How to talk to a refuser

Christina Dee

How to talk to a refuser

Jan 01, 2014

The other day on our way home from a Christmas party we were talking and Jay was telling me he doesn’t know what to say or how to answer people’s comments and emails when they say that they are being refused and are hurting. This

How to talk to a refuser, How to talk to a spouse who doesn't want to have sex. How to tell spouse you need more sex.The other day on our way home from a Christmas party we were talking and Jay was telling me he doesn’t know what to say or how to answer people’s comments and emails when they say that they are being refused and are hurting. This got me thinking back to old days and how I realized what my sin was and what it had done to our marriage and how I turned from it. I used to say, “no” to Jay so very often but have since turned from my ways and now gladly say, “yes hunny!” and I’ll even initiate on a regular basis.

Our History

One thing I was thinking about was a time I remember Jay was sick with a really bad flu bug and I just so happened to be raring to go. He had a fever, was shaking and just down right miserable. And I was a horny girl that day, I wanted sex! I wanted my hubby to want me that night. But he said, “I just can’t, I am too sick” as he nearly fell asleep while I was trying to kiss him. My heart hit the floor. I couldn’t believe he just turned me down, and on our honeymoon!  I started second guessing myself; did I buy the wrong outfit for our honey moon? What could it be that he wouldn’t want me? I tried so hard to brush it off because I knew he was sick, but it was always there, I always wondered from then on, if I ever initiated, would he turn me down? I don’t think I initiated much after that. And I started saying no on a regular basis soon after.

I do believe that when one spouse refuses the sexual advances of their spouse they know that what they are doing is wrong, on some level.  We rationalize it in their minds, thinking things like, “But really, we have the right to say no!” because everything in the media and our society tells us this.  If you are a wife that actually enjoys and pursues an active sex life, you are perceived as strange. Society tells us that we don’t have to have sex, and that we shouldn’t want to. I used to be a rather enthusiastic girlfriend. We loved being physical.  Then once we were married, everything changed. Jay often said to me, “I don’t know where my fiancé has gone.” He would say it with this kind of sad tone of voice. Not angry or mad at me about the change, but with longing for what was lost. This kinda made me angry, because I didn’t see the change.

Mentality of a refuser

Ever since we got married, it is not like I’m ready at a moment’s notice anymore.  I work hard to keep my motor running idly all day, but back in the day I used to think that if my motor wasn’t raring to go, then I didn’t want sex, so I would say that I was too tired or I would actually feel too tired to do anything at that moment never really trying to get into the mood.  There is this thought process that we go through:  We think, “He’s gonna want sex tonight, and I am just not wanting that tonight, I know he’s going to be disappointed and I even feel a little bad, I know he really loves it, but it’s just not in me tonight.”

Where do you go from here?

So, how do you get out? Is there any hope? Everyone gives the answer, “There is always hope in the Lord, never cease praying for your spouse”. You’ve heard that before, I’m sure. Lots of people write lots of different things like that to try and help “awaken” the refusing spouse. So let’s go back a few years, probably like 5 or so, Jay was trying so hard to gently lead me to figuring out my issue. He would always talk about this one Christian website that focused on marital sex and it annoyed me. I resented him because he wasn’t happy in our marriage and I thought he was trying to blame me by saying look at these people and how much sex they have, and look at these people and how happy they are etc., etc.. I know I wasn’t as happy as I could have been either, but I don’t know if I blamed him. Probably, but I know I put more on myself.

How to talk to a refuser

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.

-Proverbs 3:3

So how do you talk to a refuser? My advice is to be patient, I know you have been so patient, and any spouse that has been refused on a regular basis and stays faithful deserves a medal in my books. It is amazing that you can still love your spouse and honour your wedding vows and cherish your spouse despite being refused for so long. I want to encourage you to continue being patient. I also want to suggest you talk to your spouse when you feel the time is right. When they are actually willing or wanting to have sex, and you could say no, maybe take that time to let them know and say something like, “Hunny, you know I am always up for fun, but we need to talk about this”. Plan what you want to say a head of time, make it about you and your feelings (make lots of “I feel…” statements), not what you expect from them, which is implied.  They know you want more sex. And I know that it will take so much will power to actually stop and probably miss the chance to have sex to talk about sex and what you want to change about it. I will warn, when you actually do something like this, you will probably be greeted with a defensive and angry spouse that doesn’t see what’s wrong.  I’d like to argue that they, in fact, know that something is wrong.  Your spouse showing anger isn’t a bad thing; it shows that they actually know, deep down, that something isn’t right. How can they get angry at you and defensive when you are sharing your feelings, you are allowed to do that, I’m sure they do it all the time.

