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. 61

    Don’t marry him. He   probably can’t fuck.

  2. 62

    I’m amazed at how many commenters are dumping on the guy, or trying to diagnose him, or trying to make this his fault, or his problem, or his issue.   (“feygele,” “can’t fuck,” “has intimacy issues,” or whatever.) None of that is the issue at hand; it’s not about him, it’s about her.   It seems quite a few skipped right past Evan’s observations:

      “… next thing you know, you’ll be 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…   this isn’t about right and wrong. He’s not wrong for wanting to forgo sex…  you’ve avoided this issue for over a year now, which makes you guiltier than he is… he may not even care, you could be doing him a favor...”

    We are never the problem in our own lives, are we?   It’s always the other person’s fault for not responding to us the way we want, or giving us what we expect, or anticipating our needs, or reading our minds, or not fulfilling us 100% perfectly. And when he says he loves her, he very likely means it… by his definition. The question is, what is her definition, and who can provide it to her?

    When you want Italian food, don’t go to a Chinese restaurant and sit there trying to figure out why they won’t make lasagna for you and complaining about it. If you can’t figure out that you’re sitting in the wrong restaurant when you want Italian food, don’t blame the cook.

  3. 63
    Carol Ann

    Minnie is spot on – with one HUGE exception! My fiance and I talked a lot about the kind of sex life each of us wanted and needed in a relationship in order to be happy. Well, fast foward a year, we move in together. What he said and what he wants are apparently 2 totally different things. We both had agreed we wanted sex at least a few times a week, with oral being very important to both of us. After I moved in, he received oral almost daily from me, but rately gave in return. I finally said something and he hasn’t done anything to improve the situation so I quit giving him oral. It didn’t take long for him to start avoiding sex altogether. He says he loves me and finds me attractive,   he even hugs, kisses, and touches me throughout the day, but still no sex. He asked me to marry him and I said yes, with the condition of a long engagement. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life without sex. I’m only 46 and have a lot of life to live. He won’t talk about the situation either. All signs that the marriage will fail. Lack of intimacy and communication are both red flags. Marriage won’t make things better – they have to be worked beforehand or you’ll regret it.

  4. 64

    Am I the only one that see’s what happened here? You have sex “or I guess that’s what you could call it”  and then complain about it. (even though you say you’re not.)

    He comes clean about being a virgin then you get annoyed at him again. No wonder he doesn’t want to have sex with you. You have no regards for his feelings at all. He is already insecure and inexperienced, the last thing he needs is you judging him and pressuring him for sex. Think about how scary it is to be with someone for the first time.

    Why don’t you be a bit more understanding and take the pressure off him. Encourage him. Give him tips. The more you make it sound like a huge issue, the more it will be one. This is why he is avoiding it. It’s fear driven and you are fuelling it.

  5. 65

    This thread is so interesting & helpful to me. Thanks to everyone!I recently split up with someone I was in love with because I realised he didn’t like having sex.

    It started with amazing chemistry- best of my life so far. He said to me once at the beginning that before meeting me he’d thought he had a sexual problem as for a long time he had hardly ever had sex with his last girlfriend but after getting with me he realised he didn’t, he just hadn’t fancied her enough. I said hmmm that could happen to me then & he said no I could never get tired of having sex with you! But he certainly could.   Just weeks in I think. For most of the rest of the relationship I kept thinking it was other factors why we weren’t having sex, like busy lifestyles, kids etc. It was very hard to realise and accept, due to how electric the beginning had been. But it gradually became clear that he just wasn’t into it.   If I made all the moves he would respond but only as long as I was doing stuff to him. He wouldn’t really do anything to/for me and he never instigated…at first it was fun to do the seducing & coaxing but it stopped being fun when I realised it wasn’t a game, it was just how things were, it was one way.

    He said he was in love with me & he did loads of life planting stuff & he wanted to be with me all the time. But didn’t ever want to have sex.  He wouldn’t talk about it, it seems like he had almost no insight into it.

    He had been very abused physically & emotionally as a child, not directly sexually but it all links up. It was by his step mother so I think he had a thing about women- I really got the feeling he wasn’t actually comfortable with my female body. Not that he was gay. And the abuse included making him feel disgusting as a male. It’s terribly sad.

    So I ended it based on that (& other problems all I think related to his issues from childhood but the sex issue was the dealbreaker). Although I ended it, I feel like the rejected one. I was so hot for him & I was knocked back so many times. I know I did the right thing but I feel so sad & I still think about him all the time. But this thread has really helped me to feel better as it’s made it even clearer that I did the right thing. And I know that when I (please god) get with someone who is INTO me & into sex itself I will be so, so grateful & relieved that I did make that right decision.

    So yes, original poster – you cannot marry him. End of story. It is doomed. Unless you are asexual then a marriage must include sex. Its important for your happiness and wellbeing. If he’s not having sex with you now he never will. I was in that relationship just 5 months but in that time I lost a lot of confidence – it’s damaging to be unwanted whether or not its personal. End it now.

