Intimacy Advice: My Wife Has No Desire For Sex

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated June 19, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

It can be easy to internalize feelings of rejection if your romantic advances aren’t reciprocated in your sexual relationship with your wife. There are many possible causes, and there are many possible strategies that may help refresh this area of your relationship. Read on to learn more about what could cause a drop in desire for sex and how you can help strengthen the intimacy in your marriage in a way that benefits all parties.

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Are you experiencing sexual concerns?

What can cause a low sex drive?

Sex can be an intensely emotional experience for many people. With this in mind, you may be wondering if your wife may be experiencing something that can cause physical, mental, or emotional distress—which can lead to low libido or sex drive.

A person’s sex drive can naturally fluctuate over time. Highs and lows in one’s desire for sex might correspond with significant life changes, like pregnancy or severe stress. Various medical conditions can also negatively impact sexual desire and function.

Fluctuations in desire for sex across genders and orientations can be a perfectly normal human experience. Asexuality, sapiosexuality, and others are also valid sexual identities. The focus of this specific article is centered on those who identify as women who have previously experienced a sexual desire in a marriage or partnership that has waned over time. Additional research and focus are needed for participants of other groups to fully validate the spectrum of experiences that can occur sexually.

Signs of low sex drive

There are many possible symptoms that can indicate sex drive fluctuation in women or others. Some of the most common can include: 

  • A drop in interest in any kind of sexual activity, including masturbation

  • Never or rarely experiencing sexual thoughts or fantasies anymore

  • Persistent concern over one’s lack of sexual desire

Potential causes of reduced sexual desire

Causes of low sex drive in women or individuals of any gender can vary widely based on many factors. Understanding the possible causes can help you validate your partner’s experience, giving you additional context to support them as they navigate the ebb and flow of sexual desire. 

Possible causes of lower sex drive in women or others can include: 

  • Reduced blood flow to the genitals, often due to cardiovascular disease or damaged blood vessels

  • Experiencing physical pain during sex 

  • Hormonal imbalances, such as those occurring during menopause

  • Emotional distress from relationship problems 

  • Side effects from certain medications may affect sexual function and libido 

  • Unresolved concerns in the relationship 

  • Unhealthy lifestyle habits 

  • Poor communication about sexual needs and preferences 

  • Mental health conditions 

  • Sexual health conditions, such as hypoactive sexual disorder disorder

  • Psychological issues or barriers to intimacy, such as low self-esteem 

  • Lack of connection with a partner 

  • Fatigue 

  • Stress 

  • Fluctuating sexual desire without an identified cause

My wife has no desire for sex: What can I do?

After identifying possible root causes of why she may not be interested in sex anymore, you may be wondering: What should you do to support your wife through this time?

Try not to make assumptions—instead, talk to your wife

A lack of sexual drive can involve your wife’s physical or emotional states. Because of this, it can be helpful to avoid making assumptions about how she feels or how she is regarding sex in the relationship at this point. You may consider sitting down and having an open conversation where you express your genuine desire to help. 

After you get the conversation started, you might ask what you can do to make a meaningful change in the situation that would benefit her. If she is overwhelmed with work or kids, you could try assuming greater responsibilities in your home to relieve her burden or running her a candlelit bath to encourage her to unwind.

Whether the cause is medical, emotional, or something else, she may have the best suggestions regarding how you can help her and what she needs. If a lack of sex persists despite her mental willingness, your wife may have a sexual interest or arousal disorder and may benefit from being seen by a clinician. If you suspect this may be the case, you may find it best to be sensitive when you bring up the topic—possibly focusing on the quality of life she could gain from seeing a qualified healthcare professional.  

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Build intimacy into your daily life

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, intimacy may follow patterns as your relationship evolves. In the beginning, the rush of oxytocin in the brain and hormonal shifts can bring feelings of closeness and excitement to many—which can lead to regular sex and emotional intimacy. Marriage and children can change a couple’s intimacy over time. Even without children, the excitement of a new relationship can temper a bit after a few years together for some couples, at which point sexual interaction can become a routine activity rather than one inspired by passion.

