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My wife isn't the least bit interested in sex and I am taking it personally. Should I?

Community Member

Hey guys. I am hoping I am not the only guy in this boat... my wife never wants to have sex with me. We are still relatively young (I am 30 and she is 29) and we have been married 4 years, been together about ten. We used to have a pretty active sex life but it has gone dormant since we had kids about 3 years ago. She always says she is tired and makes excuses like she can't be bothered or other trivial things. And she never comes on to me. I always have to initiate it and I feel rejected and horrible when she knocks me back.

Being depressed and having low self esteem probably makes it seem worse, but I take it pretty badly being knocked back and going without sex for months. I feel maybe she isn't attracted to me or in love with me anymore but she denies this. I don't know what to think anymore. Any thoughts anyone?


173 Replies 173

Community Member

So much of it is all in my head and I am trying really hard to work on myself and just do the physical affection thing sometimes, even when I don't feel like it. I have a suspicion that my low libido could also be hormone related (as a result of all the hormones of pregnancy, breastfeeding etc.) and will be talking to my GP about that soon.

I spoke to my mother's group about this and many of them said they are too tired and hardly ever do it. One couple has started having sex as soon as they put their baby to bed at night so they are not too tired. I'm going to try that next. Another said that she doesn't miss sex unless they are having it regularly to begin with. I can definitely relate as I generally enjoy sex and never regret having it, but it's still not enough to make me want it the next time without really convincing myself that I will enjoy it. Lots of us also found that sex was a bit uncomfortable after having a baby and it took a long time to get better (largely hormone related). I will be talking to my GP about that too, though it's definitely better now than the first 6 months or so after birth.

She probably knows it's a problem and probably feels really bad about it like I do, but there are so many demands of her at this stage, she might not have anything left in the tank for you at the end of the day, other than being civil and practically helping each other. It won't last forever or be an excuse forever, but can I reiterate that she needs your patience, comfort and affirmation (you are likely the only one in a position to comment on how good a job she is doing and your supportive words mean a lot) at this time. 

I think talking to a counsellor is a great idea for you and hopefully they can give you some ideas about how you could approach this with your wife, and when the time might be right to do that, and what you could change about yourself in the meantime (though not blaming you at all).

I really hope that you find a counsellor who can listen and offer some advice. It can be hard to find one who suits you, but it's definitely worth giving it a go.

I hope this has been helpful and I will let you know if I think of anything else that might be useful to know. Hang in there and definitely don't have an affair in the meantime (can't believe people even suggested that!). 

Hi Steven1,

It is great you have started this thread, many will benefit. I don't have more to say except, I know exactly how you are feeling, I have experienced the same thing. It's a bit of a roller coaster, am I worthy, has she stopped loving me, it is a challenge to find some compromise.

One thing I have learnt, you cannot control anyone else, only your self. In my case my partner had several events and mental health issues that combined to turn her off sex. So essentially, I'm not going to pressure a unwell person to do it, that would be very wrong. 

So it has become a personal challenge, to be happy to be with my partner, without (much) sex. It's not her fault and it's not mine. I have had to take a look at myself to know that I am desirable and I constantly have to ensure I am doing the things that I know are right, like all the other forms of intimacy, without any expectation. It's not easy but you have to stay true to yourself. Try and shift your focus to the things that your wife will do, reassign some importance and value to these things.

Did you get to the counseling sessions? A professional view will really help you right now. 


Thankyou so much for your posts Alice in Wonderland. You have given me a really good insight into the female perspective. I think that my wife is feeling very much the same way. I know she is definitely exhausted and has no time or energy for sex. What I need to do is to find a way of not beating myself up about it!

I feel very guilty at the moment (about everything). For example, yesterday was mother's day and I really wanted to spoil my wife and have a nice day together and as a family but it didn't happen. I had to work.... I am a shift worker and work weekends and all kinds of hours. Yesterday I started work at 615 in the morning so I was up at 5am. Didn't get to get her brekky in bed or anything like that. Worked until half past one then had to swing by and see my own mother for mother's day. It was 4pm by the time I got home.

She had been home all day with the kids and was exhausted and irritable by the time I got home (I don't blame her at all) as our 3 year old is being a little terror at the moment. We had planned to go to Fremantle for dinner and take the kids to the park but she was too tired and said it was too late. Then we planned to have a picnic at a local park but they were burning off yesterday and it was smoked out so we ended up staying home and having takeaway. It was such an ordinary day. And I blamed myself for it. By 8pm she had gone to bed. Think that answers your post Mrs Dools. It certainly wasn't the day I had in mind.

I try and be as supportive and helpful as I can but feel guilty even going to work and leaving her. I know someone has to work and earn an income but I feel like she needs me at home to cope. I do a lot of housework - dishes, vacuuming, washing, the gardens, pool the pets and help with the kids. But I still feel like it isn't enough.

We have had a few cuddles and kisses but I certainly don't make it sexual or put any pressure on her. I am pretty sensitive, even though it may sound like all I care about is sex. That is not the case.

Jacko thanks for your post too. Haven't seen the counsellor yet. Which reminds me - I might ring and make an appointment. I think a professional's perspective might really help.

Community Member

Hi Steve.  You poor thing.  You had it all planned so nicely then everything that could go wrong, did.  Talk about Murphy's Law.  I'm sure your wife doesn't blame you, if she does 'lash' out, it's probably just that she's worn out and needs to 'vent' and you just happened to be there.  My hubby was a shift worker too, so my heart goes out to you.  Could your or her mum help out with the kids, or won't they stay with anyone but you and mum.  Kids can be 'clingy' at such a young age.  Try not to feel guilty about circumstances beyond your control.  I'm a great believer that when things are meant to be, they'll be without any 'force', for lack of another word, on our part.  Some day you'll look back on these days and say 'remember when'.  3 year olds can be holy terrors, nothing seems to work when you're tired.  If your wife wants to cry from sheer frustration and tiredness, you're right to 'be there' and try to let her know she's loved.  You're a warm, supportive husband.  I'm sure she knows and appreciates this.  Even if she doesn't seem to acknowledge it, I know one day, she will.

