5 Tips for Surviving Occasional Sexual Loneliness in Marriage

I’ve been thinking about sexual loneliness in marriage.

Some people are surprised that I would know anything about sexual loneliness, but occasionally I do, mostly because my drive is higher than my husband’s.

It’s not a matter of one of us being right or wrong, but more so just a dynamic we have to navigate (sounds like all of marriage, when you think about it).

For this post, I’m not talking about sexual abandonment in marriage.

When I think of sexual abandonment, I envision months (and sometimes years) of ongoing sexual refusal — with no effort from the refusing spouse to address the sexual desert. Many marriages experience this heartbreaking reality.  For an insightful post on that, check out 5 Costs of Sexually Refusing Your Spouse.

But what if you are occasionally sexually lonely? You crave the emotional and physical closeness of sexual intimacy, but your spouse doesn’t equally hunger for the same thing (at least not to the degree you do).

Yes, striving for compromise on frequency is wise. But anyone who is married knows full well that compromise may quell the battle and bring peace, but it doesn’t always make the sadness subside, at least not immediately.

Below are 5 tips that have worked for me when I am sexually lonely. You may find them helpful as well.

1. Remember that this too shall pass.

It sounds so elementary, but thank God there are only 24 hours in a day. His mercies are fresh every morning, and when we are disappointed or discouraged over relatively minor things in our marriage, it’s good to keep it all in perspective.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds. But time does give us space and perspective. You can’t die on the side of every mountain. You just can’t.

2. Think of your spouse’s characteristics for which you are grateful.

Marriage is hard ground in that it is an arena where two individuals continually have to figure out how to do life together. And truth be told, some couples are better at this than others. But there’s no sense getting caught up in wishing your spouse was like someone else’s.

A better approach?

When you are discouraged and sexually lonely, think of reasons you are grateful for your spouse. The reasons may be big things like being a steady provider or small things like remembering to throw dirty clothes in a basket. In nearly all marriages, if you asked the husband and wife to list some things they appreciate about their spouse, they could indeed do it.

So instead of getting caught up in what you perceive as your spouse’s shortcomings, dedicate some mental energy to remembering something positive about them.

3. Refuse to ruminate.

Studies show that women ruminate way more than men, but I imagine men do their fair share, too.  Ruminating is when you play a scenario over and over in your mind. It is especially damaging when we do this with a negative experience, where our mind becomes a stage for an endless amount of “he said” and “she said” and “I wish I would have said.

This is all just wasted energy that tends to magnify our discouragement rather than minimize it.

And from a spiritual standpoint, negative ruminating is a huge foothold for Satan. It just is. His go-to destruction method is division, and nowhere does the enemy want more division than in a covenant relationship God designed.

So grow in your discernment. Become quicker at catching yourself when you start ruminating about  your sexual loneliness. Refuse to replay all those negative tapes rolling through your head.

4. Do something good for yourself.

What is something simple and healthy you can do that will make yourself feel better? Can you peruse a bookstore and buy a book you want? What about grabbing a good cup of coffee? Or go on a long walk? Just getting out in nature can do wonders for our perspective and sense of wellbeing.

Maybe take a nap. Or spend a little time on a hobby you like. When I feel sexually lonely, it helps me to practice a little self-nourishment.

5.  Seek comfort from God.

When all is said and done, no one is going to understand your pain and loneliness like the Lord. I know this sounds like a trite Christian-ey thing to say, but my heart is to share what has comforted me in my sexual loneliness.

God has comforted me. His Word reminds me He is close to the brokenhearted. He is a safe place to land and lean into when I feel discouraged or disappointed. Dig into the scriptures and ask Him to meet you at your point of loneliness.

Even in marriages where there is fairly healthy sexual intimacy, it is unlikely the sex drives are going to be perfectly aligned. Some sexual loneliness is bound to creep in at some point for one or both spouses.

Don’t let sexual loneliness derail you, but rather find healthy ways to navigate and cope.

For more reading, cruise through my list of past posts.

Copyright 2019, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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5 thoughts on “5 Tips for Surviving Occasional Sexual Loneliness in Marriage

  1. Amy says:

    This a great way to explain what happens when spouses are mismatched in their sexual drive or desire.

    I read so much about refusal in marriage and most common is the wife refusing, yet in our marriage it is me who has a higher desire for more frequent sex, but the thing is I’ve never really felt that my husband refuses me, he just doesn’t have the same desire for sex as me. If I were to approach him, he likely would agree to sex, but more often than not, we wait until he is ready.

    It leaves me sad that he doesn’t desire me as much as I do him, but I never knew how to put it into words. Perhaps this post would help him understand where I’m coming from and that I’m not upset with him per se, just wanting to feel more desire from him towards me.


  2. Henry says:

    This is a great post, and if you read it with other issues in mind–money, family, friends, date night–it really applies to all matters of difference, but of course, this one is about sex. But it’s about a mismatch, pure and simple. Waiting, and prayer and not ruminating–all good suggestions

  3. Songs of the Believers says:

    A lot of our members on our site related to what Amy is saying, especially myself, being in a nearly sexless marriage. It’s a real struggle, so this post is timely. I will say that one thing that is helpful is sites like yours, and communities like ours, who provide a place for people interact and share their desires or struggles — versus the problematic alternatives like porn sites or seedy chat rooms. Thank you for making this post.

  4. Ben says:

    God bless you Amy, I hope you did share it with him..I’m so glad he doesn’t reject you…I understand the pains of wishing you didn’t have to initiate most of the time but and it’s probably easier said than done but, oh darn it…I wanted to say I wish you just would…God bless you..if he doesn’t refuse you…why not then but I again hear what you said but 😉

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