Does Sex Matter in a Marriage?

does-sex-matter-in-marriageBlog about sex long enough and you hear just about every possible perspective about sex in marriage.

I regularly get emails and comments from people exasperated with the lack of sexual intimacy in their marriage.

They are desperate.

They are lonely.

They feel horribly rejected because the person they married rarely or never wants to have sex.

They contemplate various scenarios of how to deal with the lack of sexual intimacy — everything from affairs to divorce to pornography to suicide to “bearing their cross” to seeking God more to masturbating in secret and so on.

They are bitter and numb. Some have gone with little or no sex for years.

I also regularly receive emails and comments from people who try to convince me that “sex isn’t that important to a marriage.”  I can’t always tell if they are trying to convince me or themselves, as they dig their heels in and proclaim,

“There’s more to marriage than sex.”

“Wanting sex is selfish.”

“Sex isn’t a need.”

“It’s like that’s all my spouse wants.”

“I’m too tired.”

Do you know what happens when two contrary perspectives about sex exist within a marriage?  A lot of disconnect and discouragement. That’s what happens.

When one person wants nurtured intimacy and one does not, it becomes abundantly clear that sex does matter in a marriage.

“But what about when both the husband and the wife are fine with the lack of intimacy?”

That scenario is rare.

So rare that it barely shows up in the hundreds of comments and emails I receive. (I am not talking about situations where there is injury or illness preventing sexual intimacy. I am talking about two people arbitrarily deciding to disagree with God and disobey Him by removing sex from their marriage.)

So. What do you think?

Does sex matter in a marriage?  Does sex matter in your marriage?

Intuitively I think we know it matters.  You’d be hard pressed to find a married person in your circle of influence who went into marriage thinking sex was optional… something that merely could be cast aside.

But even practically, if you were to ask your local professional counselors (Christian and secular), not to mention your local pastors and people who lead marriage ministries, what consensus would you find?

Would they collectively tell you sex is “no big deal” to the health of a marriage?

Or would they instead share that in all their encounters with married couples, where sex is nurtured, the marriage generally is stronger, healthier and happier? Would they without reservation tell you that where sex is ignored or a constant source of contention, the marriage struggles?

From a spiritual warfare standpoint, does Satan like it when a couple nurtures and pursues sex in their marriage — or does he rejoice instead when they fight about it, disagree about it, refuse to deal with sexual struggles, and rarely make love?

Sex was God’s idea.  So it’s safe to say that Satan — the enemy of all that is good and holy and right — is not a fan of nurtured sexual intimacy in marriage.

Not a fan.

Satan knows (sadly better than A LOT of married couples) that when a husband and a wife tend to their sexual intimacy with intention, care and passion, that is a force to be reckoned with — that makes Satan’s battle for causing division in the marriage exponentially harder.

Like most advocates for healthy sexual intimacy in marriage, I see what happens to marriages when sex is nurtured… and when it is not.  I am privy to the collateral damage that floods from the hearts of people who contact me, hoping and praying I have “the answer” to fix what is broken in their marriage sexually.

Painful.

And I glance out at our societal landscape, where sex has been ravaged, abused, mishandled and exploited for horrendous reasons.  Can we not see that sex outside its right context leaves a trail of pain and tragedy?

Can we not then see that sex within its right context of marriage leaves a trail of strength and connection?

Does sex matter in a marriage?

I glance in my heart when my husband and I make love, and I find a clear answer to that question.

Every. Single. Time.

Does sex matter in a marriage? Does sex matter in your marriage?

Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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23 thoughts on “Does Sex Matter in a Marriage?

  1. OlderMarried says:

    I was told recently by my dr. (because of my own struggles as her patient) that if neither husband or wife has a desire for sex, that’s fine–no problem. My wife’s libido comes and goes. Mine can flux also, especially when she doesn’t desire me. I fight the urge to “let it go” constantly.

    I agree that if sex is strong in a marriage, lots of other things can be worked out, or minimized. It’s as if the sexual relationship “greases the wheels” of problem-solving other areas. Financial struggles,job difficulties, family matters–all of it seems workable when you know you have a partner who will come to meet you in sex with a whole heart.

    I can tell you that successful and passionate lovemaking with my wife changes the outlook of my whole week.

