What If Your Husband Is Not Interested?

Monday’s post brought up a question that I have received numerous times.  This past March, I ran this question by Dr. David Clarke – a marriage counsellor of 20+ years and author.  He confirmed that my answer was the same answer he gives and therefore I feel comfortable sharing it with you.

So the general question usually goes something like this:

Dear Courtney,

My husband does not seem to need physical intimacy as often as most husbands.  He is the one saying he is too tired or not in the mood.  This leaves me feeling lonely, rejected and confused?  Is it me or him?

And here is my answer:

First, the scripture I refer to in my video on this topic is I Corinthians 7:5.  This passage commands wives to not withhold from their husbands and LIKEWISE husbands are not to withhold from their wives…lest it opens a cracked door in the marriage for Satan to tempt one of the spouses to fall.

So if your husband is withholding from you – Biblically he is wrong.

Okay, determining that he is wrong is the easy part.  But determining WHY he is doing this is the more difficult part.  Statistically speaking, 20+% of women say that their husband needs to make love less often than they do.  So if you are feeling this way you are not alone.

Here are 3 reasons why your husband may not be as interested as you are:

1.  He is under a high level of stress, depression, in a period of grieving or has been abused as a child.

2.  He has a medical condition or is taking medication that is affecting his drive.

If #1 or #2 is the case, you need to encourage him to talk to his Dr. about this and get help.

3.  He is involved in porn.

I am sad to say that many married Christian men are secretly involved in porn and it is affecting marriages in the bedroom.  I had one woman email me with this very question.   I read the scenario to my husband…he immediately detected that it was porn but  I sent her back the 1,2,3 analysis above.  She confronted her husband and he confessed.  A man can almost detect this better than a woman…because he knows how a man thinks.

Porn is rampant nowadays because there is easy access on the Internet and Satan has made it free! Ugh!  Satan is working overtime in this area and taking ground everyday.

So what if this is you and you are stuck in a marriage with this issue?  This is a huge can of worms that CANNOT be solved in one blog post but I can give you a simplified version of some of the things that may need to happen.

The first time you discover it demand a change because it’s not the first time your husband has been participating in it!  If you overlook it you will enable him.

First, he will need to admit his problem, secondly, he will need to recognize this hurts you and apologize to you, thirdly you will need to understand the depth of his involvement – is this an addiction and for how long?  Finally, he needs to get help from a Godly man in your church along with accountability.

It is important that you communicate to your husband your needs.  Get to the bottom of why this is happening but gently.  Do not turn this into WW III in your home.  Start with prayer – maybe even a week or two of prayer.  If this is a touchy subject and you have had fights over this previously, write out what you want to say and pray over it.  Then find a quiet time when there are no children and your husband is not in the middle of a television show, an email or a nap and ask him if you can have a little talk.  Then open up the discussion and seek restoration.  I am praying for any of you who are in this situation right now.  I know it hurts.  God is with you – lean hard on him.

Walk with the King,

Another article that might interest you: 11 Resources For Wives Whose Husband’s Are Addicted to Porn
Addendum - Thank you for your comments and additions to the conversation -some of you have recommended some GREAT resources – thank you!  Some of you have added a #4 that I agree with – when a woman has not taken care of herself, is disrespectful or makes her husband “beg” for it – he can lose his desire for his wife…but please understand that truly this just leads to porn (or even an affair) – it may take a year or two…but even a good man in this digital world has trouble withstanding the temptation.

This leads me to add…that some have mentioned their husbands have a lower drive…this may outrage some of you(I got a hate email about this)…but the reality is – God created men with a biological need to have it often …all you have to do is look at our media and see that a huge percentage of it is ran by this man’s drive to SEE the woman’s beauty and respond – from comedians, to the music industry, to the beer ads to the fashion industry it is all dominated by this drive that men and women have.

Dr. Juli Slattery (Focus On the Family)  explains this need better here…there is a physical build up of the man’s seed that must be released regularly.  To understand this as a woman it can be compared to a nursing mom who has the need to express her milk.  This is how men were created…and if it is not happening in your man – then very likely #1 or #2 is the reason.  And hopefully not #3.  So, though I received just one hate email thus far…I know others could be looming – I stand behind what I have shared here in hopes that it helps just one woman get to the bottom of why their marriage is struggling in this area.

And let me humbly add that I am not a counsellor or Dr. – I have turned to them for their expertise and am reiterating what I understand them to be saying.  I deeply apologize if in your situation I am WAY off.  But I know that there has to be one woman out there this could help – so I can’t take this down.  It’s with love that I post this.

Comments

  1. allenaim photography and design says

    Thanks for the linkup! I put you on my links page and am excited to check out the other gals! :)

  2. Kim says

    We were having an issue for a while and recently found out it's because my husband's thyroid was under active..I had no idea a little thing like a thyroid could effect such a BIG thing like our marriage but thankfully he's on medication now and things are "back to normal". Thank you for this post!

