The Sexual Sin No One Will Talk About

sinI once heard someone say that when a married couple mutually values and nurtures sexual intimacy, then sex is really not an “issue” in the marriage.

In other words, healthy sexual intimacy is so woven into the fabric of how they do life that they barely notice it as a separate entity.

The positive effects of all that great sex seem to show up throughout the marriage, yet a couple wouldn’t necessarily be able to pinpoint such benefits.   The marriage is simply characterized by a shared sense of  being on the “same page” and the “same team,” often with a fair amount of joy and grace.

On the other hand, if sex is rarely or never happening, it usually is a big issue. A very big issue.

The lack of sex permeates every aspect of the marriage, tarnishing even the simplest of interactions with disdain and resentment.

“I don’t really want to take out the garbage or do anything for you.  I am so tired of being your roommate. I am so tired of feeling rejected.”

The rejected spouse doesn’t necessarily speak out loud those sentiments (or any resemblance of them), yet the marriage is characterized by the weight of disillusionment and disappointment.  The lack of sex affects everything.

What does this have to do with sin?

More often than not, when we think of sexual sin, particularly in the context of marriage, what comes to mind?  Pornography and adultery, right?

If we lined up 100 people and asked each to name a sexual sin that gravely impacts marriage, I would bet my last dollar that the majority would say either pornography or adultery (or both).

Would anyone mention the sin of ongoing sexual refusal?

We are incredibly quick to identify pornography and adultery as sexual sins that damage and, in some cases, destroy marriages.

We are painfully slow, though, to identify sexual refusal as a sin. Yet we know… we know… that this sin too damages and, in some cases, destroys marriages.

We need look no further than our own marriages (if sex is not mutually valued) or those of people we know.  We need to look no further than the advice column that shows up in our local newspaper, or in the conclusions and research that spill forth from the counseling industry (Christian and secular).

When sex is rarely or never happening in a marriage, it causes division, discouragement and, in some cases, divorce.  It’s a serious issue, to say the least.

And more than being an issue, ongoing sexual refusal is a sin.

God clearly tells (and reminds) married couples to have sex… and not just to have it, but to have it often.   He gives no other biblical options for a married person to seek sex except with their spouse.

“Have it often with your spouse and don’t have it with other people” is a mantra that permeates all corners of the Bible.

Is it more or less serious than pornography or adultery?  In God’s book, sin is sin is sin.

I definitely think sexual refusal is more subtle than pornography or adultery.  But its subtlety does not make it any less severe.  And it doesn’t make it any less painful.

Ironically, though, this sin of sexual refusal — rather than grieving our Christian hearts — commonly is fodder for comedy.  Girlfriends gather for wine night or Bunco and laugh at each other’s sarcastic remarks about their husbands always wanting it.

Or we flip on nightly sitcoms, where marital sex inevitably is pigeonholed into a predictable scene of a goof-ball panting husband wanting sex and his oh-so-much-more-mature wife rolling her eyes, annoyed with what she sees as nothing more than his animalistic and unrefined desires.

Now, far be it from me to say that this sin of sexual refusal is an easy one to acknowledge, repent of and correct.  It’s not easy.  Maybe not any easier than repenting of pornography or infidelity.

And I’m not one to throw stones.

In my first marriage, I was the one carelessly not nurturing our sexual intimacy, and I have no doubt such carelessness is what compelled my then husband to march us into divorce court.  Sure, it would have been nice if he would have found it in his heart to stop at a counselor’s office long before that, but he didn’t.  And at that point, my pleading fell on deaf ears.

The damage was done.

So, suffice to say, I am intimately aware of some of the costs of sexual refusal.

I learned a lot from that pain and regret, which is probably why sex in my current marriage is happening often and enjoyed immensely by both of us.  (In case you were wondering, I still did repent of my careless ways and apologized to my ex-husband, even though I was already remarried).

If you are married and the sin of sexual refusal is laying claim to your marriage, why not humbly and courageously give repentance a shot before you’re facing regrets?  There are countless couples who have been where you are, and have found that on the other side of repentance is tenacious and God-filled hope.

God is about healing brokenness and making all things new.

But He won’t do it for us.  We have to partner with Him in that.

For the sake of marriages, Christians have a tremendous opportunity (and responsibility) to stop ignoring (collectively and individually) this sin of sexual refusal.

We have nothing to lose and much to gain through honest dialogue about sex — and what it means to protect it, savor it, nurture it and pursue it in our marriages.

For more great reading on sexual refusal, check out Paul Byerly’s post The Sin the Church Ignores.

Copyright 2013, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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177 thoughts on “The Sexual Sin No One Will Talk About

  1. Gordon says:

    Julie, this is a very compelling and convicting piece, but the statement that “We have nothing to lose and much to gain through honest dialogue about sex” is not always true. In our case, given our personalities and backgrounds, such honest dialogue would likely cause an explosion that neither of us could withstand. So we would, in fact, have a lot to lose. Even if we somehow could get through the dialogue, there would not be a lot to gain, given our sexual history. Maybe I’m the only person in the world who sees it this way, but that is how I see it.

  2. Carlos V says:

    Point understood and it makes a lot of sense. However, lack of intimacy in my marriage is what makes me look for porn. I am always rejected by my wife to the point that I thought of having an affair but I don’t want to cross that line, I’d be hurting my kids too.

  3. Linda says:

    Carlos, pornography is adultery. It won’t cure your marriage problems and you are only convincing yourself, not God, that you are justified. Also, why are only women the target here? Trust me, it applies to men as well. I know this firsthand. Often other causes including pornography can cause a man to either not want actual, physical sex (thereby being the abstinent one because he cannot service himself and his wife) or when he is with her, he is not truly heart and soul intimate with his wife since he has a mental fantasy of another woman or guilt. Read current studies and you will see that pornography and actual sex do not even trigger the same parts of the brain. Sad but true.

