Sexless marriages


I am in a 4 year sexless marriage and it is getting so difficult to stay. I have prayed and prayed and still believe in the sanctity of our marriage but I don’t even know why my husband doesn’t want me any more. He refuses to talk to me about it and when he does, it always turns out to be my fault. His memory of him leaving the bedroom has turned into me kicking him out! I do remember him telling me I am repulsive yet I have not more than doubled my weight as he has. Yes I did gain a little bit of weight after our 6 kids.

The problem…I get more attention from a certain other guy than I do from my own husband. I am finding it very hard not to be flattered by this attention especially after losing 40 lbs. We have been to 9 counselors and just about each and every one of them has said that they have to start with him, he stops going. Yet still says it’s me. I guess I am just tired of being just the mom and maid. I never thought that I would be in this situation. I do admit that I have on occasion even gone so far as to plan a “date” with this other guy but of course, it would go no further than that. I have never in my life felt lonely but it has changed in the last few days. Help.


I am so sorry. What a cross you have to bear.

You do not share with us how active you are in the Church. I know that it will sound simplistic, but I have found for my own personal crosses that deepening my prayer life and turning towards The Holy Mother Church has made bearing them possible, rather than a complete impossibility.

The lonliness must be very difficult for you - just as it must have been for Our Lord in the Garden. You must feel so torn - one man rejects you while another pays you attention, and that attention is so dangerous…

Have you spoken with your priest? There is an enormous opportunity for heroic spiritual growth in this situation…I will keep you in prayer, and hope you make the kind of choices that lead to closer to eternity in heaven.


I’m so sad for you. In my case four years of sexlessness has turned into over 20!! It’s such a painful way to live and cuts to the heart of one’s ideas about love, being female and the need for touch.

My H doesn’t care and doesn’t want to fix things so he’s leaving me little choice but to ask for a separation. Granted, we’ve had other severe problems, including my H’s past pattern of verbal and physical abuse.

I pray you can get your H to “wake up” before it’s too late.

God Bless.


I’m glad I read this thread. It has been almost 3 years for me. I feel weighted down by feeling unworthy. I don’t recieve communion anymore because at this point I believe my husband must be correct. That all that I am on the inside doesn’t make up for the extra pounds on the outside(about 30 pounds worth). For a while I had myself convinced that it was him who was “shallow” but I no longer think that. It is me who is unworthy of renewing our marriage vows so He can’t force himself to do it. I am not happy for those suffering from this but It helps some to know I am not alone.



Sexless marriages ( where the husband is the refuser) are not about us – it’s about the husband’s problems, fears are inability to to love completely. Please read the book “Celibate Wives” by Avna and Waltz. It will give you some excellent perpectives, whether you decide to leave or stay in your marriage.

I have always remained slim and am considered attractive, but I could walk past my H naked a million time and he would not notice or care. He hasn’t even really seen me naked in years because he hasn’t bothered to look.

I will keep you in my prayers!


I don’t have any real advice to offer on this topic, except this:

PLEASE DON’T STOP RECEIVING HOLY COMMUNION BECAUSE OF YOUR HUSBAND’S VERBAL ABUSE. Jesus is waiting for you in Holy Communion – the Creator of the Universe humbles Himself and comes to us because He loves us. Unless you’re in a state of mortal sin, you SHOULD receive Him – He will give you strength to carry on. Don’t listen to the lies your Satan is trying to get you to believe: your worth IS NOT based on your physical appearance. You are a child of God, and Jesus died because you’re worth so much! :heaven:

I’ll say a prayer for all of you in this thread right now. :crossrc: God bless. :hug1:


]If there were any piece of advice I could give to a married woman/man in your shoes, is do not seek what you are missing from your marriage, outside of your marriage. The devil sees that you are weak, and has ‘found an opening’ to get through, to tempt you to sin. That is the whole point of life sometimes, I think–to always combat sin, and rise above it to stay close to Christ. If you start engaging in seeing this other guy, you will soon be moving further and further away from your husband…and even though he doesn’t sound very pleasant, please don’t turn your eyes onto another man. It’s very dangerous to a marriage. When my husband and I were separated many years ago, there was someone who told me ‘all the right things,’ and it was hard to not want to throw caution to the wind. But, I would have thrown away my marriage, and for what? A few fleeting words of kindness from a stranger will not heal what you are missing from your marriage. That is a fact. You and your husband must decide if you can salvage your marriage–and if so, then you need to focus on that. Your marriage might not be saveable, but find that out without the distraction of another man coming into your life. You owe it to yourself, and your marriage to try against all odds…but, I would talk to a priest. No one should spend a lifetime being abused either…so, I’ll keep you in my prayers. Also–let’s say you left your husband for this other guy–let’s just say that for a moment. Relationships rarely work, when other people are getting hurt to achieve them. Remember that too. My sister went through something similiar a few years ago, and now she is alone. Not with her husband. Not with the guy who she was convinced loved her beyond all measure. She is alone. Hang in there–and remember***…the kind fleeting words of a stranger will not heal your marriage.***


