When She Wants Sex and He Doesn’t (As Much)

It’s a great problem to have: I haven’t been able to blog lately because I’m in a crunch with a book deadline. My wonderful publisher, Baker Books, awaits the latest draft of The Higher Desire Wife, which will be released early in 2025. Since I’ve been steeped in this topic for a while, I decided to look back at the first-ever post I wrote about higher desire wives, way back in 2012.

While I have a LOT more information, insight, and encouragement in my upcoming book (so stay tuned!), what I originally said on this topic held up pretty well. I’d add far more reasons for a husband’s unwillingness to engage sexually, and more advice on how a wife can help her husband get on board, but for what I covered, I stand by it. And I thought it might be worth sharing again, especially since about 25% of marriages have a higher desire wife.

So here it is, originally titled She Wants, He Doesn’t Want (which is a line from the 1967 film Two for the Road, with Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney ).

Men are always the ones hot for sex, while women are lukewarm to cold much of the time. Right? That’s what society, and many churches now, tell us over and over. So it must be true!

No, it’s not always true.

Some wives go day to day questioning what’s wrong with them or their marital relationship because they desire a physically intimate relationship but their hubby doesn’t. It’s the hush-hush secret we don’t discuss that some men don’t care much about having sex, and their wives are silently suffering.

So what happens when a woman isn’t sexually desired by her husband? Most women start to question. They wonder to themselves one or more of the following:

If all husbands are panting and grabbing after their women 24/7 and my husband barely glances my direction when I don a sheer negligee, is there something about me that is distasteful? Am I not attractive?  Why doesn’t he find me physically pleasing?

You are likely a beautiful woman. Your husband desired you enough to marry you. As long as you are reasonably keeping yourself up, your husband should find you attractive. If he doesn’t, there’s something amiss with his standards.

There are things that many women can do to turn their hubbies’ heads (flattering clothes, presentation, etc.), but a man who has almost no sex drive is probably not going to respond merely because you throw on a black lace teddy tonight.

If men think about sex every 7 seconds* and my hubby hasn’t thought about it in three weeks, is he getting his fix elsewhere? Is he not pursuing me because he’s already caught another woman?

Some men are having affairs. But if you have no other clues in that direction, this is probably not the case. Moreover, married men in affairs may continue to have sex with their wives, so lack of interest isn’t overwhelming evidence of infidelity. It is probably evidence of lack of interest, period.

Is he simply not interested in sex with women generally? Is he desirous of another kind of relationship? Could he possibly be homosexual? 

There are no good statistics on how many spouses eventually “come out” as homosexual, but it isn’t common. Once again, if you have no other hints that your spouse could be gay, he most likely isn’t. Lack of sex drive is not a good clue for sexual orientation. 

Does he not find me physically attractive because he is simply no longer in love with me? Does he not want a sexual relationship because he doesn’t want any kind of relationship with me? 

The marriage is not over. If you have a good relationship otherwise, you can most likely improve this area of your marital life as well.

If you are not experiencing a good marital relationship overall, and your sex life is also poor, you should seek professional help. If your spouse will not go with you, go alone and see if the counselor has suggestions for what you can do to positively impact you both.

Got a desire discrepancy in your marriage? We can help!

Is there a medical or emotional problem getting in the way of his sex drive? Is he too embarrassed to admit it? Is he simply okay with not having sex? 

This is the most likely reason for your spouse’s lack of interest! A sufficient amount of testosterone is required for a man to experience a normal sex drive; if he is low on this hormone, his sex drive will decrease.

Low thyroid, depression, high blood sugar, and other factors can also affect your husband’s libido. In addition, negative events of the past can impede a person’s desire and enjoyment of sex with their partner.

If a man was molested or inappropriately exposed to sexual material as a child, it can suppress his ability to engage in appropriate physical intimacy now. 

If I bring up this subject, will I embarrass him? Will he be angry? Hurt? Even less attracted to me? Is there any fix available?

Ultimately, you must bring up the topic if you want to see any improvement. If you are concerned that he will be embarrassed, angry, hurt, or whatever, I recommend scheduling a therapy session with a Christian marriage counselor and addressing it in that safe environment. If you can address it with him alone, select a time away from the children, household interruptions, etc. and find a place with privacy and quiet.

In either setting, don’t complain about the lack of sex or unleash your theories about why he doesn’t desire you; rather, explain that you are concerned about your physical relationship, that you desire greater sexual intimacy, and that you want to address any and all issues that affect your lack of connection in that area. If there was a time when things were better, you can reference a “Remember When…” and explain that you want to experience that closeness again. 

Am I relegated to a sexless marriage? If it never gets any better, how can I remain in this marriage? How can I be okay with that? 

I wish I could answer this one. A sexless marriage is NOT what God intended. Having said that, if my husband was physically injured tomorrow in a way that made it impossible for us to be physically intimate, would I stay? Absolutely!!! However, I understand that being unable to perform and unwilling to engage are two different things. I simply advise that you spend time in prayer asking for God’s help to work through the hurt and the loneliness you likely feel during this time. Sex is not the only reason to get married; there are many other benefits to having a relationship with your spouse.

Frankly, I don’t know if men ask these questions of themselves when they are living in a sexless marriage. Not having yet cracked the code of the male brain—which my husband swears is a relatively simple connect-the-dots puzzle—I still don’t understand guy thinking. (For instance, when a man says he is thinking about nothing, apparently he is. How is that even possible?!)

But women whose husbands have physically neglected them are probably going through a self-evaluation more extensive than the battery of tests given to a patient on psychiatric commitment. It is okay to ponder the problem, but not good to obsess and question every little thing about yourself or your marriage. Address the issue, seek help if needed, and pray for greater physical intimacy.


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