Should I Marry A Man Who Doesn’t Want To Have Sex With Me?

Hey Evan,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost two years now, and everything is great, I couldn’t have found a more caring, wonderful person. He even loves to spend time with my family. I know he is planning on proposing soon, and for the most part, I am really excited about this. I love him. But we have some really big issues when it comes to our sex life, or lack thereof.

A few months after we started dating, we had sex, or I guess that’s what you could call it. Anyway, I wasn't complaining, even at 27, I didn’t have a ton of experience – I had only been with two other men. But then he never wanted to work on this issue, never wanted to approach it. Instead we would make out and then he would just prematurely stop at a certain point. I felt like I was in high school again. Eventually, about a year into the relationship he came clean and admitted that he was a virgin, had lied to me and had sort of freaked out when we slept together. 

I was upset at first that he had been lying for an entire year, but I can understand how difficult it can be for a guy to admit that and then to admit that he was lying.  However, it’s been another year, and he hasn’t been able to get past this, and I have just about given up on ever having sex again. Actually, I put an end to any physical relationship between us almost 9 months ago just out of sheer frustration. 

I have tried talking to him about this so many times, I have tried everything short of counseling and I just don’t know what to do.  I have asked him if this is something he wants to wait till marriage for and he denies that…I guess I just don’t know what to do.  I love him, and I know he loves me…but how can I resign myself to this for the rest of my life, at the same time how can I break up with a guy that I so want to be with?


Dear Desperate,

You’ve got a big problem, all right.

And if you’re gonna solve it, you have to put yourself outside your comfort zone.

See, the thing with comfort zones is that they’re, well, comfortable. But just because something is comfortable doesn’t mean it’s healthy or good or ideal. It just means it’s comfortable. And the longer you stay in that comfort zone, the harder it is to extricate yourself from it. Consider a job where you’re happy with your co-workers, but severely underpaid. Or a job where you’re paid well, but you hate your work. There’s a strange sort of comfort in grumbling about the same sticking point over and over – knowing full well that it will never change. Apparently, it beats the alternative of getting another job.

You can complain all you want about the state of your sexual relationship, but apparently it doesn’t matter all that much. Because next thing you know, you’ll be married. Married to a man who doesn’t want to sleep with you. And who’s fault will that be? Not his. He’s getting what he wants, a sexless relationship. You’re the only one who is silently suffering. You are what psychologists would call an enabler.

You are what psychologists would call an enabler.

Because it takes two to tango. A woman can’t be a battered wife unless she stays in a relationship with a man who beats her. A husband can’t continue to be emotionally abused by the wife he left behind. But people stay because we are in love and because we don’t know what we’d do if we left….

As always, Desperate, this isn’t about right and wrong. He’s not wrong for wanting to forgo sex, just a little weird. Or maybe gay. And you’re not wrong for wanting to find a man who covets you sexually. I mean, seriously, there’s only one person who should be doing it with you for the rest of your life and that’s your husband. And if he’s not, well, you’re gonna want to look for it elsewhere. Aren’t you?

Yet you’ve avoided this issue for over a year now, which makes you guiltier than he is. YOU were the one who cut HIM off sexually 9 months ago, remember? Hey, he may not even care, you could be doing him a favor, but you definitely can’t complain that he doesn’t put the moves on you. He’s just following orders.

So, like the woman who is frustrated that her fiance won’t marry her, the choice is yours.

But no matter what you do, you have to do SOMETHING.

Ask yourself if you’re willing to spend your life with a beloved man who won’t sleep with you.

Ask yourself if you're willing to spend your life with a beloved man who won't sleep with you.  

If so, that’s fine. Now ask yourself if you’re willing to forgo sex forever. Presuming you’re not, ask yourself where you’re going to get it. And if your husband is willing to have an open relationship, that’s totally cool. I just don’t know if that’s an ideal way to start a marriage.

Listen, I spend a lot of time here telling people to be open. After all, you can’t get everything from one partner. But the one thing that’s supposed to distinguish a mate from a friend is sex. And if you’re not getting any sex, how is this guy anything more than your best friend?

Push the issue. Ask questions. Make decisions. If you don’t, you’re sealing your own fate.

Good luck.


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  1. 31

    I had a boyfriend who is the same way.  He had issues from the start and as things dwindled from little to none, he started to blame me. That was his way of ending it, when it was obvious something else was going on with him.
    I accepted the excuses and problems for awhile, tried every angle, but realized that he just might be gay and is in denial or else he has a physical problem and is in denial.  He liked me well enough in the beginning and still hangs around and yeah, he’s happy now that the pressure is off of him and doesn’t give a hoot about how that affects me. 
    I say dump him and look for somebody who is compatible with your wants and needs.  These duds don’t change.  And no, they won’t go to counseling because they don’t want to change.

