It’s our podcast aimed at men today–what if your wife refuses to have sex?

On the last Thursday of every month, I like to direct my podcasts more at questions that men are asking (though women are more than welcome to listen in as well, too!). And today’s, to finish up our Iron Sharpens Iron series, Keith and I thought we’d talk about what to do if your wife cuts you off from sex. What’s the best way to handle this?

We looked at it from several points of view, and I hope you’ll listen in!


Main Segment: When Your Wife Refuses Sex

We’re not just talking here about if your wife doesn’t like sex, or if she only has sex every few weeks. We want to talk about what to do if you’re truly and honestly cut off. 

We looked at this from two different angles: one if the guy has honestly been trying to make sex a great, mutual experience, and wants to feel real intimacy and passion and fun, and she just refuses. And one where she has never felt much of anything, but he still wants it anyway. Here’s the first scenario:


My wife announced, after our last child was born 15 years ago, that sex was over in our marriage. She didn’t like it, she found it gross, and she felt it was unnecessary and I should be able to live without it. I’ve loved her and never bugged her about it since, and I’ve been a great dad to our kids, and I’ve tried to keep our friendship alive, but I feel myself dying a bit everyday.

So we dealt with that one for a while–about how women can feel that sex is honestly distasteful, often because of the messages that we hear about men’s sexual needs, and how what often backfires here is that husbands go to wives and tell them that they have an obligation to have sex, and that they’re desperate. That just makes women’s distaste of sex increase. I always suggest that you start from first principles: God made sex to be an awesome way to connect, an awesome thing to experience, and really the pinnacle of passion. Our marriage is supposed to have that, and it doesn’t right now. We’re missing out on some great things that God has for us, and I’m not okay with that. And then talk about seeing a licensed counselor together. 

I promised I’d share my post about why I’m reluctant to recommend biblical counselors for this, too. 

Now, women, if you’re reading, and this is you, please also read these:

But what about the other side? This is a long question, but it shows something important:

We have been married for several decades.

As a husband, I would say I got more wrong than right.  Mismanaged finances, failure to listen to her advice on money, career and maybe most importantly; her needs.  Of course there were ugly arguments in spades, overwhelmingly caused by me as well.  She warned me for years this was all taking a toll on her, causing her to shut down little by little.  Several years ago she stopped having sex with me. In hindsight, I view it as the day our marriage ended.  Not just because the sex ended but any semblance of emotional connection was/is gone.

This period was also marked by  numerous half hearted attempts by me to get on top of things, all to no avail.  I simply failed her…… For several years there was 100% zero sexual contact.  That period was marked by vicious arguments instigated by me wanting sex.  Although it had been coming for some time, she even told me so, it still seemed to me as if she just woke up one day several years ago and said that’s it, no more sex.  She has since told me it was either withdraw physically and emotionally or divorce. My moods/temperament since then have been bad.  She told me several times how she felt like she had to walk on egg shells around me.   I believe it is because I no longer feel like I have a connection with my wife.  I told her this but she does not accept it. Two years ago, after several  years of no sex, I began making a concerted effort to improve my disposition.  There were many two step forward, one step back moments but, she began allowing me to touch her again, no intercourse just touch in 2018.  She would allow me to have an orgasm.

At her request our sex life currently consist of me asking her for sex.  A day, or two or three or a week later she either makes time and asks me to come upstairs or I ask her again and the process starts over. Believing our marriage needed something drastic; a few months ago  I confessed in vivid detail my failings as her husband.  I surrendered my life to her and promised to serve her for the rest of my days.  Since then I do as much as I can for her.  I clean the kitchen after dinner, I give her massages, I bring her her favourite drinks the way she likes them.  In short, I try to lighten her load and ease her burden as much as possible.  I really enjoy it.  Serving her makes me feel closer to her.  

 Things were going well until Saturday when I randomly asked her to go upstairs.  For whatever reason it was awkward, we didn’t go. The next day we had an ugly argument.  She asked me to go upstairs but her attitude and body language made it clear it was “lets get it over with so you leave me alone”.  I said no, just no.  I do not want it like that.  Then the argument ensued ultimately leading her to say the following: “I hate it (sex), absolutely hate it” When I asked what she thought the last six weeks was about she said: “It’s the same as before, that’s what it is always about” I asked her if she got any mental or emotional NOT physical joy out of giving me an orgasm.  Her response: “No”. I am sorry to be so wordy and hope this is not TMI but I need help.  We no doubt should have sought counseling long ago.  I want to feel intimate and close with my wife again.  For me, part of that is an active sex life.  I have attempted to talk with her about it.  She just gets defensive.  

To me, this is an entirely different scenario than the first man, and Keith and I dissect it in the podcast. But let me know what you think–we’ll see if we picked up on the same things!

Reader Question: Does Oral Sex Cause Throat Cancer?

This time a woman writes in with a question that I thought I’d aim at the men. She asks:

My husband doesnt want to perform oral sex on me. We’ve been married for over two decades and I can count the number of times he has done that on just 2 hands.  He made it plain in the beginning he didn’t like the taste and his tongue got tired, etc.

A few years back he read some stuff about oral sex and HPV throat/mouth cancer. Is this a real issue?

Okay, quick answer: Yes, the HPV virus can cause mouth/throat cancers through oral sex. However, it’s only if the HPV virus is present. Oral sex, without the presence of STDs, does not cause cancer. Now, a large proportion of the population does have HPV and may not know it, because it lies dormant. If either of you had previous sexual partners, or if one of you has been unfaithful, you need to get tested. But oral sex, in and of itself, does not make you sick.

So should he do it? Sex should be MUTUAL, which means that you each feel comfortable and not grossed out, but you also each are getting pleasure. If he’s very uncomfortable with this, I think it’s okay to say no, as long as he’s regularly bringing her to orgasm in other ways. (pretty much the same answer I give to women when they write in with the situation flipped). The only thing I’m concerned about is that many women find that they can only orgasm through oral sex. If she is not able to orgasm, then he needs to rethink this or try harder in other ways!

That’s it for our Start Your Engines podcast!

How would you answer our reader questions? Let me know in the comments!

(Keith and I are on vacation right now, and wifi is sketchy, so I won’t be participating in the comments as much as usual. But when I get wifi, I’ll come and reply to a whole bunch all at once! And thanks to Joanna and Rebecca for moderating for me while I’m gone).