  3. Lori Alexander says

    I have written about this several times on my blog also. My husband says it can also be that the husband doesn't find the wife attractive…She has let herself go. Men are very visually stimulated so this could be an important part. Just wondering…

  4. Don and Shelly says

    Courney, if a couple is dealing with #3, we recommend a book by Stephen Arterburn entitled "Every Man's Battle." It enables a woman to see into a man's world of temptation while it also give him the tools to walk away from this problem if he's truly tired of his sin. Thanks for this post!

  5. Rhoda says

    I read a book once about a Christian couple whose husband struggled with #3 and their story of how she dealt with it and they ended up having victory. It is a really good book, called 'Affair Of The Mind', which might help a wife who is having that issue with her husband.

  6. Mary H says

    If/when you deal with #3, please:

    1. Don't take it personal. It's not about you. It's about a heart that is believing, or just addicted to, Satan's lies over God's truth. Sex was created for us married folk.

    2. God says the marriage bed is clean, we don't need to be ashamed of a want, as long as we don't bring "other people" into yet – physically or emotionally.

    3. Those with attractions to #3 often already feel a sense of wrongness, especially when they are God's & He is already working on them. Handle them with grace. It takes time.

    I am the one who used to have problems with #3 in our house. My husband kept saying, "I don't understand." & honestly, I didn't really, either. Eventually, one day, I said to God, "I realize that I can not simply choose to stop this. It's in my mind & my heart too deeply. I need your help. I need your view of sin. I want your reaction to it." He has given me exactly what I asked for.

    God has, in all His love, taught me that an abomination is something that stinks soooooo bad, that it makes the 'person' who gets close to it turn & wretch, gag, throw up a little even. That's how I smelled with this stench on me. Now, I can't even watch scantily clad people or TV 'love scenes' without having God's reaction. <3 God has (and continues to, even after so much time) purge my mind & heart of what I had allowed in.

    Now, my marriage thrives. My husband & I have both learned to enjoy 'this' gift that God created for a married couple, as He intended it. It is a beautiful gift, indeed! It is more beautiful & satisfying than I ever imagined. God can do this for anyone struggling in this area. Ask Him for it and cooperate with His help <3

    With loving transparency,
    An overcomer

  7. DoleValleyGirl says

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  8. Jessica says

    I feel like a viable number was left out. But I don't want it to seem mean.

    #4 You've let yourself go physically, and while he loves you emotionally, he's not attracted to you physically.

    I know this can be a factor in my relationship sometimes. Just keepin it real! :)

  9. blindsided wife says

    courtney, i wish i could tell you that you're wrong, but i agree.

    i thought my husband had a low libido until he blindsided me confessing an addiction after 8 years of marriage.

    we're doing better now–he told me after God had convinced him to make a big change–but it's hard.

    kristen at we are THAT family has a great series on this topic with a host of resources.

  10. Michele says

    I love to read your post, they always get to the heart of the matter. I am sure that you get this a lot. I agree with almost everything you said except that our husbands are "wrong". I feel that it is better to say that "there is something wrong". I feel that communication is key to ALL issues in marriage. And if #3 is the cause medical attention is needed along with support.Thank you for posting about this very important issue.

  11. Anonymous says

    Thank you for your blog (this & others).
    I can relate to what you have written & agree with your 1,2,3 and the suggestion from one of the comment posts of a #4.
    Question though, what do you do if he is "only interested" or "limited interested" but nothing more and leaving the wife emotionally and communicationally abandoned?

  12. Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy says

    Thanks for bringing up such a sensitive topic and addressing it bravely and compassionately! I would add a #5 (because I agree with #4 that the other ladies have mentioned)and that is that there are some guys with lower sex drives. True, a rare breed, but they do exist. My husband is not one of them, lol, so I don't know from personal experience, but I do know: a.) I have heard of such creatures, and b.) God has made all of us different with different needs, so surely He has created some men with lower sex drives. In any case, I think it's also important for a woman who has a higher sex drive than her husband to deal with him with grace. Yes, he may be wrong, but that doesn't mean she needs to force him into it.

    Oh, and one other possibility: a friend of mine had this problem after their first child was born. Her husband was there for the delivery and was so completely turned off by the whole thing that it was a solid year before they got back together again physically. I think there was some #3 involved during that time, but the instigator was the whole delivery process. I know this happens with other men, too.

  13. Jamie says

    I believe you should have offered a fourth and fifth possibility – which others have touched on. My husband and I have an amazing marriage, good communication, and lots of fun together. We also have personalities that make me more the initiator in our intimate relationship, and there is nothing wrong with that. I am simply more of a sexual creature – and I think far too often women are made to feel badly because of this. God created me this way, and I embrace it. I've been able to help minister to many women who struggle with intimacy issues in their marriages, because I offer them a broader view of sexuality. God made it! It's worth Celebrating! :)
    Another point along with 'letting yourself go' is putting the children first. Our husbands should always come first, regardless of how many children we have. These are not 'popular' schools of thought in today's society, but I believe they should be talked about much more so that we face the realites they present. I'd also encourage everyone to read (or listen to the CDs) "For Women Only" by Shaunti Feldhahn. I am not done with it yet, but she presents a plethora of information that would be super-valuable to any woman who wishes to cultivate a deeper relationship with her husband. God bless y'all!! ♥

  14. Tami @ ThisMomsDelight.com says

    Please keep in mind that HOW YOU RESPOND/REACT to your husband's confession to #3 is VERY important.