  6. 66

    Marry him? Probably not, but dare I say – ya’ll on this sex kick should take a step back.   First, not every guy gives a shit about sex. Second, nobody – I mean nobody – is owed a godamn thing, sex included.   Third, take gay and affairs out of the equation, and consider this – perhaps sex is a bit overrated and showing ‘affection’ and ‘love’ really should not be based on sexual activity.

    1. 66.1
      Michael Ejercito

      Sex is just something everybody does.

  7. 67


  8. 68
    colle lucas

    Hi Desperate, I am a guy and felt anxiety the first time as well. Then failed 3 times. My GP advised I should take viagra to get me over this fear and uncertainty. It is simple but it helped a lot. In the end it was a matter of confidence.

  9. 69
    Tim C

    Do not marry him unless you are fine with how things are now. Do not expect him to change, it will be a disaster for both of you. For most marriages, unfortunately,   sex frequency gets less and less, so do not expect more sex if you do marry him. You can try speaking to him but likely you will not ever find the answers you wish to find. The guy obviously has some major sexual issues and most of the time these type of issues never go away easily. I would consider being friends and look for a man that suits you to avoid ripping both of your hearts out

  10. 70
    I don't care

    When I got married I never intended to have sex with my wife,of course I never told her that until after the (I DOs) were over. She is just a good friend.   My life is me only I had other things that were way more important than sex. Like my work and my car’s , at work is just me I have no one breathing down my neck and my car’s! They don’t talk back and piss an moan about the world affairs and who does what and our problems.

    Sex and intimacy never did any thing for me, not into porn or loose women and definitely not gay. I do things for me only!


  11. 71

    Marriage includes intimacy, two becoming one, you choose what you want. Do you want a marriage that’s struggling with one of the main aspects of the marriage union? You seek the truth for yourself, listen to biblical relationship experts, pray regarding it, hope all works out for you.

  12. 72

    Break up with him, immediately.

  13. 73

    Some of these comments are from total morons, let’s get that out of the way.   Next, let’s address this – sex is, ultimately, biologically for one purpose – the continuation of a species.   It’s not owed, nor necessary beyond that.   Mate vs friend? Who cares?   If sex is the only thing that determines a relationship status then indeed humankind is brainwashed bunch, seeking ‘validation’ from a fleeting pleasure mechanism. Or, and more likely, it’s a goddamn ego thing.   Seriously, it’s an become an incredible turn-off and almost empowering to be a guy who can and will turn down an attractive woman’s advances.   I am not obligated, nor is she and society can basically take their collective expectations and go fuck itself.   Wow, unbelievable how warped we’ve become with so much emphasis put on an act that’s really not even necessary beyond procreation.   Maybe everyone should try a little something called ‘self control’ and the crybabies out there whining ‘wah, he/she won’t have sex with me’ should learn to love themselves and stop relying on someone else to validate them – especially clear their head of the nonsense that sex is what makes or breaks it all.

    1. 73.1
      Yet Another Guy


      Have you ever been in a sexless marriage for a sustained period of time?

  14. 74

    So I’ve observed a few people making comments about how they don’t need “validation” and that wanting a healthy sex life with one’s partner is “entitlement”.
    Wow, just wow…I hate to say this but with attitudes like that, are you people even in relationships? Because I can’t imagine anyone wanting to be with somebody who is repulsed by something normal and natural, unless they too have some type of issue.

    Look, I understand that some people are asexual or maybe don’t find enjoyment in sex for whatever reason, but don’t sit here and tell others that they should be ashamed for having healthy desires.
    It has nothing to do with “self-control” or “entitlement”…it has to do with loving your partner, desiring them, finding them attractive and wanting them to feel the same way about you. This is basic stuff and it’s part of being in a healthy adult relationship. I’m not saying that sex is the most important thing in the world but it IS important. Otherwise it’s just a platonic friendship or a roommate situation, nothing more.

    Have we come to a point where people are being demonized for wanting love and passion instead of a cold, lifeless, sexless relationship?
    Is this really what it has come to?

    1. 74.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Alas, no one has stated what you’re railing against, but, by all means, don’t let that stop you from putting words in people’s mouths.

  15. 75
    Karl R


    In all fairness to MB, both Mack  (#20) and cw/cb  (#1.1, #6.1, #20.1.1) have made the statements that she’s railing against.

    1. 75.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      That’s fair and I appreciate the correction. Honestly, I didn’t read all the comments on this thread. Too much for me to handle. Apologies to MB if the comment wasn’t directed towards me and Karl.

    2. 75.2

      Thanks, Karl, for clarifying what I meant.   🙂

  16. 76

    I have two opposing thoughts on this question.

    The first is, go ahead! Men most always marry women who don’t want to have sex with him, so why shouldn’t women also experience this?

    The second, RUN, don’t walk, away. Bad sex now only becomes worse sex after the wedding. If you as a woman know what you want, and are able to express those desires to a man, you are being far more honest than most women, who never take any responsibility for knowing themselves and their sexuality and put no effort into becoming good lovers.

    Deferred gratification is only a good thing when one makes the effort to be ready when the opportunity comes along. If more women did this, divorce lawyers would have to find new lines of work.

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