Has Your Husband Asked God to Take His Sex Drive Away?

 

take sex drive awayI receive more emails and comments from men than I do from women.

This does not surprise me.

What did initially surprise me, though, when I began blogging is the depth of pain expressed in these emails from men who hunger for more sexual intimacy in their marriage.

Notice I just wrote “sexual intimacy,” rather than using the word “sex.”

Nearly all the communication I receive from husbands clearly shows that sex is not just sex to them (contrary to what popular culture and stereotyping would lead us to believe).

They aren’t just looking for a release.

Because let’s face it, they could get that from their own hand.  Sure, some resort to secret masturbation on a regular basis, because they see no other option afforded them. Yet most would gladly admit that what they really want is to make love to their wife.

Sex is never just about sex.  It’s about wanting to feel connected, affirmed and one with the person to whom you’ve pledged your life.

Some marriages are high on conflict about sex and incredibly low on resolution and healing.  Two people slowly drift away from each other sexually, either because healing the disconnect is not a shared value or because one or both spouses believe the marriage is irretrievably broken sexually.

My God, marriage is hard, isn’t it?  I get that. I know.

I don’t minimize the challenge it is to build an intimate marriage. Being married is a high and holy calling and it is hard, hard work.  And so much impacts sexual intimacy, from hormonal and physical issues to relationship struggles to betrayal to life circumstances to skewed views about sex.

The list goes on.

But it is tragic commentary in a marriage when either spouse has prayed for God to take away something that is inherently woven into the very design of marriage.  God’s design for marriage.

I am grieved any time I read an email or comment where a husband has resigned to defeat, thinking there is no longer any viable option but to pray — even beg — for God to take his sexual desire away.

The devastation of laying next to a woman who neither pursues him sexually nor responds lovingly to his initiation is just too much.  Too much.

To frame this in another perspective, consider if you as a wife are feeling emotionally neglected by your husband.

Do you pray that God remove your desire for emotional oneness with the man you fell in love with and married?

Some of you may pray this, but my guess is that most women in that situation do not wish for their desire for emotional connection to go away.

They would rather see the relationship healed and strengthened, right?

Deep down when a husband has prayed God take his sexual desire away, what he is really screaming from the caverns of his soul is that he desperately wants the relationship healed and strengthened.

He wants — genuinely wants — authentic sexual intimacy with the woman he married.

If there are struggles in your marriage about sexual frequency, do you ever wonder if your husband has prayed for God to take his sexual desire away?

Well, here’s the deal.

God probably isn’t going to answer that prayer with a yes.

And even if He did, would we really consider that a victory for your marriage?

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

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74 thoughts on “Has Your Husband Asked God to Take His Sex Drive Away?

  1. H says:

    I have prayed for this for the last 6 years. I just want the urgent need to stop. I wish it didn’t hurt so much to feel like I don’t matter. Everything would be so much more peaceful in our house if my needs didn’t keep getting in the way. She always tells me that all I want her for is sex. If I could get rid of that desire she would be so much happier and I wouldn’t have to feel rejected or be made to feel disgusting for wanting her. Since my prayers have gone unanswered, I can only hope age will do what God has not. I’m already over 30 so I hope I don’t have to wait much longer.

  2. J says:

    Unfortunately this is something that plagues women as well. Probably way more than you can imagine. I’m living this myself and I’m the wife in my situation.

  3. B says:

    I’m a woman. I’m the wife and I have prayed this prayer many, many times. God has not answered me with a yes, either.
    I know, Julie, that you have posts for higher drive wives. As I’m sure you know, most posts in most marriage blogs are for low drive wives or higher drive husbands. Imagine being the one wife who doesn’t fit the mold. Posts like this make me want to bang my head against a wall. I totally understand why you write it, and it is an issue for a lot of guys. But when you’re a woman in this position, you feel abnormal, ugly, broken. I have asked myself many times why I seem to be the one woman who has a husband who doesn’t pursue her. It makes me feel worthless. Looks shouldn’t matter, but I am young-ish, fit, and fairly attractive. And yet, I can relate to all of this. Especially this part:
    But it is tragic commentary in a marriage when either spouse has prayed for God to take away something that is inherently woven into the very design of marriage… AND
    The devastation of laying next to a MAN who neither pursues HER sexually nor responds lovingly to HER initiation is just too much. Too much. (Obviously I changed the wording to fit my situation.)
    And when all of this, or the bulk of it anyhow, is aimed at wives refusing their husbands, it makes me feel like the only answer is there must be something incredibly wrong with me.
    He tells me he loves me every day. He’s good to me. But our sex life is nowhere near where I’d like it to be, where I read it “should” be, and so yes, I’ve prayed many times for God to take away my sexual desire. Because I feel very wrong for desiring someone who doesn’t feel the same way.

  4. Jay says:

    Wow. I thought that I was the only one who prayed this prayer on several occasions. My wife still refuses to work on a healthy sex life within our marriage because if she doesn’t feel emotionally connected to me then it isn’t going to happen. Ever. Everything you mentioned was spot on. Until my wife finally gets it that it isn’t just an urge, or a release, then she’ll never understand what a tremendous emotional blessing she’s denying me, and herself.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Being sexually starved for 35 years, I have prayed this pray for a long time. God has not yet answered my prayer with a yes.. Instead, He has told me that He will meet all my needs. Meanwhile, I am still learning how to be content in my circumstances and love my wife unconditionally as Christ loves me.

  6. C says:

    J and B, I hear your pain, and as a wife I want to encourage you that you are not alone! Lack of sexual intimacy hurts whether you are the wife or the husband. It’s true that many books and blogs assume that the wife has the lower drive (I find this frustrating too), but it’s also true that there are many wives who find themselves on the opposite side. It does NOT mean that you are ugly. It does NOT mean that you are unworthy, unattractive, abnormal or any of the lies the devil wants you to believe. You are beautiful and precious, and so is your sexuality! God sees you and loves you! I pray with you for healing in your marriages, renewal of intimacy with your husbands, and God’s tender comfort and fulfillment for your soul, body, and spirit. He can do the seemingly impossible.

