I’ve been married for 2 years. My husband is a good man and we love each other a lot, but I’m concerned about something.
The issue is that we’ve only been intimate for first 3 months of marriage, after which it suddenly stopped. Although we cuddle and kiss each other a lot, he avoids anything further.
I’ve discussed this matter openly many times, and even cried about how ignored and unloved I feel because of it, but he doesn't bother at all. Sometimes, he tells me that love is not only displayed in this manner.
Is not going on a dinner date, walking, or hugging an expression of love? He asks me why I don’t initiate, but once or twice I tried to, and he didn't respond. I feel like he doesn't want to get aroused and I have now stopped talking about this matter.
I cry at night and feel very helpless. I am just 23 and he is 30, but we are in no hurry to start a family. He wants children but after a couple of years. Sometimes, I feel I’m being ungrateful to Allah despite having so many blessings.
What should I do? Is this issue normal? I can't leave my husband, so how should I solve this problem? Please advise me. Thank you.
In this counseling answer:
• Talk openly with your husband.
• Mention specific things he did that you really enjoyed and let him know you miss it.
• Boost his confidence and security regarding his ability to please you sexually.
• Consider going to a doctor to have his hormone levels checked and rule out any medical concerns.
• Don’t insult him or make him feel bad about not being sexual, instead compliment him about the times you were and make him feel like he really pleased you.
• Initiate sexual intimacy with him.
Thank you for writing in and trusting us with your concerns. It is my understanding you have been married for a short two years, and although you are intimate in some ways, such as cuddling and kissing, you are not sexually intimate.
Dear sister, please take comfort in knowing I highly doubt this intimacy problem is due to anything being wrong with you, rather something with your husband. You are not ungrateful to Allah (SWT) for wanting sexual intimacy with your husband.
In fact, it is your right, as well as his, to be sexually pleased. I am not a scholar so I cannot give Islamic rulings, however, Imam ‘Ala Al-Din Al Kasani, a scholar, has stated in the past that the male right to sexual pleasure from the wife is equivalent to the female right for sexual pleasure from her husband.
This is about more than just being kind and loving to your spouse, it is your right as his wife, and you are at an age where sexual urges can be very strong and difficult to control.
It was narrated from ‘Utbah bin ‘Amir that the Messenger of Allah said:
“The conditions that are most deserving of fulfillment, are those by means of which the private parts become allowed to you”. [Sunan an-Nasa’i]
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who give thought.” [Quran 30:21]
The reason I chose to cite this verse from Quran and this hadith from the Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him) is so that you can understand that your feelings are not a sign of being ungrateful nor are they wrong.
Sexual intimacy and fulfillment are a form of affection and mercy for our spouses that is encouraged and even rewarded. It is so much more than a way to reproduce; it is a way to develop your trust and bond while pleasuring the other in a halal way that makes them feel special and desired.
Everyone wants to feel desired on some level, but women tend to take it harder emotionally when our spouses don’t seem interested sexually because society pushes this idea that men are more sexual than women. Truthfully, sister, some women are more sexual than men and some men just don’t have high sex drives.
Let’s look at some reasons why he might not be initiating sex and how both of you can work on this.
Your husband may feel inadequate. Just as culture pushes this idea that men are more sexual than women, culture also puts pressure on men to perform in bed or that they are not manly if they don’t/can’t.
I assume this is his first marriage, and if so, he may have expected to perform exceedingly and exceptionally in the bedroom. Please don’t take this the wrong way, I’m in no way encouraging porn or saying he watches porn as it is dangerous to one’s sexual health and is haram, but there is a chance he may have seen a movie once or heard stories about movies and had a grandiose idea of what sexuality is.
Due to this false idea of sexuality, your husband might feel like he’s not good enough in bed and that makes him feel insecure. To give some specific examples, a man may feel inadequate if he cannot last a long time or is unable to give his wife an orgasm.
It is more difficult for a woman to orgasm during sexual relations than a man, if you did not reach that climax with him, he might feel like he is not good in bed.
Check out this counseling video:
He may have a hormonal or medical condition. Our hormones play a big role in our sexual drive. Your husband may have a low sex drive due to low testosterone or heightened prolactin levels. It is also possible he may have a medical condition that makes it difficult for him to achieve an erection, which would contribute to him feeling like he is sexually inadequate.
Some families only see sex for the purposes of procreation. This is rare, but in some families, they view intimacy as a means to have children and nothing else.
They don’t view intimacy as important within a family and some even go as far as saying it is purer to avoid sex unless you are trying to conceive. This is technically against the teachings of Islam, but some families do believe it to be true.
He might want you to take charge. You mentioned that he told you to initiate it sometimes. Your husband might want you to take charge sexually. This could be due to feeling he doesn’t know what to do or it is more exciting for him if you are the one that makes it happen.
Resolving Those Reasons
We have looked at 4 reasons why he may avoid intimacy. Now let’s look at how to resolve those.
Compliment your husband and let him know how much he has pleased you in the past. Mention specific things he did that you really enjoyed and let him know you miss it. Tell him how good it made you feel and don’t be shy to compliment his physical form.
Men sometimes have confidence concerns regarding their genitalia, you can complement him on his size or how it looks. The idea is to boost his confidence and security regarding his ability to please you sexually.
Consider going to a doctor to have his hormone levels checked and rule out any medical concerns. I would not bring this topic up right away. Save this if other interventions don’t work first at it could make him feel shy to speak with a doctor about this.
Talk openly and honestly with him about your sexual preferences. Ask him why he doesn’t initiate this more and what is in his mind that is holding him back. The more you talk about sexuality, the more comfortable it will become for the both of you.
He asked you to initiate, so do it. Take charge and do whatever you feel in your mind you want to do. You stated you tried to initiate but he didn’t respond.
If you physically begin doing whatever it is you want to do, very good chance his body will respond. Don’t rush it, take your time building it, but don’t stop unless he asks you to.
Sister, this isn’t talked about enough with families before they wed. The act of sex should not be rushed. It is important to engage in foreplay first. This gets both of you aroused and into the mood.
You mention you cuddle and kiss, this is great and shows love between the two of you. During one of those moments, you could begin to take it further slowly. This is a form of foreplay and can help him feel more comfortable.
I suggest looking into a book called “A Taste of Honey: Sexuality and Erotology in Islam”. It can help teach both of you about sexuality and how to better please the other person.
Dear sister, please know that many couples struggle with intimacy as they are learning to adapt to one another. Speak openly with your husband and let him know how much this hurts your feelings. Talk to him gently about your rights as husband and wife.
Don’t insult him or make him feel bad about not being sexual, instead compliment him about the times you were and make him feel like he really pleasured you.
Initiate sexual intimacy with him and understand though may take a few times of you doing this, eventually, it should illicit the reaction you want. Consider speaking with a doctor if he still has no interest in sex.
Lastly, consider the book I mentioned to help both of you understand how to please each other.
May Allah (SWT) increase your intimacy and grant your marriage happiness.
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.