Just Because He Stopped Asking Doesn’t Mean He Stopped Wanting

One of the best things about having this blog is hearing from couples who are in various stages of figuring out God’s gift of sexuality for their marriage. Some have celebratory stories, some have heartbreaking ones, and some are in between. I pray for all of them.

But themes also emerge from the comments I receive and the conversations I have. One common thread is the spouse who stops asking for sex.

The story goes something like this: One spouse has a higher drive (HD), and the other spouse has a lesser drive (LD). Spouse HD asks, pursues, begs, pleads, prays, asks, wonders . . . and finally stops. Spouse LD, meanwhile, feels frustrated, cajoled, annoyed, resentful . . . and finally relieved.

LD is glad that the constant demands for sex have finally ceased. LD figures that HD got the message that having sex once a week — or once a month or whatever — is more than sufficient for their marriage. LD believes that HD has matured to the point of not acting like a horny teenager or a silly newlywed. Now they are in a calmer stage of their marriage, no longer arguing about when the next sexual encounter will be or why his/her libido isn’t as strong. Surely, this is much better — not arguing about sex all the time.

Couple in bed, doing their own thing.

Probably not.
Photo from Microsoft Word Clip Art

The rest of that story I often hear from those HD spouses — usually husbands, but sometimes wives — is that they stopped pursuing sex because they are so pained by the personal rejection. Having put themselves out there over and over again and done everything they can think of to appeal to their spouse and have the kind of intimacy they desperately desire, they can’t stand the thought of setting themselves up for more refusal.

Has the desire to be physically intimate disappeared? No. It hasn’t gone anywhere. It still lingers like a hungry person waiting to be fed. But instead of reaching out with both hands, that hungry sex drive cowers in a corner and waits to be called to the table.

When your spouse stops asking, it doesn’t mean he has stopped wanting. (Or she.) It means that he (or she) has given up. And giving up on an important aspect of your relationship is never good for the whole marriage.

Of course we should sacrifice selfishness and petty complaints that don’t really matter to the health of our marriage. But wanting to express and grow our affection for one another in physical union isn’t selfish or petty. In fact, spouses don’t stop asking for sex only to avoid the hurt, but oftentimes to avoid conflict in their marriage. They sacrifice their sexual desire for the sake of peace.

But that “peace” is shaky. It’s not real.

One of the worst things to see in a couple whose marriage is on the rocks is a spouse who shows no interest in arguing through anything. Their unwillingness to deal with issues indicates that they have disengaged from the relationship, that they no longer believe the marriage can be saved.

Your spouse may have stopped asking for sex because he/she believes your sex life cannot be saved.

I know differently. God can redeem your marital intimacy. I know it from the Word of God. I know it from personal experience. I know it from the testimony of others. It is result of the Gospel saturating our lives (see The Gospel in the Bedroom).

If your spouse has stopped asking, and you are relieved because you don’t really want to have sex anyway, reconsider that approach. Your spouse likely still desires you. His sex drive is still hungry and needs to be fed.

It’s not about physical release. If that was all it was, your spouse could have taken care of it himself without bothering you. The reason he continued to bother you was that you were what he wanted, not just sex.

It may be a struggle to figure out why you are not interested, to deal with the physical or emotional issues preventing you from enjoying that kind of intimacy. It may be uncomfortable and make you feel vulnerable. It may take time.

But don’t let your spouse give up . . . on you, your sex life, your marriage. See his desire for you as a good thing, a God-given thing.

I belong to my beloved,

and his desire is for me.

Song of Songs 7:10

Maybe it’s your turn to ask him: “Can we work on our sex life?”

That question could be the beginning of you two growing your physical intimacy into the beautiful experience God wants you to have in your marriage.

58 thoughts on “Just Because He Stopped Asking Doesn’t Mean He Stopped Wanting

  1. mochamomof3

    YES YES YES! This was awesome! So often, I hear Christian women on some of my marriage-oriented FB pages say that sexual intimacy isn’t important, and I am stunned! How can the act created by our Father just for marriage be unimportant? This was a great explanation of the issue, and the point I have been trying to make for some time.

  2. Anonymous

    Thank you for always including the acknowledgement that the HD spouse may actually be the wife. The assumption is that it is the husband, not always so. Rejection hurts no matter which side of the bed it’s on.

