Sexual Rejection’s Effect On A Marriage

Sexual Rejection’s

I casually mentioned a trip my husband and I took to a bed and breakfast and she started sobbing. I reached out and took her hand, waiting until she had calmed down before I asked her to share with me what was wrong. It took a few minutes, but she began sharing some very personal details about her marriage. She later gave me permission to write about what she shared in hope that others might learn from her experience. I’ll use fake names to protect their privacy. Let’s call them Emily and Phillip.

“Over the last few years I’ve been heartbroken by how Phillip reacts to me sexually. Or better yet, how he doesn’t,” she began.

They are both in their forties and have children in college. I had always assumed they had a great relationship and, since she was attractive, I wouldn’t have guessed that Phillip would be uninterested in having sex with her – especially since all we seem to hear from media these days is how men are always interested in sex and can be aroused easily. Isn’t it only men, generally speaking, who have to deal with sexual refusal from their wives? I knew better from other conversations with women, but stereotypes and assumptions are difficult to overcome when it’s presented as fact from high-profile directions.

She continued.

“It wasn’t always this way. In fact, it was the other way around. He would reach out and touch me when we both laid down for bed and so often I would cut him off right there. I was either too tired, too stressed, wasn’t in ‘the mood,’ or some other reason.”

Ah yes, back to the cliche’s. She’s too tired, has a headache, etc. But pay close attention to the next part.

“Two things about him rejecting me have broken my heart in the last two years. The way it makes me feel, of course, but also that I realize that he was telling the truth when he described how it made him feel years ago. He would say that it made him feel ugly, unwanted, and unloved. He described other things he felt such as being embarrassed and feeling that I wasn’t attracted to him. I remember rolling my eyes, thinking that the only thing that really bothered him about me rejecting him was that he wasn’t going to get the sexual release he wanted. I was wrong.”

I remember her tearing up at this point and being unable to continue for a few minutes. But some tea and my gentle words got her talking again.

“I couldn’t blame him if it was revenge. Sometimes I get out of the shower, and take my time putting the towel around me while he’s brushing his teeth or shaving but he barely even glances my direction. I recognized the look on my face in the mirror as the same one on his ten years ago. And I absolutely do feel ugly, unwanted, and unloved. I feel like my body is unworthy of his attention. He must have felt the same way ten years ago when he watched me show more interest in my makeup than my unclothed husband walking out of the shower.”

Again, tears before continuing.

“But he’s nicer about it than I was. Maybe because he knows how it feels. He hasn’t mocked me for feeling rejected. Or accused me of ‘only wanting one thing.’ In fact, he has apologized for saying ‘no.’ He has reacted sometimes by hugging me, but a kind rejection is still a rejection. It’s humiliating to beg, but I’m to the point I’m willing to try anything. I even blame myself. Maybe if I hadn’t made sex so difficult for him to get over the years, he wouldn’t have reached the point to where he didn’t bother to try and, then, to where he stifled the desire and pushed it away so that he wouldn’t have to deal with the pain of being rejected repeatedly by the person who was supposed to be rejecting all others for him. What a fool I was. I always liked it when we had sex. I’d say yes to laundry, the dishes, house work, and going to the gym, but for some reason I was too tired for sex, even though I liked it. Looking back from this point though, I remember how close I felt to him afterwards and how passionate I felt while we were making love. I have no idea why I seemed to forget that and why I made it so difficult for him. I tossed away something that brought us closer together and refused to do something that brought him such joy. Now I’m on the other side and I am miserable because of how it makes me feel and because of how guilty I feel for doing it to him years ago.”

I had some thoughts for her and they are the same I’ll share with you.

If You Are The One Being Rejected

I am so sorry for what you are going through. I encourage you to refer your spouse to this article because I believe that thinking through some of this will be helpful. It is likely that your spouse doesn’t see rejecting you for sex as equal to telling you that he/she is not attracted to you. It’s inconsiderate, yes, but it’s also most likely in part from ignorance and that is something I truly hope I can help by sharing Emily’s story. Do your best to be patient and to make sex as pleasurable as possible for your spouse. Work to eliminate their excuses, if possible, because the more sex that you have with them the more likely it is that he/she will have renewed desire. Above all, I want to refer you to a free e-book that we provide called, “How To Stop A Sexless Marriage.”

If You Are The One Rejecting Your Spouse

Please take what I’m about to say into honest consideration.

This is the person who you shouldn’t reject, ignore, or “turn down.” Marriage is supposed to be acceptance by definition! Study after study has indicated that, not just the quality of sex, but the quantity, leads to feelings of happiness, connectedness, closeness, and commitment. Having sex often and passionately is an extremely positive thing for your marriage!

Though you should be placing your spouse above yourself, if you aren’t there yet, consider your future self. Life’s responsibilities and stresses shift and even if you don’t prioritize sex as you should now, it’s likely one of those “shifts” will, one day, also shift your sex drive meaning that you might be the one left out in the cold due to your spouse’s feelings of resentment, distance, or simply finding some way to do without because of your rejection. Consider the following quote from Emily:

“I’ve been surprised by what I usually feel immediately following his rejection. I don’t immediately feel a shot to my ego, though that usually comes later. I didn’t immediately feel anger because I wasn’t going to get the sexual release I felt I needed, though that usually comes later as well. What I did feel immediately was that I was unloved and unwanted. It was then that I realized I had trained him not to want me. I did that by giving him two choices. One, to hurt. Or the other, to find a way to ignore his desire until he simply didn’t want me anymore. Over time, he had no choice.”

I know you don’t want your spouse to feel “unloved and unwanted,” but I’m here to tell you that if you are consistently rejecting him/her for sex, those are things your spouse almost certainly feels. And, unfortunately, that is how sexual refusal and rejection affect a marriage. It’s very bad and will most likely create distance and resentment over time. At some point in your future, it’s likely you won’t regret perceived failure to keep up with household chores, or not getting twenty more minutes of sleep, but it’s likely that you will regret rejecting the person who has stood by your side and who shares life with you. I write this to encourage you to bring refreshment, connectedness, and intimacy back to your marriage by making a commitment to sexually fulfill your spouse (and yourself). It’s your spouse, after all, who should enjoy such fulfillment from you and vice versa.

-Marie Wellmond

P.S. – If your marriage is in danger of separation or divorce, call us at (866) 903-0990 to speak with someone or use the form below to request more information about our Marriage Helper 911 workshop for troubled marriages. We can help you save your marriage even in cases of infidelity, loss of trust, anger, sexual problems, and other issues. (If you’re thinking your spouse would never come, contact us by phone or the form below and we’ll tell you what others who felt the same way did to get their spouses there.) We will keep everything you tell us completely confidential. Our motivation is to help you determine if this workshop is right for you and your particular situation.

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  1. October 10, 2014    

    As a low libido wife who did not put value in our sexual intimacy, I can tell you it leads down a bad road. Frankly, I was just as miserable as he was, but for different reasons. Bedroom issues are often a symptom of other emotional conflict. Addressing the bedroom issues helped us focus on emotional issues, as well. In our situation it was win-win. I was motivated to work on sexual intimacy when I saw how motivated he was to work on our emotional intimacy. There is hope if your marriage is in this situation. It just takes a lot of open and honest and nonjudging dialogue. Plus, there are tons of other resources here.

  2. Dan Dan
    October 11, 2014    

    There is NO WAY quantity is ever above quality!!! No woman wants to lie there and be used like a spittoon. Ever. A man can control himself long enough to provide a quality love making experience for his wife. If not, then he has no right to complain because he is the one not giving his wife her due rights. I am so sick of hearing men complain when truly – all they want is a masturbation tool. Most men will go masturbate in the shower if the wife won’t give them what they think they’re entitled to. That’s how little men think of the sexual experience. Be it self-sex or using their wife – they really don’t care which. No wonder so many wives are feed up. As a man and a husband, I don’t want ‘duty sex’. I will not and do not want to be involved in sex if my wife is not also involved. If that means limiting myself so she can have the better enjoyment, then so be it. That’s what love is – giving up self.

