It’s Not Just About the Sex, Is It Guys?

Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

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depressed husband 163x246 Its Not Just About the Sex, Is It Guys? photoIf you are a wife reading this, I want to share with you what I hear from husbands...

...men who email me because they are at their wits end as to how to convey to their wives their disappointment with the lack of sex in their marriages.

A common theme I hear from these husbands?

That it's not just about the sex.

I imagine that if sex has been a source of contention in your marriage, battle lines have been drawn, right?  Assumptions have taken root.

As a wife, one of your assumptions may be that your husband is just this insensitive guy when it comes to sex... that all it is to him is this physical release... that he is a slave to his sexual urges that have nothing to do with emotion.

Well, that assumption just doesn't match up to what I hear from many, many husbands.

This is what I think is one of the biggest stumbling blocks when it comes to sex in a marriage.

Deep down I think in many regards, husbands and wives do want the same thing... it's just they are miles apart in being vulnerable enough to really discover that.

What do guys tell me?  They want a wife who...

  • Wants to be there sexually.
  • Truly values sex as an act of deep sacred love.
  • Is not indifferent or afraid to express that she is attracted to her husband -- emotionally and physically.
  • Doesn't view sexual connection as an "extra" or "something to check off her to-do list."
  • Regards her marriage to him as a high priority.
  • Touches him outside of the bedroom with genuine affection, sexual and otherwise.
  • Still thinks of him as the guy she couldn't wait to marry... couldn't wait to commit her life to.
  • Meant what she said when she gave her whole being to him.

If we really stand back and look at this, the reality is that most wives want the same thing, right?

You want to feel treasured, known and valued.

You want to genuinely believe and trust that your husband still adores you... that he is grateful he married you... that he respects you and desires you, right?

So, it's not just about the sex.

It's not just about the physical release.

When he makes love with you, it's because he wants to know you in the deepest most vulnerable way.  And he wants to be known by you in that way.

Could I be wrong on this?  Well, sure. I know there are some husbands who are selfish insensitive jerks.

Could it be, though, that yours is not?

Could he be a guy who deeply loves his wife... and is in horrendous pain about the way she rejects him sexually?

If I were you, I'd muster up the courage to ask him.

Go ask him.

Ask him what sex means to him.

Ask him if he has felt rejected by you sexually.

Ask him if there's a way the two of you can start to right the ship on what's happening sexually in your marriage.

You'll never know unless you ask. Your marriage is worth it.  You are worth it.  And so is he.

Copyright 2012, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

 

 

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48 Responses to
“It’s Not Just About the Sex, Is It Guys?”

  • Jay Dee says: December 5th, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    I 100% agree, and have written about this myself. Sex is so much more than just sex. It's how we connect, and share, and be transparent. It's a proxy for how loved we feel.

  • D says: December 6th, 2012 at 1:43 am

    I agree Julie. To me love making is so much more than just sex. I want to want to be intimate with my wife, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I pray before we make love that God will enable us to meet each other's needs and afterwards to thank Him for the wonderful time we have had. Her satisfaction is actually more important to me than my own, although, of course my release is particularly thrilling when I have completely satisfied her.

  • VR says: December 6th, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Julie you are so spot on with this post. Sex is a way of communication to our spouses and to GOD. Sex communicates to a man how loved he is when his wife totally surrenders to GODS design for sex, and in obedience to CHRIST submits herself completely to her own sexual being and to her husband. Sex is how you have mentioned before a truly,pure,holy act of worship when it is done in the confines of a covenant marriage and with a pure servants heart to put our spouse's needs,wants, above our own. And a HOLY GOD watches and sees his children submitting,obeying and enjoying the special gift he gave to his married children and he is GLORIFIED.

  • Robert says: December 6th, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    I'm one of the guys who hangs around here, mostly lurking, but occasionally offering a comment or two.

    Julie is spot on.

    For me, sex is about so much more than the mere physical release. That release is, of course, very nice and pretty important. But sex with my bride is really about intimacy. About being deeply intimate with the woman I love best in the whole world. Sex is about being loved and accepted.

    My bride and I have faced lots of challenges over this subject, including a long dry spell that was, for me, exceptionally painful. Being rejected sexually is not just about a rejection of sexual activity, it becomes a rejection of ME. A rejection of my love, a rejection of my need to be intimate with my bride.

