Lack of Interest in Sex? What’s the Toll on Your Marriage?

So I just finished reading a submission to the syndicated advice column that appears in our local paper.

Yeah, I read those.  It seems like at least a couple times a week they have to do with sex, so obviously I’m interested. Go figure.

Anyway, this particular one was written by a wife who had lost all interest in sex and was tired of going through the motions.  She was resigned that her lack of interest was merely the natural course of nature in a woman’s body.

The tone of her letter even seemed angry, and she ended it with this: “Nature has pulled the plug. Why isn’t there a pill to make a man less interested so we are on an even footing?”

The advice from the columnist?

“We know a lot of women who would be quite interested in that pill.”

Ugh. My heart was grieved by such “advice,” which really wasn’t advice at all, but rather careless affirmation that the woman’s perspective was completely rational.

I wonder what it is going to take for us collectively as a society to recognize the sacred value of sex in a marriage. More importantly, if you are a wife who has no interest in sex, have you really counted the costs of what such indifference is doing to your marriage?

Hey, I know this isn’t easy.   If sexual intimacy in your marriage has been a struggle, I imagine the reasons are complex and emotionally draining.  For a couple that is contentious on this topic, getting on the same page may seem insurmountable.

But good Lord, is there a way to at least get in the same book?  The same chapter?

As for me, I am glad there is not a “pill” with the sole purpose of diminishing a person’s sexual desire.   A better solution — albeit one that requires more effort — is that each person within a marriage do what they can to take their marriage vows to heart.

And please don’t even start with me about how a person can take their marriage vows to heart, but still be totally unavailable to their spouse sexually.

I’m not talking about going through the motions.  I’m talking about genuinely figuring out why you don’t like sex — and then doing what you can to get to a place where you defend that time with your husband the same way you defend the time you spend on leading Bible study or volunteering for your kids’ school parties.

For those of you not familiar with my story, I know first hand that sex is definitely not something to ignore in a marriage.  I have a failed marriage under my belt to remind me painfully of that.  My sexual unavailability wasn’t our only issue, but it was definitely a contributing factor.

Of course, I learned all of this a bit too late for my first marriage, but let’s just say my current marriage is living proof that a wife can be sexually available — and more importantly, genuinely love sex.  Seriously.  I like it way more than chocolate or wine (both of which I like tremendously, so the statement is saying a lot).

A husband called me the other day, upset about the extreme lack of sexual intimacy in his marriage.  His question?  Had I ever heard of couples that had experienced differences in desire levels and were able to turn things around and both enjoy sex?

“Is it possible?!” he asked me exasperated.

I told him that of course it was possible, because we follow a Lord Who is redemptive.  It’s His gig to take brokenness and make it whole.   But rarely does He do that by lightening bolt divine intervention.

Instead, He asks of us that we humble ourselves, learn His Word and His ways, and then walk in the direction of what we have learned.  For some people, like me, it also takes a failed marriage to get the point across.  The reason I write this blog is I’m trying to spare couples of that loss before the loss shows up in the form of a husband walking out the door.

As much as society and media would lead us to believe that a wife’s lack of interest in sex is “no big deal” or is “just what happens along the way,” God is calling us to believe His truth.

Certainly every study on sex and marriage would tell us that couples who nurture their sexual intimacy do indeed have stronger marriages.  But do we really need a study to tell us this?

I could stand on any street corner and yell, “Hey, all you married people — if sex is a struggle in your marriage, do you think solving this struggle would make your marriage stronger?”

Yeah, I know, that would just seem weird.  I mean, me standing on a street corner and all.  But, if people wandered over to me, what kind of responses do you think I would get?

If sex is a struggle in your marriage, do what you can to figure out why.  And then commit to do what you can to change that pattern.

Copyright 2011, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

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31 thoughts on “Lack of Interest in Sex? What’s the Toll on Your Marriage?

  1. V.C. says:

    Julie,

    How did you (and other women) go from “sexually unavailable” to where you are now? This to me seems to be a journey with no map or compass. I’ve prayed and read and nothing has changed. I have no skeletons in my closet or hurts from the past. I’ve done all the personal inventory and I can honestly say I’m quite normal and I’m actually pretty happy. I just don’t want to have sex, even though I’m married to a very good man and we have a close-knit Christian marriage (yes, I love him!). I have come to resent the “biblical mandate” for sex on every other blog or book I read as that only provides a load of guilt. Why can’t any one seem to guide or “coach” women like me on how to get from here to there? This article and many others are like a distant beacon of hope and right now I need “turn-by-turn directions” if I’m going to keep my marriage from the brink. It’s been about two months since my husband and I were intimate and he’s been asking me what we need to do to change this. He’s frustrated and pretty much feeling what you would expect and has suggested we go to counseling but I don’t think we need that. I am just tired of going through this. I have no desire and nothing seems to change that. I guess I can forget about finding him a “even-footing pill.” He said he needs me at least once a week and I just don’t have that kind of spark. Even once a month is really pushing it. So maybe that would help if we had that kind of insight or direction. You are very kind, bold, and Godly and that is really needed these days.

