My wife doesn't want to have sex

My wife and I have a great relationship except for our sex lives. We are pretty transparent and honest, and basically, she feels bad because she never wants to have sex. She doesn't have the desire. She's also never orgasmed. She feels like a terrible wife and fears I'll cheat on her. She doesn't know why. Last time we had sex, she cried and felt bad and didn't know why she cried. However, she also told me that the last time we had sex, she felt me in her, but it just felt "ehh" and wanted to stop. That makes me feel really awful. We rarely have foreplay. Everything I try tickles her, so she makes me stop. We are both frustrated but very much in love. She and I are in our early 20s. We’re married and we have a baby on the way.

Nat Roman
Nat Roman
Marriage & Family Therapist, MSc RP

That sounds really challenging for both of you. Differences in sexual desire between partners is common and can create real friction and conflict. I would encourage you to do some couples counselling or sex therapy as often these issues can be worked through and low sexual desire can result from relational fears and misunderstandings or sex that isn't as arousing as is possible. There are some good videos on this resource page about sexuality and intimacy and a video that specifically addresses desire differences in relationships. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

Congrats on your upcoming baby!

Its possible that the pregnancy is diminishing your wife's sex drive.

From everything you describe about your wife, she sounds to not yet have become comfortable with having a wish for sex.

The other side of the sex equation is you and your relative ease with having sex and whether it is for physical release or as an expression of love, some of each.

Since you talk with each other honestly then start with a dialogue about what you each would like from sex with each other, from perspective of giving and receiving sex.  Hopefully this will open up some new light on your respective feelings.

Really, there is a lot to navigate in a conversation about physical and emotional intimacy.  

If these are not the types of discussions the two of you are used to having, a couples therapist is a good idea so you both become familiar and learn how to more easily articulate some of your respective deep feelings.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Rebecca Wong
Rebecca Wong
Relationship Therapist & Connectfulness Consultant

I suggest seeking the support of an AASECT certified sex therapist to help work through much of the issues you address, you simply may need some really qualified support. Also, you might be interested in watching Esther Perel's ted talk on the secret to desire in a long term relationship, and/or you might want to sign up for my own 8-part-series on Reconnecting Parent Couples

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

Have you guys ruled out medical disorders. There is new data that post part depression starts in the pregnancy before baby is delivered. There maybe those factors .Please check out those arenas, firstly.

 Then consider marital therapy services. Relationship changes with the time passing and with the time and care deposits of investment onto the relationship bank account.  Thanks for this opportunity to answer some of ya.alls. relationship intimacy concerns.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Lynda Martens
Lynda Martens
Marriage & Family Therapist, MSc, RP, RMFT

Hi Seattle,

While it's normal in many relationships for there to be a difference in sex drives, I believe that your wife has a major barrier to having a healthy sexual relationship. I'd be curious about what it was like at the beginning for you both, but these things can change. Sometimes people with sexual barriers are very active for a period when they're young because they're trying to prove something or overcome a fear. 

Right now, you can both accept that there is a barrier and it's hers and she can explore that in a safe relationship with a therapist and perhaps a doctor. It's possible she's asexual (not interested in sexual activity but very interested in love), or that a trauma has affected her. It's for her to explore. Tell yourself that it's not your fault, stop expecting it to change, and encourage her to seek treatment with someone who specializes in sexual issues. Good luck.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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