    I would encourage wives who find themselves regularly rejecting sexual intimacy to be honest about the rejection. Don't tell your husband that you are too tired, then stay up to 3:00am. Don't tell your husband you are too busy, then spend all evening watching old movies or reading. That lack of honesty made the rejection doubly painful. Even if the answer was going to be "no" for three or four months at a stretch, I would much rather my bride have said "I'm sorry, I love you, but I don't feel like sex."

    During the worst of this period of time, I simply gave up. I had no expectation that my bride would ever say yes if I suggested sex. Before suggesting sex, I thought long and hard about whether the small chance of a "yes" was worth the pain of rejection. I avoided suggesting sex until I could no longer stand it, and was practically screaming from the emptiness. When she then rejected me, the pain was that much greater. Not the best strategy, I know, but it is what I did.

    When we have struggled over this issue, it was not just the lack of intercourse that pained me, it was the lack of any real intimacy or affection between us. I love my bride, and I have always been faithful. But at some point, you start to ask yourself if you can continue on in a marriage in which you are mere roommates, mere friends. What sort of foundation does that provide to your children, when mom and dad merely go through the motions, pretending to have an intimate relationship which is not there?

    This constant level of rejection eats away at a man's heart. It did mine. I give thanks that for us, things have changed for the better. But, we came perilously close to the cliff.

    When you marry, you make a promise to love and cherish. You promise to be faithful, including sexually faithful. How can you be living out that promise, if you are constantly rejecting intimacy with your mate?

    And finally, I recognize that there women who are being constantly rejected by their husbands. My heart goes out to you, your pain is real too.

  • Robert says: December 6th, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Sorry, another thought.

    Please do not say "yes" when what you mean is "no."

    In the worst of it, my bride did this. To be making love to your bride and to realize that she is loathing every minute of it, is a very, very painful experience. After the second time, I begged my bride to NEVER again say "yes" when what she really meant was "go away and leave me alone."

    It would be perfectly wonderful for my bride to do something just for me, when she has no interest for herself in being sexual. But, that is only a good thing if she can do so out of love and affection for me.

    Ultimately, I want pretty much the same thing my bride does out of our marriage. I want to be loved and wanted. I want our relationship to include lots of non-sexual affection and laughter. I want to live intimately with my bride. That intimate relationship must include some sexual intimacy.

  • Larry B says: December 6th, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    There is sex and there is lovemaking. Even animals can have sex. Humans are different than animals. We are capable of higher emotions and rational thinking. And, for us, sex is not just for procreation.

    Yes, it is about more than physical release. It is a special sharing and a special intimacy that strengthens the loving marriage bond. Good lovemaking is not the only key ingredient to a happy and successful marriage, but without it, the marriage is at risk. Sexual frustration within a marriage may lead one spouse or the other to an affair.

    A question for pastors is: why do we hear so little in the churches about the need for showing affection to each other in our marriages? God designed us for joyous lovemaking within our loving marriages!! That is why we are capable of it all throughout our adult lives.

  • abh says: December 6th, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    My husband and I have a great sex life. We are intimate outside and in the bedroom, I can say that he is truly my best friend. We've been wondering and honestly just too shy to bring it up to our pastor or anyone like that... what sexual acts are okay for married people to do? To be honest, he's my husband, whatever feels good we do- and we are very "open" to trying "new things" (never involving a 3rd party or any sort of abuse or nonconsenual act) and have done these "new ideas" quite a few times and it's made us closer, but from a Christian perspective are some of these things wrong? I mean, we are MARRIED! :) :)

  • JulieSibert says: December 6th, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    @abh... sounds like you and your husband have great communication and nurtured sexual intimacy. Yeah!!! So great to hear this!!!

    In general, the guidelines I like to use as far as what is "okay" is this... if the Bible specifically forbids it, then it's not okay; if it involves third parties of any kind, then it's not okay (no other people there, other people watching, pornography, fantasizing about other people, etc); if someone is getting hurt, it's not okay... no physical abuse, spiritual abuse, emotional abuse, etc.

    If something can pass the above guidelines and if a husband and wife are both in agreement, then I think there is tremendous freedom in the marriage bed.

    If you wanted my thoughts on something specific (sex toys? different positions? oral sex? anal sex? role play?, etc.), then feel free to email me at jksibert@cox.net. Like I said though... it sounds like you and your husband have great communication and enjoy sex, so I imagine you are doing just fine and having fun and honoring your marriage and the Lord...

