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What to Do If You're Not Sexually Attracted to Your Husband

I love writing about relationships and helping my readers navigate all their ups and downs.

Is it possible to reignite the fire?

Is it possible to reignite the fire?

Not being sexually attracted to your husband is a more prevalent problem than you may think. Many women are married to men that they aren't sexually attracted to. Perhaps they were never attracted to them, to begin with, or perhaps over time they became less and less attracted. Sometimes the wives love their husbands, sometimes they like them, and sometimes they don't. There is a lot you can do to help ensure this lack of attraction doesn't affect your marriage for long.

In this article, I will discuss the importance of sex in marriage, some common reasons women aren't attracted to their husbands sexually, and what to do about it for both wives and husbands.

Expectations That Come With Marriage

There are certain expectations that go with being married to someone else, and one of those is centered around the notion of intimacy. A married couple is expected to be physically and emotionally intimate with each other, and specifically, a lack of physical intimacy can cause problems in the relationship, both emotional and legal.

The legal system in the United States considers a consistent lack of marital sex as a reason for divorce. "Abandonment of Affection" means that one spouse has left the other spouse in the cold in the bedroom. Thus, there is added pressure to be intimate with your spouse, which can be problematic if you are not sexually attracted to them. Many women feel that they are under constant pressure to engage in intimate acts with their husbands, and such pressures only exasperate the problem many women have when it comes to being attracted to their spouse.

Another angle to consider is that your husband loved you enough to marry you, which is an increasingly rare expression of love by men in our modern era. He does care about you deeply, and he is most likely just as concerned as you are about the lack of attraction you feel for him. Solving this issue will take the combined efforts of both parties; it is not up to you to try to fix everything by yourself.

Reasons Why Women Are Not Attracted to Their Husbands

There are plenty of reasons why you may not be attracted to your husband. The important thing to consider is what you can do to remedy those issues. Open communication is a good place to start. If you do not let your husband know that you are feeling this way, that will only make the situation worse. Keep the dialog between the two of you open.

  1. You married him because he had great "husband" qualities: He treats you well, he works 40 hours a week, and your likes and interests match up. However, you were never sexually attracted to him from the beginning of the relationship. He provides the emotional stability you crave, but he cannot please you physically.
  2. He has physically changed over the years: You don't find his appearance to be a turn-on anymore. Perhaps he is balding or 50 pounds heavier than when you met. All you know is that he doesn't look like the sexy guy you married anymore. Maybe he also dresses like a slob, and he has let his hair get way too long.
  3. He has said or done things that have hurt you over time: You no longer see him as agreeable to your senses. You have learned about the chinks in his armor, and you feel like you can't turn back from this. Now you see all of his flaws and focus in on them, poking holes in everything he does.
  4. He has stopped being attracted to you: Attraction is a two-way street so it is possible that your husband is no longer interested in having sex with you, which in turn can cause you to feel the same way. He may also no longer be expressing his love for you in a way that you understand and accept. Let your husband know what turns you on and what he can do to be more affectionate.

How to Become More Attracted to Your Husband

Here are some strategies for you to try out. They may help develop more attraction towards your husband or at least cause his attractiveness to increase in your eyes.

  • Do something thrilling and exciting: Studies from the American Psychological Association have shown that doing thrilling and exciting activities increases sexual attraction in couples. So, try to pick an activity that neither of you has done before, something that will get the blood moving and the adrenaline pumping. You can try zip-lining, hang gliding, skydiving, going to a rock concert, go-cart racing, or something else that breaks up your mundane routine.
  • Stare deeply into his eyes: While this may sound weird, there is scientific evidence to support that gazing deeply into someone else's eyes for an extended period will increase your attraction to them. Yes, just staring into your husband's eyes for minutes on end may seem a bit creepy but it is worth a shot. The trick is not to say anything and keep your eyes wide open. Start out by trying it for about two minutes straight and see how you feel.
  • Get lost in the feeling: The next time the two of you get intimate, focus on how he makes you feel, what you like, and dislike. Don't worry about how your husband looks, how you look, about how you don't get along, or about past mistakes he's made. Forget it all and get lost in how the sensation feels of being touched in the right places. You will be amazed at what the promise of an orgasm does for your level of sexual interest, and what an orgasm for both of you will do for your relationship. Trying to establish that deep physical bond is difficult, so that is why keeping the lines of communication open with your husband is critical.
  • Imagine your husband in his best state: Do you remember when your husband was at his fittest? Do you remember the days before he said those things that hurt your feelings? Do you remember when you had that great date together—long ago—that made you feel loved, secure, and happy? Marriage, as you know, takes a great deal of work. As time passes, we forget some of the magic if we don't actively refine our appreciation for the better parts of our spouses. Whether the magic was based on physical attraction, a deep sense of caring, love, or affection, you can harness that into physical love. How? By relaxing, using your imagination to take you back to the better parts, and opening yourself up, literally. You will probably find there is a lot more to love that you just forgot about over the years.

