Is your husband not interested in sex? Although stereotypes describe men as having a voracious sexual appetite (and the science backs up the idea that men experience greater desire than women [1, 2, 3, 4]), women can find themselves married to men who don’t seem to want sex or whose sex drive has seriously dropped. Often, we jump to the worst conclusions, but your husband’s disinterest in sex may not necessarily be negative.
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Why Is My Husband Not Interested in Sex?
So you want to know what to do when your husband doesn’t want you sexually? First, you need to determine the possible reason. This is easier by talking to him and possibly a professional (doctor or therapist). But sometimes you just want to get an idea of why he doesn’t want to be intimate with you before you talk to him.
There are several reasons why your husband may not be interested in sex. Some of them are to be expected, many of them can be resolved, and a few may mean the death of your relationship.
1. He’s Cheating
We’ll get this reason why your husband might not be interested in sex out of the way quickly. A lot of women jump to the conclusion that just because he’s not having sex with them, he must be having sex with someone else. Yes, this does sometimes happen. Look for a few signs of infidelity before you accuse your husband of having an affair, however.
2. He’s Struggling with ED
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is a difficult subject for many men to deal with. Instead of opening up to you or talking to his doctor, your husband might be avoiding the subject altogether. Of course, this means you’re not having sex.
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Don’t think that his ED means he isn’t attracted to you, however. Everything from stress to drug use to blood pressure  to high cholesterol  to nerve damage  to certain medications can contribute to erectile dysfunction . ED is a common side effect of medications used to treat depression . Erection problems also increase with age . Unfortunately, even just worrying about his erection issues can affect his desire for sex , so dealing with the problem of ED can prevent further problems in the bedroom.
For men who need just a bit of help maintaining an erection, a cock ring might do the trick. Learn more here.
3. He’s Insecure
If insecurity about a man’s erection can sound the death knell in the bedroom, then what can we expect from his other insecurities? You can probably empathize with your man. After all, none of us are without insecurities. Research finds that body image, for example, can impact a man’s sexual satisfaction .
However, men are often taught not to let their insecurities show, which can complicate the issue. Women can talk to their female friends and family about gaining a few pounds, grey hairs or skin that doesn’t seem to bounce back like it once did, but men often lack that sort of outlet.
The good news is, sexual anxiety is normal, so you can let your man know he’s not alone. You can also show him that he’s desirable to you despite – or perhaps because of – whatever flaws he thinks he has. Men love a good compliment too. More on complimenting you guy.
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Sexual anxiety can also be mitigated. Read this post about dealing with sexual anxiety to have better sex without reservations.
4. You’ve Changed Physically
The flip side of your husband not wanting sex might be that he’s less attracted to you. Perhaps you’ve stopped putting as much effort into your appearance since you got married, had a child or started a new job. You may have gained weight, even through no fault of your own.
On the one hand, taking care of yourself attracts members of the opposite sex and is nice to do for your man. On the other hand, if your man is so preoccupied with how you look or what you way, he may be shallow, and you may be better off not having sex with him.
5. He’s Addicted to Porn
Although porn addiction may not be real  any compulsive behavior can get between a woman and her husband, ultimately leading to him not wanting sex. Seeing all those toned, youthful bodies, complete with plastic surgery and professional makeup, can certainly lead to a disconnect with the real world.
Similarly, if your husband has a specific fetish, without which he cannot become hard or cum, your regular sex life may suffer.
6. A Medical Condition Has Killed His Libido
There are a number of medical conditions which may provide the answer to the question “Why is your husband not interested in sex?”.
SSRIs – Medication for depression can also decrease desire [20, 21, 22]. SSRIs, a class of medicines often used to treat depression, are known to cause sexual dysfunction including decreased desire [23, 24, 25]. While men may be less affected than women at the onset, they do not typically see the reduction in symptoms over time like women do.  However, building up in dose can reduce the risk of sexual dysfunction .
Dating someone with depression is hard for a variety of reasons. Discover how to deal when you’re dating someone with depression.
Cancer Treatment – Similarly, cancer treatments may wreak havoc on a man’s sex drive [28, 29]. Even the common cold or flu gets in the way of a healthy sex life. You might not realize it, but diabetes, ED, and low libido often go hand in hand , and diabetes especially affects men’s sexual functioning .
