What to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Having Sex

What do you do if you don’t feel like sex as often as your husband would like? This is a question I have been often asked with an expression of guilt. What most women don’t know is that this is normal. Men physiologically tend to desire sex more than women. According to WebMD and University of Chicago Professor Edward O. Laumann, there are several differences in the sex drive of a man and a woman. They are:

  1. Men think about sex more.
  2. Men seek sex more avidly.
  3. Women’s sexual turn-ons are more complicated than men’s.
  4. Women’s sex drives are more influenced by social and cultural factors.
  5. Women take a less direct route to sexual satisfaction.
  6. Women experience orgasms differently than men.
  7. Women’s libidos seem to be less responsive to drugs than men.

No surprises. But I would add one:

      8. Children are more of a distraction to women than men.

I have 5 kids so I think I am 5 times more distracted! And there are times when I just don’t want to have sex. 

But…I love my husband first, most, and forever.

That is a reality I need to remind myself of–I love Mark first, more than the kids, work, friends, and everything but God. I LOVE HIM. I just don’t always think about it. I take him for granted as a partner in marriage and parenting instead of making him a priority–a physical priority! If you are like me and you’re ready to take steps toward putting your spouse and your marriage first, here are 3 things to do when you don’t feel like having sex:

1. Have Sex Anyway.

My husband loves when I show him physical affection. It is his only love language—one of the main ways he feels cared for by me. So, saying no to intimacy means not loving him well in that moment. He ends up feeling rejected as a man and as a spouse.

Some of you may be thinking, “Well I can’t just pretend to want sex to make him happy!” And this is true. But if you love him and want to please him it is not pretending. If your child were hurt would you pretend to have empathy while you hold them? Instead of pretending, be honest with your husband, and then choose to put him first and have sex anyway! It’ll look something like this: “You know honey, I’m really tired tonight and I’d rather do it in the morning. But I hear you, and I want to love you well. So, let’s do it tonight.” This way, you aren’t pretending, but you’re choosing to find joy in putting his happiness before your own.

The bottom line is that my husband is wonderful. He fulfills my every need (most of the time). Spiritually, he leads and challenges me in my walk with the Lord. Emotionally, he listens and stands by my side when I need him. So, as a wife, I want to fulfill his needs as well, including his physical needs.

2. Get in the Mood.

If you’re still worried about not wanting to pretend to enjoy sex when you don’t really want it, then I have 4 words for you: Get in the mood! Send the kids to bed early, light candles, put on some music, have a glass of wine, and turn the lights down low. If romance is what you need, then do whatever it takes to put some romance in the air. Realistically, we have to realize that not every time we have sex will be magical. Not every time will have fireworks. And not every time will be as earth-shattering as it seems in the movies. But every time is still a chance to love your spouse well and become more connected with him.

3. Save Time and Energy for Him–the Love of Your Life.

There have been plenty of times when I’ve been too tired to have sex. It’s late at night when I finally fall into bed, and I want more than anything to just close my eyes and drift off into dreamland. But then I see my husband next to me, wide awake and ready to hold me close…and I feel awful that I can’t stay awake. Over the years, I’ve come to understand the importance of saving time and energy for my husband. When I go go go between my job, kids, and housework, I’m completely spent by the end of the day. So if I really want my relationship with my husband to continue growing, then I have to intentionally save time and effort to love him well and have sex.

And if I save time and energy I usually don’t have a problem getting in the mood!

Still feel like your husband doesn’t understand your differences when it comes to wanting sex? Enlighten him. If you need more tips on how to love your husband well, check out Lists to Love By for Busy Wives

What do you do when you don’t feel like having sex?

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  • Linda

    “The bottom line is that my husband is wonderful. He fulfills my every need (most of the time). Spiritually, he leads and challenges me in my walk with the Lord. Emotionally, he listens and stands by my side when I need him.”

    If my husband were like this, I’d want to be there for him too. But if our husband does not meet our needs, spiritually lead us, and is not there for us emotionally, it is much harder to say yes. Feels like just doing a duty.

    • nicole

      Linda, that must be so discouraging for you… I’m sorry. I have heard it said that if you love your husband in the way you want to be loved, that it will begin turning his heart towards you. Hang in there… marriage is worth fighting for.

    • Linda, There have been many times that I felt Mark wasn’t there for me. He is an awesome husband on paper (faithful to me and children, good provider, etc) but often the heart complicates things and I have felt that he “doesn’t get me,” doesn’t do for me what I want, and I could go on. During these times when I am not feeling loved I have been reminded that what I really crave is humanly impossible for my husband to satisfy–it’s God. When people fail me, God fills me. Praying for you girl.

