Why Does My Husband Not Want Sex?

April 3, 2015

in Uncategorized

Estimates vary, but at least one wife in five is having far less sex than she wants. Some are told no often, some are in sexless marriages. Those who work with this issue agree it’s increasingly common. In part, this is because of greater openness, but it also seems more and more men are less and less interested in sex with their wives.

Refused wife © Irina Karlova | dollarphotoclub.com

Why might he not want sex, or much sex, with you?

  • First it’s not primarily about you: Let me repeat: It’s not primarily about you. I understand how blaming yourself is easy and natural. I understand thinking he must no longer find you attractive. These are natural reactions, but they are almost always wrong. He may allow you to believe these things. He may even tell you these things. Maybe he actually believes them himself. None of that makes it true, and buying into the lie gets in the way of finding solutions.
  • Too busy: Society just keeps getting busier. Your husband is probably far busier than his father was at his age. Being busy cuts into couple time and most men actually need some non-sexual couple time to desire sex with their wife. (Okay, maybe I should say most men over 29!) As much as we love the physical side of sex, we want a full sexual connection, body, mind, and soul. A lack of time together dims our drive to be sexual with our wives. 
    Some men end up with more physical drive than their relationship can support, and they deal with this by masturbating. This is not the case for every man saying no, but I’d bet most men who say no take care of themselves on occasion. Men also masturbate because they feel a need for release but don’t have time for sex. He can take care of it himself in a couple of minutes; doing it right with you takes far longer. It’s like grabbing fast food when you’re hungry and in a rush.
  • Too tired/stressed: Lack of sleep and stress both attack sex drive. When these are occasional problems any sexual fallout should be short term. If these things go on for a long time, permanent loss of sexual interest is possible. This one can also result in choosing to masturbate, as the energy needed is less than for sex with you.
  • Porn: I suspect this is a factor in the majority of cases. If your husband is under 30, he had probably seen a huge amount of porn by the time he met you. Porn thoroughly messed up his sexuality, and how can it not mess with his desire to have sex with you? There’s a growing discussion of porn induced sexual dysfunction: men unable to get or keep an erection without porn, men unable to climax without porn, and loss of desire for sex with a real woman. These problems are even seen in men in their 20’s! Ongoing porn use makes it worse, but stopping porn can also cause temporary problems. Cutting off a source of high-level stimulation may result in short-term problems with arousal and sexual function.
  • Not dealing with getting older: Young men can keep having daily sex even with all of the above going on. Their drive is so high it pushes past the things suppressing it. Age, however, lowers a man’s natural drive. Suddenly the things limiting his drive exceed his drive, and he can no longer keep going.
  • Passive-aggressive pushback: If he is unhappy with you and given to taking it out on you in passive-aggressive ways, sex may become his attack of choice. The more you tell him you want it, the more he says no to get back at you for whatever real or imagined offences he ascribes to you. 
  • Payback: If a man has been told no for years, you’d think his wife wanting more sex would make him happy. Often it does, but if he is bitter about being refused he might decide this is his chance to show her what it feels like. Yes, it’s silly and self-defeating, but I’ve had a couple of men admit they did it.
  • Boredom: Most men desire something more than missionary in the dark. Feeding someone the same meal every day for years is a sure way to get them to eat less, and sex is much the same.
  • Hiding a problem: It’s all too common for a man to deal with erection problems by avoiding sex. 
  • Hormones: This is the top of many lists, but it shouldn’t be. I’m not saying it’s never a factor, but it’s not nearly as common as some would make it, and it’s rarely the primary reason. In fact, a new study says we may have it backwards; low testosterone may be a result of, rather than the cause of less sex. Much of the hype is from those selling something, and a good deal of the effect of testosterone and other sex drive boosters has been shown to come down to the placebo effect. Testosterone can make a difference for men with significantly low T levels, but in men with normal or low normal levels, there is no proven benefit. There are however proven dangers for some men.
  • Sex is dirty, you’re not: Some men see sex as dirty or wrong, and they don’t want to do something dirty or wrong to their wife. Some men do this with all form of sex, while others do it with just certain things (oral sex, a certain position, sexy lingerie). Another version of this is thinking women should not want or enjoy sex, or should not want or enjoy it “too much”. If you push beyond those limits in his mind, he may back of sexually.

If your husband has never had much drive, it’s possible he is just low drive. I’d bet one or more of the above is also a factor, but low drive men do exist. On the other hand, if his drive has dropped more than a bit, something is going on in his mind and/or his body. Aside from how the lack of sex hurts you and your marriage, it could be an indication of a medical problem or red flag for sin. It could also be a symptom of an unsustainable life style. Dealing with the issue is important for both of you and for your marriage.

“Accusing” a man of low sex drive is not a good way to get him to open up. Instead, tell him you’d like to have sex more often, and ask him what needs to happen/change for that to occur. If gentle asking doesn’t work, be more instant. Ultimately, you can’t make him change, but you should let him know the situation is hurting you and may be a sign of a significant problem in his life.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’m sorry if your husband says no.

