Coping with a sexless marriage


Hi there,
This is a very difficult topic for me to talk about, but I am in desperate need of help.
My wife and I have been married for almost 3 years. We were like any other couple right after the wedding, I suppose. We were very passionate and intimate for about 6 months. Then sex became less and less frequent to the point after 9 months being married, my wife has refused to be intimate with me in any way for the past 2 years. I’ve tried talking to her about it and expressing my frustration, but all it leads to is a fight. She’s answered with things like she doesn’t have the same attraction to me physically as I do to her anymore, that I’m not good at it, or that sex just isn’t important to her. Also we were using NFP very effectively, but now she says the stress of engaging sexually and risking getting pregnant causes her too much anxiety. I don’t know whether to believe her or not. We both want children, at least she keeps telling me she does. I’m very frustrated to say the least. I feel so much attraction to her and it’s painful to go every day without being able to be intimate with her and living with a constant feeling of rejection. I’ve even asked if we could at least make out now and then, but she says it would be a sin. Is this true even in marriage?

I try to convince myself that I’m not attracted to her to sort of calm my urges, but with very little success. Is it proper to pray for God to take away my physical attraction to my wife? I’ve done some research and find that there are natural herbs and supplements available to reduce testosterone and lower sex drives. Would taking these be a sin?

Is there anyone else out there going through this? How do you cope?


I’d suggest “The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning” by S Fischer and Patrick Coffin’s book


We can always ask Our Heavenly Father.
I was thinking yesterday how love is often the answer, maybe always if you can see how it can be involved. how about asking your wife if she’d be willing to consult a professional third party about the issue. I can see why she may not agree to do that easily, but there seems to be quite a lot going on beneath the surface and a professional may be able to help bring this out into the open where healing can occur.

The various herbs to lower testosterone can also have side effects I believe which may affect muscle and bone and it might be wise to consult your doctor about those.

God bless.


Both of you need Marriage Counseling and a retreat. A medical opinion would help too.

Regardless, the status quo is not acceptable or healthy for your marriage.


You know…if I were a woman who didn’t want to be pregnant and my only option was NFP, I wouldn’t have sex either…


Please consult a doctor, a marriage counselor, and a priest. And pray.


I would bet this is the actual issue. OP needS to work with his wife to resolve it, whatever that means. If she isn’t ready to be pregnant, having sex with him is like playing with fire, and not in a good way. It is a mood killer (my experience: I have a lot of friends and family with the same issue who confide in me.).


I suspect therein lies the answer.


With all due respect, while pregnancy risk may be part of the problem, most women who are simply afraid of getting pregnant are not going to tell their husband they aren’t sexually attracted to him and that he’s bad at sex. I think there’s a bit more going on here, that a doctor and/or counselor could perhaps get at.


That OP is willing to take the pregnancy risk, while his wife isn’t, can cause the wife to find her husband unattractive or undesireable. Perhaps she sees him as irresponsible, which can be a mood killer.


Or perhaps she has a physical problem. We can speculate all day. I just find it interesting that everybody seizes upon NFP as the culprit here. Says a lot about our society.


Sounds like she isn’t ready to start a family yet, and he hasn’t convinced her of his way of thinking. Again,
that can be a huge mood killer. I wonder if he can do things to make her feel more secure that if a baby comes, they can handle it. (steady job, secure housing, savings, etc.).


Talk to your Priest and then even if she won’t go talk to a good Catholic marriage counselor.


I don’t know what to say except I’m sorry and I know you are frustrated. And I know that when fighting about sex things seem horrible and hurt feelings prevail. I used to come down pretty hard on guys who post these types of things. However, something in your post just hit me a different way. I’m on the side of prayer and very very clear frank conversations.


Well, coupled with

I would agree that there is a dynamic there that could use a lot of therapeutic work.

But, sheesh, after reading so many posts about NFP burdening various marriages, I’m intensely glad that because of [stuff], that wasn’t something that my wife and I had to deal with!


This line really made me think. Thank you!!! I need to look at my own addition to those burdens.

In my experience, NFP is often the lone scapegoat. The burden is complex and includes all of the reasons why a couple uses NFP to avoid pregnancy. Fear of babies is a burden, lack of finances is a burden, health problems are a burden, emotional and mental suffering are a burden, lack of support is a burden, family and friends who advise contraception is a burden, we in parishes who don’t welcome babies in Mass yet don’t offer a nursery heap on another burden.

The people who tell folks that abstaining for long periods with all of these contributing factors is supposed to be easy and fun are burdens, a huge burden is people who question a couple to find out if their reasons are “good enough” are burdens.

The Holy Spirit was behind you using that word. I need to examine every time I have tied burdens on people.


Wow, thanks!


Are you and she Catholic?
Refusing relations with one’s spouse is sinful, unless there is a good reason, such as illness or physical disability. It’s your wife’s responsibility to work with you to find a solution.
Taking herbs to decrease your desire is a bad idea. The purpose of marriage is to support one another and raise children that may come.
I hope you will find a therapist and speak with a good priest. She needs to sort out her feelings, since she says she wants children but refuses sex.
It wouldn’t be fair to bring children into your family with so much negativity going on.
Prayers for you.


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