Why Sex Is Important in Marriage

As I've previously discussed, maintaining a healthy sexual relationship is an integral part of any marriage. Here are a few reasons why being intimate with your spouse is important for your well-being.

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  1. Sex bonds a husband and wife together through the production of oxytocin, the hormone released during orgasm that increases feelings of love and attachment between the couple.
  2. The power of touch. Both sexual and romantic touching increases the feeling of intimacy between a couple. Since this touching is reserved for a husband and wife only, the idea is that no one else in the world can provide you pleasure the way your spouse does.
  3. Women who experience regular orgasms or heightened sexual pleasure report better moods and happier lives. Sex relieves stress in both women and men, and this makes your walk through life a more pleasant one, despite the ups and downs of daily existence. In The Sex-Starved Marriage, by Michele Weiner Davis, the author explores just how much the mood of your marriage will improve with more frequent sex.
  4. When you and your husband have a consistent level of sex, it improves his tendencies as an empathetic partner, and he will reciprocate that level of pleasure to you. This need for consistent pleasure is biologically wired into men and women.

As you can see from the points above, consistent sex improves your attachment to him and your bond as a married couple, and it is a critical component of a healthy marriage.

What to Do If Your Wife Is Not Physically Attracted to You

While this article has primarily been focused on women, here are some steps for men to follow to increase their attractiveness in the eyes of their spouse.

  • Get in better shape: It can be easy for a married man to let himself go and start getting out of shape. Develop an exercise routine that is based around increasing strength and losing fat. This is the same approach you should apply to your eating patterns: cut out processed junk food and eat sensibly.
  • Dress and look better: This may seem like a no-brainer, but many men think that they can grow out their hair and dress terribly because they are married. Get a good haircut and start grooming yourself regularly. Go out and by some stylish clothes that fit your body and make you look and feel great.
  • Focus on her: Instead of always thinking about your pleasure and satisfaction, try to keep your attention on your wife and her needs. Keep an open line of communication and develop a strategy to work on getting back the intimacy you once had.
  • Go to marriage counseling: Seeing a good family/marriage therapist can help you and your wife work through your intimacy issues. Chances are if there are problems in the bedroom, there are other problems in your marriage that are not being addressed the correct way.

Final Note

Whatever you do, as long as you wish to remain married, working on sexual desire and intimacy should be a priority. It will be highly rewarding for both you and your spouse. Sex can bring magic back into your marriage or help place it there when there really wasn't much to begin with. Two people in a marriage are constantly evolving. You can choose how to evolve.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: What if I am sexually attracted to someone other than my husband?

Answer: You are likely to be sexually attracted to different people your whole life, simply because it's natural. You only need to not act on those urges with others.

Question: I have a boyfriend whom I love very much, but whenever he touches me I don't feel romantic, though he does all kind of romantic touches. Do I have any physical problem?

Answer: Probably not. Not being physically attracted to someone doesn't mean you have a physical problem. Love and physical attraction are sometimes not felt towards the same person.

Question: I really care for my husband, but lately, I don't want him touching me. I don't feel attracted to him. Is there something wrong with me?

Answer: No, your feelings can change about another human being at any time. Many wives and husbands go through phases like this, but it is best to find a way to be intimate still.

Question: I love my husband, but I feel as if I could be in love with another man. Is this wrong?