This is not the case for all couples, however. Everyone has unique personal experiences, sexually and emotionally, all of which can influence a couple’s sex life and patterns of intimacy. There is no “wrong” way to be intimate with a partner, generally, so long as everyone is of age, consenting, and feels respected during the process. 

Prioritize time together as a couple to build the connection

A study published in the Global Journal of Health Science found that activities promoting marital intimacy can be among some of the most effective relationship-repair tactics. Because intimacy generally involves building on one’s romantic or emotional connection, it can have a link to sexual desire. 

If you find that your wife has lost interest in sex, you might take a moment to consider how much effort has been put into the intimate side of your marriage in the recent past. You may then consider that if there has been a considerable amount of effort to have more sex, it may not be being perceived as efficiently as it could be. Starting with simple, obvious, affectionate actions can be a strong first step toward rekindling the flame that drew you to each other in the first place. 

Maintain open lines of communication

Communication can be one of the most important factors in a successful marriage for many, as it can directly impact one’s sex life and intimate experiences. 

An open conversation in the bedroom can help clear up misunderstandings and make it easier to find solutions. Additionally, according to a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, a couple's level of effective communication may influence their long-term marital satisfaction. For example, when a couple feels close and connected, it can be easier to maintain passion and romance. However, sometimes life may “get in the way,” and stressors can create distance if either partner chooses not to communicate.

Schedule a regular date night

Some might see sex as a critical component of true relational intimacy, while others might view it as something that can occur as a result of the emotional connections and feelings that they experience throughout the day, which can lead to a sexual encounter. 

You might try to plan romantic dates to build emotional intimacy, which may, in turn, help promote sexual intimacy. You may consider asking your partner what they need to feel loved and appreciated, making an effort to meet these needs on your next night out. 

Discuss unexplored sexual fantasies and new desires 

Sometimes, a loss of sexual desire or the transformation of a relationship into a sexless marriage can be due to a change in preferences. You might choose to talk to your wife about what turns her on, which can help you understand how to pleasure her. If you have resisted conversations regarding the specifics of your sex life in the past, you might show a willingness to discuss the matter now. 

You can also consider making yourself vulnerable by telling your sexual fantasies, which may encourage your wife to do the same. Even if you never intend to act out these desires in real life, it can foster a sense of open connection and intimacy simply by giving them a voice. Then, you can determine the next steps based on each partner's current comfort level and preference.

Consider sex therapy or couples counseling

In addition to addressing any potential underlying physical health issues, you may consider a mental health professional, such as a sex therapist, marriage counselor, or couples counselor, to address potential relationship problems that may be leading to a low desire for sex. A therapist may help you and your wife identify areas of improvement in your marriage or sex life, possibly assisting you in developing ways to increase sexual desire and promote a healthy relationship. They might help you explore lifestyle changes and other treatment options that could improve intimacy.

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Are you experiencing sexual concerns?

Finding support to improve your sex life

You may want to seek professional help from a licensed therapist online through a virtual therapy provider like BetterHelp, which may help rebuild intimacy in your relationship. You may seek therapy for yourself to learn how to support your spouse, or your wife may want individual treatment to help her process emotions and overcome anything that may be interfering with her desire—whether it may be a mental health concern, a sexual health concern, or the way other health issues may be affecting her sex drive.

As these issues can be sensitive, many couples may prefer therapeutic support from the comfort of their own homes. They may additionally appreciate the flexible appointment formats that online therapy can offer, which can make attending treatment more convenient.

Online therapy can be an effective way to resolve barriers to sexual intimacy, possibly building or rekindling desire in a partner. A study published in BioMed Central Pregnancy & Childbirths suggests that virtual treatment can be as effective as face-to-face therapy in patients who are experiencing sexual dysfunction. It was noted that many patients might find it easier to discuss sensitive topics with the added physical distance granted through online treatment.

Takeaway

If your wife experiences a marked drop in her interest in sex, it can present challenges to the health of both partners and/or the relationship. The information presented in this article may offer insight into methods to build intimacy with your wife and reinvigorate your sex life. Online therapy can also be a helpful resource to either partner experiencing changes in sexual desire within a marriage or partnership. BetterHelp can connect you with an online therapist in your area of need.

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