  4. christina says:

    It always takes two to tango, and one of the only things i have not heard from many men has to do not with patience, but with long suffering. First of all, at the beginning of our marriage, yes it did hurt, yes i was not driven to thinking about sex often, making myself available or seductive, pleasing to my husband. It felt wrong because it felt so good, bow could this be Godly? But it is…and so on. I was pleasing to my husband in the beginning just didnt know it, he never told me, said i was hot or i make him hot, thats it. SEX is something that women (and men) have to learn to do (together) esp women because it does not come naturally for many of us to just be “in the mood” as often as men. Dear gentlemen, PLEASE do understand that we live in an incredibly pornografic society, and this places an enormous pressure on women esp christian women to remain within the limits of God. Yes, God has designed this sex-thing with limits, if you dont belive me then do your own study!! Where as men today are allowed to just let themselves run crazy, let not forget that sex before marriage and watching porn etc will take its toll once you are marriged. We become numb to sin, something Paul warns us against. The sins we commit with our eyes numb us, and i know many cases where men just wanted to have sex because its become so mechanical, and not make love or have that intimacy. This is what our society and culture are teachng us, and we are distorting Gods design for intimacy. I can personally say that it is extremely hard to sleep with my husband when he is cold and unaffectionate all day, he refuses me when i want to have sex, but expects me to always be ready when he is (or he will be cold 2 weeks, not saying a word to me), and then not only will he criticize me about food or the mids or whatever, but he also just doesnt have the heart to pitch in. He says that be is stressed” but what about me when i am stressed? Does that give me the right to be a jerk? Are we not at christians supposed to try to acknowledge our faults, and over come these things theough prayer/FASTING and a broken heart? We have been married for about five years now (2 amazing children), and when i found my husband looking at porn on our computer i felt a knife stab my heart. I decided to do like what Jesus said in his parable of the gardener, and give this tree another year to bear fruit. Im putting my needs aside, and doing my every best thing to please him, so i can get him out of bis hardened heart. He does not want counseling, and im sure he has done other things, but this was not a result of me refusing him in bed, instead he didnt get the sex thing from the beginning, and now for me to attempt to turn him off this path, i need to show him a dose of love that it not hummanly possible for the things he has done to me and my kids, but which can be done with the help of Jesus. This way i am heaping “coals on his head”. And so it is with you gentlmen. Is a week to long to try to do everything? How about a month? Patience, God does not always work overnight!! Now lets enter long-suffering…if you are in the firery pit, God is there with you, trust him blindly like a child, and if you do YOUR PART, there will be blessing. But your part should have to be longer then a couple months. God might be testing your faithfulness to bim, and you just dont see it because your so blinded by other things. We are to “cast all our cares upon Him, ask for thi gs as if we have received them” ask yourself, what is the state of my relationship with Christ? Am i praying for this thing, my wifes heart, our marriage non stop as we are told to do? No we want quick fixes because thats the society we live in today, but what did christ do? He was patient, went to the cross innocent, beaten so badly that he was unrecognizable as a human being, and shed his innocent blood for us. People we can not just jump out of our marriages that easily. Is this how we fight the good fight? Pray a couple times and say ,i believe in you Lord!’ And thats it? No, we need to be consistent, hard working, and want to truly be in the kingdom of heaven. This means we will go through trials, because our FAITH needs to be tested. So you even fasted a day? Great, dont discourage, now fast two one after the other, three if the pain your wife is giving you is really THAT painful. You prayed before gping to bed? Fabulous, now pray when you rise, when you are in your car, at the table, and do let your prayers be deep. For if the pain is deep, then so also should the prayer be. As for me? Im starved of the affection i need, yet i love my husband more than he can imaging, since i have decided to heap coals on his head and pray/fast more ferverently he has noticed a change, if in me or himself he will not say. If i feel i need affection i go to him and give his a huge hug and dont let him go for two mintues, sometimes he pulls away, sometimes not. The. I kiss him, and even such a small gesture i see i creeping up on his hardened heart. Work hard at doing these things, because they are pleasing to the Lord, try everythong in ypur power even for a period of long-suffering, and ,god who sees all things and knows the heart will reward you (however he decides). Have faith, and dont submit to what society tells us, read the bible because its still our best guide. Be blessed, and God is always with us, choose intentionally to trust him daily. Amen!

  5. John R says:

    I do believe sexual refusal IS a sin. Whichever spouse is the withholder—they are living in sin. It will, eventually, destroy their marriage. When a refuser “rolls out the red carpet” to pornography and affairs by ignoring the pleas of a good spouse—they should never plead horror and surprise. Common sense and human nature should tell us all that if we are refusers then we create our own detrimental results. Divorce is likely, not unlikely. Only angry martyrs “ride out the sexless existence” forever. John R

  6. John R says:

    Also, to be clear, when women are constantly refused, masturbation, pornography and affairs are used by quite a few women also. Human nature works both ways. Many spouses, man and female, DO feel justified in participating in masturbation. I, for one, cannot “cast any stones” in their direction. John R

  7. Victoria says:

    I have refused before out of fear. I submit to sex when he asks for it but it hurts so bad sometimes, I never know when I’ll be in tears from the pain. I was relieved when the doctor said i shouldn’t have sex for six weeks after giving birth. I have gotten some treatment for Vaginismus and most of the time when he wants sex it doesn’t hurt. Everything is still uncomfortable and the only time I really have any fun durring “sex” is if there isn’t any actual intercourse at all. Those are the only times ive had an orgasm. I must be a lousy lover, I can’t even relax and have fun with my husband. I don’t fake anything, I know he knows im not that into it. He’s even told me how much of a downer it all is. I just dread the pain.

