In this counseling answer:
“Some women would blame themselves for the sexless marriage until they understood that there were major and serious issues their husbands were dealing with which weren’t about them.
For your own ongoing mental well-being, it’s important to know that it’s not your fault or due to any deficiency within you that your husband isn’t initiating sex or desiring it.”
Thank you for reaching out with a question which is of such a sensitive nature.
I am glad to hear that he was willing to finally speak to your local shaikh and he advised him in your favor.
Your husband doesn’t sound like a terrible person, but as you have stated, he isn’t sexually available and appears to not have a need to intimate at all.
For many women I’ve worked with, the end result is that they do not feel truly loved. They don’t get to experience feeling beautiful and desired, and their physical sexual needs go unmet consistently. The fitnah of the situation has led some women to be filled with resentment, some depressed, and others to want to meet their needs outside the marriage. Neither of those options is positive, and one is most definitely haram.
If you put your foot down before and he ended up speaking to the local shaikh, I advise you put your foot down again and tell him that couples therapy isn’t an option – it’s a requirement for you.
Whatever the situation may be, he is severely struggling with something which is getting in the way of him enjoying normal healthy sexual intimacy. Without him opening up to you on his own, you would need to be guided through a dialogue to give him a shot at being vulnerable to what is really going on.
In my experience working with couples, I’ve dealt with some of the following scenarios:
1) A husband who had same-gender interests as a result of consistent childhood sexual trauma by other men.
2) A husband who struggled with OCD and found sex gross and his wife’s private areas to be too much for him to handle.
3) A husband who was hiding an online sex addiction and some offline meet-ups with other women.
In all of these situations, help would be needed to overcome his challenges.
Some women would blame themselves for the sexless marriage until they understood that there were major and serious issues their husbands were dealing with which weren’t about them.
For your own ongoing mental well-being, it’s important to know that it’s not your fault or due to any deficiency within you that your husband isn’t initiating sex or desiring it.
Considering Loving Touch Exercises
I wanted to know if, aside from sex, your husband is willing to hug you, cuddle with you, and be otherwise near you. If he doesn’t do those things, this may be a place to begin. Simply increase the amount of non-sexual touch within the marriage that is safe, loving, and warm.
If these things do already happen, then you may want to consider increasing the amount of touch to be a pleasurable touch that doesn’t have a goal of leading directly to or having to end in sexual intercourse.
Sometimes body exploration without the goal of having sex can go a long way in helping the one spouse who has anxiety over sex start to feel comfortable again in their body. It creates a safe environment to experience pleasure.
Having said all of this, I again would emphasize the requirement for both of you to see a couple’s therapist who specializes in exercises like these.
You have to be willing, of course, to be a participant in your husband’s journey to finding out what’s standing in his way.
Know what you can handle
You also need to be fair to yourself and decide how much you can handle. You have a right to enjoy intimacy and do not have to feel so lonely in your marriage.
Check out this counseling video:
The question is, would you be happier and more content alone and unmarried raising your daughter or being with your husband without some of your expectations and basic needs being met?
Divorcing opens you up for the option of marrying again to someone who will meet these needs. However, it also brings with it a different set of challenges and uncertainties you’ll have to face.
Staying means sticking with the challenges that are in front of you while also being able to benefit from the positives that are present.
There is no easy decision here.
It comes down to how much you can handle without being depressed, resentful, or losing the ability to stay emotionally and spiritually balanced while living in the marriage. You also have to address being able to stay afloat in such a manner that the relationship doesn’t end up having a negative impact on your daughter.
I’m not a shaykha to be quoting scholars off the top of my head regarding this subject matter, but I did think you would benefit from reading the following piece of information I have come across when researching this subject:
“Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah was asked about a man who stayed away from his wife for a month or two months and did not have intercourse with her; was there any sin on him or not? Could the husband be asked to do that?
The husband is obliged to have intercourse with his wife on a reasonable basis, which is one of the most important rights that she has over him; it is more important than feeding her. It was said that what is obligatory with regard to intercourse is once every four months, or according to her need and his ability, just as he should feed her according to her need and his ability. And the latter is the correct opinion.” (Majmoo‘ al-Fatawa, 32/271)
Reading Islamic opinions on the subject can also strengthen your trust in your own self, your voice, beliefs, and your needs without having to feel guilty for wanting to pursue them or insisting on seeking help in your marriage.
If your husband is a religious man, then perhaps sharing bits of information like this from time to time can encourage him to take seriously the position he has placed you both in.
I pray that there is something of use in this response that is beneficial to you and your marriage. I ask Allah to guide you to that which is best and most pleasing to Him and to give you a heart that is at ease with that truth.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.