Are You Careening Off a Sexual Cliff?

Are we still teetering on the proverbial fiscal cliff?

Depends on who you ask, I suppose.

This fiscal cliff fiasco has been hashed and rehashed in the media, coffee shops, bars and living rooms.

It feels more like a chunky piece of furniture left behind by your irresponsible relative rather than a bureaucratic debate wrought with complex idiosyncrasies.

The proverbial fiscal cliff.

Yeah, I know. It’s not proverbial.

It’s a real thing with real consequences, many of which are hard to understand in a uniquely personal way.  But in layman’s terms, it is the chunky piece of furniture.  And try as we may to rearrange the room to make it seem less ominous, it’s still there.

“Good Lord, Julie, what does this have to do with sex?  Stop playing with metaphors already or I’m going to want to have some sex on some furniture while Fox News and CNN blare in the background.”

My point (because I always have one, you know) is that all this talk about the fiscal cliff got me thinking about how a lot of marriages are careening toward a sexual cliff.  

Is your marriage heading toward a sexual cliff?

Has sex been an unresolved issue in your marriage for quite some time, and it becomes more complicated with each passing day?

Just like with the fiscal cliff, what a sexual cliff truly means varies for each individual couple.

The impact it will have on some marriages may be slow and subtle pain, but on other marriages it could be monumentally disastrous.

What does “monumentally disastrous” look like?  Well, for many it looks like…

  •  Extramarital affairs
  • Illicit promiscuous sex
  • Pornography addiction
  • Repeated masturbation in isolation and bitterness
  • And so on.

What does “slow and subtle pain” look like?  From the emails I get, I gather it looks like…

  • Deep-seated disdain for one’s spouse
  • A gnawing realization that two people have become roommates
  • An exasperating journey of pent-up sexual frustration
  • A heartbreaking existence of loathing one’s marriage
  • A difficult attempt at keeping up a facade that “everything is just fine”
  • And so on.

It’s doubtful any of us can do anything about the fiscal cliff, because we are at the mercy of our… uhh…public servants (what a baffling label that is, but I digress).

BUT, what about a sexual cliff in your marriage?

Who is going to stop you from careening off the sexual cliff in your marriage?

Certainly, some of you reading this want to jump right through the screen and scream at me in exasperation, “But I have tried! I have been trying!  I have brought this matter up over and over, to no avail. I cannot make my spouse change!  They hold keys — keys of solution — that I cannot touch or turn!”

I know.

Trust me, my heart is grieved greatly by the audacity of some people to be so careless with sex in their marriage, especially when their spouse has gone to great lengths to infuse the situation with healthy discussion.

And I’m equally grieved by the fact that the spouses who refuse to get real about the sexual struggles are simultaneously robbing themselves of what could be profound connection in the marriage.

In many regards, this post is written to affirm those of you who have longed for things to look better sexually in your marriage.

But even more so, I wrote this post directly to those of you who have minimized your spouse’s pleas for nurtured sexual intimacy.

The sexual cliff is real for many people.  It may indeed be real for your spouse.

It is the chunky piece of furniture that is always noticeable, even if it is rarely or ever mentioned.

If you have been reading this post and it has grappled hard with your heart… if it has indeed sunk its talons into your conscience and compelled you to look closely at what is (or isn’t) happening sexually in your marriage, then consider it your wake-up call.

Retreat not in shame or embarrassment or grief about what you have left undone.  Instead, ease up on the gas and start pressing on the brakes and do what you can to keep your marriage from going over the sexual cliff.

Stop pretending like sex is no big deal and start pressing into God’s heart on this. He is indeed the bestselling author of sex.

And He doesn’t want you going over any cliff, especially one that could damage something as precious as your marriage.

Time for the chunky piece of furniture to go. Start by humbly acknowledging it’s even there.

Copyright 2013, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.

13 thoughts on “Are You Careening Off a Sexual Cliff?

  1. jennifer says:

    Julie, first I want to say I love your blog, it’s such a blessing to me. And I unfortunately am one who’s marriage is heading toward a “sexual” cliff. It’s been going on for years, its a roller coaster ride, for a couple weeks it will improve then it takes 3 steps backward. Lately it’s worse than ever and I have literally tried everything I can think of, I finally got him to go to the dr. and she didn’t find anything wrong that could cause it. I’ve sent him blog posts, tried new things, stopped trying to see if he would attempt to work it out, ect. And nothing, i dont know what to do anymore I’m out of options and sick of trying, the rest of our marriage is great I couldn’t ask for a better marriage except this one area. And I am 99% sure he’s not having an affair, or addicted to porn as many suggest if he is he is extemely well organized and good at hiding it. As he is always home right after work, if we do anything we do it together. I know he’s embarassed about the situation and he says he wants to fix it, but nothing he doesn’t even attempt to, I really am just about to make peace and leave it be, I don’t really crave the physical part, its the closeness I want, another thing he doesn’t get. But I did want to ask if you know of any blogs by a man that has or is struggling with this same issue,maybe if he could see he isn’t the only one maybe it would help, I don’t know?

  2. JulieSibert says:

    Thank you @Peder and @Jennifer for the comments.

    @Jennifer… I have heard from other wives in your situation. I have a page on my site that lists blog posts (by me and others) that talks about this issue of wives wanting more sex. Also, at the end of the page is a link to the Spice and Love blog, which is written by a woman and addresses this issue.

