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My husband has no desire for sexual intimacy. Where do I go from here?

Published on June 26, 2009 by flgal

I’ve been married to my husband now for 1 ½ years, and before we got married our sexual intimacy was fantastic, and passionate and all the good things you hope for. Almost immediately after we married, I noticed a significant decrease in his desire and very quickly it dropped to zero interest on his part.

However, I continued to invest in our marriage and made all moves – I bought toys, lingerie, anything you can think of that I thought would bring a funk kick into our marriage. I was happy to be married to the man I loved and couldn’t wait to explore our love together and build intimacy, enjoying our sexuality while we’re young. I’m a very attractive woman, and I look the same if not better than when we first met. But more and more I realized that if I didn’t initiate any contact, my husband failed to desire it.

To make a long story short, over the past year he has had friendships with women that made me uncomfortable, and this on top of the lack of intimacy has made me very frustrated. I don’t understand why he would do this, and he is always with me if not at work so I don’t believe he is having a sexual affair (but I must admit I went through that stage and searched to make sure I wasn’t being screwed).

I’ve tried counseling, I made a doctor appointment for him as he simply put it off for 6 months, and all of this to no avail. I love my husband very much, but I’m extremely concerned with our plan to have children in less than a year with us progressing in this fashion.

I’m against cheating wholeheartedly, but now have somewhat of an understanding of how that comes about. When you withhold sex from your mate you give them a feeling of frustration, inadequacy, and ultimately it tears you apart. I see us with children, and picture him devoting himself to the kids with us growing further apart. He has everything written down in his future – what he wants to name the kids, what kind of car and house he owns, what teams he’ll coach for the kids…but more and more I wonder if I am an accessory to this future. Some vessel that provides him the family he wants, yet no thought is given into what I want for the future or how he can also make me happy as well.

I’ve simply given up, and stopped trying to have sex 2 months ago, and we haven’t kissed our hugged since then, as he simply has no desire to initiate anything. He claims he loves me, would die for me, and only wants our future together with our new family. He pressures me to stay at home with him or to always go out with him on the weekends. Yet, I feel tortured as I live with a roommate – plain and simple. He refuses to go back to counseling, and always has some excuse. Whether its stress, a busy schedule, whatever it is I feel that it’s not genuine and he never addresses the problem.

Intimacy and sexual intimacy is very, very important to me. I’ve always let him know this, but now I feel he’s not meeting me even halfway, and ignores these problems thinking they will go away.

If it was simply sex, that’s one thing. But it’s a lack of real intimacy overall.

How long do I wait? I have gone through this with him for a year, and I’m concerned as I’m getting older.

Do I continue in this marriage and make it work? I am scared and I feel so alone.

Thank you for reading.


You've done all of the standard suggestions on may be time for you to something more drastic. It sounds like he really doesn't understand your needs, and there is a chance that it will be many, many years before he does. You may want to do a trial seperation. Take some time to go and speak to a marriage counselor for yourself. Basically, he isn't putting your face in his picture of the future because he is already taking you for granted, and that definitely won't be a healthy marriage for either of you or allow you to be good role models to your kids (which I would suggest not having until this is resolved). Are you prepared to leave him if he can't change?

I can't say why some people change so much after they know they have us, and its sad and frustrating and nerve wracking...but you can't do anything about it if he isn't willing to do the work.

Thank you for your response. I tried a trial seperation after I felt he wasn't taking this seriously (shortly after our last counseling session), but he refused and said he either lives there or we are divorced and became furious that it would even come up as a potential solution to bring us back on track.

I suppose I am willing to leave but I'm scared I'd be making a big mistake. I really want this to be forever, but you're right - if he's not willing to work on this, what chance do I have that this will be the happy marriage I'm looking for?

It makes it so difficult, becuase as a 'friend' he's nice at home and we get along well. He has no problem saying he loves me, asking to be around me. It's such a sad situation and I'm troubled with one day making the decision - no, you've had your chances and now its over....

What does he say about why he isn't having sex with you? He loves you and wants you to stay with him, so it seems odd. Is he tired or under stress for any reason? Do you think getting married freaked him out? Does he have mixed feelings about having children? Did he start taking any medications? I wonder if he's masturbating or if he's completely lost interest in sex. Does he seem to like sex when you initiate it? And a thought that may be out of left field - do you think there's any chance he isn't really sexually attracted to women? That may not make sense, but just in case.

I wonder if something or things right after you got married made him lose his ability in bed once and then he was too scared to try again. Maybe he wants to wait until he's sure he has an erection that will last before he starts anything (which just about guarantees he'll never start anything.)

