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How To Survive A Sexless Marriage As A Man

How to Love Your Wife in a Sexless Marriage

Remember your wedding day when you first laid eyes on your beautiful bride to be?  Remember how the vision of her in that wedding dress literally took your breath away.  Remember when you thought or said to yourself, “I can’t believe this beautiful creature is going to be my wife. I must be the luckiest man in the world.” And remember you couldn’t wait for your wedding night to unwrap God’s perfect gift to you. 

Now imagine 2, 3, maybe even 4 years into your marriage, that same woman, who couldn’t keep her hands off you (and vice versa), won’t even allow you to touch her, let alone have sex with her.  

According to, 15.6% of married people didn’t have sex in 2023.  And what’s even worse is that 74.2% of all sexless marriages end in divorce.

Now at first glance, 15.6% doesn’t seem like a large percentage – but what if that marriage was yours?

how to deal with a sexless marriage as a man

How To Survive A Sexless Marriage As A Man Who Doesn't Understand Why He Has To

When it comes to being a husband, admittedly, there’s a lot of things most of us weren’t taught as men, from how to avoid unnecessary arguments and conflicts to understanding our wife’s emotional needs.  

But as a leader of a growing Christian men’s mentoring and coaching organization (Real Men Connect), I can attest, firsthand, that almost none of us were taught how to survive a sexless marriage as a man, including yours truly.  Mostly, because we never expect for it to happen; because if we did, we wouldn’t have gotten married in the first place.  

So, over the past 8 years, our ministry has been teaching and training men how to love their wives, even in a sexless marriage.  And the irony is, when you learn how to love your wife in a sexless marriage, the outcome usually results in you having more sex in your marriage than you did before it stopped.  

coping with sexless marriage

First You Must Accept That The Issue Is A Reality - How To Survive A Sexless Marriage As A Man

I know that may be hard for you to believe right now, so allow me to explain not only how to survive a sexless marriage as a man, but how to keep it from ever becoming an issue in your marriage again.

First, you have to identify and address the “real” reason WHY your marriage is sexless.  Because unless you identify the “root” of the problem, you’ll never be able to change the fruit (or lack of) on the sexless tree.

surviving a sexless marriage

There are typically five (5) primary reasons why sex may leave a marriage: 

  1. Lack of trust. 

We all know how important trust is to any relationship. And although it takes years to build trust, all it takes is one bad decision to destroy it.  Infidelity, watching porn, lying, flirting with other women, keeping secrets, and any other form of deception, can all contribute to the erosion of trust in a marriage.  

And the lack of trust can eventually lead to an absence of emotional intimacy between you and your wife. Since a woman’s greatest need is to feel safe and secure, that means most women need emotional intimacy before they need physical intimacy.  And when there is no trust, or the trust has been broken, so has the emotional intimacy.  And no emotional intimacy usually results in a lack of physical intimacy. 

how to fix sexless marriage

  1. No/Poor communication. 

Marriage statistics reveal that the number one cause of divorce in America is a lack of communication.  Some people may think it’s money; but, it’s actually the lack of communication about money that gets most couples in trouble.  

Communication is a skill, and very few men have been trained on how to listen, read non-verbal cues, use the right words to convey how they feel, control their anger, and how to ask the right questions to help their wives communicate more effectively.  

And a breakdown in communication usually leads to a breakdown in relational intimacy (i.e., friendship).  And just like emotional intimacy, women need relational intimacy before physical intimacy.  Unless your wife feels disconnected to you relationally (i.e., she knows, likes, and trusts you; she has fun being around you; you make her laugh; she finds you interesting, etc.), she’s probably not going to desire you sexually.

help with sexless marriage

  1. Insecurity.  

This is a tricky issue.  Because if your wife suffers from low self-esteem, this may or may not have anything to do with you.  Insecurity could be something she’s battled with most of her entire life.  Insecurity points to her identity and her self-worth as a woman. But there’s also a chance that you may have unconsciously contributed to her low self-image by making negative comments or “innocent” jokes about her body and appearance.

