Sexless marriage


My wife is no longer interested in intimacy. We haven’t had sex in months and she never tells me she loves me anymore. Could that be grounds for annulment? We are not separated or divorced and we still live in the same house. We get along fine civilly, although we are more like roommates than a married couple. We are seeing a marriage counselor but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, and now I’m thinking I want out. Although I really want to save my marriage. What can anybody suggest?


from the details that you have given no it doesn’t seem you have grounds for an annulment. an annulment means that a marriage never existed to begin with and is not the same thing as a divorce. It seems you are in a tough spot and I will say prayers for you and your wife.

Have you thought about what you can be doing for your wife? pray for her, help her with the housework and kids, take up a hobby together …


An annulment is not a divorce, it means that there was never a marriage in the first place because some requirement was not met at the time you got married. It’s possible that you never had a sacramental marriage, something for you to discuss with a priest, but lack of sex later in the marriage on its own is not grounds for annulment.

That said, what have you been doing to try to save your marriage? What haven’t you been doing? Why does your wife not want to have sex anymore?

Maybe simply forget about sex for now, don’t ask or remind her of it, and simply try to win her over the way you did when you were dating. Simple things like doing the household chores, getting in shape, dressing well, being clean, taking her out on exciting dates, improving yourself and being interesting/mysterious can go a long way.


Annulment is a statement from the Church that the marriage never was, because one or both parties were not sincere in their vows.

Even if there are grounds for annulment, I think we have a ‘DUTY OF CARE’ to love and respect the dignity of the other person so that they are not injured by selfish desire for annulment.

I have been told that as my wife married me as a passport out of a very unhappy home [the day after the wedding 'stating ‘a woman cannot be held by any vow as it is a woman’s perogative to change her mind’ and ‘the vows were only taken because that is what the ceremony required’ and 'she had changed her mind about wanting children and as I was forced to accept celibacy for most of my 30-year marriage, while she clearly did not have any problems with having sex with other men], even that, is no guarrantee of grounds for annulment,

Though we no longer live together [she wanted me out of her life when I became ill and she didn’t want to look after me], I feel I am STILL OBLIGED to my marriage vows to ‘love and to cherish all the days of my life!’ She may not have been sincere but I was!!! For me therefore, the contract is STILL binding and absolute!!

A dear long-standing friend wanted me to pursue an annulment so we could be together and I would have liked that to, but it would have meant that ‘my wife’ would have got badly hurt… She doesn’t want me but it would hurt her grieviously if someone else did and I just don’t have the heart to hurt her like that.

I have worked hard to re-build bridges [no, I do not want to move back in with her, I am thankful to Almighty God for illness that released me from a 30-year sentence of hell on earth], but I STILL love her and will never see her hurt in any way, she too is vulnerable.

Thus, annulment is [for me] a sin against charity.

I do not believe we have the right to pursue an annulment if it means another person getting hurt.

Suffering I have come to realise, is a necessary and unavoidable part of our journey. When the crosses come, I have learnt not to reject, but to embrace them and accept their pain as Christ did His. In that spirit, after every cross it seems, God brings us to a new dimension of life, understanding and spiritual growth. :thumbsup:

All good wishes :slight_smile:

Blessings and peace


In and of itself, your wife’s decision to end sexual relations is not “grounds” for a decree of nullity. I suggest you get the book Annulment: The Wedding That Was by Michael Smith Foster to help you understand the Church’s teaching on marriage and nullity.

While it is not grounds in-and-of itself, it may be evidence of something that is grounds-- such as a lack of intent for permanency, etc. This is something best discussed with someone in your diocese who is trained in canon law and the nullity process.

I do hope you can save your marriage. This should certainly be your priority.

If you cannot and you and your wife divorce, you have every right to discuss your marriage with someone in the diocese to determine if you might have an invalid marriage. You do not have to exercise your right, but it is there.

There are no guarantees, so you should be prepared for your marriage to be found valid.



The OP has asked for help and I have replied by putting my BIG Foot in it. :o

Neither was my answer particularly helpful. :frowning:

Please accept my sincere apologies.**

Blessings and peace



Like people have said before, please don’t seek an annulment or divorce first. Try EVERYTHING possible to save your marriage.

We’re praying for you.


