March 30, 2009

Q&A: My Husband Stopped Sleeping With Me

A female reader is distressed about her husband's sudden refusal to have sex with her and now she's considering having an affair. What should she do?

Print More

Question: For the first few years of dating and marriage, my sex life with my husband was wonderful. Then, four years ago, he just stopped having sex with me! There was no real reason and he refuses to see a doctor about it. I’m very sexual, and I’m considering having an affair if he doesn’t have sex with me. What should I do?

I’m sorry to hear about this drastic change in your sex life. It can feel confusing and frustrating to want to be sexually intimate with one’s partner and for that partner to decline invitations to have sex.

This can feel particularly upsetting when it’s unclear why sex has stopped. After all, how can you fix a relationship problem if you don’t understand how it started in the first place, or the reasons behind it now?

Many Possible Reasons

People stop having sex for many reasons and it is impossible for us to know why your husband stopped having sex with you.

Since it seems as though the two of you have discussed the possibility of him seeing a doctor in regard to the lack of sex, I wonder if you noticed physical problems – such as difficulties with erections – that might be contributing to the lack of sex.

Sometimes men begin to notice erection problems during sex with a partner, or even during their own masturbation, and they begin to shy away from sex for fear of failure.

Other times men, like some women, may choose to stop having sex because they lose desire for sex. Desire can decrease for any number of reasons including relationship problems or health problems.

Even if your husband doesn’t want to talk to a doctor about his sex life, I wonder if he could be encouraged to see a doctor for an annual wellness exam in case he has any health conditions that should be addressed.

Whether his choice to stop having sex is related to physical problems, anxiety, depression, or relationship issues is anyone’s guess. However, sexual intimacy is clearly important to you and you have a right to understand more about these changes to your sexual life and marriage.

Consider Therapy or Counseling

You might ask your husband if he would consider going with you to meet with a sex therapist or marriage counselor.

Perhaps reassure him – and mean it – that your goal is to work on becoming closer and strengthening your marriage, rather than being to get him to have sex. After all, if you can get your relationship intimacy back on track, you may have a chance – over time – of restoring your sex life.

You can find a sex therapist through the web site of the Society for Sex Therapy and Researching, and you can locate marriage therapists through the web site of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.

Further Reading

Finally, consider reading The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman.

  • risi13

    Married couples often have this problem, but what matters is that you had the power to address it.

  • FreeDating

    Men, like some women, may choose to stop having sex because they lose desire for sex.