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"My husband never wants to have sex"

I have been with my husband for 7 years now (married nearly a year) and we have always been very lopsided when it comes to sex drive. Not in the conventional sense as it is me that would like it more often. Over the years we have had many arguments about it and now currently do it once a week, always on the weekend and always at his instigation.

My problem is; this is not enough for me. I usually masturbate a couple of times during the week and I know for a fact he does also (in the shower) though he will deny it until he is blue in the face. I have been rejected enough times in the past that I will no longer try and instigate it. I am starting to think I made a mistake marrying him as I long for a more sexually compatible partner. I also really want to have children and have been off the pill for sometime now and nothing has happened because we donít have sex enough or never at the right time.

I am 31 and feel trapped, I know what I want but cannot obtain it and really donít know which way to turn. He is hard to communicate with when it comes to sex and children so sitting down and discussing with him is not really an option. We tend to deal with issues when we they are right in our face. When I have tried to discuss these issues with him (many times), he doesnít know how to respond and usually remedies it by having sex with meÖ I never say no, and then he thinks it is dealt with. I feel really resentful that he would rather masturbate in the shower. We have tried counseling in the past but when it came to sex, he clammed up (as usual) then didnít want to go anymore. I do love him but despair that this is how it is going to be for the rest of my sexual life.

23 Jan 2006
Name: Annette
Age: 31

Dear Annette,

Men who donít want sex Ė itís one of the biggest issues couples today face; but unfortunately, because itís a source of such humiliation and shame for men (because men are ďsupposed to want it all the timeĒ), the issue is also one of todayís best kept secrets.

Letís expose it, shall we?

First of all, like I was saying, for males the very notion of ďnot being in the moodĒ or simply not having a raging sex-drive is traumatizing because it makes them feel like less of men. But according to recent studies, at least 20-25% of males suffer from low sexual desire. And this percentage might actually be a low estimation due to the fact that many men, like your husband, refuse to talk about or admit to their low sex-drives. Iím sure this is why your husband was so uncomfortable discussing the issue in therapy, as well as one-on-one with you.

And in turn, when one person in the relationship repeatedly says ďnoĒ to sex, it inadvertently leaves the other partner feeling constantly rejected; much like the way youíre feeling now.

So the question is, whatís causing your husbandís low libido? Well, the problem could be physical, emotional or perhaps, both.

A few of the physical causes include:

    • Alcoholism
    • Drug abuse
    • Obesity
    • Prescribed drugs
    • Low male hormone level (testosterone)

As for emotional/psychological problems, causes might include:

    • Depression
    • Stress
    • Bad body image/Sex hang-ups
    • Relationship problems with the wife/partner.

Although I canít be certain, I have a hunch that this isnít really about the sex, but rather, a deeper emotional issue that your husband has been holding onto for quite some time.

Maybe youíve been frustrated by the whole lack of sex thing for so long now, that unintentionally youíve forgotten to feed the other components of your relationship?  And because the lack of sex has been the main focus of attention lately, perhaps your husband Ė whoís already uncomfortable and self-conscious due to his low-libido Ė is feeling even more scrutinized and judged? I guarantee that that alone is enough to make a man not want to engage in sex. Think about it: he already feels inadequate due to the fact that he canít provide and give you what you need sexually, and on top of that, you (albeit not deliberately) have stopped acknowledging his positive traits and rather, have begun to concentrate solely on the fact that he canít, or wonít, sexually perform.

Itís truly a downward spiral; the problem only escalates and intensifies the more you draw attention to it.

So what can you do? Re-focus your attention. Take the spotlight off the sex. Nourish all the neglected-as-of-late aspects of your relationship. This might sound a tad chauvinistic, but stroke his ego. Clearly, lately he feels like half a man. And the less male he feels, the less likely heíll be to want to jump back on the hanky-panky bandwagon. Build him up; make him feel good about himself; remind him of all his wonderful qualities that made you fall in love with him in the first place.

Work on rebuilding the emotional closeness between the two of you, and show him that youíre not judging him, but rather, supporting and unconditionally loving him. Although weíre led to believe that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, as it turns out, our home planets really arenít that far apart. When our egos are bruised and our feelings are hurt, the last thing we want to do is have sex with our partners; well, as it turns out, men arenít so different (not ALL men, anyhow).  And as your husband's confidence in himself and his abilities begins to rise, I have a feeling his sex-drive will too.

And if all else fails, I would suggest trying a different couples counselor. Sometimes it takes a few tries before finding a therapist that fits your personalities. But Iím a firm believer that having a trained third-party help mediate discussions and/or arguments is a great way to strengthen a relationship.

Good luck!

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