    • carol abrams

      It becomes somewhat of a chore when he only concentrate on the spiritual aspect of life

  • sad spouse

    I want sex way more than my husband. If I raise the issue at all with him, he says “I’m not interested” “I don’t enjoy it” (baloney from my experience ….). Nothing makes me feel loved, secure, cared for, special, fulfilled etc. than passionate sex (even plain sex) with my husband – and I have never wanted anyone else. But he refuses to cuddle, try to get interested, give me more than a quick peck on the cheek… I long to be held and touched and he just won’t. And he doesn’t do any of what you try to do for your spouse in the article – he refuses to try or give or allow opportunity… and he refuses counselling. He expects me to just accept it – he says that is the loving thing to do, and my wanting sex just makes him feel guilty because he’s not going to do it….and somehow that is my fault… I’ve prayed for him, changed everything I can, gone for counselling…. I’m tired of being lonely and physically needing sex….. there just seems to be no way to reach his heart. I’ve asked him what he needs from me to feel loved… etc.

    • mememe

      My husband started doing the exact same thing! For three years. I would have never thought he was a cheater, but I wound up finding out he had been Facebook cheating on me that whole time!. I mean he never physically had sex with other person. But it didn’t hurt me any less. On top of it all, he did exactly as you say, made me feel guilty for wanting intamicy when it was him and his guilt. Me
      Men process things differently than wemon. And I’m not saying your husbin is cheating… but he’s deffunatly the one who is guilty. He’s refusing to hear your needs and meet you halfway. And he is using a guilt trip against you ti make himself feel good in some aspect. In sorry you have to go through that. And I know exactly how you feel. Its very lonely.

    • Foreheadsheensarehot

      It’s not you at all! It’s his testosterone levels are getting lower and lower and lower. Have him get it tested. Mine was 256, which is very low. The doctor prescribed test injections and after 1 week, it was like I was 18 again. Trust me he’s still attracted to you, he just needs the testosterone to get the libido back. Honestly, by the second week, I would finish and be ready for more before my thing went back down. It even increases the blood flow down there for stronger erections. Another thing that’s helped me is that I watched a video on how to perform oral. Now after so many times using my tongue, it’s like my tongue is super strong and I can make her finish before we even have any penetration. My GF is one of those women who gets mad if she doesn’t finish before me, which is illogical and selfish, but I’m kind of glad she’s forced me to improve my skills. It has helped me realize her perspective. Now if I finish before her, I pull out big Ben and finish her off every time. Big Ben’s her toy, he’s a show off, but my girls happy so I’m happy too! Peace!

      • Your comment has been deleted because it violates our comment policy –

        • Foreheadsheensarehot

          Can you at least relay the message, that most of these women just need to have their husbands get their testosterone checked? This is their reason for their low libido’s. Test levels lower than 350. Once on T-therapy they and you will thank me.

    • Out Of Time

      Wow . . . your issue is exactly the same as mine . . . only I’m the husband!

      It has been eight years now since we’ve been intimate, and I’m about to explode!

  • Leslie Dioko Cariaso

    Thank you so much for these reminders. Much appreciated! 🙂 God bless you and your family and all you do!


    Something that is often left out of these types of discussions is the dynamic of a woman who has a history of sexual abuse. It’s nearly impossible for many women who have been sexually abused to “just do it anyway” without building resentment toward her husband. And that resentment can virtually destroy a marriage, particularly when the wife is needing her husband to say I love you more than this.

    • Carolyn F Eroh

      I appreciate your comments. Very nicely stated. Thank you. 🙂


      I think it’s impossible for any woman to “just do it anyway” without building resentment towards her husband

  • Another sad spouse

    I know many women who have a greater interest in sex than their husbands do! Any advice for us?

    • Out Of Time

      Seems there is way more advice for women who want sex and their man doesn’t (or can’t) than there is for a man who wants sex and the woman doesn’t.

      The only advice I seem to get is “Cheat on her!”

      For me that hasn’t been an option, but after eight years of nothing I can’t hold out much longer.

      • Pedro

        You two need professional help. Don’t risk your marriage trying to solve this yourselves, or seeking advice on the internet. This is your MARRIAGE. Go get the BEST professional you can find to help you out. This is no joke.

  • Dont Know what to do.

    I don’t really know what to do when I don’t feel like doing it. I lovee my boyfriend to death and sometimes im just not in the mood why does this happen? i don’t want him to think im cheating or anything bad..

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  • moon

    The problem is that my husband stays up late as well as my daughter she never sleep when i tell her, and he keep saying let her sleep whenever she wants so i end up sleeping at dawn and on top of that he wants to have sex after she sleeps so i most of the time sleep before we begin and that pisses him off. So what should i do as it is ruining my marriage and nerves, i love them both but my life is a mess

  • Sara

    “Have sex anyway”
    Or don’t. If you don’t want to, then you’re not really consenting to sex. You should never feel obligated to have sex with your husband. You don’t owe him anything. If you want to have sex and he doesn’t, he doesn’t owe you anything. No one should focus their entire day around “saving energy” for sex you really don’t want in the first place. Again, you’re NOT by any means obligated to have sex with anyone for any reason. A simple no means no, and if a man can’t handle no, then he is not a man he’s a child. What do I do when I don’t feel like having sex? I do whatever else it is that I want to do, if it’s sleep or have some alone time or whatever. “Have sex anyway” implies that men can’t and shouldn’t control their sex drive and women have to cater to their fragile little egos.
    Ladies, don’t ever feel guilty if you don’t want to have sex. If you don’t want to, then you don’t want to and your husband should respect that. If he makes you feel guilty, then you are with someone who obviously has no respect for you. You are still an autonomous being and your husband doesn’t own your body even after you get married.