Hormone issues – Hormonal imbalances can contribute to sex drive fluctuations, too. It’s one reason why you might be hornier during some parts of your cycle  (find out what else makes you horny), but testosterone has been thought to play a role in both men and women who struggle with desire , and testosterone therapy can help treat issues with desire and arousal [34, 35, 36]. However, the role between testosterone and desire in men may be less significant than some people realize , and the efficacy of testosterone treatment in men has been “conflicting” .
Obesity – Obesity, technically a medical condition, is no good for sex drive, either .
Depending upon the condition, you might seek alternatives such as mutual masturbation or using toys, or you may be able to talk to your husband’s doctor about solutions to his decreased libido.
Sometimes a healthier focus on diet and exercise can naturally increase libido.
7. Your Relationship Is In Trouble
If there’s trouble outside of the bedroom, there’s bound to be trouble inside it. Reluctance to have sex is one sign that your man is unhappy, even if he’s unwilling to talk to you about it. Marital satisfaction and sexual satisfaction are associated , so this may come as no surprise.
It might be time to talk about your relationship and tackle any issues you’ve been avoiding if you suspect your man is doing this. However, it might also be a sign that your marriage is over, and you may want to look toward the future instead of trying to patch things up.
8. He Thinks You Only Want Sex
Although being married typically implies that you want more from your man than just sex, he might not be so sure. If he feels objectified or like you only want sex, he might be withholding sex as a test. Similarly, some people withhold sex as a form of punishment. Neither of these behaviors is healthy or mature, so you should make sure you’re open and honest with your man to resolve these issues.
Keep in mind that lack of emotional connection does matter to men and can affect how your man experiences desire . So if he doesn’t feel connected to you, he may not want sex.
9. Your Routine Is Boring
Having sex for years or months naturally leads to a routine. Perhaps you only have sex before bed on Saturdays or you both do things that indicate sex is going to happen.
But that’s so boring!
More than boring, it can be damaging to your sex life. One study found that “[d]issatisfied men were overwhelmingly likely to desire sex more frequently .”
It’s all too common: Life is busy, and many people fail to make sex a priority when so many other things seem so much more important. But that’s how you get into a rut. It may be easy to fall into a routine, but it sometimes feels like you have to claw your way out.
10. He’s Stressed
If you feel that your man is not interested in sex, it may be because of stress.
Who can let go and enjoy themselves when so many things demand of your time? Stress hormones can reduce desire . It’s hard to clear work projects, ailing parents, children, household chores and other responsibilities from your mind when you’re stressed.
The good news is, many stresses are only temporary. And you can help lower stress by doing your part at home and making sure not to nag him. A relaxing massage can both lead to satisfying sex and help reduce your husband’s stress.
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And by the way, if he tries to cope with drugs or alcohol, he may only be further reducing his desire for sex .
Interestingly, research has found that stress may correlate to stronger desire in some men .
What to Do When Your Partner Doesn’t Want to Be Intimate
Once you have an idea of why your husband is not interested in you sexually or in sex at all, you can take steps to remedy the problem – as long as he’s willing. The following solutions can help if your husband has lost interest in you sexually.
1. Learn More About Sexual Desire
If the issue is about triggering desire, educating yourself on the subject can be incredibly helpful.
This article about sexual desire is geared toward women, but much of it applies to men! You might use some of the advice about increasing sex drive to boost your man’s libido or follow some of our reader’s advice about getting horny.
One thing you’ll learn about is responsive desire, which means desire that requires a trigger (such as a person or stimulus ) and doesn’t show up spontaneously. Women more often have responsive desire but men can experience it, too [47 p 3, 294, 48]. So you may need to give him something to respond to. Reading up on how to turn a guy on fast might give you a few ideas.
2. Talk to His Doctor
If he has erectile dysfunction, thinks medication might be the culprit behind his lack of interest in sex, or suspects other health issues, he should talk to a doctor. A doctor may be able to provide medical advice or prescribe medication that can help him get his interest in sex back.
For example, a doctor might recommend testosterone supplements for either erection issues [49, 50, 51] and desire [37, 52, 53], or adjust medication that may be interfering with arousal and erections (or suggest alternatives), or prescribe medications to keep blood pressure healthy
3. Seek Counseling
For relationship issues, mental health, stress, addiction to porn, or his own insecurities, seeing a professional who deals with mental health may be a better choice. This could be a therapist or a counselor who he sees either by himself or with you so he can examine his issues and deal with them head-on. If he never wants sex, it could be simply that his sexual attention isn’t focused on you, and counseling may help with that.