  8. Ray says:

    This was very enlightening to me to read about a spouse who knowingly refuses or creates a atmosphere of disconnection in a marital sexual relationship as a sin. Of course it is. It is not an act of love (agape) and can create tremendous harm. What it also does is usually create other affects that hide the root cause. 2 years ago almost to this day, I decided that I wanted to improve my marriage. Sex was an issue, but I thought we had many many more issues to address. I am committed to my spouse and truly wanted to improve our relationship. 2 years later, 3 marriage counselors, 10 to 20 books, Pastoral advice, church support groups… and so many more ways to try and resolve our issues… I’ve literally came to this site based on research and exercise I was doing on Core Values and I was stuck on how sex fit with core values. Surely Sex is not a core value, but I really felt like it is CORE to my being. Then I read this and though it is enlightening… I don’t think it helps because the spouse that is not interested in or understands Agape Love and is willing to “sacrifice” to give or be loving to their spouse, will not care that it is a sin to knowingly have a unfulfilled sexual relationship with their spouse. We are all sinners… it’s really just a matter of what sins we are willing to live with and which ones we are not. By the way, there was value in my coming to an understanding of the effect of sexual unfulfillment. I was not the best husband, father, dragon slayer (work) and friend that I can be. I am now trying to rectify that part and not let my lack of sexual fulfillment affect who God made me to be.

  9. Ray says:

    The more comments I read, the more it dawns on me how sex deprivation really clouds an individuals thoughts and mind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m right there with you, It has the same affect on me. There is a reality that individuals that live with that frustration, that resentment, that entitlement and expectation that they are the victims of “fill in the blank, neglect, disrespect, love, etc” clouds our judgement, wisdom and though process. I’m not saying that it is not hurtful or damaging. Just that, maybe take some time (day, weeks, not minutes) for prayer and/or meditation to see your role and how to be at peace with your current situation. Which may mean anything, because we are all in different situation. But wisdom will come to you.

  10. Rick says:

    My wife commonly withholds sex and affection as soon as she does not get her way. (Which is a lot.)
    She claims to be a Christian but is “exempt” from anything the Bible says because of “how she is treated.” (If she does not get her way or if I disagree with her on any point, this is horrible treatment. I am then an insensitive ogre and she sleeps in another room and sex won’t happen for weeks. It’s been over 2 months now. This happpens quite a bit in Christian marriage actually. Women have no problem withholding sex or making it very rare. Many Christian women today are closet feminists who REALLY have problems with men. AND of course, all marraige problems are the husband’s fault. So, women know they are supposed to have sex with their husbands BUT think they are exempt for God’s instruction- UNTIL their husband measure’s up to their standards AND her mother, sisters and girlfriends OF COURSE all agree.

  11. Rick says:

    ..a pornt of clarification: “not getting her way..being “a lot.” Meaning: She wants her way just about every time, That cannot happen in real life SO she is always throwing tantrums when she percieves she is not going to get her way. NO she is not in her 20s. She is in her 50s. I have several Christian friends who;s wives behave this way. It’s pretty common.

  12. Evelyn says:

    I’m so thankful of this article. My husband resets me, neglects me and I’m the one that has to beg for sex. Beg! We have been married 5 years. We average sex once a year. He filed divorce last May of 2014. I was ready to sign away cause I am so unhappy, I feel alone, lonely, hurt, and truthfully at 42 I don’t want to live another 4-5 years like this or another year at that.
    He says he has ED, he was tested and he is low on testosterone, doc gave him 2 meds to assist him, and he refuses to take them because it gives him headaches. He won’t go down on me cause he says he doesn’t like it. I keep my cookie clean and shaved all the time. I try to sesuce him but he rolls over. He is a veteran and suffers from PTSD and refuses to take his meds too.
    I am a woman of faith, and have lots of faith and trust in God. I have not stepped outside of my marriage but believe me I am compelled. I made him take a the love language test, and sure enough my main love language is physical touch, quality time, he doesn’t seem to understand how much I need to feel loved, secure and desires by him. I asked him if he’s gay, and that didn’t go well, it seems he enjoys spending more time with his buddies.
    I keep the house clean, always cooking, watch after the kids, going to school, I basically run the house and all he does is work, chill on the sofa, eat and sleep.
    We are roommates. I tell him how I feel all the time, I even tell him I’m lonely and want him, but he says he has no feelings of intimacy or desire to be affectionate. Going back to the divorce, he realized and admitted he filed because he was angry at me, and he did this to teach me lesson but when he saw I was happier without him and wasn’t chasing after him i guess he decided he wasn’t ready to finalize things, I was regardless of how hurt I was. He begged for a chance back, and because of my faith I thought it was the right thing to do.
    He’s been back since last October and we only been intimate once. I pray and pray, and ask God to help him, to help me channel my sexual frustration but it’s eating me up.
    I even showed him scriptures from the bible about sex, marriage etc…
    And his only response is “you don’t know the PTSD in me and how dare you to be selfish and only think of sex”. I’m the man in this marriage when it comes to sex. I just don’t think it will never change. I’m heartbroken, lonely, I resent him so much, I’m angry, and it’s causing me to doubt my self image. It’s not healthy.

  13. Shea says:

    Evelyn I can so relate to you. My husband has with held sex from me on and off for years. It’s humiliating and so sad and hurtful. I didn’t cheat because I don’t want sex with anyone else but him. He has the control I just suffered. I finally gave up. I’m getting older now. Past menopause. Every once in awhile he wants sex and it’s very painful. All those years wasted . I begged him for sex and he would laugh at me!! I always told him if you don’t use it you will loose it. I’m very bitter and angry about it all. I tried talking to him in the past. I blame him for ruining the best years of my life. Pray for me.

  14. Trino says:

    Wow! Rick, I understand exactly how you feel, my wife is exactly the same. Tired of being refused, my roommate of 22 years now has her own blanket so when ( or if) she enters our bed at 2am (after watching various tv shows ), she can just make her way and sleep on her side of the bed. If i were to touch her, she will either ask me , ” what are you doing,” or just brush me away. I substitute her lack of sex by occassionally searching for porn for woman that look like her. I do fantasize that this person is my wife (since they kind of look alike) and am mildly satisfied for a brief moment, even if it means sharing her with another man. I even told her i would consider that thought, mildly, in real life just to get her juices flowing, SOMETHING. I believe she is abandoning this marriage and i told her just yesterday,again, that maybe we should just part ways while the relationship is clouded with an affair or anything. I came sincerely to her and let her know that i love her but I need intimacy and do not want to get it outside my marriage. I think she is being very selfish, yet if she wants to abandon this marriage, i told her she can go. I am a very happy go lucky guy who is good looking and want to go down on my wife. She doesnt want that either.I cant remember the time we kissed kiss and im always ready for that especially if she gets on top of me. I believe im being very mature snd truthful when i present my thoughts and feelings to my wife, yet she says absolutely nothing and doesnt talk again for another 2 weeks. If our relationship must part ways, i want it to without me being the bad guy, cheating husband like every one of her sisters has experienced supposedly.

