In this counseling answer:
• Shift your focus away from sex and instead focus on pleasurable touch. Create a loving physical connection as a couple.
• Emotional trust, regular physical touch, and the foreplay leading up to sex are so important in a marriage.
• If after three months of loving touch and kind effort there is no change, it may be the time to involve a third party to discuss what else is going on inside of him.
Thank you for emailing in with your question. I’m sorry to hear that your start to your marriage has been rocky so far. Insha’Allah, you can find some suggestions that can help you both come together soon.
It seems the first challenge that needs to be tackled is helping your husband heal from the hurt he has felt. He may have felt you didn’t desire him. It seems the rejection was extremely difficult for him to overcome and the embarrassment lingers to this day. You’ve done the right thing in reaching out to him and explaining what happened the first time around.
That being said, the whole concept of sex has so much pressure built up around it that he may prefer to just stay away altogether. So, I’d like to invite you to shift your focus away from sex and instead focus on pleasurable touch. Create a loving physical connection as a couple.
For most normal and healthy couples, there need to be a few things in place for satisfying sexual intercourse to take place for both people:
1) Emotional safety – both people feel they trust their partner and are emotionally safe in their presence.
2) Physical warm-up – a chance for both people to be in the mood for sex. They engage in foreplay like kissing, cuddling, massaging each other, etc.
3) The willingness to explore what brings pleasure to the other person.
All three of these are missing right now, so let’s look at some concrete steps you can take to develop them. It’s going to take time, patience, an open heart, and a strong desire to change the way you are both relating to each other for the past eleven months.
Use Gentle Touch to Develop Emotional and Physical Closeness
First, I’d encourage you to simply touch. Pat him on the shoulder, put your hand on his knee while he drives, or brush your hand on his arm once and then put it down. Gently touch his hair in the morning or offer him a hug in the morning before he heads to work.
Just reach out and start back from the beginning which you both didn’t have a chance to develop because of how things unfolded. If he responds positively to this after a few weeks, you’ll know that trust is slowly developing. A sign of a positive response may simply be not pushing you away. He may not say a whole lot, but if he doesn’t complain, then it’s a win.
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From there, become a little more daring with your touch. Aim to keep it lighthearted and remember that you aim to use the power of your touch to heal something that is really big. It’s likely much bigger than you too. Being rejected by a woman for sex is really metaphorical for many men even if one has never approached a woman before.
Consider joining him in the shower once a week, asking him to hold you in bed for a few minutes at night, and taking walks together on the weekend where you hold his hand or grab his arm.
Find reasons and ways to touch each other.
Allow Desire to Develop Naturally
It might feel really hard to be patient, but if you allow desire to develop between both of you naturally, then sex will happen the right time and for the right reasons. It won’t be about “having to have sex” or “having to try for a child”, but it can be out of a loving desire for each other.
Then your bodies will also be more primed to have sex, especially yours.
“For women, vaginal lubrication is an important part of sexual arousal. It readies the vagina for penetration, making it easier for the penis to enter and reducing any accompanying friction or irritation. Pain during intercourse is often caused by inadequate lubrication.”
It’s highly likely you experienced pain because your body wasn’t ready for sex due to nervousness. This is totally normal! It was your first time having sex and you were having it with a man you didn’t even know!
Even women who have been married for over ten years and know their husband extremely well, fully trust him, and have had enjoyable sex many times can still struggle with being ready for intercourse. This is why emotional trust, regular physical touch, and the foreplay leading up to sex are so important in a marriage.
Your Desires Matter Too
Your desires for sex and to have children are completely within your rights as a married Muslim woman. Your husband is not allowed to continue to deny you for much longer without it becoming oppressive to you.
There will be many situations in a marriage where you both accidentally hurt each other’s feelings. This is an opportunity to develop better communication strategies to tackle what’s to come down the road.
As demands haven’t worked, I’ve suggested the other steps above. You don’t have to follow them, but I am hopeful for you it will break the ice slowly but surely and help you build the kind of marriage you both want to be in.
If after three months of loving touch and kind effort there is no change, it may be the time to involve a third party to discuss what else is going on inside of him.
So, don’t stop advocating for your needs but create a new environment for some time to see if they’ll be met with love and desire rather than a conversation about rights and demands. You deserve, no matter how upset he was from the beginning of your marriage, to treat you kindly.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said,
“The most perfect man in his faith among the believers is the one whose behavior is most excellent; and the best of you are those who are the best to their wives.” (Tirmidhi)
May Allah guide you both to develop a loving marriage for His sake and find a new way of connecting with each other.
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.