  • Gaye @ Calm.Healthy.Sexy. says: December 7th, 2012 at 9:15 am

    This is very powerful and is something that all wives need to understand. Even for wives who enjoy sex, it's easy to minimize what it means to our husbands and assume that it's all physical (not that the physical isn't important).

  • pissed off says: December 7th, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Sex would be a great idea if I didn't think you were just getting off on me because you were turned on by all the people you were checking out all night. Sex would be a great idea if I felt like I could trust you in public and online. Maybe if you acted like I was truly all you wanted, I'd be open to doing whatever you could imagine. Why is it I have to put out because that's what I'm supposed to do, but you're not an I-only-have-eyes-for-you kind of husband? Maybe if most men figured this out they'd have more sex than they could even dream of.

  • Kentucky Colonel says: December 7th, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Genesis 2:25 (NIV84)
    The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

    I think there is a great desire for many to have a little piece of Eden back.

  • seth says: December 7th, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    To pissed off, maybe if you were more willing to put out as you call it, maybe his eyes wouldn't wander. Sounds more like an excuse to get out of having to have sex.

  • LH says: December 7th, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    I wish my husband felt that way. I have asked him. He sees NO DIFFERENCE between making love and having sex. As long as it is he and I, he calls it all making love... Even if he's been lying to me all day, and is thinking about being with another woman while we are together, he calls that Love.

  • LH says: December 7th, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    And btw, he turns me down at least 2-3 times more often than I turn him down.

  • LH says: December 7th, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Seth has it backwards.

  • pissed off says: December 7th, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Seth. Interesting comment you made not even knowing how much I put out--or that I DO. Glad I'm not YOUR wife. YOU are a jerk.

  • changing it to "ticked off" says: December 7th, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Interesting comment, Seth. Not knowing how much I put out. So, let me get this straight--you men will do what's right, if first we women do what's right? 2nd, you have no idea how much I give him sex. I do. Why is it we women are to fully give ourselves to you, but you men don't have to? Or in the case you're recommending, you will if I will. SAD.

  • ticked off says: December 7th, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Instead of being angry at you Seth I'm going to pick your brain. Please know I do put out and am willing to put out. I like sex. But no matter what I do, I am not enough to him. I am his wife. Why do I have to compete with others?

  • love my wife says: December 8th, 2012 at 1:15 am

    ticked off/pissed off,
    I'm not Seth but before I read your later comments...I will admit something close to what Seth said raced thru my mind. Please understand that each man, woman and their marriage is unique. There are men whose eyes would never wander if their true love loved them in the way they needed. As someone who has lived thru a wife (due to hormonal issues for 13 years) refused, rejected, etc it is devastating. I can't imagine being any more lonely, hurt, etc. Even in the middle of it I loved my wife and would gladly of died for her...she was/is my world but going thru it I would be lying if I say my eyes didn't stray. Now though that she is healthy, well it's much different. Not that I don't notice attractive women but I wouldn't trade my wife for anyone, ever...

    That said, there are guys that aren't grown-up enough, Christlike enough, or selfless enough...and some that don't get it. Unfortunately there are husbands (and wives) that just don't love their the spouses...they are in it for what they can get out of it. I hope your husband does love you and you both just aren't seeing eye to eye and have misscommunicated and hurt each other enough over the years and I hope there can be healing. I pray that your husband can change and love you and you alone in the way you need. Please understand Seth probably is hurting just as bad as you are... he probably doesn't have a wife that "puts out" as you say. He feels just as lonely and betrayed...but I'm just guessing. You can't know much about folks from a paragraph or two.

    Please understand, my wife has PMDD (PMS x 1,000...think bipolar without the good times). Before she was healthy, I had literally been left hundreds of times, been told I was hated more times than I could count, told she hated sex with me, was physically abused (don't worry to much about me...I look like an NFL linebacker), had weapons pointed at me but when my wife became healthy (naturopath, many supplements, prozac and some counseling) she is the most beautiful , loving and wonderful woman in the world. Totally different person but the person I knew she really was. I know she was hurting thru all those years too, just as bad as me. I know I was hurting her too, sure a lot of it was a reaction but I was still hurting her. Any marriage can be healed if the people have God in their life and a willingness to stick it out, truly love the other person, try to walk in the other shoes, be selfless and forgive.

