Husband Has Erectile Dysfunction; I Want to Divorce

13 October, 2019
Q As-Salamu Alaikum.

I got married 4 years ago. At the wedding night, my husband told me about his physical problem that he is dealing with erectile dysfunction. He was unable to do anything physically in the first two months. After he tried homeopathic medication which helped him and we had only 2 months of physical relationships which lead me into my first pregnancy. I delivered a baby boy.

After those 2 months of physical relationships, it’s been 3 years now we don’t have any physical relationship. Now neither homeopathic medicines nor the doctor-prescribed medicines work for him.

I’m totally depressed in this relationship. My in-laws are suppressing me to continue the relationship for the sake of my son. I don’t know. I may end up in committing a sin.

If I divorce this man, I don’t want to get married again. But the presence of this man in my bed every night gives me more depressed. My mother in law told me to satisfy myself by other means.

What should I do? No one wants me to go for divorce just because I am sexually unsatisfied. Please guide in the light of Islam.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

• Your first goal as a Muslim is to try to save your marriage. You may wish to offer suggestions to support him in remedying this issue.

• As years have gone by, it appears that it does not bother him that much. It may be that he is asexual. He needs to be assessed.

• As his inability to have sex may cause harm to you in many ways, you have the right to seek a divorce. You may wish to consult an Islamic scholar regarding this.

• Your in-laws are not married to your husband. You are. This is your life, your marriage, your future.

• How happy is your child going to be? You’re depressed, your husband seems unconcerned.


 As Salamu Alaykum sister,

Thank you for writing to us with your very important concerns. I am so sorry to hear about the problems you’re having with your husband regarding your intimacy with him.

When you get married you have every right to expect a normal sexual relationship with your husband. As he did not tell you that he had a physical problem until your wedding night, it could be said that he married you with deception. While you did not mention what his diagnosis is as far as his inability to obtain an erection, these things are to be disclosed prior to marriage. Any physical, mental, or emotional disabilities which would impair or harm a marriage need to be disclosed.

Husband Has Erectile Dysfunction; I Want to Divorce - About Islam

Intimacy Suggestions

Sister, we marry with the expectations of sexual intimacy. It is a basic human desire in which marriage is the only permissible relationship in which to satisfy these needs. If your husband is unable or unwilling to satisfy you sexually, it can be said he is failing to provide you with the basic marital needs.

You didn’t state whether you and your husband got along, if you felt connected to him, or if you loved him. Therefore, I’m not sure of the status of your relationship. I do know that for there to be a good sexual connection, there needs to be an emotional attachment in most cases. This applies mostly to women but for some men too.

Your first goal as a Muslim is to try to save your marriage. Sister, I would kindly suggest insha’Allah that you sit down with your husband when things are calm and discuss this most important topic. I would kindly suggest talking with him about the importance of having intimate sexual relations on a regular basis. Explain to him that you understand he has problems maintaining an erection.

You may wish to offer suggestions to support him in remedying this issue. Such steps may include going to the doctor for a full examination to find out if there’s any physical reason why he cannot get an erection. He could go to a counselor for an assessment to find out if there’s been any trauma in his past or any psychological reason which may prevent him from getting an erection.

As this has been a long-standing problem which was present even before he married you, it may be a deeply ingrained issue. However, it is not fair for you to live a sexless life because of his problem which he failed to disclose prior to marriage.

Refusal to Resolve Marital Issues

Most men with erectile dysfunction actively seek resolution. They’re not content to remain in that state of inability, especially if they are married. As years have gone by, it appears that it does not bother him that much. It may be that he is asexual. That means that he has no sexual desire. That would explain why he cannot get an erection. However, to find out the etiology of his problem he needs to be assessed. He also must be willing to take the steps to resolve his problem to save his marriage.

If your husband refuses to engage in resolving this issue, then you need to decide what you are going to do. Allah created marriage as a safe place, and an appropriate place to enjoy sexual pleasure with one’s spouse. As you do not have that basic marital right, you are at risk for committing zina (as you stated). As his inability to have sex may cause harm to you in many ways, you have the right to seek a divorce. You may wish to consult an Islamic scholar regarding this.

I am not an Islamic scholar; however, I do know that he needs to provide you with the basic marital benefits which include sexual relations.

In-Law Expectations

Regarding your in-laws, sister, your in-laws are not married to your husband. You are. This is your life, your marriage, your future. If he does not want to try to save his marriage by resolving this problem, you need to make an independent decision regarding what is best for you, your child, and your religion. If being married to him is going to make you vulnerable to cheating on him, then you need to take appropriate steps to save your own relationship with Allah.

As you are married, you should not have to masturbate all the time. Your mother-in-law is looking out for her son and is negating the problem. That is not fair to you as a woman and a wife.  It doesn’t matter who believes you or who doesn’t believe you. It is no one’s business. This is your life, not anyone else’s.

Basic Needs and Future Choices

Insha’Allah, your husband will be compliant in resolving his problems with erectile dysfunction and you can rebuild your relationship. If he does not want to, or he is unable to, then you must make the decision of whether you will divorce or not.

You stated that no one wants you to go for a divorce just for sexual needs. However, sexual needs are very strong, basic human need. Some people get married just to have sex so they don’t commit sins. That’s how strong sexual desires can be. These are also normal desires.

If you and your husband did not want to have sex, then you could just be brothers and sisters in faith. But that’s not the case. You are husband and wife.


Check out this counseling video:


Sister, please do think hard about yourself and your happiness right now. You do have a child. However, in a marriage in which there are issues such as this, it may produce further resentment and problems. How happy is your child going to be? You’re depressed, your husband seems unconcerned. Your mother-in-law expects you to live with a husband who cannot perform in bed, and you just want to be happy and satisfied. That is understandable and that is your right.

Conclusion

Sister, please do try to save your marriage. Insha’Allah, suggest to your husband that he gets a medical diagnosis as well as a psychological assessment. Please inform him that you love him very much and that you want to make the marriage work, however, you cannot live within a marriage that does not provide intimacy as it is your Islamic right as a wife.

If he refuses or the issue cannot be resolved, you may have to seek divorce to save yourself (and him) from future problems and hurt. We wish you the best.

You are in our prayers.

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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.

Read more:

How to Improve Your Intimate Relations?

Erectile Dysfunction: How Will I Get Married?

Taking Pills to Enhance Sexual Performance: Permissible?

About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.