Has Your Husband Stopped Initiating Sex?


It wasn’t until he stopped initiating that it occurred to her something could be wrong.

And it wasn’t that she was necessarily concerned he was “getting it elsewhere” (although, she knew that wasn’t such a far-fetched possibility, if statistics told her anything.)

Even so, him no longer initiating sex did have her thinking.  Wondering if indeed her marriage was what she had always envisioned a marriage to be.

Wondering if it was what he envisioned it would be.

Anyway. He had stopped initiating sex with her.

And now she began to recall all those times she avoided sex.  Came up with excuses as to why they couldn’t make love.  Made him feel guilty for even attempting.

All those times she pulled away from his touch when he crawled in bed. And the times she even snapped at him when he wanted to get in the shower with her.  Convinced herself that he was selfish and insensitive for ever wanting it in the first place.

And what about those times she was too tired for sex?  Yes, there were times she was exhausted. No doubt about it.

But she was often plenty awake to tend to the kids’ needs, church activities and her favorite TV shows.  She vaguely remembers him pointing that out.  Something about him always being last (or never) on her “list.”

Yes, him not initiating anymore really had her thinking now.

She almost cried when she considered the irony.

Him no longer initiating meant she had arrived at what she implied she wanted — no more sex.  But she felt anything but victorious.

She felt empty.

There was a chasm between them that she couldn’t quite name. Couldn’t quite put her finger on.  But it stirred just beneath the surface nonetheless.

They did life.  They exchanged pleasantries. They moved through their own agendas and managed to keep things functioning.

Kids got fed.  Bills got paid. Birthdays got planned.  Lawns got mowed.

If there was tension — and in moments of brutal honesty, she could not deny there was — she simply rationalized it away.

“We’re tired.”

“We’re busy.”

“This is what happens to all married couples.”

It had been a long time — a long time since he last initiated.  So long that she couldn’t recall with any clarity the last time they made love.   It was hazy at best.  And “going through the motions” for sure.

She recalled feeling relieved at first when he stopped initiating. She finally could stop feeling anxious about sex.

But now.  Now she started to wonder.

Did she have a hand in the collateral damage in their relationship?  Were they really as close as everyone else viewed them to be?

It felt like forever since they had done anything alone together.

He stopped initiating sex. And in a way, they both stopped initiating everything.

He stopped initiating sex.

And now? She felt anything but victorious.

Copyright 2014, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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156 thoughts on “Has Your Husband Stopped Initiating Sex?

  1. Anonymous says:

    M55 F47 married 20years been together 30years.
    13 months ago I stopped initiating. no sex since.
    Yes I work full time House work. DIY and the kids.
    Well their ready to leave the home and move on with their life’s as for me well 12 month prepairing a runaway fund almost their . I will be walking out within the next six months.
    It’s more painfully to stay than to leave.
    Funny how if I had an affair shed get mad. Why she don’t want sex or intimacy so I’ll find someone who does.
    As I sit here and look at her as I type what’s going through her mind i wonder.
    I see more of her body now than ever before well I just look away.
    I know she’s wondering what am up to. If she finds the strength to initiate, I will refuse .how’s it feel ha.
    At every opportunity I masterbate so am never gonna give in. Welcome to my world.

  2. Joe says:

    Amazing. My wife has no desire for sex but doesn’t give a damn about my desires. I work full time and provide a good living. I cook half the dinners. I clean up half the dishes. Usually do my own laundry. I take her out. I open the car door for her. I take care of things so she can rest . But none of that matters. My needs don’t matter. I’m ready for this to end. Separate bedrooms are not far away

  3. Anonymous says:

    We’ve been married 25 years, together for 29. And for the past 20, we’ve averaged about monthly. It’s killing me, and it’s killing our marriage. She knows we should be intimate more frequently, but makes no effort to be. Every time I look at the bathtub, I remember that time she made those pitiful excuses, and it was years (and years) ago. I still feel the sting, the humiliation. I can’t bring myself to ask, so terrified that she’ll turn me down. The bed that once was so animated is a cold and lonely place. I don’t know what to do.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Well menopause makes sex painful, seeing doctors and HRT to give him sex again is not working. Three years later and still unable. The pain is too much and makes it unable to even try. Its horrible going thru this and makes you feel so terrible that he will leave or look for someone else. It is so heart breaking when you want to be intimate and can’t, the feeling of a failure and loss is horrible. To love someone and not able to please them with no relief devistating.