I guess I think it would be good if you tried one last push to get him into counseling. Set up the appointments, have the person come to your house if you have to. Let your husband know that you really can't go on this way, but you love him and want to work things out. Find out why he thinks he isn't interested in sex anymore or what he thinks is happening - does he think you don't want it because you're mad that he isn't intimate in some other way? What is his viewpoint on this? He must be giving some reason.

Whatever you do, don't have children before you work this out. Children deserve better and having them will only make things more challenging, not less.

I beleive you have in some strange way turned your husband off by being controlling and demanding he acknowledge YOUR rules concerning intimacy at your pace. I also read further in to you tryin to punish him for just not "getting your points" quick enough ans he in turns refuses to give "it" to you sexually as a non verbal rebuttal. The simple math from another mans perspective is this: Women know damn well if they exposed their "to do lists" and "I expect this", as well as the "world evolves around me" personality and character alot of you wouldn't even be married because some men dont like to feel led by a woman as you do a child. Its all this subliminal references to him being the problem but theres more left out that makes one say "Um did he have these problems with women before you?" and why does he shut down? Something in your STANCE on things have made him shut down. Women do it to men all the time after marriage when it comes to sex, and men never yell seperation, never yell we need counseling or try to force into a womans head that she needs help. We men hate when you women are trying to TRAIN us, and thats what the hell your tryin to do but he thru in a twist and now he's unpredictable. He understands what your TRYING to do and your "its all about me perorogative with MY FEELINGS,MY NEEDS," and since I told him already why aint he performing when i snap my fingers? Well you need to get out of his head and let him be the man, he did well on his own in dating and never once needed counseling prior to you , and now he should be taken aback that your playing therahist giving the impression he is romantically and intimately lacking in this area. when you learn how to stop insulting his intelligence and play passive as a role playing mechanism(in the area of sex) or possibly act dumb in other areas as well, he will open up. But by you threatening seperation like a child when you dont get your way because he is not responding to your hints of intimacy the way you want it(and when you expect him to demonstrate what you taught him), and putting all other sorts of character assassination like he's slow- you have and continue to disrespect and insult him. He doesnt like to be schooled or you playing mother. At this point i wouldn't blame him for going out into the world to find some women who he can test your theory on concerning his levels of intimacy. Ladies this is the prime example of how to make a man run. Its not important to always be RIGHT and then be sexless in seattle. You need to learn that your bossy,pushy need to force feed training concerning intimacy has set him off, and he's gonna wait you out. Furthermore, you indirectly showed him as well as others on this site that your punishing tactic makes you appear like your not in the marriage for the long run and its deceptive that your vows for better or worse can't be trusted since your quick to yell "seperation". Why marry someone you gives no credit to? you need to back off toying with the man and apologize for prompting the seperation, and your forceful annoying rhetoric before he calls your bluff. Get you some counseling. you cant come into a marriage and right off the back start dictating what people are not doing to pleae you- alot of us men can take it in slowly but dont like to be battered as your obsessed. He has an animalistic quality to him as the man and if youkeep pushing as your doing to make him conform he's out of there. strike 2

Hi Tyrone, thanks for reading my story. However, I must say that it comes across very strong in your response that this has hit some nerve into one of your past relationships or experiences, and you often call-out items that for the life of me I can’t find mentioned or even implied in my post. I think you have a few good points, but overall it comes across like you’re projecting some past issue you’ve had onto my own story which simply does not fit. I’m secure in the fact that I know I’m not hovering over my husband and demanding he sexually stimulate me based upon some sort of to-do list. I’m quite the opposite of this domineering image you have in your head of me (or specifically someone from your past).

I’ve done everything I know how to do to not disrespect or emasculate my husband, but at the end of the day his lack of any intimacy tears me down as a female. There will be some things I will never understand about men, but just like his masculinity is part of who he is as a person so is my feminine need for intimacy with my partner. At the end of the day, the relationship needs to be 50% both ways and if I failed to yield in with what he wants to do I would expect him to be as equally frustrated. But all I do is comprise and make peace and let things go to realize nothing has changed almost two years later.

Sure men do not like counseling, talking about their feelings, opening up in any of these ways. But it’s been shown to help many couples, and more times than not we hate it too (it’s certainly not fun) but is a last resort when working one-on-one isn’t yielding positive results. And yes, I go to a counselor as well and continue to go even though my husband does not (which I keep from him to avoid any additional frustration). Both counselors have told me they feel I should leave due to this and other issues, but I simply don’t want to give up so soon into our marriage. I just do not see him making any effort to compromise and I’m growing concern this may never get better.

I’m not going to address the other items as they aren’t relevant to my specific challenge – but I can see how those behaviors would kill any mood that might remotely arise.

I want to have an intimate relationship with my husband where we can share and grow together through time – not the latest purse, car or boat. (or orgasm count)

I’m not nagging or dictating my way to a solution, but the ‘nice, quiet gal’ comfort area I live in is not bringing any change in our situation.