4. Deal with Stress
While a therapist may help your man deal with stress, which can contribute to sexual dysfunction [56, 57], your guy may need to focus more on eliminating or reducing the sources of stress in his life. This might be his job, family, or another obligation.
Where he cannot reduce stress, he should learn how to cope with it. Many self-help books on the subject can teach him how to adjust his attitude to better handle stress. A life coach may also be helpful, especially with tackling stress.
Various practices can help with stress including meditation [58, 59], yoga [60, 61, 62], and mindfulness [63, 64], which is also good for anxiety , and you may be able to assist him as well or, at the very least, not contribute to his stress.
5. Improve Your Communication
Opening up lines of communication and being more vulnerable can help you to become closer and know each other better.
This may be in how you explain your frustration by a lack of sex or how you work to rebuild a relationship after infidelity.
A note on cheating: it’s okay if you decide you want to end a relationship if you discover that your husband was cheating. Sometimes relationships cannot be salvaged, but cheating is a massive breach of trust that you would not be expected to stay through, especially if your partner shows no signs of regret or wanting to fix the issues in the first place.
There’s a complicated association between relationship satisfaction, desire, and sexual satisfaction. However, it might be more effective to focus on interactions with your man versus their low desire .
6. Try New Things in Bed
Sometimes the reason why he refuses sex is simply because he’s bored. If you’re willing, the solution can be relatively easy: simply explore more. This can make sex better for both of you and improve your relationship at the same time! Maybe you didn’t even realize you no longer looked forward to your routine sex.
Despite the obivousness of this next statement, few people realize that
Being excited about sex is something that makes sex much, much better.
So, breaking out of that routine might be what you need to become excited again. Instead of doing the same old thing, switch it up. This might mean:
- Dressing up for your man
- Having sex outside the bedroom or even the house
- Initiating sex
- Trying bondage – learn more
- Adding sex toys
- Taking sex photos
Of course, there are an insane number of ways to spice up your sex life. Check out these 7 ways to spice up your sex life to start.
You might also focus on what men want in bed to give your man the sex he craves.
7. Work on Yourself
It’s easy to think that the answer to “Why is my husband not interested in me sexually?” is that he is less attracted to you, perhaps because of weight gain, age or some other reason. Often this is not the case at all.
However, people can find themselves less attracted to their partners and spouses over time and, truthfully, this can be due to physical or emotional reasons.
Now, we would never tell anyone to look a certain way simply to attract others. Your partner should value you, regardless. But if your partner would like to see changes such as weight loss or perhaps keeping yourself a bit more put together in a way that is totally reasonable, consider making them especially if doing so would make you feel better.
Furthermore, striving to be the best partner that you possibly can be may help your man’s attraction, so you will no longer have to wonder why he is not interested in intimacy.
Important: Don’t Jump to Conclusions If He Is No Longer Interested In Sex
It’s not the end of the world if he’s not interested in sex as much as he used to be. It might not even be the end of your relationship. Keep these things in mind as you search for the reason he doesn’t want sex and try to implement solutions.
He’s The Only One Who Can Tell You How He Feels
You might look at this article and realize that one or more of these reasons explains why your husband doesn’t want sex anymore, or it may not be that clear.
Even if you think you understand why he refuses sex, you could be wrong or only partially understand the issue. The truth is, only your husband knows why he has less interest in sex with you. No guide on this blog or stranger on the Internet can provide you any answers with certainty.
That’s why it’s so important to talk to your man about your sex life, and not just when there’s a problem. When you make a habit of talking about sex, you won’t find yourself wondering about your man’s motivations, and it won’t seem like an impossible task to have the harder discussions when you need to.
Of course, if you haven’t communicated about sex openly, there’s no better time to start. If you’re not sure, check out this guide to sexual communication, which can help make those hard conversations just a little easier and help you have a better sex life. Just remember, approach these conversations from a place of love and wanting to connect, not judgment.
Plus, talking about sex can lead to greater sexual satisfaction .
Desire Waxes and Wanes
In any long-term relationship, there are bound to be times when you have less sex than others. This may coincide with a hectic schedule, but it’s also completely normal for sex to slow down after the honeymoon period and beyond (although, a man’s desire remains more stable throughout a relationship ). It doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong or that your man no longer desires you. As long as everything else is good in your relationship, you shouldn’t worry too much. The frequency may pick up again later due to fluctuations in a man’s sex drive over time .