    Explode on him and he's not going to be able to talk to you about his problem. He may even continue in it as a way to retaliate.

    Tell him you love him and forgive him and want to support him in his efforts to remove this from his life and he will be more likely to open up to you and confess when he's had a weak moment.

    P*rn is such a terrible home wrecker. Let's do our part in helping our husbands with this terrible tempation.

  15. Rachel says

    Before having kids, I was a therapist (still am really). While in grad school, I co-led a po*n addiction group. I was the only woman in the group. Long story short it was a good and enlightening experience.

    God did create sex to be good. :) #3 gives men the wrong idea of sex and what women are like.

    Because of the internet, it is so much "easier" to go further into it that ever before.

    Thank you for sharing about this topic that is so uncomfortable for many.

  16. cindy says

    I am glad you shared and ladies we need to wake up and smell the coffee # 3 I am afraid is happening more than we want to admit in my life 2 in every 5 marriages of the circles I associate with have this as an issue in their marriages and ladies we have all been to church for years it almost seems # 3 goes on just as much in the body of Christ than in the world sad but we need a wake up call and I am thankful to you Courtney for obeying God and sharing on a topic that needs to be talked about and NOT swept under the rug. We must pray and not cave to this world and if you suspect #3 GET HELP ASAP and seek God every step of the way He can mend your marriage even after this. God Bless us all as we try to keep our marriages pure and holy in the sight of a Holy God!!

  17. Heather Lynn says

    Thank you. I am married to a man who is this way because of #1…he works 80-100 hours a week (workaholic) and is just exhausted. It is HARD not to feel rejected by his lack of "need". But, when he has time off it is WAY different, so I know what it is.

    I also acknowledge that he is not attracted to me like he used to be. He has said so. (Weight gain) I also do not strive to make myself pretty in his eyes. I get stuck in a "he should love me and find me beautiful just as I am" mentality.

  18. Christin @ Joyful Mothering says

    Courtney,
    I stand with you on all of this, and under your Addendum you stated that men need to release their "seed". YES! My husband has explained this to me as well when we have had conversations on the topic.

    When it builds up for too long (just like milk in women) it hurts and needs to be released.

    Mary H.–I agree with your response to dealing with #3. It needs to be handled with grace.

    And yes, sadly, #3 can really be hard for the "offender" to work through, too. Because they can see intimacy as "dirty" after having to deal with the dirty side of it.

    It takes some real God healing to restore a marriage so if you are or have dealt with #3, seek God every single day, asking Him to help you see intimacy as He does, and not as the world does.

  19. Priscilla says

    I don´t know what to think about it. I think my husband has low s*x drive specially since he stopped his over- active sports life. But, now I´m not so sure. I know he spends a LOT of time in front of the computer and simply ignores all of us, his family. I confronted him before, and that only led to a huge fight. He spends the nights "watching movies" instead of comming to bed with me, praying or just talking. It´s hard for me. I don´t ask him any questions anymore. But maybe he lost his interest too! I´m a SAHM since a year ago and that has impacted my appeareance tremendously. Mainly because I don´t have any money to buy anything nice or even make up. It´s difficult! So keep, praying for us and for all the woman that are dealing with these problem. Specially for those who are dealing with #3!
    Blessings from Costa Rica!

  20. Tina says

    I agree completely!!! Coming from a place where both hubby and I had a problem with #3, I know all to well what it can do to a marriage. The resource I would highly recommend is the peasant princess sermon series here- http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/the-peasant-princess This is what got the ball rolling in the right direction for us. Honestly since we listened and started praying about this, our marriage and marriage bed has improved 200%! Thank you for addressing this subject. I think many Christians do not talk about this because they think its taboo, but look at how much God speaks of it in the Bible. I would encourage everyone to read Song of Salomon.

  21. Becca says

    Thank you everyone for your honesty. My husband let me know a while ago that this is something he struggles with, but it is not something he seems to be embarrassed about or wanting to depart from. This has created a huge rift in our marriage. I have toyed with the idea of seeking outside help for quite some time. After the last few days, I know that it was God is leading us towards.

    Thank you for the suggestion of books to read.

  22. Anonymous says

    I am just wondering why it wasn't mentioned that if he's showing no interest that maybe he is having an affair?

  23. Sheila says

    Courtney, you are absolutely right. I'm writing "The Good Girl's Guide to Sex" right now (out with Zondervan soon), and to do it I conducted surveys of 2000 women and 1000 men.