    1. Anonymous

      So true!! I feel so alone in the fact that I (the wife) always am the one wanting sex. I have stopped asking. It is to painful to be rejected and then have the argument “I am NOT rejecting YOU” fight. Well from where I sit that is how it feels. We have a wonderful marriage, but this been an issue for almost 20 years now. We are still young (37 and 40) and I keep praying that we will one day be on the same page.

    2. Anonymous

      My husband and I have had this issue from the very beginning of our marriage, and we’ve been married 25 years. I, too, always felt alone because when I was brave enough to seek advice, including from pastors’ wives, the response was always, “I don’t know how to help you.” In the beginning, I thought something was wrong with me, then I began to think something was wrong with him. (I still do, in fact.) We haven’t had any type of intimacy for 4 years, except a kiss bye each morning. I finally stopped asking 2 years ago. Yes, I love my husband, and I know he loves me, but that doesn’t take away the loneliness. I know the Word says in Hebrews to let God be my Husband, but sometimes, that’s difficult to do. Only by God’s mercy have I remained faithful to my husband all these years.

    3. Anonymous

      I finally walked away from my wife after 25 years. I was always the one to initiate any intimacy between us and I always felt like I was imposing on her – she just wasn’t into it – it was pretty obvious that she didn’t need sexual intimacy but she did, for a time, occasionally consent to sex for my sake. I felt rejected, humiliated, frustrated, angry, alone, and resentful. I became so hurt by the rejection that I stopped trying. I waited for her to initiate something, anything, and I waited and waited and waited. Weeks past, months past, then years. I finally told her how unhappy I was and I suggested counseling. She brushed off my comments and told me she thought everything was just fine. That was 6 years ago. Not once since that time did she ever initiate intimacy between us. When I finally left last month, it had been 3 years since we had sex. Leaving was so difficult – I love my wife and I know she loves me – I had never been unfaithful but I just couldn’t go on like that any longer.

    4. J

      My heart breaks with these stories of many-years marriages plagued by one spouse not “getting it” regarding sexual intimacy. I encourage spouses to stay in that situation, loving their spouse as best they can, because I also do hear from long marriages that recover and thrive after years of drought. My prayers are with you.

  3. RosaZ

    I continue to be frustrated and discouraged by so many people I encounter’s misconceptions and negative feelings about sex. It kind of makes me want to cry. 🙁

    I was talking to a friend of my husband and I’s the other day about a marriage teaching that is being put forward by our church that I strongly disagree with. In the course of the conversation, our friend said, “Sex isn’t love and love isn’t sex. Sex is just the frosting on the cake.” This person is a man. A man that has been in two very hard and dysfunctional marriages and has finally found peace and happiness in a third. I was gobsmacked. Sex is NOT the frosting! It’s the leaven! This guy has been on the other side and still persists in this belief.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. Not only you, but others like you. It matters. It’s desperately needed.

    1. Anonymous

      Absolutely, sex is NOT frosting. By sex, the two become ONE FLESH as Father God has clearly spoken. Sex is foundational as far as the God of Heaven is concerned. The other foundation is covenant: I will never leave you nor forsake you…til death do we part.

    2. Anonymous

      My comment is about the analogy, rather than the issue. The cake with icing anology makes the point to teenagers that acting on their desires for sex will leave them dissatisfied because sex is not the cake, only the icing. You might dip a finger into a bowl of icing, and find pleasure in licking your finger, but you cannot sit down and eat a bowl of icing and enjoy every spoonful. You can eat a cake without icing, but you would certainly find the icing on the cake to be the best part. The point is that all the rest of the loving one another and being partners is the cake of marriage, and sex is the icing that makes it so delicious.

      Now the answering comment implies the common misunderstanding that the two becoming one flesh refers to marital intimacy, but it does not. The line “the man shall cleave unto his wife, . . .” refers to the sexual union. The verb “cleave” meaing to part, or in this case, to penetrate. The line about becoming one flesh refers to the union of their two DNA contributions which becomes a new human child, which child is one flesh of their two.

      That has been the great tragedy of the sexual revolution. Contraception (and Hollywood) have convinced teenagers that sex without conception is the norm. Only that’s a lie. Believing that lie has resulted in now over 50% of babies being born to unwed mothers.

