When You’re Not Attracted to Your Spouse’s Naked Body


unattracted-to-spouse-bodyI’ve heard this go both ways.

A husband thinks his wife is attractive with clothes on, but not when she’s naked. A wife is drawn to her husband when he is clothed, but her enthusiasm starts to wane when his clothes come off.

Before we get too far into the post, I want to emphasize that I’m talking about realistic disappointment.

I’m not talking about holding your spouse to a physical standard that is unfair. Please check your heart to make sure you aren’t expecting something from your spouse that is an unachievable physical appearance. 

I’ve written about people struggling with their own body image, but what I’m unpacking today is a different spin on body image.

What do you do if you aren’t attracted to your spouse’s naked body? That’s an honest experience for some people. Maybe it’s your experience.

If this is how you feel, please give yourself some grace. That’s what I would give you if we were having this vulnerable conversation in person.

More often than not, especially in relatively stable and healthy relationships, I think these struggles are not commentary on the relationship itself. If you are not turned on by your spouse’s naked body, my guess is you’re not trying to be insensitive. You’re being human.

It’s human to notice differences between when someone is clothed and when they are not, especially if those two visuals vary significantly.

In today’s world of so many products, clothing styles and accessories, it’s not too difficult for a man or a woman to look incredibly attractive while clothed. Many people have become masters at using clothing to accentuate their good attributes and hide what they perceive as their body flaws.

Sara Blakely made “shape wear” commonplace when she turned her life savings of $5,000 into a billion dollar industry with her invention of Spanx in 2000. Seriously. The woman is worth more than a billion dollars, because she saw a gap in the market and she filled it. She discovered that countless women want to appear slimmer and smoother than they actually are.

If the visuals are at play when someone is clothed, it’s no surprise they are at play when someone is naked. Certainly there are some exceptions, but in most marriages, spouses see each other naked fairly regularly, maybe even daily.

We can’t help but be affected by what we take in visually when we see our spouse naked. There’s bound to be some cause and effect dynamics going on.

And if your spouse’s bare body has become less and less appealing to you, more than likely this didn’t happen instantly. Your spouse’s body has likely changed gradually over time, whether it be weight gain, declining hygiene, indifference to grooming, loss of muscle tone or any number of other physical attributes.

They are your spouse, though. It’s not reasonable to bail on the marriage or withhold sexually simply because you no longer find them attractive when they are naked. As husband and wife, your goal always should be nurtured physical intimacy, including sexual intimacy. Sex is part of marriage, so it’s a given that a husband and wife being naked together is vital to the health of the marriage.

So what do you do if you are not attracted to your spouse’s naked body? Here are some ideas:

1. Shed light on the more critical issues

More than likely, what has made your spouse’s physical body less attractive is weight gain, poor hygiene and/or lack of proper exercise. Yes, these all impact appearance. More importantly, though, they are matters of health.

Have you had a heart-to-heart with your spouse about your desire for them to be healthier? This is the person with whom you fell in love and married. This is the person with whom you do life and share joys and difficulties. My guess is you want them around for as long as possible, and you want the time you have together as a couple to be enjoyable for both of you.

Suggest that the two of you work together on being healthier. Incremental changes in eating better, moving more and paying closer attention to hygiene help us not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally and relationally.

2. Be transparent

I’m not going to sugarcoat it. This tip is risky. But it may be exactly what is needed to prompt your spouse to take better care of themselves physically. Having this sort of conversation is risky because they may receive it as judgment, even though your motive is to draw the two of you closer.

Consider telling your spouse that you are struggling with the changes in their body.

When two people marry, they are declaring that their body is no longer only their own (1 Corinthians 7). A husband and wife in the covenant of marriage are agreeing to a oneness that requires they take seriously how their own actions affect the other person.

This isn’t about perfection. And it certainly isn’t about denying the natural toll aging and life experiences have on a physical body. What it is about is striving to the best of our ability to care for our body in a reasonable way that honors ourself and our spouse.

Again, just like the previous point, you are wise to have such a transparent conversation with ample expression of your love for your spouse. If you did not love them as much as you do, then you likely would be way more indifferent about no longer being attracted to their naked body. If you didn’t love them as much as you do, you wouldn’t be expressing what you believe would be a boost to sexual expression and frequency between the two of you.

Plain and simple, you want both of you healthy and paying attention to self care. You are desiring intimacy and closeness, not looking for excuses to avoid it. The fact you do love them speaks volumes about how troubling all of this is for you—that you hunger for sexual desire and oneness and are concerned about stumbling blocks that are inhibiting that.

Transparency has risks. I know. But staying silent with your angst and heartache has risks, too.

3. Spend more time on foreplay

I think sometimes we get tripped up by turn-offs because we haven’t invested enough time in getting turned on. This is a brief tip, but I am including it because I think the more a husband and wife spend on foreplay, the more they are reminded of their attraction to each other that goes beyond physical attraction.

It is profound to be aroused by the person you love deeply. As husband and wife, you spend years learning and understanding what sexually pleases each other. It can be hard to savor that and appreciate it if you are chintzy on the time you devote to foreplay.

So spend more time on foreplay. When you do, what you find unattractive about your spouse’s naked body may become less discernable to you. It won’t be quite the deal breaker you’ve maybe made it out to be.

4. Focus on what you can control

Ultimately, what you can control is you. You can control your attitude and your behavior. The hope, of course, is your spouse would take seriously the concerns you have expressed, and they would subsequently make some positive changes.