    In general, in about 25% of Christian marriages, the women want sex more than the men. So it's not always the men who are the sex-crazed ones.

    But that number has been increasing, and the number one reason is pornography. When men are interested in that, they stop being interested in a real person.

    In my surveys, 67% of men admitted seeking out porn in the past, while only 48% of women knew that their husbands had. So a lot of us are ignorant of what our husbands are doing.

    If porn isn't an issue, though, then I'd just add one other thing: men can also lose their libido for their wives if they feel diminished by their wives, or pushed out of the decision-making. Don't emasculate your man.

    And if you can't seem to get him interested in the bedroom, lingerie isn't going to help. Spending more time together as friends will probably do a lot more to build goodwill between the two of you!

    Sheila from To Love, Honor and Vacuum!

  24. Kristy says

    Sad to say but you are right on! The "Every Man's Battle" book mentioned in an above comment is a good resource. My hubby and I read it and it was helpful but God did most of the work – including getting my husband to the point he was willing to see a doctor. A diagnosis and a medication has done the trick. :)

  25. Kristi says

    Courtney, you are absolutely 100% right. I never realized until after the #3 problem was gone in our marriage how much of a difference it made in every aspect of my marriage, especially the area of sexuality.. now that it's gone, my husband is looking at me and no one else… I can't explain it- it's just different. He's always said that I was beautiful to him, but the way that he looks at me and treats me now? It's just amazingly, wonderfully different. I wrote about this very issue on my sex series: http://www.courageoushomekeeping.com/featured/lets-talk-about-sex-baby-part-3/

    And I second the Peasant Princess series from Marshillchurch.org. This has been of the things that has turned our marriage around. I would also STRONGLY suggest professional counseling for those husbands who have been dealing with this for some time. It may seem small, like it's not really a big deal, and you can deal with it on your own… but it is a HUGE deal and goes to the core of a person.

    The Bible talks about how most sin occurs outside of a body, but sexual sin occurs inside the body. Sexual sin is different than any other kind of sin. It's bigger and deeper than you think and if you or your husband has struggled with this for years, it's time for outside professional help.

    I'll step down off of my soapbox now!

  26. Courtney (Women Living Well) says

    Sheila – your input is WONDERFUL! Thank you!!!

    Anonymous – I just added affair to my addendum – you are absolutely right!

  27. Courtney (Women Living Well) says

    Thank you everyone for you input – I am loving the resources you are recommending – thank you so much!

  28. Anonymous says

    For the past year or so, my husband's drive has been much lower than when we first married two years ago. When I spoke with him about it, he confessed that he is embarrassed by his weight gain. I was pretty taken back, since I never thought he would have self image problems…I thought only I would have that issue! Since he shared with me, I have tried to make sure I am building him up, letting him know that I am still very attracted to him physically, as well as emotionally. I also make sure that I touch his actual skin more often, instead of touching his clothing. It's not a huge deal, but it communicates that I love him (and his body!) as they are, unconditionally. I know this is probably rare, but I'm sure there are other men who might be feeling this way, so I wanted to share.

  29. Tish says

    COurtney
    Be encouraged! I love reading your blog and wish we were close friends! You are doing a good work for the Lord!
    LOVE!

  30. Anonymous says

    HI Courtney, thank you for tackling this difficult and sensitive topic. I am sorry for posting anonymously, but, out of respect for my husband, I feel I must.

    He is one who definitely has a high drive. He, too, has expressed the need for release on a regular basis. However, I have also caught him in #3 situations. He has said that he is no longer doing it. But I know this to be untrue. He has gotten crafty and will open up a different web browser than the one we normally use. He thinks I won't be able to check the history that way. He had also had an email affair with a woman from his past. He emailed her and ended that relationship – I read the email – then he closed that email account. He even went so far as to close another email account that she knew about. In addition, he gave me his password for his last remaining email account. I felt much better. I admittedly checked that account a few times after that, but nothing was happening so I let it go. Then one day he asked me to order something for him and I went to his email to ensure the confirmation was received. I found more disturbing stuff there; including a couple of things he emailed to a new email account he set up for himself. These disturbing things included a revealing picture of himself to someone else's email address and two pictures of a woman doing things to herself from his iphone to his new email account. That's a whole other can of worms – the iphone – he is never without it. He even takes it with him to the bathroom. Now I do know that he does play online word games, so I know he's doing that too, but I suspect there are other reasons for this behavior. The two times I have been able to use his phone, I have found text conversations with women (Who work in the same field as he does).

    But here's the kicker, which I haven't seen mentioned here – his drive seems to have increased! I am one of those whose appearance has not improved with age (2 c-sections and hysterectomy haven't helped). He says I'm still beautiful in his eyes; I want to believe him. But how am I to know that he is even thinking of me when we are in our marriage bed? How do I know he's not imagining that I'm one of the two women he's been texting, or the woman who sent him the pictures (my guess is it's one of the two he texted)? How do I know that when he wants to try something new, it's not something he's seen in one of those internet videos?