  • seth says: December 8th, 2012 at 6:36 am

    Maybe in the past you weren't as open to being intimate with him, and sent him the wrong signals to him, start being his "pornstar" you'd be surprised how fast you no longer have to compete for him.

  • JulieSibert says: December 8th, 2012 at 8:18 am

    @seth and @ticked off... I've just stood back and watched these comments because I'm a fairly big believer in letting discussions flow.

    My two cents, for what it's worth... I think each marriage is unique. The circumstances that bring a couple to a place where intimacy (emotional, sexual, spiritual, etc) isn't mutually valued and nurtured sometimes are complex issues.

    @seth... I don't know if the suggestion that she be his "pornstar" really is the best approach. I understand what you're saying, but the choice of words isn't going to sit well with most women because it has connotations that are devastating.

    Sex in a marriage can't be reduced to "if you do this, I'll do that." Healthy patterns take a tremendous amount of selflessness, respect, and high regard for marriage from both the husband and the wife. If that's not happening, then sex will take a hit... it won't be all that it could be.

    And honestly, that's pretty much what I hear through the comments from both of you. And I get why your comments sound harsh, judging, etc. My guess is there is quite a bit of pain from personal experience and that's coming through in your words.

  • FatherOf4 says: December 8th, 2012 at 10:44 am

    @Seth and @ticked off - I agree with Julie (so I won't repeat it), but I would add...
    I would argue both of you are wrong for the same reasons. Both of you are claiming innocence and victimhood in your marriage. The truth is you (and I) are neither innocent, nor a victim. We are the perpetrators of selfishness. We are the instigators of pride. We are the proponents of suffering. Each of these is an assault on the authority of our Creator, an act of treason. It is only through God's mercy we are not punished. When we disrespect and dishonor our spouses, we are really disrespecting and dishonoring God. He/she was made in his image and what we do for others we do for Christ.
    The second point, in which I believe, we struggle is the idea of earning love. We strive to earn God's love. We toil to earn our spouse's love. We try to reap our parent's love. We work hard to gain something which cannot be earned. There is nothing my children can do which will change my love for them. There is nothing my wife can do which will earn her additional love from me. I am incapable of causing God to love me more (or less.) God's love for me is entirely dependent on who he is, (he's decided to love me and therefore he does.) My love for my wife is solely my decision. My parents love for me is not dependent on my behaviors, it's their choice. The idea of earning another's love is also antithetical to the Bible. It is also a usurption of his authority. We want to be valued (out of pride) for what WE have
    done rather than what He has proclaimed (our value is ONLY found in Him.)
    Hope this helps. (I'm still learning to live it.)

  • Larry B says: December 8th, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Offering my one cent in the hope that it may help at least one couple.

    There are times when one has to set aside the pain and the hurt and the resentment in a sincere effort to make things work. This is not easy to do. Both spouses need to do this - set aside the past wrongs.
    Forgiveness is key here.

    Ideally, the man and the woman at the time of their marriage would each enter married life with the priority of trying to make their spouse happy. As other posters have noted, this is not always the case. But, it seems to me, that the really good and happy marriages are between 2 spouses who both cherish and really love one another (and are each willing to sacrifice for their spouse). If the marriage is mostly conducted on one or the other spouse's terms, it will be difficult and may fail. Husbands and wives need to give. (Marriage is a partnership, not a dictatorship.) If one or the other is mostly a taker, the other spouse will grow tired (and even exasperated) over the years, and may thus opt for divorce.

    Husbands and wives you must be more selfless in your love. But, this does leave you open to the risk that your spouse will not reciprocate that love. Strong marriages are where the woman and the man reciprocate (return) each other's love. This is true outside the bedroom as well as in the marriage bed. If you are having problems in the bedroom, you may have other serious issues in your marriage.

  • Justaguy says: December 9th, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Thanks for a wonderful note Julie ... You captured it perfectly without much missing from my perspective as a guy married for 25 yrs to my college sweetheart ... It's had a lot of sexual-problems, but I remain optimistic ... I wish I could show her this ... Then again, it's nothing I haven't told her myself

  • Quick Tips for a Sexier Christmas Season | Calm.Healthy.Sexy. says: December 9th, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    [...] a big deal, you might encourage her to read this article by Julie at Intimacy in Marriage – It’s Not Just About the Sex, Is It Guys?  It provides some powerful insight into what sex means to [...]

