What does it mean when your husband rejects you sexually?: Understanding your man’s distance.
Let’s set the scene. You have been doing everything you can to seduce your husband and make him want you. However, he just never takes the bate. He seems uninterested. Sex has dwindled. He is disengaged and focused on other things. What is going on? Am I not good enough, pretty enough, or sexy enough? Why does he not want to ravage me?
I couldn’t tell you how many wives feel this way. Probably more men feel this way than women, but if you are reading this, you are struggling with something similar to the above scene. You feel hopeless and starved for affection. This is your question: What does it mean when your husband rejects you sexually? As a sex therapist, I would say there are various reasons I have witnessed over the years. When husbands are uninterested in sex with their wives the following are the 7 most likely culprits from least worrisome to most painful:
- He is a low-desire male.
- Stress is maxed out.
- Exhaustion and lack of sleep are intimacy killers.
- Anger and resentment keep the walls up.
- Fear is present.
- Problems with getting an erection are massively shameful.
- Porn is a wrecking ball to affection and connection.
- Cheating in some form is devastating.
7 Reasons Husbands May Be Uninterested in Sex
I know the bullet points above are a little vague. Let’s clarify each more and help you understand your husband. I will let you know some things to look for and ask. Although, if a husband is cheating or using porn, he is already not being honest. So, dishonesty may be what you continue to see.
He is a low-desire male.
When a husband does not show interest in having sex with their wife, it could be due to low desire. A small number of men actually have low desire. You may have thought when you were dating he was “all over you.” That does not necessarily mean he is a high-desire man. When men have high desire, they seem to want sex multiple times a week and are usually the ones initiating.
Men with low desire don’t think about sex that much and do not feel urges that often. They still may feel urges. However, since sex is not something that is so desirable, they may gloss over their urges. This may make them seem like they have no desire.
There may be other reasons they have low desire. Low testosterone, medications, and certain medical conditions can decrease desire, energy, and confidence. A husband with a low desire for sex is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it would be important to try to build an understanding to rule out the other reasons husbands may not be interested in you sexually. If he truly does have low desire, it is important to let him know your needs. Then together you should work on a way that works for both of you to meet those needs.
Stress is maxed out.
The next thing that can be causing your husband to not pursue you sexually is stress. Stress does a lot of crazy things to us. It increases cortisol in the body. Anxiety may rise. Depression may set in. Racing thoughts and distractions due to the load placed on a person could keep them worked up.
Stress is not always a bad thing. Many men tend to want a quick release when they are stressed. Your husband may be different. Different is okay. Stress is not. When stress gets too high, sometimes exhaustion sets in. All he can think about is getting things off his plate so he can relax. I know of one husband who said that when he gets home, all he wants to do is relax and have a peaceful environment. If he couldn’t get it, that’s all he could think about.
If this is your husband, try to work with him on meeting his needs. If he is obsessive, do your best. Yet try to encourage him to go see someone about his stress. Sometimes it is helpful to get help with strategies to manage stress or complete tasks that will decrease stress. Please don’t think I know you haven’t tried, but adding to his stress by being angry won’t help. Accepting where you are at, is the first step to working with him to fix the problem.
Exhaustion and lack of sleep are intimacy killers.
Have you ever been so tired you just laid in bed and fell right asleep? Assess your husband’s lifestyle. Yes, I know that yours is busy too. Assess his personality too. Is he an introvert in a highly interactive job? Is his job extremely physical for hours? Are his shifts nights or 24 hours? What might be the reason he is so exhausted?
Your husband is different than you. Accept that he is tired, not just some, but all the time. You probably can’t change this if it’s work-related. Fatigue kills desire and almost any motivation. Have you ever gone somewhere fun and was tired and could not get into it? You wouldn’t want to start having sex and not even be able to get into it. Husbands in that situation feel like they are disappointing you. Why even try?
Ways you can respond are the following. Look at the timing. Right when he gets home is probably not good. What about right when he wakes up? That’s not good for you? Well, who has the problem then? Be flexible. Again, work with him. If he doesn’t have low desire, then he would love to have sex with you, but maybe every time he is ready, you’re not ready or don’t want it. If you really want him to want you, open the door even when you are not in the mood. Trust me, you will be able to get there.
Anger and Resentment keep the walls up.
Have ya’ll been in conflict? Is there any reason for him to be upset or feel hurt by you? Is there something that he continues to bring up regularly and you can’t understand why? Maybe there is some anger and resentment due to something that is happening between you.
A husband more than anything wants to be connected with his wife. If that isn’t happening, hopelessness may creep in. This is when they pour themselves into other things. People will attempt to change things only so long, depending on their willpower and character. I know this isn’t easy to hear.
Anger is a secondary emotion.
