Wow! I had a lot of responses from people about my last post where one of my readers had a problem that her husband always wants sex. Lots of people wrote me telling me about how that post really spoke to them and was really fitting for their situation. I even had one husband write me about a typical reciprocal problem: “My Wife Never Wants Sex”. I thought it would be a good followup to my last post. So with his permission (and all identifying information removed) here is his letter as well as my response.
What About Spouses Like Me Whose Spouse Never Wants to Have Sex?
I loved your last blog post about the husband who always wants sex. It was good to see there are other couples out there like me and my wife. I do have one complaint, though. Your article was for the person whose spouse always wants sex and what they can do to help their situation. What about the other side of the coin? What about those spouses (like me) whose spouse never wants sex?
I feel like I need sex in order to really feel connected with my wife. Like you said in your last post, it’s one thing we share in our relationship that we don’t share with anyone else. So sex is really important to me because it helps me feel connected with her in a way I can’t (and don’t want to) connect with anyone else. It really makes me feel loved when we have sex. The problem is she never wants to. And when she tells me no, I feel really rejected. A person can only take so much rejection before it really begins to eat at them. And it’s really eating at me. I wonder if she even really loves me in that way or if she thinks of me more like a roommate than a lover.
It seems like she’s always trying to find reasons not to have sex
It’s gotten to the point where I’ll try to initiate sex with her and she starts asking me questions like “What time is it?” or “are any of the kids awake?” It seems to me like she’s trying to find excuses not to have sex with me. No matter how I answer the questions it seems like she uses that as a reason to not have sex. She’ll say that she’s not in the mood to have sex because the kids are still awake…or that she’s not in the mood because the kids are asleep and she just wants “down” time. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, she never wants sex.
Any information you can give for the one who is always being rejected sexually by their spouse would really be helpful.
Dear Feeling Rejected,
I’m also sorry for your situation. Lots of spouses come to see me for marriage counseling with stories similar to yours: one spouse doesn’t want sex as much as the other which leaves the one who wants it more feeling rejected and pushed aside. The rejected spouse also expresses wonder about whether their spouse really loves them or if they think of them more like a roommate. This is really typical. Thanks for letting me share it on my blog because I think this will be helpful with a lot of people.
The Low Desire Partner Controls When, Where and How Often Sex Occurs
As I mentioned in my previous post, in EVERY relationship there’s a High Desire Partner (HDP) and a Low Desire Partner (LDP). And in EVERY relationship the LDP determines when, where and how often sex occurs. The LDP doens’t realize they have this sort of control. In their mind, they feel like the HDP is the one who has control because the HDP is the one who who is always initiating it – the LDP doesn’t have a chance to initiate because the HDP is always doing it.
In addition, the LDP usually feels pressured to have sex because the HDP makes advances so often. So even the times when they want to have sex they feel like they’re just giving in to the pressure. This results in them feeling like they’re not having the sex they really want. Especially since (as mentioned above) they never get a chance to initiate it which means they’re even less likely to have sex exactly when, where and how they want it.
As the HDP who is always being rejected, one thing you can do is to express your sexual desire in terms of connection and intimacy and not just about sex. Instead of saying “Hey honey, you in the mood?” You could try saying something like “I’ve been downstairs thinking about you and how great you are to me all the time”. and then make a sexual advance. The first one might have the intention of connecting but she won’t hear it that way. The second is much more clear that you’ve been having connecting thoughts and want to share that connection with her sexually.
Give Your Spouse a Road Sign
Another thing you can do is give your spouse a road sign about what she can do to help you feel less rejected. Sometimes she just won’t want to have sex. You can’t expect her to have sex every time you want – that’s selfish. But she can not want to have sex AND help you not feel rejected at the same time. She can say things like “Honey, I’m not in the mood right now but what can I do to show you that I still love and want you?”. Or “Honey I’m not in the mood, but what can I do help you come?” She probably doesn’t want you to feel rejected. She just needs you to give her a road sign of how she can do that and still not feel pressured to have sex anyway.