Men have feelings too

I finally came to realize men have emotional connection with sex! It’s not just a physical release; this is how he shows and feels love and acceptance. He got that same sick feeling every single time that I refused him that I felt on our honeymoon. I’m usually a pretty empathic person, but for some reason I didn’t make the connection. Perhaps I thought he was just a guy, and no real emotions behind it all. It took me a long time to realize that Jay didn’t feel loved by me. So perhaps your refusing spouse just doesn’t realize the emotional turmoil that is caused by saying no. This would be a good thing to talk about. Emotional transparency is so important for a healthy marriage and sex life. I get that it is hard when you feel so shut out to open up the doors and really share your feelings!

Communication is key

Think about how you and your spouse communicate. Do you guys argue a lot? Does it get heated? Is there a lot of blame? I encourage you to check out Jay’s previous post on how to resolve conflict more effectively. He’s got some great tools and tricks on how to change the way you communicate. Realizing your behaviours and your spouse’s helps dramatically in understanding what you actually mean to say to them and what they mean to say to you. It really helps to lessen the amount of misunderstood feelings that come in an argument. Once you’ve developed good communication skills, your trust levels will grow, you won’t automatically get angry or defensive, and neither will they. So perhaps it is wise to work on this first before jumping in on telling them how you feel about their refusal.

Here’s a hypothetical situation that might give you an idea on how to start talking about your feelings and opening up more to your spouse. Everything is looking right for tonight to be a good night and you’re feeling hopeful about how things will go. You’ve both had a great day, you came home and things weren’t too chaotic, dinner was good with the family, communication between the two of you was great over dinner, you cleaned up together afterwards too. You go to hug your spouse a few times through the evening, you let them know you love seeing them happy and you’re having a good time tonight. You don’t make any sexual advances just yet. So now the kitchen is tidy again, you make sure the coffee pot is set to be ready in the morning.  Now your spouse is still nearby, go up to them, and give them a nice squishy hug, and end with a fairly passionate kiss. You tell your spouse you want to continue this good night upstairs. They will give you the excuses; you give them a solution to that obstacle they just presented to you. In the mind of the refuser, these excuses really do seem like valid reasons. It can be really hard to get the brain to focus and stay on task. When they say they are too tired, you tell them that’s why there is coffee, be pleasant and even playful about it. If they say they have a headache, you tell them you have a cure, or a way to distract them from it. You use your imagination. A simple, “not tonight hunny” opens the door for discussion about it all. Don’t let down, don’t let them “win”. Men especially: be in control, be the leader.  Most women love it when their men lead!  (Now I don’t mean rape your wife, but don’t just give up too easily either).  It takes so much pressure off when men show that they are leading and showing what they want/need from their wife. I don’t have a lot of experience when it comes to the wife who is refused, but ask yourself, does your man feel respected and appreciated? Respect is HUGE for their confidence and if they feel respected and appreciated, they are more likely to desire you. When things like this happen the refuser starts to see what they are doing is wrong.  They start to see that sex really is important to you. So even though it may be frustrating for you to have to “persuade” your way into sex, it helps them realize their mistake/sin/wrong doing. So be consistent, keep at it and be strong and persistent about it. And pray, pray all the time that the Holy Spirit guides you through it all.  Your spouse will come around.

Improve the rest of your marriage

If all this that I’ve written doesn’t sound like it would help you and your marriage. I encourage you to look at your marriage and see what needs improving besides your sex life. There has got to be something else that you can work on. Men, how are you doing with being spiritual leaders of the home? Do you pray with your wife? Women, do you take time alone with God? I know it’s so hard to find the time, trust me with being a homeschooling mom of four kids including a toddler who doesn’t like to sleep, I know! Even just having the bible app on your phone and reading the verse of the day before you get out of bed will help you keep your focus on God. I try to turn off my phone at night with that app open, so when I swipe that screen on, the Bible verse is the first thing I see. Also try to think of ways that you could tell your hubby how you appreciate him. He will love you for it; he’ll be on cloud nine when he gets that random text from you saying thanks for taking out the garbage, or doing whatever he did. Even if you asked him to do it the night before, or it’s his job, thank him anyways!

Get help

I know that there are people out there that have done all this, and they don’t know where else to turn or what else to do. We are not professionals on this blog, just a married couple who are willing to share our story. If you really are at a loss and don’t know what to do or how to continue on or you are thinking of doing something you might regret in the future, please go seek help! Talk to your pastor, a church elder, or even just a good friend that you trust. You got married to that person for a reason, keep your focus on that and hope that your fiancé comes out from under whatever has buried them.