Even if you haven’t wounded her self-esteem, you have to understand that women in general, not just your wife, are bombarded all day with messages from the media, advertisement, and culture telling her, “She’s not enough.”  That’s why a husband watching porn can be so devastating to a wife.  Not just because it breaks trust (which it does), but also because most women see it as a personal attack on their appearance. And if an insecure wife struggles with seeing herself as “sexy,” she will have little or no desire to have sex with you.

how to fix a sexless relationship

  1. Fear.  

Another tricky issue.  For most of us as husbands, we weren’t our wives first boyfriend or first crush.  In fact, we weren’t even the first man in her life – that was her dad, even if he wasn’t physically present in the home.  Whether it was a good father, no father, or even the wrong father, all had an influence on your wife.  And if she didn’t grow up seeing a healthy expression of sexuality modeled in the home between her Mom and Dad, and/or she was mistreated or abandoned by her biological father, then she’s probably still in need of emotional healing from her past trauma.

Now, add to that a woman’s bad relationship with an ex-boyfriend or husband; trauma from abuse or rape; witnessing domestic violence between her parents; or being rejected by men or criticized for her sexual performance.  All of this can lead to a fear of emotional and relational intimacy, as well as physical intimacy.  Just think about the trauma you’ve experienced and how all of that has shaped your view of women and how you approach and view sex as a man.

how to make a sexless marriage work

  1. Physical limitations

This speaks to the physical aspect of sex.  Getting past the emotional, relational, and physical intimacy side of sex, your wife may be physically unable to perform sexually, due to a disability or debilitating illness. Or sex just may be plain painful and uncomfortable for your wife. She could have physical limitations that prevent her from enjoying sex with you fully because of what’s physiologically going on inside of her body -- from menstrual cycle complications to menopause hormonal imbalances.  These and more are health issues that she, and you, both need to explore and be aware of.  

No sex in your marriage may not have anything to do with your wife’s lack of desire, but rather as result of what’s going on physically in her body (or what’s going on physically inside of yours).  Only her doctor and gynecologist can help her find out for sure. 

how to cope with sexless relationship

How to Survive and Thrive in a Sexless Marriage

So, now that we know why marriages can become sexless, let’s look at how to survive a sexless marriage as a man, and reignite the passion that will eventually bring sex back into the marriage.

The key is PATIENCE. Yes, easier said than done, but trust me, based on my experience in working with Christian men on this sensitive topic, it’ll well be worth the wait and effort.  In fact, I encourage my men to make Patience their best friend – especially when he gets on your nerves.  Because Patience is there to help you, not harm, your marriage.

While you’re waiting, I want you to focus on one thing, but in four (4) different ways.  And that one thing is building intimacy.  You’ve heard me mention that word a few times in this article, because there can be no lasting sex in a marriage without INTIMACY.

But here’s the key, there are four (4) different types of intimacy you need to work on:

  1. Spiritual Intimacy.  

Help your wife find her identity in Christ, not in her body and not in her role as your wife, but rather as a daughter of God. Remind her constantly of who God says she is, “She’s His beloved, His chosen, His adopted, and His daughter with whom He is well pleased.”

And as a daughter of God, she’s made in His image, and her sexuality comes from Him.  So, ask her, as a beloved daughter of the Most High God, questions like:

  • What does she THINK about sex?  

  • WHERE and HOW did she learn about sex?  

  • WHAT does she think God thinks/says about sex?

  • WHAT does she think God thinks about HER when it comes to sex?

What you’re doing by asking these questions is helping her build a healthy view of sex by basing it on God's truth, not her past trauma.  Doing this helps and leads into the next level of intimacy…

lack of sex in a marriage

  1. Relational Intimacy.  

Attempt to develop a two-way dialogue through honest communication about sex, your marriage, your future, your interests, desires, etc.  By building relational intimacy, you’re trying to win your wife’s heart.  And you can’t win her heart unless you first understand it.

  • Ask her, in a perfect world, what does she DESIRE most in your marriage when it comes to sex? Ask her to paint a verbal picture for you. And then ask her follow up questions for clarification.  Then speak what she says back to her in your own words to make sure you understand.

