When She Doesn’t Want Sex

I get lots of questions from guys who seemingly married a woman that was hot for sex, only to watch their sex lives dwindle later as she becomes more “frigid” – their words, not mine. I have to tell them “the only person that knows why your wife has changed her mind about engaging in these sexual behaviors is your wife. Who knows what could have happened, perhaps she’s experiencing her own version of the Madonna/Whore complex where since she has had children she feels she can no longer be sexual the way she was.” What I do know is that early negative messages about the body and sexuality is hard to break without some work on her part.  Many people struggle with this issue – most internally, never discussing it openly. A woman might have always felt this way and could never verbalize it.

Psychological or Physiological?

Then there is the possibility that something physiological may be at play. Some women suffer with estrogen dominance, where their testosterone (the hormone of sexual drive) is not getting its chance to thrive because there is too much estrogen in the body. Estrogen dominance can come about through the use of birth control pills or simply on its own. Signs of other conditions to rule out for include hypothyroid. Symptoms like weight gain, low energy or depression may also be present. All can be signs that her hormones may not be at the levels they could.

When it comes to sexuality issues, or relationship issues for that matter, if one person in the couple believes there is a problem, then there is. It does not need to be unanimous. It would be more helpful of course if she was apart of the process though, especially if she would agree to get some testing done by her doctor. I would suggest finding a sexuality/relationship therapist in your area and go for at least a session or two so you can at least get an assessment by a third party as to what is going on. Discussed out in the open, there may be compromises that you can agree on when it comes to sexual behaviors.

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Working Through the Issue(s)

If there is no way to get her on board with dealing with this issue and she wants to stay in denial, you have some decisions to make as an individual. You need to decide how important these behaviors are to you and focus on the fact that you do get to at least share physical affection if not sex. Perhaps your focus on fantasy will help get you through. However, it is my hope that if you approach her during a non-sexual time and verbalize in a calm and rational way what your issues are AND that you are at the point that you think you both need help sorting this out, that she’ll come around and you can at least work on the issue together as a couple.

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 is the resident sexologist at Adam & Eve and also runs a private practice and media consulting business. She has a Doctorate from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. Her professional affiliations include AASECT, SSSS, and the American Board of Sexologists. She also has a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and completed a postgraduate degree in Marriage, Family and Addictions Recovery Therapy.

© Copyright Dr. Kathleen Van Kirk