Your Turn

Where you a refused spouse?  What made your spouse change?  Are you a recovering refuser like me? What made you stop refusing? I’d love to hear how things changed or if anything here relates to you and your marriage.


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33 thoughts on “How to talk to a refuser”

  1. trixie says:

    I love the advice about being patient. Patient doesn’t mean inactive. It’s a mindset. A determination to think the best of your spouse no matter what you might feel at the moment and a willingness to help them without getting frustrated that it’s not happening on your timetable.

    While I totally appreciate your enthusiasm here, you’re a little simplistic in both the reasons for refusal and the way to talk to a refuser. The excuses are only excuses so trying to convince the refuser of why they aren’t reasons to say no will probably start a fight that isn’t likely to lead to a change of heart. That is what is needed here.

    Finding out what’s the reason they refuse in the first place is probably the conversation you should be having. The place to lead is in not accepting the answer “I don’t know” “I was made this way” or anything else that’s similar.

    You need to make sure before you have this conversation, that you’ve had a conversation with your Father about what things you need to change before you’re ready to tackle your spouses issues. Put in the work on yourself so you can set the example. Then have the “why refusal” conversation and don’t let up until they are ready to work on it.

    Of course this is just the opinion of one former refuser. 🙂

    1. Christina Dee says:

      Trixie, thank you so much for your reply!! I really appreciate your honesty and openness. And I totally agree about patience being a mindset. It’s so true, and it works really well in parenting too.
      There is so much to talk about when it comes to why and what happened that makes a refuser a refuser. I tried to make it simplistic as to not make it overwhelming for the reader, or a novel! But perhaps you are onto something, maybe this can be the start of a series.
      I think everything should be brought before the Lord in prayer as well, I think part of what helped me realize was that Jay was working on changing himself and making himself a better person, it made me want to be a better person.
      Thanks again for your input, be on the look-out for more posts from me about this looking a little deeper.

    2. userdand says:

      You hit it right on the head about being frustrated with slow progress. “Well, I think I adequately explained this so why aren’t you doing something about it.?” It may spring from the way we have historically been socialized, especially when it comes to education or work. The boss tells us what is expected and we are expected to conform to their expectation, even when we disagree. Don’t like it. Get another job. Of course marriage doesn’t work that way, but if that’s your paradigm for change being implemented in situations, you look at that as an effective model from which to launch change: We’ll have a reasonable discussion; I’ll make my points; she’ll understand and quickly comply. If only.

      There is so much ground to be covered before that discussion can even begin and all we men want is “problem solved.” How’s that working for us?

      1. Christina Dee says:

        You are right that it is a slow process! and it can be so frustrating for you and the refuser, cause they are constantly reminded that they aren’t good enough. and that they need to change. I think the biggest factor for the refuser(at least for me) is seeing that the refused spouse is also trying to change their behavior. That they don’t think they are perfect or doing everything right. It is a hard situation all around.

  2. Bonnie @ Love, Marriage and Sex says:

    Great post, Christina!

    “Once you’ve developed good communication skills, your trust levels will grow, you won’t automatically get angry or defensive, and neither will they. So perhaps it is wise to work on this first before jumping in on telling them how you feel about their refusal.”

    I think this is key when it comes to sexual refusal. I, like you, am a recovering refuser, and I know that many times, when my hubby would address it, I became highly defensive, but it was, like you said, because deep down I really knew that something wasn’t right.

    I think you’ve given some great advice here, and the truth is, sometimes it does take a little patience and faith. It is amazing how many men remain faithful to refusing wives (or wives with refusing husbands!). Thanks so much for sharing your story. More women like you and I need to stand up and help others who are suffering (and I think we can both agree that many times, the refuser suffers as well as the refused!).

    1. Christina Dee says:

      Bonnie, I totally agree that refusers are suffering too.Thank you so much for your feedback and encouragement.

  3. userdand says:

    Good job CD. This is a very difficult issue to bring up in the heat or chill of the moment. It is especially difficult for men to read those blogs where women are talking about how they were once refusers or gatekeepers and now are more submissive and really both enjoy and desire sex and even initiate. Not meaning to be disrespectful, but they really wish their wives would have a “come to Jesus” experience about sex. I think a big part of the problem is what puts the fire in the sexual experience for the two sexes, and I don’t mean just what excites them to arousal.