Resource: The Sex-Starved Wife: What to Do When He’s Lost Desire by Michele Weiner Davis

I’ve followed Michele for years, and communicated with her a few times. She’s the leader in this issue, and has some good thoughts on precipitating change.


Also See: Sexless Marriage in America Keeps Rising, New Study Reveals 

Links may be monetised
Image Credit: © Irina Karlova | dollarphotoclub.com

Shop AmazonShop to give links page
We’re donation supported Thanks for your help!

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

libl April 3, 2015 at 11:38 am

In our marriage it started as a passive aggressive way to deal with my wanting him to give me sex. He was tired of doing all the physical work. I wanted manual or oral and then him doing the thrusting. (I offered manual and oral to him, but he doesn’t like them). But, instead of talking about it, he just shut down. He was also tired a lot, and stressed which helped lower his drive. Fear of pregnancy killed it farther. He became chronically ill and had a vasectomy, so that hindered even farther, even though we were working out the original problem. He was traveling for work most of the time, too, and got used to just masturbating and soon dabbled in porn. But, we finally got to the bottom of it and have a better sex life, though he has flat out refused giving and receiving manual and oral much to my disappointment.

If your husband is refusing you, don’t buy finger pointing and deflection. It MUST be talked about. Risk the huge argument.


Paul Byerly April 5, 2015 at 1:31 pm

Absolutely – ignoring it only makes it worse.
Paul Byerly recently posted…The Jesus PrayerMy Profile


Dan April 5, 2015 at 1:17 am

It may be that he does not feel respected which causes him to feel unworthy of sex. It’s not only that you may not respect him, he may not respect himself for some reason and that’s an even tougher one to deal with.
Dan recently posted…Her Sex Is Broken and I Gotta Fix It: Part 7 — Combined StimulusMy Profile


Paul Byerly April 5, 2015 at 1:31 pm

Great thought, thanks.
Paul Byerly recently posted…The Jesus PrayerMy Profile


sunny-dee April 6, 2015 at 7:55 am

My husband made a comment that he views sex as dirty and doesn’t view me that way. This was a one-off comment, so I don’t know if it was ZOMG! revelatory or just a thing that popped into his head for a single moment.

It would kind of explain, though, why he has had dozens of sexual partners, and I cannot beg for sex from him.


Paul Byerly April 6, 2015 at 11:11 am

The Madonna/Prostitute syndrome – I totally forgot that one! (Need to go add it)
This can be a general “sex is dirty” thing or it can be about certain acts. I talked to a Christina guy who was in danger of having an affair because he really wanted to engage in something he felt was too dirty to ask his wife to do. Turns out his wife had been wanting to do the same thing, and they worked past the “dirty” issue and enjoyed.
Paul Byerly recently posted…Life HappensMy Profile


sunny-dee April 6, 2015 at 2:11 pm

I Googled Madonna complex after that. The results were … disheartening. Apparently, that’s not a good situation for marriages to last. Guys virtually never change that mindset, and one partner or the other ends up cheating.

I honestly don’t know if that’s it, though. He also blames stress, his job schedule, his weight, his drinking. Any of them could be factors — but even if something external changes, his behavior doesn’t.


Paul Byerly April 7, 2015 at 10:58 am

I don’t know how often men change on that, but I’ve seen it once so I know it can happen.
Past sex can sure mess us up, even years or decades later. Praying for you.
Paul Byerly recently posted…When Average is a Bar Set Too LowMy Profile


John April 18, 2015 at 5:54 pm

I think you need to add another reason: We just don’t care anymore.

For me, after 22 years of sexless marriage (less than 10 times a year – 6 times in the past 3 years, nothing in the past 14 months), I had an epiphany after our last argument. I find I just don’t care anymore – I am no longer sexually attracted to her. She is beautiful, but I am no longer interested in sex with her. I just don’t care anymore.

I figure its because I realized that no matter what I do, or what happens, or how much effort I put in, she just doesn’t care about it. And since we’ve had it so infrequently, neither do I any more.

If she asks, I’ll “perform”, but care? Nope. She’s asked like 5 times in 20 years, so not much chance of that anyways.


Paul Byerly April 19, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Given your situation I think you have come to the most sane decision possible. Sorry you had no better choice.
Paul Byerly recently posted…Feelings Are a ChoiceMy Profile


HT May 17, 2016 at 3:51 am

“Passive-aggressive pushback: If he is unhappy with you and given to taking it out on you in passive-aggressive ways, sex may become his attack of choice. The more you tell him you want it, the more he says no to get back at you for whatever real or imagined offences he ascribes to you.
Payback: If a man has been told no for years, you’d think his wife wanting more sex would make him happy. Often it does, but if he is bitter about being refused he might decide this is his chance to show her what it feels like. Yes, it’s silly and self-defeating, but I’ve had a couple of men admit they did it.”

Consider putting these two at the top of the list. They are frequently intertwined.


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: