Daily InspirationWhich is more important to you, safety or intimacy? Safety and intimacy are often mutually exclusive. True intimacy has its up and downs, its closeness and its distance, its peace and its fear, its joy and its sadness. Since there is always the possibility of loss, there is no true safety in intimacy, yet it is the spice of life. Which is more important to you, safety or intimacy? By Dr. Margaret Paul
"My Wife Won't Have Sex With Me"By Dr. Margaret Paul
July 22, 2013
Is sex mostly gone out of your relationship? There are always good reasons for this.
Do you identify with Lawrence, whose wife won't have sex with him? In my work with individuals and couples, I often hear this complaint. Lawrence asks:
"Would you please address how one deals with the anger, frustration, hurt, etc., which arises when one person in a marriage (in this case my wife) concludes she no longer desires sexual connection due to the combination of menopause, childhood abuse issues, pressure of life, etc., and she makes it clear she is not interested in changing the infrequency of sex--she just not interested in it. End of the discussion...period."
Lawrence, I understand what a challenging situation this is for you. Under your anger, hurt and frustration, you are likely feeling some heartbreak, loneliness and helplessness over your wife. These are very hard feelings to feel. The first thing I suggest is that you open your heart to kindness and compassion for your own painful feelings. It's very important for you to feel these difficult feelings with caring toward yourself, so you can let them move through you.
While menopause, childhood abuse issues and the pressures of life can certainly contribute to your wife not wanting sex, there are likely other issues regarding your relationship that are the actual causes of her not wanting sex. Generally, when partners are able to share love and intimacy emotionally, this extends to the sexual relationship. So I suggest you look at what is going on between you and your wife that is causing her to no longer want sex with you.
You might want to start with looking at your own anger, frustration and hurt. These feelings indicate that your intent may be to control her rather than truly learn about what is going on between you that is causing the problem. She might be telling you that the problem is menopause, childhood abuse and the pressures of life because she might be afraid to tell you the real reason – which may be that she feels emotionally disconnected from you. Anger and frustration are the opposite of caring and kindness, and indicate that you want control over having sex with her, rather than being open to learning about what she is actually feeling and why.
Are you making her responsible for your good feelings about yourself? Does she have to have sex with you for you to feel that you are okay? If this is the case, then she might be feeling pulled on to make you feel that you are okay, and this pull, which indicates neediness, is not a turn on for most women.
Your question indicates that you are completely focused on yourself and your own needs and not at all interested in what is really going on between you, and that you feel judgmental toward her. She is likely picking up your judgmental energy, and sexual connection doesn't flow well when there is judgment rather than caring and kindness.
I suggest you reframe your question. Instead of asking how to deal with your anger, frustration and hurt, the questions needs to be, "What can I do to understand what is going on between my wife and I that leads her to no longer want to have sex with me?" The answer to this question is for you to move into a true desire to learn rather than to control. By genuinely opening your heart to learning, you open the door to deeper communication with your wife. You might be surprised about what you learn about yourself and about her. Learning about yourselves and each other creates the emotional intimacy that allows sexual energy to flow.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her new 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."
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