject faster than a NASCAR pit crew changes a tire.

    While I have confidence that an outside party would have better luck extracting the elusive secret problem behind all of this, how does that revelation then assist in resuming a normal sex life? I understand the benefit of therapy to where she can feel she can air her grievance(s), but what do you folks do that uses that to then translate to her suddenly wanting to be intimate?

  134. Mark

    Nice article. It pretty much sums things up. We met 44 years ago yesterday and here I am reading this article in the middle of the night pre-dawn on Valentines Day.

    When I try to bring up the subject of intimacy the rebuff is swift. A couple weeks ago the response was “when are you going to give up? People our age don’t have sex anymore”

    I’m only 63. I don’t want to live the rest of my life without sexual intimacy. If I knew this 40 years ago before we got married, I wouldn’t have. I have never had sex with any other person but it makes me think the only way It would happen is to look elsewhere.

  135. Sandra

    Consider this: sex without intimacy is using someone. Touching that always leads to trying to get sex is using someone. Women have a need to be cherished as men have a need to be respected.
    Hugs, kisses, touching and cuddling that doesn’t always lead to sex may make your woman available to you for sex.
    Just food for thought.

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