    I remember the recent go-round on here about sex being a need for the man. Whether or not it is an actual, empiracably provable physiological need or not, if the man perceives it as a need, for him it IS a need. What drives him at any age to want sex boils closer to the surface than what “drives” a woman to want sex. Younger women may be more hormonally driven than when they age, but older women seem to be driven more often by deep emotions. We tend to talk apples and oranges when we try to discuss this. It’s still good to attempt these discussion to find understanding. But I think when we keep bumping our heads against our respective walls, we find ourselves thinking, “If only she would read what the women on that blog are saying. She might find someone she can identify with who could help.” Problem is, until they admit to a problem, or at least to consider the possibility one exits, they aren’t interested in reading and we’re out of ideas. And you are right about a wife taking those suggestions to read as being accused of being a bad wife with a bad marriage when are we men are trying to do is have the message delivered in a more effective way than we seem capable of.

    1. Christina Dee says:

      Thanks for posting! ” I think a big part of the problem is what puts the fire in the sexual experience for the two sexes, and I don’t mean just what excites them to arousal.” I’m not sure I completely understand what you mean. Do you mean just that women and men are wired differently and how they show love to each other? There is no one size fits all, that is what makes it so hard to tackle how to fix this problem. Jay used to show me blog after blog of women who were refusers in hopes that I would relate to someone, but I don’t know if I ever really did feel I could relate to them, cause they were also saying that I had to change my behavior. It’s really hard to navigate through dealing with us refusers. I hope my post didn’t come across like it was easy. Jay will tell you it certainly wasn’t lol. But I truly appreciate where we are now in our marriage!

    2. userdand says:

      It’s been a while since I posted this. Let me go back and re-read your post and my comment to get context and I’ll get back.

  4. Aimee says:

    Wow, what a powerful post and very timely for me…the refused wife. Well, I’m not actually ‘refused’, our issue is more age related, but it still feels like refusal to me as the higher drive spouse. I’ve quit initiating because quite frankly, I’m tired of just being ignored or turned down.
    We’ve had a talk about things and my hubby told me last week that it’s not a lack of desire for me, it’s just that his body doesn’t always cooperate when he is in the mood and getting the two to come together at the same time is difficult and frustrating for him.
    I try to be patient, but once a week for me is just not enough and yet I feel like I’ve cried all the tears I can and talked about it until finally it comes across as ‘beating a dead horse” if you know what I mean.
    So, I’m trying to work through how to be content with one day a week and not be pushy or demanding when I know what my hubby is dealing with can be frustrating for him too.

    Anyway, that is my rant on this night of just desiring to be held and loved while he sleeps.

    1. Christina Dee says:

      Oh Aimee, i’m so sorry that you have to deal with that. 1x a week really isn’t much. If he desires you, that is good, there is hope, it is just a matter of finding out how he can show that to you without being frustrated. I don’t know if you want to get into details on here of your sexual activity, but something to think about is maybe if he would take the time to give you pleasure? and perhaps doing that for you will help excite him and he will want some activity after that. Praying you guys can come to a better place where you are both happy! *hugs*

    2. userdand says:

      Check your email girl!

      1. Aimee says:

        I did! 🙂

  5. Robyn says:

    Nicely done Mrs. JD!! It was great to hear from you.

    1. Christina Dee says:

      Thanks Robyn 🙂

  6. Lynne says:

    I’m a recovering “avoider” more than refuser — you know, going to bed hours later, always too busy… What changed me was my going back to church. I had left to avoid people and a sense of not fitting in. I found a new church where most people didn’t know me so I was free to be myself and not someone’s expectation of who I am. I never stopped loving and worshipping God all the time I was out of fellowship. My new community spends an hour in worship — it’s wonderful! Anyway, as my heart softened to the things of God, my heart also softened towards my husband and I made a bigger effort to renew our friendship. As our friendship improved, so did our sex life. As our sex life improved, his interest in my interests grew, and we connected better in so many ways which, of course, improved our sex life even more.
    So, in a nutshell, my advice to refusers: get right with God, be in regular fellowship, renew or strengthen your friendship with your spouse, put your spouse above all else (except God) and relax and enjoy it! It is fun and good wives do (even if good girls don’t,).

    1. Christina Dee says:

      Lynne, thanks so much for commenting! It is a wonderful feeling having a church community that you are happy in and feel loved. Thank you so much for your advice, it’s so true about being right with God and how that helps you turn your sex life around. I think that was a big part of it for me as well, though it took a while! lol

  7. LatterDay Marriage says:

    I think whatever strategy you use has be be related to why they refuse, but a common thread in all of them is getting them to understand what refusal feels like for you. Using ‘Emotional Word Pictures’ really helped here Google the phrase if you are not familiar with it, it is a way of comparing your feeling about something to their feelings about something they experienced or understand so they can better relate to how you feel.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I joined this group a bit ago as my guilt & remorse at being an avoider & refuser weighs heavily on me. I strive to seek God, pray, worship etc. but indeed the feeling of disgust rears it’s head every time I am approached.
    It didn’t use to be this way ……

