DH not attracted to me. At my wit's end

Warning: LONG! It won’t let me put it all in one post :slight_smile:

My husband is very devout. He has been since before we met. When we met I was 19 and he was 29. I was raised Catholic but at age 19 going to Church on Sunday was as far as I went in my faith. I had been engaged to someone before and had had numerous partners before. He also lived with a fiancee and had numerous partners. He converted in 2001 (was raised with no religion) and we met in 2003 so he had already changed for 2 years before we met

When we started dating we started “messing around” for lack of better words. We never had sex and never even came close. Just did more than he thought was right. After a few months he informed me he couldn’t do anything at all before marriage and explained why. When he told me the teachings the Church had, I was fine with it. We stopped doing anything intimate until our wedding date

We were married about 13 months after we met. The first two weeks of the marriage our intimate life was what I would consider “normal” whatever that means. LOL. Just like newlyweds without getting in to too much detail. We conceived our first child 2 months later. Almost as soon as I became pregnant, any interest he had in me seem to end. We did not have any type of sexual contact the entire pregnancy. I figured maybe cause I was pregnant and it weirded him out. I had the baby. However, even after things didn’t seem quite right. He rarely if ever initiated sex with me, never seemed interested in me, did not seem attracted to me, did not compliment me or anything. When we decided to have another child when our first was 10 months old, he seemed somewhat willing to have sex but I still had to tell him things like “hey i’m ovulating. We should probably “try” today”. Nothing ever spontaneous or out of his own idea. I got pregnant quickly so we really only “tried” for 2 months. Again, entire pregnancy and 2 months post partum we didn’t touch eachother. He never made an attempt. If I did, he was so reluctant I gave up trying.

We waited longer in between the next children. But I noticed problems again after I had our second. No “looks” towards me, no compliments, never seemed to ever want sex, I initiated almost every single time (which was a whole one time every 2 months or something). If I did “initiate” it took him forever to “warm up” and then it was over in like 2 minutes. We got pregnant with our 3rd last fall and sadly lost that baby. I am now pregnant again with our fourth and due in 2 1/2 months. He actually did “agree” to sex one whole time during this pregnancy cause we were on vacation for our 5th wedding anniversary. That was the last time (july).

I’ve kinda given up. I’m sick of initiating things. I’m sick of the only affection we have being our mandatory kiss before bed which is just habit. I’m sick of feeling ugly and unloved. When your husband never looks at you with love in his eyes or any type of attraction you start feeling horribly about yourself.

I’m not asking to be a bunny. But more than 5-6 times a year would be nice. It’s almost like unless we are actively trying to have a child, he doesn’t want to. And even then it’s a hassle for him. I know he’s a lot older than me (35), I am 25 and I know desire wanes over time, but 2 weeks after we were married? I consider myself fairly devout now, and he’s more devout than ever. I was under the impression the Church teaches sex in marriage is a wonderful event that God gives you. He sure doesn’t treat it like that. It’s almost like he’s thought sex was so wrong for so long, that once he got married he couldn’t change that thinking in his mind. I never see him look at other women, never watches rated R movies, never watches anything scandalous on TV. But I figured, I’m your wife! Yes it’s wrong to look lustfully at other women, but having a desire to be with your wife is ok!

My problem lies in with the fact that while he seems to be a very devout pure man, three times issues have come up. The first was I caught him on facebook commenting on a picture of his ex fiancee who was in a shirt that basically showed off all her breasts. I told him I didn’t appreciate that. He apologized. The next time was 4 months ago when he forgot to log off Facebook and I found messages to an ex girlfriend in which he was reminiscing about their past sexual life with her! I confronted him on it. He apologized profusely, went to talk to our parish priest, went to confession and even had the priest write me a letter stating how sorry he was :rolleyes: I brought up the fact that what he did didn’t hurt so much as much as what it made me feel like did. I told him that I felt so unattractive, felt he had no desire for me, felt like he never wanted anything sexual with me, yet here he was talking about the one thing he feels is so wrong with some other woman! He deleted his facebook account and vowed to change. Yeah that hasn’t happened.