    I am sorry this is so long; you don't even know me and I've unloaded this. It's just that this is so timely – must mean the Lord wants me to do something about it. But I'm just not sure what to do, other than pray. I don't have much of a leg to stand on, demanding change. I am a SAHM. I have no income of my own. I have nowhere to go, if he won't stop; no money to support myself and my children. I'm not saying I want a separation or divorce, but I have to face the reality that if he refuses to change, my options are to leave or accept it. Thank you for listening.

  31. Renee says

    Thank you so much for posting this blog. It was hard for me to read at first to be completely honest. My first reaction was anger towards you. I thought, "She is wrong. She has no idea what I am going through". I then realized my anger was misdirected. I will be honest, my husband and I are struggling with this. I don't know what # to be honest. I have considered all of them at one point or another. I am absolutley terrifed because we have only been married for 1 1/2 years and we are already going through this. We don't even have kids! I feel like we ruined intimacy in our marriage by having s*x before marriage and we both still carry guilt about that.

    I have talked with him about my needs not being meet and he always apologizes and admits he is wrong and he will try, but it hasn't happened yet. I would say we are VERY strong in every other aspect of marriage. This just seems to be a continuing issue in our marriage.

    It is embaressing to talk about, but I need to. I have been trying to find a strong Godly woman I can speak with but it is difficult. If anyone could pray for us I would really appreciate it.

  32. Clare@peak313 says

    Anonymous:
    Have you gone to your husband, confronted him, and asked him to get help? If yes and there has been no change, have you taken the issue to a counselor or pastor? If you have a chance today, listen to part 2 of the 2 day series on Focus on the Family by Linda Dillow and Loraine Pintus. http://www.focusonthefamily.com/popups/media_player.aspx?MediaId={E0C82002-A0DD-4EEC-8060-220388349011}
    They discuss the "responsibility" of the wife , essence, take the issue further than inside your home (if the home doesn't first take care of it)

    One of my favorite marriage authors, Gary Thomas, posted this once on his facebook and I couldn't agree with it more:(only bc my husband and I have seen this happen in different marriages over the past 6 years)

    "If sin isn't taken seriously & consequences not put into place, a sincere desire to forgive can lapse into a form of enabling that will endanger our spouse and our marriage." Winston Smith, Marriage Matters

    This is no way excuses or gives him a way out, but we also need to look at the situation with open eyes and do the best for our FAMILY and to take a stand against the spiritual warfare in our homes.

    Praying for you for wisdom as I can't IMAGINE what you are going through. My heart goes out to you.

    Clare

  33. AgapeMom06 says

    There is a free resource available at http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com for wives who discover their husband is struggling with sexual impurity (homosexuality, pornography, or adultery) This is a 60 day Bible study and I highly recommend it. Most people are assigned a personal mentor to help them along in their journey as a source of support and encouragement. (I Say "most" because the need is so great that occasionally there are not enough mentors to go around.) The course it called "United Front." There are many other courses available (The Way of Purity deals with sexual impurity and would be a great suggestion for you to offer your husband if you discover he struggles.)

  34. Anonymous says

    Dear Anonymous,

    As a man, I wanted to respond to your post. The first is that while his sex drive might have increased, its not a healthy appetite. Having once been involved in pornography, his drive is now being consumed by fantasies. However, that doesn't make him a monster, just trapped in bondage. This area needs addressed and here are some ways to do it.

    1. Let him know your concerns and that you care enough to want to hold him be accountable. From experience, don't demand to be that person. Ask him to find someone he trusts.

    2. Ask to install software like covenant eyes on his computer and iPhone. There is no way to go around it. On the iPhone, ask to be allowed to lock it down with a code only you know. You can look up how to do these steps.

    3. He needs to know that all of this is done to protect your marriage. Just like you take steps to protect yourself when alone, he needs to protect himself when he's alone. Your marriage is worth it!

    Again, I cant stress enough that he isn't some horrible person. He like a lot of men find themselves in this mess, with no idea how to get out. I am praying for wisdom for the both of you! Christ says "I have come to set the captives free!" Lord I claim freedom in Jesus Name for this dear couple!!

  35. Anonymous says

    This might be too out there, but since some men seem to be very visual, you could videotape yourselves. That way he could watch that instead of #3… but I don't know how many would feel comfortable with that.

  36. Kristen says

    Courtney,
    I think you are speaking truth and I thank you for it. Exposing possible sin in someone's husband can either lead a wife to prayerfully confront her husband or it can cause a wife to defend her husband out of denial, or fear of hearing truth. I thank you for posting this.

  37. 'Becca says

    I come from a very different Christian perspective, so I hope you won't mind my responding. This is a good article with clear and helpful ideas. The one thing that confuses me is this: Are you talking only about situations in which the man is chronically less interested? or do you believe that I Corinthians 7:5 means a spouse must never withhold, even just saying, "not tonight, but maybe tomorrow"? The first is a problem, but the second seems unrealistic to me; a healthy relationship requires some compromise and understanding that desires don't always mesh.

