FamilyLife Blog

My Husband Won’t Have Sex with Me!

by | Mar 13, 2020 | Emotional Intimacy, Marriage, Sex

There may be nothing more humiliating or painful for a woman than putting on some sexy lingerie only to hear her husband say, “I’m just not in the mood.” 

Ingrained Messages

I remember as a young teen hearing messages from my parents, my friends, and even the church, that I had to dress modestly so as not to tempt men to lust after me. Furthermore, I was warned of the dangers of touching a guy’s knee while dating or hugging him too closely because his animalistic drive would take over and he’d need to have sex. 

I know I’m not the only woman to hear similar messages. What a shock for the woman who hears and believes these messages to then have a husband who is not interested in making love.

For many women, an uninterested husband causes her to question her femininity, her beauty, and her worth. She may wonder if something is medically wrong with him, if there’s another woman, or if he has a porn addiction. 

Feelings of loneliness and being unloved may start to creep in. How often we have sex does not define our beauty or worth. Sweet friend, if you’re in this situation, please realize that there are many reasons for a husband’s low libido. 

There are three common reasons why your hubby doesn’t want to have sex.

1. Emotional

At the right time of the month, I can literally cry watching a Hallmark commercial. I know full well my emotions can get the best of me. We’re used to hearing all about our feminine emotional responses, and we’ve learned to accept them. Along with the above messages of men not being able to say no to sex, I was also given several messages about men being emotionally steady.

While this may be true, let’s not forget men do experience emotions. They are emotional beings. So while low testosterone, stress, fatigue, and addiction to substances or pornography are often blamed, a husband’s lack of desire may reflect his emotional state.

If men are over-worked or undervalued at their jobs, they can feel stressed or even depressed. Husbands who feel rejected (from their wives or others) or feel as though they’ve failed in some way, can find their moods lowered. For men, since they are often able to stay focused on one activity at a time, depressed or angry feelings can become their primary focus, making it difficult for them to consider a sexual relationship with their wives. Consider for a moment: Has my husband been stressed at work or is he otherwise not as emotionally present as usual?

2. Emotional Disconnection and Rejection

When sex isn’t happening, it could be because a husband isn’t feeling connected to his spouse. He may feel:

  • he has been pushed away in the past,
  • the attempts he has made to connect have been discounted
  • he has been turned down for sex repeatedly, 
  • he has been told (in words or behaviours) he just wasn’t good at making love. 

These messages are powerful and hold impact for a long time. They can become so burdensome and painful that he simply decides (perhaps unconsciously) not to attempt sex any longer. 

Sometimes, the emotional disconnect comes because his wife has accidentally done the same. Women can sometimes become so focused on tasks or her children, that she momentarily loses sight of aiming for connection with her husband.

3. Attributions and Communication

Important to note, how often a husband wants to have sex doesn’t actually determine sexual satisfaction. Rather, it’s the reason we give for not having sex that matters most. Christian sex therapist Dr. Mike Systma learned in his research that the reasons that a wife believes her husband has a lower sex drive plays a strong role in how satisfied she is with her marriage as a whole.

Dr. Systma says this: “Practically, what that means is that if you are the high desire spouse in your marriage, what you think about your husband’s low desire is far more important than his actual desire level, in predicting pain in your marriage. Occasionally I find that the wife’s worst fear about her husband’s low sex drive is true, but typically the reason is far more benign. In their hurt, fear, and confusion, many wives lock in on a negative attribution and don’t take the time to explore what might really be going on. They keep driving down the wrong road, demanding that their husband fix something that is not the core problem.”

If these attributions are not personalized (for example, “He is too tired”) couples are more satisfied than if they take “the no” personally (for example, “he doesn’t like how I look. I’m sure that’s why he shows no interest”).

Clearly, it is incredibly important to communicate with each other about his lack of desire. Find out what’s holding him back. Don’t make assumptions.

  • Is it a medically-related problem that he struggles to talk about?
  • Does he feel he’s been denied sex the last several times? 
  • Does he need to know that you enjoy sex with him? 

Many times the reasons for a lack of sex are very solvable problems. 

Intimacy is More than Sex

Sex is not the only way to be intimate.

Far too often, couples limit themselves to intercourse as the way to express themselves intimately. This becomes problematic when medical disorders such as erectile dysfunction or painful intercourse occur. The inability to engage in intercourse can make couples believe that their sex life has ended. In fact, we have a lot of physical space on our bodies. If intercourse isn’t possible, try a sensual massage or light caresses with your hands or mouth. God has given us each other’s bodies to delight in. Is there more to enjoy and explore? Let’s be creative.

True intimacy is built when couples experience overall bondingphysical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. This is especially true when it’s been awhile since they’ve bonded sexually. Expand your sensual intimacy beyond intercourse. A good starting point is by cuddling with one another while exploring each other’s bodies. Try lying naked together and talking about hopes and dreams.

There is help for increasing how often you have sex!

Please know there are many ways to increase satisfaction in your marriage bed. 

Counselling. It may take seeing a marriage counsellor to address areas where distance has occurred. A counsellor can help give you skills for better communication, conflict resolution, or forgiveness. 

Sex Therapist. You may also consider learning what happens with a sex therapist to determine if that would be a good fit for your marriage. 

Whatever you decide, please know that if you have the higher drive in your marriage, you’re not alone, and you can see positive changes! 

Praying God’s blessing on you, your marriage, and your sex life,

Dr. J