Answer: I am not going to judge you though I do believe it is wrong. However, people's feelings are a natural part of being alive, and many go through these feelings every single day. What happens in your mind is different from what you play out in life, with the latter making the difference in your and other people's lives.

Question: My wife enjoys sex when we have it, but never expresses any sexual desire for me. She is sometimes “in the mood” and lets me know, but I never feel any passion from her and it’s usually me who initiates. This has always been true for twenty years. Am I wrong for feeling that she’s not attracted to me?

Answer: No, but I don't think she really lacks attraction for you. Not all women have the same level of extroversion when it comes to sex either. If she is in the mood she is coming to you, so I think it warrants saying she has some king of desire for you. Believe it or not many women are shy about sex and sexual thoughts even when they're married. You could try asking her about fantasies or any moves she'd like you to make. And see if you can follow up for her. You can be honest and try talking to her about how you feel, if you haven't done so already. Encourage her to be open with you. It could be that how she acts towards sex is simply what she thinks is normal. Best wishes.

Question: How do I get my husband to understand my feelings if he is very hard to talk to?

Answer: I am guessing you are talking about this as an overall theme in marriage, and it's actually very common.

A lot of men are not in tune with dealing with aspects regarding feelings of other people, so your husband would not be alone in this. Similarly many men have gruff personalities, especially when it comes to disagreements.

If you've had a chance to tell him your feelings he probably knows them. He might not understand/relate to them/agree with them simply because he is a man and a different individual with a different perspective.

You can state to him that you feel it is difficult to talk to him and because of this you don't think he understands your feelings. But since we are not able to change other people you might find his behavior does not change, even if you tell him this many times.

If you find that most things about your husband are good and decent, and you are able to get what you need from your marriage overall, then you might consider letting this go.

Being wed to someone does not mean they will respond to all of our wishes. If the topic is important, however, you can lay out concrete reasons why he might go with a decision you want to make. This way he is not dealing with an abstract (feelings) but is dealing with consequences, of A leads to B, or X causes Y.

You can also try softening him up or buttering him up if you've found it helps you get your way. While men tend to not respond well to divisiveness in relationships they often soften up as a response to intimacy.

Question: Do you think the same sexual attraction issues in marriage apply for men as well? I'm a man, and I'm not sexually attracted to my wife.

Answer: Yes, many of the same techniques would apply to men as well.

Question: I've been with my partner nine years and I love him very much, but I've had no sex drive for nearly four years now. My unhappiness has grown to the point where I don't know if I should just be on my own to sort myself out. I've thought recently about splitting up with my partner but I still love him. I don't know what to do, he is the most important person in my life and has been incredibly supportive. How can I make myself more attracted to him again?

Answer: I wish I knew more back story about your situation because I have a feeling there is a deeper reason you feel the way you do. Perhaps you could be depressed overall or have a deep amount of dismay about some areas of life.

Although you didn't ask, if your partner is a good person and you are satisfied otherwise with the relationship, I would not let this person go. We always think the grass is greener on the other side. But once you are on the other side something else will bore you eventually. As human beings, it is rare to ever be really satisfied permanently. People who are really good and supportive of us do not come along that often. This person sounds very well worth holding onto.

I am not sure how old you are, but it is natural over time to lose physical attraction to a spouse or long-term partner, simply because familiarity is less exciting than something new and stimulating.

As for intimacy, the best thing for this might be utilizing visualization and memory. You can try to recall when you first met your partner and how excited you were. You can also focus on your favorite body part of your partner and go from there. You can also think of something that excites you that has nothing to do with your partner, but is a jump-off point for mental stimulation. To satisfy your partner you can also do some things that do not involve you being personally excited but physically still satisfies them.

Try enjoying other aspects of your life as well, such as a hobby you always wanted to try. Often times good feelings from this will spill over into other areas of your life, such as relationships. My best wishes to you!

Question: How can I enjoy sex when my husband can't turn me on?

Answer: See if you can bring yourself to excitement with imagination, toys, or even explicit content. You might find you are able to be intimate then. Don't forget lubricants if you need more help.

Question: Do I tell my husband I’ve fallen in love with another man when I don’t want to break up our family?