      Trueheart12

    3. Anonymous1024

      I wish I could believe that God wanted to redeem my sex life, but its very hard to. God seems to be blessing me in every part of my life except for my sex life. My wife and I are on the “once a month if she feels like it” plan. Nearly every time I ask her about being intimate, she has had a very legitimate sounding excuse for not being able to, so it then makes me look like i’m being insensitive if I push. My wife’s opinion on sex is the same as your friend’s … its frosting to her. It makes me sad, and I have prayed and prayed for God to help, but He remains silent. I even prayed for God to remove my sex drive, but He has not. Hard to know what to think … but its hard not to think that God just does not care about my sex life. It feels blastphemous to say that, but its how i feel …. Dear God … help me.

    4. J

      Trueheart12: That’s an interesting take on the “one flesh” passage, though not one I’ve heard espoused by many theologians. I believe that the one flesh is not merely marital intimacy, nor simply reproduction, but rather the joining of two lives in many different ways.

      Thanks for explaining the cake/icing analogy.

  4. Anonymous

    “When your spouse stops asking, it doesn’t mean [she] has stopped wanting. It means that [she] has given up.”
    Yep, I can attest to this as a higher drive wife…one of those “rare” women who actually enjoy and crave sexual intimacy with her husband.

    My husband is a very loving, caring man, who absolutely adores me and does enjoy making love, but just not as often as I would like…and usually only when he’s in the mood. We used to make love on average 3 to 4 times weekly, but in the past several months our sex life has dwindled to only once, twice if I’m lucky a week. When we do make love it is always amazing and he always makes sure I am pleasured, even when sometimes he is not able to finish, so it’s been hard for me to understand why he does not still desire it more often.

    I did talk to him about my desire for more sexual intimacy and the hurt I feel at him not seeming to want me anymore. He really listened and assured me of his desire for me. He has been trying to meet my needs and we’ve tried to find some middle ground, but it still hurts when I’m really in the mood and he just does not want to. We will make love another time, usually the next day, but then it’s hard for me to still keep that strong desire going until we do.

    So, yes, just because your spouse has stopped asking or initiating is NOT because he or she no longer desires a sexual relationship, they no longer desire the rejection.

    Great post!

    1. Anonymous

      Oh my goodness!! It is so nice to hear another wife say exactly what I am feeling!! I am almost in tears now because I understand you completely. My husband and I do have a good marriage and we are the same, sex is great when we do have it, but I would prefer every other night or at least 3 times a week, he just doesn’t have the desire. I feel weird because I keep reading how all these men feel rejected by their wives and I am like??? What is wrong with me??? Why doesn’t my husband desire me?? So I to have quit asking. He does tell me I am selfish with it, so at this point I do feel like giving up in that area.

    2. Anonymous

      Well, perhaps it is time that we all quit the “hiding” and deal with it as soon as possible. I would walk over broken glass strewn over hot coals for a wife that is interested three times a week. I am despairing over once or twice a quarter. It would seem that ladies, who are alleged to be more sensitive, cannot inflict the crushing pain of rejection they create as well as understand that the behavior drives their spouse to another.

  5. Anonymous

    Yes! Please don’t feel ‘relieved’ when your HD spouse stops pursuing you…I speak from experience! I never realized what depths of pain I was causing my husband (along with other ‘failure’ feelings from his job) and the devil used all those failure messages to nearly destroy my husband and our marriage. Those feelings of failure and not being wanted and loved by me led him to meet his needs elsewhere…first online and then tragically once in person. While we dealt with that blow to our marriage, my husband has also had to deal with that blow to his sense of self worth. He struggles with knowing that he let the devil ‘win’ and he is very ashamed.

    I know that what happened was his choice, but I can also see my role in contributing to what led to that choice. It is only through the grace, mercy and love of God that we are still together and thank goodness I finally “saw the light” so to speak. Our sex life is now better than ever and I see what a difference ‘ministering’ to my husband in that way makes. Thank you J for your posts! Your blog, along with a few others have really helped me to see where I was going wrong, and really to see what I was missing out on all along 🙂

  6. Heather Podbielski

    Okay, I thank you for your insight. My husband has told me not to ask for it anymore. I have tried to abide by his wishes, but still desire Him. I am subscribed to several blogs on marriage and probably need counseling, but any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!

    1. Anonymous

      I too have been refused continually. My advice for you is to go to a sex therapist or a counselor–he or she can help you walk through this dark tunnel.

      I have gone to my counselor for 3+ years and while our problem is still there, she gives me advice and encouragement and strength. In the process of counseling, we found out that my husband was sexually abused as a child by a parent. So, that was “good” to find out, but still difficult in our marriage.