Furthermore, people tend to lose desire as they age, in general [69, 70]. In fact, men produce less testosterone over time , and because that hormone has a lot to do with their libido, it can mean he wants sex less, too.
Did you know that hormonal fluxes can also contribute to irritable man syndrome?
Men Experience Desire Issues More Often Than You May Think
One study found that desire issues were the most common type of sexual dysfunction experienced by men. Just under one-third of men experience some problems with sexual desire . His lack of desire doesn’t mean something’s terribly wrong with him – or you for that matter. This leads us to our next point.
It May Not Be You
Although many of us wonder what we’ve done wrong when our partners seem disinterested in sex, it may have nothing at all to do with you. There may be something that your husband needs to work on, but you might not even be able to help other than being the supportive partner you normally are.
Sometimes you should just not waste your breath asking, “How do I get my husband interested in me sexually?” There may not be anything you can do to make things better.
Understanding that it could be him and not you is something that can help you to breathe easier.
But if he’s not willing to improve or make changes or doesn’t value your relationship enough to find a compromise, then you might need to consider if you should break up.
You Can Redefine Sex to Satisfy Your Needs
You might find that you can avoid negative feelings when only you want sex, by expanding how you define sex.
There may be physical or medical issues that prevent penetration or orgasm, but this doesn’t mean that the two of you cannot still be sexual together.
Redefining sex means dropping the scripts we have been taught about sex and especially sex between a man and a woman.
What’s that script look like?
Kissing, foreplay (during which your clothes come off), penetration, and a man’s orgasm that signals the end of sex. The typical script often doesn’t include a woman’s orgasm at all and doesn’t leave much room for creativity.
Instead, allow yourself to redefine what sex means to you. It may not include penetration or orgasm at all. There may not be genital stimulation. You might focus on oral, manual sex, and other activities that are typically relegated to foreplay, the very activities that many women find the most satisfying. In fact, some people refer to those as “coreplay” for that very reason.
Sex may start then pause, it can include toys, and it can even be long distance over the Internet or phone. Sex can even be by yourself.
There’s no right or wrong way to have sex and no reason to stick to the sexual script if it’s not working for you. Once you understand this, you might be able to have a satisfying sex life even if the real reason he is not interested in sex is that he can’t make penetration work.
And even if you’re unable to be physically intimate, you may still be able to foster emotional intimacy so your relationship doesn’t suffer.
Sex Doesn’t Define a Relationship
A lack of sex drive may not even be negative if you’re still working together and communicating effectively. Some couples can go long periods of time without having sex without viewing it as an issue. Some people simply value sex less than emotional intimacy, parenting or building a home together, and that’s perfectly okay! There are other ways to measure the success of your relationship and fulfillment you receive from it.
The problem arises when one of you wants more sex than you’re having. Resentment builds when you’re not on the same page as your man. Some people require more sex. For them, sex is essential to their relationship, and both the frequency of sex as well as the type of sex can be a deal-breaker.
There’s no single rule for how often you should have sex. These things you must figure out on your own with your partner.
Discover how important sex is to a relationship.
Don’t just ask yourself “Why is my husband not interested in sex?”. Consider whether it’s a bad thing.
Related: How Often Should You Have Sex
As you’ve read about some reasons your husband may not be interested in sex, you may see how those things play out in your relationship. You may be able to effect change that returns your sex life to normal without talking to your man about it. However, many of these issues require your husband to be honest, both to himself and to you.
As you’re trying things to get your man interested in sex once more, to improve your sex life, or to work on your communication, it’s important to be realistic. Change may be possible, but it won’t be instantaneous. Even learning how to be vulnerable and open with a partner to reveal deep sexual desires can take a lot of time and work.
If you’re at the end of your rope because you want sex, but he doesn’t, you might not have the patience to stick it out while change happens. Furthermore, even if both of you are on the same page and want to work on your sex lives together, change isn’t linear. Sometimes you take one step forward and two steps back. It can be frustrating.
Focus on progress and supporting your partner even if you’re only taking baby steps. Don’t expect too much too soon, which is unrealistic and could overwhelm your partner. Professional therapy can be quite beneficial in these situations. We recommend a sex-positive therapist, and you can find a list in the resources section.
If the two of you can work together, you can often save your sex life, and you may even be surprised to realize nothing’s wrong even if your husband’s not interested in sex.
You’ll find a list of sex-positive therapists who can help you and your husband work on your relationship and sexual issues on the American Association of Sexuality Educators Counselors & Therapists website.