  15. Missionary to Mexico says:

    For me, I have discovered that it is better to separate from the spouse who wants to live in a celebate marriage than to masturbate or look at pornography. I continue to pray that my wife will see the light, humble herself, and repent for refusing to honor her marital vows. Fortunately, neither one of us want a divorce. I still love my wife, but she told me that she never loved me with romantic love and still doesn’t. This is one of the reasons that she gives for not wanting to have sex with me, besides having very low estrogen now.

    I am a missionary in Mexico. When I was a single missionary, with God’s help, I was able to live a celebate life. However, I cannot do it with a wife living with me. According to 1st Cor. 7, God doesn’t expect me to live with a wife in a celebate fashion. So, for me to keep from falling into sexual sin, I have decided that it would be better for us to live apart (she is now in Colombia where she is from).

    I believe that the root problem of our marriage is feminism, or the desire of the wife to be the boss of the home and to do as she pleases regardless of what her husband thinks. So, I told my wife that until she wants to be the wife for me that God wants her to be, that it would be better for us to stay separated.

    I have tried my best to be a loving, compasionate, and considerate husband to my wife. I tolerated her rebellious behavior until she told me that she no longer wanted to have sex (it’s been about a year and nine months now). She wants to move back to Colombia and wants me to go with her and continue to live in a sexless marriage with her. I told her that God has placed me here in Mexico and I will stay here until He tells me to leave. The Lord wants me to be a man and follow Him, not follow my wife! (A good example of that is how Adam followed Eve after Eve disobeyed God.)

  16. QUESTA says:

    M y wife always have issues with sex. I go all out to help her at home by cooking at times or washing the dishes if she has cooked, look after the children, clean the house and many other things. She refuses to have sex with me and has on a number of occasions told me that she hates me with passion. We go for months without sex and even if we have it she will just be a dead log without being intimate. I always have pain in my heart as she sees herself as a righteous women who pleases God.

  17. Karen says:

    I’ve been married for 35 years, we’ve lived together for 40 years. Somewhere within the first ten years of marriage sex became a “chore” for my husband. At one point after 20 some years of marriage we had the same family doctor. After she visited with my husband she came into the exam room to see me and began to scold me for not having sex with my husband. I was hurt, because this had never been the case and was so far from the truth. Sure there have been times of hurt or anger or disagreements, but it was never used as a weapon to deny sex. He would say, give me a chance to approach you or I’m tired, or I feel like I have to perform. So I stepped back and waited to be approached, waited to be longed for, waited to be caressed, waited to have my hand held, waited to be kissed. I watered all of my affections towards him down so they wouldn’t seem like I was pressuring him, but to let him know I was still interested in him. Over the years, I went to a sex therapist, Christian counselor, my pastor and definitely to God. About five years ago I went into my closet and I grieved my sexual relationship with my husband, we have not had any type of sex in over 5 years. I asked God to give me strength and help me walk through this and he has. I no longer look for my husband to show me affection or expect him to preform sexual activities. I have released him from that obligation to be free. Divorce was never an option for me, I love him. I don’t masturbate, I don’t think anything is wrong with it, I just never could get into it. I don’t do pornography and adultery is not an option. I was a little miffed by the article at first because it was more slanted towards women as being the culprit of this type of behavior. Really not good. If this is as big a problem as the article alludes to, it needs to be presented more as a shared responsibility between spouses; than woman get yourself together and take care of your husband. My husband now has erectile dysfunction which is an affect of not having sex on a regular basis. There can be other causes, like medication, over weight, age, but mostly if you don’t use it, you lose it.

  18. Julie Sibert says:

    @Karen… thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I’m sorry about the pain and sexual disconnect in your marriage. I hear versions of your story often, and I agree with you completely that nurtured sexual intimacy should be a shared responsibility in a marriage.

    And though I hear from more husbands who are sexually denied, I know that there are wives who are the ones longing for sexual connection and aren’t getting it (I have a whole page on my with posts specifically on this topic:

    While one blog post can’t address every situation, I try on my site to cover a variety of topics that impact sexual intimacy. Situations like yours are usually the most difficult — where one person wants nurtured intimacy and the other does not (see this recent post regarding the number one reason marriages struggle sexually:

    Thank you again for taking the time to comment… I humbly appreciate that!

  19. L says:

    I deeply understand the pain of sexless marriages, I’ve been in one for nearly 30 years. The frustration, anger, sleepless nights : reading all the books and doing everything in your power to make them feel loved, only to receive continuous rejection . To withdraw so intensely from that reality death seems like an incredible option. Longing for connection, craving intamacy and touch. Pleading with God for strength, for direction, for anything. And yet receiving nothing. Ultimate despair. Lonliness so intense I plead with God daily he takes me from this miserable and painful existence. I use to live for life, celebrate it, and now the pains from a sexless marriage. I don’t even care about life anymore. Don’t tell me that sex is unimportant. That connection at least in my life was a lifeline. Perhaps God will hear my pleas and will call me back home so I don’t have to deal with this emotional deadness anymore.

