My Husband Refuses to Have Sex with Me

Do Men and Women Think About Sex Differently?

My husband and I got married just over 3 years ago. Since then, I’ve been completely starved of sex and intimacy! My husband is a workaholic and is constantly too tired for sex. He also seems to have difficulty maintaining an erection.

When I talk to him about it, he just tells me he’s too tired for sex. He won’t see a doctor to see if there is anything he can do/take to help with this.

It’s now been two years since we have had sex and I feel like I am dying inside. I feel so neglected and unwanted. I feel like I have no options but to suck it up and deal with it or leave.

At 37 years old, I can’t imagine never having sex or affection in my life again!

But I have a young daughter and also can’t imagine tearing my family apart or being single again. Is there anything I can do? I feel paralyzed with indecision.


Sorry about your predicament, Amy. It sounds brutal.

I’ve written about boyfriends who want sex less than their girlfriends, and boyfriends who never want sex before.

But after twelve years of answering questions on here, the letter that most came to mind was this one: “I Married a Great Guy. Why Am I So Unhappy?”

Money quote: “He’s very, um, hardworking. On weekends, he’s gone by 6 a.m. and doesn’t come home until dinner — sometimes after. That’s EVERY weekend.” 

That couple doesn’t have a marriage. That couple has a shared living arrangement.

Sounds like you do, too.

I don’t know what pains you’ve taken to remedy this situation. Couples counseling. Date night. Sex therapy. Viagra. All I know is that, in any relationship, it takes two to tango.

I don’t know what pains you’ve taken to remedy this situation. Couples counseling. Date night. Sex therapy. Viagra. All I know is that, in any relationship, it takes two to tango.

Your husband may be fine going two years without sex but if you’re not, you’re going to have to have to confront your husband. You’re not angry with him. You’re not trying to change him. You’re letting him know that you’re and will remain that way unless he vows to increase his intimacy towards you – despite how busy and tired he his.

Good husbands want to make their wives happy – especially if the request is reasonable.

If your husband, flat out refuses to make an effort, you must have the courage to start over.

I know it may sound irresponsible to say that given your marriage vows and the fact that I don’t know you. But I have had way too many women turn to me after 25-year marriages just like yours – and ALL of them wish they had the guts to prioritize their happiness sooner.

Staying together for the kid is a convenient (and valid) excuse, but wouldn’t you like to see your daughter raised in a functional family with a happy mom who enjoys her home life?

I would.

Do you really want to spend your entire adult life suffering because you made one poor choice three years ago?

I wouldn’t.

When I find I’m in a situation that makes me unhappy, I get out of it FAST.

You should, too.

You are not put on this planet to suffer.

You are put on this planet to thrive.

If your husband isn’t part of the solution, then he’s part of the problem.

Talk to him, see what he says, and don’t think that you’re a bad person for having reasonable needs that should be met by your spouse. You’re not.








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  1. 1

    This happened to me for ten years to varying degrees. I did counseling , tried to talk about it and he slept on the couch almost every night. I too was in my 30’s and had one young son. Until, finally, when I brought it up again he met me with resistance, blame. I divorced him. Guess what? He’s dating men now. I’ve been single for four plus years and no luck but IM FREE

  2. 2


  3. 3

    Happened to me too for the last 2.5 years of my marriage. Horrendous, it’s a terrible secret hurt. I now feel huge empathy for all those men who suffer from it – often for much longer.

  4. 4

    I’m in a similar situation. I’m in my early 40s; he’s in his early 50s. We’ve been together for 6 years. For the past year or so (coupled with medical issues, nervous about retirement around the corner, and on medications), he’s started to have a low sex drive & difficulty maintaining an erection. He’s told me it’s not me (although that’s hard for me to believe at times, thinking I must be doing something wrong or he doesn’t find me attractive) but he has basically said sex is not a priority for him anymore. I know he does it for me, but it just feels empty at times. He doesn’t put in the effort he used to. I want him to WANT to be with me, not just b/c he feel he HAS to be. Except for in our early years of dating, he’s never been a real affectionate person – I’m the same way as well at times – but now that his sex drive is waning, it’s hard for me to deal with and I’m lonely at times and crave affection & touching. I don’t think sex is everything in a relationship, but it is important. He has many other good qualities so this is a dilemma for me. I don’t want to think sex is out of the picture for me but I also don’t want to start over again.

