I received this question through our Have A Question page yesterday:
Why do I feel that my wife doesn’t find me attractive or desirable? For the past couple of years, I have been feeling like my wife doesn’t find me attractive anymore. She hardly ever compliments my looks or physique or anything about me. I constantly tell her how beautiful and sexy and hot she is. We are both 40. I’m not as fit as I used to be but am an attractive man.
She’s a great, Christian wife but sometimes I feel that’s the only thing that makes her have sex with me. Not because she wants me but because it’s her wifely duty. She tells me she desires me sexually but only after I’ve brought up the topic and in that (child unconvincingly lying to you) way. We have 2 kids so my poopoo radar is fine tuned. Is it me who is just being paranoid? Is there something I can do to get excited when she looks at me? Thanks.
I think this is a common fear from both spouses. I’ve written about this in the past, but I had some new ideas I wanted to share.
Most husbands and wives are attracted to their spouse
According to my survey data, 93% of wives and 96% of husbands find their spouse physically attractive. That’s a pretty high number. This lends credence to the reader’s wife’s assurances that she’s still attracted to him.
I get it, I’ve had the same concerns in my marriage. During our darker years, my wife once told me she wasn’t attracted to me. I’ve never been accused of being good looking so that insecurity took hold pretty firmly. It took years to get over, and it still threatens to rise up again on occasion. So, I get that it hurts to feel that way and that it’s hard to shake the suspicion.
The relationship affects physical attraction
Studies show that our perception of our spouse is affected by the health of the relationship. If you have a healthy relationship, your opinion of your spouse’s looks will increase. Your definition of beauty will also shift towards your spouse’s appearance.
So, if you have a solid marriage, then chances are your spouse is attracted to you, regardless of how you look.
Physical attraction is not as important as we think
Physical attraction is helpful for bringing two people together. It helps create that interest in the beginning. Once the marriage matures most spouses find that physical looks are not as important. This is especially true of wives. They’re far more likely to be sexually drawn to you because they like who you are, rather than just your body.
Worry less about being physically attractive. Focus more on being attractive as a whole person. That’s not to say you shouldn’t take care of your body.
She may not get a chance for attraction to come into play
If you usually initiate sex, you may not get to a point where your spouse’s sexual needs are felt. This is also true if you have sex frequently.
For example, many of us don’t know what it really feels like to be starving. We know what it feels like to enter food. Perhaps even to be hungry. But we eat often enough that that deep need for food never really surfaces.
I once did a 16-day fast (water only). I didn’t really feel that until day 16. That’s how you know to start eating again. When you feel hungry, you’re hitting starvation mode rather than fasting. You want food earlier, but you’re not really feeling a need, just a desire. Even that passes for a while.
My point is your spouse may never get to feeling a desire for sex. You always have sex before they can. It’s like never feeling hungry because you’ve been snacking all day.
If you want to figure out when they feel a need, that means you need to take a break from sex. This isn’t something I generally advise, but it has its benefits in rare circumstances. Discuss it together and decide not to have sex until she feels a need. It will be difficult, but if you really want to know, that’s the way.
Having sex “for you” is not that bad
“Duty sex” can get a bad reputation. I agree that if someone is having sex solely because they feel they should, then that’s not a good thing. However, there is nothing wrong with having sex because you know your spouse will enjoy it. I suspect many people do that.
It’s like doing the dishes. I hate doing dishes, but I do them often. Why? Because I know my wife appreciates it. It makes her feel loved. So, I do the dishes often.
Don’t underestimate the gift of having sex as a show of love rather than out of an internal desire. Arguably, having sex because your spouse wants it is less selfish. It builds the relationship more as a result.
Don’t let your pride get in the way of your sex life
We all want to feel like we’re the most attractive person in the world to our spouse. Like they are just barely managing to keep their hands off of us during the day. We want to believe that they’re just a suggestion away from ripping our clothes off because they can’t take it anymore.
But, that’s not reality. The truth is, your not that irresistible. You’re not supposed to be. God created mechanisms to stop us from having sex all the time. Unfortunately, for many of us, we overload those mechanisms. Especially with a busy life and kids in the mix.
Understand that not wanting sex at times it good and healthy. The problem is we usually have too many things in our life that hit those triggers. Expecting your attractiveness to be able to cut through all that is prideful.