We are seeing a marriage counselor, and I’m trying to do my part to save the marriage. but my wife refuses to budge. It is like I am doing 200% and she is doing 0%. I think my wife WANTS our marriage to fail.

OK, so how do I find someone in the Diocese to discuss our marriage, as you mentioned? And could I just say that our marriage isn’t consummated? That wouldn’t be so far off the mark.


I personally think you should not even be thinking about divorce or annulment. You made a vow, for better or worse. Persevere and continue your 200% for as long as needed. St. Monica prayed and followed St. Augustine 20 years before he converted. In all of the lives of the saints, perseverance was a part of their life; it is part of perfection. This is your cross to bear, so bear it; don’t run away from it. I will pray for you.


*What led up to this, Jimsdun? Someone doesn’t just stop having sex with his/her spouse out of the blue…

I think that you owe it to yourself and wife, to get to the root of what the problem(s) is/are and try your best to save your marriage. But, you can’t go it alone…your wife does have to step up to make things better. I will keep you both in my prayers. *


Has your wife been to a dr recently? There are medical issues that may bring about a lack of desire. Please look into physical issues as well as the counselling you are already doing.

I am sorry for your troubles. Please continue to pray and perserver. I will pray for you and your wife.


It sounds like you have grounds for annulment though. Your wife married you only to get out of an unhappy home, and the day after essentially said she does not intend to keep the vows? Also it does not seem she was open to life, which is essential.

Her mind was likely not properly formed during the marriage, maybe there never was a marriage Maybe you should consider pursuing an annulment so that you can marry again and find happiness?


Father Loya just discussed the issue of marital intimacy on his Theology of the Body podcast A Body of Truth. You can hear it at the Catholic Radio International website. Maybe it would be of some help to you? Good luck


Thanks for your prayers. We do have some issues that are quite complex. I suspect that she doesn’t want to be Catholic anymore, and wants to convert back to “born again” evangelicalism (which is what she was when we first started dating).


Go to the week long class together at Theology of the Body institute.


It doesn’t sound to me like sex is the real issue here. So you need to deal with what the problem is. If you talk to your priest, he can direct you to resources in your parish, or maybe give some advice yourself.

But is it a bad thing if your wife doesn’t want sex while you are doing this work? Sometimes sex can help bring people together when they are irritated, but other times it can obscure things. Woman in particular, if they are angry at their husband, find it very difficult to have sex without feeling bitterly resentful, even if they know they should. It can be a difficult situation

Take the time to do other things, like pray, or read a spiritual book, or do nice things for your wife. It is a myth perpetuated by society that all people have a right to an active sex life at all times, and in the Church it has been transformed into the myth that married couples have this right. Married life also sometimes demands celibacy for a time, and occasionally permanently.

If your wife really wants to leave the Catholic Church, you will have to accept that. However, there is no reason it needs to destroy the marriage.

As for annulment - it sometimes seems that anyone can get an annulment these days. But dissatisfaction is honestly not a reason to go looking for one.



I went about 2.5 years ago and it was probably the best $1000 I ever spent. At the time, my parents were having marital issues and I’d been praying for something to help them. About halfway through the course, I knew that it was what I’d been praying for.
I actually paid for them to go myself since it was the only way they’d be able to go. They kept putting it off for random things that kept coming up. (A very common trend I’ve noticed when trying to get spiritually-teetering people to go on a retreat that I know will help them. Satan just starts throwing all kinds of physical and mental obstacles at them to make them feel like they can’t go.) Eventually, I was able to make them see the pattern themselves. (After the third time of something coming up at the last minute as I warned it would every time, they realized there was something spiritual going on and just went.)
And now they still thank me for paying for them/ “making” them go. Their marriage and faith has never been stronger.

Christopher West has such an amazing gift for proclaiming the truth to all kinds of people. Unless she’s totally closed off (and perhaps even then), this will help your marriage.


There are other marriage encounters as well… I would pray for her and try to addend a get away together.

IMHO if someone wants to be Evangelical again after becoming Catholic, they don’t understand the teachings of the Church. Have you tried to help her understand the teachings better? Was her RCIA class a good one?

I agree I don’t think sex is the real issue but she is holding that from you, something we shouldn’t do to our spouses, in order to try and make you do something… what I’m not exactly sure though.



And you?

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