    1. 4.1
      Yet Another Guy


      Your man needs to see a urologist who specializes in male sexual health. He has all of the classic symptoms of andropause (a.k.a. manopause or late-onset hypogonadism). A lot of men experience it in their early fifties, some as early as their late thirties. I bet that if he gets his total and free testosterone checked, he will discover that one or both are low (free testosterone can be low while total testosterone is in the normal range due to increasing sex hormone binding globulin). A lot of men in their fifties end up on a slew of medications because doctors fail to test for low testosterone. Low testosterone can lead to many health problems. There are risks associated with testosterone replacement therapy, but there are risks associated with not treating low testosterone.

      1. 4.1.1

        @yag – Thanks for sharing the info & article. Never heard of “manopause” but it does make sense. Not sure if he’s ever had his testosterone checked but it’s something that I can ask him to do on his next doctor visit. When I asked him about getting a med for ED, he seemed embarrassed about it. Ultimately, he did get a prescription for it but asked me to get it filled instead, which I did not hesitate to do (lol). I has helped but he says he gets headaches, which I think is a common side effect. Anyway, thanks again. I appreciate it.

  5. 5

    I had this problem for a long time myself and I divorced him -it’s much better being alone and not being rejected, than having a man be with you and make you feel like you’re more alone together. i’m older than you, so dating is different for me, but you’re young -don’t stay until you’re old and waste your time with someone who doesn’t have an attraction to you. If intimacy is important to you, as it is to me, you’ll leave. It’s and exactly why I left because he also didn’t want to have sex. I don’t think he ever was attracted to me. We have two beautiful children, they’re grown up and successful I’m college and the divorce didn’t hurt them because I went about it in an amicable way. Good luck.

  6. 6

    I’m curious how old her husband is and how was the sex before marriage? If he’s had ED problems at all it can scar him. So he’s afraid that it will happen again and so he avoids sex. How you reacted when it happened can effect him to. It it was no big deal to you that’s better but if like most women you took it as a personal insult to your level of attractiveness (I did too) it puts even more pressure on him. If he’s older than you he may have a slowing sex drive that is normal. Your drive is going up at your age and even if he’s the same age his drive is going down. If the sex was always sparse even pre marriage I think chances are greater that they will remain that way. Does he use porn and/or masturbate? If the answer is yes then the physical plumbing is working and the issue is likely mental. He could also be excessively masturbating and his drive for sex diminished. Porn addiction and death grip syndrome are more and more common these days.

    Is their physical affection at all? A relationship with no sex or physical affection kills your self esteem trust me I’ve been there. It’s bad for both genders but tends to be worse for woman. That’s because society says that men should always be ready to go and women should be desired. Its “typical” for women to have a lower drive or so society days. So many live in shame and never discuss it. You need to make it clear to him that you are not okay with this and want to go to counseling and have him see a doc. If he won’t leave. You will not be happy. Some people are happy with little to no sex, but you are not. Funny that men with love drives often gravitate to women with high drives because they know having a low drive for men is not common and may think it’s not okay or be embarassed and hope a high sex drive women will raise his drive, it rarely does. Low sex drive people do best with others that are the same. It’s not your job to fix him and his low drive has nothing to do with you so you can’t fix it.

  7. 7

    Amy- there used to be a website called It closed down a few years ago because the maintenance was too high (random people on the internet do weird things). . You can read about it on wikipedia. Anyway, it was a site that had forums of just about any topic you could think of and if the topic you were interested in didn’t already exist, you could start it. The most active forum was “I am depressed.” The 2nd most active site was ILIASM (I live in a sexless marriage). People would tell their stories and share their feelings and other forum members would comment. There are many adjectives that could describe those stories: fascinating, gut-wrenching, therapeutic, eye-opening, etc…. There are a LOT of people in your situation. Ten or 12 years ago, I could have written what you sent to Evan. Struggling between keeping your family together for the sake of the kids and leaving because your partner couldn’t give a shit about your misery and didn’t understand that they have a huge stake in your happiness. The situation that you’re in will make you bitter, angry, miserable, cause excruciating loneliness, etc… and I dare say that one day long before your kid turns 18, you too will leave your selfish “husband” to save your sanity. I got to the end of my rope 8 years ago after swearing that I would not put my kids through divorce. Find yourself a good therapist. You will need one. And watch ted talks about sexless marriages, especially Michelle Weiner Davis. It truly is a silent epidemic. If your partner won’t come to the table, there isn’t much you can do. But make sure that you do give him every option.