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    [...] long-married couples, the risk of rejection is a scary thing for a man; he really does want you for more than just sex; and when his beloved wants to be intimate with him, he feels like the king of the [...]

  • BT says: December 11th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Totally agree that it is not "just about the sex". I want my wife to WANT to have sex, not just be willing to have sex. Huge difference. But she doesn't and isn't generous for me. I feel really stuck. I am not satisfied, but am not going to issue ultimatums...

    Any advice?

    Thanks

  • JulieSibert says: December 12th, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    @BT... It doesn't have to be about issuing ultimatums. A good approach may be to write her a letter, expressing in your own words your deep love for her and what sex means to you... that it isn't just about the sex. A letter can be a good springboard into face-to-face conversation.

    As for when you give her the letter and/or have a verbal conversation, choose a time when neither of you are tired or distracted.

    Goal is to create a tone that fosters good communication. Ultimately, what makes sex so amazing is good vulnerable communication where a couple can build a shared value of what sexual intimacy means for their marriage.

  • RMRM says: December 12th, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Julie - I so appreciate this tender and vital ministry you are giving here. Clearly marriage is designed by a loving Heavenly Father to help his children grow - in every possible way. As a husband who loves his wife while also hoping that she would know how much I miss being wanted by her, I can relate to the pain and heartache expressed in your post and in the comments it has inspired. As in all things, Jesus Christ is the Perfect Teacher, even in intimate matters. Bless you for your service.

  • GL says: December 14th, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Again, another article about how women view sex as a thing to check off the list and not something enjoyable. Every time I read these Christian marriage blogs I get the sense that there's a belief God sucks all sexual desire out of women and the culture is set up so that you're somehow not allowed to want sex at least once or twice a day! This does NOT make me want to go back to church. I just can't relate.

    What about the ladies? What about the wives that are rejected night after night? What about attempts at seduction that leave you feeling like less of a woman? What about drumming up the courage to kiss him "that" way only to hear him sigh because you want it again? And then, what about those rare occasions when he wants to, but you're feeling so emotionally distant from him you don't know how to tell him you need foreplay first - so you fake it because you didn't want to miss the opportunity and hoped your body, mind, and emotions would align - because it's happened once or twice before - only to feel unsatisfied and hating your Pavlovian logic.

    I'd like to see an article on THAT.

  • JulieSibert says: December 14th, 2012 at 10:18 am

    @GL... thank you for stopping by and for your comment. I'm sorry for the pain and frustration you're feeling.

    This is one post out of many. I assure you that myself and many other marriage bloggers I know do recognize that nurtured sexual intimacy is a two-way street and that a marriage needs to be a place of mutual respect, mutual selflessness, mutual forgiveness and mutual striving to be supportive and loving.

    I'm just one voice of many trying to encourage couples in their marriages. Not every blog post resonates with every person or applies to every marital situation.

    Thank you so much, though, for sharing your thoughts. I really do appreciate it...

  • AnotherHungryWife says: December 18th, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    PS-
    Julie-
    I want to make sure that it is clear to you that NONE of my frustration is directed at you (or my husband, actually), just the *situation*, and the common perceptions. I'm a long-time reader and recommender of this blog, and am SO grateful for all you say, and for you having the courage and strength to stand in what I imagine can be a very ugly, attacked, hurtful and nasty place and say the true things that you do. I know for sure that I and many others have been helped by this ministry.

  • AnotherHungryWife says: December 18th, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Will you please replace my original comment with this one? I'm not so emotional now and would like to do "damage control" on the things I typed too quickly after reading. Leave the comment about how grateful I am for your ministry tho!