  20. Mark says:

    My wife and I have been married for 23 + years. Our current intimacy lever is low. We have had sex 3-4 times in the past 3 years. I will tell you that we used to be very intimate. I know for a fact that grass is not greener on the other side. My wife through the grace of God forgave me for something that if I were not so needy and weak could’ve avoided. This was 15 years ago. Regaining trust is the hardest thing a spouse can do. We worked through some pretty tough stuff. I will not point finger sir give a life story because there were issues with both of us.
    Porn will never help your marriage. I tried. I justified porn from time to time to get by. It only leads to stronger desires and resent for her not wanting to be intimate.
    Many factors come into play when it comes to intimacy. Schedules kids etc. I blame her and she tells me I should do this or that. I think to myself that she puts stipulations on sex. I read articles about this type of marital situation and she seams to think its all ok. When I try to talk about it she tends to think I am whining or needy etc.
    we are both wrong. First we must talk about our feelings then consult God together. We need to look at scripture on this matter and look at ourselves. If we both realize there is a problem and do what we must to resolve it. We are both at fault so we must ask “what can I do to change” ourselves that is. The point I am making is that our problems occur when we point a finger at each other and decide to fix it ourselves. She told me once ” if the house were cleaned when I got home, then maybe I’d get in the mood.” I thought if that happened I’d be too tired plus my idea of clean and hers is not the same. We both have issues.
    If we acted like true servants then we would come together quicker and the sex would be mind blowing again

  21. So Sad says:

    The comments on this page brought tears to my eyes. My husband took his ring off tonight. It was after I suggested he move into the spare room, because I’m so disheartened and wore out from having to be modest about getting dressed in my “own” bedroom or showering in my “own” bathroom. He has chosen not to be intimate with me for over 6 years. I used to think people who stayed in situations like this were absolutely pathetic. Yet, now I understand how things do get complicated as one gets older. I’m so deelpy hurt by the last decade+. When I tried leaving two years ago, family and friends, and even a sex councillor I visited while trying to gain some insight into this situation, made me feel worthless. Everyone seems to see him as this great guy (little do they know how incredibly lazy he is), but me as unworthy. The first couple years of our marriage all I ate on an average day were 2-3 bananas (I know stupid…but these are things some people do trying desparately to be somewhat attractive), just trying to stay slim for him. At 107lbs I actually gave up staying thin as I realized no matter how thin I was I wasn’t thin enough or attractive enough for him. I told him books said under 113 lbs was considered underweight for my height, especially if you are thinking of trying to have kids (as if sex happened much anyway). He looked at me doubtful. I even grew my hair very long and blond (as long as I could as his friends wife – my hairdresser – told me he’d always had a thing for those types of blondes), and finally cut it 2 years ago, just for attention (I must admit)…he made NO comment. Can you imagine. I cut more than 10 inches off and he never said a word. Ever.

    At this point, I feel as worthless as the world seems to tell me I am. I am not at all pretty (though I try real hard, but for some it just isn’t possible), feeling ridiculous, and feeling very alone. Based on my experience from 2 years ago, I realize I have no one to talk to. …and I don’t think anyone would take my “side” anyway. If you are reading this thinking well if she isn’t attractive, no wonder her husband won’t sleep with her…my question to you then is, why did he ask me out? Why did he propose? Why did he marry me? Why did stay past the first couple years of marriage? I can’t figure it out. Each time I brought this up during the first several years of marriage, he had such a convincing way of telling me it was him and that he would fix things. Stupid me only stopped believing his “seranade” a few years ago.

    Everyone on here as complicated stories. Sad. Everyone should be happy. Wishing you the best. Thanks for letting me vent.

  22. Julie Sibert says:

    @So Sad … I am heartbroken to hear of your situation. I pray, though, that you know that God loves you deeply and is grieved over the choices your husband is making to be careless with his marriage.

    You say you have no one to talk to. Is there a church in your area that you could attend? Do you know of Christian women you could reach out to? Do you have family members you trust who you could confide in? What about a female neighbor who is mature and you can trust?

    Obviously, I don’t know all the circumstances of your living situation, but I pray you can find at least one or two mature Christian women who will listen, pray with you and point you to solid biblical resources and possibly a counselor who you feel safe with (the one you went to didn’t seem to really listen to your deep pain, in my opinion).

    I also recommend the book “How to Act Right when Your Spouse Acts Wrong” by Leslie Vernick. Other books to consider: “10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages” by Karla Downing and “Thriving Despite a Difficult Marriage” by Michael Misja and Chuck Misja.

    I’m praying for you. I’m glad your reached out.

  23. Pingback: My Top Sex Posts of All Time | Intimacy in Marriage

  24. Stan says:

    My wife and I have not had sex for over 30 years. She has never liked sex, with me anyway. After our marriage, she told me she was raped at age 10 by an uncle. This experience, understandably, kept her from enjoying sex. Later, she explained that her participation as a jury member in a porn trial left her with terrible images that would come forth during sex. Sex became very infrequent and only for procreation. She had terrible nausea during both pregnancies and sex was out of the question. What stopped sex completely was our younger son’s cancer. For the next 26 years she fought for his life, only to sadly see it end in 2009. Within a year she came down with breast cancer. She has been cancer free since chemo, but the type of cancer required a hysterectomy. And that ended any pleasure she would ever get from sex.

    I don’t want to cause her anymore problems, but I can’t live anymore in a sexless relationship. I want intimacy from someone i love, and I regret to say I’ve fallen out of love with her.

  25. Adulterer says:

    I am an Minister and my husband is an elder.My husband and I haven’t had full sexual intercourse in almost 5 years due to his lack of going to the doctor to see why he can’t become erect. He sneaks to watch pornography but won’t touch me. We have been to 4 different counselors to see why he won’t deal with the situation and they say the same thing to him. I ended up becoming depressed and got drunk and had an affair with another Christian brother that was not married but was also in depression because he couldn’t find a wife. He was good friend at first when he was the mentor for my son that was killed 5 years ago. We asked one another for forgiveness and I asked my husband for forgiveness and he said he forgives me But it’s been a year and we still have not been intimate. I don’t speak to or be around the brother I fell with even though were in the same ministry though different churches. My christian brother has told others out of his guilt and some who respected me won’t deal with me because I have committed this act and my husband is known as the innocent one and me the tramp. My husband and I now sleep in separate rooms and I m so alone. I filed for divorce because he will not be intimate with me. He just wants me to cook and clean and look pretty for the public. Where do I go from here?