    Thank You.

  2. JulieSibert says:

    Thank you V.C. for your comment. I empathize with your struggles and I sense you do want things to change.

    To some degree, you are right about there being no map or compass, at least not in the specific way that we think of step-by-step directions on how to get from point A to point B. Each marriage is unique, so there is not one solution that can easily be applied to every situation.

    But I do think that there are resources that offer applicable information, and when you start to apply it, even in baby steps, there can be a snowball effect. But you have to walk in that direction.

    I’m curious too if you are experiencing orgasm when you and your husband are intimate? You don’t have to answer that, but my point being is that sex is meant to be pleasurable. For a woman, experiencing pleasure sometimes takes more foreplay, more quality time together as a couple outside of the bedroom, etc. But the more sex is pleasurable, the easier it is to want to do it.

    The reality is that God designed sex to bring so much to a marriage — for the wife and the husband. Sadly, we often think sex is just for a man, and a woman just has to do it to keep him happy. But that line of thinking falls short of what God desires for your marriage.

    Another suggestion I would make is you visit your OB/GYN and have him or her test you for low testosterone levels. Women have testosterone too and it impacts sex drive. There are medical remedies for this and they are worth looking at… not as a quick fix but to at least explore if your body is working against you. I’m not a doctor, but I encourage you to also look at the impact hormonal birth control could be having on your sex drive (if you are on the pill or some other hormonal birth control). Some of these can lower sex drive, so it’s worth checking out.

    Obviously you recognize that nurtured intimacy is needed. I know it’s hard from where you are standing right now, but nurtured intimacy has tremendous benefits for you as well. You are blessed to have a husband who desires you.

    As for the biblical mandate about sex (1 Corinthians 7), please hear my heart in that I and other marriage bloggers aren’t bent on trying to make people feel guilty. Guilt is a poor motivator. Love is a better motivator. You love your husband… and sex within a marriage is an expression of love. Through blogs, books, websites, etc. … I and others are trying to coach you.

    The other big thing that we as Christian bloggers are trying to emphasize is that when you take sex for granted or simply avoid it, you really are giving satan a foothold in your marriage. Satan doesn’t want you having sex, because he knows it is a powerful binding thing that strengthens a couple and draws them closer to the Lord.

    With a resolve to strengthen your marriage and get to a place where you enjoy sex, you have to decide if you are willing to put into practice many of the tips and suggestions you read.

    I hope this is helpful… my prayers do go out to you. Please don’t give up on trying to bring about positive change. It’s worth it.

  3. J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) says:

    I’ll stand on that (virtual) street corner with you, Julie. The first step for wives (and husbands) who are not interested in sex is to recognize that it is not okay to forego physical intimacy in marriage. It’s part of the package. Also, it’s an “us” problem that couples need to address together. I firmly believe that almost everyone can come to enjoy sex in marriage, and it is worth pursuing.

  4. Mark Prasek says:

    Is it OK for a married man to weigh in? I’m involved in mens ministry. I don’t give any man a pass to indulge in pornography & masturbation and blame his wife for her lack of sexual intimacy. But I ask you, if you go without food for a few days, what topic, what images, would dominate your thoughts? Get my point? On a more positive note, I assure you I have never met a man who would not slay dragons for the affection of the woman he loves. Ladies, men fear your rejection big time. Want a super charged husband? When he walks in the house from work, grab him and take him to bed stripping your clothes off along the way. It’s every mans fantasy. If you can wipe snotty noses, change poopy diapers, etc and do that as an act of love, please consider how vital your role is in making your husband the hero you want him to be.

  5. Paul says:

    Please keep it up. You’re giving me hope. I suggested a sex challenge, but was turned down. My next idea is to schedule it on a calendar (she loves organization). I’m hoping we can baby step from 7 times this year to once every 3-4 weeks and then up from there.

  6. JulieSibert says:

    Thank you J, Mark and Paul for your comments! I really appreciate your insights and perspective.

    You are so right Mark that nearly all starving men will be tempted to look for food wherever they can find it. I’m saddened when wives don’t understand that sex for a man is rarely just about sex — it is about connecting with the woman they love.

    Paul, I’m grieving that you had sex only 7 times this year. I admire your heart in that you are trying… I pray your wife wakes up and realizes what’s at stake… sounds like she has a great guy right within her home and she is missing out on connecting with him in a profound way.

