It is not uncommon (at some point in the marriage) for a wife to make excuses not to sleep with her husband. It can be painful to a man, so it’s important to understand why this happens. There are many reasons. Because your sex life is important, let’s explore this delicate topic.
The subject of sex is a mine-field. It’s so explosive one husband kept a spreadsheet of his wife’s responses when he initiated sex. I do not recommend such ‘record-keeping’ but it was driven out of sheer frustration.
In this article, we will attempt to answer a few common questions and offer practical advice and tips on making your marriage intimacy fulfilling.
My Wife Avoids Intimacy
I feel like my wife loves but doesn’t desire me. I hear it often from men who are frustrated with their sex life. It’s not an easy subject to tackle because there are so many variables that determine human sexual desire.
Without trivializing the issue, the following video puts things in perspective (at least in a general sense).
Other than mere comedic relief as we deal with this subject, the video makes an important observation: men and women are different. In a lot of ways. This can impact a woman’s desire for sex.
Reasons Your Spouse Is Avoiding Sex With You
This is by no means a comprehensive list of reasons but I want to break them down into two categories. For lack of a better term, I’ll call these major reasons and minor reasons, but it’s important to realize any reason should be addressed.
If it is having a negative impact on your marriage it can be a major reason.
Major Reasons Your Spouse Avoids Sex
I consider these six the big ones – the major reasons women avoid physical intimacy.
- She is not attracted to you.
- Hormonal issues.
- It is physically painful.
- She is emotionally detached.
- Poor Self Image
Each one of these deserves serious attention; they can have a damaging effect on your relationship, but on your emotional well-being as well.
Minor Reasons Your Spouse Avoids Sex
We could even call these ‘temporary reasons’ because they generally fall around issues related to ‘this is not a good time.’
- Too Distracted
- No Energy
- Financial Pressure
- General Stress
- No Confidence in Physical Appearance
- Reaction to Medicine
- Argument and Tension
What To Do When Your Wife Won’t Sleep With You?
There are several steps you can take to try and resolve the issue.
1. Talk to her.
I know this seems obvious (even patronizing). But having a conversation about this issue is vital for your marriage to work, heal, and be satisfying.
Having a conversation doesn’t mean you lash out, accuse, or create a war zone. The goal is to create an environment where you can both be transparent about how you feel without fear of retribution. The objective is to discover the real reasons for a lack of intimacy in your marriage.
This can only happen if:
- You talk about it.
- You are transparent about your feelings.
- There is trust in the relationship (not just fidelity trust, but emotional trust) LINK
When these factors are in place, communication becomes easier; even if the topic of conversation is difficult.
If you are having trouble asking for what you want in your marriage, start here.
2. Connect Non-Sexually
Sex is more than a biological or physical release; it is emotional. Spiritual. It is ultimately about connecting on a deep level. This is the reason sex is so powerful.
When this connection is disrupted, it affects physical intimacy.
One way to reignite the loss of intimacy is to find other ways to connect. I see this as a type of ‘jump-start’ for your sex life.
I’m sure you’ve had to have your automobile ‘jump-started’ before. How does it work?
When the battery is dead (or low), you use another charged battery to give power to the weak one. When you connect the cables, the electrical juice flows from the powered battery to the one that needs to be charged
This is a good picture of the concept of connecting non-sexually. The principle is to find what IS working – a way you are still connected – and use that as the strong battery (connection) to give power to the weak area (your physical intimacy).
Make sense? I hope so. I’ve seen it work in many couples. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you attempt this:
1) It can be challenging to find areas where you are still connected.
This is especially tough when there are long-term problems revolved around your sex life. Find an area where you and your spouse do life well together and cultivate it to make it even better.
2) It takes two to really make this work.
This is a strategy that works best when both couples desire a genuine intimate connection. It can be done if there are serious problems, but you will have more success when you are both working on the marriage.
3) Doing this as a way to manipulate will backfire.
This is a strategy, not a game. Motive plays a big role in the success of any attempt to make your relationship better. The moment your spouse senses coercion or manipulation, they will continue to withdraw emotionally and physically.
3. Serve Your Spouse
I’ll repeat one of my favorite mantras: You can have anything you want in life IF you help other people get everything they want in life.
It’s the law of reciprocity. Otherwise known as the law of sowing and reaping. There is perhaps no more powerful truth that shapes the way life unfolds as this principle.
To the degree you choose to serve your spouse and meet her needs, you will have your needs considered and met.
Does this ALWAYS work? No. But it does 90+ percent of the time. When it doesn’t it is because other factors have deteriorated the relationship to the point where trust is lost.
Is No Intimacy Grounds For Divorce?
This is such a delicate subject for both men and women. It’s not easy to answer. I asked several people I consider experts in the area of sex and intimacy in marriage for their insights. The experts are:
- Jay Dee (Uncovering Intimacy)
- April Cassidy (Peaceful Wife)
- J. Parker (Hot, Holy, Humorous)
- Lee Baucom (Save the Marriage System)
I asked them two questions:
- What can I (a man) do if his wife doesn’t way to sleep with him?
