5 Signs a Wife is in a Sexual Desert

When I wrote my post about husbands being in a sexual desert, a few faithful women readers called me out and suggested I give equal air time (or screen time, I guess) to wives who are in a sexual desert.

I hear you.

In many regards, the points I brought up in that post could be rephrased with the pronoun “she” instead of “he” and would be just as accurate.

Yes, your wife could be in a sexual desert if…

1. She is the only one who initiates sex.
2. She has stopped initiating sex.
3. She goes to bed way before you or long after you or she always sleeps in a different room.
4. She is gravitating toward porn or adultery.
5. She has told you she is in a sexual desert.

If you are a husband reading this, I encourage you to go to my original post, and replace “she” everywhere you see “he.” You may learn a thing or two about your wife.

All that being said, I recognize that many of you want me to elaborate beyond pointing to a previous post and messing with pronouns.

Some wives reading this are in a sexual desert. Maybe that describes you.

You’re lonely for your husband’s sexual touch and desire. You want to be wanted. By him.

So here’s my heart’s attempt to give credence to what you’re going through, and hopefully along the way, some husbands will humbly listen as well.

First, I want to shout from the rooftops that there are wives — many wives — who love sex.

Love. It.

And not only for the emotional connection. Yes, that’s a bonafide reason to engage in sex often, and many wives know it deep in their soul. But they also love sex because they genuinely enjoy sexual pleasure.

Shocking, right?  Uh, no.

There are countless wives who crave what happens when they come.

They revel in the feeling of arousal and orgasm. Their orgasm makes sex more fun, relieves stress, strengthens their marriage, boosts their positive attitude, and so on.

We would all do our marriages justice by recognizing that men are not the only ones who intensely enjoy sexual pleasure.

While we are on the topic of orgasm, you may be in a sexual desert if you struggle having one. If that is the case, you and your husband need to address this openly and with intentional effort to overcome this struggle. I have an entire page on my site devoted to orgasm that you may find helpful.

Husbands, if your wife is hungering for more sex, don’t assume that the lack of intimacy isn’t taking a toll on her thought life.

It likely is.

This can show up in all kinds of ways, whether she finds herself drawn to pornographic or provocative material. Or maybe she lingers long on those sex scenes in the nighttime dramas she is watching on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

I will be vulnerable on that last point.

I watched the show The Good Wife on Amazon Prime, and I humbly admit it wasn’t just for the solid writing and acting.

It was at a time in our marriage when we were struggling sexually, and I found myself captivated by the sex scenes in that show.  I’m not proud of that, and I’m grateful we are now in a much better place. I’m simply being real with you.

A wife who is in a sexual desert may daydream about what could happen if another man’s attention drifted beyond an innocent compliment. Possibly she is finding another man’s eye contact increasingly irresistible. She camps out for awhile in that moment.  Sure, she may never make a move, but the simple fact her heart is being swayed excites her. And scares her.

She may even go out of her way to be near another man. Even if she knows that she knows that she knows… she would never jeopardize her marriage. Or maybe she does jeopardize her marriage and has an affair. Sure, that’s on her, but her sexual desert likely gave clues on how she arrived at that sin.

If your wife is in a sexual desert, she may find no other way to relieve that tension than to masturbate secretly, all while wishing it was you who wanted to sexually please her.

As is the case with a husband in a sexual desert, a wife feeling sexually deprived is likely wrestling with immeasurable rejection. She suspects it isn’t just her body you don’t want. It’s her you don’t want.

And that is almost unbearable. To know the person who stood at an altar and pledge their life to you has lost all interest in you and the life and bed you share together.

A wife in a sexual desert may be waging a war internally, trying to figure out how much she should push you toward doing something — anything — about the sexual disconnect between the two of you.

See a doctor? Go to a counselor? Read a book together? Actually talk about what’s happening (or not happening) in your home and bed?

If she has asked for any of the above, especially more than once, then she is likely in a sexual desert.

I know every marriage is unique and the scenarios and circumstances that show up in one may look different than what shows up in another.

But trust me on this.

There are wives who find themselves in a sexual desert, and that heartache is no less painful for them than it is for husbands facing similar sexual rejection.

For more reading, consider my page Wives Who Want More Sex and Aren’t Getting It.

What other signs of a sexual desert can you think of?

Copyright 2018, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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14 thoughts on “5 Signs a Wife is in a Sexual Desert

  1. Brian says:

    I admit that even though I’ve read comments from some women that say they are denied the sex they want, it’s incredibly hard for me to imagine it. I certainly can’t believe that it’s the same kind exact pain that I felt for so many years. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. I got married so that I could have sex with the woman I loved. If you don’t want to have tons of sex, why get married? A man has everything to risk and almost nothing to gain in a marriage when you look at divorce, so why on earth would he want to take on all of that and then not have sex every single time he possibly can? I just don’t get it.

  2. D says:


    I can tell you those women exist. I was one. My drive has decreased in the last year or so. No I am not doing anything about it because honestly it feel s good to be the one saying no now. And I am not frustrated with the sparseness anymore. Yay jacked up hormones! I have NEVER!!!! not enjoyed sex! I am 46 and lets say lived a full and robust sex life before marriage. It was somewhat shocking to get married (to someone I had not had sex with) and find that maybe once or twice a month was good for him. I am (well was) a more is better, anything goes kinda gal. Really messes with a womans confidence when we hear all the time that that is all men want/think about then find out nope not so much. After 11 years we are close to the same page though. “If we do, we do and if not sleep is great too.”