    • Pat Pat
      October 11, 2014    

      Biased much? You don’t speak for every man. This article was written by a woman by the way and she wasn’t suggesting anyone be used as a “masturbation tool.” Nothing even close to that was ever suggested. She lamented that she now knew what it felt like to be sexually rejected and how it hurt. Does that mean she was just wanting to use him as a masturbation tool? No. After reading your post I wonder if you even read the article. And by the way, she didn’t say quantity was more important than quality. You built that straw man and then tore it down. She simply said that quantity and quality were both important. Again this article is about a woman being sexually rejected by her husband so I think you are confused as to the subject matter.

      • WF WF
        October 22, 2014    


        I agree with where you are coming from. Duty sex is unacceptable. But compare sex to food for a minute. If you eat daily it is very easy to enjoy a 5 course gourmet meal. If you are starving to death, you don’t care whether your next meal is gourmet or McDonalds. Women need love to have sex, Men need sex to have love.

        The point is that BOTH the husband and wife should want a healthy and satisfying sex life. When that does not happen there are always marriage problems.

        There has to be reasonable compromise and balance. It is selfish of me to expect my wife to want sex everyday. It is selfish of her to say no everyday for 2 weeks straight.

        “That’s what love is – giving up self.” This applies to BOTH spouses. I love her so I will do without is a fools thinking. If she loved you and felt the same she would do the same. Not out of pity but out of love. It is wrong to force your spouse to have sex(rape), It is also wrong for your spouse(the one you promised to forsake all others for,,,etc) to unilaterally decide marital relations or lack thereof.

        • Glory Glory
          March 18, 2015    

          Dan, You are a one in a million man. I totally agree with your emphasy on selflessness in a marriage. Both the man and the wife should always meet in the middle. Sex and marriage is meant by God to be enjoyed not endured. I am also going through rejection from my husband after we just came back from an eight years seperation in which I have been alone and very lonely. I have tried in the last 18months to have sex with him but it has been no. He is the one who cheated on me over and over again in the 20years we’ve known each other but now we are still not having sex even though we sleep together on the same bed. I am tempted everyday to have an affair because my body is really burning up. I am a christian and this is what has kept me going. Now as a human, am fed up of waiting. I feel I have reached my limit. 8 years without sex or a man in my life is so frustrating.
          Dan, God bless you for your input and I pray for you and your wife that your love and strength will grow stronger.

        • Robert Robert
          January 7, 2016    

          Duty sex sounds unacceptable until we read and accept God’s plan.

          1 Corinthians 7, says “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her. And likewise the also the wife to her husband.” The root word of the word DUTY is DUE. God is saying, yes, it may be a duty, but a great one. Depriving one another sets up rejection, pain, temptation and is out of God’s design. Even if a couple has duty sex, long after their libido falters, they are pleasing to God & keeping connected.

      • Shannon Shannon
        February 14, 2015    

        Great response to Dan.
        I am a man and I believe my wife could have written this article except for the fact that I am still interested but still feeling rejected but I’m getting there.
        I don’t think she even has enough interest to read this entire article and relate it to herself.
        I sent this to her and her response seemed to be that she doesn’t think she does reject.
        She has said that once a month would be enough for her. I said well good luck finding another man who will accept that and I’m getting to the point that I’m also not willing to accept that.

        • May 2, 2016    

          Could it be something emotional for her? Or even physical? Does she hurt when you two have sex? Has she had her hormone levels checked? My husband and I were having the same problem. He’s an every day man and I’m a couple of times a week woman. As a result, it seems like I’m always telling him NO.
          When I realized I really didn’t care if we did have sex, I went to my gym and found out that my levels of testosterone were basically nil.
          Also, if she was in a relationship with a man before the 2 of you married, it very well may be emotional and she doesn’t even know it. Women can feel guilty for having sex outside of marriage and it causes them to have a sort of negative association with sex at all, even with their husband. That was part of my problem as well.
          My husband told me that it wasn’t just having sex to have sex for him, that it was his way of showing me he loves me and that I am important to him.
          We don’t have all our problems worked out yet, but we are both trying. I hope that you and your wife can work this problem out together. God bless!

      • Happily married Happily married
        July 12, 2015    

        What you say is 100 percent true of single men. We don’t marry a living sex toy. That is very shallow, irrational, andopinionated of you to say. I mean no offense, as I’m sure someone in your past may have made you feel this way and shame on him. That is not a man. That is a boy who never grew up and knows nothing of how to love or treat a woman. Men want to pleasure their wife. Not use them for their own. I’m sorry for your pain that formed this opinion.

    • glitch104 glitch104
      October 23, 2014    

      I am so grateful for your comment and perspective because it rings so true. From a woman’s perspective I feel this is pretty darn accurate. I am not proud of this but I am the one rejecting. I do so because sex is so unsatisfying due to my husband’s lack of “control” to last longer than 3minutes. He blames it on lack of regular sex, however even when it’s multiple times a week for a few months but roughly every other sexual encounter he releases within those 3mins tops. So then I recluse back to avoiding sex and his advances because there is nothing enjoyable about his quick release and I’m being left frustrated, angry and resentful like a used human sex doll. So he handles things in the shower and I handle myself in my own ways. It’s a nasty cycle but he hasn’t done anything to try and rectify this issue. It’s even beyond the point of trying to discuss it because it’s become the overly beaten dead horse.

      Anyways sorry for rambling, I just appreciate and wholeheartedly believe in your reply to the article.

      • Lola Lola
        October 13, 2015    

        Oh glitch104. I’m so glad you wrote this. This was exactly my first marriage. It was horrible. And it was my fault too that he was a 30 second man. I couldn’t research and try enough ways, and he simply didn’t see the problem. Our marriage ended after 15 years. I’m now just newly remarried, and my husband has no interest anymore. He blames work, stress, money, kids, ex-wife, etc etc. I try. I try so hard. But we’ve been married for almost 3 months and we’ve had sex maybe 6 times. I almost left him on our honeymoon because 2.5 weeks in and we hadn’t had sex since our wedding night. I was so ashamed to be possibly the only bride ever that had to masturbate on her honeymoon. I’m heart broken. I don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m ugly and that I must smell bad and that I don’t perform well or that I feel bad inside. I am just absolutely heart broken.

    • shilo day shilo day
      July 8, 2015    

      Thank You for your comments. Greatly appreciated.

  3. Liz Liz
    October 22, 2014    

    I am the one being rejected. I never rejected him early in our marriage. It has been a year and 9 months. I feel ugly, unwanted, and resentful at this point. I do not understand…. I have told him these things and he simply refuses. I’m at a loss.

  4. Maela Maela
    October 24, 2014    

    Thank you for this article, it actually brought a little tear to my eye to realize how I might be making my partner feel by rejecting him too often. My problem stems from not feeling confident or sexy, as well as the clichéd tired/stressed/not in the mood excuses. However he works just as hard as I do, and deserves to feel loved and appreciated because he truly is.

  5. October 25, 2014    

    How many folks still believe in the Bible? One of the vital reasons advanced for getting married in the holy book is to have legitimate sexual fulfilment (as against fornication or adultery). Read 1Corinthians chapter 7 vv 2 – 4 where mutual benevolence in sex premised on the fact that married couples’ bodies belong to their partners is commanded. Rejecting your partner sex violates this core reason for marriage and may compromise its purpose of sexual fidelity as the deprived couple may be tempted to cheat. Glitch14 says her husband doesn’t last long enough to satisfy her, so she refuses him. This sounds like her husband is at fault which, I believe cannot be true. In fact, I see it as a weak excuse for refusing her husband sex because it is a minor problem which they both can work together to overcome. If she doesn’t know, a man who can last three minutes is OK by many women except those who have been brainwashed by the media that a woman must achieve orgasm to enjoy the sex.

  6. Charles Charles
    October 25, 2014    

    Emily’s story is very sad, I feel bad for her but worse for her husband. Even sadder is this may be my wife’s story soon. I don’t know how much longer I can go but I’m to the point I’ve stopped asking because I’m worn down from the constant rejection.