Answer: I would suggest not telling him if you want to keep your family and marriage together. People get feelings for other people all the time, even when they're married. It doesn't mean you would need to act on these feelings. Temptation is everywhere for our whole lives. Lust and the rush of new love usually fades with a little bit of time. If you have something long-lasting already I wouldn't suggest trading them.

Question: How can I tell my husband that I'm not sexually attracted to him so that he will not feel upset and unwanted, is there any problem with me that I'm not sexually attracted to my husband?

Answer: My advice is not to tell him this because most people would feel unwanted or have another reaction, like feeling betrayed. There isn't anything wrong that you are not sexually attracted to him. You might have married a man that you were not physically attracted to, to begin with, or you lost attraction over time.

Question: My husband stopped having sex with me over 4 years ago, due to constant arguments because of his mother. Now with the lack of intimacy and closeness, I really find him unattractive. I have tried to talk about the necessity of a physical relationship but he will not make the effort. He has said things to me like I am too much hard work, I think because I don't have an orgasm during sex. And he does not want to make me happy. Anyway, I am lost. What can I do?

Answer: I do think counseling for the both of you would be the best help in this case, but you could also try some unconventional things. First, how is the mood at home? Try keeping the home a lighthearted and happy place. Since you have a history together, your home is a place of both good and bad memories. Try doing some things that put you in a happy mood. Also, offer him oral sex, or just try starting it out of nothing when you're sleeping in bed together. I strongly suggest this. This requires no effort to please you on his part. You might find this sends a good jolt into your relationship. Also, think about a makeover -- a look that would make you feel really good and perhaps might wake your husband up a little. As for orgasms, you can try using toys on yourself to give yourself an orgasm. You can also tell him you would use them to do this, which would take the pressure off of him. You can also tell him you don't need an orgasm to enjoy sex.

Question: I am a very sexual person, but when I look at my husband, I don’t want to do anything with him. He watches porn and no matter how many times I tell him it’s not attractive to me, it continues in secrecy. Am I asking for too much? Can this even be solved?

Answer: I am going to give you some unconventional advice. You might be asking for too much. If his negative behavior is limited to watching porn, and he doesn't cheat on you, try using your own fantasies/toys, etc. to get aroused and sleep with him. You did not say whether you two have an active sex life with each other, so I am trying to cover all bases. Is it possible that a lack of intimacy could be causing his behavior in some part? Many married men watch porn in secret. If they don't do this then they probably undress women in public with their eyes even when their girlfriends or wives are with them anyway. This is with having an active sex life.

There is no way to stop a man from desiring to look at the female form, but you could reduce his rate of watching porn with a fully active sex life. I give you this advice with the idea that you are interested in staying in your marriage. Another alternative is marital counseling for both of you to address the issue. Also consider that married women sometimes watch porn out of convenience when they don't feel like going through a full sex act or if they have fantasies they don't share with anyone, even their husbands. Women also look at men they find sexually attractive in public. Not that these last two things pertain to you, but both men and women have desires. If you can find a way to take the first step and enjoy sex regularly with your husband you might find some of this issue dissolves on its own.

Although I don't really condone watching pornography when a person is married, I'm approaching this from the angle that many people do it anyway.

Question: I've been struggling with severe anxiety over the past few years as I wish we had moved away, I hate where we live. I've spent the past 24 hrs convincing myself I should be on my own should I trust my judgment at this point?

Answer: I heard a good piece of advice a long time ago. "Don't make decisions in an emotional state." I would weigh the pros and cons. Evaluate what you have to fall back on and what other emotional support system and income you would have if you did move. Would a change be better than what you have now? Just be honest in all categories.

Just as an FYI, I have anxiety issues too, and I also have a problem with where we live. I am 500 miles away from my parents. However, my future is with my husband. My best friends all live in different states now, which is terrible too.

Question: My wife and I have been married for 14 years and we have 4 kids. I am very attracted to her but she can go months without sex. I don't want to make her feel bad so I don't say anything, but it's getting to me that she's not interested anymore. I feel she is no longer attracted to me. FYI: I am fit and I dress nice and I also always treat her with love and respect. I am not sure what to do. Advice?