  3. Joe says:


    Even in my prime I was a once or twice a month guy, and that was only because of “raging hormones.” I know putting raging hormones next to have sex once or twice a month will make a lot of you laugh.

    Once the raging hormones subsided in my 40’s it hit me…what’s all the fuss about? Sleep is a wonderfull thing and frankly recharges my batteries for the next day much more than sex.

    Want me to be grumpy? Force me to do yet another required task (sex) before I can collapse in bed after a very long stressfull, usually 18 hour day of demands and requirements. Want me to be happy and productive tomorrow? Let me go to bed in peace. I’m out in less than 5 minutes.

    Not everybody sees sex as a spiritual or emotional need. For some, it’s more of a physical drive, and with natural body changes, that can and does diminish. How can that be a sin? It can’t be. I view forcing somebody to do something against his/her will as a sin though.

  4. Curious says:

    The first 3 comments are interesting.
    We first have a man who married to have sex with his wife whom he loves. He can’t imagine not having sex every single time he got the chance.

    Second we have a woman who loves sex. She married a man where twice a month sex sufficed. She states it really messed with her confidence because we are told men are all about sex all the time. Then, after some years and decreased hormones, sex isn’t quite so dire for her. If they do, they do. If they don’t, sleep is great.

    Third we have a man who’s raging hormones had him wanting sex 1-2 times a months. When his hormones calmed down, he found sleep recharged his batteries much more than sex did.

    Is it hormones that cause us to use sex as a means to our psychological and emotional needs?
    Those who don’t seem to need sex much, tend to not use sex as a source of emotional gratification. Even D got to a point where, it’s sounds, she could take it or leave it. Her frustration lessened when her hormones decreased.

    I agree with Joe, not everybody sees sex as a spiritual or emotional need. If it’s truly not a need for your partner, how can they ever fill your need? In all honesty, a spouse can have more sex with you. They can be present and enthusiastic for your sake, but will that be enough?

    How do you make someone Want and Need something the same way you want and need it? Make them go to the doctor or read a book on sex? Even if they completely understand your hurt and pain, they can love you more by being more sexual toward you but, how on earth can you make sex have more meaning for someone who doesn’t derive the same gratification from sex as you do?

    I’m not saying this to be mean, I’m just curious about the answer. It seems to be a major issue in a lot of marriages, one person wanting/needing more sex than the other. We always talk about the lower drive person stepping up to the plate and changing. Yes they can change their behavior, if that helps that’s great. But what I keep hearing is that the spouse with the greater need wants their partner to need and want sex just like they do. How do you go about doing that? How do you make a need where one doesn’t exist?

    Are we assuming each of us has the same sexual potential, needs, and are able to experience the same sexual satisfaction as the next guy?

    Just curious.

  5. WhereIwas says:

    Joe, how does your wife feel about it? If she feels the same, I guess it works for you both. If she is aching to be wanted and desired and shown love through sex more than you are giving her and is feeling rejected and deprived on a regular basis, then, my interpretation of my Bible is it’s a sin.

  6. Joe says:

    The post by Curious was good.

    If you have seen my history of posting on this topic you would see that I tried everything, to the detriment of my health. I tried Testosterone replacement. Got extremely sick, missed work and ended up in the hospital. I now get migraines. Kind of a bad thing when you have a family you are supporting and are the sole breadwinner. I tried viagra to at least get it up for her. Had a severe reaction, blurred vision the did not go away in one eye. It never fully recovered and my Dr and eye Dr said I permanently changed my vision. Again, this is bad since I still have a family to support and I’m sole bread winner.

    If we go by what seems to be your standard, I would be a sinner unless I continued every possible option, even if it leaves me disabled. I see it as trying to drive a square peg into a round hole. It does not work. I still do my best and try to please her, but no, I’m not into it and most of the time ED prevents PIV.

  7. Depressed says:

    What if your wife’s sex drive is higher than yours, you want sex too, you want to want your wife, but her weight makes you have no natural inclination to want her… Your have to force it. But she can tell and she wants you to want her. That’s the viscous cycle I find myself in.


  8. AD3 says:

    Have you ever been hungry when your spouse has not? What about thirsty when your spouse is not. I believe we should do our best to take of our spouses (within reason) as much as possible).

  9. Pingback: Are You Sexually Lonely in Marriage? | Intimacy in Marriage

  10. A. Wife says:

    These comments are hard to read. I identify so strongly with this article, then come down here to read comments disbelieving this situation is possible. As if I don’t have enough discouragement around this issue.
    If you identify with this article. I do too. I believe you. I understand that wounded, confused part of your soul. You are worth more.

  11. Pingback: 5 Things to Guard Against as a Wife with a High Sex Drive – Intimacy in Marriage

  12. SoSad says:

    If you are in a good shape and your wife is oveeweight, why not invite her to workout with you? Or why not talk to her about your feelings? It’s not fair for a husband to feel this way and for a wife not to know it. I pray you can work together to a better sexual life

  13. SoSad says:

    If you are in a good shape and your wife is overweight, why not invite her to workout with you? Or why not talk to her about your feelings? It’s not fair for a husband to feel this way and for a wife not to know it. I pray you can work together to a better sexual life

  14. Mark says:

    My wife and I have been married for 26 years and in the past year she has been going through menopause and sex has dropped off to nearly nothing. When it does happen its seems to be more of lets just make me happy instead of something thats pleasureable for both of us. I really don’t want her to make love with me out of obligation. I blame myself for this, not her. Its frustrating to the point of despair.

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