    • Julie Julie
      July 18, 2015    

      I feel sad and unattractive. My husband started working at a hotel a year ago and our marriage is failing I try telling him but he just blows it off. I am lucky if he is intimate with me two to three times a month. And if I try to make a pass at him I get I am not in the mood or too tired. Rejection is just messing up my mind. Then after I cry he replies come on let’s do it. Total turn off. I have ask him several times are you seeing someone else or interested in someone. We have been together for 14 years. And never had this problem. But my gut feeling really thinks he is not being honest with me. Any advice.

      • Charlie Charlie
        September 6, 2015    

        I came here seeking answers to my wife’s rejection of me; so with a grain of salt my advice. There are many reasons why a partner can lose interest with intimacy, another partner is seldom the cause.

        To find out what dynamics in a relationship are amiss, there needs to be clear communication about the issue (lack of interest) and the effect (pain and confusion of rejection). Your partner may also not have a clear understanding of why their feelings/actions have changed. When you don’t know what to do, doing nothing (avoidance) is the easiest choice. Whether its biological or psychological, requesting that your husband talk with his general practitioner about the issue is a starting point. All you can do is be direct and open about the pain and confusion of rejection that you have been feeling.

        There is a TED talk on youtube ‘ Esther Perel: The secret to desire in a long-term relationship ‘ where she talks about the lose of intimacy of close relationships over time. We realized that my wife and I were so completely involved in each other’s lives that there was no room for desire. We relied on the other for so much friendship and support that she became annoyed/apathetic to me for my lack of happiness with my job, my late night movie watching, and with my friend circle of guys that she didn’t find interesting.

        So we worked on being less involved in the daily minutes of each other’s lives, worked on being more self-sufficient and less reliant on the other’s approval; our intimacy improved. My wife still has issues compartmentalizing work life and home life with a toddler; and I still find more than a week of rejection to be a soul-crushing pain; but it occurs much less often now.

  7. Bill Bill
    November 18, 2014    

    I have been married for almost 30 years now and been with my wife for another 2 years before that. Our sex life had always been fabulous …. the connection and oneness we felt was intense. Her desire for intimacy over the last 10-12 years has diminished to the point that there has been no intimacy at all for the last 2 years, so, I am the one experiencing the rejection and the pain! It causes me to feel a lack of confidence in who I am as a man in everything I do. The lack of “connection” has pushed me to do things that I normally would not! I joined a dating site and ended up meeting an awesome woman in all ways! A limerance as I have read here. She feels the same about me but, has been sticking to her’s and my virtues and respects my marriage. So far there has been no infidelity, but the lack of passion and intimacy can no longer be satisfied in the shower or in my dreams. She constantly rejects me and barely even kisses me any more! This really hurts deeply to the point I sometimes have to hide in the bathroom to hide my tears. Unless you experience this pain of rejection it appears to me that you cannot really identify with how deeply the affects on a person can be. My work, my focus, my response to stress, how I handle kid situations, how I respond to every day things going wrong, all are affected and a person’s normal reaction becomes shifted to the point where you don’t even recognize yourself because anger comes through at the smallest inconvenience!! You begin asking yourself, What is wrong with me? Why am I undesirable? Am I just to old and ugly now? but, then someone like my friend comes along and she says your awesome and sexy etc, etc, etc ….. and you feel alive again only to know that it will go no where because your trapped with a person that just doesn’t really care about trying to make it work anymore. It’s more than just sex when your spouse is the person you wish to share this gift with and I can’t understand how it is so obvious to me and not to the people that are doing the rejecting!!! Sorry to be rambling here, I am just extremely frustrated and about to give up!

    • Paige Paige
      November 24, 2014    

      I completely agree with this comment. I have been married for 13 years and even on my honeymoon had to coax sex from my husband. I knew there was a problem then, but thought time would make us more compatible lovers. I have not had sex in nearly 6 years. In fact I have only had sex about 6 times in the past 13 years. I have tried everything – counselors etc. Nothing has helped and I have filed for divorce. Now my husband says he wants to try and I am conflicted. I want to try too, but my heart is so hard and I don’t believe that any change on his part will really last. I am in deep prayer over this and feel the pain of your comment so closely. I will add you and your wife to my prayers.

    • Brook Brook
      February 11, 2015    

      Bill. Please talk to your wife as candidly as you are doing here. Don’t yell or argue, talk with care and love. If not your emotional affair will soon turn intimate, and speaking from experience the pain that it causes is like nothing you could ever describe. Hope it all works out for you, praying for you

      • Bill Bill
        May 5, 2015    

        Thank you for your prayers! I am continuing to try and make this work. Today I forwarded this link to her email. I will never know if she actually reads it or not so will just have to hope for the best. One of the most frustrating things is the fact that she won’t even talk about it!!!

        I just need to find some solution to get a dialog going and make some thing change somehow. I am still a very active and viral person and most women I know indicate that I’m very attractive to them. Many say how lucky my wife is to have me. With the constant rejection I find that hard to believe.

        I’ve tried most of the suggestions from various marriage help websites and guides but they don’t seem to make a difference. I clean the house, cook, pay for everything (including her ss and income tax), do the laundry, yard work, repair everything around the house, try to make time to invest with my teenage son. So, the stress of these things are not in her life, but it still makes no difference. I try to take her out for a nice dinner and a show and give her flowers etc, etc, etc ….. She just says ” I’m tired” if I get any response other that pushing me away. That feeling just crushes me. Other women at work see and hear about this and they make comments like “wish I was married to you” How do you get past this ???? Oh well, guess this is just ranting on a website.

        Thanks again for your prayers!

        • kay kay
          September 20, 2015    

          Whar if you have rejected your husband so much that now he has gad enough and rejected me? He says our marriage is over and he is moving out! I am so full of guilt and regret but he saysno

  8. Heavy heart Heavy heart
    November 26, 2014    

    Wow, are we any different then unbelievers? When we are the focus and not Christ we become a pity party and Satan loves to discourage us. I was the no person for years controlling positions, time, excuses, past hurts etc.. Thanks be to God I’m working on not being that cold selfish wife. Hold fast to the truth. I have to say that it was easier for me to reject my husband when I didn’t hear or see the outcome of my sin. Sin likes to hide. Expose the wife with love. Bring in another older woman to teach your wife. If she’s born again with a new heart she should have a desire to change. Ask her if she knows Christ personally.
    Sad to see men escape into web sites or self grat. And women escape into romance novels or high expectations.

  9. Laura Laura
    December 30, 2014    

    I am still rejected and deprived! We’ve been married for 23 years now and he started doing that about eight years ago! I tried to understand my husband! Asked him reasons. But he would simply answer I am not in the mood! But what makes me feel real devastated is, we works abroad and we physically see each other every nine months! I am still loyal and faithful to him, but I don’t know until when! I am losing interest having sex with him and just pretending I am longing for him to touch me. Never did I say NO if he wants or likes to have SEX. I believe I am still beautiful and attractive. Opposite sex still turns their head on me and female friends envy my figures at my age, 50! I am very concious how I smell because I want to look and feel good…. not for anybody else just for myself because I don’t want to loose my self esteem!

  10. JRL JRL
    January 2, 2015    

    My wife and I have just celebrated 10 years of marriage. Unlike our 6 years of dating with great and fairly regular sex, she developed the wedding cake disease(not interested in sex anymore) almost from the start and gradually got to the point where it is almost non existent. I am in love with her, so I just accepted this as our new reality. (most/ many men joke of lack of sex, so I thought this was a normal situation) Without going into detail, recently, I suspect/discovered that she is having/had an affair with another married work colleague. She denies everything of course but my little voice says something is not quite right. She has also recently announced to me that she suffers from endometriosis and sex is painful and that I shouldn’t expect any amount of sex in our future(not that there was much to this point). She seems to feel better when ever she is about to go on a business trip where this colleague will be present. This would be enough for most to seek a divorce but I believe 100% in the wedding vows we both took 10 years ago. Many would call me a fool…I chose the road less travelled and will do everything to save my marriage at least until the day she looks me in the eyes and tells me it is over. I wonder for everyone else on this blog who are suffering from sex rejection, if infidelity is a possibility?