  2. A says:

    I’ve written so often that I fear “Oh no not him agian” but I need to write this because I’m totally convinced yes sex matters in marriage. It’s after that warm unashamed intimate time in the nude we spend together. After giving each other the very best of our efforts to a orgasm climax that we have most intimate conversations and we never get bored with each other. We both give it our all for each other. My wife allows me to try anything sexual I suggest and we enjoy it together. Even if it ends up not working. Sex is the most amazing gift we can share together and we don’t need to spend a dime. ( not even lube) if I compare our marriage relationship in the early years to now (I’m not talking sexual relationship) I’m talking marriage as a whole. Sex has been a tremdous bonding agent under the guidance of prayer biblical truth. We started our marriage thinking that having the lights on while having sex may be a taboo. We had not discovered total freedom till much later. I’ll spare the detail what we all do for each other for now but believe me our sex lives are memories that build beautiful memories that bond. My wife has this beautiful “I know what you love to receive from me aditude!! And I know exactly how to please her sexually as well.

  3. Spicy Wife says:

    Yes it matters!!!
    Sadly I am one of the “desperate, lonely, feeling horribly rejected” people you talk about in the beginning of the article. We had amazing intimacy in the past, but it was very infrequent at best. My drive has always been higher than my husband. Over the past few years it has dwindled to once or twice a year and now NOTHING for over 16 months! Yes, I remember the exact date of the LAST time. The lack of interest by my husband has nearly killed me. I have battled depression. This is me… “They contemplate various scenarios of how to deal with the lack of sexual intimacy — everything from affairs to divorce to pornography to suicide to “bearing their cross” to seeking God more to masturbating in secret and so on.”
    The heartache is almost unbearable. But I know God hears my cries.
    Still praying for a miracle.

  4. Pingback: A Loveliness of Links ~ November - The Forgiven Wife

  5. A says:

    We live together work together prayed together make time to reflect together on good times and hard times together. We’ve hurt each other’s feeling we’ve been selfish in our actions past and even present! So is sex important to strengthen our relationship with God?? Absolutely!! Sex causes us to be one in our bodies. We take the time to unite the most beautiful parts. The sexual parts. They are the parts that procreated new life that in turn make new temples of the Holy Spirit. So to God there is nothing more hideous then sexual relations that are not in keeping with Gods rules for living. So is He pleased with married couples having sexual fun? Absolutely in every aspect making babies or just sexually pleasing each other. It’s beautiful.

  6. Joe says:

    “This too shall pass.”

    Eventually the sex will stop. Yes it will. If you have based your marriage on more than sex, then you have a foundation to continue. If not, and if you have put all of the responsibility for your own happiness, contentment an fulfillment in your spouse, then you are going to have problems. Even if the sex keeps up to your desires you still have put on your spouse that which you should burden yourself with in prayer and fullfillment in God.

    It’s unfair to expect a human spouse to fulfill your needs at that level. No man or woman can deliver at that level.

  7. A says:

    I agree any marriage based on having real good sex will never last the test of time. But a marriage that has deep unity includes sexual intimacy or a memory of one. We are not all called upon to be monks.

  8. Ann says:

    Yes, sex matters, to the one who depends on it the most for their happiness and contentment as Joe states above.

    Yes, sex matters, to the one who derives pleasure from it.

    Yes, sex matters, to the one who needs physical intimacy to feel loved.

    Yes, sex matters, to the one who’s whole outlook on life depends on it.

    Not everyone needs sex to feel content with life, but to those who do, yes, sex matters.
    So, if you are married to one who needs and depends on sex, it better matter to you too. If it doesn’t matter to you fix yourself. Put it on the top of your priority list and find a way to relish providing, if you need/like it or not, because it’s sex that matters.

  9. A.C says:

    Maybe what Joe says is right. I guess sex really played a big part when I got married. I mean The only reason for marriage that Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 7 is because of desire so I guess I put a lot of weight on it. That’s why it has been hard when my wife after almost 3 years of marriage just doesn’t feel like having sex anymore. She is not a bad wife she just doesn’t like it as often as the first 4 months. So it’s hard. I can’t say we lived pure before marriage but I was “technically ” a virgin and wanted to enjoy sex to the fullest but I guess I expected to much. It’s hard to find something to distract from sex but I have to find it. How amazing it would have been with an on and off switch that could control our desires. I would never turn that cursed switch in.

  10. Mike says:

    I agree with Joe.

    My story is I’m nearing 50 and dealing with severely low testosterone and have been diagnosed with testicular atrophy. They have shrunk an are still getting smaller. Because of this I’ve been on T replacement but it has made me very sick and I had to stop. I thought I was near death the experience was so bad.

    My wife is extremely upset with me because I don’t want to try other types of testosterone/hormone replacement. It’s been a few years now since I originally tried. I’ve had multiple second opinions and the doctors can’t say if I’ll experience this again trying other brands, or switching to injections.