- Is ‘no sex’ grounds for divorce?
I asked these questions because they are frequently asked by men.
Jay Dee from UncoveringIntimacy.com.
1) What can I do if my wife doesn’t want to sleep with me?
Talk to her. The first step is understanding why. There are a variety of potential reasons and each one has a very different approach. First and foremost – does it bother her. If it does – great! Then you both have incentive to change things. If it doesn’t, well, now you’re in a whole other situation.
2) Is no sex grounds for divorce?
Christianity tends to take a very legalistic approach to divorce. Most articles I read are either based on a cut and dry “here are the rules”, or an abolishment of all the rules and “do what you want”. I think the Bible’s core guideline is love. You vowed to love your spouse, no matter what. Sickness and health, rich or poor, better or worse. Well, now you’re in the sickness/poor/worse situation. By default, to me, this means the rules don’t matter.
If I vow to do something, it doesn’t matter if it’s legal for me not to. I promised to do it. That said, sometimes vows have to be broken. So, here’s what I tell people – is continuing being married going to harm you? Not hurt, not inconvenience, not will it be painful. Will it HARM you.
That line is going to be different for every individual. That’s the best I’ve been able to manage. But make no mistake, if you’re not at that line and you get divorced – well, it’s your integrity on the line. You decide what that’s worth. I can’t imagine standing in front of God and saying “I know I promised to love them unconditionally but … well, it’s really your fault, you made sex too important.”
April Cassidy from PeacefulWife.com
It’s such a painful and heartbreaking situation when one spouse feels sexually rejected by the other.
Some things I can imagine a husband may want to pray about could include:
- – repenting and rebuilding lost trust if he is involved in porn, lust, abuse, or other sin that may cause his wife not to feel safe with him.
- – helping his wife if she is completely exhausted and overwhelmed with all she must do each day.
- – helping her heal from spiritual/emotional/sexual scars, wounds, anxieties, or fears.
- – addressing wrong thinking in himself or in his wife that could be creating a problem.
- – helping her find medical treatment for physical or hormonal issues. Or anything that could be causing physical pain.
- – approaching her with honor, gentleness, grace, and understanding rather than lashing out harshly in anger.
- – taking the time to understand her needs and seeking to meet her needs, not just his own.
For wives whose husbands are not interested in sex with them, I would encourage them to pray about the following types of things:
- – Does he feel truly respected and honored by you?
- – Have you damaged his trust in you?
- – Does he feel spiritually, emotionally, financially, and physically safe with you?
- – Is there a medical problem that could be creating difficulties for him?
- – Has he been saying he has a legitimate need that you have not been meeting?
- – Is he working overtime and barely sleeping? Could he be exhausted?
- – Have you ever insulted his masculinity or manhood?
- – Is there any pornography issue going on or any other lust issue on either side of the marriage?
- – Does he feel pressured and coerced?
J. Parker of HotHolyHumorous.com
What can I do if my wife doesn’t want to sleep with me?
First, acknowledge that there’s a reason she’s not sleeping with you. It’s not right or good that you’re being rejected, but spouse rarely make a malicious decision to deprive their mates of the sexual intimacy they should have. Rather, most of the time they have physical challenges, sexual baggage, past bad experiences, inaccurate beliefs, body image issues, relationship conflict, or another genuine struggle. When you understand that, you can see sexual refusal not as a personal attack but a spouse’s way of protecting oneself from pain.
Once you can see your spouse as also being in pain or trying to avoid pain, you can have sympathy and desire to help them figure out the why. Just as a doctor needs a proper diagnosis to determine treatment, you need to know the underlying reasons for your spouse’s ongoing rejection. Then you can figure out what next.
And like a doctor making a proper diagnosis, you should ask questions and listen, listen, listen without judgment or criticism. When you do respond, show compassion. Ask how you can help. Suggest counseling if warranted. Be willing to make changes if your approach is part of the problem. Above all, let your spouse know it’s not about the physical act of sex but your deep longing to be intimately connected—one fles
Is no sex grounds for divorce?
This is a difficult question, because the emotional pain of ongoing rejection and loneliness are so great. It feels like far too big a burden to be asked to remain in a sexless marriage. But then, God sometimes asks us to remain in very difficult situations when there is hope and/or a greater good.
Many times, there is hope for a revival of intimacy. You can’t see it now, but it could come and what you’re called to do is not only pursue the sexual intimacy your deserve but healing for your spouse and your marriage. You see, your spouse is also missing out, and if you can provide a safe space to uncover the baggage or struggles s/he is going through, then you might find restoration for both of you on the other side.
What about the greater good? Marriage provides many other benefits for both of you beyond sex. Moreover, who else would be hurt by your divorce? One clear example is children, who fare better with both parents unless it’s a high-conflict home. But your togetherness might also be helping an extended family member, your church, and others. Just consider the cost beyond simply stopping your own understandable heartache.