  7. Jay says:

    C

    Thanks for the encouragement. I, and so many others affected by this marital difficulty are grateful. I guess what really smarts the most is when my wife misinterprets my lack of sexual interest as a sign that I, have learned to modify my sexual drive to match hers. Sometimes I want to grab her by the collar and shout in her face: “No, you idiot! Our sex life is nonexistent because I’ve stopped asking because I know that it won’t do any good, so what’s the use?”

    Thankfully I’ve never followed through with this thought but its been very difficult to keep my anger and resentment under control.

  8. John says:

    Have hope! God does answer prayer. Isn’t that what we are always told in church?

    I’ve prayed this for decades, and it has worked in the last 2 years. I have had no sexual desire for my refusing, gatekeeping wife at all for over 2 years. No sex for the last 2 years, and I haven’t even been the slightest attracted to her or anyone else for that matter.

    She’s probably fine with it, since she has not even asked a “whats up?” in 2 years, never mind initiating. Which she never did anyways, so nothing new there.

    So, God does answer prayer. Isn’t that wonderful.

  9. Julie Sibert says:

    @John… I’m not sure I would say it’s wonderful.

    I recognize your pain, but I think it is tragic on some level that one spouse would feel they have no other option than to pray God take their sex drive away (all because the refusing spouse decided to disobey God rather than honor their marriage vows).

  10. Sean says:

    One thing that was said really hit me. What if a wife prayed for God to take away her desire for conversation? What if churches said that if a woman even thought about talking to another man, that was the same thing as talking to him? What if we attacked women’s desire for conversation with the same fervor we attack men’s desire for sex? What if we told women that they needed “accountability partners” to help them not think about having intimate conversations so much?

    The scream from women would break our eardrums!!

    There is another Christian Sex blog where a newly married woman complains that her husband wants sex too often. The author of the blog says she wishes she could smack the insensitive husband in the head. However, she advises the refused spouse to just stop thinking about it and look at other positive things in the relationship. Double Standard maybe!?!

    I am so thankful that Julie & Chris Taylor at least treat husbands and wives equally.

  11. C says:

    After rereading my post, I realize I should have clarified that I think Julie does a good job of avoiding the stereotype that the wife is always the one with the lower drive. Being in a marriage that doesn’t fit that stereotype, that’s one of the reasons I keep coming back here. (Thank you, Julie!!)

    Any way you look at it, there’s a lot of pain associated with lack of sexual intimacy in marriage, and I’m thankful there are brave Christian women and men willing to talk about it. I don’t remember where I saw this observation (maybe on this blog?), but thought it was profound: “The devil does not like marriage and he wants to destroy God’s beautiful design for us; therefore, he does everything he can to get us to have sex before (or outside of) marriage, and then he does everything he can to prevent it once we’re married.”

    Yuck. Sounds to me like Satan is the real enemy here.

  12. Distilled Animal Spirits says:

    I cry myself to sleep sometimes. I’ve positively and angrily addressed this problem over the years and it just gets worse. I am alone and broken hearted and unheard. She knows I won’t leave because we have children. But one day we won’t. In my weaker moments I daydream about being able to refuse her and share the pain.

    There was an article by a young lady a few years ago with the hypothetical “if you don’t want to have your husband why would you care if he cheated?” anyone remember that one?

    Thank you for your work Julie

  13. NJ says:

    The content on this website and others with related content always focuses on raising the desire level of the lower drive partner. There never seems to be talk of lowering the desire of the higher drive partner to match their lower drive spouse. That would also seem to be a solution to end the suffering of the deprived higher drive spouse.

    Is it because experience has shown that trying to lower the desire of the higher drive spouse never has successful results? Is it simply bias because a sex-positive person who writes about intimacy in marriage is not going to believe that lowering desire is a solution?

    I’m curious why lowering the higher drive person is never discussed. If it’s “that never works”, I would be curious to hear experiences about those failures.

  14. Julie Sibert says:

    @NJ … I think why most Christian bloggers wouldn’t talk about how to lower the drive of the higher-drive spouse is because, in my opinion, that line of thought wouldn’t be biblical. (Look at 1 Corinthians 7).

    While I do think spouses need to be sensitive to one another and mutually try to arrive at a sexual frequency that is pleasing to both of them, I don’t think the solution is that we focus on one spouse going to great lengths to try to lower their desire.

    Also, I think most research would back up that when one spouse has low desire, there’s usually remedies for this (be them hormonal, psychological (overcoming a skewed view of sex), relational, looking for solutions when sex is painful, etc.) Rarely do we find that the best solution is to simply try to lower the desire of the higher-drive spouse.

    That’s my two-cents worth.

    Thanks for commenting!

  15. southern gent says:

    NJ,

    If the lower drive partner is a once a week person because work stress kills the work week, then maybe it is a problem the higher drive spouse needs to be more accepting of.

    But when a man is praying for his sexual drive to be removed, the situation is nowhere near that.

  16. Mick says:

    Whew!

    I have prayed this many times over the course of my marriage. It’s somewhat comforting to know that I’m not alone, but also absolutely terrifying to see other commenters mention their decades-long pain. God, I’ve only been married for 4.5 years and it’s already horrible.

    We’re on different beds now and that’s helped smooth out my desires a bit. At least I’m not laying right next to the person I want to have sex with. It’s one thing to want to have sex, it’s another to be constantly rejected while laying right alongside her.