Then the other day I went into his duffel bag for work looking for his work schedule. I found a 3 DVD set on purity and resisting temptation. I was blown away. What in the world does he need that for? Sure isn’t anything have to do with me! I started to get a little angry. I can’t even get you to look at me with any type of attraction, and here you are watching a DVD on resisting temptations??? Please…don’t suppress whatever urges and feelings you do have left! Then it hit me. Obviously it isn’t for me. If it is for me, he has some very skewed backwards thinking. I am now thinking there is something outside our marriage he is trying to resist. I then looked through his numerous religious books he has. The bookmarked pages had to do with sex alot.

I just can’t believe my husband is watching that DVD. It’s almost like he took the whole “lust” and purity thing too far and doesn’t realize with your wife it’s okay to do those things or think those things. I did not become his wife strictly to have his babies. I became his wife to be loved and cherished. Two things that don’t exist

yes, sex isn’t everything. But in a marriage it’s what makes being spouses different than being roommates which I feel like we are now. I feel like there is no love. We just are two people who happen to live in the same house and have children together. Yes, I’ve brought this up to him NUMEROUS times. What else am I supposed to do? Force him to go to counseling? He was so big on what marriage means before we got married, but seems to have forgotten what it means after. It almost seems like he had more attraction to me before we were married (and thus was forbidden) than he does now

He just left for a 3 day retreat which I’m not happy about. Here I am 7 months pregnant and having to take care of two toddlers by myself with no help for 3 days. He said “this isn’t exactly a vacation for me.” Well since I’m the one stuck here breaking up fights, calming tantrums, making meals, cooking, cleaning, wiping poopy butts, with zero break from it all, your 3 days of silence while listening to “talks” sounds pretty vacation like to me. Are these retreats that intense? I’d sure take that anyday over my weekend I’m about to have. Plus he knew I had to work, but it was left up to me to find a sitter on a weekend which is impossible so I have to drive them to a sitter an hour away. But his retreat is more important I guess. I don’t understand why I’m the one who has to be inconvienced so he can go do this

I was somewhat immature and left a note in his bag to find when he gets there. It says to ask the priest as long as he’s there if it’s the Church’s teaching to never show your wife any affection, any apprecation, any attraction or to never initiate intimacy. Cause if it’s not a church teaching I’d like to know why our marriage has turned into that. And why after talking to him numerous times nothing has changed. I also wrote I was depressed by it all and something needs to change and I hope he takes this weekend away to think about that. I have no idea if that was the right thing to do. But talking to him hasn’t worked so I hope bringing it up to a Priest will help. But then I’m afraid, what if these people are brainwashing him? What if he’s getting his whole mixed up feelings and beliefs from them? They may be saying the right teacings, but he may be taking it too far. Maybe they are talking about purity (which they do) and lust and he takes that to mean purity in EVERYTHING. This retreat is geared towards young men especially college aged men so I’m sure a lot has to do with that during the retreat.

I have no clue what to do. He can’t talk to me the whole 3 days cause it’s a “silent retreat” and I guess checking in with your pregnant wife a lone with your two kids will distract you from whatever you are learning.

I’m so depressed and don’t know what to do. Is this normal with very devout men? That they think sex is wrong or aren’t interested unless a pregnancy can occur? I’m so confused and so hurt and feel so horrible about myself, like the most unloved person in the world. :frowning:

When he comes back you need to tell him that you are going to counseling together. Ask your priest or call up the diocese to get recommendations for Catholic marriage counselors.
Or try catholictherapists.com/


Read Greg’s books—Holy Sex… and For Better Forever…

This is not acceptable behavior. It’s not “catholic behavior” You two need some tools too learn how to work things out.

Of course you need to be praying about this.

He obviously has some very severe issues that he hasn’t told you about.

Second, he’s trying to fix his lustful thoughts. Do you REALLY want to be lusted after or do you want to be loved? Perhaps he figures until he can get rid of unwanted sexual thoughts he cannot be intimate with you. Why be mad over this. Again, he isn’t communicating the best with you but he IS trying to fix something that’s wrong.

I would not bash him over the head for his “vacation” a silent retreat may be ill-timed but is is HARD and it is NOT vacation. He sounds like he’s going through a great deal. He is in pain. Despite the hardship of having to care for two toddlers you really need to let him do this and not guilt him.

