I am a 36-year-old guy and have been married for over 10 years with 2 kids. Me and my wife are a good couple, we generally get along well and are understanding, caring, and loving towards each other. Everything is alright except for one thing- sex.
From the beginning, my sexual drive was quite low compared to my wife’s. It bothered her greatly but somehow, she managed to live with it. However, recently my libido took a deep plunge and things went bad between me and my wife. Most of the time I don't feel any sexual desire at all. It may be once every 2-3 months that I am able to perform sex, and my wife is not happy with it at all.
She has started voicing her discontent more and more. Sometimes she becomes angry and doesn't accept the fact that I can't get myself to perform the act. One time she blurted out resentfully that she doesn't want to live with me anymore, and that I am committing sin by doing this to her.
I don't mistreat her or abuse her, and I provide her with more than what she needs. Yet, because of this, I feel that she is drifting away from me. I tried to talk with her about this, but she doesn't accept my reasons and thinks I don't love her anymore.
My questions are: am I sinning by not having regular sexual intercourse with my wife because of my low libido? And how do I make her understand that I still love her and want to be with her?
In this counseling answer:
• I would recommend you speak to your primary care doctor and let him know that your arousal level is low to the extent that you only desire your wife once every two to three months and sometimes you aren’t able to sexually perform.
• By not doing so you aren’t fulfilling one of the requirements of your role as a husband and leaving her sexually frustrated with no one else to turn to. So yes, you can be held accountable for your failure to honor her sexual needs on a consistent basis.
• To love her means to continue to do what you’ve done when you sent this email. To seek advice, to seek professional support, and to work on this as a couple.
Thank you for your question and for reaching out. I hope this post gives you a few suggestions to improve your intimate relationship with your wife.
The first issue I’d like to tackle is your lack of sexual interest in your wife. It sounds like you love her and otherwise have a good relationship with her. So, my first question is what has to happen for you to feel sexually aroused?
One’s “sex drive” and the ability to be aroused may not always coordinate with each other. For example, working with women in my coaching practice, I find women who don’t feel the need for sex as often as their husbands but once touched in a way that is pleasurable to them can then be sexually aroused which leads to the desire to be intimate with their husbands.
Desire vs. Arousal
So, even if you aren’t feeling desire as often as your wife the question is whether or not you can, once you begin to engage with her, feel aroused and then desire to be with her?
Consider things that have led you to be interested in her in the past. Is there a time of day which has been more ideal for you? Something your wife was wearing which aroused you in some way. Lying next to her and being able to touch her body or have her touch you? With questions like this is also the need to ask if there may be something specific which is blocking your desire.
Are you on any medications which might be impacting you? Do you feel bad spiritually in any way for being sexually aroused around your wife (or previously around other women in some fashion)? Do you feel nervous about sexual performance and the pressure is leading you to lose your interest altogether? Do you have any secondary ways you are releasing your sexual desire on your own or watching pornography? Are there any other health issues going on which may impact your natural desire level from physical symptoms to emotional ones like anxiety or undiagnosed depression?
Check out this counseling video:
If the answer was no to everything, I would recommend you speak to your primary care doctor and let him know that your arousal level is low to the extent that you only desire your wife once every two to three months and sometimes you aren’t able to sexually perform.
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it is worth finding some professional support to help you overcome whatever obstacle is in your path.
Sex is one of the many gifts of marital life and you and your wife both deserve to experience it together on a more consistent basis. Spend some time researching what is going on to see if you might find a solution.
Sexually unfulfilled = resentment
One of the common issues that lead to resentment in marriage over time from the wife’s side is when her sexual needs aren’t met. A couple might be having regular sex but she if she isn’t experiencing any orgasms her own sexual needs aren’t being fulfilled and it’s the husband’s obligation to invest time in helping her reach fulfillment.
Many women aren’t even aware that their resentful feelings towards their husbands, which often show up in topics completely unrelated to sex, are related to their lack of sexual fulfillment. It sounds like your wife is, however, more aware of this reality in your marriage.
Sexual rights for women too
Both men and women share sexual rights in a marriage. You are obliged to make sure her sexual needs are fulfilled to the best of your human ability just as a wife is supposed to do the same for her husband.
By not doing so you aren’t fulfilling one of the requirements of your role as a husband and leaving her sexually frustrated with no one else to turn to. So yes, you can be held accountable for your failure to honor her sexual needs on a consistent basis.
Sex = emotional fulfillment
Along with sexual fulfillment is emotional fulfillment. Sexual intimacy isn’t just the performance of sex in a biological sense. It is also an emotional experience which is meant to bring a couple’s hearts closer together. A desire to surrender to each other during sex is a powerful expression of love which continues to nurture the bond between a husband and a wife.
Your lack of desire for your wife can also leave her feeling unwanted. A woman wishes to feel beautiful, attractive, and alluring for her husband. Your compliments towards her and desire for her are part of her natural need as a woman. Right now, the message she may be getting is that her desire for sex is unnatural or that she is weird in some way when the truth is, she is perfectly healthy and normal.
While it is great to hear you love her you have to understand that your feelings of love are not enough. You can “love away” someone’s needs simply because you don’t have the same ones. Love is, rather, the desire to give to your spouse what lights her up, what fills her heart, and what satisfies her needs with you in your marriage together.
To love her means to continue to do what you’ve done when you sent this email. To seek advice, to seek professional support, and to work on this as a couple. Your untapped sex life has so much potential for you both to experience greater emotional connection as a couple and physical pleasure as individuals. That’s worth working on!
May Allah bless you both to find the right resources you need to strengthen 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.