    A Story Of The Birth Of A Refuser

    …. Once upon a time there was a young women so in love that she fell at the feet of her companion with trust & mutual affection often. They enjoyed frequent bedroom escapes with varied activities, techniques, ideas & time frames. There were no hindrances or inhibitions what with both of them being fairly high needs & both willing to make this a priority.
    Not too long after their legal union the women being somewhat naive on such matters but not prudish found hidden printed materials that caused much hurt.
    This was a bit before the internet so that means they were bought from an unsavory magazine ( not the usual x-rated magazines) store unbefitting to the Christian man who bought them.
    For him It was a source of extreme anger & denial ( it was only this once, he said) for a day or two.
    This woman hid sadness, hurt & pain as she was pushed aside and labeled a nag.
    She was assured it was the last time. Of course if the story ended here all might be well but alas as things like this don’t usually resolve so easily it didn’t end.
    For the next 20 years it was a game of hide & find. The husband would hide & the wife would find.
    She actually would pray “lord if there is something I am missing please reveal it to me” this happened over & over.
    Was this God giving her the freedom to leave??? She didn’t leave but indeed because of children & fear she stayed.
    During these 20 or so years the intimacy continued- in order for her hurting heart to be well she ignored some, wished it away & even when he openly acted out with her what he saw in pictures ( & inventually on the internet) she agreed.
    Isnt this what all godly, submissive wives do? This is at least what she was told.
    The emotionally destructive words, critical, controlling attitude towards her & the children continued as well. These things often go along with a narcissistic, over-bearing patriarch. Truly this once joyful, life loving woman changed, for the words he spoke were usually more hurtful than helpful , more hateful than loving , more critical than encouraging. There was no consideration for her as the woman he was commanded to cherish.
    For the sake of her 10 children she stayed.
    She kept herself fit, healthy, attractive, well read, relevant shall we say.
    She continued to love The Lord & serve Him.
    She served this husband of hers, family& friends.
    Anyone looking in would say ” a perfect picture”
    After some very difficult events , a move, a financial upheaval during the recent crash he became even worse.
    Completely abandoning his family emotionally & being unavailable to do anything except the activities he loved ( read, drink, seclude himself in his office) this wife said NO MORE!!!!
    She secretly told her pastors & got help for herself. She started with little things , she made changes.
    She decided that if he wasn’t going to do anything for anyone it was up to her.
    She made decisions for children, she drove them to school, took them to church, grocery shopped, mowed the lawn, cleaned the garage, did household projects, served at their church, ran their business, etc. & all the while he sat in his office.
    She pleaded with him to get help. She begged him to seek a counselor, medication or whatever might be useful. He refused all!
    “This is the way I am” he would say – “take it or leave it”.
    He would continue to seek out this wife for his own pleasure & that’s when the refusing started.
    At first it was just “not tonight” once in awhile.
    But as his moods, temper tantrums, etc. escalated her refusing got more prevalent.
    She started to gain confidence with this new word “no”. He harassed her even more with words like bitch, nag, prude, evil, & a host of others that can’t be repeated here.
    He fully admitted he was the problem, threatened self destruction, running away & yet still insisted on being physically close all the while with an emotional ocean between them.
    She could not do it. Three years this went on.
    Three of the most painful, stressful, heart wrenching years of her life, & this after an already tumultuous 20 or so years. “No” became easy during this time.
    So easy that today when this husband is starting to find little ways to change ” no” still is on the tip of her tongue. He does have many good days strung together now, he has many good moments. Never has he gone and repented, asked forgiveness, taken much responsibility.
    It’s as though this husband feels all must change because he is changing.
    That his dear wife should now shout a resounding yes every time he pursues.
    She struggles with his changing attitudes, she is still reeling from the years of pain & abandonment. He now acts if nothing has happened.
    While this wife wants to say an eternal “no” she so wants to be the woman God wants her to be. Realizing this means trying to mend that which was broken – yet it is all one sided. She is expected to forgive, ( which she can) forget, (which is harder) & jump into active, stimulating, physical intimacy
    (which is hardest).
    She still knows that while he is making baby steps there is little move toward him learning good communication, him striving to serve selflessly, him putting anyone or anything above self.
    While the peace in the home is certainly more evident the peace in the heart of this wife is not yet to be had.
    The End

    So you see my refusing is hard for me as well. I would be considered a high needs woman & intimacy was/is desired.
    I didnt then & don’t now want to be a refuser. I have NEVER wanted to be a refuser.
    I feel that some think it is a choice we make to punish or to get our way.
    I have sought out books, websites, people to help with this as now my voice can hardly utter a yes.
    Even harder for me to accept are the attempts of my husband to draw close to give a hug or a kiss. I want to run & never look back.
    Yet he is, as I said, taking baby steps toward me. I look to God to heal this, I count on Him to walk with us. It doesn’t make turning my no into yes any easier & I continue to pray & strive to be the Woman He wants be to be.

