“So for the first time in ages we had the house to ourselves for a few hours. Hubby came upstairs to get his keys to go to the grocery. I’m lying on the bed in a camisole and skimpy panties. He seems oblivious so I smile and say in a flirty way …
‘The kids are all gone for the next three hours. What in the world can we find to do with our time?’ <wink wink>
He just laughs and starts toward the door. I get up to hug him and wind my arms around his neck, and rub up against him, saying playfully, ‘You don’t really want to leave your sexy wife now, do you? When I’m standing here almost naked in your arms?’
He says perfunctorily, ‘You look really hot, hon,’ and kisses me good-bye and leaves!
What the heck? We haven’t had sex in a week and a half. The groceries couldn’t have waited 45 minutes? He never initiates anymore, but that’s the first time he’s actually turned me down.”
Women aren’t wired for sexual rejection. It completely shakes our world. And not in a good way.
Our typical experience is that men are the pursuers of sex and women are the gatekeepers. When your husband turns this dynamic upside down by not wanting sex with you, it comes as a shock to your whole psyche.
Your husband’s rejection was probably your first experience of being turned down for sex. When your husband – the man who is supposed to love you most in the world – isn’t interested in you, it’s earth-shattering. You’re probably wondering what’s wrong with you … and with him.
Your biggest question, of course, is, “Why?” You’ve started imagining all sorts of deep psychological reasons for his lack of interest in sex, but the answer may be much simpler than you think.
Porn or Low Testosterone. Or a mixture of both. What I’ve seen is that when a man’s sex drive – and initiations – go south, the reason usually falls into one of two categories; porn use or low testosterone … or a mixture of both. In greater than 90% of the people I’ve worked with, the reason a husband’s initiations fell off was because his testosterone levels were falling or because he was substituting porn for sex with his wife. Or both.
I’m not saying that there are never any other causes; of course there are. He could be depressed, having an affair, or gay. There could be some deep-seated psychological reason he’s stopped initiating; maybe he has simmering resentments and hang-ups when it comes to sex. He could be struggling with erectile dysfunction of some kind.
But it pays to play the odds. Before you tie yourself up into knots going off into rabbit trails, you need to rule out the two most common possibilities.
In her post, When Your Husband Won’t Initiate Sex, Sheila Wray Gregoire over at To Love, Honor and Vacuum makes an interesting point that a lot of men stop initiating after being sexually rejected by their wives for a number of years. This is certainly a possibility worth considering, and it may even go deeper than that.
When a man gets sexually rejected early on in the marriage, he may turn to porn as a way to meet his sexual needs. Porn is such a powerful source of dopamine that often even after his wife is sexually available again, a guy actually prefers porn to sex with his wife. Porn is low-effort and high stimulation and it’s a tough habit to break.
Self reporting is notoriously inaccurate. The other thing to realize is that people don’t always know why they don’t want sex. A guy may say and honestly believe that the reason he doesn’t initiate is because of earlier sexual rejection, but what he doesn’t realize is that in the meantime his testosterone has decreased to the point where it’s affecting his sex drive. Low testosterone symptoms creep up so subtly and so gradually that they often go unnoticed.
It’s usually fairly futile to talk to someone about why they don’t want sex. What you normally get are a bunch of rationalizations. When you ask your husband why he doesn’t initiate, he may give you any one of a dozen reasons. But here’s the deal. People don’t always tell the truth. Even to themselves. Further, in this case, your husband probably doesn’t even know the truth. The reality is he has no idea why he doesn’t initiate sex. Sex is simply not on his radar.
The problem with having these kinds of conversations with your husband is that when you put him on the spot, he gets defensive. And when he gets defensive, he has to come up with reasons. So sometimes he’ll just grab any reason that seems to make sense at the moment and ends the conversation as quickly as possible. Because this type of conversation makes your husband incredibly uncomfortable. It makes him feel like less of a man. After enough of these conversations, he actually becomes avoidant of any scenario where he may be expected to initiate. And the situation gets infinitely worse.
So, what’s the solution? If talking to him about what’s wrong only makes things worse, and you can’t believe the reasons he gives, anyway … what can you do? Are you just stuck?
What you have to do is to get at the root cause of his lack of initiations. I know, easier said than done.
Ruling out porn can be a bit trickier, especially if your husband is more tech-savvy than you are. Start by taking a look at the history on his devices. If your husband is unusually protective of his phone or tablet and rarely leaves it unguarded, it’s a red flag.
And remember that it takes a lot less time to use porn than you may think. For a lot of men, it’s a quick ten minutes in the shower before work or before he goes to bed. Porn is more about dopamine than it is about actual sex. For guys who have used a lot of porn, they simply don’t feel ‘right’ or can’t sleep without porn.
Paradoxically, a lot of guys with low testosterone use porn. On the face of it, this doesn’t make sense. But low testosterone tanks energy and confidence levels. Porn is a way to get a metric ton of dopamine delivered with the least possible effort and with no possibility of rejection. It’s like catnip to a guy with low T.
Next Steps Right now, you’ve got a mystery on your hands. But mysteries have answers. Your job is to find those answers. Without them, you’re just spinning your wheels. You’ll waste a lot of time and a lot of energy if you try to solve the problem before you actually understand what’s going on. Worse, you can actually cause further damage to an already fragile situation.
So go ahead and rule out porn and low testosterone as your first two steps. You need those answers before you can make a plan of attack.