    @GL- YES. You wrote just my frustrations and struggles.
    Last night I was turned down. Again. He's just too tired. He says I am a good wife, and we have a beautiful friendship. I've been begging for sex every way I know how, and he's just too tired. When he gets home from work, he gets to chill on the couch till supper is ready, then he gets to nap or watch his shows while I put away the leftovers, wash dishes, clean the kitchen, put the children to bed, nurse the baby, and fold the laundry. Not always, but he's still "too tired" on the nights that do go like this. I don't know how to make him less tired. I'm always asking him to "hang out" with me and tell me about his day while I do this. We know about being with one another and enjoying things together. I sent him the article about "Bread or Tomatoes" as a way to start the discussion. We both agree: it hits the nail on the head. For him, it's tomatoes. For me, it's bread. After last night, I started spiraling into a depression again. It's just so crushing in so many ways. At least now I know it's not that he finds *me* undesirable, it's sex in general that just isn't worth it. He says he likes tomatoes, just not enough to miss them if they're not there, or to go and get them. I feel like I keep putting platefuls in front of him & he says no thanks. This morning, I'm fighting back against depression instead of allowing it to overtake me again. I've made some decisions:
    (1) No more pursuing or initiating. The rejection is too painful.
    (2) I'll always be available for him to satisfy his needs, i.e. I'll never turn down his advances.
    (3) I'll nicely say "No, thank you" to his efforts for my orgasm. No matter how hard I try to resist, when I have one, I can't help but get my hopes up that things will continue on and we'll have more sex. I can NOT handle the yo-yo effect of the hope and the letdown anymore.
    (4) I'm going to focus more on doing things that make me happy and improve me (hobbies, exercise, etc) rather than play victim and allow this to dictate whether I'm happy.
    (5) I will remind myself often of how grateful I am that he chose me as his "roomie", and that I get to share life with him, because I truly can't imagine sharing life with anyone else

  • Been There says: December 28th, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    @Hungry Wife,

    Have you read 'The 5 Love Languages' by Gary Chapman? It addresses your exact situation. My wife and I read it (again) every year as a refresher. As a suggestion, a good place to read it is in the car (together) on a long road trip. Make sure you get the version with the test questions in the back.

    You may find you're totally missing the mark with what you *think* he needs, vs. what he really needs. For that matter, *he* might not know what he needs until he digs into it a bit. I know I didn't. and I certainly would never have guessed my wife's without this book. Sex is secondary to this...once the real needs are met, then love and affection are likely to follow.

  • John says: December 31st, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    You are an incredibly wise prophet who knows exactly what we men are longing for and our wives ignore. Your posts should be required reading for every Christian wife!

  • MJ says: January 2nd, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    I am often told by my wife that all I want is a physical release and no matter how many times i tell her that it means much more than that to me she insist thats all it is to it. Furthermore she feels like its never her job or role to initiate sex and that her desire for me will on come (from the most part) from whatever romance I exhibit towards her. I'm I going nuts are does this not sound crazy. Like so many others who have posted here, I feel so alone so much of the time although I continue to remain faithful to my wife. I just cant seem to reach her. She believes what she wants to believe.

  • JulieSibert says: January 2nd, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    @MJ Thanks for the comment.

    Her line of thinking isn't very rational, and sadly it is the line of thinking that plays itself out in many marriages. It's the "if you do this, I'll do that" approach.

    Problem is that an approach like that reduces sex to a transaction... a bartering encounter... which is never what sex was intended to be in a marriage.

    I don't know your wife, but my guess is that she is not being intentionally manipulative, but rather she is skirting the issue... because let's face it, issues like this are hard to look at because they require a willingness to at least embrace that this aspect of the relationship isn't all it could be.

    My suggestions...

    1. Consider writing her a letter where you can lovingly, yet clearly, communicate the depth of your pain. The value of a letter is that it allows you to get it all out on paper, with the goal being that it will be a springboard into some actual face-to-face conversation (or maybe invite her to write a response, so that she can take the time to think about what she wants to say). From what you've shared, she obviously isn't grasping the depth of how you feel alone. Basically she is calling you a liar (you are trying to explain that it's more than physical and she is saying you are lying... that you are not telling the truth. That's harsh commentary coming from someone who supposedly loves you and trusts you.)

    2. Ask her if she would be willing to do a study or read a book together on sexual intimacy that would give you an opportunity to really dig into what God says about sex. Unfortunately, a lot of people bring into marriage some skewed ideas about sex (like that it is just physical or it's just for procreation or it's "optional" in marriage or it's an "extra", etc). Really peeling back the layers on what God says reveals that it is so much more than surface observations would initially offer.

    3. Possibly consider marriage counseling. Express to your wife that this is a big enough issue for you and that you desire for the two of you together to work toward solution. Sometimes the voice of a third party can really facilitate healthy discussion. If she won't go, I highly encourage you to go on your own. Sounds crazy, right? I don't think so. I think it demonstrates that you are committed to doing whatever you can and that you need to find coping mechanisms to deal with the rejection and frustration.