    Just wanted to share the other (painful) side.

    1. Christina Dee says:

      Your story brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry that you’ve had to deal with all this abuse! I think there is so much going on here, and I think it would be wise for you both to seek out counseling to get past this and onto a healthy relationship together. I think you will have so much more respect for him if he can show a little humility. It is great that your husband is making changes, but the thing that is missing is him admitting he was wrong and being sorry he did it and asking for forgiveness. That is HUGE, and so very important for the healing process. I will pray for you too, that he will want to be the husband God wants him to be. *hugs*

    2. userdand says:

      I am so very sorry and saddened to hear this story. I know it is heart-breaking for you on so many levels that it looks as if healing can never happen. In truth, complete healing my not be possible for all the wounds. I won’t tell you I KNOW this can be healed, even if you invoke prayer. I wouldn’t assume to know God’s will in this matter.

      I will leave you with this resource I recently read and think will be of some help to you. It goes beyond the usual 12-step programs for wives of sex addicts and co-addiction and codependency issues. If you have ever been told you are a co-addict or are part of his problem as a codependent and rankled at that and felt it was not the case, this is the book for you and so many others. It is about the healing (not necessarily reconciliation) of spouses of sex addicts and is aimed at women for the most part though it does not ignore that there are women who are sexual addicts also. Your lack of desire and unwillingness to allow for his adjustment may be because you are suffering post-traumatic stress and no 12-step program adequately address this. Even if you leave the relationship, you will need to deal with the PTS before you can build a new one. I do not think this is just “pop” science brought about by the recent stories of PTSD in the military (what used to be “battle fatigue” in the dark ages of military psychology). Please give this book a read. It is not a psychological text or a self-help cure book. The authors, having been there, fully realize this takes long-term, professional treatment. The book is meant to help spouses decide if they may be suffering PTS, encourage them to seek out help and to begin a dialog about this a the preferred treatment for spouses of sexual addicts, especially those who are wrongfully identified as being co-addicts in the relationship.

      It can possibly be found in your public library. I will include the Amazon link here. Click or cut and paste the link and then use the “look in” function on the corner of the photo of the book cover to see inside pages. Better still, just go check it out. You will find help there and more resources listed beyond the book.

      Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal

  9. AverageMarriedDad says:

    Great post, and one that really both sides share a role. Husbands can not negotiate or logic your wife into attraction for them. Attraction is born by a number of things: Leadership, Physical Attractiveness, Humor, Flirting. It is killed by being believing your wife is above you on food chart and bowing to her as Woman. Your wife wants to be attracted to a man that other men want to be, and other women want to be with. If you are a supplicating, wimpy and unnattractive man who lets his wife lead the family, it’s no wonder why she’s not dying to have marital relations with you. Now the wife shares a portion of the blame like Mrs. Dee said, but it is on us husbands to force her hand. She even gave you some tips fellas. She throws up roadblocks and excuses, you use the “Agree and Amplify” technique and use humor to deflect the situation. Also, warm her up with some flirting, butt grabs and rubbing against her – if you are an attractive man. Finally, as Mrs. Dee mentioned, women like to be pursued through their fitness tests. A hard “no” is a hard “no,” but anything less is a maybe. As PhD author and blogger Emily Nagoski of the Dirty Normal has noted multiple times, women have responsive desire and men have spontaneous desire. That means men are always ready to go, and women sometimes don’t even desire sex until they are in the middle of it. They RESPOND to your desire, but that means you have to fight through some of the roadblocks sometimes. I find it best to be lighthearted about that, and if she does say a hard “no”, don’t get all pissy about it, just smile and say something like “your loss” and laugh it off. Good luck out there being one who is married to a recovering refuser (I think many men and women are in this boat).

    1. Christina Dee says:

      Thank you so much for your reply Average Married Dad!! I totally agree with most of what you said. for myself, I actually feel really degraded as a person when Jay comes up and grabs my butt. I donno why, I can’t stand it lol, but you are right when he shows me he desires me through other ways, it helps get that fire going. lol I am totally a responsive woman. I did wonder about one thing you said, I wasn’t sure what you meant by “women like to be pursued through their fitness tests.” Could you explain that?