      Please keep in touch with other encouragers, and please get counseling asap! : )

  7. Paul Byerly

    Thank you so much for this! I pray a lot of folks who are relived to no longer be asked will understand that what they are seeing is the result of something dying, and further understand that this death will spread to other parts of the marriage.

  8. Anonymous

    One other aspect to this: Our frequency is fine, but I get tired of asking for some enthusiasm. Just being there for a ‘warm body’ gets old as well. After awhile, the attitude of ‘what we do is fine for me, why can’t it be good for you’ gets old. So often we hear the saying “variety is the spice of life”, well, our bed is not spicy. So just because he/she says OK on a regular basis doesn’t mean all is well either.

    1. Anonymous

      Oh wow, so glad to hear this I was thinking something is wrong with me. I have suggested numerous ways to add spice to no avail. I have not refused but I can’t get interested either which makes things boring.

    2. Anonymous

      totally agree!!
      Even with the frequency and quantity lacking the DESIRE for the Low Level Spouse to be THERE is extremely obvious, rude, and abusive.
      I look at it in a very simplistic way: If a person is interested in something they pursue it; if they are not they simply refuse to put forth any effort to become closer to that; just like any interests a person may possess.
      Furthermore, it takes practice, practice, practice.

  9. Anonymous

    Both of us have stopped asking for it.

    We don’t talk about it.

    We just argue about it.

    I (the wife) don’t want to ask anymore. I’m tired of being the one asking. I want to be pursued.

    Every time I bring it up, he blames me.

    It’s not good.

  10. Anonymous

    When your spouse stops asking, that can be when they start disengaging from the marriage. I know that is what I am doing. Even after telling my wife that, she didn’t seem to care.

  11. Larry B

    Thanks J for this helpful essay.

    The reader comments (from wives) above further confirm what we have known for some time. Wives have a sex drive and it can be every bit as strong as a man’s, or stronger. As well, it is not just about sex. It is about the need for frequent intimacy and the sharing (and giving) that takes place during lovemaking.

    Sadly, Christian wives (or at least the perception of them) have been shall we say “de-sexualized” in the past as too many pastors and priests have viewed sex – even in a loving marriage – as some how tainted or suspect or “dirty”. Totally non-Biblical thinking. Lingering mistaken attitudes are still doing harm in some marriages. That is why it is so encouraging that you, J, and other Christian wives are blogging on married sexual love. Your work is needed and appreciated.

    I am going to share your essay on my blog.

    1. Anonymous

      I also think, as was the case with me, that parents need to be careful when talking to teens/young adults about sex. My parents unfortunately did a great job of telling me “don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it”, but not much else. So when I did give in before I should have and outside of marriage, I wore that shame for a long time and it affected my self esteem, my marriage and my sexual relationship with my husband because I never switched from “sex is bad” mode to “sex is allowed/ok/great in marriage”.

    2. Anonymous

      I think that is a good reminder for me. I have teenagers and I want to make sure they understand that God wants them to wait for marriage because it is an incredible gift he gives married couples, not because it is bad and something they shouldn’t do. Thank you for sharing.

    3. Elisabeth H.

      My parents did a good job talking about sex to me, but the Christian “purity/modesty/sex is bad” conference type of thing that I was surrounded by growing up just didn’t help. I never attended any of those conferences, but my friends did, and I never realized how much I was influenced by our conversations until I was married. My husband and I have been married a year and four months and only recently have I finally switched from “sex is bad” to “sex is allowed/ok/great in marriage”. Not that we haven’t been intimate regularly, but I always had this horrible guilt factor, especially if it was super enjoyable. My husband has been so understanding, and by the grace of God, things are working out. Neither of us were sexually active before marriage, so that is something else we are thankful for.

  12. Anonymous

    First time commenting as this one touched a nerve.

    I’m the HD (male) who has given up asking. My LD spouse would never read this, and I don’t know if it would sink in if she did. LD was assaulted as a pre-teen and has issues (not horrifically yet still quite traumatic), while I brought a habit of porn and self-gratification into the marriage. We worked at it for a while, but child number one arrived just short of our 1st anniversary, and our sex life suffered after that. I was more selfish back then, so I was passive aggressive and worked myself into a depression that eventually required medication and counseling.