    When addressing #3, I think it is important to learn WHY he finds it tempting. It is not just so simple as, "Men have trouble resisting #3 because of Satan and all #3 is alike." Most men will have been attracted to a specific type of scenario because of an unfilled desire. When you know what that desire is, you may be able to fill it yourself. For example, suppose he's been looking at pictures of women's feet but is very ashamed of this because it seems so silly and wrong to be turned on by feet. If you can lovingly accept that and connect it to your love life, for example by keeping your feet very pretty and encouraging him to stroke them during lovemaking, that could fill his desire. After all, God made your feet, too, and it's fine for him to appreciate all parts of your body in the proper context.

  38. Anonymous says

    I was happy to see this blog written because my husband and I just got back from our honeymoon and we were only intimate twice over an 8 day period. Before the honeymoon it was rare as well, but he said once we were away it would be different. My husband isn't into #3.. and the rest don't pertain to him either. So I feel at a such a loss. #4 doesn't pertain to me.. I run, do yoga, etc. I even taught my husband yoga on a pier over the ocean as the sun came up while on our honeymoon. I don't understand.. and I just can't help feeling that it is ME. We have a new puppy (which we found on our honeymoon).. while in the car he repeatedly reached over to pet the puppy and tell her how much he loves her but he never once even reached for my hand. I feel very alone in this marriage. Could there be a #6 or #7? If I take his hand and gently caress it even he pushes my hand away or tells me to stop. Kisses do not exist between us. I am a very affectionate person and he was too, when we first met.

  39. Anonymous says

    Thank you for posting this Courtney…and for having the courage to keep it up despite the folks who don't agree.

  40. Anonymous says

    I think just as with women, self esteem can also be an issue. My husband is overweight and struggled with this for a while. The more I pursued/initiated/validated him, the better we were at welcoming intimate moments together rather than one of us 'begging' for more than we were getting

    My husband also confessed to battling this addiction since he was very young. It started with finding a friend's father's magazine stash and grew from there. It was very challenging to work through this together but he humbly walked through many difficult conversations, new accountability and restrictions. He understood that he had not only wounded my heart but also challenged and deeply hurt my trust. It took so very necessary limitations and accountability setups to help protect but also to help 'prove himself' to me. We met weekly with our pastor for accountability purposes and our pastor also committed to asking those difficult questions. We tried restricting computer access with codes and protective softwares but much could be undone by himself with very little accountability. We were BLESSED to be encouraged to look into a computer program called Covenant Eyes. I HIGHLY recommend it, as does my husband. It is a program that is downloaded to any computer, regardless of internet access type, which tracks any and all internet usage. The program rates each site as to the potential for inappropriate material/pics/etc. It also has a filter option. One key to the program is that you set up accountability partners who receive a list of the sites you have accessed, along with the rating. The program can only be removed by calling and obtaining the removal code. If the program is removed, the accountability partners receive notice of this. If the program is on your computer, you cannot access your internet without first being logged into the covenant eyes program. It has done wonders. Even now, as my husband as been free of his addiction for 6 yrs, we still use this software for his future protection as well as to protect my mind from going there. I highly suggest the wife not be the accountability partner in most cases though. Allow a trusted brother in Christ to play this role. I think it is too tempting to police our husbands which only creates trust issues and further doubt. I hope this helps someone else. The program is at http://www.covenanteyes.com And requires a small monthly fee. I think $7

    Courtney, thank you for a candid look into such a sensitive topic.

  41. Anonymous says

    I honestly believe that some men just have a lower sex drive than most. Yes, men need to release their "seed" on a regular basis, but I think some men don't get that need as often as others. Before we were married, my husband asked me if I would be okay with having sex a lot – even more than once a day. Now that we're married, he wants it less often than I do. He's a young guy, not on medication, I'm 99.99% sure he isn't into porn (the computer is in the middle of the living room so I think I'd notice if he was), he has told me a million times he thinks I'm sexy and likes the things I wear, I don't belittle him, make him beg for sex or any of that. So your list of 3 things is great, but not all marriages fit into that neat little box. My husband says that sex turned out to not be as great as he thought it would be and he just doesn't enjoy it that much. I do almost anything he wants in the bedroom: any position, any lingerie, pretty much whatever he wants. I initiate. I tell him how much I love him. And still, he has a low sex drive. Your list of 3 things seems to assume that all men want sex a lot, and any time a man doesn't it must be because of a physical or sinful issue, never because that's just the way he is.

  42. Anonymous says

    A reply to an anonymous post whose honeymoon was virtually sexless and whose husband is more affectionate with the puppy than her: I can think of two reasons. Possibly he's extraordinarily inhibited. Perhaps he was raised in a religious home where where sexuality was considered evil; perhaps he was molested; there are other possible reasons for a man to become averse to sex. Counseling in this case is vital.