      1. AverageMarriedDad says:

        I may take the scenic route to get to the answer to your question, but bear with me. First, women are biologically and evolutionarily predisposed to seek out the highest quality mate they can find. This is to give their offspring the best possible chance at survival and then success (high quality genes means kids will have high quality genes). If possible, the mate will be of higher “class” than the woman herself. This is the basic definition of hypergamy. A fitness test then is a (usually) subconsious or unconcious test of the mate, or potential mate,’s character to confirm if he is a high enough class to “deserve” the woman. Every time he passes, he shows his value. Every time he fails he get’s knocked down a little in her eyes. Enough “fails” and her attraction drops as well. This applies to both singles and couples.

        For example, let’s say husband and wife are both sitting on the couch enjoying a show or movie. Wife says “I’m thirsty, can you get me a glass of water?” Pretty innocuous fitness test, but if husband jumps up like an eager dog, it subconsciously shows the wife she is superior since he’s running errands for her. Instead, he could politely respond “Next time I’m up, I’d be glad to get one for you.” or make some sort of lighthearted joke about her legs not working or teasing her somehow.

        But a fitness test can also be a “convince me to get in the mood, because I’m not right now” test. The excuses: I’m too tired, I’m in the middle of a show, the kids will hear, etc. are basically fitness tests on your ability to turn her on. Now maybe the Refuser goes to this place because you aren’t attractive to her or are more like a roommate, but that’s a different issue. If your structural issues are addressed (you take care of yourself, are a leader in your house, no major issues), then it is likely a “convince me” test. Hence, if you can convince her to push past her boundaries, or at least try in a manner that shows you are of high value, you pass.

        My wife is the queen of fitness tests in the bedroom. We’ll be having some playful banter, working up toward some sex, and she’ll drop a big ‘ole stinky fitness test that pushes my buttons and essentially tries to derail my amorous intentions. If I get derailed and take her bait, sometimes getting into a minor argument, I’ve lost. If I just give up on the attempt, I’ve lost. She somewhat recognizes she does this, and sometimes will hang out the olive branch even after I’m ready to pack it in (“you sure gave up easy” was a line she used one time), but it’s on the man to pass these test. To bat down those minor roadblocks with humor and cockiness and pursue her like she’s the last woman on earth… that you NEED her. She’ll usually respond in kind. Remember that actions speak louder than words, and you can’t negotiate or talk your way into desire and attraction.

        That’s what I mean by pursuing through their fitness test.

  10. Mel Caldicott says:

    So good to learn from each other and from this new perspective try and adjust the way we behave from understanding each other.
    Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

  11. Chris says:

    It’s great to get to hear your voice here, Christina! I’m so glad you talk about the value of patience. I know that slow progress is so frustrating. After a time of refusal, being able to see light at the end of the tunnel but not being able to rush right toward it must be agonizing. It took me a long time to unlearn habits that had developed over a period of years and then replace them with positive habits. If I’d done too much too soon, I don’t think the changes would’ve stuck.

    It was only after I stopped my refusing and gate-keeping that I realized just what I’d done to my husband for so long. What was it that convicted you to make the change from “no” to “yes”?

  12. Sam82 says:

    So what do you say to a refuser who says to you one day: “please don’t ask me any more. I’m too old for all that now [47], and I don’t want you to ask for sex any more.” ? And this after 20 years of a habit of refusing?
    Two years later, I left. Patience I had, but it was not unlimited. Now I only feel guilt for leaving, and it is still really painful. She still says “basically you left because you didn’t get enough sex”, i.e. belittling the problem and saying I over-reacted. But I just couldn’t take it any more.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I would find a counselor who uses biblical foundations for their practice and invite your wife to counseling.

  13. JMH says:

    I had an awakening about 2 months ago …. This was after a year of no sex with my husband. Within this past year, we experienced our last pregnancy, baby born with heart defect and surgery/hospital stays. Prior to that, our sex life wasn’t great either… Due to my refuser/gate keeping habits. My question is how did both of you get over emotional scars (myself – husband coped with porn.. This has lead to self doubt about myself and self image; weight loss; trust issues; ect & husband with scars of my refusal)?

    1. Christina Dee says:

      That is a lot of stress in a year! You guys need to both be understanding of each other and give yourselves time to heal. We never dealt with stress like that with our children but we have caused the same sort of damage to each other. I think keeping the lines of communication open is/was a huge factor for us in being able to talk about what each person is feeling and to be understanding of what they are feeling. It took Jay quite a while before he believed me that I wouldn’t say no to him ever again. The self image and other things will go with time as well, but I will be honest I still wonder if those other images of the women from the computer are still there in his head, he says they aren’t and that I’m all. He thinks about and that is reassuring. I hope this is helpful for you guys, please feel free to ask us anything.