    • kerry

      Thank you for this. This is how I feel about it too. Always made to feel guilty for not wanting sex at 5:30 in the morning before he goes to work? Weird!!

    • Pedro

      I believe that, if the husband is also trying his best to make things easier for her, this is a valid advice. The whole point is, both wife and husband must make an effort to please/alleviate the burden of the other. Marriage is not about doing what you want or feel like doing. It’s about doing what is necessary for the happiness of your spouse (provided he/she will do that as well).
      Sometimes we have to “give ourselves a little push” to do things for the sake of ourselves and, in this case, of our spouse. Be it in sex, watching a movie, going out, doing a chore, helping with a problem, etc.

  • Carolyn F Eroh

    Are there any recent posts here?

  • Brenda Henderson

    Seriously? This sounded like it was written by a Stepford wife. Ugh!

    • Hi Brenda, What do you do when your not in the mood?

      • Tenia

        Not have sex

    • Tenia

      Exactly. This whole thing is like “Are you not in the mood to have sex?, here let me show you how you can force yourself to be because it’s always about your man’s pleasure if you love him as much as I love my husband!!!!”

  • Suzanne

    I love my husband, I would do most things for him, I have and will even have sex with him when I am not ready or am not in the mood. usually when this happens I don’t have an orgasm, and then he wonders what he did wrong, or if I’m still attracted to him. an insecurity thing. however if I fake an orgasm, he can either usually tell, or I feel like I’m being dishonest, which I don’t think is good either. When my husband and I first dated we had sex twice a day a few days a week, then in between when he proposed to me and presently, we have sex once or twice a week. I know he craves sex more then I do, I used to want sex all the time, but it wasn’t quality for me, it was more like exploring and trying to find out what I liked. when I started dating my husband I found that I enjoyed sex more with him then anyone I have ever had sex with. which is awesome, I have great sex with my husband!! But once or twice a week is never good enough for him anymore, he needs to have it every day, and between work, life, and our relationship, I cant/don’t have the energy or mental readiness to have sex every day like him. He does not understand this, and thinks its because I want someone else, which is completely untrue. But I don’t think it’s fair to say that I should just have sex with him, because that’s what we are supposed to do. I don’t say hey man go mow the lawn when you’ve just worked for 16 hours. I don’t say hey, you just made dinners for the next 5 nights, and you cleaned and worked today, how bout you go change the oil on all truck and car. no because that’s not fair, that’s not thinking about the other person, and that is unnecessarily asking someone to do something that you wouldn’t want to do yourself. when you ask a tired person to have sex, that activity of sex sounds like you want them to run a mile with weights on their backs. sure I can lay their like a dead fish and let him have his way with me, but that wouldn’t be fun for him either. Basically don’t expect that people are super heros and they can do anything if they set their mind to it. Women and men need to wind down and relax, and if they are tired, leave them alone. its not an unnatural thing to be tired.

  • anonymous

    My husband and I have sex at least 2-4 times a day (I know its a lot). most of the time i love it but we DO have a ton of sex and sometimes I just can’t work up the energy or mood to have sex that often. When I don’t feel like having sex, my husband get very offended and we end up getting into a fight. I don’t think I am being unreasonable but we have had this much sex for so long, now when I speak up and dont want to have it, he thinks there is something wrong. But in reality its just that I DONT FEEL LIKE IT. i love him and I love having sex and I want to most of the time but I dont know how to avoid getting into a fight when i dont want to. he has said things like “i cant be in this relationship without sex” which is extremely offensive. Sometimes when we wake up and we are cuddling for a while, he will try to initiate sex and i will say I dont feel like it, he will say I should just get up and get on with the day. I dont know what to do.

    • Pedro

      I am sorry to say, but it is clear as day he is a sex addict, and he has no clue what marriage is.
      Sounds like he is married just because of sex. He needs counseling from a professional. You both probably need.
      A marriage cannot be dependent on sex. You must be connected by other things that are not sex, to a way that if you never did it again you would still have no trouble being together.
      If you guys are unable to spend a month without having sex (and in a healthy way, talking, spending time, going out, etc), then you have a problem.

  • Layla

    She’s talking about married couples here. So good for you for abstaining! And she’s saying it’s not loving him WELL in that moment. Read 1 Corinthians 7:4-5, it’s biblical! It’s also about learning and knowing your husband. She knows her husband. You learn his signals, whether he knows he’s sending them or not. And when you sense it’s coming, you get your mind right about it, and be ready, if possible. It can take a long time to really get in your particular groove. I also don’t think she’s saying you can never say no (sometimes it’s a non-negotiable no). I do think she is saying.. marriage is hard, so purposely choose him, choose love.


      She’s saying you should allow your husband to to writhe around on top of you, in order to avoid him “feeling unloved” aka emotionally blackmailing you into sex. That is not love. That is abuse.