    • Kimberly Holmes Kimberly Holmes
      January 6, 2015    


      Yes, infidelity could be a possibility, although there is no way to know for sure unless she tells you or you find out.

      We have an ebook that tells 5 Signs to Look for If You Suspect Your Spouse is Having an Affair. You can find that ebook by clicking here:

      Also, we have some articles that talk more about that subject.

      Additionally, our Marriage Helper representative, Johnny, would also be happy to talk to you about some other options that we have in looking to save your marriages. You can reach him at 615.636.8086.

  11. Musicman Musicman
    January 11, 2015    

    I am ashamed to say that I have been the rejecting spouse in my marriage. Our sex life has never been that great from the beginning of our marriage, but at least it was there. I have had no desire to be intimate with my wife for the past ten years. We do have sex occasionally, but that is maybe 2 or 3 times a year. Part of the reason, and probably the biggest reason, is that we have never dealt with a lot of the conflict that built up over the years and that grew into resentment. Another issue at least for me was my wife’s unwillingness to deal with her weight issue. I know that is petty and selfish on my part, I openly admit that, but 70 to 80 pounds of extra weight is very unattractive and if I saw her being willing to do something about it – change of eating habits, exercise – it would make a world of difference. In our case this has driven our marriage apart. We are attempting to reconcile but that is the inevitable conclusion of a sexless marriage. Either divorce or life as roommates.

    • Kimberly Holmes Kimberly Holmes
      January 12, 2015    

      There are ways to talk to your wife about the attraction issues that are hurting your sex life without seeming selfish or shallow. Physical attraction is a huge part of sex for both parties. However, if you and your wife are avoiding talking about other important issues, then talking about sex is not the place to start. You and your wife should focus on increasing the quality of your communication and being able to be intimate again (intimacy defined as being open, transparent, becoming best friends). While it may seem impossible at this point, you really can rebuild that communication and rekindle the intimacy with your spouse. In fact, of all of the marriage problems we see, this is one that has really great results.

    • DQ DQ
      February 6, 2015    

      Are you in love with your wife? I have never heard anyone who was truly in love say that their spouse’s weight (within reason) is a problem. I suspect that you and your wife have another issue, and you are scapegoating her weight.

      That is not to say that you can’t encourage her in a positive way to make healthier choices, etc. that would result in weight loss. If you must bring it up, come from a place of concern and not from a place of negativity. If you tell her you don’t want to have sex because she’s “fat” it will crush her self esteem and she will not likely lose the weight until she dumps you.

      • Kimberly Holmes Kimberly Holmes
        February 9, 2015    

        While weight is a part of physical attraction, and physical attraction accounts for only 25% of a person’s attraction, and even further, attraction is only one step of falling in love – physical attraction can have some effect on a person’s feelings towards their spouse. However, if all of the other things are strong, then physical attraction is not as important. I agree that there is probably something deeper going on, but it is easier to focus on surface level issues (such as physical) rather than diving in deep and figuring out core issues.

        • Lover of Israel Lover of Israel
          March 9, 2015    

          Musicman has mentioned that other issues are the bigger part of their problem. With respect to weight issues, he said that it would make a big difference if she would just *try* to take care of it. This tells me that she doesn’t care if she is attractive to her husband or not. And, this is what musicman has learned from this behavior.

          That doesn’t mean that her behavior is the only change needed (between both of them). The motivations for neglecting her appearance are significant, and *might* be the thing that turn the marriage around.

          I have received refusal, gatekeeping, and duty sex for many years, and it is tearing me apart. It feels fair and even-handed to say there are problems and sins on both sides, so that’s how pastors and counselors handle it. The truth is that some sins are hurtful, and others are disastrous. Husbands make very vulnerable targets. If a wife wants to wreck some part (or all) of the marriage, she has the benefit of the doubt on her side. People will generally not tell a wife directly that she is to blame… won’t even occur to them. No one has qualms about blaming a frustrated husband.

          Does complaining about weight, or letting her attractiveness go, sound shallow? Yeah. But it rarely is. She is saying, “don’t care what you want”. That attitude is contempt, and it’s dangerous to a marriage. That’s not just because Gottman says it is. It is because the one with contempt has already devalued the other person, the other person’s pain, and the marriage. The sense of value that keeps someone from hurting a spouse or leaving a marriage is gone.

          Maybe this woman’s weight issue isn’t caused by contempt, or a desire to bring on her husband’s anger (which can be used against him). But if she isn’t touched by this enough to even try, it might be.

  12. E. Monkey E. Monkey
    January 12, 2015    

    I have rejected sex with my wife for last 12 years. It has ruined the marriage. We had family and emotional issues after our child was born. Since then I did not want sex with her.

    I wish we had resolved those issues, even if the resolution was divorce. Now we are probably headed for divorce because of mutual contempt and dislike.

    Deal with issues when they come up and don’t stop having sex. I have ruined my life because of my passive aggressive anger.

    • Kimberly Holmes Kimberly Holmes
      January 12, 2015    

      I’m so sorry to hear this. Mostly, I am sorry that you have all but given up hope. I understand how you feel. Lack of sexual interaction can lead to many issues, but as you said, it is usually preceded by issues like not resolving conflict, not having openness, etc. Believe it or not, it is not too late to resolve those issues, get your marriage back, and revitalize your sex life. I know it may seem overwhelming or impossible, but I have seen it happen month after month after month. If the relationship issues can be healed, then sexual healing can follow.

  13. Michael Michael
    January 23, 2015    

    My situation is a bit different.
    My wife and I have been married 10 yrs and I have never been told no. The problem is that she does not need sex and has hardly ever initiated sex. As one poster put it, men need sex for love and that is precisely the case. I crave the intimacy and the rush of of oxytocin associated with sex, not so much the sex itself. It serves as sort of acceptance or validation if she even brings up the subject, but that is extremely rare. This past weekend we went on our first trip together without the kids. She finally brought up sex after we had packed our bags and we’re ready to check out. Of course I wasn’t interested in ‘holy crap this is pathetic that we haven’t done anything all weekend’ sex.
    When we do have sex, I quickly become addicted to feeling of closeness and attachment but feel rejected if she doesn’t initiate or even mention sex or a good nite kiss. I find myself not wanting sex at all to avoid the anxiety associated with the rejection.
    I guess my point is the realization that everyone has a different view or complexity associated with their significant other and of course this is highly dependent on the individual. There is no majic bullet of what to do or not to do but rather figure out what needs you have and how they interact with brain chemistry aspect of ones relationship.

    • David David
      January 31, 2015    

      It is all really sad but moving to hear so many, especially the men, expressing their feelings about rejection. Sad fact is that libido levels are on average mismatched between couples. One partner wants sex less – usually the woman. I have been struggling with feelings of rejection for years and often the effect is to turn away and hide emotionally. Then comes a desire to find another outlet for the desire but that is not really possible in a marriage that is going to work so it leads to a vicious circle of desire, attempted intimacy, rejection, anger, depression and then facing the depression and hurt and trying to pick yourself up again. Other things in life, meditation, prayer bring some sort of happiness but then desire arises again and away we go……

      Every 2-4 weeks or so my wife allows sex to happen, it is wonderful and I think it is going to happen every day after that because we are so close and intimate but that is enough for her for another 2-4 weeks and the spiral starts again. Trouble is I can start to relate to the man in the article who just decided to stop sex. In fact, I tried it about a decade ago. My wife wondered what the hell was going on but in the end I went back into the cycle. We didn’t really talk about it. Truth was I found the pain too much so just wanted to turn off the sex urge. I feel I am reaching the same point again but I am not sure it is really a solution. Maybe it is better just to accept the hurt. After all, twice a month if I was single might be thought of as quite good.

      • DQ DQ
        February 6, 2015    

        Did you talk to your wife after you tried to stop having sex with her? You say she wondered what was going on; how do you know?

  14. Timothy Wilcox Timothy Wilcox
    February 10, 2015    

    As the high drive person in the marriage, I expected some rejection. However, after many cold, indifferent rejections my interest dried up. This is not where she is not interested because I do not last long enough. This is where she is pretty much asexual and nothing gets the sexual motor going. There is no drama, no complaining, etc. Life goes on just the same as it did before even if we have not been intimate in months. As a result, my interest has dried up completely. If she was to come around and want sex, I do not think that I could care enough to bother.

