9 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.


Man sleeping on couch.

Photo credit: bp6316 via Foter.com / CC BY

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 9 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.

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.

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

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.

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).

You’re being harsh

In Colossians 3:19, Paul gives husbands one piece of advice.  ‘Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.’  For the first few years of our marriage, I spoke to my wife pretty bluntly.  I didn’t understand God created her differently, and I wound up hurting her.  Think before you speak and dial back the intensity.

You’re giving into porn or an impure thought life

Sexual sin is an absolute train wreck for your sex life (see Proverbs 9:13-18, for example). When my wife and I do premarital counseling for couples, guys who are into porn or other sexual sin struggle with guilt, shame and diminished desire for their wives. Not to mention the devastation for their wives.  All of which leads to less – and less satisfying – sex.

You’re married to your work

Truth be told, many Christian men are polygamists and don’t know it.  They’re married to their wives, but they’re also married to their work.  One frustrated wife confided to my wife that ‘I feel like he’s got a mistress… his job!’  While there are occasionally special circumstances (like a medical resident), we need to remember that God has made us one with our wives, not our work (Genesis 2:24).  They need to know, without a doubt, they come first.

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’ to care for our wives during sex.  Translation: we fail to ‘look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others’ (Philippians 2:4).  So it’s no surprise when our wives gradually lose interest and resent sex.

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.  But that’s really hard because we’re no longer in the ‘naked and unashamed’ position of Adam and Eve before they fell (Genesis 2:25).  So we’re always hiding from one another, just like they did (Genesis 3:8).

Sometimes, men hide by being tentative during times of intimacy.  If we don’t find our identity Christ, we’ll be scared of being fully present, and failing in, the bedroom.  We’ll be physically present and emotionally absent.  That can leave our wives thinking that we’re not all that interested in them (like #5), even when the opposite is true.

You’re compartmentalizing your life

Most guys think of life kind of like the silverware dividers in our kitchen.  Everything has its place.  Knives don’t touch forks, spoons don’t touch knives, and so on.  But most women don’t roll like that.  Life is more like a bowl of spaghetti.  It’s all connected.  So when I’m driven all day, or, raise my voice with our kids, that will affect what happens in the bedroom.

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. 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, ‘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!  Now What?

If you’re anything like me, you’re feeling seriously convicted right now.  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 a quick plan to get started.

  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/her 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 astrophysics, right?  It’s just the normal things that help us become more like Christ, applied to the area of sex.  The key is Spirit-empowered 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!


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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  • An Every Day Dad

    Great post, Bryan! This is a topic that many ministers are afraid to talk about but it’s a topic that many need to talk about.

    • Thanks so much, Jared! Jesus wants all of us, and meets us there with grace, so I’m happy to help us all keep moving forward. Blessings to you today!