  17. Ron says:

    My wife and I live more like roommates than husband and wife. I am alone and broken hearted and unheard. She has shown that she does not care about making me happy sexually, and knows I won’t leave because I do not believe in divorce for religious reasons. There is no touching, no intimate kissing, no sex of any kind. She takes my faithfulness for granted and expects far more than she is willing to give. I was taught that marriage is a 100%/100% proposition. I have found that, in my case it is 70%/30% or less.
    I do all the cooking, clean the dishes, do most of the housework, most of the laundry, take care of the cars, chauffeur her to the store, and try to do nearly anything to make her life easier. On top of this, I pastor a church full-time. I am often so tired both mentally and physically, but NEVER too tired to do for her. I am trying to do even more to make her life easier. It may be selfish, but I would love even something from her, even simply a sexual oral or hand assist. She has even acknowledged the fact that she realizes she needs to be better and has promised to do so, but never to any avail. I have begged God to take away any desire for sex with her, but He has so far refused. I guess, like a good boy, I will just learn to live in sexual misery.
    There was an article by a young lady a few years ago with the hypothetical “if you don’t want to have sex with your husband, why would you care if he cheated?” What a good question.
    I won’t cheat, but I have wondered, If you are living as celibate room mates and not lovers, would it still be cheating? What would I be cheating on? I know—my marriage vows.
    We both need prayer. We both need help.

  18. H says:

    @Mick. That sounds like it may help. Are the beds in the same room or separate rooms? I haven’t been married long either (less than 10 years). I’m willing to try anything to make it more bearable. Just suggesting it to my wife may be helpful. She may like the idea and accept it or if not, it may be the wake up call that shows her how I feel in a way she will believe. She refuses sex but gets upset when I don’t snuggle with her until she falls asleep. I don’t just have to lay there. I have to touch and hold what I can’t have. It’s impossible not to think about. Most nights I lay awake for hours waiting for her to fall asleep just so I can roll away from her without having to hears her protests. Then I lay awake longer praying for an end to the misery. Separate beds may save me a little sleep deprivation.

  19. John says:

    @NJ

    I am the higher drive spouse. She is the lower. You talk about lowering my drive. Well, I’ve had that discussion with her, and tried that. But I found out it didn’t matter how low I would go, she would only do what she wants to do. I think this is true of any low/high marriage. Its always, always, the low end that wins. Here is a paraphrase of the last conversation we had, when we talked about the frequency.

    Me: How about we compromise? I can compromise.
    Her: Ok, fine.
    Me: Lets start with both of saying what we would be happy with, and figure it out from there, ok?
    Her: Sure, whatever. (You can see the enthusiasm here).
    Me: I’m happy with twice a week. So, 8 times a month.
    Her: I’m at once every other month. At best, in a perfect world, thats where I am.
    Me: (After a few moments of stunned silience). Ok. Well, then, lets compromise, I guess. If I’m at 8 times a month, then thats 16 times in 2 months. And you are at once in the same time. So, the compromise is in the middle, so lets say 8 times in 2 months, 4 times a month, once a week.
    Her: If you think I’m going to let you ride me like seattle slew, you’re crazy. Every other month.
    Me: (A few moments of stunned silence, and I’m seeing where this is going). Ok, well, um. Well, I know you don’t like to do it during your period, so lets drop that week. And I know sometimes we’re busy, so lets not do it every week. So how about twice a month? Every other week, and we’ll have it so the off week is your period?
    Her: No way. Every other month is most I want. Thats just how I am.
    Me: How about just once a month? Just once every 30 days.
    Her: Maybe if things are perfect. Or if its a holiday or something. But I doubt it. I just don’t need it or want it that much.

    So, I tried. I tried to compromise. In the end, I was willing to go from 2 times a week, to twice or once a month. I probably could deal with twice a month. Once a month would be hard. Every other month – 6 times a year – I just don’t understand that.

    In truth, I’d like it 3 times a week, and I’m in my forties. She had this same attitude when we were in our early twenties (We had sex 6 times in 36 months when first we got married).

    So I have come way, way down. Like, less than 10% of what I’d like. I’m willing to do 50% less than I’d like, or even 75% less. From 16 times a month to 4 times. But she wouldn’t budge. And I bet most low-drive spouses are just like that.

    The fact is, the low-drive spouse holds all the power, particuarly in a christian marriage. If the high drive spouse cheats, leaves, uses porn, etc, they are sinning- and that is true, they are – and they are condemned privately, publicly, but everyone, including the church. But if the low spouse withholds sex, has it only a few times a year – nothing is done, privately or publicly. Even if it does become known, the high-drive spouse is usually blamed, somehow. And the low-drive is never, ever, taken to task. Especially by the church.

  20. B says:

    This is just awful. So many replies to this post. And so sad! At least you guys are guys and your situations fit what’s “normal”. Imagine being a young, fit woman with a low drive husband. His lack of interest has destroyed all of me and makes me feel worthless. You can’t talk to ANYONE without embarrassing yourself and your husband.
    You are totally correct that the low drive spouse controls everything. We used to have a lot more sex, but once I realized women are not supposed to initiate (except for a rare treat) and that my husband was giving me “pity sex” (which he denies) – I felt like a huge loser and I stopped initiating. So we’re lucky if we have sex once a week.
    I tried moving out to the couch and he acted all sad like “why won’t you sleep in bed?” And he always feeds me the “I love you so much” line, but our sex life never improves. He’s not cheating or using porn, so I guess I just repulse him in some way.
    I feel your pain. I understand how awful it is to lie next to the person you desire knowing they do not desire you. It’s awful! I wish I could show him this post, but I wont. I wish I could have a long talk with your wives and tell them how blessed they are to have husbands that actually love them and truly desire them. I would tell them to cherish what they have, because I know firsthand that the opposite is far, far, far worse.

  21. e2 says:

    NJ

    If by “solution” you mean two people having matched sex drives, then, yes, one person lowering his (or her) drive would be as much a “solution” as another raising hers (or his). But, Julie’s blog is entitled “Intimacy in Marriage.” You can’t build intimacy by mutually agreeing to avoid intimacy. So, while your solution might lead to fewer fights over sex, I want more for my marriage than fewer fights. I want intimacy.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Wow, to the pain from both men and women, all have my sympathies. I was especially taken with the letter from John who described infrequent sexual encounters and recounted his compromise conversation with his wife. If I were buying a car and that was the salesman’s attitude, I’d just walk away from that car and find me another! But I know it isn’t that simple, and that’s the problem. One can’t always just walk away.