But they may not do that. So at that point, you have to make a decision.

Are you going to have a mature attitude, stay true to your covenant in sickness and in health, and do the best to love your spouse where they are? Or are you going to spiral and ruminate and/or pour all your energy into prodding them incessantly to change?

Far be it from me to say any of this scenario is easy. But marriage in general isn’t easy. Yes, we can influence our spouse, but sadly one of the most overlooked ways we often do exactly that is through our own positive attitude and healthy behavior.

You can control you. If you are struggling feeling attracted to your spouse’s naked body, ask the Lord to renew your attitude and to equip you to behave in a way that not only pleases Him, but also continues to build up your marriage.

What other tips would you suggest if you are struggling being attracted to your spouse’s naked body?

Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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11 thoughts on “When You’re Not Attracted to Your Spouse’s Naked Body

  1. WK says:

    Ive had a Christian marriage for 44 years but have had no sex the past 15 years. (Sexless before that) Sex slowed to a crawl after 2 babies with its accompanying weight gain, stretch marks and varicose veins. I’ve never seen such bad leg veins—our MD just winces at them. As a result, she dresses like an Eskimo. When swimming at Disney World, she was completely covered up except from the neck up—-I wanted to cry. Fifteen years ago, she lost both breasts to cancer and opted out of clot-causing reconstructive surgery. Sex totally stopped as there was no touching of her chest or legs. When getting married I looked forward to a “normal” sex life but have been hugely disappointed. It seems like the “one flesh” concept was like a summer day that quickly passed, followed by the cold winds of fall and ending with a cold, icy winter that never ends.

  2. A says:

    Do we marry for sex?? Often that’s what couples do. They are sexually attracted and the rest is history. I married for sex and married someone with a body that was scarded by health issues and it’s been a struggle for 35+ years. Why because her other qualities made life fulfilling. Maybe she can give you some sexual favors once in a while. But if it’s not out of love you need just work on the relationship.

  3. A says:

    I reread this. Beginning to end. It’s a very tender topic. When I respond on sex intimacy issues I desire good for others. Why because I know it hurts. In our marriage I needed to find the way to have conversations where I needed my wife to hear things that would cause her to have a bad day. If I’d do it all over again I would know how to do this with a lot less pain.

  4. A says:

    We both knew years ago what for better or worse sickness or in health richer or poorer. We didn’t know anything about each others anatomy. We know now every detail about each other and each others bodies. Please any one out there your body size types do not make or break a marriage. But yes have good talk about each others bodies then take off all your cloths and find a nice private place to adore each others Malenesse and Femaleness you may be surprised how well your bodies match

  5. A says:

    Contentment is a deep awareness of what your responsiblies are before God. There is a time and place for each aspect of life. Use life to build a mansion where God can live and the two will be one flesh. Remember this when you are naked with your spouse.

  6. A says:

    That story is true. It’s what Adam and Eve did when they met. Both Adam and Eve had no clue what a perfect naked body should look like. God just said here is your mate. In Austrailia your mate is your friend. That’s exactly what God had in mind when He introduced them to each other. Don’t spoil a totally perfect story over some naked body parts.

  7. A says:

    The nude experiment will have no comparison from one monogamous marriage to the next. Seasoned marriages fair the best when all is said and done. Are you able to forgive from the heart the way Jesus does. You may say but He is God. That’s right but if you are one of his children He makes that possible. If you could watch our marriage in progress you would say “if that mess can be straightened out so can yours. Making love has no boundaries scares and all.

  8. A says:

    Our battle in life is not against flesh and blood but against the evil one. It’s a spiritual battle that can only be won when we love like Jesus. Our bodies are a temple of the holy spirit. They come in all kinds of shapes and even shades of colors. So when I see my wife naked that’s whom I see. She’s my God given other half. Me and her are one flesh because God designed us for eachother. That’s a profoundly amazing thought. God brought us together for life to do life together she’s my helper I’m her lover. That why she likes being naked with me. Because her female personhood is designed for me it causes my heart to melt in a spirit of tenderness.

  9. A says:

    The culture or God’s
    explaination of the creation of God’s image bearer. When Adam saw Eve for the first time he said what? Oh and what should I call this animal? No he said flesh of my flesh bone of my bone. Our culture is anti God the very thought of accepting the created order is hideous to them because if God’s is the creator designer that leaves them under the created order. Today it’s becoming culturally wrong to define man and women. I think marriage needs to be nude sexual and erotic with love and respect.

  10. A says:

    If you are empty nesters you probably probably have some awkwardness initiating sex. I’m of the belief that younger couples don’t have near the fun with sex us older couples simply because of ac of inexperience stress time and privacy. This pattern should be broken because it’s just not true that older couple have less nice sex. Being naked and washed in a safe location can be a unwritten rule you’ve both agree to. Honey no pressure but if I’m naked 😏 come join me when your ready to change gears what ever your doing it can wait. I won’t turn you down come and lest refind each other how good sex can get.

  11. A says:

    Noticed I am the author of the nude couple expereince. Some once asked me what is the secret of happiness? I gave a one word answer contentment. I can write a book on the secret to happiness. But lets stick nude couple time. Why do we crave this so much? It’s not like we are nudist believing gender neutrality would solve the human broken condition. No the opposite we believe thinking deeply into into the beauty of the male and female gender. So it starts with God and it remain to be God’s gift for us to enjoy. Food for thought

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