Reader Question: My Wife Says We Never Make Love

by | Nov 12, 2018 | Sex, Sexual Intimacy | 6 comments

What does it mean to "make love?" Let's look at what intimacy means and looks like in marriage!
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What does it mean if your wife says you never make love?

Every Monday I like to film an “Ask Sheila” video, and today’s is a sad one from a husband whose wife doesn’t want sex–and who feels that they are drifting apart. He writes:

Reader Question

My wife and I married 18 years ago. She will not initiate sex except maybe once every few months. I’m tired of the negative cloud over our home and I work as much as I can just to stay busy and stay out of her way.

I have stopped asking for sex and after a few weeks of no sex I get to my limit and I’ll casually ask her but she’s usually too tired or too sick or whatever and I drop it. She and I talked the other day and she told me that we have only made love 2 or 3 times ever. I asked her what she means by making love and she said, “Just figure it out.” I asked, “Come on, tell me what you mean,” and she said, “See you just wouldn’t understand.” I looked all over the web and I can’t find the answer. Can you tell me what she’s referring to?


Well, it’s hard to know without the exact context, but in my video today I give three possible interpretations. And I know these are hard to hear, but it’s important we talk about what real intimacy is.

I hope that helps! It honestly could be a whole variety of things. She could feel distant from you. She could feel as if sex is mostly for you, and never for her. She could have issues with sex in general. In all of these cases, what you really need to do is learn how to talk about this stuff and communicate about this stuff, and I know that’s hard. I hope that the video gave you some ideas to start.

Okay, now for some action steps.

If you’re a guy, and your wife says you never make love:

Seriously, it will help! I just received a note from a woman who just read The Good Girl’s Guide who said:

So I read The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex approximately a year or so ago. At the time I was SEARCHING for answers to what was wrong with me. About why I thought the way I did, why I felt like I did, HOW my body works, addressing the wrong thinking I had about intimacy and sex, and quite honestly the effect on my husband. I was tired of the blah feeling I had about our sex life and intimate connection, or lack there of. To make a LONG story short through hard work on both our parts we are in a completely new, Better, and exciting place! We have been married 15 years (7 kids) and for the first time we KNOW each other on a level we feel like God intended for a husband and wife. Praise to the Lord Almighty we have been set free from the lies and know more truth than when we began this journey……also, wanted you to know a HUGE victory for myself personally is I just recently began to have orgasms for the first time!!!!!!!


If you’re a woman, and you feel like you’ve “never made love”:

God designed us for intimacy, and it makes me so sad to see so many couples missing out on this!

Sex is supposed to be wonderful on three levels: emotional, spiritual, and physical. The problem for men, I think, is that they focus a lot on the physical, and sometimes miss out on the need for the other two. For men, the physical is the gateway towards the other two levels of intimacy in many ways, and so if they’re connecting physically, they’ll feel closer. But for women, emotional intimacy especially is the gateway into the other ones. If she doesn’t feel emotionally close, then physical intimacy will feel like she’s being “used” (even if that’s the furthest thing from the husband’s mind).

When things work well, she’ll feel emotionally close, which will draw her into physical connection. He’ll feel physically close, which will draw him into emotional connection. Both will lead to them each feeling “spiritually” like one (which isn’t only about feeling close to God, but is also about feeling truly intimate). And that true oneness also comes from experiencing passion together, and getting to another “plane” with each other. It’s quite amazing.

But all too many couples are missing out on this. Again, from this man’s question, I can’t know which reason is the root problem. And many of you will feel the same way as this woman, with different reasons, too. I hope some of those resources can help.

What I really want to inspire you with, though, is this thought:

Sex is supposed to feel intimate. If it’s not, then DO something.

That’s the theme of what we’re talking about this month. God designed us for intimacy, with Himself and with others. It’s intimacy that makes our lives feel at peace. Nothing else can do that. So this is important stuff. Don’t settle for blah. Figure it out! And like the woman who wrote in after reading The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex–you just may find there’s a whole new life at the other side.

What does it mean to "make love?" Let's look at what intimacy means and looks like in marriage!

Now let’s talk in the comments: If a woman says “we’ve never made love”, what do you think she means?