    Another possibility is that he's homosexual. A good friend of my wife was in her 1st marriage married to a gay man. He came from a Christian home and he got married b/c he wanted to become 'straight.' He carried on affairs on the honeymoon itself and all through their marriage. His parents knew but didn't say anything to her hoping she'd 'cure' him. He died of AIDS.

  43. Anonymous says

    My husband confessed a pornography addiction to me while we were engaged several years ago. With much accountability and humility, he was able to find freedom. We found Safe Eyes (http://www.internetsafety.com/safe-eyes-parental-control-software-affiliate.php) to be very helpful in setting boundaries. And as another commenter mentioned, he also worked through a Bible study/accountability program through Setting Captives Free (http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com/). Both are great resources.

  44. Meagan says

    I just got a chance to read this blog post for the first time. I saw the title of it on my Facebook newsfeed yesterday, and my instantaneous reation was "If he's not interested, you'd better sit down and have a talk about p*rn" So glad to see that is exactly what you have touched on.
    My husband and I are about 3 months into the healing and restoration period after him confessing that he's been addicted to p*orn for 14 years (we've been together 10, married for 7). This was EXACTLY our situation, and honestly, the utter LACK of intimacy in our marriage was far more hurtful to me than the ultimate confession. To feel unwanted/unloved by your husband in this way is DEEPLY scarring.
    I am so happy to say that the Lord has done a new work in my husband and in our marriage, and we are on the road to wholeness.
    THANK YOU for your honesty and for being willing to say the hard things that need to be said.

  45. Anne says

    I still think that, while it's true that porn is a huge issue for men and definitely one that wives should be aware of, it is certainly possible for a guy just to have a lower sex drive. Since God created each one of us differently, with different physical attributes, I find it very hard to believe that He created ALL men across the board with the same level of sexual desire. Just because it's generally true of most men doesn't mean it's always true of all men. Just as there are women with varying sexual needs, I am sure there are men with varying sexual needs. It's true the need for release is physical, but I am sure there are some men who don't have that physical need as often as others. Yes, God created our human bodies to follow a similar pattern, but each one of us has variations, and what is true for one person is not for another. I feel like you are perhaps doing a disservice to the few men out there (and their wives) – even if it's just 1 or 2% – who simply just don't want to do it every night. I'm not talking about men who don't EVER want to do it, just men who are less interested than their wives.

    Also, I think the reasons behind a man's lack of desire for physical intimacy with his wife are a lot broader and more complex than what is presented here. I appreciate that this is a blog post that can't address everything, but I think it would be helpful to acknowledge that there are other circumstances and situations that can arise instead of being so cut and dried with a 1, 2, 3 formula. Nothing in life is cut and dried, not even this!

    And, as someone else mentioned above, there is definitely another option and that is homosexuality.

    I guess in general, I feel that this post leads a woman to be resentful and judgmental toward her husband instead of dealing with him graciously and humbly. It might be wrong for a man to deny his wife intimacy, but that doesn't mean she needs to force him to do it, or be resentful and critical about it. I know that because the tables are turned in my marriage, and my husband is the one who is gracious with me. His needs are greater than mine, and together we work on that, finding a balance that meets both our needs. I know I would just turn around and walk the other direction if my husband was always pulling that verse out at me (although I acknowledge the truth of it!) and telling me I can't deny him because the Bible says so! Am I right in this attitude? No, but thankfully, both God and my husband are gracious with me. I think wives can give the same forgiving gracious attitude to their husbands, even if the worst is true and they do end up dealing with the pornography issue.

  46. Anonymous says

    From what I can tell, I share a slightly different perspective. I'm a believer, but my husband is not saved. We had sex early on and went on to have two children, but the sex was never often. And whenever I would bring up the subject with him, I never felt better after talking to him. I told him that I felt really hurt and rejected. And eventually he told me he didn't have strong desire for me, because he had had sex before marriage (and we waited until we got married to consummate our marriage). I realize my lack of good judgment in marrying a nonbeliever, now 6 1/2 years into our marriage. And I take responsibility for the fact that I was weak in my faith when choosing to go forward with our marriage.

    But after saving myself for 31 years prior to us getting married, the 6 1/2 years have largely been sexless. I eventually discovered a couple years into our marriage that he was deeply entrenched in paid porn. I was filing bills and discovered a hidden credit card with a series of charges. I prayed about it and felt so uncomfortable bringing it up to him. Eventually I did. There was no remorse. He could tell I felt shame and embarrassment by what I discovered, but he didn't really see what the big deal was. The first time, he promised he would stop doing it. About a year later, I discovered new rounds of it. I reminded him that he had promised in the past that he would stop. He denied that he ever made such a promise.
    Before I discovered all of this we did come together to have two sons. But sadly — and I say this with deep, deep, unspeakable pain and sorrow — we have not had sex since I got pregnant with my second son in March of 2007. I've been in counseling off and on for 3 years now to maintain my dignity and determine what are wise choices in my life going forward. My husband says that I'm the problem in our marriage, so he "doesn't need counseling." He said if I was a better wife and better person, maybe he'd desire me once in a while. Just curious as to whether anyone has wisdom that I could ponder with regard to all of this. Thank you for writing this, Courtney. And thank you to any who read this.