    I’ve been called selfish, and worse. Am I selfish because I don’t want to go through that again? Am I selfish because I’m worried about who’s going to provide for my children if something happens to me? I still have elementary school age kids.

    I did agree to try scheduling sex and did get a Viagra sample. She’s not pleased with this because it’s not spontaneous and I’m not filled with desire or passion. She says it’s cold and artificial.

    Can’t win. I feel the weight of the world.

  11. NGal says:

    Mike,
    I don’t think you’re selfish. Take it from a woman who would not take any artificial hormones, unless necessary. It’s clear that taking testosterone makes you feel worse, not better.
    Take care of yourself, eat healthily (as organic as possible), no articial sweeteners, fats or other.. and let yoyr body build itself up again.
    I’d encourage to look for natural T boosters (in moderation) and herbal / vitamin supplements, not for sex only, but for your overall health.
    I hope your wife gets to appreciate you for yourself and allow you the time to get well, even if she is frustrated.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Mike,
    Joe is correct. As humans, we all age, we develop physical illness and ailments, our outlook on life changes. Sometimes it affects our sex life, sometimes not.

    Some people put a lot of emphasis on sex to make them feel loved and desired. The problem then is when the sex changes or stops, they have to deal with Their emotions and feelings of self worth.

    Your wife is having to process a sexual change in your relationship that she didn’t want to occur. Reality has cast this change upon her and she’s not happy about it.
    She wants you to make it better because you are the one with the problem that is affecting her equilibrium.

    You have seen doctors.
    You have tried hormones.
    You have tried compromising.
    You, sir, are not the selfish one.

    Change isn’t easy. Not many people like change thrust upon them. But, we need to learn to adjust. It’s part of life. Perhaps she can talk with someone who can help her move forward with your new situation.

    It’s not easy being the one who has upset the apple cart. It’s not easy being the one who disappoints. I happen to be that one in my relationship. Not a pleasant position to be in.

    Does sex matter in a marriage? Yes.
    Does sex matter TOO much? Perhaps we ought to think about that with a little more depth.

    My prayers to you and your wife.

  13. A says:

    I’ve told this detail about our sex life before but I’ll tell it agian. My wife and I are an extreemly sexual couple. We have the time to enjoy sex together and focus on details. After a nightmare of emotional struggles. We’ve gone from ashamed guilt in regards to sex to its so beautiful I wish we could tell the whole world about our sex life. So do we do wrong to enjoy while others go through rough times? Do we stop eating while other parts of the world are starving ? No

  14. A says:

    My mother in law once told my wife that she was a person that really needed lots of sex. My wife was shocked she actually told her this when sex was never talked about in their home. When her mother died her father very matter of fact told my wife how their sex life was no longer possible because of his health problems. He had tried Viagra but it didn’t work. They had to work through it then she died.

  15. Kent says:

    I’m not sure why my previous comment is still sitting in moderation, but I will say that I am thankful for this blog and just to concur with SpicyWife on her feelings. It’s very hard for some Christians to understand the importance of embracing a sex-positive mindset, but we must. There are great sites out there that have helped us, including this. Thank you.

  16. Butch says:

    Does sex matter in a marriage? Well, it does to me, but not so much to my spouse. Here’s a little background info. I’ve been married to my wife for more than 30 years, been with her for more than 33 years. I’ve been faithful, been tempted but never strayed.

    Our sex life was never spectacular, but now it’s non-existent. She’s never “in the mood”, etc. Tired, moody, too busy, you name the excuse, she’s used it. She claims she’s not the “horny little girl” I married. And the few times we do have it, it’s always me that initiates it.

    It’s not like I’m trying to jump her bones every day. I’d settle for once a week, which would be a great improvement.

    I work hard, put in a lot of hours (65/week) to support us, and when our son was young I worked 2 jobs so she could stay home with him. These days she works just 15 hours each week, despite having a college degree which she never put to use. I’ve never pressured her, never told her she had to bring home any certain amount of income, only that she take care of the house, which if you saw it you’d never know.

    I’ve tried romantic getaways, vacation trips, etc. Come home after a long (13.5 hour) shift at work and made her breakfast in bed, but nothing seems to work.

    She recently floored me when she suggested I could go get my needs satisfied outside our marriage, but I couldn’t spend any money on this woman! It just reinforces my belief that I’m nothing but a paycheck to her.

    So this is my reward for being faithful all these years? Just throw away my marriage vows?

    I know a lot of guys would say hey, go for it, you’re off the hook! But I’m not that kind of person I guess. In my younger days maybe, but not at my age now.

    It’s not just sex that I want. I want to make love to a woman. More specifically, I want to do it with the woman I took down the aisle!