    When we married, my gf’s attitude was like, nothing below the neck until we are married–then everything will be fine. Heck, we were so inexperienced we didn’t know what “everything” meant. The car analogy–I couldn’t really do anything but kick the tires , certainly no sitting in the car or taking it on the freeway.

    The mantra of our 20-30’s was her saying “Is that all you think about?” And my reply, with some guilt, “Yeah, pretty much.” I alternated between feeling very needy and horny at the same time to feeling self recriminations when I asked and was refused. Btw my wife had no idea how much her rejection hurt me or the marriage. I can also remember times after a very successful encounter of feeling “high” or buzzed about her and myself–about the world in general. I tried to describe these feelings to her, and she would just laugh and say, “you’re crazy”.

    Of course now, 40 odd years later, I realize some of what was happening during the refusal periods. She wasn’t emotionally connected enough to accept my requests, and I felt guilty and needy about making the requests. Then the explosion of connection chemicals after sex–the feeling all was well. Problem was that after sex, I felt extremely close to her, wanted to be with her, do things for her– be her husband. But she would take it as, “whoa buddy, I just gave it to you. You ain’t getting it again.” We were mismatched from the start and many other phases ensued.

    The mantra of our 30-40’s was, “is it never enough?” (With “it” being the granting of sex. ). Cycle: rejecting several times, followed by accepting. I am on a sexual high and want more involvement– and yes, more sex. She pushes away and says, “I just did it. Is it never enough?” To which I finally said, “do you like chocolate cake?” “Why yes, you know I do,” she replies. “Well, have you ever had a piece and said, that was so delicious, sweet, moist, etc. that I never want to eat chocolate cake again?”

    That actually stopped us both cold. I think she understood me, and I understood her. She just doesn’t want or need sex, and sex is at the core of my relationship need for her. We’ve tried several things– reading books together. I highly recommend Shaunti Feldman’s books, For Men Only and For Women Only.

    We are now in a strange period. I in my 60’s have had a drop in desire. It somewhat matches up with her, so I don’t walk around needing sex. It’s much easier for me and somewhat puzzling, I think, to her. There are no “favors” to be granted or refused. Blessings to those who struggle. If your experience was like mine, I sympathize.

    I know it isn’t advised to “try before you buy”, both biblically and otherwise. And if you think about it, I think many low sex drive people would successfully hide this instinctively. They marry for other reasons than sex, and so do high drive spouses. Is it worth a divorce? Maybe, but not in our case. It would have devastated our kids.

    Sadly no easy answers.

  23. pat says:

    This is a very important topic and I applaud Julie for the attention that she gives it. I am a man whose wife has lost interest in sex for more than the last 5 years. She used to love sex and then it just stopped. I was never given an explanation. My wife has had some health issues but that cannot explain everything. She has told me she does not want a divorce. Of course, the lack of intimacy has been extremely painful for me. I have read enough to know that the main reason people leave a marriage is that they do not feel loved or appreciated. Only two scenarios can exist:

    1) My wife does not love me.
    2) My wife does love me but just cannot understand the importance of physical intimacy to me.

    My problem is that I do not know which one is the case. If the first case is true, then there is no hope and I will leave the marriage. But how can I know? She is thoughtful and is a great cook, works hard, and says she loves me.I have talked to her countless times, given her books, articles to read, etc., nothing has helped. We have gone to counseling and she has dropped out. The only thing I can do is give an ultimatum which I am not ready to do for financial and family reasons.

    Someone said something like “if a wife does not want to be intimate, why would she care if someone else will be intimate with him”? I have thought about that comment. I do not want to cheat. I would rather get a divorce. One time my wife and I arrived at the gas station in separate cars. I pumped the gas for my wife. Another woman saw me doing that, was dressed very nicely and did not want to pump gas. Because she saw that my wife and I had arrived separately, she assumed that
    I was just a stranger doing a good deed. As my wife was leaving, the other woman asked if I would pump gas for her, which I agreed to do. My wife was furious. This was after 2-3 years of no intimacy. I asked her why she would care. It is just a little incident but there have been a few over the years.

    I have said to my wife, “If you don’t want to love me, maybe somebody else does want to.” That always gets her to think but nothing changes. After reading all these stories, it is clear to me that without pressure placed on the low drive spouse, nothing will change. How can that be done without leaving the marriage? That is what I am trying to discover. My wife cares about me, that much I know. But does she love me like a spouse should? I don’t feel she does and once I feel more certain of that, I can make better decisions for myself.

  24. Robert says:

    Julie, thank you for speaking clearly (and repeatedly) that for many men, sex is NOT just a need for physical release. In sex, I connect lovingly with my bride, I feel loved. Sex meets the deep human need for heart to heart, soul to soul intimacy with the person you love best in the world.

    To answer the question posed by the title – yes. I have prayed that I would lose my sex drive. For a long time, I consciously damped my sex drive down. Rejection had become so painful, that I was unwilling to risk that pain again.

    To live in the same house with someone you love and desire, and to be rebuffed constantly is soul crushing. Just soul crushing. Our relationship hit rock bottom a couple years ago, and has gotten better. At the worst there were times when I would wake up in the middle of the night, and I’d get up and go sleep on the couch because I couldn’t bear to be in the same bed with my wife. The rejection of me, her disregard for our relationship was more than I could bear in that moment. Even the token intimacy of simply sleeping in the same bed was galling.

    But, fortunately, our relationship never went off the cliff. We came close, but then things changed and we slowly got better.

  25. e2 says:

    Pat,

    I understand your pain, and in some respects share in it as I am the higher drive spouse in my marriage. My wife has told me that if she never had sex again, she wouldn’t miss it. I’ve explained to her how important it is to me that she desire my love-making, but she is content to accept the fact that her libido is lost and gone forever. She sees no problem with it at all. Like your wife, she tells me that she loves me and does much to take care of me. She just has no need or desire for sex.

