7 Surprising Reasons Your Wife Doesn’t Want To Have Sex With You

“Anyone who believes that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach flunked geography.”

     – Author Robert Byrne

So today we’re going to talk about something really important to men.

Sex.

In fact, research shows clearly what the quote above suggests indirectly: that sex is the most important part of marriage for about 80-90% of men.  (No doubt many of you wives can confirm this!)

Despite Hollywood’s portrayals, though, sex is also one of our biggest areas of frustration.  For most couples, there’s a difference in sex drive, with guys typically wanting it a lot more than most women.

But you already know that.  This post is about 7 surprising reasons our wives may not be as interested in sex as we’d like them to be.  And, what you can do about it.

To help you go deeper in this challenging area, I’ve put together a (free) list of 17 outside resources. You can get it at the end of the post.

[optinlock id=”4″] 1. Kay Arthur.  The Truth About Sex: What The World Won’t Tell You & What God Wants You To Know.  Similar to Burk’s book in that it interacts with cultural views of sex and provides God’s view on it, but from a woman’s perspective.  Kay Arthur is a respected bible teacher.  (Book)

2. John Bettler.  When The Problem Is Sexual Sin.  The context is counseling someone struggling with sexual sin, but it’s enormously helpful for anyone struggling with this, too.  Bettler presents a simple ‘pyramid of lust’ that helps you trace the sexual sin we see to the deeper, far more important non-sexual sins we don’t.  (Article)

3. Denny Burk.  What Is The Meaning Of Sex?  Interacts with our culture’s views on sexuality and helps us develop a distinctly Christian perspective on it.  (Book)

4. Tim Challies.  Sexual Detox: A Guide For Guys Who Are Sick Of Porn.  Challies runs a thoughtful, popular blog that’s well worth checking out.  Here’s a teaser: ‘Every Christian guy who looks at porn wants to stop, but many of us want to stop just a little bit less than we want to keep going. The problem isn’t knowledge-it’s desire and ability… that means you need more grace… and then you need to behave in faith that God will meet you with grace as you act to cut off the porn and begin the reset’.  (Book)

5. Matt Chandler.  The ‘Good News’ About Sex.  From Relevant Magazine, this piece talks about how sex within marriage can point us to Christ and the gospel.  Getting this right goes a long way toward helping us with a lot of the challenges I mention in my post above.  (Article)

6. Matt Chandler.  The Mingling of Souls: God’s Design for Love, Marriage, Sex & Redemption.  Chandler is a popular preacher and super-direct and practical, which I appreciate.  Follows the Song of Solomon in very practical ways.  You can get a study guide or audio book version, too. (book, study guide, audio book)

7. John Freeman.  Hide Or Seek: When Men Get Real With God About Sex.  Helps husbands (and men in general) make progress in this difficult area without getting overwhelmed.  His goal is to help you take the next step and encourage you, even if you’ve failed again and again.

8. Tim Keller.  Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters.  Another fantastic read that exposes the false promises sex offers us, and what – Who – is much, much better.  (Book)

9. Tim Keller.  Sexuality & Christian Hope.  A classic Keller sermon: he shows why traditional and modern views of sexuality fail, and how the Christian faith gives us something far better.  (Sermon)

10. CJ Mahaney.  Sex, Romance & The Glory of God: What Every Christian Husband Needs To Know.  Using the Song of Solomon, Mahaney puts sex in its larger context and also helps us focus on what it means to romance our wives in general.  (Book)

11. A Man & His Marriage (33: The Series).  Put out by Men’s Fraternity, a curriculum I’ve gone through (in part), this series is all about revitalizing your marriage and touches on sexual intimacy, in addition to other foundational things like the role of sacrifice in marriage, obstacles to a healthy marriage, and friendship in marriage.  Available in paperback, individual session video downloads, and an optional workbook so you can apply it.  Includes contributions from leaders I respect like Paul Tripp.  (Book, video downloads (individual or series), workbook)

12. John Piper.  My Wife Doesn’t Enjoy Sex.  In this episode of ‘Ask Pastor John’, Piper responds to a man asking about how to respond to the fact that he and his wife have different levels of sexual needs and enjoyment.  He goes through 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 and provides a ton of wise, practical nuggets about how to handle this situation.  (Article, audio)

13. John Piper.  Sex And The Supremacy Of Christ.  This book actually has contributions from lots of popular authors and speaks to everyone: men and women, married and single.  I love the way it connects sex to Christ and helps us think about it in from a much bigger perspective that changes the way we approach it day to day.  (Book)

14. Paul Tripp.  Sex and Money.  A great read that unpacks why we struggle so much in these areas, how the gospel sets us free, and provides practical advice for moving forward.  (Book)

15. Ed Wheat.  Intended For Pleasure: Sex Technique & Sexual Fulfilment in Marriage.  Title pretty much says it all.  A ‘classic’ designed to help you with the more practical aspects of unselfish, physical intimacy in your marriage.  My wife and I have read and can recommend.