  14. Still hopeful says:

    Thank you all for your words related to this post and to this site. My wife and I have grappled with this for 20 years. Like too many Christians, we gave in to temptation before we were married as our parents told us we were too young had to wait (almost two years). While as lusty as the next guy, I felt guilty afterwards every time we had sex as an engaged couple, yet when I pleaded with her that we should stop she said that I couldn’t take sex away from her. A month before we were married we did stop – at my insistence – but after the wedding it was never the same again for her: her interest in sex plummeted and within two years of being married it was often months between times when we came together for sex.

    We have talked – many times – about it. I have been honest and I have tried to be what I think she needs me to be. She has openly accepted that what’s happening isn’t fair on me. She always says she will try harder, but nothing really changes for long. I always end up feeling as though I’ve having to grovel for sex, and that when she concedes it’s only because she feels guilty, not because she wants me or wants sex. It’s very painful for me, and she feels bad about herself: despite my protests she calls herself a lemon and apologizes regularly to me, saying I should have married someone else. (You can imagine how this makes me feel)

    I managed to lose a lot of weight about eight years ago, but despite being trim and fit there was no change. My weight has now ballooned back up. I try everything I know, but I don’t ever see any real difference. About every 12-18 months it comes back to what my wife calls ‘one of those conversations’ where I express my love and desperate need for her, and we both cry and she feels horribly guilty and I feel dreadful about making her feel guilty. Occasionally we do plan and come together and it’s great; but far more often she agrees in the morning to be with me that night, then at night she says she’s too tired or falls asleep in front of the TV and then says, ‘How about in the morning?’ and then in the morning it doesn’t happen and so on. Eventually she heaves a sigh and says ‘I promised’, takes me to the bedroom and ‘submits’ – there’s no other way to describe it – to me. You can imagine how close this brings me to her: I feel like I’m using her at this point.

    I fully appreciate that there are issues for her, and that my drive is a lot stronger than hers. She finds almost anything other than ‘absolute vanilla sex’ a total turn off, dating back to a child hood incident where she encountered her father watching porn. Having observed her parents’ marriage I find myself wanting to scream “I know why he was doing that – it’s the same reason that in recent years I find myself watching similar stuff! – he wasn’t, and I’m not, getting the sex (let alone the intimacy and fun) we desire, so we’re just finding ways to make ourselves feel a little better without having to either face our wives’ refusal or make them feel like they have to be with us!”

    I don’t want to leave, I love her desperately. I’m not going to leave either, but I can’t see any improvement on the horizon. She flatly refuses to go with me to a counsellor. I just want us to be so much more. And I’m reading all these posts on the blog about all the things that other Christian couples are doing and wishing so desperately that my beloved wife and I were doing this too. A couple of times I’ve bought little vibrating toys in the supermarket, and she’s invariably reacted like I asked her to let me bring a bucket of sick into the bedroom. Two years ago we were on holiday in Europe and in a fit of stupidity I bought her some incredibly sexy lingerie. It’s still in the bag in the back of my wardrobe because I haven’t been willing to face the resignation and distaste on her face if I make her a present of it.

    I will stay in my marriage I’m happy – most of the time – in our friendship. We have great kids and great life. We still laugh and enjoy being together as a couple outside of sex. But oh the ache of wanting so much more with her. I’m sorry, we’ve done the talking, I’ve done the praying, but the change doesn’t happen. I don’t want a medal for my forbearance: I want my wife!

    1. Christina Dee says:

      So much of what you say rings true for us to an extent. I was the one that suggested counseling, and he didn’t think we needed it I guess. I’m not sure. But we did pull through. I really think it would be good for you guys to find someone to talk to. Are you involved with a church? Do you have any couples in your life that you look up that could be your mentors?
      I’ll be honest it took a long with of fighting with the guilt to let go and move on. Have you guys ever tried a sex challenge like extraordinary marriage has put on? Or how about doing the books the love dare (for him to read) and the respect dare (for her to read)? These helped open our eyes and allowed us to have a deeper relationship. I see you say you have prayed. And that’s great, please keep on praying! Could you pray together? Something about the act of praying together is so humbling and moving it really does grow the intimacy between you both. I will keep you guys in my prayers as well. Thanks so much for sharing your story and I hope you find more encouragement here on our site.

  15. Bobster says:

    Persuasion? Really? That one’s so funny I might have to try it. I like how you some it up into something so simple like that, when in reality, after years upon years nothing changes. Church, not wanting counselling, nothing you can offer can help.

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