    After some rough times we went to a marriage conference, and she said she felt God telling her, “no more nos.” But we moved soon after and it became one no after another again. After the move she went from night owl to super night owl, staying up half the night to watch X-Files reruns; however many seasons there were. I was crushed she would rather watch TV than come to bed with me. Now we make love twice a year if I’m lucky (we went over 2 years once). When we do, she seems to dig it as much as me. During one of the last times I asked for sex and she said no, she also admitted a problem and asked me to pray for her. Months go by with no change and she won’t seek any help; not for her own sake nor mine. No sex even when I had surgery and chemo for stage 3 colon cancer, and I needed that intimacy.

    Our relationship is not balanced. She talks, I listen. I talk, she gives counterpoints. So I talk less, and listen more. I am an early bird, while she is a night owl (sometimes I get up as she goes to bed). I have a career that pays the bills. She goes to school, homeschools the kids, does volunteer computer work and youth ministry. I watch the kids so she can do youth ministry, or sleep in, or go out with a friend. I don’t have guy friends. I prefer female friends, but that has risks…so no friends. LD is in ministry and ministers to a lot of people…just…not to me. I try to serve LD as best I can, but my woundedness leaks out at times and makes messes.

    Work is a distraction at times. It focuses me on something other than what I crave. Unfortunately, when the physical pressure builds, I go back to the aforementioned bad habits which I know are both sinful and destructive. So I confess my own contribution to this mess. It is the path of least resistance because the pain of being rejected…she denies that it’s rejection…the pain of being rejected one more time is just too great. When work can’t distract me and I get to dwelling on it too much, depression starts to creep in follwed by a few nights of climbing into bed alone and crying myself to sleep.

    The worship at my home church is kind of blah. This past Resurrection Sunday (Easter if you must) we went to a big church and the worship there was vibrant and alive. I almost got caught up in it, except I started noticing people around me, and I started wondering how many of them had a spouse that is denying their needs or if they are denying their spouse.

    LD says again and again, sometimes angrily, that I need to be able to talk with her and tell her what’s going on inside me. But how do you talk to someone who never receives criticism because they believe they’re always right about everything? I don’t feel she’s safe to talk to at that level, and I’m weary of criticism and correction. When I state a fact, her immediate reaction is usually to disagree. I’m seldom able to mount a persuasive enough argument to get her to change her mind. I gave up arguing a long time ago, so the moment the opposition comes I’m just whatever and drop it. Sometimes she figures out on her own that I was right and she’ll say “nice one” or “congratulations”, and she means it sincerely without mocking, but the damage is done. Physical intimacy used to help with that, but no longer.

    I’m stuck and have no motivation left. I don’t know what to do, except I won’t ask for sex again.

    1. Mike Vitamvas

      I can relate to many of your feelings. Sex was something we both enjoyed but as time went by I was the only one pursuing and being rejected by your spouse hurts.

      I’m praying that God works in the lives of our marriages. Let us be open to other ways to demonstrate romance to our wives. I don’t think God wants us to give up on sex or our marriage.

    2. Anonymous

      I was going back through some old links I had bookmarked and came across this again. I can’t believe it has been over a year since I wrote this, and I’m sad to say it’s now been two years since wife and I have been intimate. An entire year of our lives has come and gone, and we remain the same. I’m still depressed, still lonely, still not asking, prayers still unanswered…and yet she seems perfectly happy with the arrangement. But there are cracks around the seams too…her short temper with the kids, her endless complaining, forcing the kids to wait on her hand and foot. Can’t say I’m a picnic either. *sigh*

  13. Julie Sibert

    One of the best posts you’ve ever written, my dear friend. Soooo good on sooo many levels. I could echo everything with regard to what I hear from HD spouses as well.

    Spot on with your insights and encouragement. Thank you for this post.

