Couple at sunset

Bedroom conflict is at it again. Husband wants sex with wife and she doesn’t want to give it. Wife wants husband to show interest in intimacy with her but he doesn’t. Both men and women feel lonely, unwanted, frustrated, and sometimes desperate and angry. It leaves some wondering, “Could I have married the wrong person?”

And then there are plenty of women who wish their husbands would just leave them alone. Perhaps sex is physically uncomfortable. Maybe it takes too much energy and you’re tired. You might not feel close to him at all right now, or even like him very much. Sex may bring up unpleasant or painful emotional feelings, perhaps from the past. Or maybe you feel like his request or “need” for sex in an intrusion into the life you really wish you could have.

A woman’s sexual response can be affected by many different things. If sex causes physical pain her brain will naturally try to avoid it and she will find it difficult to respond sexually. Unwanted memories may intrude and prevent her body and mind from responding. Busy-ness, worry, fatigue, or fear will shut her down. A woman usually responds best when she feels safe, close, and connected. For women, sex is a great deal more in the mind than anywhere else.

So how’s a woman to go about making this part of her marriage pleasant, or even enjoyable?

Here are some things that will help you enjoy sex with your husband:

  1. Get a physical checkup. Vaginal dryness after menopause, endometriosis, or a few other disorders may make intercourse painful. Some medications or chronic illnesses may decrease a woman’s libido and ability to respond sexually. Make sure any physical barriers to intimacy are dealt with. You owe it to yourself, and to your husband.
  2. Deal with the fear. If you are legitimately afraid of your husband, do something about it. Don’t stay in an unsafe situation. But if your husband is NOT dangerous, it’s not right for you to put your fear onto him. If you need help to heal from past abuse or trauma, get it. It IS possible to develop new pathways in your brain that will allow you to enjoy intimacy now.
  3. Respect what sex means to your husband. While you probably need to feel connected to your husband before you desire sex, your husband probably desires sex in part so that he can feel connected to you. Engaging in physical intimacy may well be the most important way you can affirm his masculinity, and it does help him connect with you.
  4. Choose to be close. Don’t be a victim to your feelings: you can tell your feelings what they’re supposed to do. Mentally picture yourself taking a step toward your husband. Choose to push yourself a little. Make the mental leap in your mind, and your body is likely to follow. Decide to feel close and be intimate, and you will likely be able to do so.
  5. Talk about sex. Yes, talk about it. If there are things your husband does that turn you off, tell him about it in a kind way, and at a safe time. As much as you may want him to be, he’s not a mind reader. Respect him enough to tell him what he can do to help you feel close to him. Many men would welcome the opportunity to know how to help their wife.
  6. Schedule sex. That may not mean literally putting it on the schedule. But it DOES mean recognizing how important sexual connection almost certainly is in your marriage. Say NO to some other things to allow you the time and energy to enjoy intimacy. Invest a little time and money in an inviting bedroom, intimate apparel, personal care products etc.
  7. Pray about sex. Pray for yourself, for your husband, and for your marriage. Pray alone, and together with your husband if he’s agreeable. Be honest with God about where you struggle, and ask for His help. He can provide healing for where you may have been hurt, insight into how to connect with your husband, and courage to take the mental leap toward intimacy.

Should you have sex any time your husband wants to? Not necessarily. It’s OK to say NO if doing so at a given time will cause you to resent it later.

But it’s also important to stretch yourself if sex isn’t easy for you. Good marital sex has many benefits. What that looks like will vary from one couple to another. But it’s worth investing in this important part of your marriage.

And be assured that you are honoring God just as much when you make love to your husband as when you are spending time alone with God. Don’t neglect either!

Your Turn: How much is sex with your husband a matter of the mind for you? What factors affect the quality of your intimacy? Leave a comment below.

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