Answer: I can definitely understand you needing intimacy in your marriage. Many people lose interest in sex over time, whether to a small or large degree. Rather than losing an attraction to you it's more likely just that to some extent relationship familiarity and comfort have taken the place of passion that is in most people's relationships early on. My question to you is does she respond to your initiation of lovemaking? Or does she outright reject you every time? If she's accommodating then the rest might not be a concern.

If she is not reasonably accommodating to your needs for intimacy, it might be a good idea to let her know your concern. You could also try to seduce her by remembering any fantasies or moves she's told you about in the past and seeing if they still work for her.

This is a little bit of a trick, but you could also test out becoming distant and cool in your demeanor, or acting "in charge." Sometimes this will pique a partner's interest to where they will be a little afraid of losing you or not keeping you happy. This would be a chance for seduction too.

Question: My husband had an ongoing emotional affair. I've been trying to work through it, and was feeling confident. But now, seven months later, I'm feeling empty and void. Is there help for us?

Answer: Yes, there is hope, even if it might sound unconventional. You can always put your emotions aside for now just to weather it through. Some people do this for reasons such as living expenses, if they have children, or because they feel one day things will indeed get better romantically. This time of year (starting in September) is also hard on some people as the days are getting shorter, and causes people to be more depressed.

You can make a point of trying to enjoy other activities together, such as hobbies. You can bond over other such things while taking the pressure off. To be intimate, you can also just think of your own physical arousal by closing your eyes and using imagination. Fantasy takes a lot of people through intimacy when they are not quite turned on by the reality.

In short, if there are any positive aspects to your marriage that you still enjoy, focus on those.

Question: What if you have never been attracted to your wife? And what do you do if your wife is asexual and hates sex? And those rare times once every six months she does let you have sex, before you even begin she complains that it hurts and she constantly keeps saying hurry up, are you done yet, and its only been one minute?

Answer: This would be incredibly frustrating. If you discuss this with her and she's not willing to change, and she's not willing to go to marital counseling to improve it, it is likely viable grounds for divorce.

Question: I’ve been married a year, I am no longer happy. I don’t find him sexually attractive, the things he says hurt me, but he doesn’t think they do. I’m not sure what to do. I’m not even sure why we married each other anymore. 6 years together and married one of those years.... help?

Answer: It is easy to get disillusioned when you are married. People do not really change as we wish them to because they will not generally see themselves as having the faults you notice. Unless this person is abusive, it might help for you to be open to changing your perspective on your husband's behavior.

Most men are more blunt and direct in their speech than women are. Women are more gifted with social graces in communication. When you live with a person who has a more direct approach, you will tend to find the same things are going to offend you over and over for as long as you're married. For this reason, many women find they have to get rid of some of their sensitivities after they are married. Yes, people are on their best behavior in the beginning stages of a relationship but when comfort sets in they become more open with their true personalities.

The short answer is, "Don't let it bother you." I would look to see if your husband does other things right. For example, is he a good worker? Is he protective? Does he look out for your interests overall? Is he faithful? It all comes down to what you can personally live with. Is there more good than bad about him?

Your physical attraction to your husband could wane and vice-versa. Keeping your vows of promised intimacy tends to keep husbands more well-behaved as well.

Question: What if the thought of sex with your husband turns you off? I feel all the foreplay (unenjoyable) is not worth the disappointment of the 2 minutes of sex I'll end up with, if I can even get that. I just don't want to even try anymore. Am I horrible for feeling this way?

Answer: No, and this is not an uncommon thing. There is a quote somewhere along the lines of there still being value in people and things even when there is no longer fun or excitement associated with them. At some point in marriage familiarity takes over, and sometimes contempt along with it. Acknowledging your feelings to yourself is important. But this is where working through it -- observing obligation for intimacy to the spouse is important. But the best solution for this is to ask your husband to do certain things that would genuinely turn you on. You might have to close your eyes and use some imagination as well. If you can insert some of your own mental excitement into it that would be helpful.

Question: My fiancé and I have a 4 month old. We’ve been together for 4 years, I used to be very sexually attracted to him but now I am not, and I don’t want to have sex with him at all. He ALWAYS wants to have sex, so I feel bad. I love him very much and I want to raise my daughter with him. But I find myself very attracted to other men and I don’t know what to do?