  15. Stacey Stacey
    February 10, 2015    

    Michael, I am a woman and I feel exactly how you do.
    I would always initiate sex. I know my sex drive is pretty good above average really. I was a virgin when I married, because I simply believe that we should have sex with only one person; the person we will spend the rest of our life with. I love learning about sex wih my partner. But the problem was, he never initiated. He would initiate SIMETIMES like once in a blue moon. I felt like he didn’t feel like initiating and was just counting on me to do it only. I want him to initiate because I feel so attractive and wanted when he does. I was so frustrated With him. He was on board wih learning about sex and positions and lasting longer but his problem was initiating!
    so I stopped initiating sex.

  16. Shannon Shannon
    February 14, 2015    

    I wish this comment field was set up the way facebook is with a “Like” button, there are a lot of responses that I would “like” and can relate to.
    My wife however is so uninterested or rejects the fact that this article is true that she more than likely won’t read the entire article much less the comments.
    Too bad too, she could learn something

  17. Lori Lori
    February 16, 2015    

    I am a high libido wife married to a low libido husband who was high drive in previous relationships. Before marriage our talks were very different than the reality.
    I am in the process of learning to mentally shut down my libido. I’ve gone from being frustrated to theoint of tears every 2nd or 3rd day to coping for 8 days. If I can hit 2-3 wks it will be manageable.
    I’m also in the process of becoming the most fit version of myself possible. I am frustrated I turn heads often yet the only head I want to turn is my husband’s. So my bloodied & bruised self esteem will eliminate all feelings of not being attractive enough by becoming the most attractive me possible.
    I am committed to my marriage. I love my husband dearly. Every other aspect of marriage is great. He just is under stress & desires me every few weeks whereas desire him daily. I have told him I won’t initiate anymore in order to take pressure off him & pain & rejection & feeling unattractive & undesirable off me.
    I pray I don’t become resentful.
    Sex is mind blowing when it happens. I am very sad he rarely wants me though he thoroughly enjoys it, as do I.

  18. Craig Craig
    February 19, 2015    

    This article hits so close to home for me. First I will say if there is a legitimate medical issue or abuse of any kind or if you are in a relationship with a lazy dead beat partner, I would not blame any woman for not wanting to have sex with that partner. All husbands are not like this, I am not one of those husbands. I love my wife very much, she is a fantastic mother to our 2 teenagers and she is my best friend. She is as beautiful today as she was when we married 23 years ago. I would do anything for her and my family, but after 20+ years of rejection I have been conditioned and no longer have any desire to have sex with her. We never had a good sex life, from day one of our marriage (when most couples can’t keep their hands off each other) I would estimate that we’ve been having sex once a month for 20+ years, some times more, but it was more common for us to go 6 or 8 weeks without sex. We talked, argued, made up, things might get better for a couple weeks before returning to our normal sexless routing. A couple years ago I suggested that we separate and she finally realized that she needed to change her attitude towards sex, but I believe it was too little too late. My wife has been initiating for approximately a year now but I have absolutely no urge to have sex with her, lately when we do have sex it is very awkward and I am not comfortable touching her. I have been unable to get fully aroused and I just want to get it over with as fast as possible but it seems to drag on forever because I am just not into it. We get along great outside of the bedroom, but once in the bedroom there is no connection, no chemistry, no intimacy. I really don’t think my feelings will change over time, it took 20 years to get where I am today.

    I’m not an expert, just a frustrated husband, but if I have any advice to give it is if you are not willing to accept the responsibilities that come with marriage, you shouldn’t get married.

    • Kimberly Holmes Kimberly Holmes
      February 22, 2015    

      Craig, I hate to hear of your situation. Sadly, more and more marriages are experiencing this same issue, and it’s not the way marriage was intended to be. How is your relationship otherwise with your spouse? Do you spend a lot of time together, alone? Do you have passion together? One thing that is true…everything that happens outside the bedroom affects what happens inside the bedroom, and everything that happens inside the bedroom affects what happens outside the bedroom.

  19. InBoise InBoise
    March 19, 2015    

    This was a good article. I was the husband on the receiving end for a ten year marriage almost exactly as was described. Where else can a Christian man go? Going through the motions and laying there motionless doesn’t much help the feeling of being unwanted either. That action only further reinforces the disrespect and feelings of unworthiness. Thanks for getting the word out from a woman.

  20. Mel Mel
    April 2, 2015    

    This article hits close to home. I recently got married less than a year ago and my husband and I had previously had premarital sex but he eventually agreed to remain abstinence until we got married. Prior to getting married my husband felt rejected and stopped looking at me sexually although he thought he was getting more self control because he was no longer upset. Now that we are married and should be having uninhibited sex, he hasn’t desired me like he used to and now he is contemplating divorce because he doesn’t feel the connection anymore. We are going to register for one of the retreats to save our marriage. Makes me feel better to know other people have experienced rejection in their marriage and it goes both ways and there is help.

  21. Anonymous Anonymous
    May 5, 2015    

    What about when your spouse rejects you from the honeymoon? I’m trying to come to terms with the fact he was never attracted to me.

  22. Mitch Mitch
    May 6, 2015    

    I’m in my 50″s. 28 years of married and have 4 grown up children.Me and my husband were not having sex for almost a year now. One reason is, my husband fell madly in love to another woman of my age. About a year ago I saw his writing in a piece of paper fantasizing with that woman in bed .How he really wanted to get that girl in bed.The other problem is that we are all sleeping in one room including my 4 children because we only have one bedroom (long story to tell).But we are sleeping on a separate bed. We’ve been in this situation for 10 years now. And third, he told me he lost his love for me.
    Way back then, about ten years ago we had a good sex life. Though sometimes if i feel tired i refused.He’s the one who always initiate.He loves me so much then..But since those incident happened his eagerness to get home was gone. He doesn’t even want to touch me anymore We do not go out together for a dinner or date anymore.It really made me feel so unwanted. May be he’s not over in his affair yet though he continuously denying to me having a physical contact with another woman.I am fed up to this situation. I want a cool off.

  23. Amy Amy
    May 9, 2015    

    Rejection !!!!
    I’ve had lots of that ! We’ve been married for 47 years and the rejection started on day one. We had sex once and that was it, he hated it was disgusting, to much effort, messy, smelly, not interesting at all. From that time till now he’s lived his life in our basement or out in the garage, always worked midnights, all weekends, holidays and gave up all his vacation. He’s not gay or getting it else ware, I checked that out first. He’s just a loner, selfish and only care for himself and his work shop and old truck.
    I gave up and modified my life for me, I do the things I want to do work part time, go where I want. It’s still lonely and now I hate all men, I’m almost 69 and really don’t care.

  24. Amy Amy
    June 16, 2015    

    I’ve been rejected by my husband for 47 years. He’s hated sex because it was smelly, messy, disgusting and didn’t understand why sex between humans was required. He wanted nothing to do with sex or me. He lives in our basement or out in his new garage. We never talk, nothing I can’t even get in an argument with him. Its like I’m not here at all.
    I finally just gave up and decided to just be me and who I wanted to be. This has helped me over the years, personally I’m well taken care of, I have money, great health care, beautiful house, fairly new car I just don’t have a life partner.

  25. george george
    July 1, 2015    

    Married for over 20 yrs. My wife is the person who thinks of her self as always a victim. In the past 3 years she almost always refuses love making, at times compares me in a negative way and sometimes shows me obvious contempt. Tells me I am an aggressor, insensitive and that sex is all I think about. For the past 5/6 years I lived with paranoia, I can see an attitude in her of ‘the grass is always greener on the other side.’ Spends a lot of time with friends, have caught-er chatting with male friends for hours on cell phone and when confronted, she fends with tears and accuses with I being a control freak. I love my wife but I feel I don’t interest her no more. What to do?