  7. Mary says:

    I feel for V.C. It is a hard place to be in. The problem with coaching someone as to how to “want” something is that there isn’t any single answer, path or way to get there. How do you “want” to exercise? How do you “want” to save money instead of buying the new shirt?

    The first path that I’ve learned is to turn off all of those messages which say you “should” or “must” or “ought” or something equally logical. Psychologically, hearing those messages often inspires an opposing response in people at the subliminal level and every time you allow one of those mandates that says that emotions can be manipulated by flipping a switch or appealing to guilt, you allow your mind to strengthen that resistance. Stop granting power to the enemy.

    Secondly, I’d like to ask you to meditate on a thought from a medieval monk, Bernard of Clairvoux. He talked about the levels of love. At the bottom is “I love me for me”. We see this often in children and narcissists. They love themselves. They have no concept that love can be introduced into a system from an outside source. Often the best source for them is to motivate them to try to experience something beyond themselves so they can see that love goes beyond the self.

    Second level is “I love you for me”. In modern day terms this is quid pro quo. I’ll have sex with you if you will bath the kid for me. It is a level of exchange that happens quite often in marriage. The problem is no one can ever make good on 100% of their commitments so over time, each person is justified in offering less because last time they got less. It is better than the self-centered bottom level but there are even better levels.

    Third is “I love you for you”. You love a person for themselves. You give a husband sex because his libido is higher than yours or you sympathize with the agony and frustration that just builds or you feel the pain that he feels when another does not meet his need for attaching in a way that God designed many men to attach. This is grace. Unfortunately it is very difficult to just offer sex because many men want that connection that goes beyond just doing it for their benefit. Sometimes it can seem that even your best isn’t enough. It is good to try this “when it is possible”.

    The top level is “I love me for you”. At this level, you do things for yourself so that you have the wherewithall to have the grace to give the next level down. When an airplane has problems, we put on our own mask before helping others so we don’t become a burden ourselves. If there isn’t much inside of you to give from, how can you give generously to others. The golden rule “love your neighbor AS yourself” speaks of equally loving yourself and another, not giving to another while robbing yourself.

    At this point, I have to ask you what you have done for yourself? First and foremost, what is inside of you? Do you have enough “you” or “love” or “whatever” to give to others in sufficient amounts? Even Jesus had to take time in prayer to give himself enough to share with others. The big danger here is that loving yourself for another can come dangerously close to loving yourself for yourself and put you back into that self centered area. It takes self-reflection to know when self-care is so that you can eventually give to others.

    Secondly, consider what you have specifically for this issue. Did you ever have this desire? Has it gone away? If so, what was it like when you had the desire? If you have never had that level of desire, is there something that is blocking that desire (old wounds to grieve and heal, never learning to connect with another by touch, a sense of fear, loss of safety or control, or something that doesn’t fit in this top 5 list)? If so is it worth trying to grow beyond the blockage?

    Is it possible that you just are really low on the sexual desire scale, thru no “problem” or lack of knowledge/experience, just it isn’t there and never has been? If so, how can you negotiate something that is an unresolvable issue? Do note that there will always be some unresolvable issues. I really do love Gottman’s book “Seven Principles for Making Marriage work”. It addresses this aspect.

  8. JM says:

    My lack of interest in sex mainly comes from my husbands porn addiction. We had a great sex life until I got pregnant just a few short months after we married. Then there were complications and I was told no sex for the rest of the pregnancy. I was put on bed rest. After our daughter was born, I was tired but still willing half the time. I couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t interested. Then I found out that he started looking at porn and going to strip clubs after I was put on bed rest. It’s been 4 years since then and after years of counseling, accountability groups, workshops etc, he still struggles with viewing it. He’s even had to step down from leading worship – something he really loved doing.

    Someone told me if he was going to get better I had to keep having sex with him. I feel like there is no intimacy when we do and half the time I feel like things he wants to do stems from the porn. I have no interest in sex anymore and half the time I feel like I do it out of duty. Once his porn viewing comes out, he goes into crisis mode, “repents” gets help and seems like a changed man. Sex isn’t a hard thing for me to do during those times. but then he starts to change, he loses interest and sooner than later the porn sites start appearing in the email I get every few weeks that flags inappropriate content being viewed on the phones or computers.

    Is there any hope at all of his fixing his addiction? Is there any hope at all of restoring interest in sex. It seems after four years of being repeatedly lied to and empty promises being broken, I’m not sure I can ever find my original desire for sex.

  9. JulieSibert says:

    Thank you Mary and JM for your comments… so appreciate it!

    JM… my heart grieves over what you are experiencing in your marriage. If ever there was proof of the horrendous damage of porn, your comment clearly conveys it. I’m still so baffled by people out in the world who contend that porn “is no big deal.” It’s a huge deal — a devastating choice and addiction that injures a relationship in untold ways.

