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Is Your Male Partner Withholding Physical Affection or Sex? Helpful Advice From Women

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“I'm sick of myself for allowing him to hold my happiness in his hands by deciding when we're allowed to have sex. I feel rejected and ever-plummeting confidence.” If this statement sounds familiar, you are not alone. Many women report their current relationship as going through a sexual slump, and are baffled, asking, “Why won't he have sex with me?!”

How to Begin the Conversation, Communication Tips:

  • Don't talk to him about sex because that's far less important than asking him if he actually wants to be in this relationship.
  • The best approach depends on what the cause of his not wanting sex. He needs to be able to communicate his feelings and concerns.
  • Give him the "space" to let you know what he's thinking. "Space" means no guilt trips, listening without judgment, no interrupting, etc.
  • Talk about it together: what are you noticing different from when you two were having sex?
  • Are you both able and interested in meeting each other's needs (sexual and non-sexual)?
  • Ask him: "why aren't we having sex anymore"? This is an open-ended question where he can't answer yes/no and just leave it. He doesn't need to be pushed in a corner or made uncomfortable but your concerns have to be addressed or the relationship will (should) end.

Medical, Physical and Emotional Conditions:

  • Depression can do more than affect your sex dive -- it can effectively kill it. People who are depressed lose interest in things they love -- including sex.
  • Low libido in men (low sex drive is related to emotional distress, depressive disorders, weakness, pain, problems with body image).
  • Porn “addiction” or preoccupation.
  • Diabetic or other medical condition.
  • New job occupying his mind and is excessively stressed.
  • Worried about satisfying me to such an extent that he no longer wants to try.
  • Smoking and other drugs were more exciting and fulfilling.
  • He's a very emotional guy and his anxiety and stress gets in the way of wanting to be intimate.

Relationship Red Flags:

  • If you are concerned about the relationship, and he does not appear worried or concerned. He may not care enough about the relationship, or be as invested in its long-term success as you are.
  • A partner who is unsympathetic or demanding, insecure of selfish in other areas of life or with other relationships may continue these traits in his relationship with you.
  • He consistently eschews any relationship discussion by blaming you or finding you at fault.
  • Dating someone for only a year and the relationship becomes sexless (platonic), something is wrong.
  • A partner who begins corresponding with an ex-girlfriend, ,or has active accounts on dating sites.
  • A partner who puts you down, shrugs off your concerns, says "it's fine" or otherwise placates you with no foreseeable solution or compromise.

Women shared advice while experiencing relationship turmoil, in regards to why their male partner did not want to have sex, or why men (in general) may not be particularly in the mood. Many women were surprised, as they thought something was wrong with them (felt they were not attractive enough, for instance) as they believed men wanted sex all the time.

Reasons Men Don't Want Sex:

  • There are negative aspects of sex, felt by both men and women. There is a “requirement” to perform . There is an “expectation” or desire to please someone else.
  • Sex is both giving and receiving, and sometimes a person may not be in the “giving” spirit.
  • People can feel “less than themselves” at times, and can be stressed, tired, irritable, bloated, achy, sad ... all of these physical and emotional symptoms that doesn't help one to feel “in the mood” or “sexy”.
  • He feels you two are not sexually compatible, and is unsure how to talk about it without an argument or hurt feelings.
  • Additional reading: Best Responses from Men: Why Won't He Have Sex With Me.

Sexless Relationship = Friendship:

  • You need to decide for yourself how truly invested you (and he) are in this relationship. If you are not intimate, you're really just friends, aren't you? It may be scary to consider, but listen to your inner voice and move on if you've tried and he isn't responsive.
  • I was in a similar situation with a long-term relationship. You know what? It ended. For me being best friends was important, but you can't only be best friends. I spent many bitter years of this sort of Hell, and now I have a fantastic partner finally!

We hope some of this information, advice and words-of-wisdom were useful, and we have compiled some helpful suggestions that you can implement now to begin improving your self-esteem and enjoying yourself again.

Positive Improvements You Can Make TODAY:

  • I have noticed, like some others have mentioned, that when we spend time away from each other I am a little more aggressive and even initiate sex.
  • We were spending too much time together. Just by my being independent (because I wanted to, not to spite him!), we enjoyed each other again. Give him some quality time to miss you.
  • Stop communicating by using subtle guilt trips or piling on emotional baggage. Women are saying, "lack of sex is killing my self-esteem" is a type of manipulation that will make him feel worse, push him farther away emotionally and physically. Only you can allow your self-esteem to be taken, and blaming him is not a good foundation for a healthy relationship.

More Relationship and Sex Words of Wisdom:

Add a Comment39 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

One of the main issues, rarely surfacing as it still has such a stigma of silence attached, is not really elaborated here but could be the vital i gredie t as to why a man in love is withholding physical affection ... and it is, when men have had a sexual trauma in their childhood or adolescent years ... or witnessed something along those lines ... such an i pact physically alters the. rain structure ... especially if these men also fall into the personality type of: HSP (Highly Sensitive Perception) ... no top down solution will help here unless they are willing to address the underlying trauma and commence an active journey of healing ... for some that prospect is too frightening, so they are trapped in a catch22 ... unless that self-sabotaging cycle is broken ...

December 30, 2018 - 2:56am
EmpowHER Guest

you simply masturbate. that is what i do though he withholds it for reasons i know.

June 1, 2018 - 12:48pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Masturbating is so depressing. You get rid of an immediate urge but in the gateway a real destructive problem of depression is created.

