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Many Times It Is The Husband Who Withholds Sex
Written By: Mark Smith


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Historically in my practice it has almost always been the wife who shuts down sexually due to a variety of reasons Ė unresolved conflict, not feeling emotionally close, being to stressed and too busy, hormonal issues, etc. However, I am beginning to see an increasingly common pattern of marriages where the husband is actually the one who withdraws from the sexual relationship. If you are in such a marriage or you know of such a marriage I will give you some reasons for it as well as some direction to address those issues.

In my experience there are seven main reasons for a husband giving up on sex in a marriageÖ#1 Unresolved Conflict, #2 Repressed Sexual Neediness, #3 Depression, #4 Involvement in an Affair, #5 Sexual Identity Issues, #6 Low Testosterone, #7 Errection Disorders. Numbers one through four are difficult but doable fixes, number five is a deal breaker and numbers six and seven are a piece of cake.

Therapy is about truth. When I sit in front of a couple where the husband has given up on sex, my job is to figure which of the seven reasons fit. They always tell me everything that I need to know in short order.

My first order of business is actually not with the hubby at all. If the wife is feeling hurt, abandoned, victimized, bitter and angry then I start there. We ALWAYS marry the right person. I believe that if we pick a spouse who abandons us in any way that is actually our choice, our destiny, our work and our responsibility. It is about our childhood wounds that we need to have re-enacted in our marriage. If you were abandoned in any way as a child you will be also abandoned in your marriage. That is a done deal. It is the underlying reason that you were attracted to the man. Unconsciously you knew who he was and what is was going to do. I am serious. That is what marriage is. It is a mechanism that makes us work on our unresolved childhood wounds because we marry our issues. It is all good and it is all fair. So, once the wife is shifted out of her victimís stance we can then shift the focus and find out what is going on with hubby.

The first thing he needs to do is make an appointment with his doctor. If the issue is lack of desire his testosterone needs checked. Testosterone can be easily supplemented with monthly shots or with a daily application of gel. In my experience the fix is rarely so easy. If depression is an issue an anti-depressant that does not inhibit sexual performance can also be very helpful. If maintaining an errection is an issue there are highly effective medications that will instantly fix that problem.

Most often unresolved conflict is the root cause of the cut off. If a man lacks the skills to resolve conflict, if he is a conflict avoider or if he is passive aggressive then we have a lot of work to do. This guy will most likely put at least one of my kids through college. He needs to learn to stand up, be assertive and be a man in all areas of his life. His childhood wounds frequently have to do with a critical, controlling or abusive parent.

If he repressed sexual neediness he also has a great deal of work to do. In such a case a man usually has repressed all of his emotions. We need to explore why his emotions had to be repressed during his childhood and we need to locate the needy little boy buried deep in his heart. In a vibrant marriage both parties can take turns being needy while both are also able to be nurturing and strong.

If the issue is an affair it will come out in the wash soon. In such a case behavior changes suddenly so it isnít hard to connect the dots. Donít be so naive as to think that your husband canít be having an affair.

A surprising number of men involve themselves in sexless marriages as a way to hide from their but true homosexual natures. They are no doubt very conflicted. In my opinion, if a man is gay, he is gay. He is not wired to sexually attracted to a woman. He needs to let her go. He needs to figure out what that means to his future. He needs to face himself.

Some men are just so beaten and depressed that sex is the last thing on their minds. Medication and intensive therapy can help but it usually isnít a quick fix. A man needs to feel like a man in his life and in his home if he is going to feel like a man in the bedroom. He needs a great deal of encouragement and coaching.

Donít live in a sexless marriage. If your husband isnít interested drag him to a therapistís office immediately and find out why. Fix it. Life is too short to live in a dead marriage. You need to figure this out. You need to have the courage to face the issues, no matter where that takes you. There is effective help available. If he wonít come to therapy then you really should get started by yourself right away.




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This article was authored by Family Tree Counseling Associates, a marriage, individual and family counseling center serving the Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield and Noblesville communities in Indiana. If you would like to contact us, please fill out a contact us form or call us at 317-844-2442.
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