    Is it all her fault? Of course not. My hours and shift (I work the graveyard shift) means our time together each week is somewhat limited. I’m no Don Juan, mind you. I’m an average-looking 53-year old with salt and pepper hair. And I’m more than a few pounds heavier than I was 30 years ago. The same is true for my wife, but that does not mean I don’t want her. I figured she would be happy that I still desire her. But I guess that’s not the case.

    I am like a widower, only worse because I am still bound by the “til death do you part” thing. But I don’t remember celibacy being a part of the wedding vows either!

    I’ve never been abusive, never forced myself on her (or any other woman I dated before I met her).

    I don’t think a woman “owes” her husband sex per se, but if she loves her husband she might offer it once in a while.

    I understand that there could be a medical reason for her low libido, and I suggested she ask her doctor about it, but she refuses to do so. And she doesn’t want to go to a counselor or therapist either.

    I don’t attend a church, so I have no clergy to talk to (not that they would understand anyway). I only know of one individual who I might confide in, a female friend who I’ve known for nearly 20 years, but I don’t want to burden her with this.

    So what’s a guy to do?

    Butch

  17. Anonymous says:

    @butch,
    If you say you were nothing but a paycheck to her. Time to go. You are just wasting your time and hers. Give her 90 days or so, alone. Let her try and experience what it will be like without you around. No texts. No calls. Nothing. Avoid her completely. Even if she comes begging to you, let her experience those full 90 days. If she says she doesn’t miss you and actually that those 90 days were the best time she has had, there’s your answer. Time to let her live her own life. That way, she never has to worry about sex ever again, and maybe one day she will realize just how good she had it. Of course, by then, it may be too late.

  18. AG says:

    @butch low libido is not an excuse for any spouse to decide arbitrarily that the other’s sex life is limited or over. I know you’re not saying that, or agreeing with it, but I’ve seen that used as an excuse from so many refusers that I just want to explode.

    I’ve often wondered why sex is the only need in a relationship that can be routinely denied based on the most weak excuses ever. Would any husband/wife be given a pass if they rationed out or flatly denied communication? How about spending time with each other? I can bet if you used tired, or not in the mood to do any of the above with your wife, she would not take well to it.

    The sexless/almost sexless marriages

    happen (excluding medical) because the refusing spouse simply doesn’t care enough or see validity in the person left wanting desires. As for the medical reasons that keep intercourse from happening, I have to wonder what’s preventing other methods of physical contact?

    I believe any marriage that suffers from lack of intimacy can be fixed if both people believe they need to meet the needs of the other as best as they can. If both spouses are acting selflessly, there would be no need for sites like this.

    AG

  19. Marriage & Sex Positive says:

    Thanks for the amazing resource, Julie! Three of us have launched a new website focused on being a platform of resources. We’re very new so the site is just launched, but I linked to your blog as it’s always been a great site.

    Thank you!

    (Accidentally typed in our name wrong, delete other comment!)

  20. G says:

    I’m to the point that I don’t think my wife of over 30 years and I will ever be intamate we are roommates and I am soo tired of trying and doing anything that will maybe give me a sense that she’s interested in me sexually, im not overweight I’ve been told I’m handsome I help her around the house I pay the bills, I do all that is expected of a husband, she doesn’t want me to touch her or even talk about it, she tells me she feels more comfortable sleeping on our bed (that ofcourse I bought all her furniture) by herself so I sleep on the couch or other bedroom this has been going on for several years, unfortunately I’ve become resentful and depressed, I do love her very much but a man needs to feel needed from time to time, but I haven’t felt needed or wanted in very many years so here I am asking for advise because she doesn’t like me talking to anyone about our issues she gets mad at me if I do, l will not force myself on her so I wait, we go to counciling together but it’s been many years of that and no change, sometimes I wish I had a friend (woman) just to talk to me, anyway does anyone have advise for me?

  21. Butch says:

    @G,

    Sounds like we’re in the same boat. I’m in the same situation (see earlier post). My wife and I haven’t been to counciling, but when I brought it up a while back she didn’t want to.

    I’m seriously considering an affair….

  22. Anonymous says:

    Butch, why aren’t you screaming this to your wife? Why are you telling those on this blog you are considering an affair, but you aren’t screaming it to your wife how serious this is?

  23. Butch says:

    @Anonymous,

    Umm, I’ve dropped more than a few hints that I’d like a little more action in the bedroom. And she’s half-joked that maybe I should find someone who likes sex, since she’s not all that interested. But I’m not about to tell her I’m gonna go get “a little action”…

    Divorce at my age and financial situation is not an option….

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