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. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 42.1

      Are things still working out for you? I need to know that! I’ve been in the same situation for about 3 years and I can’t stand this anymore… All the excuses, the recovering period that comes and go… I feel useless!

  3. 43

    At least you know what the future holds if you do marry him. The fact is there are a percentage of guys who aren’t interested in, can take or leave, or do their best to avoid sex. They like friendships and relationships up to a point. Once things inevitably get to intimacy, they hit the wall and don’t want to go any farther. End of friendship/relationship.

  4. 44

    WOW. I can totally agree with what Evan wrote you. I currently am dating and living with my bf whom I’ve been with for 18 months. Since we started dating we have had sex 6 times ….yes i said 6 times in 18 months. When we first met he made it sound like he was into sex etc just from casual conversation. Overtime I addressed the issue and he alway had a excuse ….. always! trust me I have heard it all. It has killed my desire and hurt me emotionally. After a few months together I discovered he was into porn and didn’t want to share that with me. Along with all the other lies about his life that I found out before that. I yet still stayed and still with him but trying to decide like the end of your answer from Evan. I need to make that decision do I stay or go?
    Its such a hurtful process. I love him very much and don’t doubt he does too. He is very good to me and I to him. But relationships are based i believe 50 intimacy and 50 everything else.
    I believe he needs a counslor and he needs to understand what is his issue not mine. We have gone to one together and we got no where. waste of time and money.
    So trust me Evan is write. Think hard and well.
    Good Luck.

    1. 44.1

      same here! I don’t know whatelse to do! So frustrating!!

  5. 45

    Run, run now. You will resent him, you will feel lonely, you will face depression and you will absolutely end up divorced or miserable. Yes, I just described me ( except you’d have to replace “him” with “her”). Kids trap you I to staying in something you can’t stand. Oh how I wish I could talk to the 25/26 year old version of myself.

  6. 46

    Your   man’s   gay and   don’t   know   it

  7. 47
    Marcell Elliem

    Good post, thanks for taking the time out 🙂

  8. 48

    On a similar note, what if your husband is fine at first, and then sex becomes less and less and in fact used as a method for getting his way on some things. Then, later, there is no sex and you find out they have low testosterone, but they won’t get any treatment. They tell you to just accept them as they are…and for 8 years because you have children and a history with this person, you cry and try to deal with it, but all the while begin to feel like a lumpy potato and don’t care about yourself anymore. Then he starts doing treatments, gels, shots, etc…but only does them grudgingly, or halfassedly and then wonders why the numbers don’t go up. You keep trying to be encouraging, but the years roll on. Now I am 46, my husband just found out he has serious blood clotting issues and CAN’T use testosterone anymore. On top of this, he is very passive aggressive and has invested little of his emotions in showing me that he needs me over the years. I have been without sex for 14 years. My self esteem is shattered from the games a PA plays, and I can’t really say that my husband and I are more than friends. I want it to be more, I have done all I can think to do, but he won’t go to counseling. I feel trapped, but my youngest girl is 14 and I don’t want to upset the family while she is still at home. This is the only place I could think to post this. Please someone…give me some support? My husband is a funny, sometimes kind person who never learned how to deal with a relationship or women. That’s thanks to his f*cking mother, with her bipolar disorder, driving him insane all his life. Honest to God, if I have to put up with many more dreams where a man just WANTS me, I will nuts. I wish things could be fixed, but what the HELL can I do without his cooperation?

  9. 49

    I’ve been in five years sexless marriage. He didn’t want to have sex from the start and I had to do a lot of effort just to persuade him to have sex with me. It wasn’t an easy job. Until we decided to have a baby. I constantly had to go to the dr to see when is my ovulation and then had to persuade him to do it just for pregnancy and he usually would have millions of excuses for him not to have sex (tired, went to the gym and his trainer told him not to, have work,…etc). I had to do an Artificial Insamination!! I had a hard time. After the first attempt for IUI ( and 1 year of trying to get pregnant) I got pregnant but unfortunately my pregnancy did’t last as I had a partial molar pregnancy which is dangerous for the mother and had to miscarriage. I was so heart broken and depressed because at the time of the surgery my husband was having a really good time with his friend on vacation.  
    After than incident I was disappointed and became depressed with no one to support me. Then I met a guy and became so in love and for the first time I knew how good it felt when someone really loves you (and yes, I had an affair which I’m not proud of). He gave me everything I need from emotional to physical satisfaction and we agreed to get marries as soon as I get a divorce. I asked my husband for a divorce but my family went against that because he went to them and told him how much he loved me and would do anything to be with me -which is partially true-. He said those thing because he didn’t want to be the one who was blamed (he told me this). The problem was he wasn’t even trying to do anything to improve the situation plus for me it was too late.
    My advice would be: RUN as far as you can from this guy because if he loves you he would give you everything, would dream of having sex with you in the middle of the night, and would seek for help from drs.
    By the way marriage doesn’t mean that you’ll have a better life, it will be worse and needs a lot of COMMUNICATION and SACRIFICES.
    You are young and will find another man who can do everything in the world to satisfy every need.
    This marriage is going to be a really depressing one which I’ve been through it. You would see yourself as the ugliest woman on earth even if everyone told you that you were beautiful and will be depressed and nervous all the time.