  14. Anonymous

    I am so happy to read through all of these comments and realize that I am not alone! It is unfortunate that my marriage ended because of all of the things that are being discussed. I think that I continued to try and finally ended up not caring anymore. I could never get my husband to see what I was talking about and try to meet me even half way. I chose to get a divorce and have been shunned by my entire family because they all say I am selfish. I do still care for him and I didn’t want to spread all of our personal problems around and I didn’t want to talk bad about him, so I let them think that I was the selfish one and was the one to dissolve the marriage. I struggled with that for a long time and I have come to realize that I am not selfish, we just didn’t have God in our marriage and neither of us sought him. It is a shame because I spent 21 years in a marraige to a wonderful man that seemed to adore me but had no sex drive or desire to please me in the least.
    I am in a new relationship now – it is the 2nd for each of us and we both had a similar problem with our sex lives. Luckily we both learned from our first marriage and we are more than willing to make the other one happy. Both of us had low self esteem because of what we had been through but we realize that and talk very openly about how we are feeling. My new relationship is wonderful but I still have regrets that my first marriage failed. 21 years is a long time to put into something and have it fail.
    If you are thinking about ending a marriage because of these issues. TRY, TRY, TRY some more! Find God, a counselor, a book, a video, something. Go back out on that limb and give things another try. Don’t let pride stand in your way.

  15. Anonymous

    Thank you for addressing the woman as HD sometimes. I feel that hardly anyone (people, radio shows, and books) admits that there are tons and tons of women out there that suffer silently through this.

    I am married to an amazingly dedicated husband and father. He is a hard working man and solely supports us as I stay at home and home educate the children. He’s affectionate, devastatingly handsome and all around a wonderful man.

    But the sad thing is, in our marriage is the humiliating pain of him refusing me continually for our entire marriage.This doesn’t mean that we do not have intimacy, because we do when HE wants it….which isn’t as often as I would like it.

    We have gone through hurdles, he no longer pushes me away or insults me when I ask–but then again, I don’t ask anymore.

    I have been through so much pain and tears. So much rejection. So much humiliation. So much fighting and wrestling with this awful problem. I feel disheartened and crushed by it a lot of the time…..

    We started going to a counselor a few years ago. That was good, but he jumped out of it a year or so into it. I keep going, trying to get the tools to manage. It helps me a lot….to get through it.

    This problem is so complex, so hard. You can’t really talk to people about it,because it seems that no one else has this problem….just really a struggle.

    I appreciate this article so much. Address it more. The women out there need encouragement and help to crawl out of their hiding spaces.

    thanks!! : )

  16. Anonymous

    my wife and I are having serious problems the last few years. Due to numerous concussions I have fallen into deep depression, am experiencing cognitive decline and other issues such as memory loss. The depression is magnified by 20 years of no’s from my wife (LD). We still have five children at home ages 6-16 and they notice the distance between us.

    My wife is always on me about how I don’t talk to her. Well it is hard to want to have a conversation with her when all I hear are complaints or criticism. I have always tried to keep the passion in our marriage. I am the romantic. She couldn’t care less. And when I do something for her she is always saying how I do it just to have sex, ie planning a night away from the kids. I am tired and weary. Twenty years of being refused sexual intimacy has drained the life from me.

    I am currently looking into medications to get rid of my libido. Pathetic that it has come to this. I believe our sexuality is something to be celebrated often. Instead it is something I have been made to feel ashamed of.

    1. Anonymous

      : ( Isn’t it awful how we get to the point with this problem, where we “wish away” our natural sexual feelings for our spouse? Same issues here.

  17. Anonymous

    What a relief to read this. My DH is having some medical issues, and it has affected him. (That’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax. We don’t have the $$ to find out the why and “fix” it, so.) I have had an “awakening”, so I am the HD spouse right now. It’s been a LONG time between intimacy times. It hurts that he doesn’t want to be with me sexually, when I crave being with him. It’s rejection at a deep level. And he fusses that this part of our marriage shouldn’t be “so important” to me, when everything else “looks” good. Part of it could be that I said “no” often when the kids were babies/toddlers, for all the wrong reasons. Then the guilt kicks in with the rejection. It’s a tangled mess. I’d love to find a way to tell my DH that I have a need that he meets, and ONLY he meets, without making him feel worse.

  18. Anonymous

    I am just wondering if any of the HD wives have talked with their husbands to see if there is a medical reason for their lack of desire for sex. My husband struggled silently for a couple of years with ED due to a back injury. He never told me he was having trouble, and because I was the LD spouse, we weren’t having all that much sex anyways, which just made him feel worse. He thought I knew and that was part of why I was LD, because he wasn’t “good enough”. He figured I just didn’t want to embarrass him by bringing it up.

    Once he came clean about what was going on, I asked him to see a doctor and we now have some strategies to help both of us. This (along with some other marital issues) caused us to step back and get help for both of us (for both sexual and non sexual issues) and now things are better than ever.

    This may not be the case with your LD husband, but I thought I would share my experiences in case it could help someone else.

