“My Husband Doesn’t Find Me Sexy. Now what?”

Awhile back I received an email from a reader, sharing that her husband doesn’t find her sexy (and has actually said this to her, even though he says he does love her and thinks she is pretty — just not sexy).

What’s a wife to do with that?  What would you do with that?

I think this is what I would do…

1. Ask myself, “Does he understand the depth of pain such a statement causes me?”

I know it sounds like I’m just giving the husband the benefit of the doubt, and maybe I am, but I just have to wonder if he genuinely understands how hurtful he’s being for even implying such a thing — that he doesn’t find his wife sexy.

If by all other accounts he is a fairly decent guy, then it’s possible he has a blindspot in this one area about his words with regard to her sexiness.

So, that being the case, it’s worthy of the question — or rather, a statement — to him in a clear, yet loving tone.  “When you say I am not sexy, it hurts me and makes me doubt your desire for me.”

My hope would be such a statement would be a springboard into more conversation about ways to mutually build desire, affirmation, arousal and intimacy — rather than chip away at it.

2. If I tried to generate conversation and share what hurts me, and he still downplays my pain, I would suggest counseling.

Yeah, I know.  Counseling seems to be the fall-back advice bloggers dole out.  But that’s because a lot of marriages could be (and are) helped by it.

There is a reason professional marriage counseling is a huge field of practice. Counselors are schooled (literally and practically) in the idiosyncrasies of marriage. Because they are removed from the situation, they are able to see things that the couple likely can’t see.

If your spouse won’t go to counseling with you, go on your own.  It will give you a safe sounding board, help you gain ideas on how to address the situation, and demonstrate to your spouse that you are serious about doing what you can to strengthen the marriage.

3. I would dig into God’s Word.

When we are feeling “less than” — for whatever reason, be it at the words of another person or our own self-defeating chatter in our heart and mind — the best way to get our feet on solid ground is God’s truth.

God says you are enough — that you are beautiful in His sight.  That’s not cliche. That’s love incarnate.  That’s blood poured out. For you.

Any time is a good time to seek Him, but especially when we need to re-align our identity and worth with His truth.  He is faithful in lovingly affirming us and providing Holy Spirit heart conviction where needed.

4.  I would be accountable for me, rather than try to change him.

This is a tough one.  When all is said and done at the end of the day, we land at the reality once again that we can’t change someone else.

We can try to influence and facilitate healthiness, but we can’t make someone change.

That’s true whether we are talking about health physically, emotionally, relationally or spiritually.

One thing we can always control, though, is our own attitude and approach.

There have been moments I have been really angry and disappointed with my husband (and him with me)  No, he has never said I wasn’t sexy.  But we have been careless with each other’s feelings in other ways.

And when I feel most hurt by him and when our conversation comes to a roadblock, I have learned to step back and take a deep breath.

Ultimately, as husbands and wives, we each will have to give account to the Lord for the ways we have treated each other.

If your husband thinks you are not sexy, speaks that out loud to you (or implies it) and fails to respond humbly when you point out your hurt, then such carelessness is ultimately his to own — even if he won’t own it this side of Heaven.

5.  I would lean on safe female confidantes.

I know there are some people who say you should never talk to your friends about your marriage struggles.  I’m just not one of those people.

I do think you need wise discretion about these conversations.  We all need safe havens where we can be real about the depth of our pain.

Just make sure those safe havens are other Christian women who will listen, pray with you and for your marriage, not bash your husband, and continue to point you to the truths of God’s Word.

I know what it is like to occasionally feel alone in the frustrations of marriage. It is why I rely upon a few women friends who will let me be raw and real about my disappointment — and at the same time remind me of the sanctity of my covenant with the man I married.

If you are like the reader who emailed me — and your husband doesn’t find you sexy — that grieves my heart.  I am sad with you.

And while this post may spur in you ideas to reflect upon, in no way do I want to minimize your pain.  As wives, who among us doesn’t deep down desire to be desired by the man we married?

It’s such a reasonable and authentic desire.

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Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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28 thoughts on ““My Husband Doesn’t Find Me Sexy. Now what?”

  1. John Baugh says:

    Sexy is as sexy does! Does your husband know without a doubt that you desire him physically and respect him. Sexy is a gift of beauty and charm that you received to lavish on your husband. Sexy is all of you. He wants all of you. Words can hurt us. I feel you pain. The dictionary often has different means for the same word. Do you know what he means by sexy? Knowing and healing are in the asking.

  2. marie says:

    I know I let myself go.Take inventory on what you can improve on.I recently lost 40 lbs on a low carb lifestyle,I feel sexier and am not diabetic anymore.A win for everyone

  3. CSL says:

    One thing that occurs to me is that he might have a negative definition of the word “sexy”. Could it be that he conflates “sexy” with “slutty”? We all know that many wives come into marriage believing “good girls don’t”; it’s also true that some husbands, because of bad teachings, also have a problem in accepting that a good Christian wife can be “sexy.”

