Top 10 Things NOT to Say When Your Spouse Wants Sex

no-sexHave you ever rejected your spouse’s sexual advances?

Scan through the below list and see if you have said (or heard?!) any of these.

Top 10 Things NOT to Say When Your Spouse Wants Sex:

1.  “Again?!”

2.  “Later.” (And then “later” never comes).

3.  “You just married me for the sex, didn’t you?”

4.  “As long as it’s quick.”

5.  “I’m too tired.” (always too tired).

6.  “I’ll give you sex if you (clean the garage, take care of the kids, etc.)

7.  “Why don’t you just take care of things yourself.”

8.   “My show is about to start.”

9.   “The kids will hear us.”

10.  “It will mess up my hair.” (Or make-up. Or the bed.)

Sure, some sound pretty cliche, but sadly these can be the go-to excuses that slam shut the hope of any intimacy. 

And what I hear from the spouses who are refused is that instead of battling right there in the moment, they tend to withdraw into isolation.  In other words, the spouse who gave the excuse or was careless with the intimacy may not even be aware of the depth of pain their rejection has caused.

I’m not saying there aren’t valid excuses at times for not having sex. Certainly there are.

But when rare, yet reasonable, excuses turn into on-going unhealthy patterns of little or no intimacy, the chinks in the armor start to add up and the marriage suffers tremendously.

Any other excuses you’ve said (or heard?)  Talk amongst yourselves. In the comment section.  It’s anonymous.

Copyright 2013, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage.

39 thoughts on “Top 10 Things NOT to Say When Your Spouse Wants Sex

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

    This goes along with #3, but another way I’ve heard it said is “All you care about is my body.” I know some wives think that when their husbands have a much higher drive for sex, but what I hear from husbands is that sex in marriage makes them feel connected to and loved by their wife. Sure, it’s physical, but it’s more than that for them.

    Great list, Julie!

  2. Adam's Eve says:

    “Not tonight, honey, I have a headache” is a common one>> true story! I’ve had a headache and tried sex and it helped release tension and stress. No more headache. Many pleasant feelings. Try it! I dare you!

  3. John says:

    Here are some of my favorites.

    We just had sex last month.
    Too much sex can cause cervical cancer (more than 10/year)
    The dog is acting funny.
    You’re too tired.
    We’re too busy (I’m not)
    That’s animalistic, forget it. (refering to rear-entry).
    That’s disgusting (referring to giving me oral sex. But she loves receiving – the 6 times a year we have sex)
    I need to wake up early.
    I need to sleep in (denied evening sex because she wants to sleep in??)
    I’m not a morning person.
    I’m not a night person.
    I don’t want to do it the week before my period.
    I don’t want to do it the week of my period
    I don’t want to do it the week after my period.
    I’m on vacation.
    I work tomorrow.
    I’m not working tomorrow.

    Ad nauseum.

  4. RK says:

    Similar to #1 – “We just had sex last night” (when it’s actually been a week or 2)


    Why are you so needy all the time


    Fine, but can I just lay here

  5. Kate says:

    Awesome list, Julie! Using these phrases reveals a deeper level of stuffed down misunderstanding and walls build up around intimacy. It is so easy to say one thing and mean a complete other!

  6. Teresa says:

    I am sorry, but this is truly sad! With some of the excuses these poor men have heard, is it any wonder that some men, even Christian men, cheat? Or divorce? I don’t condone either, but while there is no excuse, there are reasons. Ugh! My hubby has told me the too tired excuse and can only imagine if we are blessed with children “the children will hear us” excuse, but he is usually good about not depriving me for too long. Yes, even with the “I am too tired” excuse and the fact that he doesn’t pursue me very often, I do feel unattractive and rejected, at times!

  7. Business time says:

    Often the wife just isn’t attracted to her husband. No one seems to address that. Women would rather never have sex again than have sex with someone we’re not attracted to. We know we’re supposed to be attracted to him, we just can’t help that we aren’t.

  8. anon says:

    A formerly rejected wife here:

    Too tired.
    I have to work tomorrow.
    You take too long. (To climax…I average 5-20 minutes)
    I wish you’d just masturbate and leave me alone.

  9. susan glardon says:

    I never rejected my husband in the bedroom. It didn’t matter if I had a headache, or not in the mood or how I felt. I felt like scripture says our body is not our own once married mine belongs to him and his to me. So, I was there to please him.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Before she went through menopause the reasons were: ” It’s too much of a mess” (relating to the semen inside her), “I’m too tired”, “I have a headache” . After menopause it’s: “I lost the desire for sex”, ” I’m all dried up down there” ( most legitimate reason due to her auto-immune disorder that is causing exterme dryness in her eyes, mouth, vaginal and anal areas), “I have too much on my mind from (fill in the blank). I even tried to discuss leting me try to please her oraly, but it was a non-starter. I’m at the point of just trying to tough it out till I lose the desire for sex, but I’m not sure it will ever happen 🙁

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  12. anonymous says:

    I just got comfortable, I don’t feel like moving

    It is not a subject we can talk about, it is a short one way conversation. I wouldn’t dare tell her there is a speck in her eye as I am certain there is a giant plank in mine. I do truly love her and for now, I pray about it and survive with these 2 verses.