Some questions that need to be asked. Was he sexually abused as a child? Was he attacked as an adult? Did someone show him something? Did he hear something about child abuse that made him afraid to hurt you/the baby? Was he involved in a sexual relationship before marriage that ended badly?

Your husband sounds like he is dealing with alot. You need to take a step back and get help for communication in marriage. You also may need to give a lot in this time…just be prepared.

Maybe he has had sex the “wrong” way for so long he can’t have sex the “right” way. I’d say counseling is in order, as well, a Catholic counselor of course!

That’s what I am thinking. He was impure for years before becoming Catholic and I know it weighs heavily on his mind. Then he spent the next 4 years avoiding anything sexual to avoid any temptation.

Enter marriage :slight_smile: I’m sure it’s not easy to “turn off” that thinking and after avoiding it, confessing it, agonizing over it and doing everything in your power to avoid it, it probably isn’t easy to be like one day “hey its okay now”.

He feels so badly for his past sins and tries SO hard to be a good Catholic I wouldn’t doubt that he is trying a little too hard.

So my ideas are either that or what a PP said about having something else tempting him in marriage he’s trying to suppress and in turn has to suppress anything with me as well to avoid it.

I think Seatuck gave a good response. Playing off of purple sunshine’s comments, I do think there seems to be something he’s hiding. I would be careful to talk with him before assuming what it might be. It could be someone else as you suggested… but it could just as easy be other childhood issues such as purple suggested, or it could be he’s twisted what the church teaches, or it could be that he just never had much drive at all. You NEED to find out what the problem is before it can be fixed.

So the first step and the best advice I can give… is that you ned to seek ways of communicating more effectively. This is more than each of you hearing the other person, it is you both lovingly listening, and expressing what is truelly going on. If counseling is neccessary, then do so.

Next, study up on what he is saying is affecting his sex life. If it is a twisted truth, study, then untwist the lies slowly. Read books about the topic together. Etc. Catholic teaching does not teach that sex is bad. Conveserly, it is one of God’s best gifts. If he is devout, there are plenty of resources for that.

I would love to hear more when you dig deeper on his reasons for being the way he is. Until you get to the bottom of it, remember to offer your sufferings to God.

Praying for you and your marriage,


Holy Sex would be a great book for both of you to read as well as The Good News About Sex and Marriage by Christopher West.

It sounds to me as if there are deeper issues going on here. I hate to admit it, but the first thing that I thought in reading the post was that your husband is involved with pornography. While I do not see as much fault in the DVDs as you may, there is the potential for this to be alarming. If he is involved with pornography then that could be a part of this.

Past sexual experiences and pornography are so damaging to future relationships. Sex outside of one committed, sacramental relationship is one of the biggest lies of the culture. It trains your mind to a false sense of what human sexuality truly is for anyone.

I cannot answer your questions as to why your husband does not feel the need to be intimate with you, there could be many factors that come into play, starting with those that I have mentioned above. However, I will say this, it is not okay for a husband to lust after his wife. I think that I understand the context of how you are using that, you want to be desired by him. You do not want to be the object of his lust. Then you are getting the exact thing that you may be battling. You do not want to be an object. Sex is about soo much more than that. I feel that the books may be a great place for both of you to start.

And who knows, maybe this retreat came at just the right time. Focus your prayer time on the Holy Family. Pray for your husband as he is away. Offer all the poopy diapers, the bed times, the cleaning, preparing meals, the frustrations up. It is not easy. Will not be easy, but I think that it will help. Did you both talk about this retreat? Did you talk about the DVDs? Maybe I missed something?

Once he returns, maybe he will open up and be honest with you. You can ask him for that, but you have to be prepared for what you might hear from him. Maybe a sincere (non attacking) letter to him while he is away stating how you feel and how you have felt over the years would be in order. Again, do not attack him in the letter, just focus it on how you have felt and state that you want to find ways together to make this improve. It is important to you and you should express that. Two have become one flesh and you both need to work at this TOGETHER.

Chaste sex is necessary to a marriage.

In fact, the Code of Cannon Law 1151 et. seq. provides that the conjugal act is a *right *and a *duty *of the marriage partners. In other words, he should not deny your just requests for his conjugal affections without just cause.

If your husband is devout, really devout, then simply point out to him the Church teachings on sex within marriage. Point out to him that he has a duty to be with you, and that doing so increases your marriage bond. Failing to do so hurts both you and the marriage.

