My wife has lost interest in sex. What do I do?




My wife and I have been married for 4 years, I am nearly 40, she is 35, our first marriage each.  We have 3 children aged 3-1/2, 2 year old  and 9 months old.  My wife is reluctant to have any sex with me.  While pregnant and for the first 6 months after our last child was born, I could tolerate it. However, now when I try to have sex, it usually erupts into an argument.  She wants sex infrequently (we do it about 1 time a month), I must basically beg for it repeatedly, and we do it the same way (missionary position). She does not want me to touch her breast (she has not been breast feeding for the past 6 months),  she barely kisses me and she will not allow me to do cunnilingus (oral sex on a woman). I don’t request her to perform fellatio (oral sex on a man).   

She said that we can only have sex when she feels like it. I have pointed out I Corinthians 7:2-4 that sex is a duty between married couple, just as companionship, and raising children are other duties of marriage.  She said that for the next 2 years I will have to endure a “tired” wife. However, since we have married, she has gradually been less reluctant to have sex.  However, when she wanted to get pregnant, she usually initiated it every day or every second day unhesitatingly.   While I respect that she can be tired from minding the 3 children (she is a full time stay at home mom, not working outside of the home), I get home at 5.30 to 6pm most nights and take care of the children including putting them to bed), i also want to have a good relationship with my wife, not just be child minders.

Based on 1 Corinthians 7 or other passages, what can I do?  I am not forcing her to have sex every day, but to have 1 to 2 times a week?

Because you have had three children in four years and both you and your wife are older than the average couple, I suspect that your wife, consciously or not, has associated the act of sex to being pregnant and having children. Since your first came almost immediately (I assume that there is some rounding in your numbers and not that you were having sex before marriage), you and she really didn't spend any time developing a purely sexual interest in each other.

In the Old Testament, the Law required that a husband spend a year at home with no obligations taking him elsewhere. "When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken" (Deuteronomy 24:5). His task was to make his wife happy (give her sexual enjoyment) for that first year. Please note that nothing is stated about the husband's sexual enjoyment, but obviously if the wife is happy the husband won't be unhappy.

The two of you missed that opportunity to bond in this way. You mentioned that sex came to an end while she was pregnant and for six months after delivery. If this is what you have done with each child, the two of you had very little time actually enjoying sex. I also note that she says she plans on being too tired for sex for two years, again implying that she is only looking at sex as a way to become pregnant.

You both have started out with bad habits and they are going to be hard to break, but it can be done. Since you have the driving interest at the moment, let's start with things that you can do. All through your note you speak about what you want out of a sexual relationship. You need to figure out what your wife wants. Men have the unfortunate tendency to look at sex as something done. It becomes distinct, independent acts that last just a little while each week. Women see sex through the eyes of a relationship. It is the ultimate expression of many little things which have accumulated over the passing days. Or, at least most women do. I suspect your wife doesn't readily associate romance with sex; to her sex is just away to get another baby. I don't know if you can find it in your area, but there is a wonderful little book called How to Make Love with Your Clothes On by David and Anne Frahm. Actually there are two books -- one for the husband and one for the wife. Inside are suggestions for how to show your wife you love her without trying to get her into bed. What you really, seriously, and studiously do is learn your wife's likes and dislikes and go out of your way to things solely to please her. You are already behind, but I want you to mentally commit to doing this for at least one year. No pressure for sex, no nagging or pleading. If she happens to offer sex, great! But for your marriage sake, this is about her, not you.

What are you going to do in the meantime? You married late in life. You survived years without a sexual partner. You can do it for a little while longer.

Next, I want you to study The Greatest Love Song Written. Not a light, quick read, but a detailed in depth study of the book of the Song of Solomon. The book is a rare biblical piece in that it present information from the point of view of a woman and its subject is love and marriage. You will find numerous ideas regarding how to improve and build your relationship with your wife. Your wife might enjoy the study as well.

Finally, I would like you to read through a chapter I use with couples preparing to get married that is titled, "Contraceptives." The information there should give you ways to have sex without the pressure of producing children before you are ready which are satisfactory to both you and your wife.

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Marriage
Questions and Answers regarding Sexual Relations