Best of luck with the counciling, too.


Hi Steven1,

So Mother's Day didn't work out as you had hoped or as you had planned.

Maybe you could do all of those things you had wanted to do on another day.

I'm hoping your wife will appreciate it even if it is not happening on the dedicated "Mother's Day".

It sounds like you are trying hard to help in any way you can.

My husband worked shift work hours for decades so I know that can be disruptive to a "normal" life style.

Try to make another occasion a special day. Tell your wife it is a  day just for her and she doesn't have to share it with any other mother.

Hope it works for you.

Cheers, from Mrs. Dools

Community Member

Steven1, wow that was like reading about my own situation. Like you, I understand the stresses that she is under, but it is so difficult when your needs are being placed on the waiting list.

As you said, it's not so much the sexual activity, it's that need to feel desired. I'm glad I signed up, because if nothing else your story has made me realise that I'm not the only one going through that mental torment.

It's a difficult road but we're not alone, without knowing you or your wife, one suggestion I have, as difficult as it may be, is tell her this is something you need.

If you're like me then all of the other suggestions that have been made are things you just naturally do.

Good luck with the counselling, maybe once you've been a couple times you can get your wife to join you.

Thanks LostNotFound. And thanks to everyone that has posted. Has been good having you all here and being able to vent to people who understand and are supportive.

I had another talk with my wife the other night while we were in bed. I did tell her that sex was important to me and not just about the act of it but nothing has changed. We still have opportunities come up with alone time and I think about sex but I can tell she isn't thinking about it. She gets on facebook or goes online shopping or researches baby stuff or plays with her phone. We kissed passionately the other day and I told her I missed her and wanted her. But when the kids went to bed she didn't do anything. I have given up initiating anything now because I don't want to be seen as desperate. I only want it if she does.

I am booked in to see the counsellor on Wednesday. I am not expecting any ground breaking suggestions or advice but I just want to get it all off my chest and have someone to listen. My biggest criticism of counsellors in the past is that they don't listen. They seem to see you as just another person with a story they have heard before and start firing out suggestions like exercise more etc - they think they know your case and just tell you what to do.

Anyway I will keep you posted. Thanks again guys (and girls)


Community Member

Lack of sex can sometimes be a sign of the wife being down on herself/struggling with hormones but I think it can also be a sign of (fixable) relationship problems such as a lack of communication and lack of appreciation.

I think the fact she's not given any timeline for sex or much of an explanation is a sign there might be some relationship issues at play. 

I think it's really good you are working on the communication side of things by raising the sex issue with her, that is a difficult talk to have. I wonder though, perhaps you could start with neutral topics like the weather, news and your and her day instead?  

Maybe in a while when you're a bit more reconnected, it might be natural to talk about heavier issues like how she is feeling emotionally, and sex. 

From what you've said, it sounds like you  didn't see your wife on Mother's Day morning much/at all, and then you went straight to your mum's when you finished work, and stayed there for a few hours. I wonder how your wife felt about this?

Obviously you can't help your shift work but is there any chance she expected/hoped that you'd come home to her straight away, to help her with the kids and to be there for mother's day? Her comment that it was "too late" for dinner makes me wonder. 

I also wonder whether she might not have realised your plans for mother's day and needed to see something more concrete happen - for example, did you buy her some nice breakfast ingredients beforehand given you couldn't make her breakfast? Had you already bought and packed the picnic ingredients? Did you buy her flowers or a gift?

I might be off the mark here but I just think its sometimes to easy to complicate things and it might be worth looking at the basics of your relationship first. 

Community Member

Hi gs powner. Thanks for your post. You make some good points there. I agree with you that we do have some relationship issues. I think there is a lot that is not being said by my wife.

We do talk about everyday things like how our day is and the weather so I'm not sure what you are getting at there. We don't walk around not talking to one another. 

In regards to mothers day you are right in saying I wasn't the best prepared. And I'm not very romantic so I'm guessing that didn't go down well. I'm not making excuses but with my depression I have found it very difficult to plan things and get organised. I should have put a lot more effort in than I did. I feel very guilty about seeing my mum too. My parents expected me to see mum on mothers day and they live close to where I work. It's half an hour drive plus from home and that is why I went there first. In hindsight I probably shouldn't have done that. I got really stressed in the lead up to mothers day with working out how I was going to juggle work, visiting my mum and spending time with my wife. I find it hard saying no and being assertive but I really should have nicely said to my parents I couldn't make it on mothers day.

Thanks again for your post. Gives me a few things to think about and raise with the counsellor tmrw too. I may also apologize somehow to my wife tonight. 


Community Member

I didn't mean to suggest you don't walk around not talking at all (although it's not so easy with kids around). Just that it seems she might not be talking so much about the things that are bothering her and that it might benefit to try and create more opportunities to generally talk more to see if that helps get things out.

If it helps you to know, the Mother's Day mother vs wife dilemma plays out in a lot of households I think, so you are not alone in trying to balance it!  

I think it's not easy to say no to parents because we do tend to assume their requests are reasonable because we believe parents always out their children first and would never act selfishly.

I guess something to think about is, if you had been the parent here, and you were acting in the best interests of your son, what would you have told your son to do in these circumstances, knowing he was working and his wife was at home with young children? 

I hope your discussion with your wife went well.