Sex and the Stressed or Depressed Husband

October 14, 2016

in Uncategorized

Last month, Darby Dugger wrote an excellent post about the do’s and don’ts of dealing with a stressed husband. One thing she didn’t address was how to approach sex when your husband is stressed. So I thought I’d address that here. This will also apply to minor depression or feeling defeated, such as getting fired or laid off. It also applies to times of grieving. 

Sex and the Stressed or Depressed Husband

Let me start by saying men vary a great deal in this area. Some men’s sexuality just stops when they’re feeling down. Other men look as if their sexuality has turned off, but it’s still going strong, they just don’t express it in the usual way. Some men may be fully capable of sex but don’t pursue it, while others will be unable to have sex or will need more time and foreplay to make it work.

If sex has always been important to your husband, it remains a powerful force for him even if he doesn’t feel able to face it. This makes sex a possible way for you to bless and minister to him when he’s down, stressed, or far too busy. Letting him know you’re still sexually attracted to him when he feels like a failure is huge. Being desired even when he doesn’t feel like sex builds him up. On top of all that, having sex releases all kinds of feel good chemicals into his brain. Sex won’t fix anything, but it can make him feel a whole lot better – which can make it easier to face difficult things.

When he’s down, having sex may be all up to you. You’ll have to seduce or initiate and you may have to be a bit pushy. He may need more foreplay and he may not be as giving as usual. He may not seem very into it, but that doesn’t mean he’s not enjoying it.

If he’s not willing, there is a tactic that may help some of you. Ask him if he will snuggle with you while you take care of yourself. If that’s all that happens you’re still keeping the sexual connection alive. If his body tells you what you’re doing is turning him on you can switch to something else or do something for him after you finish.

If you’ve usually had the higher interest in sex, him being down is likely going to hit your sex life hard. If sex has been a source of stress for him, seeking it now is just adding to his stress or sense of failure. If this is your situation you must move with great care and plenty of prayer.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and being offered sex when I’m down is awesome. 

New SurveyAre You The Low Drive Spouse?  A survey for women AND MEN who sometimes say no to sex. 

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Nick Peters October 14, 2016 at 5:19 am

As a man, I tend to see it this way.

Something good happens? Celebrate with sex.

Something bad happens? Cheer up with sex.

No matter what is going on, sex is the answer.
Nick Peters recently posted…Deeper Waters Podcast 10/15/2016: Mike LiconaMy Profile


K October 14, 2016 at 7:48 am

That may be true for you, but is definitely not the case for all men. My husband does not want sex when he’s depressed or grieving. That’s what initially caused our sexless marriage. Now that we’re no longer sexless, stress is still a big problem with his drive.


K October 14, 2016 at 7:58 am

I have to add. This post was written for women who are hurting because they are being refused sex by grieving and depressed husbands. Your comment is not helpful. It only serves to reinforce the notion many of us have that we’re not good enough, because if we were he’d want sex despite his depression.


Paul Byerly October 14, 2016 at 9:30 am

@K – As I said above, this varied a good deal from man to man. What Nick said is true for many men, and it’s good to hear his perspective. But I do understand how it would hurt for a woman with a husband not very into sex any time.
Paul Byerly recently posted…Friday Flashback: Wife Protection ModeMy Profile


K October 14, 2016 at 11:42 am

After reading the article again, I see that your intended point and audience was much broader than I originally thought. As such, I wouldn’t have written the second comment.

And, yes, it is hard to hear a man saying, yet again, that sex is the answer for everything when your husband doesn’t celebrate or cheer up with sex.


Andrew Budek-Schmeisser October 14, 2016 at 7:20 am

I’m at the other end of the spectrum – when I was stressed or down, sex was the absolute last thing I needed or wanted.

My priority was on finding a way to deal with the stress through Zen, and the avenue sex offered was a detour – the initial problem remained, and I wanted to address it.
Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 219 – Rooster {FMF}My Profile


Paul Byerly October 14, 2016 at 9:32 am

@Andrew Budek-Schmeisser – Thanks for giving the other extreme. If a man communicates this to his wife it will help – otherwise she can feel like he has stopped wanting/loving her.
Paul Byerly recently posted…Friday Flashback: Wife Protection ModeMy Profile


AW October 14, 2016 at 9:14 pm

Wow, exactly what we needed to hear tonight. Hubby is feeling down and I actually visited your blog to see if you had any tips for sex when hubby is depressed. God is good! Keep up the great work.


Paul Byerly October 15, 2016 at 9:46 am

@AW – Thanks for blessing me with that!
Paul Byerly recently posted…Great Sexpectations Can Go Horribly WrongMy Profile


Charlie O October 20, 2016 at 8:21 am

If we broaden the definition a little, this could probably be good for almost any man. Without expectations, touch him. Lightly massage his back; do whatever he has expressed interest in in the past. Touch releases “feel good” hormones. From birth to death touch is comforting.


Paul Byerly October 20, 2016 at 10:31 am

@Charlie O – Great thoughts!
Paul Byerly recently posted…Is Your Marriage As Good As You Think?My Profile


steveg October 21, 2016 at 1:37 pm

Thank you for the thoughtful piece. Upon reflection, I agree with this post. As a man, it means ALOT to me to be sexually attractive to my wife, especially when I’ve been feeling stressed. Thank you for saying pretty much what I was thinking.


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