Denying Conjugal Rights a Sin?


OK. I don’t like the term “rights” as this sort of intimacy in marriage should be a free gift given each other. In another post I mentioned about my wife’s personality disorders. One of them is Obssessive compulsive personality disorder where she is in control of virtually everything.

For years since I also identified her severe OCD (fear of germs) as an issue, she has been angry and resentful toward me for identifying it. The anger and resentment also comes from NPD (narcissistic personality disorder). That is where she has a need to be perfect and not reveal flaws. When I proved to her she had OCD (staying up until 2,3 AM cleaning all the time) she became cold, angry, and resentful. She denied having any issues since the beginning of our marriage.

Anyway, over the years she has used sexual intimacy or lack of as a control issue. It was always on her schedule. I as her husband could never initiate. She would need to schedule it days in advance.

Most of the last 5 years she has slept in the living room to punish me so there has been no physical intimacy at all for almost 4 years and hardly any at all for the last 10. This has been VERY painful for me. Living with an angry, cold, resentful person.

There are many issues here, but this specific question is: Is it a sin to withold conjugal rights (don’t like that word) from your spouse to punish, control them? What kind of sin?

Thanks for your input and incites.


Under normal circumstances, I’d say yes it is a sin. However, under the circumstances that you have described, I would question your wife’s culpability. Her illness may be at fault as opposed to her personally and therefore she might not be guilty (at least not entirely so). That however, is where God comes in. Only He knows an individual’s heart.


Totally agree… Tietjen is right on here.


Your wife needs serious mental and spiritual help, if what you have posted is accurate. I would encourage you to speak to a priest and therapist about this…


Right, if she is angry that you “proved” that she has some mental illnesses that suggests that she has never been diagnosed by a qualified medical professional. So if you just “think” she has all of the illnesses and disorders you listed then it would be wise to get an official diagnosis before you label her.

**I am sorry for all of the difficulties you both face in your marriage. I pray that you can find a way to help your wife. Right now knowing whether or not it is a sin for her to withhold relations isn’t going to help you. I hope you don’t plan to use it against her! **


St. Paul talks of the duty in his writings. To sum it up, under normal circumstrances, no unreasonable request should be denied.

I also look at it as a form of scandal to deny on a regular basis - It may lead others to consider porn or adultery as an outlet. Not that it completely forgives their behavior, but it could be a contributing factor.

I would talk with your wife and get her the help and treatment she needs.



I read your other post LRH and I’m now wondering the point of this thread? According to your other post you are married to a very ill woman with whom you are considering divorcing due to her mistreatment of you.

Why this thread?:shrug:


I was going to be a Psychiatrist, we heading to Medical School etc… when I burnt out working in a Psych unit… much of it due to the labeling.

The DSM is to be used by professional and even some of them don’t know what they are doing.

It sounds like your wife could definitely have some of the personality disorder you are suggesting but Personality Disorders are a secondary diagnosis, not a primary.

Thus by labeling her you are more or less calling her name since there is no primary diagnosis on what the real problem is. To someone who could be suffering from depression or bi-polar disorder this would definitely present a difficult situation and probably not make them want to renew their marriage covenant with you on a regular basis :frowning:

That being said it sounds like you have been dealing with this for many years and have put up with a lot.

My suggestion would be to seek professional help and find out exactly what she is suffering from. Tell her you are sorry for the labeling and what to find out what needs to be done for her to be happy again, and that you will do that together.

We are to love our wife’s as Christ loves His Church… every time things get bad, spend some time looking at a Crucifix. In a Sacramental marriage that is what He is calling us to as Husbands. You may already be there, I believe if you pray and work together though things can improve.

Even if she is OCD / Anal Retentive or whatever you call it… next time stay up with her if she is cleaning like that, rather than it being 3 you guys might be done at 1, and have enough time and energy for spend a hour together… that may not mean sex that night but it will mean a lot to her. If she feels like you care about her needs again, she may be much more apt to start worrying about yours, both yours singular and yours together as a couple.