    All that said, as I read your post, I have to wonder how much *you* actually love *her*. You suggest that, if she no longer loves you, you’ll leave the marriage. She apparently serves you well and verbalizes her love, but you still threaten divorce. I don’t get it. You say you don’t want to cheat (as if it is a viable option), but would rather get a divorce (as if it is somehow more noble than cheating). You then say you won’t give the divorce ultimatum for “financial and family reasons.” What about for love reasons? The love that places your wife above yourself. The love that wants the very best for her even if it doesn’t include sex. The love that loves her *unconditionally*, which of course, includes the condition of not getting sex. God has commanded us husbands to love our wives as Christ loves the church. I’m so glad that Jesus doesn’t threaten to divorce the church for its many episodes of unfaithfulness. Yes, it pains me tremendously that my wife doesn’t need my lovemaking, nor even wants me to kiss her. But, God doesn’t tell me to love her because she’ sexually responsive. He tells us to love our wives forever, period… because they are His daughters who deserve to be loved, and he has entrusted them to us as instruments of His love.

  26. pat says:

    e2,

    We are going to have to agree to disagree on certain areas. I do not think that either cheating or divorce are “noble” but yes I do believe that divorce is a better option. I do think it is more honorable.

    You are dismissing basic biology. A man knows a woman loves him when she shares her body with him. Do you disagree with that? That is how we are made. There are many women who don’t understand that but I think that most men believe that. When a woman continuously denies her man her body for no reason other than not being in the mood, he will over time begin to feel she doesn’t love him. Dennis Prager wrote a great article about this some years ago.

    I love my wife and have made great sacrifices during our marriage. I have cared about her needs and I feel I have a right to expect the same. It is about feeling loved and appreciated. If my wife was physically unable to share her body with me, I would understand. But that is not the case. She just does not need physical intimacy and does not understand my need for it.

    Everyone has a right to feel loved. If I cannot feel it without intimacy, does that make me a bad person? If I cannot be happy without intimacy, is that wrong? Who exactly benefits from an unhappy marriage? I find your attitude self-righteous and unhelpful.

  27. Mic says:

    My wife and I were sexless for many years. It was because we thought the other did not want sex and was refusing the other. How wrong we were. As I was blogging with Jay, he encouraged me to speak up. Fearing rejection I finally did and we have been having sex almost every night for about 6 weeks. Due to ED it is not penetrative, but lots of oral and manual. It is great. I feel close and loved. We hug, kiss, lick, suck, caress, massage, tickle and just enjoy each other like we have not done in years.

  28. e2 says:

    Pat,

    I mean you no disrespect, and I indeed understand and share your pain. And, no I don’t believe you are a bad person. Not one bit. My point wasn’t to judge you, but as I re-read my own post, I can see how it might come across that way. I will own that and ask your forgiveness.

    My point was to encourage you to continue to love your wife even in the midst of your pain. Emerson Eggerichs has written an excellent book, “Love and Respect.” In it, he encourages men to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands to meet our respective basic emotional needs. He then addresses the question that is facing you. What happens when the wife steadfastly refuses to do her part? What if she continues to disrespect (or in your case refuses to demonstrate love sexually)? At those points, he says that we men must be willing to “take the hit.” In other words, in the interest of demonstrating a self-denying love, continue to love her even when we feel least loved. I don’t mean to sound self-righteous, as I struggle with this as well in my own marriage. But God’s command to love my wife isn’t limited to those times when I feel loved.

    I’m not sure I agree that we have a right to feel loved. I certainly believe there is more to marriage than mutual happiness, and I believe God is more concerned with our holiness than he is our happiness. Martin Luther called marriage a “School for Character.” I get what he meant. We grow when we are challenged and sometimes that challenge means learning to continue to love when we don’t feel loved. Your wife benefits when you love her in the midst of your unhappiness. And, you benefit by growing more into the image of Jesus.

    If I could be more practical and less theological, I wonder how sexually attracted a wife might be to a man she thought might be contemplating divorce. My own wife knows I’m sexually unhappy. But, she also knows I will never, ever, ever leave her. That unconditional security has given her the freedom and motivation to consider working on our sex life. I’m confident that, if I had tried to pressure her by withholding love or threatening to leave, any positive response on her part would have been nonexistent.

    But, as you say, we may need to agree to disagree, and I’ll respect that. At this point, I share my thoughts for the benefit of others who may find them helpful.

  29. pat says:

    e2,

    I do appreciate your thoughtful response. Certainly no hard feelings and it was good to hear your thoughts. I also want you to know that I meant no offense to you.

    For the record, I do not discuss divorce with my wife but it is something I have thought about and continue to think about. I will speak in practical and not religious terms as I am not deeply religious, although I do believe in God.

    I believe we should all be accountable for our actions. To me that means to honor our marriage vows, to love and to cherish. If a spouse does not care for their partner’s happiness, then do they love and cherish? Are they not in a way breaking marriage vows? I am not saying it gives the other spouse the right to break his/her marriage vows but it does call into question the love in the marriage. And what is a marriage without love?

    I think we can agree that abuse should not be tolerated in a marriage. Withholding intimacy for a long period of time for no other reason than not being in the mood is a form of abuse, in my opinion.

    My wife and I were very close and intimate for many years. I devoted my life to her. Nothing in my life has been as emotionally painful as her withdrawal of intimacy and being treated like a stranger. I do not think that loving her more is the answer. I gave her the best part of me. I really do not know what the answer is. I am always interested in hearing what has worked for others in this all too common problem.