    There are ministries and resources devoted to helping individuals and couples overcome the damage and addiction of porn, and it sounds like you are aware of some of that (since you have safeguards and alerts on your computers, etc). I think accountability partners can be very helpful too… if your husband would commit to daily connecting (even by phone) with another male who would hold him accountable and would ask him the hard questions. You mentioned accountability groups, but does he have one particular person as an accountability partner. I know there are success stories out there, but I also know that this addiction is extremely difficult. I’m so sad and sorry for what you are going through.

  10. Martha says:

    It’s not always the woman who doesn’t feel the urge or the need foe sex. My husband has sex with me may be 4 times throughout the year. I m beyond enraged!

  11. V.C. says:

    Thank you for your reply Julie.

    I know that you and others are not trying to hit us over the head with 1 Cor. 7. I just can’t help but feel bad whenever I see it, almost like I’m conditioned to feel guilty when it pops up. As for hormones, I read about that being a possible cause and was checked thoroughly two years ago and my levels, including testosterone are normal. As for the “O” I have experienced it a few times, at least I think I have, when my husband provided foreplay but often I can’t get past the thought that foreplay just seems strange. I often end it early so we can just get everything over with. He has willfully performed “OS” and when I’m in the moment on rare occassions I do enjoy it but later on or the day after I feel bad that I allowed that. I’ve read your articles on OS so I’m trying to adjust my thinking and hope my feelings eventually follow, though I admit I am totally averse to offering it to him. I’ve done this in our past (in marriage and not to climax) and it’s just awful to think about, for me.

    My husband is handsome and I think he’s aging gracefully and caring for our family better than any man could. He’s such a good man and constantly is trying to flirt, cuddle, and love on me and most times I’m comfortable with that. I know he’s deeply hurt by my lack of desire and my sense of duty, and so I’m just trying to find what it is in me that I can fine tune. I know God hears prayers like mine and I know there are many books and blogs and seminars. I appreciate all that Mary wrote and I am taking it to heart. I wish I could just fall in love with him the way I did in the beginning but those feelings just don’t seem to happen anymore. That actually scares me, and I hope my sexual desires for him return before he ever entertains the thought of leaving me. I have no doubt that it’s a temptation and yet the thought of having sex more frequently, let alone pursuing him sexually, is often a distant and unwelcomed thought. But I have faith that can change.

    Thank you.

  12. Zinnada Hodges says:

    I so agree with your post, Julie. It breaks my heart whenever I hear or read of a couple who haven’t had sex in a MONTH!! I’m like, “What! How did that happen?!” But, unfortunately it has and it’s happening.

    I love how you said that we need to “humble ourselves”. Humility is such a key factor in this. It’s so easy to put our pride in this and think that it’s a man’s ego, pride, problem, etc. that’s why we feel stuck to have to have sex.

    I pray for many christian women to wake up and see how much they are letting the enemy win and take over so much.

  13. Jim says:

    Thank you for providing this forum!

    We are coming up on 11 years of marriage (my 2nd, her 1st marriage). We have averaged 7x per year. After 10 months this year we have had sex 2x. It is ALWAYS only when she wants to, how she wants to, etc.

    We have been to two different counselors and she walked out on both, never to return. I continued to go for over a year to one and a few months to the other. Bottom line, it did not help her see things differently although I did learn some things.

    The Toll on Our Marriage is very high. I can speak to only my thoughts and feelings which are: there is an absence of intimacy, a lot og anger and resentment, and a lot of morally inappropriate thoughts.

    In the months prior to getting married I very clearly communicated my thoughts on the subject and at no time did she hint that she
    was in any manner of disagreement. I feel like I was deceived!

    Maintaining a clean, well groomed appearance does not matter, while she had a 40% weight gain shortly after we were married. Cards, flowers, helping with chores, date nights, etc. have all been total failures. I cannot think of anything further I can do.

    What I’ve learned, and makes me think that it may never change is:

    – Her poor personal realtionship with her father created a HUGE need for “acceptance and validation of worthiness”.
    – She sought to fill this with 15+ years of promiscuity and no long term relationships. (I guess new is exciting right?)
    – A strict Baptist upbringing causes her to have some major internal conflicts about sex “being dirty”.
    – In marriage she has transferred the image of her father onto her husband, notably rejection of me as a manifestation of resentment.
    – I think that she is “not fulfilled” in marriage and for her there is no further “validation” to be achieved so she subconsciously wants out of the marriage. Withholding sex might lead me to cheat and therefore give her the reason to file divorce AND be the victim, thus no guilt for the marriage failure.
    – Her behaviours are in many ways like that of a 15 year old girl, and unlike those of a mature woman.

