15 Real Reasons Your Wife Avoids Intimacy

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“Why is my wife not interested in me sexually? I am tired of initiating intimacy over and over again” – Do thoughts like these keep you awake at night? Well, that can’t be good news for your marriage, or your emotional health. It’s natural that over time, expressions of love in a relationship change form, and that unbridled passion begins to dull. But one partner not wanting sex anymore and completely shunning the idea of making love can take a toll on the relationship.

The majority of married couples don’t engage in sexual activity seven out of seven days a week. But according to a study, sexual encounters between partners leave an afterglow (a period of sexual satisfaction) which keeps them emotionally connected until the next lovemaking. The stronger the glow, the more solid their marriage. So, 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.

And unless you know the reason behind her low sex drive, 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 why your wife has lost interest in sex, so you can ascertain the difference between an unloving wife and a troubled wife.

Is Your Wife Not Interested In Intimacy?

You can’t be so sure of that unless you communicate effectively with her, can you? But you must remember that this rejection of your sexual advances is often triggered by some underlying reasons. A dip in intimacy can be brought on by several factors – new responsibilities, changing priorities, and biological and physiological changes. Perhaps there’s something lacking on your part, physically or emotionally. It’s possible due to a side-effect of any chronic illness, medication, or lifestyle changes.

Studies show that a higher frequency of sexual intercourse doesn’t indicate anything if other factors like sexual satisfaction and warm interpersonal relationship between spouses aren’t met. Before saying “My wife never touches me anymore,” it’s vital that you try to pinpoint ‘why’ your wife never initiates intimacy. If you are avoiding the problem out of fear of confrontation or if you think she has intimacy anorexia, visiting a sex therapist would make the situation easier.

Gopa says, “In most cases, I’ve seen that men don’t realize and acknowledge the needs of their wives. That can happen because of poor communication, a lack of understanding, or just misinterpreting what their spouse is thinking. So, before the bad sex life begins to take a toll on your marital bliss, it is time to have an honest conversation with your spouse.”

Related Reading: Intimacy Anorexia, Causes, And Impact On Romantic Relationships – And Ways To Deal With It

15 Reasons Your Wife Avoids Intimacy

“My wife hasn’t slept with me in months. Why is my wife not interested in me sexually anymore?” – a vast majority of married men live with this nagging feeling, sometimes for years on end. While some continue to coax and prod their spouses to “get them in the mood,” others resign to their fate and either make peace with a sex-starved existence or look for gratification elsewhere.

But the blame game doesn’t get you anywhere when it comes to relationship issues. The best way to address this issue is to understand why your wife is acting distant. Here are the 15 most common causes behind your wife’s decreased interest in the physical act of love:

1. Emotional closeness might be missing in your marriage

For most women, sexual desire is fueled by romantic feelings for their partner. Gopa, our expert says, “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.” Here’s what might be happening in your marriage:

  • Your wife avoids intimacy because emotional neglect on your part is making it hard for her to give in to her sexual desires
  • Perhaps after the 100th fight, she is starting to realize that you two are very different people and she doesn’t feel connected to you any longer
  • If there is a communication gap, she may not be comfortable expressing her needs in bed which leads her to not want sex anymore

What to do: Building and maintaining emotional closeness is essential, not just for a robust sex life but also for the overall health of the relationship. If your partner is not interested in you sexually, create a safe space for them to be vulnerable and express their inner feelings with you, spend quality time with each other, offer ample space as and when required, and don’t ever sleep on your relationship issues to avoid fights.       

2. You are not catering to her sexual needs

Have you ever wondered that ‘you’ might be the reason behind your “Why is my wife not interested in me sexually?” problem? If the sex is all about you and you’ve not bothered to get better at foreplay, it’s no surprise that your partner may not want to indulge in the act. The ‘wham, bam, thank you ma’am’ formula doesn’t work for a decent sex life.

If a man rolls over and sleeps right after his orgasm and doesn’t care that his wife is lying beside him staring at the ceiling, unsatisfied, we can’t blame her for not wanting sex anymore. Apart from that, male sexual health problems such as erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, or premature ejaculation often become a hindrance in your way of pleasing your woman.

What to do:

  • 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 a lot more foreplay, and stop being selfish!
  • Take time to learn your way around her body
  • Seek couple’s therapy or visit an andrologist – do what it takes to deal with your wife not wanting you
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3. Sex is routine and monotonous

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 sexual experiences are devoid of any excitement or exploring new sexual positions, there’s a chance that the same sexual routine has become boring and tiresome, and naturally, your wife avoids intimacy these days.

This is especially true of couples in their 40s and 50s, or those who have been married for more than 10-15 years. Monotony and lack of confidence in their own body result in low sexual desire. Studies show that a decline in sexual activity is largely triggered by less happiness and poor physical health associated with old age for both men and women.