    It breaks my heart just to know that you or anyone be in this kind of relationship. Remember that he is not our husband and there is still time to rethink.

  10. 50

    I will say that for me, being in a sexless marriage is rough.   Don’t misunderstand…I adore him and see him as my best friend.   We love one another.     We care about one another.     But desire is one-sided in this marriage.

    At 32, I might have to accept that my dreams of having a family (one child or two) might never happen because he failed to tell me that he didn’t want kids until we were deep into the marriage.   I   have to accept that he loves me, but doesn’t desire me.     I find him VERY attractive…he is 46 years old and gorgeous.     But apparently he doesn’t feel that way about me.

    In the past, I was a size 4 with smooth skin.   I would wear cute little outfits and lingerie with high heels when he would come home from work.     And back then, he showed a bit more interest, but it was still obvious that his libido couldn’t match mine.       But I ignored that because I loved him and figured he wouldn’t completely shut down sexually.       I was wrong.

    What happens is that when a woman is rejected sexually by her husband, it creates serious confidence issues.       I’ve tried to keep myself in shape and looking good but to no avail…I have PCOS and Cushing Syndrome, two things that cause uncontrollable weight gain and hormonal imbalances.       I feel ugly due to my illness and it is worse because he won’t have sex with me unless he feels like it, which is about once a year if I’m lucky.     So maybe I’m not smoking hot anymore but that isn’t my fault.     I’m fat now but working hard to do something about it.

    I’ve had tearful conversations with him about it…am I not pretty enough?   Not sexy enough?       A bad wife?       Dammit, why won’t he have sex with me or at least talk about it?!       And when a woman is rejected by her husband many times, it is natural to wonder if he is getting it elsewhere.     He even called me “selfish” once.       Selfish for wanting to share the gift of intimacy with my husband?     Selfish for wanting to make love?         That doesn’t make sense.

    No, what’s selfish is refusing to even discuss the issue.     It’s the 800 lb. elephant in the room that we can’t talk about because he doesn’t want to.

  11. 51

    I married my husband because I loved him,jump now 49 years and we can’t   stand each other. We did have sex a few times but that was it. He only had sex with me because that’s what I wanted, he had no interest in sex or me. He then told me he was moving to the basemental he wanted to be alone and not have to deal with me. It’s been   this way for over 47 years we aren’t even friends, he wasn’t   the loving type and he had no problem with that. He just wanted to be left alone and I wasn’t   to bother him. I never understood why he is the way he is. I should have left him but I didn’t, that was my biggest   mistake.   I thought I could fix anything and in time things would work out. Needless to say it never happened,   now just to worn out   and old to care any more. Sad but a true story!

  12. 52

    My situation isn’t as bad but Ive been with my new boyfriend for almost 6 months. In the last 30 days I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve been intimate. He’s not big on even receiving oral. I have tried to become aggressive in hopes that will get him going but nope. It’s really hard emotionally. I’m trying to figure out whats wrong with me.

  13. 53

    My man’s younger beautiful sister is in a relationship with a guy who won’t have sex with her and won’t talk about it or give her a reason why. She claims she is in love with him and he claims to be in love with her, but he just won’t give her sex even though she really wants it and needs it as she has a strong healthy sex drive. It puts her into a state of depression to have to deal with this especially because he is not particularly forthcoming about it. Also it reinforces an idea in her that she unattractive, which is also very far from the truth as she is genuinely stunning and so many men around her would love to be with her. Her boyfriend refuses counselling. They’ve been together for over two years and from what she tells me have had sex no more than twenty times. She says that when they do have sex most of the time he appears to be quite disassociated and selfish with it. Although he is a nice person, his sexual neurosis I believe is ruining both of their young lives and I envisage them staying together mostly out of comfort and security. Desperate, I would not advise you to marry your boyfriend if you are not satisfied sexually by him. Because that leads to emotional dissatisfaction which is even harder to navigate through. Perhaps he is asexual if he really has no interest in sex, and maybe he doesn’t even realise it and even feels guilty for it, but I agree that there is a big difference between being someone’s best friend and someone’s husband. You’re young. Life is ahead of you. Don’t do it. Invest time in yourself. Meet people. Explore your sexuality. By yourself and with people that you trust. Marry someone who wants to fuck your brains out and make you feel like a queen. Someone who is confident and generous with their sexuality. Your boyfriend is maybe not doing anything wrong in a direct way, but indirectly he is definitely messing with you here. I’m sure he doesn’t want to do that, but in the long term it will definitely affect you. Also do you want to have biological children? Cos if you do that’s definitely something you need sex for. But most importantly have an open and honest discussion with him about your issues and don’t accept any vague answers.