This saved my marriage…


This was my experience as well… In my case the problem was some pretty severe mental problems with husband. I was preparing to spend the rest of my life in this situation when he left. My counselor and priest both told me to divorce but I didn’t listen (at first). Once he saw that I was resigned and his words were not affecting me anymore, he left. It was sad that I had to go through all the self hatred and doubt before I found out it was him and not me. It literally took years of deep prayer, soul searching and work on my self esteem to get me past the hurt this caused… please don’t wait as long as I did…


Something about your story, really touched me. Thank you for sharing it. I think that is equally good advice too, if you feel that the relationship truly will never change, and is abusive, then it might be the very best advice of all.


I was married for 16 years to a man whose sole goal regarding intimacy was to impregnate me. As soon as I was pregnant he would not touch me. In all the years we were together this man never once kissed me as anything other than a brother would, and that, almost never. We both wanted a large family and I didn’t conceive easily so for many years I could convince myself that I could live with this. I am petite, slender (5’2" 105 lbs) and considered attractive by others- this is not about looks.

To make a long story short, after 8 pregnancies and six living children (I lost two) I felt like the loneliest and least desireable woman on earth. This was not (and never had been) a sacramental marriage. I did everything I could to make my marriage work. To be honest, even through all that, I loved him. Among other things, I consulted two different priests, one I knew to be liberal and the other an ultra-conservative, both devout. And they both said the same thing. I was too healthy to be in such a dysfunctional marriage, and that sex was a biological urge and a married man who isn’t at all interested has significant problems.

Of course, sex problems don’t stay in the bedoom and will eventually manifest outside the bedroom in many ways. In my case, my husband became hateful and cruel. He seemed to go out of his way to show me he disliked me. I felt cheated of any semblance of a real marriage.His mean-spiritedness did not stop at me, and started to extend to the children-- this was just another way to get to me. One day he was mean to our oldest child and, in that moment, it felt like the blinders on my heart fell off, the last bit of love I had left for him died and I stopped loving him-- he had finally used up every last bit of my love. Prior to that I continually tried to be kind and loving to, at least, care for his needs as a wife would, which wasn’t easy in the face of relentless rejection. From that point it took only six weeks for the marriage to unravel. He walked out on me and our six young children on Jan. 2, 1995. The youngest was only an infant, 14 months old.

For nearly ten years after that I refused to even consider dating, I was so damaged by this marriage. To make a long story short, eventually I did date, and am now married to an incredible man. It is truly a sacramental marriage, we pray the rosary as often as we can, up to 3 times daily together, share all our various interests and every week go for a long walks at a local shrine, do the stations, attend mass as one, etc. --and I feel desired and beautiful beyond measure, my husband loves me tenderly and lustily.

Yet even now, there are times when that old nemesis arises, the idea that I am undesireable. For all those years I was treated (by my first husband) like an object of contempt and it has taken a toll; periodically I just feel like my husband must not really want me. I know it is my problem, but I feel bad, but my loving husband does help me through it. He says that when he sees me begin to go through that–it is his signal to love me better, to love me even more. Under his tender care I have really become better and better, these episodes have nearly dissappeared completely. Best of all, the opportunity to live out our Catholic faith as a married couple is a gift beyond measure. I have married a prince among men.

One of the reasons I have told you all this is that so many people have feared being alone… I wanted so much to be able to love fully and be fully loved. When God created people, God did not want man to be alone. Marriage can be a true joining of souls for a journey homewards, heavenwards, and we can be helpmates for one another on the road towards heaven. I was more alone when I was married to my first husband than I have ever been in my whole life. Even when I was single, I was never so lonely as when my first husband and I “shared” a bed–that bed was a cold and empty, lonely place and there was nothing redeeming in it, except perhaps my ability to offer my sufferings for others.