It might also be damaging your relationship. Sulking or pestering your wife about whether or not she’s attracted to you will make her less attracted. Giving off an aura of not being confident, is likely to contribute to her not wanting to have sex.
You’re shooting yourself in the foot.
What can you do to get them excited when they look at you? Work on:
- The relationship
- Making your whole self more attractive
- Removing triggers of her sexual inhibition system
- Being more confident
Most of all: Stop asking her if she’s attracted to you. A lack of confidence is not sexy.
13 thoughts on “I don’t think my spouse is attracted to me”
I am 73 and I am only attracted to my wife of over 50 years.
My wife has made it very clear we can only be intimate if she initiates..and that she does so only out of obligation and guilt. So, I’m able to connect with her once every 4 to 6 weeks or so.
I’ve gained over 30 pounds in the past year due mostly to stress from moving and having the buyer for our old house breach the contract on the day of closing, demanding $25K. It’s caused a great deal of stress for me, trying to pay bills. And, stress for her, because she can’t buy whatever she wants when she wants.
She says I’m not the guy she married, I’m overweight (she’s right) and she doesn’t want to be around me.
I’m sure things will be better someday…
This is a disturbing trend that I’ve sadly noticed among some couples after a significant number of years being married. There are spouses that seem to feel the marriage vows of “for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer” are mere suggestions, or even optional. My brother is struggling with what to do since his wife rejected him two years ago, but she stays in the marriage for her convenience. Sexual relations is definitely off the table. She won’t even prepare meals for him. She cooks only for herself. She seems to feel that my brother breached the marriage “contract” by developing some health issues in his 70s. She has told him she doesn’t want to take care of him. Yet, strangely so, she helped him through a liver transplant about 20 years ago. Unfortunately he has spent a lot of time in the hospital for this year and last. My sister-in-law doesn’t call or visit. When my brother needs something, she puts it on the front porch for someone else to take to him. I think enough has been said.
What amazes me is my brother still deeply loves his wife and he wants to save the marriage. She seems quite content to live in their house and spend their money, but there’s no “their” left. I know God never intended for married couples to be reduced to roommates living disparate lives, yet it seems to be everywhere. I encourage my brother to confront his wife and to ask her if she intends to keep her solemn vows sworn before God and man or not. One cannot pick and choose which marriage vows you will honor. Those vows were meant to be honored “until death do us part.” If my SIL doesn’t intended to fulfill all of her marriage vows, she shouldn’t be rewarded with the benefits of being married.
Your wife acting as the sexual gatekeeper in your marriage is a sin, and I would suggest you confront her about this. She needs to know how important sex is to your well being as a man, how beneficial frequent sex is to your health and her’s, that it creates intimacy and illeviates stress. Furthermore, she probably doesn’t know that she needs sex a whole lot more than every 4-6 weeks. Sounds like you should do what our good blogger/teacher did in his marriage. They agreed to have sex every night (or day!) for two weeks. Women often do not realize they need sex just as much as men. But a woman’s arousal is just as often hidden from the woman due to the chaotic and nonstop schedules so many women contend with throughout the day. Men, do your part to start foreplay early in the day so your wife will be thinking about you and sex and having sex with you. Jay Dee has resources and articles to help men to stoke and fan the desire for sex.
Bottom line: never settle for being a roommate to your spouse. Re-read all the scripture about God’s plan for marriage and married sex. And follow it, just as you pledged with your vows.
I think wives assume guys have all this confidence and bravado about their appearance and don’t need reassurance like we do.
I think while men generally like women naked, women generally like men dressed up. Men don’t like when women dress down, but are quick to dress down themselves. Put a suit on! I was walking into a store a few weeks ago and this young man walked out smartly dressed in a well-tailored suit. I caught myself doing a double take. (I didn’t think sexually about him because he isn’t my husband and I don’t do that, but I certainly noticed and found his way of dress very attractive).
Women, especially good little Christian women, have been told to suppress those types of feelings. Physical attraction is shallow. We need to be attracted to his character. If we feel any flutters, we need to keep it within ourselves so as not to appear shallow or slutty or without self control.
Flirting, groping, sexual forwardness….slutty. Along with the above lie is this one, that coming on to our husbands is slutty. I once belonged to a group of Christian women where the leader believed that we Christian LADIES ought not to behave like the ladies of the world, even within marriage. So lingerie, sexual forwardness, “sluttiness” were unladylike, ungodly, and discouraged. Men were the aggressors and pursuers and women the submitted prey. Anything to the contrary ran the risk of making husbands feel immasculated. Ridiculous, isn’t it.