  • Ask her, what challenges/obstacles does she think are preventing her from experiencing the kind of sexual life she desires right now?

  • Ask her, beyond your love for her, why does she think you married her?  Then reaffirm anything positive that she says, and then tell her what she left out.

In addition to the relational intimacy questions about sex, you can also ask her questions like…

  • What would you like for us to experience together as a couple?

  • What would a perfect date with me look like?

  • When we’re together, when do you feel the most loved by me?

Now that you understand her heart a little better, it’s time to for you to pursue her heart a little bit deeper. That’s where the next level of intimacy comes in.

living with a sexless marriage

  1. Emotional Intimacy

This requires that you pursue your wife’s heart BEFORE you pursue her body. I also call emotional intimacy, “establishing a connection before an erection” or “interaction before intercourse.” 

Emotional intimacy is not about having sex, but rather about preparing your wife’s heart for sex.  And believe it or not, this isn’t as difficult as you may think.  Emotional intimacy involves communicating from the heart.  Your wife wants more from you than just your body, and she wants to give you more of her than just her body; she wants your souls to connect.

In relation to sex, ask her…

  • How does she feel about her body (i.e., love or hate, and why)? And then tell her how you feel about yours.

  • How does she feel about asking to have sex with you? and Why? And then tell her how you feel about asking her.

  • How does she feel when you say no to sex? and Why? And then tell her how you feel when she says no.

  • How does she feel during sex? What do you need to know? What are her likes and dislikes?

In addition to sexual questions, to establish emotional intimacy, you can also ask her …

  • What are her biggest fears? And then share yours.

  • When it comes to her body, what is she most insecure about? And share yours.

  • What’s the one thing she would ask you if she wasn’t afraid of your response or reply?

my sexless marriage is killing me

The last level of intimacy is the one that is probably the most misunderstood.

  1. Physically Intimacy

Most men think physical intimacy is all about sex; it’s not, even though sexual intercourse is part of it. But sex is only a very small part. The truth is, you can't enjoy each other sexually, in the same bed, if you're not emotionally on the same page.  Again, this takes communication.

You should spend more time talking about sex and preparing your wife for sex than physically performing the act.

Learn your wife’s sexual preferences first instead of worrying about your sexual performance.  

Just ask her:

  • WHEN does she prefer to have sex? and Why?

  • WHERE does she prefer to have sex? and Why?

  • WHAT does she prefer during sex? and Why? (i.e., more/less foreplay, music, fragrance, etc.)

  • WHERE does she desire to be touched, and how?

  • HOW LONG does she prefer to have sex? and Why?

And here’s the crème de la crème when it comes to establishing physical intimacy; start focusing more on touch than sex.

Psychologists say that women require physical touch at least 12x a day.  I don’t know if that’s humanly possible, but to me the number of times isn’t as important as your level of intentionality.  Therefore, be more intentional about giving your wife “non-sexual” touch as much as possible.  

Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Hold her hand in bed/hold her in your arms as you sleep

  • Put your arm around her when you sleep

  • Put her hand on your chest when you sleep

  • Kiss her on the forehead when she's sleeping (or when she wakes up)

  • Brush up against her when you walk by her

  • Play tap her on the tush when you pass by her

  • Give her a hug as soon as you see her

  • Give her kiss on the cheek when she gets home

  • Hold her hand when you're walking with her

  • Hug her from behind when she's at the sink

  • Give her a quick shoulder massage when she’s sitting down or standing up waiting

  • Rub her feet when she's on the couch

can a sexless marriage survive

Can Men Live In a Sexless Marriage?

Let’s face it, the numbers don’t look good when it comes to surviving a sexless marriage. Nearly 75% of those marriages end in divorce.  But this doesn’t have to be true of your marriage.  If you understand the root cause of a sexless marriage, address them and get help for them, and then focus on building up the four (4) levels of intimacy, I believe you’ll see God bring beauty from the ashes and reignite and restore the love and passion you first had in your marriage.


Need help repairing your own marriage? Book A FREE Call with me below.

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