    For whatever reasons, she does not think of her husband’s needs. I’ve accepted that if she is not attracted to me then that’s the facts of life and I have to work with that reality. I hope and pray for answers but so far the situation is only getting worse. As much I agonize over this, I cannot justify divorce and family break-up “because of sex”, however because we are both healthy it does frustrate me. Having sex so infrequently agravates the situation with me. It’s not enough to develop a healthy and intimate relationship, and it serves to create frustration through the follwing periods until her next 10 minute interest.

    This week I decided to refuse to play her game anymore. I no longer want to have ANY sex with her. I can’t enjoy it anymore because of the underlying tension (I have not had an orgasm with her in over two years! And, yeah everything works just fine, lol). This hurts very deeply but I am committed to being faithful and clinging to prayer for answers. Until the answers arrive there will be year after year of lost, unrecoverable intimacy and a marriage that lacks depth and intensity. Yes, the toll is quite high.

  14. Amy says:

    I’ve written on other sites with Julie, and thought I’d write here also.
    First my husband hasn’t liked sex since our wedding day 45 years ago. So we only really had sex once on our wedding night, that’s when I found out about our sex life. He told me that it was disgusting, meaningless, pointless, way to much work for so little. Also he can’t under stand why any one would want to do some thing so gross to another person. He told me that he was going to move to the basement and volunteer to work nights. Since then I’ve been shocked , upset, confused, and angry. I never understood why !!!!
    My marriage has been horrible and at times I pray for GOD to end my life. What’s terrible is all the medical
    attention I’ve needed. The depression medication, my shrink (I know her better than anyone) . I try not to go home even though I have a beautiful home. I just hate it !!!! I work part time at a home for abused women, that our church is involved with. I eat and sleep there most of the time. Being here Keeps me busy and away from the house. It makes me angry that I got involved with a person like my husband. Now I’m at a time in my life where I don’t care about any thing, only myself. I don’t trust any man, and I avoid them.

  15. Steve says:

    I was reading a few of the comments posted others not liking sex and religion tossed up in the mix. Just makes me feel sad that an organization based on peace,love,nurturing and forgiveness would make people feel bad about themselves or be good people.
    As a couple, it’s no longer about YOU . It is US. You didn’t walk down the aisle with yourself. Each one of you have needs to be fulfilled and must be made aware of PRIOR to getting married. If it is 30+ years hence, it is a little late in the game to being a bartender cutting them(him/her) off.

  16. Susanne says:

    After reading all of these comments, I would like to comment. Thank you for allowing comments.
    I find it very difficult to believe or understand how any woman who is in-love with the man God intends her to be with, would ever turn him away. Being with him should be her highest desire in life. They “complete” and “compliment” each other. Best of friends, love to be with each other in every way.
    I hope that helps. Sometimes you have to move on, if you are not happy. God never intended for “man to be alone”

  17. Faymous says:

    OK I’ve read and thought and now I’m lost even more. I’m 39 and my wife is 28 soon. We have three kids and one that was made without me involved, understand. We’ve been married over 9 years and I stayed with her because I love her to death. I strayed away early on in our marriage twice, her later on in our marriage, like a year ago twice around the same time. I’ve forgave her due to probably I caused it. I’ve asked for forgiveness but never got it. And she’s never apologized for anything. We’re still together and putting it past us, (trying its hard, but trying). She has no sex drive at all, she says she loves me and I see it in her eyes, but not in our sex life. If I was in her shoes I would be trying to get my spouse to be into me as much as I could. Sleeping with his best friend and get pregnant is a pretty traumatic event to get over, I would put more focus into positive and good experiences to weed and wipe out the bad. But as the man who still is madly in love with my wife and that child even bares my last name is my son still, (he didn’t choose to come down, but needs to be loved), I would think that would show I do love her unconditional and for real. But I’ve never in my life have had to beg, to convince, plead, guilt trip, even trick anyone into having sex as much as my wife. And put a starving man in a food court, he’s gonna start looking at other food. My wife is so sexy to me and turns me on, but she’ll chew me out or yell for asking to be intimate. Its really taking a toll on our marriage in my eyes. She says she messed up or broken. Sex maybe twice since the new year. What do I do…..

  18. HopefullyHelpful says:

    You are thinking as a man, and that won’t get you anywhere. I speak from painful experience. Seek counseling together. Having the child of her lover in the house is weighing like an anchor. It would be different if she were not 100% sure of the father, but as it is, from what you say, she is suffering, maybe even in depression.

    Our prayers go with you.

  19. LosingHope says:

    Hello everyone, I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m 32 years old and I’ve lost interest being intimate since I haven’t been able to get pregnant. I’ve been married for 7 years and have been with my husband for 9 1/2 years. I’m going on a year or so now like this. We do it once in the blue moon. It all my fault , I feel this has caused a strain in our marriage. We love each other but just last night I found out just about every night before he falls asleep he jerks off. That just killed me inside. His reply to that was , ” Well it’s not like we do it”

    We are going to the doctors to check what’s going on but I just don’t see things getting better if I get horrible news that I can’t bear a child. Just the thought of not able to rips me apart.