16. David White.  Sexual Sanity for Men: Re-creating Your Mind in a Crazy Culture.  I know Dave personally and can vouch for his experience in this area.  He’s direct and gets where guys are coming from.  (Book)

17. Lauren Winner.  Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity.  My wife has read this one, and it’s very honest about topics like being pure before marriage, masturbation and the perennial ‘how far is too far before marriage?’ question.  Helpful, too, though for couples fighting for purity and monogamy in their own marriage.  (Book) [/optinlock]

By the way, guys, if you’re not married yet, this post is for you, too.  I had no clue about most of these things and had to learn the hard way.  I hurt my wife along the way big-time, too.  You can avoid a lot of that by learning from my mistakes.

If you are married and experiencing some frustration in your sex life, putting some work in on one or more of these areas will help.  And, more importantly, bless your wife, too.

 

Disagreement Hertje Brodersen via Compfight

So here you go, seven surprising reasons your wife doesn’t want to have sex with you.

1.You’re not spending quality time together.  There are a million different reasons for this.  You (and/or your wife) might be working too much, for example, leaving little time or energy left for each other.  If we’re not regularly slowing down to talk about important things and share our hearts, our wives won’t feel connected to us.  Which means they won’t want to connect physically, either, because they don’t compartmentalize their lives like we do.

2. You’re not getting enough sleep.  If you’re not getting enough sleep, your sex drive takes a nose dive.  Same thing for women.  (Oh, and it makes you dumber, more forgetful, more prone to serious accidents, and look older, too.  But I digress).

3. You’re being a jerk.  Jesus treated men and women differently.  He blasts the Pharisees and calls out his 12 disciples (all men) routinely, but almost never does this with women.  He will challenge them – like the woman at the well – but he dials back the intensity of what he says. When we follow his example – and I’m still learning to – our wives feel cared for.  And that translates into more openness toward sex.

4. You’re giving into porn or an impure thought life.  Sexual sin is an absolute disaster for your sex life (see Proverbs 9:13-18, for example).  My wife and I do premarital counseling for couples and this comes up all the time.  Guys who are into porn or don’t harness their minds in this area are comparing their wives to airbrushed women who don’t really exist.  The results are guilt, shame and diminished desire for their wives, all of which leads to less – and less satisfying – sex.

5. You’re making sex all about you.  It’s so easy for us to put the focus on our pleasure.  To get lost and ‘forget’ (= not intentionally choose to) care for our wives during sex.  So it’s no surprise when they gradually lose interest and resent it.

6. You’re scared.  You’d never guess it from movies or TV, but sex is scary.  In the best sex, both of you bring all of who you are – without anything (literally) – between you.  And that’s really hard because we know we’re flawed.  We’re no longer in the ‘naked and unashamed’ position that Adam and Eve found themselves before they fell (Genesis 2:25).  And so we’re always hiding,  just like they did after their relationship with God was broken (Genesis 3:8).

For us guys, one of the ways that shows up is being tentative during times of intimacy.  If we’re not fully finding our identity in belonging to Christ, we’ll be scared of being fully present and failing in the bedroom (and everywhere else, really).  Of taking the small risks and initiative that go a long way toward really connecting.  And that can leave our wives thinking that we’re not all that interested in them (like #5), even when that’s the furthest thing from the truth.

7. You’ve forgotten what marriage and sex are all about. In Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul tells us that marriage and the gospel explain each other, something I’ve posted about before.  When people look at the way we relate to our wives, they should be reminded of the way God relates to us.  As Tim Keller puts it in this excellent article, ‘The Bible views sex not primarily as self-fulfillment but as a way to know Christ and build his kingdom’.  The only way to consistently make loving choices in the bedroom is to internalize that on a growing level.

I’m Convicted!  But What Can I Do About It?

If you’re anything like me, you’re feeling seriously convicted right now.  At least, I hope you are.  For most of us guys, putting our wives first in this area is way easier said than done.

We’ve spent a lot of time on the potential problems, but I want to move forward with you in a very practical way that leaves you encouraged.  Not overwhelmed.

Here’s my recommendation.  I’d love to hear any other ideas you have down below in the comments.

  1. Scan through the list above and identify the biggest problem for you.  (Maybe it’s something else).
  2. Have an honest conversation with God about it, confessing anything you need to.  Our confession should include both deeper (‘heart’) and practical elements.  For example, if my times together with my wife tend to focus on me, I should confess that but also the deeper selfishness and fear that’s driving it.  This takes courage, but brings freedom.
  3. Based on what you identified above (#1), think and pray about what change would look like.  If I said being scared is my biggest challenge, I can picture trusting God and being okay with trying something that doesn’t work.  It doesn’t have to destroy me.  And I can take initiative instead of waiting for my wife to always come to me.
  4. Let a friend know and ask him to pray for you.  Not only for accountability, but for encouragement.  Change is hard(!), so we should ‘exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of [us] may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin’ (Hebrews 3:13).  Getting real with others helps us stay true to Christ – and our wives – for the long haul (see Hebrews 3:14).

This isn’t molecular biology or astrophysics, right?  It’s just the normal things that help us become more like Christ, applied to the area of sex.  The key is follow through in all its boring but-oh-so-important forms.

