Every new relationship begins with a promise of love, intimacy and affection. Over time, expressions of love change form and that unbridled passion can begin to dull down. A dip in intimacy can be brought on by several factors – new responsibilities, changing priorities, biological and physiological changes. Are you in a similar place in your relationship? Could it be that your wife avoids intimacy and shuns the idea of making love?
If you’re living with a gut feeling that your wife avoids intimacy on purpose, it may be time to take matters into your hand to rejuvenate your relationship. However, unless you know why your wife is avoiding sex or any forms of physical intimacy, you won’t know what you need to work on.
With the help of psychotherapist Gopa Khan (Masters in Counseling Psychology, M.Ed), who specializes in marriage and family counseling, let’s unravel the reasons behind why there’s no intimacy in your marriage from your wife, so you can ascertain the difference between an unloving wife or one who has subliminally been trying to send you a message.
Is Your Wife Not Interested In Intimacy?
“My wife avoids intimacy” — a vast majority of married men live with this nagging feeling, sometimes for years on end. So, while some continue to coax and prod their spouses to “get them in the mood,” others resign to fate and either make peace with a sex-starved existence or look for gratification elsewhere.
However, whenever one spouse withdraws from the other, there is always a risk of your marriage being almost over. This can be a disheartening situation to cope with. But, you must remember that this rejection of your sexual advances is often triggered by some underlying reasons.
“In most cases, I’ve seen that men don’t realize and acknowledge the needs of their wives. That can happen because of a lack of communication, a lack of understanding or just misinterpreting what their spouse is thinking. The reasons behind why a wife avoids physical contact can range from marital discord to just being burned out,” says Gopa.
Not addressing the problem out of fear of confrontation will only make matters worse. If your wife avoids intimacy and this lack of intimacy is beginning to take a toll on your marital bliss, it is time to have an honest conversation with your spouse.
So, before you start saying things like, “My wife never touches me anymore,” and misunderstand the problem that you’re actually facing, it’s vital that you try to focus more on why your wife never initiates physical contact.
Related Reading: How Do You Deal With A Quarrelsome Wife?
15 Reasons Your Wife Avoids Intimacy
The first step toward addressing this oft-tricky issue is to understand why your wife is acting distant and avoiding being intimate with you. As Gopa points out, the reasons can stem from resentment to communication gaps or personal issues. The sooner you understand what it is you’re going through, the quicker you’ll be able to address it. Here are the 15 most probable reasons behind your wife’s lack of interest in intimacy.
1. If your wife is avoiding sex, the emotional connect is missing
For most women, sexual desire is fueled by romantic feelings for their partner. If your wife avoids intimacy constantly, paying attention to the emotional bond you share with her may be a good starting point.
It is possible that a lack of sex may have shifted your focus on physical intimacy whereas a lack of emotional intimacy may be driving your wife away from the idea of sex.
“If physical intimacy is missing and one partner is complaining about it, you know there’s something going on. Invariably, it’s a case of emotional intimacy missing. There is a disconnect, a lack of communication and a lot of arguments.
“In my experience as a marriage counselor, I’ve seen that men can have an argument with their wives the whole day and romance their partner in the end. But for women, it’s quite different. If they’ve been fighting the whole day, physical intimacy is the last thing on their mind. The wife never initiates physical contact if she’s unhappy with the strength of the relationship,” says Gopa.
A lack of emotional connection can make it hard for women to establish physical intimacy, even with their own life partner. Therefore, building and maintaining an emotional rapport is extremely essential not just for a robust sex life but also for the overall health of the relationship.
2. Sex is routine and monotonous
This is especially true of couples in their 40s and 50s, or those who have been married more than 10-15 years. We received a relationship query from a man who wanted to spice things up with his wife of 29 years, but was struggling to make headway because of the spouse’s inhibitions. He wanted to break the monotony in the relationship, but she simply wouldn’t open up. Our experts helped them improve their sex life by advising a bit more spontaneity.
It’s no secret that sex after marriage tends to become monotonous, especially if neither partner makes an effort to keep the fire of passion burning. If your sex life is devoid of experimenting with new sexual positions, role play, dressing up, creating a sensual ambiance, there’s a chance that the same sexual routine has become boring and tiresome for your wife and she has started avoiding all physical contact.
Try to keep things fun and adventurous between the sheets so that your wife is unable to resist you. Instead of asking yourself something along the lines of, “What to do when wife won’t put out?” ask your partner if they’d like to experience something different in bed.
Couples can even have a thriving sex life during their 40s, if they wish to do so. The first step is to communicate with your partner about what you think you might be lacking.
Related Reading: How To Survive A Sexless Marriage Without Cheating
3. You have lost her trust
A woman who feels that she’s living with a man who can’t regain her trust after cheating will most certainly have problems connecting with him on an emotional as well as physical level. If your wife seems distant, take a step back to analyze where you may have gone wrong or why you feel like she cannot trust you again.
Gopa explains how having a partner who has severe trust issues can also be the reason why there’s no intimacy in marriage from the wife. “The gender doesn’t matter here, but if you have trust issues, it’s eventually going to lead to resentment. If she’s got a spouse who is extremely suspicious, she’s not going to feel trusted or respected. How is she even going to want to have a relationship?”
