I have a lot of guys who read the blog, and I get tons of emails from guys, and the most common problem I hear about is, “my wife doesn’t want to have sex!”
So today I want to present 10 of the most common reasons I’ve come across why a woman may say “no.” If you’re one of my female readers, read the list, and if you think I’m missing something, chime in in the comments! And if you’re a guy, read the list and see if any resonate with you–and then talk to your wife about them. (And if that’s hard to do, here’s a post I wrote a while ago to start get the conversation about valuing sex in marriage going).
1. She doesn’t feel connected to you.
Men make loved in order to feel loved, whereas women need to feel loved in order to make love.
To a woman, to have sex after you haven’t talked much in a while feels strange at best, and insulting or degrading at worst. If you haven’t shown that you care what’s going on in her heart, and if you haven’t shared your heart, it’s hard for her to want to open up. For her, sex means getting physically vulnerable. That’s hard to do. If she doesn’t feel as if you’ve been emotionally vulnerable, then sex is often off the table.For you, of course, sex is often the doorway into emotional vulnerability, since you feel so close to her afterwards. But realize that for her, she needs you to open up first. So spend some time talking and doing stuff together first! Some ideas:
2. She feels overwhelmed.
Women are multitaskers; because we feel so responsible for everyone in our lives, it’s hard for us to turn off the voices in our head that are always reminding us of things that need doing. We feel constant stress about stuff that needs to get done. If there are too many things on our plate, we won’t be able to relax at night. And because women need to be able to concentrate on sex in order for our bodies to feel good (if our heads aren’t in the game, our bodies won’t follow), then feeling overwhelmed kills our sex drive. For men, sex is nice distraction. For women, distractions make sex virtually impossible.
The solution? Help her not feel so overwhelmed! Talk to her about what’s on her plate. Help her through figuring out how to say no to some things. Help her with some of the evening routines, like making lunches for the next day or putting kids in bed. Spend the last 15 minutes of the day helping her think through and talk through what needs to be done tomorrow, so that she can let it go.
3. She has tunnel vision (often for the kids; or for her job)
When something is on our minds, it’s difficult to stop obsessing about it. While men often operate in boxes, and can switch from one box to the next, when something is really worrying us, or when there’s a big challenge ahead, it’s hard to put it aside. Whether it’s a sick child or a parent who is in trouble; a big project due at work; or a friend in crisis, if something is on our hearts, it’s hard to concentrate on sex (and again–sex needs our brain to be present!)
What to do: If she’s worried, listen to her. Let her talk. Pray with her. Be patient. Sometimes she needs the reminder to put things in God’s hands!
4. She’s simply exhausted.
Yes, sex helps you sleep better. But when you are really tired, sex doesn’t seem that appealing.
What to do: Too make you sure neither of you are too tired for sex, take the initiative in setting a bedtime for both of you. Go to bed at a decent hour every night, together. Take as much of the responsibility for some of the housework and childcare as you reasonably can. A good rule of thumb is this: If she is working, then you should be, too. After dinner, if she’s busy cleaning up or putting the kids to bed, then make sure you find a task that needs doing as well!
5. Sex doesn’t feel that great.
Let’s face it: men pretty much always climax during sex. Women don’t. And for many women, sex just doesn’t feel that great. Maybe orgasm is elusive for her. Maybe she’s never figured out how to make it feel good. Maybe she’s said to you, “It’s okay, honey, I don’t mind. I just like feeling close to you.” Eventually that gets old. And it’s hard to keep having sex year after year if she honestly doesn’t feel good.
The solution: Figure out how to make it feel good for her! Remember that her sexual pleasure matters (and talk to her about it, because she may have a hard time believing it!). Work through 31 Days to Great Sex with her, because it will help her figure out what feels good!
Like this post so far? You should also check out:
6. Sex feels degrading, like you’re using her.
God designed sex to be threefold: spiritually intimate (feeling like you’re one); emotionally intimate; and physically intimate. Unfortunately, sometimes in our culture we focus so much on the physical that sex actually becomes impersonal. If you’ve used porn, for instance, and she knows that you derive sexual pleasure from looking at other women, then she’ll feel like sex is dirty. You don’t really want HER; you just want release. And you may even be thinking about those images when you’re with her!
Now, that may not be the case. But if you’ve used porn, that’s often what she’ll fear. Show her that you’re getting real about addressing the porn issue in your life. Get Covenant Eyes on your computer. Join an accountability group. Tell her what steps you’re going to take to make sure that the next time you feel stressed, you’ll have something else to turn to rather than porn.
Or perhaps the problem is not with you at all. Perhaps she grew up with sex being used as a weapon against her, and she was abused or assaulted. Then it’s very hard to get excited about sex in your marriage. If that’s the case, help her get counselling, and encourage her to read The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex to get a different perspective on what sex is supposed to be.
7. Her hormone levels are all over the place.
Yes, hormones play a huge part in a woman’s libido! And when our hormones are out of whack, then our libido may be, too.
If you fear that there’s something really wrong, encourage her to see a doctor. But also educate yourselves on how to best support her hormones. Start eating real food, and not so much packaged foods. Exercise. Get good sleep.
8. She doesn’t feel a great need for it, but she does feel a need for other things.
For you, sex may be one of your primary needs. But if she lives a really busy life, her primary need may be something very different. Maybe what she needs to feel at peace is a few hours every week by herself, with no kids hanging off of her and no demands on her. Maybe she needs some time to read a book, pursue a hobby, or even just have a bubble bath. Ask her, “what do you currently feel like you have no time to do but, if you did it, it would help you feel like you’re on an even keel?” And then help her find time every week to do that one thing!
9. She hates her body.
You may look at her and want her. But if she feels as if she doesn’t measure up, then it’s hard for her to feel sexy.
So much of a woman’s libido is tied up in feeling like she is desired. The really miserable part for you men, though, is that it isn’t enough for you to actually desire her. She has to feel as if she’s worthy of being desired. And so if she feels fat, or if she feels as if her body has gone downhill, then it’s hard for her to feel uninhibited.
So boost her self-image! Don’t tell her that you don’t think she’s attractive, unless you want to kill your sex life. Talk to her about what specifically you like about her body. When you’re relaxing together, touch her there and tell her, “I love looking at this.” And tell her WHY you love her, too.
10. Your hygiene isn’t the best it could be.
Having unpleasant conversations is difficult, and many women just avoid them. I have so many women send me in questions saying, “How can I tell my husband that I don’t like making love to him when he hasn’t brushed his teeth first?” And this has been going on for years! They’ve been avoiding sex, or trying to make sex go as quickly as possible and getting very little out of it, because they’re afraid to say, “your breath stinks.”
This one is so easy to fix! Before you try to initiate sex with your wife, take a shower. Brush your teeth. And put on pyjamas with no holes in them! See if that makes a difference.
So there you go! 10 reasons why women often try to avoid sex. Remember–I also have several books and a course on how to boost your libido that can help women see sex differently. But today, I thought I’d help men try to see it from the wife’s point of view.