  26. Kevin says:

    My heart aches when I read these posts and realize how many christians are living lives full of hurt and rejection. After dating and remaining celebate for 6 years my wife told me “not tonight” on our wedding night. I felt like I was the only one who wanted sexual intimacy during our honeymoon. 17 yrs later aned my wife rarely initiates sexual contact. She tells me I need to “fill her love tank more” and give her words of affirmation in order for her to be in the mood. How do you give heart felt words of encouragement and love to your spouse when all you feel inside in rejected, depressed and have minimal self worth as a man?
    The most painful thing now is that my wifes counseler recommended a vibrator for her to increase her libido. She will not use the vibrator during sex, but instead stays up late at night and pleasures herself. It is like a knife throught my heart when after no sex from her for months, I walked out of the bedroom late last night and find her pleasuring herself. I don’t know what to do anymore. I declined further counseling so now I am the obstructionist in our relationship (we have gone to marriage counseling, separate counseling, marriage conferences and read marriage books together).
    The realization that I will, In order to be faithful to my vow to God, spend the rest of my life leading a life of quiet desperation is crushing

  27. Dan says:

    Women who refuse sex within marriage and use it as a tool to control and manipulate are lower then prostitutes. At least a prostitute can be honest and up front about what they are using their body for.

  28. Vinny says:

    NJ Christian husband, father and friend- Vinny

    Sorry for all of us, including our spouses, we are all so disconnected, much like the church (1 Cor 1:20). My perspective is no disrespect to wives that struggle from their side.

    I am a bit of a known man in the Christian community and have achieved some “fame” for my ability to use my gifts in the Christian Community. I am loving, friendly and have been told by women that I am attractive and desirable.

    My wife rejects me 90% of the time I approach.. I do the best I can to hold out as long as possible but only make it around two months. I would assert everyday, which I think is biblical (1 Cor 7) as well as the fact that no one is “promised tomorrow” and “today is the day of salvation.” However, she is robotic and so unaffectuonate. I never get hugs or even eye contact, unless I initiate..

    It is a daily battle to not desire idolatry, “or fantasize of her wanted me” but has gotten to the point where any woman wanting me “sexually” Appeals to my broken marriage.

    She loves me in all the other “roommate, friend” ways and is very protective of me not looking at porn or sinning, or “opening doors” with other woman, but sex from her side Empty and seems forced, chore, and that’s only she. She gives in…

    I see direct results of victory over sinful thoughts after I have sex (even though she barely participates).

    But the day after I know it’s gonna be a long time before I build up enough courage to face the possibility of rejection by the woman who is supposed to give me her body in order to protect me from Satan. (1 cor 7).

    I see why bondage is used by mainstream/secular world as sexual preference for some. You get to point where you want to put them in sexual submission so you are freed from their selfish disregard for your spiritual and emtional safety and well being. God forgive us all and heal us of this disconnection we all have outside your will and against your clear teachings.

  29. Susan Anderson says:

    I am a Christian woman who has been married for 34 yrs and was with husband for four years before marriage, we had two children before getting married and I became a Christian six months after marrying him, he is not a Christian but an alcoholic. The only thing we had in common when I met him at the age of 15, he was 22 was drinking and partying but then I found Christ at the age of 20 and I stopped all of those other things. He chose to stay with me, he tried time and time again to get me back to the old ways, I have to admit, it worked a few times and I backslid but quickly returned to Christ, that was the early years of our marriage. Over the past 20 yrs, we have lost two homes, we have lost many things financially because of his drinking and doing other things but I felt that because God hates divorce that I must stay so stay I have but now 38 yrs later, there is no love between us, he says he loves me yet e sleeps in a different room, there is no sexual contact except once in awhile when he is drunk he makes remarks that are obscene that make me sick and remind me of several child molesters from my past. I hurt daily, cry out to God, don’t know where to go, I want to leave him, I want to wake up and have peace daily, there is no peace between us, we co exist that is all. I do pray for his salvation, I care about him just as I do for other family members but am not in love with him. I want to go home to heaven asap! Than to stay here anylonger in this marriage but I have two grandchildren that need me still and other family members that do to. I don’t know if God would be pleased for me to leave, I don’t know what to do, he won’t get counselling and it wouldn’t change anything if he did. I’m not blaming it all on him, but the truth remains it doesn’t matter whose to blame, I have no peace or love with him, he doesn’t want me to leave because he doesn’t want to be alone for who would do the budgeting and house cleaning and who would he pick arguments with? He likes having me here for what I do not know. I am crying even now writing this, I wish I knew what to do. I cry out to God daily, a hundred times a day and still don’t know whether to leave or stay. It’s making me insane. ty for listening and I am open to any advice.

  30. southern gent says:

    Please find a Christian counselor for you.
    Giving advice off of a board like this is difficult, because somebody really has to know a lot.

  31. Uap Ara says:

    It is a sad and cold situation. My wife avoids having sex with me by sleeping more or early while I am wide awake and wakes up around 3am when I am in the middle of my sleep. She works on being surrounded mostly by our kid or people to avoid being with me alone inside the room. She doesn’t want to talk about sex. Usually she will say yes once she sees me acting weird and obviously desperate to have sex with her. Plus, she would make either a remark that it’s obligation time , sigh loud and make a sound like what most people will make if they have to do something unwillingly. I’ve been trying to do a mind-set exercise that I won’t ask for it but I always end up begging. I am trying hard to avoid because I feel she is stress about it and not look at committing adultery. Help please!

  32. John R says:

    I have come to believe as the years go by that you CANNOT change a refuser. They are perfectly happy with their marriage leaving out sexual/physical intimacy.
    As I am aging now I do not want to start over again. So I live in a chronic state of feeling unloved. I am a good roommate and my wife adores me. There is no time left for change. But for those of you under 55 there is still time for a change. Do not live in a sexless marriage unless your spouse is physically disabled.
    For you women with-holders who are under 50—-you are really gambling with your family. When your husband is mastubating—–take responsibility for it. When he looks at porn TO masturbate —-take responsibility for it. When he has an affair—-take responsibility for. And when he DIVORCES you for the
    other woman ( as some honest women admit in this blog) ——take responsibility for it. You truly did earn it. You left God out.
    John R

  33. Pingback: Making Sexual Changes: What Is Your Story? - The Forgiven Wife

  34. D says:

    My husband knows that no sex is a sin, but he just has no desire for any sex or intimacy. It’s been decades since the last time!
    God and all the doctors really can’t figure it out, he’s been depressed for years. He much older now and takes depression meds, high blood pressure, cholesterol meds and has just given up any hope. He’s not happy and prefers to be alone and away from me.