    4. Continue to pray for wisdom from the Lord on how to navigate this matter. His word is clear in Hebrews that we all must give account for how we have lived... everything is laid bare before Him... so indeed you can continue to strive to be the husband He is calling you to be and your wife too will have to give account for how she handles things in the marriage. I know that feels like little comfort now, but sometimes knowing... really knowing... that the Lord sees our pain can help us walk through valley situations.

    I hope some of this is helpful...

  • Opposite says: January 3rd, 2013 at 5:23 am

    What do you do when it is the husband who says no. All the time no joke. I tell him how I feel it does not seem to do any good. I feel rejected and lonely.

  • MJ says: January 3rd, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Thank you so much for your reply. Your response means so much more to me than a little comfort, its a lot comforting. Just the mere fact that a total stranger would be so kind as to respond to an email from me and offer a caring response makes me feels so much less lonely. I work from home almost everyday and it can really add to the feeling of loneliness sometimes and i think it increases my desire to bond with my wife. Not to mention the fact that I really love her dearly.

    But I would like to add a few things. One other thing your response did was made me feel like I am not crazy in my thinking, or that I'm being petty, but rather makes me feel like I'm on the right path. I would like to know that if i feel a certain way about things that I'm being fair to my wife and our two beautiful daughters.

    And it didnt sound crazy. I have actually gone to see a counselor to two occasions since I've been dealing with this. As you put it, these feelings of rejection and frustration. I think I can add depression to that. The counselor, who is also a minister, and was the counselor for our premarrital counseling, has always been so very profoundly helpful to me. His words to me were that this was not a battle of the flesh, but more a battle of the spirit. My wife appeared to a have felt betrayed that I had seen the counselor without her but at the time we weren't talking much and i needed someone to talk to. He encouraged us to come back for together and I expressed this to her. She wasn't neccessariy opposed to it, but she seemed to have some reservations whether the counselor would be fair to her. For whatever reason we didnt follow through. It seemed like things had gotten better so, but this issue continued to reappear. Sometimes its hard for me to put my finger on what the real issues are sometimes, but when i found your website it helped me to become more clear.

    I would like to thank you again, and if you would recommend a intimacy book to me that we could read together that would be great. I will try some if not all of your suggestions. I have written letters in the past but it seems nothing I say of do reaches her. Its like you said, she seems to be calling me a liar. I've even said that to her before, but she denies it.

  • JulieSibert says: January 3rd, 2013 at 9:48 am

    @Opposite... I am sad about your situation, as I do hear from wives who find themselves in circumstances as yours.

    I have a page on my site with posts and resources that you may find helpful...

    http://intimacyinmarriage.com/resources/blogs-and-websites/wives-who-want-more-sex-and-arent-getting-it/

    Again, my heart goes out to you...

  • JulieSibert says: January 3rd, 2013 at 9:53 am

    @MJ... Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you have found good counsel, even if your wife has not seen the value in it (or the fact that you going should be a wake-up call to her that indeed there are issues that shouldn't be ignored).

    A book I recommend for couples is "When Two Become One: Enhancing Sexual Intimacy in Marriage" by Christopher and Rachel McCluskey

    The 5 Sex Needs of Men and Women is also very good.

    I have a list of some books on my site if you want to check it out... certainly this isn't comprehensive. I always encourage couples to glean from resources, ask the Lord to show them what applies to their situation, learn, grow, etc.

    Here's the book list...

    http://intimacyinmarriage.com/resources/books/

  • Chip P says: January 3rd, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    Some great words Julie ! Thank you. I have expressed these sentiments to my wife many, many times and have been told that I am 'being ridiculous', 'silly', and 'foolish'. While 'yes' it is the horrendous pain that I am in because of rejection that led me to your site, I would like nothing more than to be considered a priority to my wife/in her life. Thank you for your words and for this site - to if nothing else, see that I am not in this alone.

  • MJ says: January 14th, 2013 at 2:37 am

    @Julie Seibert... Hello Julie. Its been a few weeks and as we know life goes on, but no long without its dramas. I wanted to your opinion on what I believe is a relevant topic. Passive Aggressiveness. I googled this term months ago and forgot about what it meant, until recently when I finally confronted my wife about being a passive aggressor. She didnt know what the term meant, and didnt think she was one when I told her she was. I even showed her the article. Like a text book case, she responded it a classic passively aggressive way by saying, I guess I need to work on my destructive ways. Ironically, that would be so nice if she did work on them, but I actually think she was trying to be sarcastic. But like most artices say, you never know a passive aggressive really means by what the say, if they are in agreement or just saying whatever.