  14. 54

    I just left my on off relationship of 8yrs. My man has terrible mommy issues .not sure why? his mother died when he was about 27..almost 20   years ago.. I will be 50 soon and can no longer deal with a man who will never show me affection. And 0 sex…and yet has no problem sleeping with random strange women off the internet. Is there any one else who has experienced this? I pleaded and begged my man for answers ..never wants to talk about our non existing sexual relationship.   Why does he want me to stay with him when there is no love between us? Maybe someone will have some insight for me.? All I know is I have wasted so much time and I don’t even feel like a woman in his presence so I packed my things and left..and I can never try wirh him ever again. IT IS TIME FOR ME TO FINALLY FIND HAPPINESS WITHIN MYSELF.

  15. 55

    You should consider that he is maybe asexual

  16. 56

    It is really important to find out why he doesn’t want to have sex. He may be an internet porn addict or have a secret life. Once this is ruled out, along with not having sex comes all the deeply painful feelings of rejection and self esteem issues for you. This doesn’t get easier. Ruling out sex was a mistake. Try to reopen the issue and recommend sexual counseling for both of you together, you may need to work on your approach with each other, it can be a complicated dance.

    This is extremely scary for some people who may be painfully shy or inhibited. Sensitivity, patience and leading by example are the things I would try to achieve. What is the rush to get married, you may find it too much someday and decide forever is too long.

  17. 57

    Don’t do it!   You will have a life of constant turmoil over this,   and I speak from experience.   Just divorced my husband of 18 years (been together 24 years.)   Met him when he was 25 and he had only been with one woman sexually, and was alone for three years until I met him,    He never had girlfriends before his one sexual encounter either.    This all should have been a red flag. He was never into sex that much with me.   Yes, in the beginning, we had sex every weekend when we dated, but he could have sex for hours and never reach a climax.   It took him many months of having sex with me before he was able to.   After a year together, he could go a month and never want sex.   If I  mentioned  that we hadn’t had sex in  a month or two, he would accuse me of being oversexed.   (of course, that was just a head game to deter me from wanting it.)   This was a physically healthy twenty something year old man.   He never wanted to be touched when having  sex, so there was no foreplay, because he wasn’t into touching me either.   In all the years that we did have some semblance of sex, he definitely did it because he did love me.   I don’t think any degree of counseling would have helped, nor would he have agreed to going. My mother-in-law  has mental issues and my husband swore that she ruined him for sex because of her craziness.    Even if there is something in  their childhood that contributes to this, you are not going to change it.   I think they could be in therapy for years, and it wouldn’t matter. The other thing to remember also, is that there are some men who do not have normal levels of testosterone so sex or any form of intimacy  is just not important to them.   I married him because I loved him and didn’t think the sexual part was all that important.   But once things started going south in other departments,   it was an eye opener to see that this part of my life had not been acceptable for me.   Oh, and forget a spontaneous hug or kiss or cuddle.   Never, in the 24 years together did he give me any affection.   The dogs got all the spontaneous kisses and  hugs though.   I think these people just have mental problems.   So, unless you’re ready for your life to be in turmoil, don’t do it.   You’ll convince yourself that this facet of your life  isn’t important, but you’ll be kidding yourself.   With women, it isn’t just about the act of sex, it’s about bonding and intimacy and touching.   The actual sex act is just an added dimension.   Good luck!

  18. 58

    If it was me I wouldn’t   get married, I’m   a professional at a sexless marriage. I made the mistake of   getting married to a person who didn’t   want sex with me or anyone else decades   ago. Now to old   and tired to   care anymore.

  19. 59

    its because he got a raw deal. you were damaged goods. you are special to him but not vice verse. he his just a turn of the page to you. and now he is turned off. he realizes that you are not fussy, and thus, he cannot be anything special to you

  20. 60

    im experiencing the same thing. My husband and i have been together for 4 years before we decided to “finally tie the knot”. Im 31 and my husband is 39. We just got married this january, everything was okay until i noticed that he is not anymore interested in making love with me. Despite of initiating the act, he would despise me and he’d say that he is just so tired, yes, were sleeping together in one bed but nothing more than that. For how many times he rejects me, I was deeply hurt, i feel unwanted and unloved. Yeah he is a great provider, but he doesnt understand my needs. My self esteem is very much affected. I was thinking of leaving him to be able to work overseas   and also as a means of punishing him for withholding sex.  

    1. 60.1

      Please get the book “Come as you are” by Emily Nagoski.   It will be life changing and I bet will help your marriage.   I am not affiliated with the writer or the publisher.   I just picked up by accident, saw the amazing reviews and thought I’d give it a try.   I have learned so many new things about sex and life in general.

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