What to do:

  • Try to keep things fun and adventurous between the sheets so that your wife is unable to resist you
  • You can try role-play, dressing up seductively, or creating a sensual ambiance with fragrance and candles to set the right mood
  • Ask your partner if she’d like to experience something different in bed
  • Take charge instead of waiting for your wife to initiate sex every time. Catching her off guard sometimes could be romantic as hell!

Related Reading: How To Make The Best Of Sex In Your 40s?

4. She is genuinely exhausted

“The woman is doing two jobs. She’s taking care of the house and she’s working as well. After all of that, the thought of intimacy at night is almost like another chore. You can’t make the mistake of taking it as a personal rejection,” says Gopa. 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. When you are thinking “Why is my wife not interested in me sexually?” she is probably worrying about all the work deadlines, teams to manage, kids to raise, meals to cook, errands to run, and a billion other things. Naturally, sexual fantasies take a backseat in her mind.

What to do:

  • You can turn the tide for your sex life by simply becoming more involved in running the household
  • Make your wife feel special with sweet gestures like getting her flowers or small gifts, listening to her with full attention, cooking a meal for her, and some words of appreciation every day
  • 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 vacation to break the monotony and give her the relaxation she truly deserves

5. When your partner won’t touch you, there could be infidelity involved

If the lack of interest in sex came on suddenly and caught you by surprise, it is possible that your wife is involved with another person. According to research, commitment is significantly related to sexual satisfaction for a woman. If her sexual fantasies and urges are not met in this marriage, she might stray, even though it’s not the ideal scenario. If your gut tells you something’s up, it may be worth investigating it a bit further.

What to do: If the unfortunate situation arises where your wife never initiates physical contact because she is having an extramarital affair, you need to deal with it gently. The aftermath of an affair is never easy for a marriage. You both need to be completely honest with each other to sort out your relationship issues and reinstate love and trust in your marriage. Going to couples therapy can be of great help. Just so you know, skilled and licensed counselors on Bonobology’s panel are always here for you.

6. Your wife has become conscious of her body

“Why is my wife not interested in me sexually?” you wonder. Gopa has the answer for your trouble, “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 were not comfortable with their bodies anymore.

“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 complaints like “My wife rejects me all the time.” Let’s try to understand the connection between her low desire and physical changes, so you are more empathetic to her situation:

  • Marriage, pregnancy, and childbirth, coupled with a sea of hormonal changes at different stages of life, these are some of the reasons that women gain weight and send their self-esteem nosediving
  • Being uncomfortable in their own skin is a common reason that women lose interest in sex with their spouses
  • Aging can have a similar impact on a woman’s body which makes her feel neither desirable nor sexy

What to do: Now that you know that this could also be the reason that 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. Little compliments can go a long way to make her feel confident and young at heart. If your spouse has been going through such a patch post-pregnancy, you must be a supportive husband and help her through this transition.

Related Reading: 10 Things To Do When You Are Drifting Apart In Your Relationship

7. Family problems may be troubling her

She may have a nesting instinct which naturally shifts her focus to family and kids, and this may, in turn, affect the mind space she allocates to you and your sexual desires. If there are other problems such as financial constraints or strained relationships with the in-laws, the stress could be killing her libido and be the reason that your wife never initiates intimacy anymore.

“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. A good marriage is about supporting your partner and if you’re not doing that, then lack of sex and emotional distance come as side-effects. 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 or even respect,” says Gopa.

What to do: Whatever the family trouble may be – whether it’s your parents or her folks – if life has thrown you this curveball, you’ve got to learn to deal with it. 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.

No intimacy in marriage from wife
Her mind is preoccupied with family stressors

8. She is unhappy with your lack of hygiene

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. 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.

Your marriage may have made you take your personal hygiene for granted. This lax attitude is one of the biggest turn-offs for women. In such a case, it could be the reason why your wife avoids intimacy, let alone discussing or disclosing her sexual fantasies to you. You can’t really blame her, can you?

What to do: So, if you can’t remember the last time you shaved or flossed, 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

Mental health issues can affect one’s sex drive. For example, depression as well as the medication used to manage it, can take a toll on one’s libido. A research paper says that traumatic experiences in the past and difficulties in establishing relationships often impact women’s libido. According to the same study, low sexual desire is connected to depression and lack of arousal and pleasure are traits of anxiety.

“Why is my wife not interested in me sexually?” – To answer this question, our expert says, “Obviously, if a person is feeling low and 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.”

Related Reading: 13 Signs Your Wife Has Checked Out Of The Marriage

What to do:

  • In such cases, it is imperative to get the right kind of help, professional or otherwise
  • Be sensitive, don’t label her with the wrong psychological terms or as an attention-seeker
  • Hold your partner’s hand through this turbulent time and the sexual spark will return when she emerges from it, stronger and healthier

10. Underlying medical problems

Just like mental health, physical well-being is also essential for women to feel sexually charged. While you are losing sleep over the “My wife hasn’t slept with me in months, she isn’t attracted to me anymore” grief, an undiagnosed medical condition can also be the reason for your wife’s decreased sex drive.