    But I felt like I failed to mentioned this before. I feel like passive aggressiveness describes my wifes behaivor/reaction to me better than anything I can write here. I wanted to know what you thought of the topic.

    Thanks again

  • JulieSibert says: January 15th, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    @MJ... Passive aggressiveness is a common tactic used in relationships where communication has consistently been handled poorly. As for what I think about it... well, it's an immature approach and usually doesn't lead to any healthy progress in the relationship. What you have read about it is accurate... it's usually characterized by sarcasm, avoiding issues, silent treatments, etc.

    Unfortunately, someone who uses passive aggressiveness to express their feelings is really the only one who can actually do something to change it. My hope and prayer would be that your wife would choose a healthier way to communicate and see that the marriage is worth seeking solutions rather than stalling out in unhealthy patterns.

    I'm sorry for what you are going through....

  • Did You Get Married Just to Have Babies? | Intimacy in Marriage says: March 7th, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    [...] hear from enough of you husbands to know that for you, it's not just about the sex.  You want to connect on every level with the woman you [...]

  • 10 BEST Sex Questions to Ask Your Spouse | Intimacy in Marriage says: March 8th, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    [...] It may surprise many of you wives, but for most husbands, sex is not just about the physical release.  It's about feeling deeply connected with the wife they love. [...]

  • Karla says: April 4th, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    HungryWife... been there... done that... the result? A divorce. Turns out that he was cheating on me everytime he could but every marriage is different just as the individuals in it. It was not all bad, as it taught me sometimes people are just married for the wrong reasons. There is hope I believe, there is in most cases you just have to seek for it and pray your marriage heals or gets better. I tried and it did not work for me but as I said EVERY marriage is different. My two cents here is TRY!!! but not the pursue of sex, try to talk... try to find out the real reason why your spouse is not willing to be intimate with you. Maybe the reason can be solved and everything will get better! I know how bitter it can make you to feel rejected day after day... but remember if you do not try your best you will never know if it could be something you could have fixed or not. Good luck to all husbands and wives in this situation...
    Even after my divorce, when I thought the world had just ended for me... I found The Lord had given me people who still cared for me and loved me... and I met my true soulmate. Theres hope still!

  • LionHeart says: August 7th, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Just a quick comment to a way back post by 'pissed off/ticked off', where she says "Sex would be a great idea if I didn't think you were just getting off on me because you were turned on by all the people you were checking out".

    This is so subjective. I was blamed for years of this very thing, to the point that eventually I could only walk through a mall, or on a sidewalk looking down - as anything else made her think I was 'looking at others'.
    I was a missionary, a musician, a teacher.. everything about my giftings were social and involved genuinely being interested and connected to the bigger world out there. But - it was mistrusted and believed to be lust. I spent years before engaging in 'divine appointments', conversation that was always God centered, and interacting - being instant in and out of season - until I was punished for doing so based on completely false accusations.
    I allowed myself, with the genuine belief I was serving my wife, to withdraw from society to prove she was everything. Still not good enough. If someone pretty walked by that day, I learned later, I would get tested. Sex would begin to be initiated up to a certain point and then a flurry of questions: "what are you thinking about right now!", "Who's image is in your mind!". Now, this wasn't healthy communication/pillow talk - it was a trial. Then I would be told of this pretty girl that I wouldn't even remember seeing. And once the test was complete, the initiated sex would abruptly stop.

    So my public ministry, my gifted outgoing ability, my performances as a musician became captive.. and has shriveled into literal non existance, while the respect for doing so never materialized or culminated in trust. I was never rewarded for going to great lengths in what I thought was the right thing. 14 years of a sexless marriage. Twice in the last 6 years. This is just one story in my fascinating journey of making choices that ultimately were only destroying my own giftings and manhood.

    So 'ticked/pissed off', what you may believe in your mind to be a wandering eye may not necessarily be. Jumping to conclusions that you are providing the sex for a sidewalk fantasy may be unsupported.

    "Now Jesus, why exactly were you alone over at that well talking with that woman? Hmmm!?"

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