At the beginning of a relationship, sex is often organic, fun, and exciting. However, over time, it’s normal for this to change. But maybe what you are experiencing is more than just the normal shift or change in the relationship. You start to notice your husband has lost interest in you sexually and it’s more than you expected.
Before you wonder about an affair or whether your marriage may be ending, there are several possibilities that should be considered. They could range from a personal struggle of his to unresolved relationship problems that are affecting the sexual intimacy in the marriage. Regardless of the reason, the loss of sexual interest provides the opportunity for both of you to discuss the reasons your husband is not interested so you can get your sex life back on track.
9 Possible Reasons Your Husband Has Lost Interest in You Sexually & What to Do About It
It is normal for sexual intimacy to change over the course of a long-term relationship. Most relationships go through dry spells for many reasons. The demands of raising children, a health or medical issue, lack of an emotional connection, resentment, communication issues, changes in lifestyle, pornography, having an affair, and work stress can all contribute to a change in sexual intimacy.
Here are 9 common reasons that your husband has lost interest in sex and what you both can do about them:
1. He Could Be Cheating
Women usually jump to this conclusion if their husband isn’t interested in having sex, wondering if or why he might cheat. Many wives feel, and women have been taught to believe, that if their husband isn’t interested in sex, he may be cheating. This remains a somewhat archaic way of looking at this issue which only magnifies the frustration of men that they simply cannot be interested in sex for other reasons.
Solution for Getting Your Sex Life Back On Track if He Could Be Cheating
First, ask yourself why you believe he is having an affair. Write down everything you are thinking and feeling. This provides you an opportunity to collect your thoughts and identify your emotions as you try to understand the situation. Then, let your husband know you want to talk and have the conversation in a safe environment.
2. He Is Depressed
The effects of depression and sex are due to biological processes. The neurotransmitters produced in the brain communicate with our sex organs. With desire, the body increases blood flow to the sex organs and triggers arousal.
However, with depression, the sex-related chemicals that should be released, are out of balance resulting in low or missing sexual desire.1 Depression also causes a lack of previously enjoyed activities or the ability to experience pleasure, low energy, mood swings, reduced self-esteem, fatigue, and feelings of hopelessness.2
Solution for Getting Your Sex Life Back On Track if He Could Be Depressed
It can be very challenging and emotional to decide to sit down and speak with your husband about his depression because it is a sensitive topic. But it is important to take the time to share with him that you want to talk to him about some of your observations and see if there are things you can do together to help him. You might also encourage him to speak to a mental health professional or speak to his primary care doctor about his depression and treatment options, such as medication. Sometimes men are more receptive to speaking to a physician than a therapist.
3. He Is Tired or Stressed
The lines between work and home have become blurred in recent years. Long hours, work stress, financial struggles, raising children, and balancing home and work life take a toll. Feeling stressed or tired can result in less sexual intimacy and less desire. When someone is stressed or fatigued, they often don’t have the energy to have sex. It’s not always on their mind.
Solution for Getting Your Sex Life Back On Track if He’s Tired or Stressed
When one partner is stressed, the other partner will feel the stress as well. However, there is an opportunity to address this issue together, so it feels to him that this is a team approach. For example, ask him about his stress and if there is anything that you both can do to alleviate some of the stress. Take some time to look at your schedules together and plan a time. Ask if it is a time management issue or just the stage of life you are in. What is causing the stress, and what are some factors that could help manage his stress level?
4. He Has a Sexual Dysfunction
Many types of sexual disorders like erectile dysfunction (ED), sexual anxiety, and medical conditions like prostate cancer can affect sexual intimacy. Although most people think that ED is only diagnosed in older people, that is not true.
More young men are experiencing ED, and it’s become an increasingly common condition.3 Erectile dysfunction can occur if he is taking medication for a medical condition such as high blood pressure.4 Men can also experience comorbid anxiety disorders and depression which are commonly seen in men with sexual disorders such as erectile dysfunction.5
Solution for Getting Your Sex Life Back on Track if He Has Sexual Dysfunction
This is often a very difficult topic to bring up with your husband. The reason why it’s so difficult is that having a sexual dysfunction is very personal. Men don’t want to talk about it. However, it’s important that he feels that you are interested and want to take the steps to help him. One of the first steps is to speak to a physician who can rule out any medical issues and then offer a diagnosis and treatment plan that will help him. Patience, grace, and empathy are key in these conversations.
5. You’ve Been Together a Long Time & Sex Has Become Routine and Boring
Sex has become routine and boring. Diminished attraction often develops over time when partners no longer share new experiences. The curiosity about one another has disappeared. They feel stagnant. The ‘mechanisms’ you put in place to make your relationship more secure and safer often put you more at risk. Being grounded in familiarity and a peaceful domestic arrangement can create boredom.6
Familiarity in a relationship with long-term relationships can become platonic and routine, leading to a sexless marriage. It is easy to get into a routine and become comfortable with the ‘business’ of the marriage, forgoing the intimacy in the relationship and making it a priority.
Solution for Getting Your Sex Life Back on Track if It’s Become Too Routine
This is a very normal part of a long-term relationship so speaking about it in that way, often helps. But taking the time that is good for both of you, will allow each of you to share some of the ways in which sexual intimacy has become routine and boring. It also allows each person to share how they feel they could spice up their sex life and try new things. Share your desires and interests, create tech-free time to talk, and purchase games or toys together that make sex more fun.