Over time, we will change and experience the blessings that God wants for us – and our wives – in this important area of our lives.

Let’s live it out: What’s the biggest obstacle in this area of your life?  Share it with us in the comments below.  I’ll go first!

[optinlock id=”3″]Here’s that list of 17 resources I mentioned in the post, organized by author’s last name.

1. Kay Arthur.  The Truth About Sex: What The World Won’t Tell You & What God Wants You To Know.  Similar to Burk’s book in that it interacts with cultural views of sex and provides God’s view on it, but from a woman’s perspective.  Kay Arthur is a respected bible teacher.  (Book)

2. John Bettler.  When The Problem Is Sexual Sin.  The context is counseling someone struggling with sexual sin, but it’s enormously helpful for anyone struggling with this, too.  Bettler presents a simple ‘pyramid of lust’ that helps you trace the sexual sin we see to the deeper, far more important non-sexual sins we don’t.  (Article)

3. Denny Burk.  What Is The Meaning Of Sex?  Interacts with our culture’s views on sexuality and helps us develop a distinctly Christian perspective on it.  (Book)

4. Tim Challies.  Sexual Detox: A Guide For Guys Who Are Sick Of Porn.  Challies runs a thoughtful, popular blog that’s well worth checking out.  Here’s a teaser: ‘Every Christian guy who looks at porn wants to stop, but many of us want to stop just a little bit less than we want to keep going. The problem isn’t knowledge-it’s desire and ability… that means you need more grace… and then you need to behave in faith that God will meet you with grace as you act to cut off the porn and begin the reset’.  (Book)

5. Matt Chandler.  The ‘Good News’ About Sex.  From Relevant Magazine, this piece talks about how sex within marriage can point us to Christ and the gospel.  Getting this right goes a long way toward helping us with a lot of the challenges I mention in my post above.  (Article)

6. Matt Chandler.  The Mingling of Souls: God’s Design for Love, Marriage, Sex & Redemption.  Chandler is a popular preacher and super-direct and practical, which I appreciate.  Follows the Song of Solomon in very practical ways.  You can get a study guide or audio book version, too. (book, study guide, audio book)

7. John Freeman.  Hide Or Seek: When Men Get Real With God About Sex.  Helps husbands (and men in general) make progress in this difficult area without getting overwhelmed.  His goal is to help you take the next step and encourage you, even if you’ve failed again and again.

8. Tim Keller.  Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters.  Another fantastic read that exposes the false promises sex offers us, and what – Who – is much, much better.  (Book)

9. Tim Keller.  Sexuality & Christian Hope.  A classic Keller sermon: he shows why traditional and modern views of sexuality fail, and how the Christian faith gives us something far better.  (Sermon)

10. CJ Mahaney.  Sex, Romance & The Glory of God: What Every Christian Husband Needs To Know.  Using the Song of Solomon, Mahaney puts sex in its larger context and also helps us focus on what it means to romance our wives in general.  (Book)

11. A Man & His Marriage (33: The Series).  Put out by Men’s Fraternity, a curriculum I’ve gone through (in part), this series is all about revitalizing your marriage and touches on sexual intimacy, in addition to other foundational things like the role of sacrifice in marriage, obstacles to a healthy marriage, and friendship in marriage.  Available in paperback, individual session video downloads, and an optional workbook so you can apply it.  Includes contributions from leaders I respect like Paul Tripp.  (Book, video downloads (individual or series), workbook)

12. John Piper.  My Wife Doesn’t Enjoy Sex.  In this episode of ‘Ask Pastor John’, Piper responds to a man asking about how to respond to the fact that he and his wife have different levels of sexual needs and enjoyment.  He goes through 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 and provides a ton of wise, practical nuggets about how to handle this situation.  (Article, audio)

13. John Piper.  Sex And The Supremacy Of Christ.  This book actually has contributions from lots of popular authors and speaks to everyone: men and women, married and single.  I love the way it connects sex to Christ and helps us think about it in from a much bigger perspective that changes the way we approach it day to day.  (Book)

14. Paul Tripp.  Sex and Money.  A great read that unpacks why we struggle so much in these areas, how the gospel sets us free, and provides practical advice for moving forward.  (Book)

15. Ed Wheat.  Intended For Pleasure: Sex Technique & Sexual Fulfilment in Marriage.  Title pretty much says it all.  A ‘classic’ designed to help you with the more practical aspects of unselfish, physical intimacy in your marriage.  My wife and I have read and can recommend.

16. David White.  Sexual Sanity for Men: Re-creating Your Mind in a Crazy Culture.  I know Dave personally and can vouch for his experience in this area.  He’s direct and gets where guys are coming from.  (Book)

17. Lauren Winner.  Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity.  My wife has read this one, and it’s very honest about topics like being pure before marriage, masturbation and the perennial ‘how far is too far before marriage?’ question.  Helpful, too, though for couples fighting for purity and monogamy in their own marriage.  (Book) [/optinlock]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Ah! Forgot to ‘go first’ like I said I would in the post. For me, the biggest challenge is being scared. I know ‘the right answer’ is that I have every reason not to be, but still struggle with this one. Have definitely seen progress, though, over the years.

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