    Reading through those blog posts, you may find some insights that would help. Here is the link:

    Another resource may be the marriage forums on The Marriage Bed site. Paul and Lori Byerly run this site and they are Christians who have blogged about sex for years and I really trust them.

    Anyway, the forum section of their site is a discussion place… I’m not sure if the topic of wives wanting more sex is out there, but even if it isn’t, you and/or your husband could start a discussion thread and get the insights of others who are in a similar situation. Here’s the link:

    I hope some of this is helpful…. thanks again for reaching out… maybe we’ll get some more comments on this post that will give suggestions or resources you could try…

  3. Steve says:

    Wish your words were getting out there to those who really need to hear them–I fear that only those of us who feel that there’s something missing and want desperately for it to change are reading this, as opposed to some spouses who are blissfully content with the status quo.
    At the point where any effort to ask about working on our relationship, increase intimacy, read something together…anything is met with an indifferent “everything’s fine”.
    Perhaps God just wants me to learn to be content with the once-a-month.
    Well thanks for trying…maybe someone else will benefit.

  4. Michael Jay says:

    My experience on this is maybe more “Thelma & Louise” than you’d think! My wife and I had months of sexual problems including a six month dry spell because we simply felt sexually incompatible. Then one day we talked about it for the umpteenth time and said “let’s do anything we can to fix this” and just drove straight over the edge.

    I guess my point is that if you are having sexual troubles in your relationship, you have to, as a team, decide enough is enough and that you’ll try anything to fix it. Anything bring things like trips to the doctor, or the sex therapist, or trips to the respectable sex shop (Good Vibrations in San Francisco comes to mind). Start a “date night”, as cheesy as that sounds, et cetera. I’m no expert, but those types of things worked for us.

    Jennifer, sorry to read your troubles.

    When I see you say ” I don’t really crave the physical part, its the closeness I want”, for some reason an alarm goes off in my head that this could be a problem. I’m not sure why. I guess the idea of “not craving” sex with your husband is a warning sign to me.

    Good luck, I hope you can find help in those resources.

  5. Ben says:

    Julie, you are so right.
    I can only speak from a man’s perspective but here it is. I say ‘make love’ rather than ‘have sex’ because love making is so, so much more, it joins me to my wife physically, emotionally and spiritually. We are both in our 70s.
    Last year we made love only 3 times in 5 months. I love my wife dearly and I know she is God’s gift to me but I need the connection that comes from making love.
    I changed MY attitude and began to love my wife as Paul commanded on more than one occasion. God’s ways ARE the best ways. I see her for the truly wonderful and beautiful woman she is, I am thrilled to be her husband and love taking care of her and protecting her.
    The change that has taken place is miraculous. Now we make love about twice a week which we had never ever done before. On the other nights we just enjoy cuddling and holding each other. We are so much closer all day long. We are more in love than ever.

  6. JulieSibert says:

    @Sharon… I moderate my comments because I do receive quite a bit of spam. So I have to approve comments before they are visible, but in general, I tend to approve everything unless it is spam or it is extremely offensive.

  7. Larry B says:


    Your punchline at the end says it best. People need to recognize AND admit to themselves and to each other there is a problem (before attempts at correcting it can happen). Spouses have to come out of their state of denial, as painful as that can be.

    Where is the honest, open, candid (“frank”) and mature two way communication in these marriages?! We encourage such ongoing communication between the spouses free of shame, and free of fear.

    Spouses really ought not have to engage in some of the activities you list above because they are not making love frequently enough within their marriage. And, lack of frequent, pleasurable intimacy is hurtful to both husbands and wives as the earlier comments indicate. These spouses, sadly, are missing out on a truly wonderful means of strengthening their loving connection to each other.

    That said, many of these type difficulties are not resolved or overcome quickly. Patience and ongoing effort and communication are necessary.

  8. jennifer says:

    Micheal Jay, maybe I mis spoke. If it were just the physical part I wanted/needed I could very well take care of that myself….but I can go without the physical release (I’d rather not but can) but the biggest reason I want this to change is the emotional connection that only sex can provide. If that makes more sense.

  9. Kevin Hickson says:

    Paying attention to our sexual relationship is important to our marriage. We are created male and female so all our interactions are sexual, but what I am talking about is all the tenderness, gentleness, attentiveness and romance, all the ways we daily interact as a couple. We live a 24 hour a day love affair attitude. People lose sight of the unitive force of sex in marriage. In Genesis it says the two shall become one. Keeping passion alive outside the bedroom makes love-making even more fulfilling. It can be the icing on a cake that has baked all day with desire.

  10. Evan says:

    So dead on! I saw all those things for years and then, yes there was the cliff. We were nothing but room mates for years. I finally broke. No, I did not have an affair or get addicted to porn. What happened was I lost any desire for my wife, sexually or otherwise. I don’t know how to describe the feeling of having no sexual desire for your wife. I guess I felt like I wasn’t even really a man anymore. That has been 5 or 6 years ago, and I have continually tried to find ways to show her love, but how on earth do you do that when you have NO feeling! Things are better now, but it seems that I will never trust enough to let my heart go again. That does NOT make a marriage.

  11. Olaf the great says:

    cliff? a mix of mostly handjobs and the “just lay there until I finish” sort of sex? is this thing on? She hides from me so that I rarely see her beautiful lean 48 year old body?? and she says people who hate nudity are normal? is this the cliff you are refering to???

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