  19. Anonymous

    After 10 years of a largely happy marriage though with only about 20% of the love-making I’d prefer, I have come to a point of not expecting much sex. My wife keeps saying that she enjoys it but yet is emotionally and sometimes physically unavailable for it. The goal posts keep changing. I get none when I am broke because she says she feels insecure when we are low on cash. When there is money I get none because she’s mad about some thing or the other.
    I have learnt to sort myself out (sadly) and mostly because I do not want to go seek it elsewhere, notwithstanding that there are a few overly enthusiastic ladies always bullying me to go over and have “some coffee”.

    1. Anonymous

      I read all these post’s from people. It makes me sad to hear all the stories. My wife and i been married 20 yrs. It seems to me that she has lost all desire for intamcy with me. We are down to 2 times a month maybe. Always to tired or she keeps herself so busy that we are just last we now have to have an appt for it. I love my wife so much, I sit here and cryout to the lord for help in this matter so discouraged. Wondering what is wrong with me, why she is not intrested anymore. I just do not understand. I am also to the point where i dont ask anymore i hate that it has come to this. I just want her on her own to desire me. I would do anything for my wife to be HD women.

  20. Anonymous

    These situations are sad. May try reading Suzanne Sommers book Breakthrough or look into hormane balancing with bioidentical hormones. Sometimes a change of diet also helps. Sometimes there is a physical reason behind the problems. I went to the Hotze clinic and I feel so much better.

    1. J

      I really need to do a post about how hormones affect sex. Thanks for turning my attention to that!! (I’m personally not a big fan of Suzanne Sommers, but that’s just me.)

  21. Anonymous

    I just wish I knew what to do to “take care of” my higher drive, when my husband is totally uninterested. I’ve stopped asking. He “teases” about it, which is almost cruel at times. His computer is more interesting to him than I am, no matter what I try to do. (It is not porn, of that I am sure, just a constant stream of interesting information; I’m a boring housewife.) There are times when I physically need, and I can only cry out of frustration.
    Thanks for sharing about this quiet, hidden issue.

    1. J

      This is far more common than many people think. Pray, try to communicate (ideally outside of the bedroom) how you want to be closer to him physically, and initiate when you can. By the way, you’re a vibrant, desirable wife who does housework–not the same as “boring housewife.”

      I can relate to your desire, however, to take a sledgehammer to the computer. Unfortunately, our technology is addictive and has disrupted far too many relationships.

  22. Anonymous

    I am a wife who is about to stop asking.

    I am only 33 years old, too young to live a sexless married life.

    I saved myself for marriage and feel like I made a horrible mistake. We made love only once on our honeymoon. There was no newlywed period, only a constant stream of rejections from my husband that continue to this day. Couples counseling has not helped anything.

    When I am old, will go to my maker knowing that no man has ever desired to have sex with me. That is a terrible feeling to have. Instead of a gift from God, my sexuality is a burden. If I had it to do over again, I would have remained single, as I prefer an empty bed to a cold one.

    I read my Bible and pray to God for deliverance from this situation. Thank you for showing me that I am not alone.

    1. J

      Something is clearly going on with your husband. Obviously, I can’t say what it is, but this is not typical.

      I couldn’t tell whether this issue was addressed in couples counseling, but it should be. Treat any counselor like you would a doctor or hairstylist; find another one if the first doesn’t work out for you. Also, I hope you have a close Christian friend and/or mentor to support you with compassion, prayer, and encouragement for your marriage. If not, seek that out. Make sure it’s someone who will advocate for you and your marriage, not bash your husband.

      I am saying a prayer for you as well. You are not alone, but knowing that doesn’t take away the pain and longing you have. God put that desire in you and intended for you to satisfy it in marriage.

    2. Anonymous

      Thank you for your response and your prayers. I probably didn’t word it right, but we do have sex occasionally, it isn’t a totally sexless marriage. I just meant that if I stopped asking, we would become sexless, as I initiate 100% of the time. I always feel like he is just doing it because he wants me to leave him alone about it and he knows I won’t ask for a while if he gives in.

      I know this isn’t normal. I have tried to ask him about his past, possible sexual abuse or pornography or whatnot, he just says “I can’t force wanting to have sex, stop putting pressure on me”. I really don’t know why he doesn’t want me. I am not drop dead gorgeous, but I am not ugly either. I am average.