But those lies can take up residence. The damage can be so severe that the wife doesnt even think or consider that her husband even has attractiveness.
I am pretty darn sex positive and thought what the leader of the group taught was bunk, but even I still held some of that in me. I recently started really going after and enjoying hubby’s body. It has strengthened our bond. It removes doubt. It also helps fight temptation because while porn gals might be younger and prettier and more in shape with bigger breasts than me, they just take. They leave him feeling unattractive because he knows they would never give him the time of day. But his wife….now she thinks he is sexy.
Amen, sister! Well said.
I tell you what, I’m more attracted to smells and sounds personally than just the physical appearance! If my husband puts on cologne, it’s a huge turn on for me! A fresh shower, cologne, and I’m in! I really think men are more visual and women are more attracted by other things anyways.
Thank you for asking this question, we women need reminders that our men need encouragement in these areas too!
I don’t mean to over simplify or stereotype, but I think this is another potential gender difference issue. It sounds to me as if this husband is viewing the situation from his male perspective, not taking into account that for many women, physical attractiveness isn’t even on our radar. I am not a very visual person. The male body doesn’t turn me on. Like, at all. It just… doesn’t. In fact, seeing women’s bodies turns me on more than seeing a male’s body (and I appreciate a post you did about this, Jay, because no, I am not at all same sex oriented). Again, I can’t speak for all women or for this wife, but for me, I feel EMOTIONAL attraction, not physical. I guess my hubby can be hurt by that if he wants to, but that just isn’t how my brain is wired. I know it is hard to understand because it isn’t his reality, but it is mine, and I hope this husband can leave room for that if his wife is the same. I don’t fully understand my hubby’s physical and visual attraction, but I am happy to harness the power of that attraction to make sure I am attractive to him. My hope is that the husband with the wife who is emotionally oriented will harness that power too and stop being hurt just because his wife is different from him.
P.S. Like Jay said, acting insecure about it (especially if I am not wired that way) is definitely NOT attractive emotionally. I suspect this is an issue for many wives, actually. Acting insecure about our bodies actually can make our hubbies feel LESS attracted to us. I guess this was a “fake it till I make it” issue for me. I stopped acting insecure (even though I was) and started acting sexy (even though I didn’t feel sexy) and tada! I now feel sexy indeed. My body isn’t perfect, but it is good enough, and I am going to rock it, baby!
That said, has this couple actually TALKED about this issue? *gasp* If my hubby told me that it was important to him that I verbally affirm him in that way (especially from a positive angle: “I love it when you tell me ____.”), I would be sure to do that for him. I *love* my husband’s eye and his lips. So yummy. And I do tell him when I think he looks handsome, which is usually when he is dressed up, like someone wrote above. So again, for some women, it’s just… different. Learn to let that be okay if you can.
Well it sounds like your are a bit selfish everyone has feelings even your hubby as you called it yours may be different but the way you said it everyone can tell it’s got to be about you make sure to share and care that’s what makes it work there are men there are women they are different wow who knew
I am overweight. I feel the same, like I am not attractive to my wife. But here is the deal men. This IS MY FAULT not my wife’s. I am un attractive because I have let myself go. This is something I am working on.
When did we men get soo out of touch ?
Do I want to be attractive again to my wife? Yes. What can I do about it?
I can do the work.
Drink more water.
It is that simple.
Now everything Jay wrote is true. But there is something to be said for the simplicity and logical reply of, do the work.
Well make sure your wife is working on her appearance to because her tits and ass will sag it’s called getting old deal with it
I’m at the point of 10 years of marriage that after countless birthdays, valentines days, anniversaries, date nights, you name it, of no sex and no flirtation that I’m out of options. From a sex stand point, I 100% regred waiting to have sex until marriage. I feel completely robbed.
I’ve catered to her, pampered her, taken care of the house, kids, cars, finances for years and very little in return.
I just turned 32 and this sucks. Now I’m not sure why I should to tell my kids to wait till marriage before having sex. Why? Wait for years so you can enjoy it maybe once a month?
So, why don’t we change it? Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Let’s see if we can turn this around.