  26. Daniel Daniel
    July 4, 2015    

    I am reading this crying…I am a man, and my wife has been extremely frugal with our sex life for 11 years. I am so frustrated I can hardly stand to get up in the morning anymore, but I slog off to work, dragging my depression, frustration, internal boiling rage, sadness, feelings of being good enough for anything….I’m almost to my breaking point. I’ve read every book, been to countless marriage seminars, BEGGED her to get help. It’s always somehow my fault for not romancing her enough, or thinking of her enough, or doing enough around the house…even though I cook dinner literally every night, AFTER I pick the girls up from dance class, AFTER I’ve worked 10 hours that day starting at 5 am, AFTER I’ve cleaned up the breakfast dishes that sat on the table all day…you get the picture. My wife is far from lazy…she’s the most driven woman I know. She owns her own business, takes car of the girls, etc…but she doesn’t take care of me…maybe once every 6 weeks…and rejects me EVERY time I approach her…I’m done. I can’t take another day of this.

    • Bryan Bryan
      July 22, 2015    

      You are not alone. A good person would believe that putting everyone else’s needs above your own would result in you being appreciated. You would think your wife would return selflessness with selflessness, but instead, the more you do the more you are taken for granted. I too have a wife that puts my intimate needs last. No amount of romancing, honey-do’s, or special favors will ever change that. Days of work on my part are not worth 20 minutes of intimacy to her. I have come to understand that.

      She doesn’t feel there is a problem, and that once a month or so is enough, because it’s enough for her.

      I no longer initiate. It’s the only control i have, and the only satisfaction i receive.
      Nice guys finish last with these types of women. I’m done being nice.

      • Kimberly Holmes Kimberly Holmes
        July 22, 2015    

        Have you asked her why she has a decreased desire? In a way that will initiate a respectful conversation, not by trying to blame her?

  27. Walter Walter
    September 3, 2015    

    My wife’s rejections has destroyed my self esteem, my manhood, my dignity, but most of all, my heart. And luckily, she’ll never get her hands on it, because I took it back off her. She has no idea how to handle it, but Christ does. i belong to him now. Marriage is all about “Person centred care” not “Self centred care”.

    • Kimberly Holmes Kimberly Holmes
      September 11, 2015    

      I’m so sorry, Walter. I’m glad that you are giving it to God and letting Him guide you through this.

  28. Sean Sean
    September 14, 2015    

    It’s so nice that you wrote an article about refused wives. Maybe someday, someone will have the courage to confront wives about sexual rejection of their husbands. Instead, we hear from people like Lynn Jones who say that sex is “shallow” and “animalistic,” as she models how to reject her husband in her “marriage” seminar.

  29. Roger Roger
    September 15, 2015    

    My wife and I have been married for 14 years. Ever since we got married, I was always the one with the higher desire and almost all the times the one to initiate sex, very often I ended up getting rejected. The rejection wasn’t because my wife didn’t love me (we both love each other a lot) but more because she was either not interested in sex, or just tired and wanted to go to sleep. I often tried to talk this out and see I could make her understand the way I felt but have had no luck. For almost 14 years of our married life we have only had disagreement on one key factor in our marriage, our differences in sexual desire. Over the past 14 years it’s always been an unbalanced scale with me always being the one with more desire and lying in bed unfulfilled and with my wife just happy with the once in a while encounters.

    Finally a few months back she rejected me once again, I don’t know what happened in me but ever since that day I have totally lost any desire to have sex with my wife. We are still very close but I just don’t feel or have the desire to have sex with her, neither did I ever attempt to have sex with her again. I think she realised this and has made attempts a few times, but I just can’t bring myself to have a sexual encounter with her. Part of me is glad that I don’t feel the need and I can finally get this behind me, at the same time another part of me hurts cos I know what she’s feeling when she wants to have sex with me but I don’t.

  30. Peter Peter
    September 21, 2015    

    It is realy painful to read these comments of sexual rejection. A good solution to all these starts from understanding the mind of God for us. He hates divorce and hence anything that could cause it should be frowned at. Bible made it clear that the body of the man belongs to her wife and vice versa. it also gose on to tell the man to fullfil his marital duty I.e sexually. Paul encouraged continued sex affairs bw couples lest the devil tempts them. pls sister woman try to meet the sexual needs of yr husband bcos this saves him fm lust. also I solicite for a mutual understanding bw couples whenever it is not convienent to hv sex. God bless you all

  31. S. S.
    November 15, 2015    

    For me it has been over a year since my wife and I have made love. I have been so patient and I have tried so hard to be understanding but it feels like she isn’t even trying. Like my feelings don’t mean anything, my needs and desires aren’t important… The worst feeling in the world is being rejected by someone you claims to be in love with you when you are offering yourself intimately to them. I have never experienced pain like this in my life. I feel so hurt, angry, resentful, and I feel like somehow there is something inherently wrong with ME. I feel my heart breaking. About two weeks ago she went to see a psychiatrist about it and we talked after. She promised she would try. So last night I mustered up all the courage I had (and believe me there wasn’t a whole lot left), and I suggested some play time even just for ten mins, and I held my breath and hoped for the best. Of course I got shut down. I should know better than to even try. I’m done trying I can’t take the rejection anymore. Last night was very hard for me and for five hours I tried to shut my brain off by driving, keeping myself occupied, staving off the feelings of hurt and anger towards her and self-loathing towards myself. It ended with me crying on the kitchen floor with a knife in my hand wanting to harm myself — which I haven’t done since my first break up in my twenties. That’s how bad the pain is. I can feel myself slowly taking back my heart from her and I can feel my trust in her and this relationship dissolving. And it terrifies me. If my own wife can’t even make love to me, doesn’t desire me…. I love her more than anything in this world and I am crazy about her and she claims the same but her actions speak louder. Today I am depressed and can’t bring myself to get out of bed, eat, get dressed … I don’t know what the next step is, but this whole thing really hurts.

  32. Smile Smile
    December 11, 2015    

    I read both sides of this issue.
    One thing is missing from ALL entry, TWO (2) way communication.
    My wife and I have talked about the same issues that are above, but it seems to end that SHE make the commitment and I have to accept with-out a chance of counter offer.

    There is a reason that most marriage issue are around sex. It is difficult. It is the way GOD wanted it to be. The early sex is the best. But, it takes much more time to satisfy a woman than a man with sex. Men, that is where the GENTLEMAN comes in. Men should take into account the wife feeling and experience. They like it TOO. Don’t let another man give your wife satisfaction. .

    As we age things change, but the man is slower to change with the woman. This is where I am now. I find it hard (no pun intended) to keep my sexual desires to a lower number of events.

    But it does hurt your feelings (not a toy) when your wife of 20+ years says no over and over. Sex one time a week is washing your sheets on the bed and one time a mount is like changing your oil in the car.

    Yet it seem to be an issue when a woman will have the same activity with a stranger and not her husband and father of THEIR children. Most men never see the papers coming. The man was trained not to respond. Now, over the number of years, sex has become the subject, and not an event.
    Now it is a scheduled calendar. Saturday morning at 5:00a

    Men, take what you can for now if you TRULY love her. YOU hope she feels some. Remember in your youth that NO means NO. Keep trying and help all you can, but don’t be a burden.

    Bind the mental wounds from the eyes, and over-come the hand
    pull-away, and the crying.

    But Stand your ground.
    God made man in the same image.
    He is frustrated too.

    This is a test!
    80% of all divorces are filled by wife
    79% of all agreements are signed by the husband

    • Kimberly Holmes Kimberly Holmes
      December 15, 2015    

      Smile, I appreciate your reply. There are no hard and fast rules, or stereotypes so to say, between men and women. People can fall on either side of communication and marriage problems. Also, those statistics are probably not completely, valid.

  33. December 15, 2015    

    Well, I have been married for almost 28 years and the last 5 1/2 have been completely sexless. Before that, it was 6-8 times per year. My “wife” refuses to go to the doctor to determine the cause of the problem and explore solutions. She also constantly berates me and abuses me. My kids are finally out of the house and it is time for me to get out of prison. Sexual refusal is defrauding, or as we call it, cheating. So I have been cheated on for over 5 years. As for those of you who cheated your spouse out of sex for years, and now want it, I am very sorry, but you are reaping exactly what you have sown.