  35. Maria says:

    I’m desperate. My husband rejected me sexually. He told me I was seriosly sick for having a normal sexual drive for him. He told me to go to doctors only because he was too lazy too make love to me and preferred to watch porn. At some point I lost my libido and from this moment on I feel suicidal and I hate life, I find no joy in anything (most obviously, childless too). Husband now says he wants his sex, is sorry, etc. But I know he has rejected me and now sex with him feels like he’s raping and using me. I’d rather be dead today than endure this one more day. I’d became an alcoholic since his refusal, I drink and cry every day. He now says he’s changed etc. but I know he only wants the right to his sex but he doesn’t want me, he loathes me actually. Why, I am a good wife, I’m not even that ugly-looking, I’m not fat… I think fat people deserve to be happy too but I’m desperate, not even the most shallow and stupid of things can be said against me. I’m a hard-worker, I take care of my elderly parents all right, I do my duties. And yet he prefers porn, he tells me I’m a sick woman, a nympho yet he watches awful women having buccakes or whatever, and I prefer to die than to know every day of my life that I’ve been rejected by my husband because he’s a lazy dork and the biggest L I’ve found on earth. I lost all respect towards him. I just wish so much I was dead today than being married to him and living this life tied to this loser man.

  36. Sherry says:

    Leave him. He doesn’t deserve you. You can only give so much and he keeps taking. There is someone out there that could be everything you have ever wanted. Your husband needs a housekeeper, not a wife. We need attention emotionally and physically. Do no harm to yourself. He may not appreciate you but there are people that do and will. Especially your parents. Don’t give up! You have every right to leave him. I don’t know where you stand religious wise but, he is committing adultery watching porn. Lust of the heart counts. I hope things get better for you. Please keep yourself safe! ❤

  37. Lillian says:

    These posts are so sad… My heart goes out to all of you who are suffering…

    My husband and I were married just last year… Since I have become pregnant, I have been without his touch for a few months now… I’m very affectionate with him, complimenting him often, and touching him whenever possible, to ensure he feels loved and fulfilled sexually.

    He seems very happy to receive sexual fulfillment from me, yet doesn’t wish for me to experience it…. He is worried if I feel that kind of fulfillment it would affect the pregnancy, despite my obstetrician saying there would be no risk or harm.

    He is a wonderful husband in all other areas… He says he loves me, that our love is growing, yet without his touch, I feel like I’m starving…

    I have been told by others that I am beautiful, yet feel so lonely and depressed…

    Please pray for me…


  38. D says:

    That was for Maria… I know how you feel except with me its reversed … Starving for intamacy as a lonely husband, Would you be willing to talk with me? Just talk as I have no one to talk to? Daniel

  39. Joe says:

    HOW LONG DOES A HUSBAND WAIT TO MAKE LOVE TO HIS WIFE? I’ve tried it all and now it’s going on 6 years of no sex, IM TIRED AND MY MIND WONDERS!!!!! What should I do?

  40. Joe says:

    Gosh Susan I wish I could help you I’m a starving husband and can relate to you, please don’t lose your faith, I wish we could talk to each other sometimes we all need someone to talk to I know that I do ,GodBless you Susan

  41. AD says:

    I cannot begin to say how helpful this article is. Thank you for writing it. Equally helpful is reading so many of the other comments on here. They make me want to weep to see the pain and struggle experienced by so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Trust me. I get it.

    I don’t know what happened. For the first few years of our marriage, things were great between us sexually. Now after over 20 years of marriage my wife has no interest in sex at all. When she finally gives in it is always begrudgingly. She’ll say things like “let’s get it over with so you’ll just leave me alone”. She’ll make a sour face and close her eyes the entire time, which makes me feel absolutely horrible, like I’m raping my own wife. Her “technique” always has the intended effect, because I will afterward kick myself for giving into my selfish desires. I vow never to ask her again. And I won’t for at least a month, but then it happens all over again. I get those urges that are so strong I risk certain rejection just in the off-chance that just this once she might be willing.

    Not only does the woman I live with (it’s hard for me to call her my wife any more) completely bristle at any of my physical attempts at affection (hugs, kisses, a pat on the shoulder) but she refuses to show any affection toward me. I can’t even remember the last time she on her own initiative hugged me or even gave me a kiss on the cheek. She claims she loves me. She praises me and says she appreciates the things I do. She just has an aversion to any kind of physical part of our relationship.

    There are plenty who would say that I’m the problem and I know that I am one of two sinners in my marriage. Trust me, there isn’t anything anyone could say that I haven’t already told myself hundreds of times before. I should be more loving. I should be more understanding. I need to make sure she feels secure and safe. I get it! I’ve tried! For years and years and years, I have tried. It all seems so one-sided.

    I’m incredibly lonely. I’m also trapped. I don’t want to leave my wife. I can’t seem to get rid of these sexual urges. But there is literally no other permitted outlet for my sexual desires if I want to remain a faithful follower of Christ. I fantasize a lot, mostly about my wife wanting to have sex with me. But at times those fantasies get pretty dark, where I find myself being tempted to seek out an adulterous relationship. Thankfully I’ve never once been physically intimate with any other woman. I wish I could say my love for Christ or even a sense of duty is what keeps me from going down that dark path. But the reality is that I’m filled with fear. I fear that if I give into that temptation even once, I won’t be able to stop. I fear it will ruin the family I’ve worked so hard to build, protect and lead. I fear that it will fill me with such guilt that I’ll finally have the courage to kill myself and end my suffering.

    What can I possibly do? I love my wife but I hate what we’ve become. I feel so hopeless and trapped.

