You’re lying in bed bumping up against that body next to you, seething with hurt and anger. You haven’t been touched or reached for in more months than you care to count. You’ve gone through the typical exercises of seduction, friendship, and caring, only to have been rejected and thwarted again and again. Your mind has assessed all of the possibilities: if there is someone else, another woman, a lack of desire, or loss of love. Emotionally bruised and wounded, you withdraw, and the situation now becomes distant and lonely.

You are not alone! This story repeats itself in many bedrooms all across America. Your natural impulse is to blame yourself. “What am I doing wrong?” “What can I do right?” But just as we can never make anyone love us, we can’t make someone want to have sex.

So what can you do?

The root of the problem

First, you have to find out the cause. What are the reasons your man has stopped having sex with you? Don’t play “the blame game.” If you find yourself rejected and in a sexless marriage or relationship without touching, hugging, or kissing, without the comfort of the words “I love you,” it may not have anything to do with you. Believe it or not, there are over 20 million marriages in the United States just like yours.

The first thing you need to do, when you find yourself in this situation, is to go with your husband or mate to a medical doctor and have a medical work-up. You may find one of these medical issues to be true:

  1. He may be experiencing low testosterone, which is a normal result of aging. This can cause a loss of libido.
  2. He may be depressed or under undo stress at work, in which case he may be over-reaching for alcohol, caffeine, or drugs, all of which can effect sexual drive and performance.
  3. He may be physically ill or on anti-depressants, as well as on prostate medicine, all of which can affect erectile function.
  4. He may have developed a sexual disorder, that could be related to a traumatic sexual event in his past that is now surfacing through the intimacy of marriage, or relationship.
  5. Excessive exercise may be the culprit, a syndrome that can mirror anorexia and bulimia and may affect sexual desire.
  6. He may be watching porn and therefore masturbating, lowering his own sexual function.
  7. And finally, sleep deprivation can be your problem. For instance, if you are getting less sleep because you and your mate are experiencing emotional difficulties; or you are the parents of a new baby.

However, after talking openly with your partner, you may discover that your sexual issues are more emotional:

  1. He may be angry with you over some perceived event or experience. For example, perhaps you’ve gained weight, and he believes you no longer care about being attractive to him.
  2. He may feel that you are over-controlling and hypercritical, and has shut down in an effort to push back.
  3. He may be bored. As the saying goes, “familiarity breeds contempt,” as you and your partner get into a sex routine that may cause you to take each other for granted.
  4. And you can’t overlook the real possibility that your mate is bored of having sex with you because he is really interested in having sex with someone else… a rationale that frees him from being faithful.
  5. Finally, husbands and lovers, who have problems with intimacy, often put space and distance between them and you, when they find themselves in a committed relationship, which can make them feel vulnerable.

If you can relate to any of the above listed problems, what can you do about?

  • The first thing you must do is acknowledge that you have a problem and recognize what that problem really is.
  • Communication is key, and though you may find it embarrassing and even humiliating, it is important to speak your truth to your mate.
  • Counseling, including seeing a Sex Therapist, can help you get to the root of your problem and reconnect with your mate.
  • Sometimes, you can improve your sex life simply through sensate focus. By learning how to touch your partner in a pleasing way, you can revitalize the romance of foreplay, which, by the way, begins way before the bedroom and has everything to do with the small kindnesses you show to your mate.
  • And though sex therapy is usually short in duration, approximately eight or nine sessions, you can benefit greatly from it by learning to communicate your sexual interests, desires, and fantasies while hearing your mate’s.
  • Counseling can also help teach you and your mate how to communicate about sex initiation, including your feelings, and resentment, from the rejection of sexual avoidance.
  • Another simple strategy that can come from sex therapy is helping you, and your mate prioritize sex, rather than letting exercise, children, and social encounters override your intimacy and romance.
  • Personal hygiene can also be addressed in professional counseling sessions and is the easiest problem for you and your mate to solve. Paying attention to your appearance, breath, and body odor can express to your partner that he counts and you care.
  • And a medical professional can identify if erectile dysfunction is your mate’s problem. If it is, a doctor can prescribe Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, or any number of drugs that can improve erectile function.

Remember, relationships are messy, and complicated. So when you discuss these tender issues with your mate, it is important to follow my empathic process. This can lead you to not only your story, but allows you to listen to your partner’s without defense. Nothing happens in a vacuum, and by staying engaged rather than retreating and pulling away, you have your best chance to really experience emotional intimacy with your partner.

Finally, if all your attempts at solving your problems fail and your relationship is polarized beyond repair, you always have the choice to leave. If you choose divorce, you should continue with a professional counselor, to help you heal these marital wounds and not repeat this mistake again.


  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.