Anger is a secondary emotion that comes after hurt, pain, stress, fear, or some other emotion. It would be helpful to take the time to ask him and listen to him. If he has repeated something multiple times in your relationship in anger, there is probably a sore spot there. He is not feeling understood or heard. Try to take the time to listen, empathize, and work with him to resolve his hurts. Apologize and take responsibility where you have been too prideful to recognize your own stuff.
Don’t forget that healthy boundaries are important. No matter how angry or resentful he gets, it’s not okay for abuse to happen. Let him know what you need. Remember the Fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, and Self-Control. You need to exercise these things but do not allow unhealthy interaction.
Fear is present.
This one can be confusing, but real. If fear is present, people become paralyzed. They can also fight to overcome fear. Another option is to flee or run away. Some definitions say fear is when there is a real and present danger. So we can talk about anxiety too: Worry about an unknown future. A husband may not be interested in sex because of his concern about being rejected or told no. He also may be unsure of himself and lack confidence. This leads to worry about performance and satisfying you.
Has there been conflict around sex before? Were there messages that there is not enough sex? Is it possible he has felt you did not enjoy it? Any message that he receives that could possibly build anxiety or fear in him, may stop him from trying. Over time, he may become comfortable not trying because he doesn’t have to face the possibility of failure or disappointing you. He might feel it is too much pressure to even try. Ask him about these things. If you do find that he responds, then work together to build confidence and enjoyment in intimacy. Take the pressure off and just have fun.
Problems with getting an erection are massively shameful.
If your husband has had one time or many where he has not been able to keep or sustain his erection, it is likely he will have anxiety and even avoid sex. An erection to a man is their manliness. Blame our culture and the messages we send to men about sexual prowess.
I have sat with many men who have had this problem and they feel like they are lesser. Although they are not, their brains can’t seem to get it out of their head. This is especially true when the potential to have sex arises. They may avoid sex altogether.
Don’t shame them. Instead, encourage them. Again, WORK WITH THEM. Negativity, pressure, and resentment are only going to make it worse. Love them. Reassure them. Let them know you support them and that you are not worried about the erection (for now). If he is willing, just create affection and intimacy without sex. If you are unable to move in that direction if it truly is an ED problem, then seek a sex therapist.
Porn is a wrecking ball to affection and connection.
Although porn is “normal” in our society. It is NOT normal! NO ONE can convince me that porn is good, healthy, or helpful. If you find out your husband is using porn, don’t get angry or mad (although I know you will be hurt). Reach out to him and set boundaries. Tell him what you are not going to put up with.
Porn has so many negative effects on every aspect of life. Spiritually you grow farther away from God. Physically your brain is changing and you are becoming less affectionate. Relationally, you with withdraw and destroy affection because you hide a certain part of your life. Mentally you are creating addictive tendencies and unrealistic fantasies that don’t translate to the bedroom. For the marriage, you are essentially cheating.
As a wife, set your boundaries and do not back down. Loving your husband in this moment may be hard. However, love looks more like doing what’s best than not rocking the boat. Do you want him to be healthy? Are connection and affection important? Then boundaries will need to be set to correct the behavior that is destroying your intimacy. Please remember though, gentleness and firmness are important. Anger and lashing out will not help!
Cheating in some form is devastating.
I know that this option is not one you want to be true. Don’t just believe this one. No one is saying that your husband is cheating or looking at porn. It’s only one of the possible reasons that he may be avoiding sex with you. If this is happening, you may not know. Your gut already tells you something is off, but that could be an indicator of any of these 7 reasons.
If you find that he is cheating, then you will have some choices to make. As I have encouraged in all the examples above, staying calm and loving is important. I am not saying, don’t be angry or hurt or sad. The Bible says, “Be angry and do not sin.” You have every right to be angry! However, lashing out will not solve problems. It may create more problems and cause your husband to hide and lie more.
You have to decide whether you are going to stay or not. Start planning out what boundaries you want to put in place and what you want to happen moving forward. Seek counseling for clarity in this emotional time. It is hard to make decisions during times of intense emotion. Confront your spouse and let him know where you stand and what you will not tolerate. If you decide to stay, it is possible to recover if both are committed. My best advice is to seek help immediately and temper what you talk about until you get some guidance.
When your husband is not wanting sex with you or he doesn’t seem to be interested, it can be scary and devastating. Something is wrong. You start asking all these questions. It’s normal to want answers because you love him and don’t know what’s wrong. The 7 reasons why a husband might be rejecting you that I listed above are not complete, but they are extensive.
Please don’t just assume it is cheating or porn. It could be, but what if it is not? You need to stay calm, and loving, and look to work through it with him. He needs a safe place to work things out. You are part of a system with him where your reactions affect him. It’s hard to quantify how much your reactions will have negative or positive impacts on him. Keep an open mind and if you have more concerns, seek a counselor.