  30. e2 says:

    Pat,

    Thank you for your grace. I don’t pretend to know the answers, either. Our marriages illustrate two real but incompatible truths. (1) Other people can help make us feel happy or sad, but (2) we can’t make them behave in such a way that makes us feel happy. The only person I can change is myself. The best I can do is do my best to make my wife feel happy, and hope that gives her enough emotional resources and motivation to reciprocate. But, if it doesn’t, I still receive the benefit of loving her. Jesus commands us to love our wives, to love “one another”, and to even love our enemies. The love he commands in each situation is the same love (the Greek, “agape,” a self-sacrificing and self-denying love). If that is his consistent command, then I have to believe there is some benefit *to me* in learning this self-denying love. I’m learning that I am most miserable when I am focusing on my own happiness. I am most happy when I am focusing on my wife’s happiness. Maybe the answer is found in reframing the question. Perhaps the question isn’t “how do I find marital happiness?” Perhaps the question is “how do I give marital happiness?”

  31. pat says:

    e2,

    I commend you for your positive attitude. I don’t know that I feel the same way but I respect what you have to say. I am not sure that unconditional love is always appropriate for this situation. Loving one’s children unconditionally is something I agree with and do. But a spouse should not be free to act as they please and always receive unconditional love, at least not love in the same sense, in my opinion. What if a spouse cheated continually or abused his/her spouse?

    I struggle with the idea of staying in a marriage where one spouse will not exhibit marital love. It is not healthy for the children. I have heard and believe that the best thing you can do for your children is to have a happy and healthy marriage. The refusing spouse should see the damage that is caused. I also question the benefit of loving a spouse who leaves the marriage, at least emotionally, which I have experienced.

    I will paraphrase Dennis Prager again, who I admire. He says a man exhibits self-control in his desires by committing himself to one woman. But refusing that man intimacy with the one woman he is permitted to be intimate with, is just asking too much. I wholeheartedly agree and nothing good can come from it.

    I used to be a romantic man, very tender with my wife. She would always say so. I feel sad that I cannot feel tenderness towards her now, no matter how I try. Not when she has neglected our marriage in this way.

    I admire your attempt to find happiness in your situation and am glad that you find happiness when making your wife happy. I used to be that way too but after years of neglect, I find it too difficult to achieve that.

  32. ND says:

    After 30 years of marriage and the last 20 being sexless ( less than once a month) I have prayed that prayer and I am the woman.I feel like my husband will finally relent after so long, and I will do. It really messes with my self esteem. He has always taken care of business without me. Our sex life fell apart within months of getting married.He will seldom initiate sex. I feel starved and withered. He now has ED and extremely low T so sex is a chore even if we wanted to. He prayed that prayer so he could quit sinning daily and feels relieved somewhat by his condition. We have no intimacy and I don’t know how to deal with it. I dream of a man who smiles at me and looks in my eyes and sees my soul, someone who will make love to me for more than the reward of an orgasm. I want to connect, not just be room mates. I love him. He is a wonderful man with a loving heart. He is completely clueless and seems to not care enough to want to learn or change. I am tired of hoping things will change only to have them revert back in a couple weeks.

  33. e2 says:

    Julie,

    As an afterthought, I was struck by your first line in this post, “I receive more emails and comments from men than I do from women.” People (women) often wonder why their husbands don’t want to talk.

    If anything, your blog proves that we men desperately want to talk… and talk about intimate things… like sex. But, it often seems in that, in our marriages, talk is often stifled. When I honestly share with my wife that I love to make love to her and I want her to desire it, she responds how bad she feels to hear me say that. Lesson learned. Don’t ever say it again. When I try to discuss sex, she changes the subject. Lesson learned. Don’t talk about sex. We men want a safe place to talk about sex and intimacy and your blog provides it. I wish I had that same safe outlet in my own marriage. *sigh*

  34. Daniel says:

    Julie,

    While there are MEN praying to have their sex drive removed, I think there are far more WOMEN praying for men to have their sex drives removed.

    As a man, I will never pray for that. God made me this way. It is my nature. I pity any man who prays God take away his very nature.

    Yes, like most posters here I have been beaten down, denied, dismissed, argued with, been given hope and then gotten crushed, and so on. It’s part and parcel of a majority of marriages whether people wish to admit it or not.

    I have also been given false promises. “Not now, let’s wait for this weekend.” Weekend comes, “Not now, I don’t like to when kids are in the house. Maybe Monday when they are at school and you have the day off.” Monday comes: “Not today. I’m just not in the mood. I’m going to take a nap, see you later.”

    And somehow we are supposed to maintain faith that we as husbands will get the love that was promised in our wedding vows? Only an idiot thinks that.

    It’s more than a tragedy. It’s a comedy. A joke. One that I am the butt of. The idea of marriage and the reality of marriage. Not anything near the same.

    Years of praying and talking about it have produced absolutely nothing. If anything it’s gotten worse as the years go by. Soon she can blame menopause for her lack of interest. And she can lay that at my feet as well, as if I had a chance these past 15 years but squandered it.

    Marriage can be a cruel joke if you are a man and need sex say several days a week, went into survival mode and settled for maybe once a month, and gets it less than that.

    If God’s design for man is not a mistake, then it’s not man who’s getting it wrong.

    Daniel

  35. e2 says:

    Pat,

    You wrote, “I struggle with the idea of staying in a marriage where one spouse will not exhibit marital love. It is not healthy for the children.”

    Allow me to respectfully disagree with a personal story of the most terrifying day of my childhood. When I was about 11, one night I awoke to the sound of my mother sobbing. She and my father were having some sort of painful discussion. When I rose the next morning, my father was angrily packing his suitcase; you know, the way they do it in movies with shirts still on their hangers. I said nothing in absolute terror that my parents were splitting up. I had a boy scout event that day, and my father dropped me off and drove away. I honestly thought I would never see him again. I was devastated, but tried to put it out of my mind for the day’s activities. After the event, a scout leader drove me home. Imagine my delight when I saw my dad’s VW in the driveway and him and my mother sitting at the kitchen table sharing a coffee. As a child, I felt *much* safer and secure in a home with two parents, even two parents who fought and a mother who *never* exhibited any sexual interest for her husband. Even without sexual desire, my mother expressed love for my father in many ways that, as a child, I saw.