I don’t know if my story can help you. If your situation is as extreme as mine was, perhaps you can see that this may not be what God is asking of you. When I was trying to fix my marriage, nothing at all helped, and I began to feel like I was fighting God Himself! It began to dawn on me that I could possibly be fighting His will for me! The priests I consulted confirmed hat. I was so pro-marriage that it never occurred to me that there are situations that are so unhealthy that God might will the marriage be recognised as null.


You are all in my prayers. May God bless each one of you. :gopray:


I forgot to mention one other thing… I must reiterate what “whatevergirl” said, that is… do not seek what is missing in your marriage outside of your marriage.

When my marriage was dying I was very aware that I would have to live for the rest of my life with knowing whether or not I had made a sincere, serious, sustained effort to salvage the marriage, not just for me but for our children as well. People create enough regrets without being aware of it, I didn’t want to make mistakes knowingly, that I would regret forever. My watchword, in a way, was–don’t create regrets.

If you go outside your marriage while still married, you will not only be muddying the waters and creating complications, but you will be giving away something that no-one on earth can take from you-- your own integrity. The only person who can give that away is you, but at what cost, and how damaging! You will always have to live with you. I do understand how battered your self esteem must be from living in a marriage where rejection is the daily fare. But I guarantee, in the long run, going outside your marriage is not good for self esteem. Please seek help-- from a priest, a counselor, a friend, your family…I will keep you in my prayers.


We did that. Unfortunately DH doesn’t seem interested in putting it into practice.


Sorry, just ignore me. This time of year makes me feel blue and I am weaker than normal. DH does not verbally abuse me. It was said once and was his true feelings. I forgive him for that. Overall he’s a great guy. Everyone tells me so. Unfortunately , he’s a product of our society and the idea that a woman needs to look like a Victoria Secret model to be sexy. He doesn’ t have a clue about theology of the body etc and doesn’t get it that the marital act is the renewal of marriage vows etc. Maybe someday he will get it.


Seatuck, I’m not going to just ignore you. Something is going on, something really wrong, if he made a comment like that you, then reinforced it in such a way that he leaves you feeling undesirable and responsible about it to the point that you are no longer receiving communion. Don’t wait for him to maybe someday get it, and all the while be feeling like you are unworthy, both of his love and desire and for communion. Please, make an appointment to speak with a priest, and then find some individual counseling. You need to know that you have value and you are worthy of love and desire.


*]Have you looked into his personal/work life?
*] Is he cheating on you?
*]Does he have a porn or prostitute addiction?
*]Is he on any medication that could be interfering with his libido?
*]Has he been fully checked out by a medical doctor AND a psychiatrist for any possible illness?
*]Is he dealing with a large amount of grief (death?) or stress (bad job?)[/LIST]How long has he been refusing sexual intercourse? How was your courtship?


Ok…I see…we are closer to perhaps the real problem …I agree with being forgiving. We thought he might have been showing signs of being verbally abusive, thankfully he isn’t then. That is good. I encourage you to read Love & Responsibility (together). I read it on my own, but never fully got it, until last week, I had an epiphany re: my husband and my sex life…how God designed it…it His idea, not ours. We can’t control it, He can and should. I think that it could be a first step at least in the right direction. Seeing that your husband is a ‘great guy,’ I would even more so not give in to the temptation of entertaining the other guy’s flirtations. Not that you should if you husband is not a great guy, but even more so, perhaps you both can try to get on the same page, some how.

Much of marriage is learning to be bi-lingual. You have to learn to speak HIS language, and your husband needs to learn how to speak YOURS. :wink:


I’m also divorced from a man who would not show me any physical affection. Our marriage was short, less than 5 years. For half of it he slept in the guest room. Though short, the effects on my self esteem have been hard to deal with.

I believe that refusing your spouse sex for an extended period like that IS abusive. Emotionally abusive and very damaging.

I’m young, tall, busty, average weight, and considered attractive by myself and others. My brain KNOWS that the problem wasn’t about me, but it can be hard to convince your heart of that.

Sadly, in my case, I think the refusal of sex was due to an affair on my ex’s part. But I’m sure that’s not always the case.

Seatuck, please talk to a priest and get back to the sacraments. They offer the grace you need to deal with your situation.


I am sorry you had to deal with this!:mad: It makes me mad that such wonderful women like you and the OP and others are/were in such situations, and it caused you to doubt yourselves. I also see the pattern here with women saying that they believe themselves to be attractive, and have been told by others that they are attractive. I think that having an affair, is more about the person who is cheating–their inability to dig deep to what he/she is truly missing in his/her life. Often times, it is a God-shaped hole that exists. My sister has found this out the hard way, but thankfully…is growing closer to Christ each day.

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