Gynecological conditions such as endometriosis, PCOS, PCOD, uterine fibroids, vaginal dryness, and pelvic pain can make it difficult for women to enjoy sex. Also, hormonal changes during pregnancy and breastfeeding or menopause may also impact their sexual desire. This causes them to shy away from physical intimacy.

What to do: Seeing an OB-GYN at the earliest might help you deal with your wife not wanting you. As the husband, it’s your responsibility to make sure that she is living a healthy lifestyle, taking a balanced diet, and following the doctor’s instructions and medication, if any. Remember, these issues will require time to be completely cured (or managed). Only then will it bring back her interest in sex. So, you need to be patient with her.

More on intimacy

11. The kids have become a priority

“My wife never touches me anymore. Things have changed every since we’ve had our child,” Greg, one of our readers from Long Island shares with us, adding, “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 and I am tired of initiating intimacy and being refused.”

Your wife may have become so involved in raising the kids that her relationship with you has taken a backseat. This can make her an emotionally distant spouse, resulting in a lack of sex. As fulfilling as it is, motherhood is a never-ending challenge. Every woman has her own way of embarking upon the role and it happens to occupy a lot of her mind space, energy, physical resources, and time, leaving very little scope for intimacy.

What to do: 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 give it importance 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. Also, most importantly, if you’ve been lagging behind in your household and parental duties, it’s time to catch up and give her the break she needs.

Related Reading: How To Romantically Flirt With Your Spouse?

12. If your wife doesn’t want sex anymore, 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. She said, ‘If he wants to get divorced, let him get divorced.’ When there are 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. If you have been constantly pestering her over something or the other, or been extremely critical of her every move, it’s easy to see why such discord will eventually manifest itself in the bedroom.

What to do:

  • 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 facing
  • Honestly and openly discuss each other’s needs that aren’t being fulfilled in the relationship
  • Stop taking your wife for granted and be actively engaged in the marriage. Anybody would feel vexed if they are left alone to deal with all relationship responsibilities

13. 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. Or maybe she knows of your infidelity but hasn’t spoken about it. The distance could be her way of punishing you and that clearly answers your question, “Why is my wife not interested in me sexually?” Betrayal of trust doesn’t always have to mean physical infidelity. An emotional affair, financial deception, or hiding something big might be just as hurtful to lose faith in a person.

Gopa explains, “If you have trust issues, it’s eventually going to lead to resentment. Imagine if she’s the one who cheated on you earlier. Even after wanting to make your relationship work, you remain extremely suspicious. So, of course, she’s not going to feel trusted or respected. How is she going to want to have a relationship with you?”

What to do:

  • If your wife seems distant, take a step back to analyze where you may have gone so wrong that she cannot trust you again
  • If there has indeed been an affair, put an end to it immediately and show your wife that you are one hundred percent invested in making this marriage work instead of complaining about the lack of sex
  • In case you have broken her trust in some other way, 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 couple’s therapy can help in rebuilding love after the emotional damage

14. Baby blues and post-pregnancy physical condition can be a reason to not want sex

Childbirth is a life-altering experience that’s not just hard on a person’s body but also their 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 would be a common reason why your wife avoids intimacy. Also, research shows that vaginal injuries, urinary inconsistence, and painful intercourse due to low arousal also have an impact on a woman’s decreased interest in sex. As the mother is in close contact with the child through breastfeeding, she barely feels any sexual needs during this time.

What to do:

  • Don’t try to fix her, just be with her
  • Make sure your wife gets ample rest and eats well
  • Human touch and heart-to-heart conversations can be healing for her
  • Keep a strict eye out on who visits your wife because new mothers feel affected by insensitive words very easily
wife never initiates intimacy
Postpartum depression can be difficult

15. You are unable to give her time

You may have become so engrossed in your work or with friends and family that you just don’t spend quality time with your wife. Every woman needs attention from her husband. Not giving her enough time and affection will naturally cause distance to creep into the marriage. In that case, if your partner is not interested in you sexually, we can’t really blame her.

What to do: 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. Also, instead of waiting for your wife to initiate, you can plan everything and show her the best time.

Key Pointers

  • Lack of emotional intimacy and loss of trust are two of the main reasons your wife avoids sex
  • Perhaps you aren’t being adequate for her in bed lately or sex has become just another chore in your marriage
  • There might be an extramarital affair going on
  • She could be exhausted mentally or physically or it could be the baby blues for new mothers
  • Perhaps she doesn’t feel good in her own skin and shies away from physical intimacy
  • Medical problems and mental health issues can affect her sexual desires too

“Why is my wife not interested in me sexually?” can be quite an intriguing puzzle to solve. Clearly, there are many reasons why your wife never initiates physical contact. 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. Hopefully, you now know what to work on. Good luck!

This article has been updated in May 2023. 

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