December 10, 2018 - 7:48pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I totally agree, masturbating is depressing. I am 51 , F, I look like I am 39. My husband is 55 and has barely touched me in the past 2+ years. I have a super high libido, and only want my husband. He refuses to talk about why we went from an easy relaxed sex life that was very satisfying, to zero intimacy and a few rounds of what I call pity sex. I am so frustrated and hurt that he is choosing to withhold all sex, and touch from me. We are empty nesters too! This should be an exciting time for us. My heart is breaking because as much as I love him, as deeply as I love him, if he refuses to be my partner in every way, I am not sure I can stay married to him. It isn’t just about sex, when intimacy is missing from a marriage there is a big hole. Him not wanting me makes me feel like I don’t measure up, I feel rejected. I stopped getting dressed up, with my hair fixed and makeup on because he never even gives me a compliment, and that is a real blow to my self esteem. The worst part is the loneliness. Especially now with COVID, I am super isolated, with my husband being my only real human contact. I have tried to talk to him about this but he just gets very angry.
Horny and Broken Hearted in Tennessee

June 15, 2020 - 9:46pm

I'd never thought in this lifetime I'd be relating to this and actually writing about it. I met my boyfriend 3 years ago, we started out as friends but he drinks a lot. We eventually hooked up on a drunken night out but it wasn't anything memorable. I was also 80 lbs over weight but he never said anything mean or bad about me. We had the best sex ever, 4-6 hours and it was insane so incredible that I'd have 30 orgasiums. Over time he started telling me all his crazy stories, some were getting to the point i was in shock and I was in denial. We've had a lot of problems, mainly due to alcohol. I've stopped drinking 2 years now and have lost 80lbs and now he has become a different person saying he loves going to Korean Whore Houses because he'd pay for a meal,massage, 3 girls and sex and didn't have worry about them calling him, he now says I look like a cheap 80's hooker with fat rolls and I have no fat rolls. He insults me whenever I get dressed up and put makeup, never tells me
I look pretty, he was drunk and slipped telling me he went out with his neighbors girlfriend who was home alone and lonely all day and he liked her because she was new and it was nice. After that I went to their house and talked to her and she says he called all the time and he was definitely moving in on her and he was drinking even more now because they are bar owners and drug addicts so his drinking was to the point he'd black out and become abusive emotionally, physically and say awful horrible things, I'd blow up his phone later with 100's of nasty things to say back; well I quickly sabotaged that new nice affair by telling her the truth and now he's not even allowed into their bar now. As sick and toxic this had gotten I had now gotten revenge by ruining his newly replaced friends because now that I wasn't his drinking buddy he found a better one, I enjoyed ruining that. We'd fight all the time then have passionate hate sex. That was great but going from every week to now nothing but mentally kind fucked, drained and now I have no self esteem or confidence. I've been so depressed that I don't eat, and I hate myself and I feel alone, unwanted, undesirable, unattractive. He looks and comments on hot women, and I've even gone to strip clubs to see if their was any spark left. He would always say he's tired, it's late, it's too early, I have bad timing, when he doesn't work and drinks all day so it's not like he has anything going on. He's told me while drunk he has no interest in me, doesn't want sex because I'm a mental train wreck, I'm a gross and nasty swamp girl that nobody wants to be around and I must do something that makes men want to abuse me. He talks about his youthful years and all the sluts he's had even up to the time he met me, now he says he wants more and he doesn't want sex. It's just a mind game. It got so bad that when I tried going on a date when a gentleman would hold the door, pay for dinner, drive me, complement me, I'd become so uncomfortable and nervous that I'd shut down. So I gave up on dating. Where together but I feel alone. He's told me to find a plan b if I need sex all the time. So I have been with other men, I don't tell him; but after I ask or try to do anything for any kind of affection, he always rejects me so I call my "plan b" we both get off then I Leave only feeling more alone and confused and upset. My fiends and family
all have showed concern because I'm isolating and depressed that I hate my life and just wish I was dead all the time. I don't know how I've gotten so stuck on this toxic man but I need help.

September 17, 2017 - 4:22am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Bella77)

I felt like I was reafingy own story only difference is I be been with him for 13 years and when we meet wee would leave work on our lunch break to have se xi think he is definitely cheating on me and he always screams at me know matter what I do and how I do it he always makes me feel alone he is on his computer all day and night every day and night.he gets phone calls and don't answer when he is home he turn his phone ringer off he try to make me feel like I'm going crazy and that I'm not alive and he makes me pray for death at one point in my life he was my first real love and my best friend and he will be there for me and my family and he treats me like a little kid and im the bad guy and he said that he doesn't have sex with me cuz he was going through a lot of me talking about him and how he had no time for me I beg for a way death everyday instead of all the heartbreaking shit I ho through everyday in 8 years I haven't got a birthday gift or Christmas gift or any kind of card cake sex nothing

June 23, 2018 - 8:28pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Bella77)

Hello! Hru? I hope things are better

April 28, 2018 - 5:18pm
EmpowHER Guest

I don't understand this my husband is withholding sex for years now, I've been always eager to please, I love giving, I'll work at it but he still gives
me nothing. I never manipulated him, I love him with all my heart, I've giving up looking forward it as I always get knocked back. How do I fix this?

June 8, 2017 - 9:00am
EmpowHER Guest

I am a man that is withholding sex. The simple reason is I don't find my wife a turn-on anymore. There have been too many times when she turned me down, yawned during sex, found her iphone more interesting, lacked time or had another easy excuse.

I now equate sex with my wife with loneliness and rejection.

May 31, 2017 - 5:02am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

As much as I empathize with you, and believe me I Do know that of genders reversed , there’d be all kinds of support for your wife . In fact , there is now with your withholding. If she did it to you / it’s your problem/ if you do it to her it’s likewise your problem. Still, you have to decide to stay and work out issues or leave. Punishing her like this is of no benefit to anyone . Are you possibly having retroactive jealousy over her past ? I’ve been on that road and reacted poorly.

January 31, 2019 - 11:23pm
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