  2. 32

    I have a similar problem.  One thing I suggest you consider is if he`s using any substances such as marijuana.  My boyfriend smokes marijuana a lot and basically it makes sex seem like `too much work`… kills the libido when they smoke a lot.  That could be some of what`s happening in the situations mentioned here…

  3. 33

    Has your boyfriend ever been sexually abused? This seems like a painfully obvious answer to this situation. He coudl be scarred by a past experience to the point where he is unable to talk about it, and sex could be absolutely terrifying for him. This isn’t your fault, but it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever for people to sit here calling him gay or saying he must find you unattractive when the issue is very likely to be something TOTALLY different. Instead of dumping him, encourage him to seek  counseling and try to work on having open communicatino with him.

  4. 34

    This is not good. GET OUT NOW! I have been married for 18 years. We did not have a lot of sex before we were married because he wanted to “wait till marriage.” I thought that was romantic and I agreed. We kissed etc. but he was not all over me. He said his roomate was there he did not want to. I had a baby the first year and we never had sex the whole time I was PJ. Since it has ben 3 times a year. I have been having an affair for 2 years. I want out BAD!  I feel trappd and passively agressive abused by him like he has ownership papers on me. My DD graduates next year I am outa here! I have not had sex with him in 3 years. I felt like a freak. GET OUT NOW! Think of the future. You may be miserable as hell in a few years especially when you hit your 40s and your libido picks up. I am not proud of my life but am telling you this so you avoid a BIG mistake!

  5. 35

    I would suggest to get this problem fixed before you are married! I know I’m currently in that exact situation right now. If you can’t fix the problem there will be some one else who will treat you like a wife should be treated.
    I’m stuck with the same problem. Married 45+ years and only had sex once in my entire life. I can’t even remember what it was like any more. We had sex on our wedding night and then nothing. Never had a life long partner, no children or a loving family. He told me he hated sex with me, it was disgusting, disturbing, messy, smelly, not worth the effort. He didn’t under stand how any one could do such a vile thing to another human. I regret every day for not moving on. 

  6. 36

    RUN!!! every women that must go through any of this RUN!!! he is GAY; a porn addict of a cheat!!! or a addict; choose??? just get the hell out of the relationship! i went through this hell for 3 years; mad as a hatter he made me; except he was the mad hatter and me a sexy desirable women; HOT and sexual.

  7. 37

    I am now dating a beautiful woman. I love her in every way, other than sex. There is where the problems come in, Me being a man i find her attractive, but she has been mad at me not having sex with her. I dont want to have sex because I find sex wrong and disturbing. I see it that way just because I feel like that. I want to kiss her but not have intercourse. That is a big problem because she would like to have kids while I do not. Please realise that just because I dont want to have sex means that Im gay. Thanks for reading

  8. 38
    Hashmi Dawakhana

    Don’t marry with him

  9. 39

    For god’s sake don’t marry him…I have been in a sexless marriage for 38 years…it does not get better. I have two children and we had sex to achieve that but he failed me even on the second night we were married.. The anger, depression I have suffered from this is immense and it continues on. Financially we are to entangled to break away and the possibility of me finding another man at 60 plus is almost impossible. Don’t live a lie like I did will ruin your health and happiness and don’t look back..

  10. 40

    Evan is right. All the posters are right. Whether it’s that he’s gay, just has a low sex drive, or is foregoing sex with you for a ‘relationship’ with his right hand or online porn, it doesn’t matter. Need to let go. And make sure you’re honest with him. I hate when people break up but can’t stand to tell the other person why. He needs to understand, if not with you, then next time with the next person, that this is a DEAL breaker. If it happens enough MAYBE it will sink in that he needs to get on the ball and get some help.

  11. 41

    It could be that he is actually gay and doesn’t admit it. It could also just be an addiction to hardcore internet porn making it impossible to be turned on to “real world” sexual encounters. I wish you the best of luck. My husband used to be addicted to internet porn. We fixed it and now sex is better.

  12. 42

    My husband used to be addicted to internet porn. It made his sex drive for me much lower. Sometimes he couldn’t keep it up. Sometimes didn’t get it up at all… Sometimes it was okay. He used to make a variety of excuses for why he did not want sex. I needed healthy sex in our relationship. We had a conversation about it and he said he would stop the porn. unfortunately, two years later we had the same conversation… I was very hurt and still recovering today from this emotional blow. He was finally able to kick his internet porn habit after two years of lying to me about it. There was a recovery period for him… Since then our sex life is actually great. I am so satisfied and happy with our sex life now. Our marriage is also better because I am not putting those negative emotions on the back burner. This may or may not be your problem. I just wanted to share my experience.

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