  34. Hugi Hugi
    January 21, 2016    

    I always had a problem of low sexual appetite. I didn’t always know how it affected my ex partners and I have developed issues relating to that: I thought men were shallow and only wanted sex; I withdrawn myself from any kinds of affection most times. I would not appear naked in front of my boyfriend so I didn’t awaken desire in him. I would not get into kissing or close cuddling unless I knew for sure that I am ready for sex to follow. My boyfriend now understands me and made me understand how he feels about sex and made me realise how deep and sacred sex is and not shallow at all as I thought it was to do it often. I really did always enjoy sex and I just rejected it whenever I wasn’t 100%up for it. I justified it by saying that this way I can keep the quality. My boyfriend was really frustrated but had the courage to talk to me and we started to make effort and it started to work. Then I was diagnosed with cervical cancer at a stage where operations were needed. I got better very fast but it obviously meant no sex for about 3months due to the physical effects of the procedures. Then probably another month with no sex as I felt I needed more time to began to feel like a woman again. That meant even more rejection to him. When we first tried, he could not do it. He really tried but he couldn’t. I took it as an awful rejection, feeling that he doesn’t desire me anymore because of everything that happened “in there”. Slowly we have worked our way back into having sex, not as regularly as normal people but once every 6-10days maybe. Then the pain I felt during sex turned out to be a post surgery infection. No sex for another month or so. Then I just felt unclean due to all different discharges that come with messed up hormones. Yet another excuse not to allow my boyfriend to be close to me. And all this time he still did desire me. He did not rush me, he waited patiently, he was gentle and caring and making sure that it is OK for me. Once the bleeding has stopped we had one weekend away and felt like the whole world has changed: sex was amazing as it always was and multiple times. That was about 2months ago as since then we have had a few nasty arguments where we both said things that hurt the other. And when I’m hurt and don’t feel perfectly loved, safe and respected, I cannot give my body. I need time. And the more time I need, the more rejection I give. The more rejected my boyfriend feels the more we argue and fight about other things. The more we fight, the more time I need. Catch 22. Few weeks ago I even came up with the idea of taking pills on a regular basis to improve my sexual desire. My boyfriend was very happy to hear that I do want change too. But the problem is that at this point my words of intention are not enough. It doesn’t matter anymore whether I have a physical excuse or more like “i need more time” excuse for not wanting to make love, be close, etc. He feels too rejected already, he feels that I don’t care and I don’t love him as I really haven’t shown him much love and affection apart from saying how I am willing to try. He is too hurt and now he say he wants to heal himself first before he’d give me another chance. I moved out from him yesterday and I am shattered how this whole thing have turned out. I felt so hopeful and in all fairness, I took all the time I thought I needed before making love to him because I thought he will wait until I fully heal. I took his patience for granted and didn’t care to realise how much he was hurting. It does not matter what the excuse was, I still rejected him for so long. He felt unloved and unwanted for so long. He managed to deal with it when I had serious excuses and he was there for me and he was my hero (not that i thanked him as I recall). But then it supposed to be his turn. We supposed to start paying attention to the problem that grew inside him. But I wanted to be 100%ready and perfect first before I turned to him. And now I am panicking as I realised how I didn’t have a good excuse not to be there for him. I realised how I didn’t have to be fully healed before I made efforts to help him. I really really love him and care about him. I know he loves me but he says he cannot trust me anymore. And I see why. I was begging him for another chance but he doesn’t believe in us anymore. He said we could maybe try dating as living together is too painful and I will likely to hurt him again. He thinks it is easier for me to heel without him around all the time (as when he gets frustrated he says things he does not mean but they do hurt me a lot). I am so sad and don’t know how to make him believe me that I u derstand him now. I said this to him before. But now I understand so much more and I want to fix things (again). I don’t know how to tell him that he is loved and wanted. I don’t know how to convince him how much I desire him (I just felt unloved after all the things we have said to each other). I know it is my duty to make him feel like a man again as he did make me feel like a woman again. I do t feel it is a sacrifice, I want it for myself as much as I want it for him. How to tell him that this time will be different?

    • Paul Paul
      February 5, 2016    

      This might be a dumb question, but have you actually told him this ? You say you are “begging for another chance”, but that doesn’t exactly solve the problem.

      He may interpret this as “wanting to return to the original status quo”, viz. you live together and you continue to control the “purse strings” (metaphorically).

      I think you have to approach it in two stages. Firstly, and this is the hard bit, you have to convince him that you got it wrong. Probably this will involve overdoing it a bit but what he doesn’t want is to go back the way things were before.

      Secondly you have to actually follow through with it and when you do do it massage his ego a bit. and jump him a few times as well (We chaps like that even though we might not always admit it :))

      Now obviously there may be times when you really really can’t for some reason, and if one of those arises (and try to avoid them at the start, otherwise you’ll retrigger all the old problems) don’t phrase it as “No. Full stop” (which has the unspoken addendum “and tough”). Phrase it as, “No (try to avoid actually using no !), but tomorrow morning I’m going to rock your world” – and stick to it.

      Oh and most of us chaps never want our women 100% perfect, largely because we think they are when they think they are about 10% perfect anyway. We might eye up supermodels occasionally, but we have no interest in marrying them or having fun with them of any sort.

  35. Bryan Bryan
    January 26, 2016    

    I didn’t read quite every comment upstream so if this point was made above, my apologies 🙂

    I don’t know that the husband in this article (“Philip”) is out for revenge; I tend to think that he’s just decided he needs to shut down that part of himself so he doesn’t continue to feed frustration, resentment, and anger. I think based on the entirety of the article he loves her and wants to be as happy with her as he can. By letting himself desire her he’d be making himself emotionally, physically, and spiritually vulnerable; vulnerable to feeling resentment toward her, vulnerable to feeling impotent. He knows that if he opens up that part of himself by letting himself look at her naked body and desiring her, he opens himself back up again to the possibility of pain. He doesn’t want to go back to that place; he wants to have as pleasant a marriage as he can to someone he does love; but he’s decided he can’t go there (physical intimacy) anymore and has figured out how to take the sexual part of himself offline. The tables have turned and it doesn’t make his rejection of her right by any means, I wholeheartedly agree with the 1 Corinthians 7 observations; but he (in some way that’s not totally healthy) may well feel a certain amount of freedom, power, and masculinity in not being “controlled” by that part of himself any longer.

    • Paul Paul
      February 5, 2016    

      I don’t think he’lll feel that, he probably feels physically dead, emotionally repressed. He doesn’t want it ; it’s like having a choice of having your arm or leg cut off.

      I think it’s almost entirely the first part. Being rejected continually ; often for weak reasons “I’m tired” ; which don’t appear to apply to anything else the refuser is doing is incredibly personal destructive, because the actual message is either “I don’t want you at all” or “I don’t want you unless it personally suits me”. The root of both sentences is the same.

      Imagine how callous we would think someone who said that outright ; “Phillip” has had this countless times and the end he’s done the only thing he can do to protect himself. Shut that part of him down. He’s probably depressed as well.

      I don’t really have any sympathy for Emily at all. Though she does partially get it, when she “displays her assets” getting out of the shower, from his point of view she’s taunting him “Look what you DON’T get HA HA”. He’d actually love to look and act, but daren’t because he doesn’t believe (and lets face it he’s got reason not to) that it will be anything other than more rejection.

      She (and others) talk like this male desire for sex is some kind of strange thing ; anyone who did any reading round the subject, or simply applied common sense, would know that men and women think differently about these things. (Except for people who think men use women as sex toys which says far more about them than men)

      Her best bet is to admit she totally screwed up and explain why, if she has not done too much damage, then she might get what she wants back. Trying to seduce him back won’t work.

      As long as she doesn’t start the same game again. If she does she’s then completely wrecked it.