Yes, we already have:
o I have spoken with 4 priests
o 4 years of marriage counseling
o She has seen a therapist for 3 1/2 years
o I saw another counselor to coach me on dealing with her severe OCD. She would clean 18 hours a day and we had 300-400 piles around the house. This couselor said I was the most educated family member about their loved ones disorders she ever met because I put in so much effort to find an answer.
o I got her to go to Retrouvaille which was wonderful, but she refuses to use the techniques since she has to listen also to me and that is not being in control
o AT our marriage counselor’s recommendation, we went to a brain clinic that took 3D photos of her brain. Cost was about $10,000 out of my pocket but I don’t care about $$, just want my wife back. She refused to follow recommendations of meds, additional tests, etc.
o My marriage counselor gave up after 4 years saying she was stuck and he couldn’t help us. He told me he believes she has BPD/NPD in addition to OCD/OCPD. I have documented all the behaviors that are consistent with his findings.
o For those familiar with BPD/NPD, those with it typically are emotionally abusive toward their loved ones and I can vouch for that.
o I do not want a divorce, but have tried for years to improve things. I have come to realize that no one came make anyone else get the help they need or to love them back.
o The difference between this situation and her having a physical ailment is that she is refusing the help she needs to get better which is typical NPD defense mechanisms.
o She refuses meds
o For 3 years I said to myself, no matter how she treats me I am going to love her and reach out to her. For 3 years I would come home from work, go to hug and kiss her and she would turn her back and walk away. The rejection and loneliness is my cross and has brough me closer to the Lord in the garden where he experienced the same.
o I could go on and on

I feel sorry for her torment and struggle with my own torment living with my spouse, who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, but who is angry, resentful, cold, unloving, etc.

I ask many questions because some on here may have the nugget of wisdom I have been praying for. Some of you do!

Thanks and many blessings!


The people on this message board can’t give you more advice on sin than the 4 priests you have spoken to. It seems you are married to a very sick woman. She is probably not culpable. You should be in spiritual counseling on a regular basis to help you with this cross.


I have lots of questions from many angles. I do not want a divorce but have tried about everything I can. See my other post. I did not hide any of these issues as I mentioned it in this post. I am just sharing and asking out of my pain too. I can understand why you asked this question because you do not know more than 0.1% of the situation. Why do you feel the need to ask this question?


People are asking why the OP started this thread. He started it because he needs affirmation that it is not wrong for him to want that marital intimacy, which as a husband is his right.

It can be very confusing being married to a spouse with a personalty disorder, to the point that you doubt yourself and don’t realize your own value and dignity as a human being. I have no doubt from what I have read on this thread and the other that this man has been through tremendous emotional abuse. More than couples therapy, I seriously recommend individual counseling. It will help to give him the perspective to see things as they really are and the strength to make the changes that are necessary, but never the less very, very painful.


Yes, as I said above–YOU need to seek out a good priest and therapist for yourself! Also, seek the aid of St Dymphna

Prayers for you and your dw.


Prayers for you LRH1957… I read some of your other thread as well as the extra details you posted on this one. It really does sound as though you are bearing a HUGE cross. But you have not given up and you are such a great example of what it truly means to be married. I pray that you find peace within yourself and your life, whether or not that includes your wife is up to her (and God). Peace be with you.


Exactly! I think she’s got it!

And I have learned through counseling, books, articles, etc that in order to take care of her, I have to take care of myself. That is through:
o individual counseling
o personal prayer
o prayer meetings
o Getting prayer via healing teams
o adoration
o having supportive friends and family that I can share with
o having an interest/hobby outside the home away from her so I can rejuvenate.
o reading books on many topics to learn about dealing with these difficult issues, etc.

Thanks for understanding and taking the time to!


Thanks for understanding! Some of you are getting it now as I share more.

Please intercede for us and especially for intergenerational healing for my wife.

Blessings to all !


Because, as you state, I know less than 0.1% of the situation.

How could you expect an answer?


Hello Iam,

The challenge of posting is that you can’t see body language or hear tone of voice which helps in understanding how something is meant. I have to be honest and say I don’t understand what you are trying to say via your typed words. I don’t need you to explain.

Since we are all brothers and sisters in Jesus, I would be very appreciative if you would just pray for this brother and his wife and their marriage.

Blessings to you and your family.


As you get healthier and stronger, what she does will have less and less of an effect on you. One of two things will happen after a certain point. Either your relationship with your wife will get better, or she is going to flip out about the loss of control and things will get way out of hand really, really fast. Either way, the path that you must take will be made clear, and it is actually a relief to get out of limbo, no matter what course this does all take.


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