  20. A man's advice to women says:

    Let me give you wives advice from the other side. If you turn sex into an obligation or chore, you’ve already lost the battle. Who wants to be passionate with someone who has no sexual attraction to them? By doing so, you turned yourself into the same category as a prostitute and about as much fun.- zippo. You owe it to yourself first and foremost and your relationship second, to never ever let it get that far. Find out what works for you, and ask your spouse to be a part. Invite them in, make them feel special by sharing your inner secrets. Once you cross the line of telling them you have no interest, you should have just castrated them and your relationship there. It’s hard to recover from that without some pretty major relationship surgery. I know, I live it every day. Most days I think that even if she suddenly came back with out of control desire, it would just be a lie to temporarily satisfy me. I often wonder if there would ever be any recovery and my thoughts are constant that “this is the lot I’ve drawn, and for the sake of my family, I need to live it out”. It is horrible. It has put pressure on every single aspect of our relationship. the kids, finances, everything. All because she refused to venture or advance and discover and become closer and more intimate over the years. I’ve traveled the straight and narrow for 20 years and new it was downhill on our wedding night. – we were together 7 years before that, but somehow I magically thought after the wedding things would get better and progress over time. Boy was I wrong.. Anyway, hope some women out there use this info to not miss out on one of the most important aspects of a relationship. And just in case your “speculating” there is something wrong physically, there’s not. My wife is gorgeous, I am tall, fit, and get approached every single week by single women in my outside sales job, so no, I’m not a 400 slob.who hasn’t bathed in weeks. I also make a pretty decent income, all the amenities and toys are there, although we’re not rich. Being a father is a joy I wouldn’t trade for my life. Just didn’t want someone to dismiss this useful information. Good luck in your relationship, make it passionate and a team sport!

  21. Hopeful Husband says:

    My advice is that if it’s not going anywhere in the bedroom, to simply stop worrying about it.

    My wife and I have a good marriage, but we never have sex, which is the only thing that prevents it from being great. I’m talking once a year, if that. It just doesn’t happen.

    There was a time I was worried about this and it pained me. I thought about a way out and even tried some of the tips that are recommended on sites like this. It didn’t work.

    So, a few months ago, I just stopped worrying about it. I found new hobbies. I watch movies, read books, do other things that stimulate me intellectually. I even will sometimes check into sites like this still, but now it’s more out of intellectual curiosity more than “Oh, what can I do to fix my situation?” And, I’m much happier as a result.

    The fact is that there are only a certain group of marriages where the two spouses match up sexually and trying to force the other ones to comply with this ideal is fruitless.

  22. Reba says:

    I have to wonder just how often the real issue is anything as mild as lack of interest or lack of desire. With the messages women receive consistently throughout our lives, who can rightly be surprised or disappointed that his wife does not enjoy sex?

    Sex makes husbands feel loved, respected, affirmed, appreciated, connected, bonded, etc.

    For many wives, sex makes them feel used, inadequate, dirty, ashamed, degraded, exploited, unsafe, etc.

    How many husbands would be wanting more sex if it made them feel all these negative emotions? Would they not want to avoid it as much as possible?

  23. John says:

    Julie, As always I love this blog and two others. I just did not realize only a couple of weeks ago that I would find helpful advice anywhere on sex and marriage. I read in this blog that if your wife has no interest in sex “just quit worrying about it.” How do I do that? It affects the intimacy of our marriage. I read that women don’t want to have sex but husbands should not masturbate. Is that normal??? I also continue to read comments that make me wonder if any bloggers have ever looked at pornagrahy???
    I think I have lived a fairly normal life. High School, college, professional degree, served in Marines, twice married and have two grown children. I have been back to war zones twice in Iraq at an old age. I have seen death, lost friends, known combat zones, and had parents die. A fairly normal life I think. During this normal life I have met only a very few people who have never once seen any pornagraphy whatsoever. They could be lying to me. And I am talking males….and females. So, I know that many Christians of both genders have seen at least a little porn in their lifetimes. This includes a few pastors and priests. This then begs the question: If spouses are literally starving sexually does this mean that none of these Christians except for THE FEW HUSBANDS have ever used porn for a DIY? I have to be real—-I doubt this. It goes against human nature as we have embarrassingly found out in the clergy! I think many people, Christian and secular, have used pornsgraphy to sexually satisfy themselves. If not REAL porn then modern magazines or images they conjure up in their minds. To deny this is to deny reality. I admit that I have done it and I am a Christian. I am opposed to pornagraphy but I seriously doubt that I am going straight to hell for my infrequent failure in a marriage with very little sex in a decade. Actually, from a plain common sense point of view I don’t know why a refuser, male OR female, would be surprised by such conduct—-even from a Christian. We are not perfect. At least I am not.
    How to ignore the wonderful gift of sex in marriage? I don’t know? A “sex drive” is a normal part of life for both genders. I do not believe a loving God wants us to martyr ourselves when it comes to sex for your normal everyday spouses. I do know from my life’s experiences that shooting, killing and maiming people TO ME seems more serious that a spouse masturbating because of gate keeping, porn or on porn. Thanks.