In other cases, it can also be if you’ve betrayed her trust in the past. “My wife avoids spending time with me.” If this is a real concern for you then ask yourself – was there ever any infidelity or cheating on your part? An emotional affair or even a one-night stand that you think your wife doesn’t know about?
Maybe, she knows of your infidelity, but hasn’t spoken about it? The distance could be her way of punishing you and teaching you a lesson. If that’s the case, try to build a successful relationship after cheating; own up to your mistakes, have a heart-to-heart conversation with her and assure her that it’s all in the past. Perhaps, some counseling might even help.
4. She is genuinely exhausted
“The woman is doing two jobs, especially during the pandemic. She’s taking care of the house and she’s working as well. After all of that, the thought of intimacy at night becomes almost like another chore,” says Gopa.
“When women say that they’re exhausted, men can often take it as a personal rejection without realizing that she woke up at 5 a.m. If you want to romance her at 11 p.m., you need to understand that she needs time to sleep!” she adds.
Even with all the gadgets and hired help, modern women have a lot on their plate. Juggling household and professional responsibilities single-handedly is no easy feat. This could be a reason why your wife avoids sex. From work deadlines to zoom meetings to bosses to deal with, teams to manage, kids to raise, meals to cook, chores to do, errands to run and the billion other things your wife has to handle, she may just be too exhausted to even think about sex.
In this case, you can turn the tide for your sex life by simply becoming more involved in running the household and making your wife feel special by going the extra mile to reduce her burden.
You can clearly see that she is overworked and avoids intimacy. It might be time for you to be more responsible and let your wife have some “me-time.” Pamper her with a spa day or take her out on a nice vacation for two, to break the monotony and give her the relaxation she truly needs and deserves.
5. When your partner won’t touch you, there could be infidelity involved
If the lack of interest in physical intimacy came on suddenly and caught you unawares, it is possible that your wife is involved with another person. It is one of the classic signs of a cheating wife and if your gut tells you something’s up, it may be worth investigating it a bit further.
“When emotional intimacy dies a slow death in your relationship, it’s possible that it could signal an affair. The precursor for any affair is emotional intimacy,” says Gopa. Adding, “However, just because your wife avoids physical contact doesn’t necessarily mean there’s bound to be infidelity involved. As I mentioned before, the lack of physical contact can be due to a myriad of reasons.”
On the flip side, it could be that your wife suspects you of infidelity and hence has lost her trust in you. If your wife avoids intimacy, this could be her way of punishing you for something she suspects you of. In case you have nothing to hide, work on communication exercises with your partner to be able to tell her that there is no need for trust issues.
However, if the unfortunate situation arises where your wife never initiates physical contact because she’s having an affair, you need to deal with it gently. The aftermath of an affair is never easy for a marriage, but if life has thrown you this curveball, you’ve got to learn to deal with it. There is simply no point in brushing the problem under the carpet.
6. Your wife has become conscious of her body
Marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, coupled with a sea of hormonal changes at different stages of life, can make a woman gain weight and send her self-esteem nosediving. Being uncomfortable in their own skin and ashamed of the extra weight is a common reason why women start avoiding physical intimacy with their spouses.
“Women are very conscious about their bodies in general. I had a few clients who had a baby and found it difficult to start getting physically intimate with their spouses again because they’re not comfortable with their bodies,” says Gopa.
“If the husband happens to be insensitive, it ruins the relationship. If you put her down and belittle her confidence, you can’t hide behind something like, ‘My wife rejects me all the time’,” she adds.
She doesn’t like the image she sees in the mirror and that quells any sexual desire within. Your wife avoids intimacy because she feels neither desirable nor sexy. If your spouse has been going through such a patch, you must be a supportive husband post-pregnancy. Help her through this transition and ensure that she feels confident, no matter what changes her body has gone through.
Now that you know that this could also be the reason why your wife avoids physical contact, you need to be her rock and convince her that you still think she’s as beautiful as the day when you first met her.
7. Family problems may be troubling her
Women’s inherent nesting instinct naturally shifts their focus to family and kids, and this may, in turn, affect the mind space she can allocate to you and sexual desires. If there are other underlying problems such as financial constraints or strained relationships with the in-laws, the stress could be killing her libido and be the reason why your wife avoids sex.
“When a woman has to live with her in-laws, it’s a major change from the way she had been living before. She needs someone to act as a buffer, to provide support and not make it seem like she’s in it alone. When the support isn’t there, the emotional intimacy and the physical intimacy are going to suffer. In other cases, when the in-laws are constantly meddling the resentment may make it seem like you have an unloving wife but she’s actually just frustrated at the lack of privacy,” says Gopa.
You can help by mediating such issues or chalking a way out of the problem together, to restore her peace of mind and bring back the passion in your bedroom.
Related Reading: 10 Things To Do When You Are Drifting Apart In Your Relationship
8. She is unhappy with your lack of hygiene
Think back to the time when you were dating. In all likelihood, you went the extra mile to dress up for her, look good, smell good and stay groomed in anticipation of getting some action.