I dealt with this problem from the opposite end (since I am a man, obviously). Constant refusal over long periods of time destroyed my first civil marriage (an anullment meant I was never married at all to my ex). Point that out to him - that he must fix whatever his problem is because it is hurting you, him, your marriage, and by extension your children.

How does he respond when you confront him about feeling unattractive?

Is there anything you can do to make yourself more attractive? Are you in good shape? Do you dress well?

I respectfully submit that the issue has nothing to do with the OP and her appearance . Even if she isn’t a statuesque model, it doesn’t matter. Husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loves the church! It’s right there in the Bible.

It has a lot more to do with his emotional adultery with his Ex’s and a possible addiction to porn. In any case, something appears hidden and, if so, is not good.

Personally, I would still want my wife even if she were disfigured. She’s definitely overweight and no longer the foxy young thing she used to be, but she is more beautiful and desirable to me than ever. That’s the way it should be.

The formal counseling advice is good, and I’d start there on the official front. I will also let you know a little bit on how us guys are wired and extrapolate a bit from what you mentioned here.

Ok, the act, rather dissapointing it lasting for two minutes, he considers himself a failure and found turning off the carnal nature is more desirable because he prefers like most people not to fail, so naturally will avoid it. The next time, try more foreplay and afterplay, give him some time, such as 45 minutes or so between, then try to initiatiate it again, he will last longer, and this over time on a regular basis, it will make him feel less of a failure, since it now is tapping into a more natural manner, rather then an abrupt out of the blue, one time thing. With how you initiate it, you are going about it wrongly. Telling him you are ovulating so it’s time for sex is completely unromantic, that is turning into a chore and you will find 99% of what goes on, is entirely upstairs and being spontaneous being the key to it all is of great help. This is confirmed with your catching him on the fb account, with that forbidden fruit and his lack of reluctance to avoid the temptation. There are many things you can do in this area to steer it another direction, and the usuals are dolling yourself up, finding time daily for just the two of you without the kids spending quality adult time together, and more that I care not to mention in a Catholic forum, but use your imagination on that one. When you two are together in the act, you should both be feeling very close to one another, more of an intertwining of souls, this is the difference between making love and simply having sex too often people aren’t aware of.

On his end though, he should be more focused along how you are enjoying it, if he is, it’s a real turn on and this is the difference between being selfless and selfish in bed, and the latter is all too often the norm. He needs to realize also, just because he is done, doesn’t mean it’s over, and I really don’t want to go into more detail on this one, but it’s something he obviously is rather clueless about it.

There is a communication problem going on here, and you communicate in many different ways.

The one thing that resonates with me here though is that it doesn’t seem like he’s using the dvd’s and biblical resources in regards to you, but in regards to some other fascination he has with impulses likely outside of the marriage he’s struggling with. It could be attraction still to an x, some fetish, or something else, but it’s undermining your current sex life and he’s trying to eliminate it from the outside in, not the inside out. If he realizes that it’s not about how well you can conform as much as letting the light of Christ simply shine through the darkness of your inner, old self more so then simply working on mastery of the flesh from the outside.

Point out to him that he has a duty to be with you, and that doing so increases your marriage bond. Failing to do so hurts both you and the marriage.

I don’t think I’d want my dh to have sex with me out of ‘duty’. Mowing the lawn is a duty, vacuuming is a duty. I’m wondering if this husband is getting extreme in his thinking…wasn’t there a Catholic thought that you should only have sex when you want a baby? That’s skewed but the mentality was out there. Could that be what he’s going through?

I really do not think that this has anything to do with what the OP posted. I have to echo the other comments that it is not about her physical appearance at all. Our marriage vows do not call us to love, honor and cherish…unless you put on weight. In good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love and honor all the days of your life.

Again, as it was mentioned by tedfay, we are to love our bride as Christ loved the Church. Unconditional love!

I agree with the other posters who have said it doesn’t have anything to do with your looks. I know plenty of people who are very affectionate with their ugly spouses, so I know it is possible. :stuck_out_tongue: I’ve always been unattractive and my wife is turning into a little tub o’ lard and we are still affectionate towards each other.

