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Husband Isn’t Interested in Sex

08 January, 2017
Q It took me a very long time to find a man I always dreamed of. He is perfect in all ways, I know he loves me, but there is one problem – he is not interested in sex. I feel bad for being so sexual. I would try to initiate and/or discuss sex, but it has left him feeling pressured, demeaned that he needed to be changed. Now, he is stuck in his own self-awareness of all that he feels he is not. As a result, we’ve been terribly unhappy. I feel I am depressed. I don’t know what he can give me anymore. I don’t yet know how much more I can do without. We have worked out so many things, our communication can’t be any stronger and yet continually fails us. I feel like it is my fault, my insecurities, my hidden pain, my lack of beauty or sexiness or my weight or any other such things. I feel rejected, unwanted and unworthy. I feel lesser of a human being when I have to masturbate. I have tried to be sympathetic, adapting to his needs or lack thereof. I have tried to tell myself that I am ok without sexual intimacy. I have tried to give him the space and commitment and support that he needs. I feel like I have tried… and he has not.

Answer

Answer: 

As-Salamu ‘Alaikum sister,

I am sorry to hear you are having intimacy problems in your marriage. Intimacy is important not just because it is a basic human need and desire, but it is also a way in which couples bond, express love and draw closer to each other. While it is possible to do that without sexual intimacy, if agreed by both parties, problems arise when one partner is not getting their needs met.

First of all, sister, please do not feel bad for being a sexual being – we all are, or most of us are. It is the way Allah (swt) created us, so we would marry, create closeness between our mates and procreate. You are married and have every right to have your sexual needs taken care of by your husband. It is not your fault he is “asexual”. It has nothing to do with your looks, your sexiness, your weight or any other attribute you feel you have fallen short on. It is common for women to blame themselves when their husbands’ are not interested in sex, but more times than not it is due to the husband’s own insecurities about himself. It could be due to fears, depression, low testosterone, a traumatic past experience, personal insecurities about his own sexual identity, homosexuality, or the inability to get an erection. It can even be due to an undiagnosed medical condition.

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Asexuality and aromanticism refer to people who lack the desire to have sexual and romantic relationships with other people. If this is the true case with your husband, he married you under false pretenses, for marriage comes with the understanding that sexual relations will occur. If this is the case, you would have grounds for divorce. However, my dear sister, I would try to find out first if he is truly asexual, or if there are medical or psychological reasons as to why he is not interested in sex.

While you did not mention what reasons or responses he has had when you try to discuss this issue with him, perhaps if you approached him by telling him how much you love him and that you desire to be close to him and improve your communications, intimacies and marriage, he may begin to relax. Men often do become defensive when their sexuality is questioned; therefore, a different approach may be needed. I would kindly suggest, sister, that you suggest marriage counseling in your conversations with him and encourage him to get a physical check from his doctor to rule out any medical problems. I am not sure if he is on any medications, so please do know that certain medications may take away a man’s desire for sex. 

If he agrees to go for marriage counseling, alhumdulilah. If he does not, in sha’ Allah, suggest that he go for counseling by himself. It could be that he has deep-rooted issues which he is not ready to disclose to anyone yet, except possibly a therapist/counselor which may be less threatening as it is a stranger. If he refuses to address this issue, sister, then I would kindly suggest seeking the advice of a trusted imam or knowledgeable sister who can guide you on the decision as to whether you should divorce or not. While this should be a last resort, it is one that is permissible in Islam once all other avenues are exhausted and there is no other option. If the marriage fails to fulfill the purposes and objectives from which it was created, then we are permitted to divorce. However, I am not an Islamic scholar; hence, I refer this option for you to discuss with an imam.

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As far as your current state of feeling depressed, sister, please, while you and your husband are trying to sort this out, draw closer to Allah (swt), seek out comfort in Him through prayer, reciting Qur’an and dhkir.  Allah (swt) is most compassionate, and He (swt) knows our deepest hurts and longings. Allah (swt) is also most merciful and blesses us with things, solutions, and answers to our heart’s longings.

Please also try spending time with sisters who are uplifting and can provide enjoyable times going out for lunch or taking a hike in nature or other positive things to get your mind off your marital problems. Often times, when we start to develop a balance in life such as a time for work, a time for study, for families, for friends, we find that our problems are not dominating our thoughts. While this issue must be resolved one way or another, please be kind to yourself and do enjoyable things that will uplift your spirits.

It would also, in sha’ Allah, be of benefit to you if you as well sought out counseling while trying to resolve the lack of intimacy issue in your marriage. A counselor can offer guidance, insight, support as well as addressing any issues of depression you may be experiencing. You may gain greater coping skills regarding this problem, in sha’ Allah, and be better able to either be supportive of your husband if there is an issue, or strengthen your resolve in sorting out a decision to divorce.

Sister, you sound like you love your husband very much, and I am confident that he loves you as well.  It also sounds like you have a wonderful relationship with the exception of his “asexuality”. I implore you to exhaust all efforts together to resolve this, so you can begin to have a marriage filled with the intimacy that you long for. While I understand it takes two, and you have been trying to resolve this, please do utilize some of the tips and advices in order to save your marriage. I know what you’re going through must be very painful, frustrating, and depressing, but in sha’ Allah there is a resolution waiting for you both.

You are in our prayers. Please let us know how you are doing.

Salam,

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha has a PhD in psychology, an MS in public health and a PsyD. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years at Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. She has worked with clients with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder, trauma, and OCD. She also facilitated support groups and provided specialized services for victims of domestic violence, HIV positive individuals, as well youth/teen issues. Aisha is certified in Mindfulness, Trauma Informed Care, Behavioral Management, Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and Confidentiality & Security. Aisha is also a Certified Life Coach, and Relationship Workshop facilitator. Aisha has a part-time Life Coaching practice in which she integrates the educational concepts of stress reduction, mindfulness, introspection, empowerment, self love and acceptance and spirituality to create a holistic healing journey for clients. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocates for prisoner rights/reentry, social & food justice, as well as advocating for an end to oppression & racism. In her spare time, Aisha enjoys her family, photography, nature, martial arts classes, Islamic studies, volunteering/charity work, as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.