  4. Jaime says:

    Those are all great suggestions, but I think you are missing one of the most important ones. What is his idea of sexy? It could be that husband and wife have completely different opinions on what makes a woman sexy. Often when I’m hard at work in the kitchen or cleaning (not feeling sexy) my husband tells me I am cute and sexy. I suggest that in addition to all your great advice, ask the husband what he thinks is sexy. That should lead to some good conversation. Maybe she could tell him what she finds sexy about him. Ideally, both would then be intentional about doing those “sexy” things. 🙂

  5. sunny-dee says:

    I am so sorry for the letter writer. I have been there, and it is something that can shake you to your soul.

    {{hug}}

  6. Rich says:

    Maybe what you published was only a small part of a lot longer e mail, but from what I read, I thought you gave a very long answer making lots of apparent assumptions and did not ask a couple of key questions.

    Personally I think it would be good for the wife to ask her husband something like “What could I do differently to make myself more sexually attractive to you?”

    Since the wife wrote I would suggest that she might ask herself some hard questions that might start to give her some clues that she could discuss with her husband.

    Questions like

    A. Do you consistently refuse sex with your husband?

    B. Do you have a negative attitude about life in general and sex in particular?

    C. Do you have a negative attitude about your marriage?

    D. How is your dress and grooming both inside and outside the bedroom?

    Hope this helps.

    Rich

  7. Reba says:

    I wonder if a husband might feel that describing his wife as sexy is degrading to her. He may have the image that a good Christian wife is pretty and innocent, and that sexy is a term used for women who do things good Christian wives should not do, let alone enjoy.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I would also ask the husband why he thinks his wife is not sexy. There are some Christian husbands who think sexy is not a proper word to use. Also there are some Christian wives who are actually feel insulted if their husband described them as sexy.

  9. Ed says:

    http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/christians-are-not-called-have-amazing-sex

    I used to be an avid reader of IIM. I even replied a few times, under the name Dave. My name isn’t Ed btw. I want to thank you for your approach to a very sensitive subject. However, the above link makes a very good point about sex and Christianity. It is very balanced. So, take a look, if you like.

    In my experience, your spouse may never get it. Doors are kept shut sometimes, and God doesn’t open them. It happens. I’ve learned that when that happens I am expected to learn and grow up.

    People all over know that we have to accommodate those that can’t do for themselves. Mentally challenged kids, accident victims, immaturity all account for a part of life we’d rather not look at. The fact that we have to sacrifice. In the realm of sex it’s no different. My high sex drive was not an excuse to demand my wife raise her low sex drive. Sometimes, after trying our Jesus best to help our sex life, the other just plain cannot do it. That’s when we learn to lean on God even more. Learn from struggle.

    I learned a hopped-up-on-pornography sex drive from when I was a teenager. Guess what, I had to learn that I can change. My spouse is free to have no pressure about sex now. Believe me it wasn’t this way 20 years ago. From time to time I get a bit frustrated, but it all works out. We still have sex. Not as regular as we used to. But there is peace and contentment. Thank you Jesus.

  10. David says:

    This is a good topic. So where are the suggestions for husbands who find their wives unattractive? Let’s be real here. Spouses give up with trying to impress for whatever reasons. They realize the other isn’t going anywhere right?

    What about the spouse who spends time working out to look good yet is lazy and lame in bed? I can tell you first hand men find that unattractive. Many men have very attractive wives, but beauty is only skin deep right? It’s true. Those men also see gratification elsewhere because although their wives are attractive they fall woefully short when it comes to sex. I chalk it up to they stop faking it and men lose faith in that part of their wives ever coming back. Bam! Reality.

    “That dog won’t hunt” is the phrase that comes to mind. The reward isn’t worth the effort and men tend to realize their wives use sex as a control mechanism. And when men stop allowing that, women go nuts and then feel they are unattractive. Truth is, they do it to themselves.

  11. Evan says:

    Perhaps she doesn’t see herself as sexy, so she doesn’t act like it. Then how on earth can he see her as sexy? Sexy really isn’t much about looks; it’s really about attitude!

  12. libl says:

    I am with Jamie on this one. Sometimes we just fall into too much comfy and stop putting in sexy efforts. Flirting and dressing nicely are great ways to encourage sex appeal. Being the initiator for sex, maybe in a new way. Instead of being offended and hurt, smile and say, “ok, big guy, what makes me sexy in your eyes?” If he says something like, “when you French kiss me hard,” then say, “like this,” and do it.

    Maybe he is just trying to inform you that things have slipped into comfy predictability, like when husbands lose that romantic touch or conversation waxes thin to weather, bills, and kiddie appointments.