  8. 8


    He’s communicated where he is on this and how he feels about pleasing you; he’s good with no sex and is not planning on changing that any time soon. For whatever reason; closet gay, low sex drive, ED and too afraid or not invested enough to fix it. He won’t change and agree with the others, if he does, it will be reluctantly; it may not be the result that makes you feel desired and wanted. It could make you feel worse. You need to decide if all the other benefits of marriage with him compensate for no sex. And the fact he doesn’t seem to care about pleasing you. Agree with Evan, I think you know what you have to do….you were just asking for permission.

  9. 9

    I agree with those saying ED is causing him embarrassment and stress. Is he affectionate in non sexual, playful ways? Does he still kiss? It sounds as if he isn’t being sexual in alternative ways than intercourse. I dated a great guy 21 years older but we didn’t become fully intimate until eight weeks in. I asked myself the usual questions: is he gay? Not attracted to me? He likes someone else? Turns out he hadn’t had intercourse with the last several women he dated either and the stress of talking about it kept him at arm’s length from women and closeness. We kept sex fun and versatile. His performance improved and I’ve learned it’s best to start funny business in the morning time with some older fellas. My suggestion is you start rebuilding intimacy in non sexual ways without any expectations. Hugs, squeezes, kisses as you go about your day. Smack him on the buns, giggle and run away. Bring his fav beverage, kiss his cheek and go back to cooking dinner. Keep your heart open and lower expectations of specific results. Erections are fickle and answer to no one. Hope my experience can help you.

    1. 9.1
      Yet Another Guy


      “His performance improved and I’ve learned it’s best to start funny business in the morning time with some older fellas.”

      That is because a man’s testosterone level is highest in the morning. Older men usually have lower testosterone levels than younger men; therefore, most older men perform much better in the morning than at night. Another problem I have seen is that a lot of women desire sex at night after drinking. That is a no-go for a lot of men after age 40 or so. Alcohol consumption at lower levels is a vasodialator; however, by the time a man becomes more than tipsy, it has switched over to being a vasoconstrictor (the reason why male alcoholics experience ED at higher rates than the general population). An erection is a hydraulic event that requires vasodilation of the penile arteries. Alcohol makes vasodilation much more difficult, which is why young men resort to using PDE5 inhibitors (a.k.a. Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis) recreationally to overcome the effects of vasoconstriction when binge drinking. PDE5 inhibitors work via vasodialation of the penile arteries. Most older men have arterial plaque at some level, so PDE5 inhibitors are not as effective at overcoming the vasoconstriction caused by alcohol as they in young, healthy vascular systems.

  10. 10

    I have never met a straight, healthy man who is content to go for two straight years without available sex. He doesn’t exist. This means that:

    1. He is gay
    2. He has a health issue
    3. He is not attracted to you and getting it elsewhere.

    Number 1 and 3 – the answers are obvious. Number 2 is a bit tricky. If it were me, I would deliver an ultimatum (if I strongly believe it’s number 2). If he doesn’t act upon the ultimatum, then I will leave. Having kids does not negate that I am a sexual being with needs.

    1. 10.1
      Michele A.

      I agree with Stacy wholeheartedly.

  11. 11

    I am 52 years old and my husband has had sex with me twice in 8 months. He thinks it’s insulting that I keep track; if you can believe that. I have bent over backwards talking (expressing my wants/needs and asking him what his are), going to doctor, visiting a brutally inept sex therapist, discussing workload, discussing ex-marriage, discussing past trauma, being playful, talking dirty, dressing sexy and playful, walking around naked in front of him, touching. You name it. I cry in the shower, my car, in bed. I get angry. I really look after myself and work hard; yet I feel unsexy, rejected and anxiety-ridden. Other men find me attractive, fun, smart and sexy. My husband has chosen to stop living and I cannot convince him to join me in any capacity as my adult partner. I don’t want to leave, but I am realizing that I deserve to have a sexually healthy life. Most of all I’m angry – because he abandoned me. I am done playing by his rules and I deserve more. To anyone else who is rejected, I am sending a big hug. I know the pain. It’s so painful. X