6. He Wants You to Initiate Sex
Men don’t always want to be the one that initiates sex, even if they were previously initiating. It should be more of a shared experience. When one person must always initiate, there is also an increase in being rejected. And after a while, rejection hurts and is difficult to manage.
He might start to not engage or initiate for fear of rejection. When both people are initiating sex, it helps create a connection without putting pressure on one person.
Solution for Getting Your Sex Life Back on Track if He’s Waiting for You to Initiate
Women are not always inclined to initiate sex. Much of that has to do with how they were raised and socialized. However, this is an opportunity to share what it would mean if you were to initiate more, taking some of the pressure off of him. For instance, you could talk about taking turns initiating, make it a game that you both participate in, or come up with a word or phrase to get each other interested. You could also schedule time to have sex and both people take turns planning something for your ‘date night.’
7. Porn Addiction
Using pornography in relationships isn’t always negative unless it has become an addiction and it has replaced sexual intimacy in the marriage. Research has indicated that pornography’s unique combination of limitless novelty and easy escalation to more extreme material doesn’t translate to real-life partners. For example, sex with desired partners may not register as meeting expectations and desire.7
Although it is possible to recover from porn addiction, it can also be challenging. Your brain has become addicted and sensitized to pornography – that is now doing the work for you.
Solution for Getting Your Sex Life Back on Track if He’s Addicted to Porn
This is also a very touchy and personal conversation to have, but it’s an important one. Again, the conversation should be at a time that is good for both people so that you can share your thoughts, feelings, and concerns about his porn use and potential porn addiction. He may become defensive, and it is not enough to just have a conversation. There have to be tangible steps he has to take to get this under control, such as about porn addiction together and having him speak to a specialist so he can seek the proper help is crucial for the longevity of your relationship.
8. He Lacks Individual Space
In her book, Mating in Captivity, Esthel Perel explores ‘the paradoxical union of domesticity and sexual desire.’6
Too much time together, can create stagnation and limit growth. The space in a relationship creates the much-needed desire. People need security, permanence, reliability, and stability, but also a need for novelty and change that encourages fullness and vibrancy.
During the lockdown, couples were living together 24/7. There was nowhere to go to create the space relationships needed to grow and thrive. Limited conversations, few new experiences, and wearing the same pair of sweatpants don’t bode well for sexual intimacy.
Solution for Getting Your Sex Life Back on Track if He Lacks Individual Space
A healthy relationship has time together and time apart. Schedule a time to talk about how each of you can get your own space and what that would look like. Is there something that he or both of you would like to do outside of the relationship? This could be a hobby, group event/sports, or reconnecting and spending time with friends. When you have space and time apart, it creates greater interest and curiosity – like it was in the beginning. You’ll have new things to talk about.
9. Your Relationship Is Strained
Research has demonstrated that sexual satisfaction has an important impact on the satisfaction of the marital relationship.8 Many couples have relationship issues that go unresolved for a long time. This builds resentment. Couples don’t feel connected or emotionally available for one another, and as a result, sexual intimacy and desire decrease or become non-existent.
The problem with a strained relationship is that conversations become escalated and turn into arguments. It feels like it is never-ending. However, there are ways to get your relationship back on track.
Solution for Getting Your Sex Life Back on Track If Your Relationship Is Strained
First, acknowledge to both yourself and your husband that you have these problems. The first step is always awareness. Choose a good time to discuss why you both feel the relationship is strained and some of the strengths. Talk about how you both feel and keep it limited to one thing with a time limit. You might also want to consider couples therapy as having a third party to help resolve issues, can be a positive direction. Also, read helpful articles and share these with one another.
How to Start a Conversation if Your Husband is Not Interested in Sex
It can be challenging to discuss sexual intimacy issues and feel like your husband is losing interest in you sexually. Sex is one of the more difficult topics to bring up and discuss. It’s a very personal and emotional experience – for both people.
But, if you find this is becoming increasingly problematic, then it’s time to have an honest and open conversation with your partner to address the issue because of the importance of sex in a healthy relationship. It may help to suggest a physical exam with a doctor to see if low testosterone may be an issue.
Here are some ways to have healthy communication in your relationship:
- Pick a good time for both of you that is planned and agreed upon in advance.
- Stick to one topic.
- Take turns sharing your thoughts, feelings, and concerns.
- Lead with grace, patience, and empathy.
When to Seek Professional Help
If you have tried to discuss this issue with your husband to no avail or very little change, it might be time to seek professional help. Many couples wait a long time thinking they can work out the issues on their own, but for many, this doesn’t work.
There are numerous advantages to doing marriage and couples counseling. A therapist can help you learn better communication skills and address all the issues that contribute to a change in his sexual desire towards you. Choosing a therapist you trust is crucial for this process, and this decision should be made together. And if convenience or access is a barrier, online marriage counseling services can be effective and are worth considering.
However, some people want to start with individual therapy to learn more about where the problem is originating before starting couples counseling. Each couple is different. Ultimately, therapy provides a safe platform to understand your partner differently in a non-judgmental way.
You might feel that if your husband has lost interest in you sexually, your marriage may be coming to an end, but that’s not necessarily true. Many of the issues centered around sexual intimacy and desire that couples experience, can be addressed and resolved with individual and/or couples therapy.
Working through couples therapy or sex therapy with a trained professional equips you with the tools and strategies to have healthier and more effective conversations and resolve the issues so that you both feel positive about your marriage. The tools and strategies will continue to help both of you long-term and help you feel more optimistic about your future together.