    1 COR 13 Love is not self seeking

    John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends

  13. Ron says:

    If there are any young couples reading this, pay attention to all the responses. For the first 20 years or so of marriage, I heard all 10 of these excuses often. “we just did it” (when it has been a week or more), “take care of it yourself”, (I don’t need to be married to do that), “as long as it’s quick”, (she then immediately jumps out of bed when it is over to go to the bathroom, comes back rolls over and goes to sleep, real romantic), but the one I hated the most, “my show is starting” (t.v. was way more important than having sex with me and she had lots of favorite shows).

    It is better now, but I still have a deep resentment over the many years of hearing all those excuses, made me feel like I wasn’t too important to her.

  14. Mohamed says:

    All what has been mentioned earlier + “I hear the kids coming to our room”, “our son will hear us, he is not sleeping yet” (he is in another room and the door is closed), “don’t you have a trip tomorrow?”, “you are tired today, you worked so hard”, “are you sure the door is closed and cannot be opened by the kids?”, “the room is so cold”, “the room is very hot”, “you only think about sex”, “are you sure you want it? It is not too late for you for tonight?”, “I have pain”, etc. etc.

  15. Eric says:

    I sometimes wonder if the rejection, especially the “I don’t care if we never do it again” claim comes from taking sex and your spouse totally for granted. The rejecting spouse has the knowledge that if they want it, they can have it, any time. Hence, no urgency. How often do we take things for granted until we lose them, even the people in our lives. We may think there will always be time later until it’s too late. Just a thought.

  16. Big D says:

    I’ve heard a lot of excuses. Really I feel like its in my wife’s nature to look for reasons to say no versus reasons to say yes. Its a control issue I believe. If it’s her idea or if it is convenient for her then it may be a yes, but don’t expect her to do much.

    I’ve started using excuses myself. Honestly, who wants to have sex with someone who is completely disengaged? Thing is, after several weeks of excuses she asked me why I wasn’t pursuing her and if I was getting “satisfaction” somewhere else. She doesn’t want to put any effort into establishing what I consider to be a healthy sexual relationship, but I better not be looking elsewhere (porn, other women, etc.) for satisfaction.

    This website has been a Godsend for me for several reasons. First, I feel affirmed and that although I can be selfish, it’s not selfish for me to expect to have a healthy sexual relationship. Second, there is/are a woman out there who “gets it” and can articulate both a man and woman’s perspective well, so it gives me hope in my own relationship. I very much want to have an amazing sexual relationship with my wife. I would feel better about that idea if I felt she wanted the same thing. Sadly, I feel like she’d rather put the effort into painting a room in the house that doesn’t need it while I struggle mightily with her aloofness to what I consider to be a HUGE problem in our marriage.

  17. MJ says:

    Excuses are just plain hurtful. After 22 years marriage and 15 years with maybe 1 encounter per year I have nearly given up asking. She thinks marriage should be more than just sex. That would be nice if it were true. But we don’t have enough encounters for that to be considered true at all. And after years of flogging my ego with pathetic excuses I am so hurt and so rejected that i don’t really feel married. What I feel is “trapped” in a loveless relationship, waiting for the kids to leave home so that I can too. It would be nice to have some of the “more” that marriage is supposed to be, but when you are stuck with someone who obviously doesn’t care enough to even try to show love, why would I want more? Now all I want is “less.”

  18. WH says:

    @MJ: your training to never ask for sex, yet pay the bills and father the children, is almost complete. Your spouse has done a marvelous job of getting you to quit asking, and you’re not alone in being trained that way. All the benefits of an employed husband but no responsibility to a husband is the goal of many wives, and they play the game well.

    The time is now to fix this, before you’re at retirement age and even more bitter. Tell your wife you deserve, and are entitled to, sexual fulfillment in marriage. It’s time to fish or cut bait before a life of her sinful neglect consumes you. You won’t regret an ultimatum at this point, you’re already biding your time to leave.

  19. Topper says:

    Wife has used all of these on me multiple times, with the exception of #7. She doesn’t want me “taking care of it myself.” She criticizes and ridicules me for that. My sex drive is just one big nuisance to her that she wishes would just go away.

  20. WH says:

    @Topper: sex drive in marriage does not go away, of course. You wife doesn’t need a husband, she needs a babysitter and a lottery ticket. You need to make a decision for yourself, she has already made the decision for your future unless you force change.

  21. Josh says:

    Heard them all. “Too tired” is the most common one.

    “You just married me for sex” is the one that irritates me the most. No, I didn’t marry ONLY for sex, but it’s supposed to be part of the package!

  22. Thomas MA says:

    How about this whopper of an excuse from wives…”sex is not a part of marriage”. If not within marriage, then when is it God-honoring to express sexual love?

  23. Thomas MA says:

    Most recent excuse heard: “Only a whore will do that” when asked to open herself to some manual stimulation. I wonder if she thinks all wives who love their husbands are included in her description? My goodness!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Jesus gave me a revelation. There’s a verse in the bible that says that anyone who puts away his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to commit adultery. God gave me a revelation. Marital unfaithfulness not only means sex with someone else outside of your marriage, it also includes repeated, inexcusable, unjustifyable denial of sex, (IE. My favorite tv show is about to start, I’m too tired, work is more important) and so forth.