    Some 20+ years ago, I heard that Sesame Street created an episode about divorce. Their goal was to help children understand that divorce is not their fault, and they reinforced this throughout the episode. They showed the episode to a focus group of children and then asked, “why did the parents divorce?” The children all said it was because of the children; it was the kids’ fault. The producers learned that, no matter how you try to explain it, kids will naturally blame themselves for their parents’ breakup.

    With all the love and respect I can muster, I honestly and deeply believe that any notion that leaving a sexless marriage is good for the children is “stinkin’ thinkin’.”

  36. Pat says:

    e2,

    Again, I respectfully disagree. It is interesting how our experiences shape us. When I was under 10, I also came home one day to find my mother sobbing. One of my siblings was comforting her and I thought someone had died. No one had died. But my father had left. However, he had not left our lives. He very much stayed in our lives and we saw him every weekend and often more than that. I remember my parents fighting a lot but I don’t remember the fight being about us kids. Maybe that is why neither myself nor any of my siblings ever blamed ourselves for the divorce.

    I never found out the reasons for the divorce. My parents were not happy together but staying together would have been a disaster, in my opinion. They went on to have healthier relationships. I am no fan of divorce. But I am even less a fan of a loveless marriage. I feel, and I am sure many agree, that a sexless marriage often becomes a loveless marriage. Not always, but often. And I will argue that divorce, provided all efforts have been made to create love in the marriage, is better for children than a loveless marriage.

  37. Jo says:

    After 18 years of marriage, praying for the same thing, I finally found something to help with my desire to be intimate with my wife.
    Anxiety medication has almost completely removed my desire and I no longer have a need to masterbate with porn to satisfy my urges.
    It is very sad that we could never come to a common place but this is the most at peace i have been in our entire marriage. I enjoy life so much more now.

  38. C says:

    My wife and I have will be married a year next week. At no point within our marriage have we had sex yet. It’s disgustingly awful!! I’ve tried anything and everything to help her want to be with me but after every attempt it always ends up in loud arguments, a swift change of subject on her part, or quite simply her saying I’m not talking about this and stopiping the subject. After seeking all the help I can for this I’ve come to the point where I’m praying this very same thing. The sad part is I’m 23 years of age and asking God for this! It’s such a shameful thing.

  39. L says:

    C,
    I’m tearfully sorry for you, and for you other husbands and wives who are also rejected and being at the end of your rope, in desperation to end the pain, ask God to remove your desires for what IS good.
    C, Please. Please, if you and your wife are professing believers you should be reaching out to your pastor or another couple in your church whom you believe to be mature chiristians who could give wise counsel. I don’t understand how a woman – or man could claim to profess to love Christ and not lay down their rights to serve their spouse and not want to enjoy something that would strengthen their marriage,give pleasure to their spouse and make two become one flesh.
    I am married for the third year to an older man with a low sex drive. His thoughts of sexual intimacy have been also selfishly warped by a long history of pornography use before our marriage. But! Even in the midst of this I see glimmers of hope, Gods grace in times of drought. He does acknowledge his laziness and selfishness and has repented. Like in all areas, do you not admonish your wife’s sins? Only my husband (and children) really knows the anger I struggle with. If we are in Christ, and are truly regenerated, we should HATE our sin. It is what keeps us from true fellowship with God and makes us unholy. Does your wife claim to be a Christian? Do you see fruit in her walk with Christ?
    1John 1:5b-8
    God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
    If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
    But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
    If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
    THIS is why as Christians, we are called to be in fellowship with other believers. We should not be hiding in any sin, and be unwilling to talk about it. We should be KILLING it!
    Yes, my husband KNOWS my anger, but I have confessed my anger(and many other sins) to other women and they pray for me. I repent when I sin against my husband(and children).
    Same for when he refuses and rejects me, or when he is short with the kids. We talk in private, and I gently share with him I feel he sinned in this way, and use scripture also if it comes to mind. We admonish one another for genuine care for our souls.
    He has confessed his struggle with his lack of intimacy(and his other sins) to another brother in Christ and this brother prays for him. I definitely think, know, there should be much more. He and I are in the midst of searching for a church, but we have open communication between each other.
    I (both of us)stunk at communication when we first got married. I had unfulfilled expectaions, and expected him to know what I expected! I quickly realized it was unfair and so stupid to think he should read my mind and know what I want. So now I tell him word for word, not ever hoping he would just know, because he shouldn’t, that’s foolishness on my part.

    We are told iron sharpens iron and scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness.
    You are her spiritual leader, and so in love, you are to gently admonish her, and study God’s word with her. This doesn’t mean hold it over her like a weapon just bringing up verses about sex, but in all things.
    * I ask this humbly, not accusatory; Do any of you all admonish your spouse in the Lord for any other things? Are they moved by the Spirit in other matters of sin? Could it be there is an overall failure to do like it says in Galatians 6:1?
    C- I would encourage you to- seek help.
    Kind words are like honey- sweet to the soul and healthy to the body. So do this out of love and concern for her spiritual well-being. There has to be a reason more than not wanting to have sex, for why in all a year of marriage she won’t even talk about it and only shuts down. Does she shut down for other areas she doesn’t want to *listen or is it only about sex?
    Maybe If you write a letter and ask her to respond by letter, you can * use scripture to let the Holy Spirit be the one to convict her, and you can say things tenderly and well thought out to reach her heart. I will be praying for you, and all the other husbands and wives.
    God’s ways are higher than ours, we strive to be fulfilled and comforted here on earth but we should do well to remember that our comfort and completeness should be in Christ and the things to come.
    Romans 8:23-28 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

    It is a blessing to pray for each other, and can be such a great tool of the Holy Spirit to bring unity in marriage when you pray for her privately and also over her. Pray for God to bless her, that she would find good favor at work(if she works) that He would convict her of sin, that her heart would be softened to God’s word and she would follow in obedience, that He would draw her and you closer and heal and strengthen your marriage, that He would clearly show you opportunities to demonstrate love to her, that you both would show grace and not hold offenses against each other. Pray that God would draw her to himself and give her complete satisfaction in Him. Ask her to pray for you and with you also.
    In all this we should take great comfort (maybe not in the raw moments) that it’s all for our sanctification and His glory.
    L

  40. Einstein says:

    I have had this prayer answered – sort of – and thought I’d tell about it.