Dr. Lee Baucom of Save The Marriage System
What can I do if my wife doesn’t want to sleep with me?
There are quite a few possible reasons a spouse may not want to have sex (assuming that is what “not sleeping” is referencing). For some reasons, there may be little you can do. Most women experience a drop in sexual desire around menopause, for instance. And since our culture is caught up in the belief that desire must proceed sex (rather than seeing sex as a connection point), many women no longer feel sexual. And that same change in hormones can also lead to painful and uncomfortable sex (which can be solved with help from doctors and other health care).
But many times, the lack of sex is from a lack of overall connection or underlying resentment. If that is the case, dealing with the underlying disconnection and reasons for resentment can also heal the sexual connection. Remember that connection is the life-blood of the relationship. When a relationship is connection-starved, it is at high risk for becoming sex-starved. Choke off the connection and you choke off the sexual connection. And resentment tends to be a poison for passion. It is hard to make love with someone whom you resent (which often feels the same as dislike).
So what can you do? Work on connection. Work on taking responsibility for areas where you may have caused hurt. Nurture the relationship. And be careful that your own resentment about not having sex does not poison the connection.
Is no sex grounds for divorce?
There are many reasons people can claim “grounds for divorce.” I don’t debate what someone deems grounds for divorce. I simply ask, “Is there another option?” I call it the Third Option.
Option 1: Stay where you are, where things are — stuck and in pain.
Option 2: Leave — also painful and still stuck (just in ways that don’t reveal themselves until the next relationship).
Option 3: Heal and change. Find a better way forward, with the relationship healed and growing. This is about working through the issues. It can seem more difficult on the front side. But the other ways generally have lasting hurt and lasting problems.
I Just Want My Wife To Want Me
The majority of the men I talk with reveal they just want to be wanted by their wives. Yet this is one area they feel most neglected in.
The Bright Side did a survey and found that out of 12 things men fear, 4 have to do with sex or intimacy issues.
Just google ‘excuses people use for not wanting to have sex’ and you will find a litany of reasons. Some legitimate; many not.
One man (John) commented on a blog talking about the worst excuses women use for not sleeping with their husband: (Source)
I still say the worst excuse I’ve ever heard is:
“The dog is acting funny.”
Keeping in mind that the dog in question is a 10-year-old, 90-pound lab whose favorite pastime (in which he spends 90% of his day) is sleeping like a lump in the middle of the floor (any floor, hard or soft, usually smack dab in the middle of the room), snoring like a pig.
I asked “funny in what way?” She said: “He’s snoring different.”
So, you don’t want to have sex because a dog is snoring differently.
I already know the kids are more important than me. The church is more important than me. TV, cleaning the house, her friends, her activities, and just about everything else in the dang world is more important than me. Now I know that how a dog snores is more important than me.
I would laugh but the sad truth is his needs are not being met because his wife is preoccupied with things that and insignificant and trivial. She is sacrificing the needs of her husband in exchange for convenience and selfishness.
Several things about this comment seem obvious to me:
1. What he really wants is to be desired.
I love it when my wife initiates intimacy. It signals she actually thinks about sharing her body with me.
John desires this type of intimate ‘sharing.’ Every man (and woman for that matter) wants to feel desired. When we do it builds confidence and positive self-esteem. Of course, this is not the ONLY thing that promotes psychological well-being; but it can’t be dismissed as unnecessary either4.
2. He wants his wife to care about his needs.
Sure, sex drives vary in men and women (although it is not as inflated as you might think); they even vary from one individual to the next. The issue isn’t really about sex drives. It’s about caring enough for your spouse to WANT to meet their needs. Not out of obligation, but love.
3. He seems to be crying out for authentic love.
Physical intimacy is important in a marriage. It’s been said, women desire sex BECAUSE they feel loved, while men desire sex TO feel loved. It’s probably overstated, but there is a grain of truth in the statement.
John’s desire for intimacy with his wife is an expression of his desire to connect. Whether she sees it or not, it’s true.
Final Thoughts on My Wife Makes Excuses Not To Sleep With Me
The subject of physical intimacy is like a mine-field; it’s explosive.
Many women have deep emotional wounds that stem from sexual abuse. Men have rejection issues around the subject of sex. It’s almost impossible to consider all the factors and issues that comprise our intimate lives together.
Yet, this is a subject that must be addressed. Too many couples are suffering because they need help navigating the mine-field.
Remember the story of the guy I mentioned at the beginning of this article that kept a spreadsheet of their sex life? Do not let your relationship deteriorate to that point. Start the conversation. Keep it simple and civil. Work through your issues. Serve one another.
If you love one another, live like it. It’s really not complicated. We make it that way because we lose sight of the value of our spouse. Reclaim that value starting today.
- Reasons Your Spouse Is Avoiding Sex With You
- What To Do When Your Wife Won’t Sleep With You?
- Is No Intimacy Grounds For Divorce?