In this counseling answer:
• Your wife needs patience and encouragement from you.
• Focus on creating touch between the both of you which is enjoyable to each of you.
• Check out the Purify Your Gaze program. It’s for Muslims who are struggling or did struggle with pornography and other unwanted sexual behaviors including the inability to lower one’s gaze.
As-Salamu Aleikom brother,
Thank you for your question and reaching out.
Let’s first consider the topic of the attraction itself.
It’s generally understood that it’s easy for a man to be visually attracted to a woman who possesses obvious beauty. Visually, you don’t have to try hard to appreciate this kind of woman’s physical beauty.
Then, there is the kind of attraction that develops between people as chemistry is created between the two of them. This chemistry happens when there is consistent close proximity, risks taken in terms of emotional vulnerability until over time there is both an emotional attraction and physical attraction that develops.
When you walk around the world and look at all the people who are married, you will find that few are married to someone who looks like a model. “Average” people are beautiful people to the one who they love and who loves them.
Lasting attraction and chemistry are created by how two people relate to each other, share their thoughts, emotions, fears, desires, and aspirations. It’s the person who supports the other and believes in them.
None of this is possible as long as you are constantly thinking about other women, comparing your wife to other women, and thinking of all the lost opportunities you imagine you had.
What to Do with a Sexless Marriage
One of the key issues you have expressed is that so far sexual intercourse has been painful for her and so you have both stopped. Medical issues aside, this can happen for a variety of reasons. For example:
* There may not be enough lubrication (a common problem).
* She has nothing to be turned on about because there is no foreplay that arouses her and turns her body on to wanting to be intimate with you.
Women aren’t usually “ready for sex” the same way a man is. Their bodies work differently and require more time and effort so that the experience is enjoyable.
* She doesn’t trust you yet and doesn’t feel ready to be physical with you because of the feelings she has picked up from you about how you feel about her. Emotional trust is a huge part of sex itself.
* She is scared it will hurt and so creates a situation where her body shuts down. This is a situation of fear creating the outcome.
* A previous trauma has occurred in her life which shuts down her ability to experience pleasure in a sexual context.
* She doesn’t feel confident in her body and therefore closes off out of embarrassment or shyness.
The situation you are describing that she has been experiencing is called vaginismus. I highly recommend you share with her this quote and also both of you read further on them together.
This is from a sister, Tasniya, who was interviewed by author and speaker Umm Zakkiyah. She said in one part of her interview:
“When I got married and I wasn’t able to consummate my marriage, I was very confused. I went to several counselors, Imams, and gynecologists but no one really understood me.
I felt isolated and depressed because I thought I was the ‘only one’ going through this. For example, my gynecologist gave me an exercise to do: she told me to buy the smallest tampon in the store, put lube on it, and try to insert it into my vagina. It was a nightmare for me! I just couldn’t do it and I felt like a failure every single time.
Therefore, at one point, I seriously considered leaving my husband because I felt as though I was being unfair to him and he deserved better.
Feelings of shame and guilt overwhelmed to the point where I was really having difficulties living a normal life. Insha’Allah [God-willing], my husband and I want to start a family someday and I thought that I could never do such a thing because I couldn’t even have intercourse!”
Be By Your Wife’s Side
After seeking more knowledge on this topic, I would say that your wife needs patience and encouragement from you and a chance to grow in her ability to love and trust you too.
She needs to know her body is beautiful to you. She needs to experience touch that feels good. Things need to move at her pace instead of yours.
I can appreciate that this has been stressful for both of you, but it’s not as uncommon a problem as you think. It’s solvable with time and effort working together as a team.
But that feeling of “we” has to develop. Otherwise, you are asking her to have sex with a person who doesn’t really like or want her. That’s a terrible feeling for her to have to live with and she deserves better than that.
I would highly recommend that you both stop focusing on trying to have intercourse and instead focus on creating touch between the both of you which is enjoyable to each of you. The entire body is a place to experience pleasure.
It’s more vulnerable for you, perhaps, but that may be exactly what you need. To slow down and experience a connection with yourself and with her.
Struggling with Lowering the Gaze
If you are still struggling with lowering your gaze, I’d like to recommend you check out the Purify Your Gaze program. It’s for Muslims who are struggling or did struggle with pornography and other unwanted sexual behaviors including the inability to lower one’s gaze.
There is a solution to your struggle. It just requires some commitment, discipline, and willingness to grow as a person, insha’Allah.
Do Things Together
You have married what sounds like a very good and decent woman masha’Allah. Going on Umrah and doing things together as a couple that is good for your dunyah and akhirah is something positive. It can help you both get to know each other better and develop memories with each other.
If you have the opportunity to do this, give it a go.
Stop focusing so much on what you aren’t feeling. Start looking for opportunities to just get to know her and let her get to know you. Relax and relieve the pressure.
Do something silly together if you can. A small adventure, a hike, a car trip – whatever is possible and within your means. Focus right now on developing a friendship while also keeping in mind all the other points above.
I pray these points bring comfort, ease, and support for your marriage.
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.