  47. Courtney (Women Living Well) says

    Anonymous – I am so sorry for what you are going through – it's heart breaking.

    The next post I wrote after this one may have some answers for you:

    http://womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com/2011/04/11-resources-for-wives-whose-husbands.html

    (copy and paste that link into your browser) I think you need some outside help and highly recommend that you call the Focus on the Family number that is on the link above.

    I am praying right now for you and your marriage.

    Much Love,
    Courtney

  48. Anonymous says

    I know it would not be talked about among most Christian circles, but the use of contraception can harm the intimacy in a marriage. Contraception breaks the union b/t the man and woman b/c the couple is withholding a part of themselves from each other. They have a barrier b/t them. The sexual union was meant to be life-giving as well as unitive. There is not complete union b/t the husband and wife when using contraception. Look up the sin of Onan in the OT. Also, check out the website http://www.janetsmith.excerptsofinri.com/ It explains how Christians have bought into society and the culture regarding sexuality. I am sure many will disagree but Christians were united on not using contraception for 1900 years. It wasn't until the Anglican church broke away and allowed it in 1930 due to public pressure. Now, look what has happened with our culture since then! And we wonder why prn is so popular. Sex can be sterilized and without consequences so men see women as objects to be used.

    Also, Christians talk about giving every part of their lives over to God, but often do not trust God with their family planning. In that, they take control and use contraception.

    I urge you to pray and read the website and scripture "Be fruitful and multiply" and do research and pray before you so easily dismiss me and my comments.

    Thanks you!

  49. Anonymous says

    Thank you Anne, on behalf of women everywhere whose husbands have a low sex drive, for what you said. I get so sick of every Christian marriage book/blog talking about men wanting sex constantly and barely mentioning that some men are different. You are absolutely right that nothing is cut and dried — some marriages (even if they're in the minority) are different. I'm sure this post helps a lot of women, but it was hurtful for me to feel like a freak for not falling into the neat little 1,2,3 list. It was so nice to read Anne's comment and feel like at least one person in this world understands!

  50. Mandy says

    My husband is not only not interested in sex but me also. Married 40 plus years and now well past our prime, I don’t expect alot. And I get nothing! After our wedding night he refused to sleep with me, thats been going on for our entire married life. When we bought a house, he fixed up the lower level with a bedroom and small kitchen thing and thats where he lives. As far away from me as possible. He also worked nights to be away from me. We’ve done nothing together in all these years, he worked through all his vacations, and all the weekends. He took off time when he knew I wouldn’t be around. I’ve had a lonely life, no kids or relatives! I’ve accepted my life and some times I feel sorry for myself. I keep telling myself its not me. I’ve only had sex once in my life so I can’t say I miss it. I could babble on for hours. He seems very lonely, no phone or computer, he has a TV but he just uses it for commercial free music. I would like a shoulder to cry on and be held.

  51. Amy says

    Well !!! My husband and I have been married but separated for 45 years. Married part is the paper work. The separated part is since our wedding night he has lived his life in the basement and I lived my life upstairs. Since our wedding day he doesn’t want to talk to me or be around me. He only comes upstairs to fix things but he refuses to talk other than to say Hi or grunt something I don’t understand. Why has our marriage been this way, I really can’t answer that nor do I know why. He is happy where he lives hasn’t any friends, no phone,computer or TV. Just a loner who is uninterested in me, the world or anything else. I was told years ago if I want to leave that it is OK with him. Also that if I get a boy or girl friend he had no problem with that, just don’t bother him on who it is and what we do. He had no problem with an open marriage. All he wants is to be left alone. Needless to say is I can’t explain how I’ve felt. One thing I never understood is being married and alone. Some may think hes gay or has something on the side, but I;ve hired a detective to follow him and he has turned up nothing. Hes retired and looks terrible lomg straggly hair and a unkept beard. Looks like someone who lives with the homeless.

  52. anonymous says

    I am thankful for this post! I have been looking all over for something like this. {thinking I was alone} I was married in June of this year (2014) to a hard working, great, and handsome man. I never thought I would have to worry about feeling rejected, lonely, weird for asking, broken confidence, and just sadness only 4 MONTHS in our marriage. I truly thought i was doing some thing wrong and I have been working my bum off trying to be the “perfect godly-wife” to the point of making myself very ill and overwhelmed! With not know what to do and so embarrassed, all I have is prayer and pain. I have been so in fear to bring up any of 1,2,&3, I am scared of a fight, or I guess even being hurt by what the truth may be. Though after reading more and this post I am praying for strength and time to talk about this with him. -THANK YOU

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