Answer: If you've got a good man I would stay with him if I were you. The reason is that desire changes and eventually declines in most relationships. That is perfectly normal. So if you were to move on to another man you would most likely find your desire for him would also wane eventually.

Question: What if as the husband I have tried all (not perfect) with no real change? When pushing her about some of this she told me she wasn’t attracted to me anymore. It affects my entire life and I battle with depression feeling so unloved.

Answer: It would be difficult to face this situation with your spouse treating you this way. As long as you have been holding up your expected part in the marriage and treated her well there is not much else you can do. If you take care of yourself physically there is also not much else you can do improve someone's attraction to you. That is out of your hands. My best suggestion to you is to address the depression and marriage in therapy. Try to do some things you enjoy, so your entire existence isn't wrapped up in this situation making you miserable. You are a worthwhile individual no matter what another person thinks. (P.S. A small trick some people also do is to let the other person "go." Keep your personality and demeanor with your spouse neutral. Sometimes when we withdraw from the other person or act as if we are detached they become more interested again.)

Question: I don't feel turned on anymore by my husband. What can I do or use to get turned on?

Answer: The use of imagination is what turns many women on. Just think about what excites you or has excited you in the past.

Question: I love my husband. I can't even imagine my life without him but I just don't find myself sexually interested in him anymore. I've tried everything to get the attraction back but nothing works. What can I do?

Answer: While it would be difficult to intentionally bring sexual attraction back you can always use fantasy and toys to bring yourself to arousal when your husband is in the mood. After this point, he can help you complete the act. Sexual attraction can wane in marriage, but as long you have the ability to be intimate you can still move forward with it.

Question: I'm thirty-two and have felt depressed forever. I think I love my partner, but how can I know when I feel this bad?

Answer: I understand. I think you know to yourself if you love them. Maybe the love you feel isn't romantic love but more familial, or the love you feel when you are thankful to someone.

Question: My husband doesn't care about being attractive to me in the most basic ways such as basic personal hygiene. I find this a real betrayal but I am nothing to write home about in looks, so I can't do more than ask. I have been very clear about this, but he just doesn't care. How can I help him understand how important it is to our marriage?

Answer: It sounds like he has gotten very comfortable with himself. Would you be willing to lure him into the shower or tub for sex and give him a good scrub down before you get to business? This might sound funny but the promise of intimacy is generally a big motivator for men. Do you know or can you find out what else is a motivator for him? It might get him to clean up.

Question: I’ve been married for only a couple of years. After we got married my husband found some texts from my past and said very hurtful things. I think he feels anxious because I had more sexual partners than him. Sometimes I feel really sad because I want to feel attracted to him, but I don’t. He thinks he’s unattractive so I don’t want to tell him. I don’t feel attracted to anyone. After giving birth my sex drive changed dramatically and I’ve been depressed. What can I do?

Answer: Your sex drive/depression might change on its own again as our hormones are always changing. But you could always look into medical intervention if you wish. Attraction is only part of marital intimacy. It is part of the expected spousal commitment to engage in physical relations. But you can use the power of imagination/fantasy to get excited in the meantime. As long as you are healed physically, some lubricant should help you where you lack personal moisture. You can also engage in other intimate acts besides intercourse.

Question: Can a man feel that he's not sexually attracted to his wife?

Answer: Yes, a lot of men either lose attraction to their wives. Some men do not have this attraction to their wives, to begin with. Sometimes men marry what they feel would be a "good wife" but there is no physical attraction otherwise. This happens with both men and women. Also, physical attraction sometimes declines over time as a spouse gets older.

Question: I love my husband, I broke up with someone to whom I was extremely attracted for him because he was a good stable provider and intellectual. I think of my ex all the time, and every time I even think of sex. What do I to change my relationship with sex and my ex?

Answer: It was good that you stayed with your husband because he sounds like he has wonderful traits. It's normal to think of someone you have attraction and desire for. If there is a way you can channel that energy into your bedroom with your husband that would be ideal. You can change your thoughts to perhaps think about any time in the past that your husband was exciting to you. You can incorporate a vibrator into your lovemaking to keep the stimulation going as well. This is very useful if your mind isn't helping your body participate.

© 2012 Hearts and Lattes

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