I think you are making a mountain out of molehill with the DVD. I don’t know why everybody is so quick to assume the worst. You are expecting the impossible if you want him to never struggle with purity again - it just isn’t going to happen. Is there a lot of stress at work, deaths in the family, lack of sleep, or any other things that might be affecting his desire? Why don’t you just bring this up with him and see what the deal is? It doesn’t seem like he is actively turning you down; he just isn’t being the initiator. There might be a million different reasons for that but you’ll never know until you ask.

I don’t expect him not to struggle with purity, but from what I can see, he seems to be doing very well. I’ve never seen him so much as look at another woman during our marriage. He does not watch seductive shows on tv and doesn’t watch rated R movies. So that’s why I was trying to figure out the DVD thing (for someone else who asked, no I didn’t confront him why he had it. I found it 3 days ago and then we were busy).

There isn’t too much stress I don’t think. He’s a firefighter(not a very busy fire department) so he only works 10 days a month. I am as well so it’s not like I don’t know the stress he goes through at work. He has tons of free time. We do have two small children, one of who has special needs so that’s some stress. He sleeps fine, no deaths etc. However, even if there were things that affect his desire, how do I explain the lack of desire from the BEGINNING of our marriage? Know what I mean? I mean, that’s a lot of stress! LOL

As for " why don’t you just bring this up to him", I said several times I HAVE brought it up to him. In tears begging for him to show me some affection. I just brought it up again a few months ago and that was an all out me sobbing, begging him to show SOME attraction, any attraction to me, and him crying and saying he was sorry event. Guess what. Nothing changed. I have brought it up in very serious conversations numerous times, and nothing changes. I am not sure how many times I’m supposed to bring it up. He knows how I feel. He has letters I’ve written to him. We’ve sat for hours talkign about it. Nothing changes.

And no, he doesn’t initiate. But if I do, he sure isn’t quick to jump at the chance and yes, by his actions, he has turned me down.

I know there could be a million diferent reasons. And if this suddenly happened out of nowhere, I’d attribute it to that. But our entire marriage he’s been like this. There has to be a pretty big reason to go your entire marriage with these feelings :frowning: Before we had a house. Before he had his job. Before we had kids. Before we had daily stresses. The only time he’s seemed to really want me and be attracted to me was BEFORE we got married. That’s what baffles me the most. As soon as he could “have me” for lack of better words, it was like it just didn’t interest him anymore.

And for another poster, I worded that poorly. I do NOT want him lusting after me. That’s just wrong. But would it be so bad if while I changed he would just glance at me? Would it be so bad if when I dressed up nice he said I looked nice? Would it be so bad after a romantic dinner he felt “in the mood” and initiated something? Unless we are making a baby there is no interest. And even that is pretty forced. He wants the child, just doesn’t seem to want the way to get it there. Even if I initiate or try to catch his attention he kinda doesn’t care. Unless I flat out say “i’m ovulating” which is oh so romantic, he won’t touch me. Too much information alert :slight_smile: Being spontaneous doesn’t work. He never can get “in the mood” ahead of time. We have to be actively doing things for him to start to warm up. I’m thinking there is also something medical going on as well.

It seems like your facebook discovery contradicts the above post…I think you husband might have other problems you might not have noticed. Counceling is a good idea I dont think you can fix this yourself…I dont think its about you…and I think if he does not want to go to counseling you should go without him (for your own piece of mind…not becuase you did anything)

That is really strange. He sounds like he might be asexual and just kind of disgusted with the whole process. Is he willing to see a doctor about everything? Like you said it might be something medical.

That is actually the only time I’ve ever seen him show an interest in women and he admitted facebook made it extremely easy to do so that’s why he deleted it instantly when I found out.

In fact, he no longer uses the computer at all anymore. He said facebook proved to him a computer can be used for bad things way to easily. So I’m not too worried about him furthering that. All bad sites are “blocked out” at work and he doesn’t use it at all at home. He knows I monitor it at home and he actually is not computer savy and wouldn’t know how to delete a history (which I would know he did anyways by looking at the history) so he doesn’t use our computer at all.

I’ve never brought up counseling but I’m sure he would consent to it. He takes marriage very seriously (except for this part for some reason) so I know he’d do anythign to make a marriage work. Something is just wrong and I guess we need counseling to figure out what that is.

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