In her reply to a reader of The Atlantic, Lori Gottlieb reassures a woman whose husband doesn’t want sex that her feelings are valid and reasonable given the situation and that she wasn’t overacting just because it’s only about sex. This is good advice for any woman who receives no intimacy in marriage from her husband and may be considering giving him an ultimatum.
You can learn more about sexual surrogates on Wikipedia.
Better Sex Through Mindfulness is written about and for women, but many of the lessons included by author and researcher Lori Brotto can help men who might be feeling unsatisfied with sex and life because they’re stressed, which makes it difficult to remain in the moment or experience desire.
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ #1 – How do I ask him why he is not interested in intimacy?
Talking to your man is absolutely essential if you want to know the real reason your partner/husband/boyfriend is not interested in sex. However, it’s not an easy task. Here are a few pointers.
- Tell him that you want to talk about your sex life if you think he’s willing. This gives him a chance to come to you when he has the time and energy to have the conversation. Don’t trap him in a conversation time or location-wise, don’t spring it on him, and don’t try to tackle such an important issue if he’s focused on something else.
- Remember to approach the conversation with love and talk about the two of you as a team. It’s not you versus him; it’s the two of you trying to build and maintain the intimacy that sex can provide.
- Don’t start the conversation assuming it will be negative. This colors how you communicate and can set you up to fail. Instead, be vulnerable and compassionate.
- Avoid nagging and criticizing your man. Instead, focus on how much you enjoy it when you feel physically and emotionally intimate with him. It’s okay to let him know that you miss him.
- Remind him of the positives of your relationship that make working on it worth it.
- Encourage him to seek help to improve his own life and your relationship. Suggest tools such as books or therapists that can help. Don’t describe his/your needing help as being broken or negative in other ways. We all need help sometimes.
- Offer to help him in any way you can including ways that can make it easier for him to speak to you or doing things that will raise his interest in sex with you.
- Explain that is it a problem when he doesn’t want to be intimate with you, especially if he doesn’t talk about it. Don’t just drop it because nothing will be solved that way.
- Work toward a conversation first. Sex may follow later, but the two of you need to communicate before that can happen.
- Praise him for communicating and the strides he makes toward change.
Following these guidelines can make your man feel comfortable enough to explain why you want sex, but he doesn’t.
It may still take some time to learn that your husband has no sex drive rather than he has no interest in you specifically. These are two very different things.
However, you’ll never get there if he doesn’t feel like he has a space safe from judgment where he can speak to you honestly.
FAQ # 2 – What should I do if my husband has no interest in me sexually and won’t talk to me?
Tried the above and got nowhere? There isn’t much you can do if your husband simply refuses to talk to you about why he doesn’t want sex with you. Trying to seduce, persuade, or coerce him into sex will not leave either of you happy.
FAQ #3 – Should I have an affair if my husband has no sex drive?
When you’re struggling with the fact that he doesn’t want you sexually anymore, you might have some thoughts that are hard to handle. You might start by wondering how to get him interested in you sexually again; however, if that fails and you go a long time without that intimacy, you might find yourself thinking about an affair or other ways to get your needs met.
Breaking up is undoubtedly difficult, and many people struggle because they think their relationships are strong except for the little issue of sex. However, if you find yourself hurting greatly because your husband has no sex drive or, perhaps worse, is getting his needs met elsewhere, then you should analyze if your relationship is really that good. If not, would the better option be to simply leave him and sleep with other people without cheating?
If you do choose to cheat, there are all sorts of risks:
- Developing feelings for the person you have the affair with or him falling for you
- Hurting your husband if he finds out
- Ending your marriage/relationship because of that hurt
- Pregnancy or STI transmission from the affair
- Judgment from people who find out about your affair
Some people do cheat and do get away with it, but it’s hard, and we don’t recommend it. You need to be quite careful if you want to get away with an affair.
In a few cases, there may be ways for you to have your needs met without compromising your relationship. Consider masturbation and using sex toys if what you miss most is the pleasure and release.
Sometimes people seek sexual surrogates — sex workers who provide sexual services for the purpose of relief — or even an open relationship. These options are best when your husband is aware and okay with them. Some husbands might bring up the idea first if they are not just uninterested in sex but physically unable to perform.
Of course, sleeping with someone else while you’re in a relationship may not be something you’re okay with, even if your man is. You shouldn’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable – including staying in a relationship where your sexual needs are not met. This means that breaking up might be the best course of action if it’s the only way for you to be sexually satisfied.
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