  25. SW says:

    “Too bad.”
    That was the response I got, two days after sex that was interrupted by a leg cramp (my spouse’s). I wanted to finish what we started. It was just after she’d committed to working on our “problem” for the second time. Second time that there was a major blow-up. Second time that I thought that maybe we were back on track. That was the last time we were intimate. After decades of the same, it pushed me over my personal edge.
    I cannot endure this relationship any more. I want a divorce, whether or not my actions are biblically correct.

  26. JohnnyGuitar says:

    “Sex is a WANT, not a NEED”, “It’s not IMPORTANT to me”, “That’s all you EVER think about”, “The door is open”, “We have children!”, “-Gurr-…”, and of course my ALL TIME FREAKIN’ FAVORITE is “My sister might call…” How do women come UP with these?!

  27. Reba says:

    Does she know her refusal causes not just physical discomfort but emotional pain? Does she know that you don’t simply need sex but want/need/desire physical/emotional/relational/spiritual connection with HER? Does she feel used or that she’s not enough because of being compared to other women or images? Does she know that for you to be without sexual intimacy is akin to you not talking with her or making eye contact–ever?

    These, or similar, misunderstandings may be underlying her comments. Sorry for your pain.

  28. Paul says:

    Reading this comments breaks my heart, and at the same time I see I am not alone, sadly. In my case, it’s 2, 5, 6 and 9. Sounds like a sad lottery that no husband wants to win. Personally, I have given up trying. That’s it, I am done. Too much time has passed and right now even my desire is fading quickly, since I know there is no sincere desire or passion coming from the other side of the bed. Roommates we have been for a while, and we will continue to be. I have no desire to have an affair, although every now and then I think about it, and then quickly dismiss it. I made a promise, and I intend to keep it. No pornography either, I find it so sad and depressing that I really do not want to go there. Right now if I want to give affection, I have two dogs and a cat, and that is it. I am not even angry, really, just depressed. I have a good wife, she cares for me and the kids ( actually, I am the stat at home dad and homeschooling, she works) She just has no desire of intimacy, and seems to be pretty content in this situation. We spoke about it countless times. Therapy, books, workshops, *I* did it. She has not seen a doctor since the birth of our last child, that right now is 10 year old. I suggested maybe she should do a yearly checkup, for her health, see her hormone levels, and all that stuff, but nothing has happened. If it is about watching her favorite show, or any other activity of her choosing, she is all over it. When I suggest some mild cuddling, (it would be a good beginning..!) then she is too tired, etc . etc.
    You know, never chase love, affection, or attention. If it isn’t given freely by another person (like your wife or husband) then it is not worth having.
    Hell can also be a lonely bed.

  29. summie says:

    Its been 3 years of trying and I have got all these excuses from my wife of 7 years. I Plan to see a urologist/?!, to reduce my testosterone to cope up with her continual withholding. I won’t use porn or masturbate neither do I want to sleep in another room. Is it possible/ok to reduce my sexual libido medically?

  30. RD says:

    Heard all 10 excuses, and more. By conservative count, I’ve been rejected over 6,000 times. So, I quit trying – and I quit speaking to her. Makes me wish I was not a Christian so that I could divorce her.

  31. H says:

    Heard 1-5 and 7 all the time. Never heard 6. Usually she just demands that I do those things with no thought of reward. It would be great if I had a clear path to earning some attention. 8 and 9 are out because we both don’t watch much TV and have no children. I guess I can feel lucky never to have heard 10. Mostly, I would have to say I hear 2 & 5 as regular rejections. I always hear 7 after 2 and 5 since she frequently teases me with the prospect of future sex and then is too tired when the time comes and encourages me to just “do what I have to”. On those rare times sex does happen, I hear a variation of 4 quite often during sex: “Are you almost done yet?” That really does wonders for the mood. Heaven forbid that I actually might want to savor that intimate bonding feeling that happens so infrequently. I would want to make it last as long as I could to hold on to that connection but apparently that isn’t something that she is interested in. I usually fake a climax at this point to hide the embarrassment of the loss of my erection due to the complete emotional demoralization. Also, let’s not forget the ever popular variation of 3: “I feel like a piece of meat!” even though we haven’t been intimate in months and I crave intimacy because she’s about to leave on a 2 week business trip. I sometimes wish I had never gotten married so I could avoid being treated in such a demeaning way. It makes me feel like an animal. Thanks to the church for convincing me to wait for this. I don’t know what my life would have been like without it. I may have been unfortunate enough to be happy and we wouldn’t want that…

  32. Anon says:

    I have heard almost every one of the ones in the list…and a few of the ones add…especially in the last few years…and the times we do have sex…..well..lets just say it is pretty one sided..meaning she says when we have it…and then just lays there… little or no reciprocation…and it’s the same thing every time…same script..over..and over and over…and heaven forbid if I suggest something different…and I according to her I am the one being selfish becasue I ask for it..

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