  12. 12

    I’m sorry to read others are going through this. I’ve been married 8 years-together 10, and i can Count on my hands the times we’ve had sex. The past 2 years -NOTHING. Never been an affectionate marriage, I’m so tired of being rejected! It’s awful! He is a good step-dad and that’s kept me here. Plus I financially cannot raise my 15 year old alone. I’d mess up her whole world. Her real dad is POS so i cannot do that to her. When she’s out of the house though- I’m out too!

  13. 13

    I am in the same situation. I am 34 my husband is 51. We have been married 7 Years and been a couple for 14 years. Just after we got married he lost his job. Lost all interest in everything. So I asked him to Go to the doctors as I thought he was depressed. They referred him counselling, which he thought was a waste of time. I let things slide as I didn’t want to come across as pestering. A year later he found a job ( which is his current job)?and nothing changed, still no sex or intimacy. Then 3 years of having nothing, I told him how I was feeling and all I got off him was a shrug of the shoulders and sorry. We managed sex once After 3 years. That was 2 and half years ago. We are suppose to be starting fertility treatment this year. I feel more like his mother/flat mate more then his wife. There’s no passion anymore. No flirting nothing. No spark. I would like to make a point and say he cheated on me half way through the relationship and while our no sex stage. But am afraid if we did split up, he has nowhere to go. As he lost his mum last year. I feel so bad for feeling like this.

  14. 14
    Stacey L

    Wow, you’re not alone. I am in the same situation. It’s been almost 2yrs since we had sex. He gets upset when I ask, and he just now stated sex is no where on his mind. I asked him to advise me what turns him on and replied “nothing”. I am 38 and he’s 35. I hate starting over, but I feel like a roommate at this point.

  15. 15
    Rachel place

    My husband is gay and that’s why he wouldn’t have sex with me for years. At first it was great . We had great sex. Then I started noticing he would go to gay websites. I also caught him in Gay chat rooms and I read messages that he was linking up with random men to have sex. No wonder he didn’t want me anymore. He was too busy messing around with men behind my back.

  16. 16

    I am 31 and my boyfriend of 6 years haven’t had sex going on a year this November 2020 we share a beautiful 2 year old girl , in the beginning sex was often , it was very passionate. Then after about 2 maybe 3 years I noticed a shift in how the sex started to slow down. I mean it was happening but not like the beginning, yes I know that’s normal to happen. Now here we are no sex at all. I have brought it up he says that it’s because out two year old sleeps with us in the bed so sometimes he has to sleep on the couch. But I feel like why can’t we just move the sex to the living room, it’s not that hard to figure out ways to have sex. I feel like he has excuses to not sleep with me, I feel like he isn’t attracted to me anymore. I don’t force sex on him because I hate the rejection. Also since November I have given him oral but that’s as far as it will go , he will finish and carry on. So I know it’s not a health issue. And I doubt he is getting it anywhere else only because he home most of the time. Like I don’t have doubts he is physically cheating. (Now I didn’t say mentality) because I have caught him talking to other girls. Honestly normally I’d be like bye, but since our daughter was born it’s so much harder to leave. I’ll feel so selfish to tear my family apart just because I want to have sex. So I stay.

  17. 17

    My husband told me I was horrible as a bed partner! I told him I was sorry but that’s the way I’m. He then told me he had no interest in sex with me and that he was going to start working midnights and work as many hour as he could. I thought he might be kidding but no the following week he started working midnight shift 7 days a week. Plus all holiday’s and never took any of his vacation, he worked this way for 40 years. In all those years I had a hysterectomy and no interest in sex, he moved to a separate space man cave thing and built a garage where he eats sleeps and builds wood projects. He has no friends, goes no where only doctors, grocery store, home improvement store. I thought he was gay or had some one on the side. I had professionals follow him and I was told he is so boring. Married 53 years and I just acted like I was single did charity work at my church, have my friends and take a lot of vacations.Sad story but true, the story would be much longer if I wrote the whole thing.

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