    I’m currently on anti depressants (again) and (this time) they have had an effect on my drive.

    The good:
    I’m sorry to say (for those of you still waiting), but it is quite a fantastic feeling, not to be a slave of your own desires. “No sex this week? – OK, I don’t care :-)”
    Sometimes I’ve rejected my wifes initiatives, “just because I can”, just because I no longer have to seize every opportunity to get some. And I love the feeling of control 🙂 (as opposed to the feeling of total lack thereof).
    I also have a harder time climaxing, which makes we withdraw even further, to avoid the stress/frustration of trying to achieve an orgasm once getting into it.

    The not so good:
    Am I happy? No. I still wish we had a frequent fulfilling sex life. But hey, the drugs help against caring about being happy too. And I’ve likely only got 30-40 years to go before I get to check out, and perseverance is a virtue, right?

    Are we emotionally closer? No, on the contrary. I feel we’ve slipped further apart than we may have been ever before. Even though it bothers me on an intellectual level, I chose not to care (emotionally). Apparently she doesn’t either – or rather, I don’t think she agrees we are disconnected.

  41. Einstein says:

    P.S. To those of you newly married and having issues: I don’t want to recommend anyone to divorce, but please BE REALISTIC – it may stay the same for 50 years regardless of your hopes and prayers.

    I have wondered more than once, what my life would look like had I been less idealistic before it was “too late” (kids, mortgages, … you know).

  42. B says:

    Like I have read so many times here, I thought I was the only one. I prayed this for years. Asked my Dr. for something that would remove my desire and he declined. I tried homeopathic and other things that reported to do this, but did not. In the end, I still end up praying that God will remove my desire to match my wifes, or giver her a desire to match mine.
    I love my wife, and want to spend special time with her, but it seems she perfers Pinterest, Facebook and games over me

  43. Lonesome says:

    Lonesome,
    I to have asked for this in my life, 10 years, still waiting, seems to just hurt worse each year, it is not the “sex thing ” in it’s self but mostly just the closeness and intimatcy, I love her dearly, but breaks my heart when when we can’t connect, I may be weird but that is when I lover her most, and miss the most.
    She has some medical problems and really doesn’t seem to be trying to get it fixed,just uses that for an excuse. But threre seems to be plenty of time for computer stuff.
    I have read your entire web site and want to thank you for all the information, I thought I was alone with this problem BUT I have found no answer yet.
    Lonesome

  44. A.C says:

    Wow Reading all this comments just makes me sad. My conclusion after Reading this is: sex sucks. If i didnt know God i would say that letting sex be a part of marriage was one of His biggest mistake. To have a high sex drive and not being able to be with your spouse is awful! My wife is great it’s not that but it’s not the same as before we got married and we have only been married for 1,5 year. We did it have intercourse before marriage but we were having a hard time living pure. So I guess I was going in to this marriage with very high expectations. And I was really wrong.(for people who aren’t married yet, please don’t screw anything up by doing “everything but intercourse”. It’s not worth it.) Anyways we had a daughter some months ago and that has made it harder but it started before her pregnancy and I really want to get rid of my high sex drive so it doesn’t become an issue. I am trying to control my feelings. It’s not easy but I try. My wife sometimes want to have sex with me but if it’s not me bringing it up I don’t know how long time It would take. So to be able to not feel a desire but still be a great husband would be the dream. I am trying. I read on of “anonymous” comment and to not have sex for 35 years and still love his wife that’s awesome. And if you see this: How did you cope with that? What did you do? Then it is possible to love without sex and still be happy. I really need advice I don’t want to wait until I get really old to stop having sexual desires.

  45. Shawn says:

    Yes, I have prayed many times over the past 30 plus years of marriage for god to take away my desire for my wife. The heavens continue to remain silent. I have even considered ending my life (not anymore though) because of the frustration, pain and loneliness.

    We didn’t fool around before we got married. I had never even touched a woman in any sexual way before getting married. From the moment we got married, my wife has hated sex. About 20 years into marriage, I told her that I was considering divorcing her but that did more harm than good. Not long after that, she told me that she loved me but was not in love with me and was not attracted to me. Both piercing arrows through my heart to this day. After about 10 years of marriage, I find out that she had multiple sex partners when she was a teen. This did not help the situation as I felt she should have told me that before we got married. I kept myself morally clean for marriage and I thought she had too. I love my wife, but I have made some bad decisions. About 12 years into our marriage I looked at porn for the first time. I found in porn a satisfaction I had never felt from my wife but knew and know it is wrong. I only delve into it a few times a year; when I am at my lowest point. We have never made love as making love includes that emotional attachment. We have sex and she just tolerates me and I feel guilty after having sex. She doesn’t allow foreplay, kissing or touching any of the erogenous areas. Just in case you are wondering, we do share household responsibilities. I clean, cook, do laundry, etc. For more than 20 years, I made an effort to do something special for her everyday. But nothing ever was returned. I told her once that I was thinking about not doing those nice things for her and she simply said to do what I felt I should. I won’t divorce my wife, but I am very sad and despise going to bed every night; having the lay next to the person that I love and her seldom showing me affection. What makes me sad is that I will eventually pass from this life; never knowing what it would be like to be desired by a woman.

  46. I've done this. says:

    Thanks for hitting on this. As a higher sex drive husband married to a very sexually conservative, low drive, wife I have felt that this is my only option at times. It’s very hard when you’ve chosen to not have a release without your wife but are afraid of her reaction to you initiating sex especially if you’ve already had sex once that week, heaven forbid. Rejection is hard, but rejection fueled by a flurry of accusations is a nightmare. But over the years I have been able to train my body to crave her less often and overcome the rejection faster.

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