“When Your Husband Doesn’t Want Sex” Part One: Wives Speak Out

The question I’m asked most frequently by CWIVES readers is “How can I get my husband more interested in sex?” If you are surprised by that question, your husband probably has a higher sex drive than you which occurs in about 80% of marriages. However, in about 20% of marriages, the husband has a lower sex drive, and based on emails like the seven below, this lack of sexual desire confuses, frustrates, and wounds wives.

 “I’ve been married for many years…I’m a Christian lady who desires sex, he has no interest for over 10 years, and I am just fit to be tied. Nothing will ever get him aroused….I have done the naked thing for a l-o-n-g time and the “act sexy” thing just as long, but he does not desire to be kind and thoughtful in this way or even have a conversation about it. Hope and pray most of my life and no man will ever talk to him about it…”

“My sister’s husband is a great Christian man, but he was taught that sex was dirty and not important and as a result there is very, very little sex in their marriage. Over the years, she has gone from thinking that she is unworthy, ugly, and undesirable to realizing that it simply isn’t important to him. Sex is still important to her though, and while she handles it better now, both physically and mentally, things could definitely be improved. Is there a website out there like CWIVES, but for men?”

“I’ve NEVER written an email like this or let anyone know about this in our marriage.  My husband is a very good, godly man. I too love Jesus; we both want our marriage to glorify our Lord.  We’ve been married X years.  He is in the military.  We have been in mentoring with the pastor and his wife who married us and have learned good skills in communicating. However, we have a sexless marriage.  No matter what I’ve tried (reading books together, praying, listening to good material on sex in marriage), he seems to be uncomfortable and irritable on the subject.”

“I just finished your book, NO MORE CHRISTIAN NICE GIRL, and found it quite helpful in all areas but one: sex. I seem to suffer from very rare circumstances. I adore sex and my husband could care less. I am tired of always hearing about how a wife should understand his needs but nowhere do I find our problem addressed (I could say my problem since he doesn’t see this as important).  Are there any resources for me?”

“My husband has never had a very high sex drive and I was always the one who initiated sex.  Many times throughout our marriage and even in the very beginning, he would tell me ‘no’ and give numerous excuses, like he was tired or sick or something.  I always felt like I had to beg for it from him. If we did, it would take weeks and sometimes months before we would do it again because he would say ‘we just had sex the other day’ or something like that.  I don’t know any other woman who has a husband who turns them down.  All of my friends have to fight their husbands off of them all day, and if they even so much as catch a glance of them naked they are all over them.  My husband doesn’t ever come on to me outside of the bedroom in any way that makes me think that he even thinks about me in that way.”

“Been married X years, and my husband rarely initiates sex and even has said that it is not that needed.  Many times when I initiated he would respond reluctantly so over the years I have not initiated as much as I have wanted.  I have felt rejected and not sexually appealing. Recently my husband has admitted using pornography.  We are both seeing individual counselors.” 

“In all the secular magazines it’s always about what the little woman can do to keep her man. Well, it’s about time there were articles about the other way round. I have a very good husband, caring in lots of ways, but he’s not keen on the physical side of marriage. I might add my friends think I am very glamorous and especially their husbands. They all think we have an amazing sex life as my husband jokes a lot to other men and assume he is a stud! I pray all the time about this, but the good Lord obviously thinks it’s not too much of a problem, so I live with it. Most of the time it’s OK, but now the children have left home I don’t want to slip into the old age retirement routine. I think my husband would rather watch television!!”

As these wives can attest, there isn’t much information available on men with low sexual desire. Many husbands are reluctant or even refuse to discuss their lack of sexual interest, perhaps because our culture promotes the idea that a man should be hungry for sex 24/7, and if he’s not, then he must not be a “real” man. Well, real men do experience lack of sexual desire, and this is the first in a series of CWIVES blogs addressing this issue. Please note that I’m not an expert in this area: in my clinical practice, I work with wives with low sexual desire, not husbands. However, I’ve been reviewing the information on low sexual desire in males and will share with you what I have found.

So for now, know that you are not alone. You are not the only wife whose husband doesn’t want to have sex with her. The next time you are in a room full of couples, look around. Twenty percent of those wives share your secret heartbreak.

Stay tuned: Part Two will provide an overview of this issue.

Comments 17

  1. Karen Lemieux
    January 24, 2012

    Thanks for addressing this issue. There is nothing as damaging to your self-esteem as a woman than for your husband to find sex with you unimportant.

    1. January 25, 2012

      Thanks for commenting, Karen. You are correct, it is extraordinarily painful for a wife when her husband finds sex unimportant.

  2. Julie
    January 30, 2012

    Thank you for including this topic on your site. I am in the same boat as the above women who wrote the letters. I too have kept this secret. I have felt sad, rejected, not attractive enough and worried that something is “wrong” with me and/or my husband. It is refreshing to know you are willing to discuss this topic. Thank you. I’m looking forward to finding out more and hearing your advice. God bless you, Julie

    1. January 30, 2012

      Thanks for your comments, Julie. Please know that you are not alone.


  3. February 1, 2012

    SOOOO glad to see this! Reading part 2 next. This has been a major frustration for me… so little on this topic! Can we put the shoe on the other foot too? Thank you!
    – Naomi

    1. February 1, 2012

      I’m glad this series is addressing a major frustration for you, Naomi. More information to come!


  4. Amy
    May 9, 2012

    My husband hasn’t wanted sex,intimacy nothing for 45 years. We had sex once on our wedding night and to him is was a chore. Then he just decided he hated sex and that was a mistake and will never happen again. Guess what it never did happen again. He has ignored me all these years, no talking in fact I don’t see him for months. Even though we live in the same house. He stays hold up in the basement where he has lived, plus he worked midnights for 40 plus years so he wouldn’t have to be near me.

    1. May 16, 2012

      Thanks for sharing your heartbreaking story, Amy. I hope that you will find a good counselor to talk to about your situation so that you can get support and encouragement.

  5. Chris
    November 29, 2012

    Darn I have had the same problem going on16 years I feel so ugly inside like I am hidious all other men want me but not him we go to bed for years no hugging no kissing not even I love u I feel like we r brother and sister than husband and wife I been w him 37 years and next year it will be30 years what is sex

  6. Rhea Jane
    May 28, 2013

    Its amazing to see how many women are suffering the way I am. It doesn’t give me pleasure to see this but its comforting that finally we can talk here. There are all sorts of issues in life but they dont hurt as much because we can talk about them. This issue? We are on our own. Its like a bruise you cant show to anyone but hurts more than anything else. Waiting to read the next part of the article.

  7. Denise
    October 2, 2017

    Thank you for bringing this up. We have been happily married for 24 years. We feel lacking in our sex life. I am praying for answers and things improving.

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