      I wish that I had someone from church to talk to about this, but we are new to this area and I think that it would be very awkward. “Hello, I know that we have only spoken once at the church picnic but can I tell you about how my husband doesn’t want to have sex with me?” How pathetic.

      Unfortunately, I don’t have any close friends here that I can discuss this with. I have a few friends from work but they are the “my husband won’t leave me alone” types so I don’t think they would understand.

      Sorry, I didn’t mean to write a novel. Thank you for your prayers and I will continue to read your blog.

  23. Anonymous

    I used to be the LD spouse, and often just had sex to appease him. It had dropped to once every week or two, if he was lucky, which was horrifying to him. I was tired of him always thinking of him self, playing on his iPod, ignoring responsibility, and in general making life miserable for the kids and I, and being physical with him was the last thing I wanted.
    Gratefully, a blog I read led me to reading “The Surrendered Wife”, and I was in shock. I wasn’t as bad as the author, but SO much of it was exactly how I felt on the inside, and how my husband behaved in response. I am still in the earlier stages of surrendering, but it has transformed the marriage. I now happily engage in sex with him every 2 days or so (and I often initiate it, which he loves; I am also trying to spice it up). In response, his attitude is so much more loving and engaging. I had no idea how controlling and condescending I was, and how large of an impact on my marriage it was.

  24. Anonymous

    Wow….This makes so much sense to me. I’m in the shoes of HD, and as a man…it’s horrible. It is quickly coming to the point where I am just going to give up on sex. Just like in the article, I’m sick and tired of having eyes rolled at me, receiving sighs, getting fussed at and being blatantly dismissed by my wife. It is very painful physchologically, emotionally and sometimes even spiritually.

    Anyways, I’m glad that I read this and that it can be fixed. She never had a problem with the other guys she has been with. So that makes me feel like triple the failure. I do every romantic jesture that I can muscle out of my brain and still it doesn’t work that well to entice her.

    Almost feel like this is all a lost cause, honestly.

    Little boy complaining, done. 😉 I just REALLY needed to get all of that out…

  25. Pingback: Refusal: Just Because He Stopped Asking Doesn’t Mean He Stopped Wanting : Marriage Missions International

  26. m

    That’s exactly where I’m at and how I feel. More and more I find myself not asking for it because I feel like I’ll just be rejected again. Like usual. And to avoid the fight I know will come along with rejection.
    I try, but I don’t know what to do next.

  27. Memyselfandi

    Like so many before I so relate to this post. I feel a little different however. I don’t get rejected and my LD wife doses try to accommodate me, but I feel like that is all she does “accomadate”. She never, ever initiates sex and if I never ask again, that’s how long it’ll be until we have sex again. As a Christian, I read 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 over and over and just can’t come to terms with her attitude towards sex. I read in another post somewhere, and I wish I could find it again, that intimacy with our spouses is an act of love and giving of ones self. Isn’t that what we’er supposed to do? I want nothing but the best for my wife and love to please her, both sexually and otherwise. The fact that I have to always ask, which is a feeling of begging for me, often causes me to simply not ask and give up, as the post describes. After bouts of depression, anger, withdrawal, and very low self esteem, I usually give in and force myself to “beg”. Often after she “does her duty” I’ll trick myself into thinking I’ve “turned the corner” only to be slapped in the face with reality again knowing that she doesn’t even care enough about me or our relationship to step out of her box. It isn’t like we’ve not discussed this but it just never seems to get better. I would love for her to read this post and some other articles and posts I’ve read, but when I’ve brought these type of things up in the past I get the “here we go again, what are you reading now” response. I pray all the time for God’s grace on our marriage believing things will get better. As we all know there’s nothing worse than feeling unwanted, or unloved, or unimportant,, or abandoned by our spouses, but at the very, very least we can take solace, no matter how little, that none of us are alone in this struggle. I pray for us all and ask for true healing in all of our marriages. Don’t give up your faith!! Once we do our quest for a better life with those we love is lost. Peace to you all.

    1. J Post author

      Your story is too common. I’m sorry for the pain you’ve experienced. I wish I could shed light on her reluctance, but I suspect there’s some pain buried in her as well. I don’t know how you can get her to open up and understand the importance of sexual intimacy in your marriage. I am praying for your wisdom and patience and for her to really hear your heart. In the meantime, we’re called to continue in love, through God’s grace. Blessings!

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