  5. Frank says:

    I stopped trying after years of being rejected after our son was born. Once after over a year without sex she said that’s all you want, 20 years later we have an empty next and she wants to be a couple. No thanks, my needs are meet elsewhere. The resentment is still there.

  6. Some guy says:

    This post and comments were very helpful. At least I know there are others going through (or have gone through) the same thing as I am. My wife and I have been married 20 years. I have nearly stopped initiating sex as well, with the same result as you all. I stopped for two reasons: 1) the failure rate had to be 90%-95% and seemed to annoy her, so how many times do you have to keep doing something with that high of a failure rate before you stop doing it altogether?, and 2) I’m in my early 40’s and my testosterone levels are slowly declining, so rather than wanting it everyday, now it’s like once or twice a week. I pretty much stopped initiating a few years ago. I just got tired of it. Earlier this year we went two months without sex, when normally we are on a predictable, once a month schedule (after she takes a shower after her menstrual cycle). There will be more like that soon, but will make 2 months seem easy. I’m thinking 5-6 months.

    My wife doesn’t like to talk about sex. When we have talked about it, I’ve brought it up and the conversation is always awkward, she gets defensive, then changes the subject, despite my best efforts to avoid that conversational cliff. Can we just have a normal conversation about it? I guess not. So, what this means is this is one area in our marriage that isn’t really talked about. During one of those conversations she mentioned that her needs were changing, and she provided some brief, vague comments. The conversation ended, so I brought it up a couple weeks later. I asked for more details and she said, “No, I’m good.” Those two ideas don’t go together. Here’s another one: I casually mentioned to her one time that she was probably tired of me going down on her all the time. She said, “you know, I got real bored with it for a while, but then I thought, you know, whatever.” Wow. Cool. I would never have known if I didn’t throw that out there. Or this one: I mentioned one time that she probably prefers to masturbate than have sex. She said “yes … sometimes.” Also … wouldn’t have known that if it weren’t for me throwing it out there. That last one brings me to my next point.

    I have learned that she has been masturbating quite a lot. That’s funny because her libido is up (at least in the last couple years), but we’re having less sex. When I have tried to initiate sex or otherwise see if she’s receptive to it, the answer is almost always no. The “why” may be 4 or 5 different reasons, but I know now that at least some of those times is because she’s already masturbated (almost every time she showers or takes a bath, and almost guaranteed if I go to work and she stays home). So … we can’t have sex, but you can masturbate? What am I supposed to do with that? Perimenopause has only recently entered the picture (what fun that is, might I add), but hasn’t changed a thing about her masturbation and our lack of intimacy. It’s like a slap in the face.

    I’m married to a liberal woman, and she believes firmly that the woman should get something out of the experience too. Ok. No problem. 50-50, she says. I said, “You mean like us, where I go down on you and I get nothing in return?” “Yeah, but you like it like that.” Yeah. I just couldn’t stand to have the favor returned sometimes. My eyes are rolling. My birthday this year we had a little encounter; I gave her some but got nothing in return. Nice. Again; eye roll. It ain’t no damn 50-50. It’s probably 70 or 80 on her side.

    Shelly T had very good advice in this comment section. I have been intimate with her without sexual intent. It felt good, but let’s be honest. There are needs here. Very real needs. And just look at what marriage counselors say about the lack of sex in marriage. It’s no surprise, particularly to this group of readers: it’s a slippery slope to divorce. Shelly T: I don’t doubt that what made the difference in your marriage is the realization you had and your subsequent response. That response though, I would guess, is quite infrequent in marriages with this kind of struggle. Your husband is quite lucky, and I’m glad for the two of you.

    This is yet another marriage where the mobile phone has come between us (her use), so the personal connection between the two of us is emaciated, and the intimate connection … well. Non-sexual intimate connections can only be maintained for so long before the lack of sexual intimate connections starve out the rest. And if there’s something beneath the surface that needs to be communicated, it likely won’t. She won’t talk about it, so I don’t bother bringing it up.

    I’ve never cheated, but I understand why. At least in this circumstance. Not to mention how porn can be an outlet, though that is followed by regret.

    I’ll conclude by saying I’m done. I’m tired of playing the game. Nothing is going to change.

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