  36. Demilee Demilee
    January 29, 2016    

    As a Christian women speaking here, I don’t agree that saving a sexless marriage is always the solution. Maybe for some, but not everyone. In my case, when a husband tells you one day he doesn’t desire sex anymore, what does a spouse on the other end suppose to do about it? Counseling some would suggest, or you should work at it harder by trying to romance the other. even when it is like beating a dead horse as in my situation. Why should I work at it when my husband has no desire? Just live with it? Yo suggest that finding someone else would be no better, but how can anyone determine that is always so? I don’t want a man who hasn’t the least bit of desire for me, and any woman who does, I would say good luck. I know from my experience of the emotional and psychological damage it can render upon the welbeing of the other spouse and the marriage. I’ve considered a divorce in my case. I still have a chance to find love again, but if not, it’s better to be alone single than be alone married.

  37. joe joe
    February 7, 2016    

    After reading this article I’ve learned a lot about where Ive been and where I’m headed. My wife sees intimacy as a “duty” or a chore. While I was younger, it never bothered me. I’m 41 now, and it bothers me. I’ve tried all the things possible, romance, putting her needs first, etc. Her attitude isn’t changing. I’m now at the crossroads of resentment. I’ve considered going elsewhere, but my heart isn’t in it, and I’ve realized that I do want to be loved and connect. She will have intimate relations with me, but we frequently argue about it. She always says she does it only for me and doesn’t need it. Like the article says, it makes me feel devalued and rejected. My response initially was to improve my self physically, which I have lost much weight and have a nice hardened body. I frequently get attention from other women, but I just ignore it and go about my daily routines. The last few weeks I’ve just started ignoring her. I don’t call,communicate only when necessary, or attempt any advances at intimacy. Suddenly I’m accused of every dirty deed in the book. For you women out there , make your dam minds up about what you want, dont make excuses, make yor sig other feel loved as you would want. Men can get to a point where we’ve had enough bs too. I’m tired of being hurt, and like the article states I’ve shut down emotionally. When my oldest son finishes high school in a year, I’m likely to separate and file for divorce. It’s because of deep seated resentment. I don’t know if I’m able to undo how I feel now. I’m living with things as they are out of a sense of duty for the kids till a situation that works presents itself.

  38. hurting hurting
    March 1, 2016    

    Like others here I am at the end of my rope. I’m actually a bit envious of Philip’s ability to re-wire his mind so that the pain will stop. I figure if I can get there, I can be more effective at being a good husband in every other way since the pain won’t always be getting in the way.

    I followed the link for “How to Stop a Sexless Marriage” under “If You Are the One Being Rejected” section. It took a bit of time to build up the energy to click it because like I said I think my best bet is giving up on that fantasy. But stupid optimist that I am I clicked.

    Appropriately, when you click on that link it takes you to a page that says, “Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn’t here.” Isn’t that the truth!!!

  39. Eustis Filmore Eustis Filmore
    April 9, 2016    

    I am a man who has lived out this woman’s story, to an uncanny degree. Having pondered it for years, the answer is shockingly simple. For years you did not water your flowers. They died. No more, no less.

  40. Amy Amy
    April 16, 2016    

    I feel so terrible reading this article. It seems so inbelievable that Emily would realize this all now after she is the one being rejected. Good people can do bad things, in her case she took her husband for granted and ignored his needs. She made her husband this way and it is so very sad. What is more sad is that she has been suffering 2 years of rejection and she is on the same road of 8 more years of the same suffering he endured. And it is not just her not being sexually and emotionally unsatisfied, it is Philip as well. Their kids are grown, and it is an opportunity to enjoy each other again and have a sexual enlightenment. Emily and Philip could have been loving each other tremendously for the past 2 years and now he is the one who has chosen to give up, he is also missing out. There are only 2 choices for this couple, start having sex, or get divorced. I cringe at the thought of Emily staying with him much longer. What a pathetic shame. I know it sounds terrible, but I actually hope Emily can start fresh with someone new, Philip seems like a lost cause.

  41. Wayne Wayne
    April 24, 2016    

    I think I’m on the same road as ‘Philip’ in this story. It’s earlier in the process but things are heading to Emily and Philips status quo in the story and I fear like things are reaching a tipping point of no return towards an eventual divorce.

    One thing I’m finding is that one’s desire and interest in their wife/spouse doesn’t just suddenly shut off one day after one too many rejections. It’s rather a gradual erosion. As the one rejected too often you begin putting more and more defence mechanisms into your head to protect yourself, derail your natural process of arousal or deal with the upset and doubt caused in some way.

    Eventually I realised it’s as if you’re programming yourself when you discover you can subdue the frustration, anger and accompanying pain by not viewing your spouse as a lover or intimate partner anymore. They’re instead just a friend and roommate who helps with the kids and bills.

    It’s not entirely satisfying though. They still seem completely oblivious to your situation and you just feel a quiet emptiness inside. You think your desire is dead but then one day another woman flirts with you and suddenly your desire flares and your excitement rockets. I suppose this is where a lot of infidelity starts but I have tried to still remain faithful, at least thus far.

    What however makes it worse is you begin noticing that when there is the possibility of sex with your wife you just can’t perform like you used to. The past resentment and mental defence mechanisms all come to bear but as a man you don’t want to be accused of impotence so you begin looking for outs. Suddenly you’re telling her you’re tired, ill or you have to fantasize she’s someone else.

    Recently she started laughing during an intimate moment and that caused me to immediately and completely switch off. I realise that laughter in intimacy is actually supposed to be good and that she’s laughing either at something else or even out of anxiety. Yet it felt like I was being scorned yet again or that she’s too busy thinking about other things than connecting with me.

    I do however think my wife’s finally beginning to notice. After the above happened she was taken aback and she suddenly seemed unusually concerned the other day after she was mentioning a matter concerning sex and I passed a terse comment how it’s not like it matters because it doesn’t happen for us anyway and walked out the room.

    I am admittedly pondering if I must be the one to try have what some call the ‘courageous conversation’ with her but it’s hard without sounding like the proverbial self entitled male sex brat so many portray a man with a sex drive as having or causing a fight that can actually make things worse.

    However I have decided that if things don’t turn around in six years time (taking into certain commitments and our kids development) I will tell her, in not so few words, I never want to see her again after having burnt up most of my sexual years on her.

  42. Addam Addam
    May 4, 2016    

    OK so my wife and I have been having some real problems for a few years it got better but it’s like she is on auto pilot. She rejects any and all attempts of bonding kissing cuddling, an d when we have sex she covers her head, and that hurts. That’s how it is now, let’s go back two years. Out of the blue my wife’s attitude and behaviors change like a light switch of corse I notice ask and get told nothing. A come months later I realize that her ex has been coming around and they are secretive and she erases any and all conversations or so she thought. I did a lot of home work and checking this go out and watching before I ever asked if they were having a affair. She right out the gate went overboard in her defensive behavior. ” he is just a friend” a friend she would later put before me or our boys. Still to this day maintains they never did any wrong. She refuses to discuss any of it and has since shut me out emotionally, there is no passion or any love coming from her I tried talking to her but nothing g came of it. I’ve go eat to counseling for this and last night it all hit ho.e with me and I’m really thinking I’m done all of needs desires are treated like they do you mater but if I do anything that she don’t like for weeks after I deal with rejection. If they weren’t doing anything g wrong then why hide everything and lie about it. Any and all thoughts of wisdom plz.

  43. Anonymous Anonymous
    May 21, 2016    

    I’ve been married for almost 8 years and half of it I have had to beg for sex. She always has an excuse and only reluctantly gives in every 2 or 3 weeks. I have explained how I feel and she always brushes it off as me just wanting sex. Even when she does reluctantly give in, she lays there like a log, motionless and asking me to hurry up. I feel very little connection to her anymore, and often times feel the only thing keeping us together are the kids. We get along ok aside from the lack of sex. It’s so frustrating to always, willingly be trying to fulfill her wants and needs, but she can’t give me 20 minutes, twice a week. She will occasionally tease me, then when I try, turn me down. It is so mean and insensitive. I know she has a lot on her plate, but it’s not like I’m a lazy bum. I work full time and make a decent amount. I am out of the house for 14 hours a day with commute included. I’d show her this article but I’m sure she wouldn’t read it without criticizing it. Anyway, that’s my frustrating sex life.

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