  24. John R says:

    Julie, sorry for the typos on my June 17th post. I type with one finger. I have finally gone to many more of your blog topics. You have a real gift for truth and for dealing with angry bloggers. I understand why they are angry USUALLY, but your method of handling it is really done in a caring, patient way. Thanks again.

  25. Erich says:

    Julie,

    Thank you for your blog post and your honesty in your relationships. I also want to thank all of you who took the time to write and share your personal experiences. I am comforted by the fact that i’m not alone.

    I’very been with my wife 28 years… married for 22 of them. We stayed pure until our wedding night. We’d talked about our intimate relationship and I thought we were of the same mindset.

    Was I ever wrong!

    I love my wife deeply, and wouldn’t hesitate to lay down my life for hers, even though our sexual relationship has been pretty non-existent. I don’t believe divorce, no matter the reason, is God-honoring (I’m sure they’ll be backlash from that statement ).

    I can truly understand the frustration your readers expressed as well as the resentment from the comments of your male and female contributors.

    I still look for intimacy with my wife. I’ve also had the “that’s disgusting ” comments thrown my way when I make a sexually-charged comment that only she can hear or read.

    The sad part is that I’m not getting younger, and this has taken a toll on me.

    I pray for those who opened up in this blog. It is my prayer that your readers are given the comfort that comes from knowing God.

  26. Todd says:

    My wife was taught as a child that touching yourself was a sin. She never learned to how to bring herself to orgasm, so she can’t let go and let it happen no matter how hard I try. I think it has a lot to do with why she is afraid of sex and doesn’t understand why I need it.

    It sounds weird, but I think that a woman who can’t enjoy the body God gave her will never be able to enjoy being with a man.

  27. Renegade says:

    It’s rare when the husband has no sexual desire.. Yes, it happens, but most (and I emphasize – most) of the time its’ the wife who loses interest. Maybe it’s biological, spiritual or psychological, who knows.. Most husbands will understand her condition, however the wife does not understand their husbands’ condition. Wives fail to “take care of” their man. He ends up feeling rejected, lost and looking elsewhere for satisfaction.

    I question the bible, religion and the so called professionals on this subject. It’s apparently the womans’ decision to deprive their man of sexual intimacy once that ring is on their finger and the children come along.. There is no longer any focus on their partners needs.. It is also proven that women use sex in the beginning of the relationship to snag a man.. Mostly for security, protection and financial stability in society.. This, in my opinion, is the biggest mistake on their behalf.. It has also contributed to the highest divorce rate in history, regardless of any beliefs.

    Personal note.. It cost me several thousands of dollars in counseling just to hear my wife say 6 words she could have uttered for free.. “I have no interest in sex”, is what she finally admitted to the counselor.. It crushed me then and remains a constant irritant in our marriage.. There has been no intimacy in our marriage for over 13 years. I have not, due to my religion, gone outside the marriage for a more compatible partner. Talk about frustration.. I’m married and get no sex with my life’s partner..

    We were fantastic together while courting and 3 years into the marriage.. Then, it all took a downturn..

    I’m sick of it all..

  28. Hopeless says:

    Me and my wife are both in our third marriages. We have the experience in knowing what we want and don’t want from our marriage. The other side of the coin is we both have a lot of baggage from past hurts and wrongs. We haven’t even been married a year yet and sex is at best once to twice a month. I keep trying and trying only to be rejected over and over. It has caused me so much self doubt about myself and her feelings towards me. We have done marriage classes at church, read books on the topic, and on and on. Nothing ever changes. Even though every article, book, class, blog, Bible, etc says how important it is, she simply says she disagrees. We have been in so many hurtful fights, discussions, and out pouring off feelings on the matter. It just seems worse and more hopeless. I tell her what her rejection does to me and how I need a intimate relationship. She says she feels pressured and is even more unlikely to want to be with me. She also isn’t a initiator, so not trying or mentioning it doesn’t help either. Just means I would go from once a month to none. She’s stated that those times she didn’t want to either. The rare sex is just awkward and unsatisfying for emotional needs or connections. The things that would make her interested are outlawed and considered cheating because she wants meaningful sex. So I ask in every way possible, I massage her for hours, touch her, do everything I can think of, and after many many attempts, sometimes just go for the grope hoping for any kind of reaction towards interest. She says my approach is wrong and will never work. I’ve tried everything. She says her needs aren’t met that would give her the feeling of wanting to be intimate. I do everything she asks trying to please her and make her happy. Everything she wants. Not enough. I ask her what the need is and what I need to do. She doesn’t even know. She has so many excuses. I’m even to blame for her disinterest. In the life I’ve lived, relationships I’ve been in, and all the women I’ve known I’ve never cared or wanted anyone more. And now I’m considering giving up and leaving. I’ve never left anyone much less a woman that means the world to me. I don’t know what else to do or if there is any hope on things changing.