If the marriage has made you take your personal hygiene for granted, this lax attitude could be a total turn-off for her. In such a case, it could be the reason why your wife avoids intimacy. You can’t really blame her, can you?
Sometimes, the answer to, “My wife rejects me all the time and I don’t know why,” can be the simple fact that you’re not taking care of yourself anymore. So, get your act together, start showering in the evenings, put on some cologne for her and, most importantly, keep things well groomed and hygienic down there.
9. Depression or mental health issues
An underlying, undetected mental health issue can affect sex drive. For example, depression, as well as the medication used to manage it, can take a toll on one’s libido. Gopa explains how such mental health issues can affect your physical intimacy. “Obviously, if a person is feeling low and they’re feeling depressed, they’re not going to want to interact with others, they’re going to want to isolate themselves. In most cases, I’ve seen that when one partner is depressed, after a period of time, the other starts to feel depressed as well.
“When your partner won’t touch you, it’s important to take a look at any mental health issues that may be affecting them.” In such cases, it is imperative to get the right kind of help and hold your wife’s hand through this extremely challenging journey. The sexual spark will return when she emerges out of it, stronger and healthier.
If there’s no intimacy in your marriage from your wife and you’ve realized that she may be suffering through mental health issues, Bonobology’s panel of experienced therapists can help guide your partner through this turbulent time, and perhaps re-establish the harmonious relationship you yearn for.
10. Underlying medical problems
Just like mental health, physical well-being is also essential for women to feel sexually charged up. An undiagnosed, underlying medical condition can also be the reason for a decreased sex drive.
Gynecological conditions such as endometriosis, PCOS, PCOD, uterine fibroids and pelvic pain can make it difficult for women to enjoy sex. This causes them to shy away from physical intimacy. If you think your wife avoids intimacy because of an underlying condition, it’s best to seek medical help at the earliest.
11. The kids have become a priority
Your wife may have become so involved in raising the kids that her relationship with you takes a backseat. This can lead to her becoming physically and emotionally distant in the marriage.
“My wife never touches me anymore after we’ve had our child,” Greg told us. “Since this is our first child, I don’t even know what’s normal and what isn’t. Friends and family say there’s going to be a decrease in libido, but it’s been almost a whole year since she has even initiated anything,” he added.
If that’s the reason why your wife avoids intimacy, you have to drive home the importance of intimacy between a couple for a happy, healthy marriage. She may not understand the first time around, but if you keep trying, perhaps she’ll understand the need to maintain a balance between her roles as a mother and a wife.
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12. When your wife avoids physical contact, it could be because of resentment
“If there’s resentment in the marriage, it’s bound to manifest itself in a sexless marriage. I had a client recently who was so angry at her spouse, she said she didn’t want to have any physical intimacy with her husband, “If he wants to get divorced, let him get divorced,” she said. When there’s a disconnect and communication gaps that lead to resentment, the hostility will make itself apparent in some way or the other,” says Gopa.
Resentment in the marriage eventually leads to conflict and arguments. It’s easy to see why such discord will eventually manifest itself in the bedroom. Instead of focusing on harmful sentiments like, “What to do when wife won’t put out?” try to work on the issues you two are having.
13. You are not catering to her sexual needs
If the sex is all about you, it’s no surprise that your partner may not want to indulge in it. Introspect a little and see how invested you are in her pleasure. Remember it’s never too late to start. Cater to her needs, indulge in some foreplay, and stop being selfish!
Sex is not just about giving what you get, it’s about an experience that both partners should enjoy equally. Take time to learn about the secrets of sex all women wish men knew, learn your way around her body and plan a special evening together.
14. You are unable to give her time
You may have become so engrossed in your work or friends that you just don’t spend quality time with your wife. A lack of time and attention will naturally cause distance to creep into the marriage, which will take its toll on your sex life too.
You can set things right on this front by planning special dates and mini-vacations so that you can both focus on each other and your relationship without worrying about work, finances, kids and other things.
15. She may be coping with baby blues
Childbirth is a life-altering experience that’s not just hard on a woman’s body but also her mind. Almost all new moms experience what is medically described as the baby blues – a sudden feeling of sadness after giving birth, coupled with mood swings and irritability, among other symptoms.
In some cases, this can escalate into postpartum depression, which is a common reason why many women experience a lack of sexual desire after childbirth. Gopa explains how it can be detrimental to your physical intimacy. “Most women who go through postpartum depression also find it increasingly difficult to get physically involved. Not getting the right treatment, not knowing how to deal with depression and then having the pressure to get into physical intimacy is not a good mix. “
A woman’s lack of interest in physical intimacy can be quite an intriguing puzzle to solve. While some of the underlying factors can be weeded out with the right approach and mindset, others can be more damaging to the entire relationship. Whatever the case, do your best and work with your wife to restore that spark in your marriage. Don’t hold it against her. Talk to your wife about the lack of intimacy and work through your issues together, as a team. Hopefully, you now know just what to work on, with the help of the reasons why your wife never initiates physical contact.