  13. e2 says:

    I’m with Reba on this one. Long before I was a Christian, I associated “sexy” with slutty, skanky, etc. I would have never used “sexy” to describe a woman I found attractive. It was the old Gilligan’s Island Ginger vs. Mary Ann conundrum. Yes, Ginger was sexy, but Mary Ann was far more attractive. Even with tight shorts and a crop top, Mary Ann somehow avoided being “sexy” as I understood the word. Only after I became a believer and saw the goodness of married sex did I find “sexy” to be a good word to apply to my wife. I now use the word far more than even she wants. So, it could be that the husband in the original email views “sexy” negatively, or is judging his wife’s sexiness by Gingeresque standards, by which very few women would qualify as “sexy.” Either way, he should be sensitive enough to either not say those things to his wife, or be very clear about his innocent intent, if his intent is indeed innocent.

  14. Christian Husband of 38 yrs says:

    “Be the change that you want to see.” (Gandhi)

    If you want to see change in your spouse and in your marriage, then you need to start by working on changing yourself. This is the way it works, guys and gals.

  15. sunny-dee says:

    A lot of the comments here are reiterating what the husband said — the wife is not (must not be) sexy and it’s her own fault that he doesn’t find her sexy.

    That could be reality.

    But we have nothing to go on aside from that one statement, and it may not be her fault. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder — whether she is bringing it or whether you would look right over her, it could be irrelevant to how her husband perceives her.

    Maybe it would help to examine her own actions and ways to be more sexy — but that does assume that the problem lies with her. What if it is with him? What if it’s not her actions but his perception? What then?

    I sympathize. My husband said (over several months, different conversations) that he didn’t find me sexy. That he doesn’t have those feelings about me, that he doesn’t think about or fantasize about sex with me. I have tried lingerie, sex positions, sex apps on the phone, whatever. I have straight up asked what he would want me to do or what he likes that I do — and his answer is nothing. There is, quite literally, nothing I can do that turns him on.

    No, I am not beautiful — but I never was and never can be. Short of extensive plastic surgery, I am what I am, and I try to make the best of what I have. But what about when that’s not enough?

  16. David Bibby says:

    My wife sees HERSELF as unattractive, and as a result she truly believed that I saw her as ugly too. I didn’t know how to handle that, and the trap question “does this make me look fat?” always caught me good.

    Shame on a man who intentionally makes their wife feel hideous… this tearing down of her esteem will NOT inspire her to turn herself into something that’s attractive for you. Rather… you’ll just push her into the arms of someone else who DOES make her feel pretty. Someone who sees the inner and the outer beauty.

    If you’re making her feel this way from your neglect… better do something about it now!

  17. Christian Husband of 38 yrs says:

    Once again, maybe my wife and I are just old fashioned or weird or something, but we really don’t have the word “sexy” in our vocabulary, either as a description of each other or of anything else. Most of you will have to admit that this word has been overused and stretched to the breaking point. Besides, we both really have a problem with the word, as it tends to reduce the person (or thing) to which it is applied to a mere sex object, and it tends to overemphasize sex and sexuality as the be-all and end-all of existence.

    It is quite possible to be highly complementary of one’s spouse without having to use that word; it is also quite possible to cause considerable harm with it, as the story above illustrates.

  18. Carolina says:

    My husband and I have had sex less than 5 times in 13 years of marriage! Those were all planned and talked about beforehand. While dating I initiated sex often, but eventually realized he was losing his erection midway and lying about orgasms. Then one night he yelled at me mid act for “wanting sex all the time”! I was mortified! I began thinking something was wrong with me and he was right. My mom had always taught me that God did not like sex before marriage so that’s what I decided needed to happen. No more sex until married. After 13 years of marriage and 5 or less times having sex I realized how lonely I was. He told me 3 years ago that he isn’t attracted to me physically and wasn’t when he married me either. He’s proud to be seen with me, but “jump my bones”? NO. I am not a perfect weight not the most beautiful woman in the world. However, I am very attractive and put much effort into looking that way. I’ve never let myself go as so many people assume is the case when a husband doesn’t want a wife sexually. He refuses therapy and quit marriage counseling. I’m bitter and angry at this point and believe this is emotional abuse. Yet I STILL feel guilty to divorce!! Why is that?

  19. HopefullyHelpful says:

    @Carolina: How are the other aspects of your marriage? Have you considered legal separation? Is that an option for you? Are there any children involved? This might seem kind of drastic, but it is not a divorce and could be a wake-up call for your spouse. Look into the separation laws of your state and see what is involved. At the least, you might get him back into counseling.
    Talk this over with your pastor/elders and get their opinion on what other options they might be able to provide support with through your church.
    Pray, dear lady. For emotional strength and for God’s will to be done, then see what options open up. Find out all your facts, make a plan, then confront your spouse to continue therapy.
    .
    Separation will not make you happy or cure the loneliness, but could give the boost to get things going again, or it might just put the final nail in the coffin. You cannot forget, though, that you are married during this time, and must comport yourself accordingly. You might even feel lonelier.
    .
    I’m not going to go through all the possible reasons for this behavior, but go through the exercise yourself and see what falls out.
    .
    My prayers go with you.