  29. Killing_me_hardly says:

    @hopeful husband

    I am trying your technique of “not thinking about it” but it is like I have a biological disposition… no it’s definitely deeper than that…. it is a soul yearning to connect intimately with my husband.

    He wants nothing to do with me. He has such low self esteem that I have not even seen him with out a shirt in 16 years. I am 37 and he is 48. We have a 15 year old and a 10 year old. We have sex maybe twice a year and even then it is only in the “spooning” position. It only last a few min and then he tells me to go “feed my kids” . He doesn’t ejaculate. I know exactly wh m both our kids wer conceived. He tells me I’m a nimphomanic (sp?) he is extremely antisocial and has depression and social anxiety. We have been to many counselors and they tell him what he needs to do and he won’t do anything. I am fit, and keep myself very attractive. He has gained about 50 lbs wh n I got pregnant with my daughter and never lost it. I don’t care what he looks like. I like bigger confident men. He acts like I’m crazy when I ask for sex or when I approach him in that manner. He is too tired, he has a headache and h didn’t get good sleep last night. I tell him he doesn’t have to do anything! Just sit back and let me have his body, but he get very angry when I try to touch him and he binds my hands. I ask God all the time to please take away my desire, or make him desire me. I just don’t understand why my life is like this. We don’t do anything together really, he has no interest in anything. He says he is not depressed anymore and won’t take antidepressants. I just don’t want to live anymore like this. Is it okay to leave? Is no sex: intimacy/ friendship an acceptable reason to leave? The counselor said he won’t change. I just have so much hatred for him. I feel duped. I was an exotic dancer and he came in one day. We started dateing and were married in Vegas 5 months later. We had great sex before we got married. I know he can do it. It’s like something switched off and sex is only for procreation. I find myself doing crazy things like walking to desolate areas at the beach and swimming naked. I see men peeking at me but I secretly don’t care. I even like the fact that someone is appreciating it. I just feel like I could get in a dangerous situation and something bad could happen to me (rape would be okay- murder, bad)

    I hate him because I feel like if he would just let me near him I can help him feel so much pleasure. I think it would help with his depression a lot.

  30. Chase Bush says:

    These comments bring a lot home. I have been married for 29 years. I love my wife, and she loves me. For the last 5 years of our marriage we head sex less and less. Now it is too painful for her, so its been 12 months without any. I would not dream of having sex with her if it was painful and have told her. I love her too much. I would still like to get naked together and get close. Even this has stopped, it hurts me. I keep fit, clean and love her as much today as I did 30 years ago. However I constantly think about sex, its driven me to porn sites. Although I am 52, I am still just as healthy as when I was 18 and still have he same cravings sexually. The last thing I want to do is put pressure on my wife, I can see her point of view, if she can’t get nothing out of it, why bother. I want to stay married another 20+ years but it is very hard. Maybe if there was a pill to cull a mans desire it would save mine and other marriages?

  31. G says:

    I hear you Chase, I’ve been married for over 30 years I’m 56 but still have wants n needs, but they have been put on hold because my sweetheart revealed to me about 20 years ago that she had been sexually abbused as a child, so of course I don’t push her or pressure her, we go to counciling n have been for several years, it’s very hard for her and I wish I could fix it but I can’t, so I just try to be a good husband in other ways, she’s very sensitive when it comes to me touching her she doesn’t like it I try to look good for her n stay clean for her I feel if I stay in shape n don’t push it maybe someday; well I’m still waiting it’s been soo many years but I love her very much n I think she needs me even though she’s told me otherwise, I do have a question for anyone’s advice here it goes, she doesn’t like touch or cuddling or kissing she doesn’t like me touching her when we are laying down ready for bed, well when she thinks I’m sleeping she masterbates she tries to be quite but I can still hear her, so the question is “how can my wife considering all she’s been through and being so unavailable to me manage to please herself in secret because she’s told me that she doesn’t like even thinking about sex because it takes her back? Well anyway I am still here for her when she’s ready it’s just so very frustrating because I wonder who she is thinking of when she’s doing that which is almost every night oh n I have confronted her about her extracurricular activity but she just denies it, so there it is in a nutshell I’m tired and waiting ?

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