No More Sex

Dear Courage,
I have a major problem! I’ve been married for about 12 years, we have one daughter who’s 10. There were times in our marriage when we would go at it like jackrabbits, but more often then not, we don’t even have sex at all. He’s just not interested. I’ll initiate, and he turns away. He’s tired. He’s got to get up early in the morning. Sometimes he doesn’t even tell me why he doesn’t want sex, he’ll just get out of bed and go sleep on the couch. I feel so hurt and rejected! We went nine months without sex! Then when he finally wanted to snuggle, I turned away. Who wants to get intimate with a stranger? I asked him to go to counseling, and he flipped out. Honestly, I don’t even know if I love him any more, but I want to. I don’t want to leave him. But this relationship just hurts so much. What can I do?


Dear Rejected,
It does sound like you two would really benefit from counseling, but he’s obviously not ready for that yet.

Sometimes, a man’s lack of interest in sex has nothing to do with sex at all. It could be that he feels emasculated in other areas of his life. Maybe there’s a situation at work where he feels inadequate or unappreciated, and because of this, he’s unable to perform.

You could try an experiment. It’s going to be a lot of work for you, and it could be a year before you see any results, but if you’re committed to making this relationship work, it’s worth a try!

Just pretend to love him, without any expectations. Be a loving, supportive wife. Fix his favorite meals. Give him a “welcome home” kiss, but just a kiss. Don’t put any pressure or expectations on him to perform. Kiss him and then walk away. Build him up. Tell him how proud you are of him. Tell him he’s a great provider. Tell him how much you just love to look at him. Touch him – affectionately – without making any demands or expectations. A pat to the shoulder. Cup his cheek. Kiss him on the nose. Greet him after work with a big smile. Bring him slippers for his feet, or a glass of wine (does he like wine?). Sit with him, and let him tell you about his day. If he complains about someone, just listen. D0 not tell him how to handle this – that’s emasculating. He’s a big boy, he can figure it out. Or he can talk to Human Resources at work if he needs help. You are his cheering section, not his mother. Tell him how smart he is, and how proud you are of him.

It may sound like you are doing all the work – and for now, you are. He’s in a dark place, and he doesn’t have anything left to give. But eventually, your unconditional love will have an effect. He’ll want to do anything to make you happy, because he loves you so much. He’ll either be willing to see a counselor, or maybe the way you’ve encouraged him and built him up has cured whatever was going on in his life that made him uninterested in sex.

As for yourself… while he’s at work, you might want to invest in a few little toys to keep you happy, for now. Take care of yourself, too. Maybe treat yourself to a spa day. You can’t just give, and give, and give, without doing something for yourself, or you’ll have nothing left to give.

I hope, for your sake, that this doesn’t really take a year, but it might. It can’t hurt – and it just might help more than you could ever imagine.

Good luck!

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