  42. Joe not real name says:

    I’m SOO tired of feeling worthless, unwanted, unattractive, im just tired to my soul, it’s not fair im not the one who hurt her as a child, but she makes me pay for it, why did she marry me if she knew these no intamacy issues were there? I feel I was used as her ticket out of there, no sex is one important thing but no intamacy either? I’m not a bad man I don’t push the issue because she only gets mad or cries, we are roommates, I m not even allowed to accidentally touch her in bed if I do she gets up and sleeps on couch,I’m not insensitive to her issues we go to counciling together but what about me could withholding intamacy and sex from your husband be considered abuse too? If so she has been doing this for over 5 years I know sex isn’t everything but intamacy would be really nice maybe I would feel like she likes me, I have been patient and a good man, I’m sorry people I’m just venting and just SOO tired ? Can someone please give me advise

  43. Tania says:

    Guys just try fasting and praying for the sake of your relationships.Reform your lives till conscience iS clear .Satan doesn’t sleep.Just fast and plead with God. God is seeing all this but you have to fast to release God’s full power on you. God’s promises are real.”Ask anything in my name”.I insist fast and fast with prayer.

  44. R Wait says:

    I have an issue not addressed here…my husband of 30+ years has had brain injury for several years. I have become more of a caretaker and feel like his mother. He has lots of memory and judgment problems. His thinking and reasoning are more like a 10 year old. He would still like intimacy, but I just can’t go there. We have separate bedrooms. We also have a lot of unsolved issues from before his brain injury…so here we are…

  45. Janna says:

    Thank you, Julie, for having the courage to post this. I say “courage” because there’s a reason no one wants to talk about this in the church. You will undoubtedly receive a lot of praise from people who have been neglected in the sexual department but, I’d imagine, this message will also glean you a lot of haters.

    It’s a subject that brings up a strong emotional response, as any of us can see from reading the many comments above. It’s a touchy subject that most married couples can’t really talk about, much less reach agreement on. The neglected partner feels ashamed, disillusioned, lied to, rejected, ugly, angry, indignant, and a host of other very powerful emotions.

    What I’d like to bring up here is that the refusing partner will often feel almost all of these emotions as well. This is not to abdicate responsibility at all! (No one gets anywhere by assigning blame. Not ever.)

    Imagine a young woman who gets married to the love of her life, a blissful future awaiting her on the other side of those chapel doors. She’s even waited to have sex for her wedding because she wants her marriage bed to be totally pure and consecrated. But then that anticipated night arrives and, instead of hot, steamy Hollywood sex, there is searing pain. Instead of the awaited images flooding her mind of consecrated passion like Romeo and Juliette’s or Thor and what’s-her-name’s, her mind floods with thoughts of a rape she’d hoped was buried.

    That was my story.

    Shame. Disillusionment. Defensiveness. Depression. Isolation. Doomed.

    If she’s blessed, she will have married a man who sees her value. Who will have patience. Who will not take the enemy’s bait and fall into rejection and bitterness. But he can’t wait forever, can he? How long will he endure trying to pursue his wife, whom he loved so deeply, as she either openly rejects him or tries to fake it. He knows. And he is crushed. Hopelessly lost. But for the grace of our God.

    I have a husband like that. And I don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for his long-suffering love.

    Our journey has not been easy. We’ve both sustained such debilitating pain that I swear either one of us could have literally died from a broken heart. Hours, days, months . . . years of tears.

    And interspersed throughout those years, were moments of joy and hope. And faith in a God whose love knows no limits, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    We, each one of us, have choices. And we each have our own unique story. There are choices that are so hard to hear that we’d rather die than even consider them. Maybe we won’t die physically but we check out and let our joy die inside.

    But can we brave enough to look at those painful choices? I’m not asking this from a place of ignorance or aloofness, please believe me. I’m a woman who has suffered for over twenty years with sexual disability and who has caused pain for over twenty years to someone who didn’t deserve it.

    I also know what it’s like to have to forgive someone who has cut your heart out and left it rotting in the sun.

    Here are two of my questions, and I hope you can hear them:

    Are you able to lay down your life for your spouse who refuses you your God-given right to mutually pleasurable sex? I mean really lay it down. Like HE did. Are you able to say, this person is worth it. This is the hill I’m going to die on because my life is not my own. I was bought with a price and I no longer have any rights of my own. I’m not talking about being a doormat. I’m talking about surrendering all the rights you have and believing in a God who can do impossible things. Impossible things.

    My second question is this: If you are a “refuser,” I KNOW this message is hard for you. I know that you sometimes feel like you’ve been stripped naked on a stage in front of a crowd of jeering judgers. I know that sometimes you feel like you just crawled off the ground after being violated, even though it happened when you were a little girl. I KNOW. This is NOT about blame. This is about HEALING.

    The church has made “sin” into this word that conjures up blame and shame and willfulness. That’s not what it is. Sin is just when you take the wrong path. And, friend, if we’ve been denying or unable to offer ourselves sexually to our partners, we have been on the wrong path. It’s not our FAULT! You didn’t want this, I know it! Of course you didn’t! Who would? But it’s still the wrong path, even if you didn’t take it on purpose. And we can do something about that that maybe we could never do before.

    Will you be brave with me? Will you turn? Will you turn your face to heaven and speak the words: “Father, I have sinned. I didn’t want this. I didn’t deserve what happened to me. But I’m on the wrong path. Please cleanse me. Heal me. Forgive me. And give me the gift of repentance so I can return to You and Your path for my life.”

    Take His hand. It’s not going to be easy. It might feel like walking through a minefield. But take His hand and let Him walk you out of here.

    It’s not too late for you, or for any of us.

  46. Dan says:

    Anyone who hasn’t lived this has no place to comment or judge. It is a special kind of hell to cohabitate with someone who rejects you on a daily basis. It is the most gut wrenching thing to wish you had never married them but realize you have two kids you couldn’t imagine living without. To be led into bondage to porn and feel so wretched and helpless that you want to die. No if you havn’t lived it you don’t have the slightest clue what pain is. When my single friends are bummed because their still single I tell them it’s not so bad. being single is a walk in the park compared to a bad marriage! I’m stuck because I have 2 kids I would die for so divorce isn’t an option. But meanwhile i’m being destroyed from the inside out so i’m only a shell of the man I want to be.

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