  20. John R says:

    Maybe I am just not “a good enough Christian” but I admit to being amazed that there are CHRISTIANS who find ANYTHING WRONG with the simple word “sexy”??? No wonder Christian marriages are a mess??? Have we become so literalistic, so harsh in our Christianity we flee from a simple word? SEXY! There it is. Just a little word? If GOD is going to cast us into hell for using this word——then frankly I never had a prayer before I used the word. I strongly feel that the GOD of my understanding, who has been with me in war zones, was a whole lot more concerned about the vicious killings, murders and rapes of the innocent than HE WAS CONCERNED over the little word “sexy”. Great Day, no wonder we are all confused and marital sex is a disaster. John R

  21. Pam says:

    Two weeks ago I found out my husband has a porn habit, and last week he said he doesn’t find me sexually attractive anymore, but that he loves me. I’m so heartbroken, my heart literally hurts. I’m thin, I don’t exercise as much as I’d like to but I do try to keep myself attractive, and other people would define me as attractive… I’m 40 and I’m hurt and angry at him. And I don’t know what to do.
    In addition, for five years my husband and I have been dealing with his Peyronie’s disease. Our sexual life has been difficult since he was diagnosed, and I’ve been patient with him, supportive, never pressuring him into having sex, all while dealing with my own emotions towards our dying sexual life. He said he wasn’t interested in sex, but then I find out he is interested in porn!
    I’m holding on to the fact that he says he loves me, but I’m still hurt and angry. We need help. I need help.

  22. Julie Sibert says:

    @Pam… I am so sorry for the pain and rejection you are going through. It is completely understandable that you are heartbroken over your husband’s insensitivity and carelessness. I do encourage you to get help. Suggest marriage counseling to him, with at one of love, but firmness that the state your marriage is in right now is not healthy and strong. If he won’t go, then go on your own. Not only will it demonstrate to him that you are committed to doing what you can, it also will give you the insights of a professional who may have ideas on how to best navigate your pain, anger, etc.

  23. ashley says:

    My advice, JUST GET SEXY! Get in shape, do something sexy with your hair and makeup,, new sexy clothes…. it’s fun getting sexy. How hard can it be?

    Make your husband think you’re sexy. SIMPLE.

  24. Morgan says:

    Last night as we were watching a PG 13 movie, the topic of being sexy came up. My husband stated, “you are like that girl in the movie.. When you think you are sexy or try to act like it, you are not.”
    My heart shattered and I shut down completely.. Not knowing what to respond..
    Here is a little background info..
    We have been married for 5 years and have a beautiful baby boy. We are both in our late 20s.. I really do try to take care of myself physically and spiritually.. Which brings me to my next point, we are active members of a church. We have sex on a regular basis and I strongly believe that my husband is faithful and loyal…
    So why did he say this to me? Is it because I cannot “move” or “dance” in ways he prefers?
    What do I do and how do I address this..

  25. H says:

    I have never, nor would I ever say something so hurtful to my wife. I do have a serious question though. Is there ever a point when saying something like that is not just mean, but true? I am fully aware that nobody stays the same forever and am accepting of the natural changes of getting older. I have to wonder though, is a husband justified in his feelings, or lack thereof, if his wife more than doubles in size within the first one or two years of marriage? I’m not talking about baby weight. I’m not talking about gradual changes that occur as life gets busy. I’m talking about the sudden end of healthy eating and exercise where the wife (or husband since it works both ways) completely stops putting any effort into their appearance after the vows are said and done. Where is the line between being an insensitive jerk and voicing concern about being the victim of a bait and switch? I know people gain weight as they age but when does it pass beyond “normal aging” and move into “this is not who I married and I feel like I’ve been had.” Are people supposed to force themselves remain (or at least act like they are) attracted to a spouse who looks nothing at all like he/she used to and would be barely recognizable next to their wedding pictures? I am just trying to figure out where the line is, if there is one at all. I agree that confidence and attitude play a greater role in sexual attraction than appearance but appearance is still part of that equation. At what point does it become valid for it to affect your feelings of attraction?

  26. Rhonda says:

    I can relate to the poster. My husband comments about how “Hot” other women are. When I ask him why he’s never called me hot, he says I’m beautiful. Plenty of men find me sexy, but not him. He will not use the words sexy or hot to describe me, ever and it hurts to my core. I also think you cannot make someone think you’re sexy. Attraction can’t be dictated. It’s ither there or it’s not. I’d love some feedback.

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