Why Aren’t We Having Sex?

March 22, 2021

Why Aren't We Having Sex_

Note: Please be mindful that this content may not be unsuitable for younger audiences. 

Why doesn’t my spouse want sex?  Why do they withdraw or get angry or make excuses when I try to discuss it with them? Is it me or them?

If you’ve found yourself asking questions like these, let’s talk. 

As a marriage therapist, I regularly see couples who aren’t having sex. There can be many reasons that are frequently discussed like low libido or emotional disconnect, but there is another problem that is gaining momentum and causes a lot of sexual dysfunction for couples:  sex or porn addiction.

Sounds counterintuitive doesn’t it?  If someone is addicted to sex, why do they not want sex with their partner? To understand, let’s look at what sex addiction is and how it affects a person.

Sex addiction – a fancy name for compulsive sexual behavior – is the persistent sexual thoughts and the craving for sex that disrupts one’s ability to function at work, school, in relationships, and other daily activities. That compulsion can manifest itself in many ways like watching porn and masturbating (sometimes for hours a day), visiting strip clubs, massage parlors or prostitutes. It could also include online chat rooms or multiple sex partners. 

Interestingly, sex addiction is less about arousing the ‘nether region’ as it is about arousing the brain, and that’s because sex addiction isn’t really about the sex as much as it is about the addiction. In fact, when someone develops a sex addiction, they often eventually stop deriving enjoyment from sex with a real partner. Instead, sexual activity is simply the drug of choice to get the “high” they crave.

While both men and women can suffer from sex addiction, it often presents differently for each. We will cover what sex addiction looks like for women in a followup post because it is talked about even less but has equally destructive consequences.

When men are watching porn excessively or having multiple affairs it leads to many wives asking ‘What’s wrong with me?’ and ‘Why doesn’t he want sex?’ This can create a lot of tension and shame for both parties which keeps them silent and suffering longer.  

Signs of sexual addiction in men

If you are one of these spouses and have had some suspicions that addiction could be at play, here are some tell-tell signs you may have noticed and should consider. Note: If you are the one who may have an addiction, you can use this list to honestly assess yourself.

  • Struggles to resist the urge to view porn, elicit photos or videos on social media platforms.
  • Frequently and increasingly engages in these behaviors over a longer period of time and more often than intended.
  • Masturbates habitually and/or engage in other forms of sex (phone, porn, sexting) when alone.
  • Is preoccupied with sexual behavior and spends excessive amount of time preparing for, obtaining sex, being sexual, or recovering from sexual experiences.
  • Has a persistent desire (or has made unsuccessful efforts) to stop, reduce or control these behaviors.
  • Neglects, has difficulty fulfilling, or gives up occupational, academic, domestic, social obligations and activities due to these behaviors.
  • Displays an escalating need for more intensity, frequency, and risk level in sexual behavior in order to be satisfied.
  • Has a history of infidelity and risky sexual behaviors including extramarital affairs or prostitituion.
  • Has a loss of sexual function not explained by a medical condition and/or has become withdrawn or disinterested in sex with you.

Shows signs of distress, anxiety, restlessness, irritability if unable to engage in this behavior; or feels shame and embarrassment when they do.

Getting help

If you notice any 3 of these criteria in your marriage, there could be an addiction at play, and I recommend it should be evaluated by a professional. 

If you already know you or your spouse may be struggling with sex addiction, let’s talk. All it takes is a quick phone call or email to begin the journey towards healing and freedom.

Sam John is a Licensed Professional Therapist and Certified Sexual Addiction Candidate at The Marriage Place where he specializes helping couples rescue and repair their relationships and individuals to find freedom from sexual addiction and childhood trauma.

How healthy is your marriage?

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As adults, one of the things we don’t engage in enough is self-care. These are the things that we do regularly that allow us to show up well, as our best selves, for all the responsibilities we have like our job or parenting.


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