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Needconnection

    That men need sex to feel connected is really true. I experienced that in a sad way yesterday. It was fathers day in my county and my wife had told me she had something special prepared for me. I had been doing chores all day and was tired but looking forward to the surprise. Sadly we had to hurry because of the kids and there was no surprise but what hurt most was that she finished and then she felt too tired to let me finish. I know many women go through that but I can say that I can count on my fingers the times my wife hasn’t had an orgasm the last months. I always focus on her but she felt to tired and didn’t even want to use her hands as she usually do. It hurt so much. It wasn’t a sexual frustration it was emotional. It was yesterday but here nonchalant attitude to me not getting release hurt so much. She even wanted a foot rub adterwards. I gave to her but I felt so humiliated. Like I was just a slave. The thing is that I do most chores at home and specially now that she is studying. Yesterday she was at her in- laws and I spent the day cleaning because the house was a mess and I want to serve her in that way. I don’t do it to get sex but I feel validated when we do have sex. So when she did this to me it really hurt. I have had a hard time letting go of my anger. I told her I was upset but I don’t know how much she cares. We men need sex to feel connected. This made it painfully obvious because I don’t feel any connection to her today.

  2. Ashley

    When I was married, we usually had awesome sex, but I never felt like we made love, except maybe on our honeymoon. For me, what was missing was in our sexual encounters, he never told me that he loved me, or that I was beautiful, anything like that. Sometimes he would say I was sexy, or say how much he loved a certain part of my body, but that is completely different than saying I’m beautiful. He was very much into the act itself, and our mutual pleasure, but I often felt it wasn’t so much me he was crazy about, but the sex itself.

  3. Bobthemusicguy

    I think some of the disconnect has to do with the various love languages, as well as lack of teaching on the relational side of communication. For example, a woman who connects relationally through conversation could lose sight of the relationship by focusing on the means. In other words, my wife enjoys conversation per se, while I don’t much. For me, talking is more for information. But as I’ve learned to engage in conversation because I love her, I have increased both my ability in and enjoyment of conversation. It didn’t come naturally, I had to work at it.
    For me, sex is about communication and connection, but unfortunately, like most men, the activity is so intensely physical, and it’s easy for a man to get caught up in the means of connection and lose sight of the relationship. I’ve had to learn that what I want isn’t sex. I want my wife, sexually. Most men have grown up with the idea that sex is all about pleasure and release, not about relational intimacy. I know I did. And my wife has had to learn how much this intimacy means to me.
    I really feel for your original questioner. He seems to want to “make love” with his wife in a way that is meaningful to both, but she seems to have shut that down. It sounds like his body is frustrated, but his heart is wounded.

  4. Beverly Burton

    I have been married to my husband going on 7 years. We have only made love 3 times throughout our entire relationship. To me, making love lasts more than 7 minutes and is not rushed. I believe that from the time the thought enters his mind to have sex and the act begins, the only concern to him is getting himself “there.” The only time he evens thinks about whether or not I get there is when its over for him, and if I dont then the fight begins because he says I am seeing someone or not attracted to him anymore. To me, making love is watching your partner truly enjoy you and your body together and not rush to the end. In fact, the goal really is not to have an orgasm when you start. Its taking pure joy in each other and staying in the moment instead of only thinking about getting off. Talking to my husband about this has proved pointless. It never enters his mind to stop and help me get there too. His goal is to get off and that’s it. I feel like a paid whore most of the time because I am disabled and he gives me an allowance every week. Leaving is not an option for several complicated reasons. I have been looking for someone to share some intimacy with. I know its wrong but I have longed to feel that connection with someone for sooooo long now. I have not cheated yet but all I am doing is being used and I do not even get an orgasm out of it nor an “I love you” or even a “thank you” or a kiss goodnight. I must say that I still love my husband but I have more satisfying sex by myself and that is what I have to do. I have tried time and time again to talk about this with him and his only response is: go find someone else that won’t just use you for you body. Isnt that a sad take on a married couple”s sex life?

  5. Spinning My Wheels

    I love my wife incredibly, and I do all I can for her. I am constantly trying to convey in words and actions how much I care. I don’t ask for much in return, but I am pretty heavy on asking for sex, as it is what speaks most deeply that I’m loved back. Despite how hard and how long (many years) I have been trying to convey in words and actions how much I care for her, how wonderful she is, and how I’m wanting to be very intimate with her, on every level, my wife always chalks every effort I make as just wanting to get in her pants. I’ve gone spells as long as 3 months asking for sex, and as soon as I do, it’s straight back to square one. Plus she will not make time for date nights, or any other time together. I’m exhausted, frustrated , and just want to give up. Any suggestions on how I can get through to her, when she keeps so distant and puts up such a big wall to any meaningful time and intimacy together?

  6. Jeff

    From this guys opinion, when the man has been pleading for sex for months or even longer and some sex is granted, that’s not going to be intimacy. To try and pretend it will be is not realistic.
    If a couple has sex 2 times a week for months and they are not experiencing some intimacy and mutual satisfaction from it that would not be realistic either.
    Practice does make perfect, or at least better.
    I believe when our sex lives go off track its because of problems over longer time periods and its not going to be easily corrected. And these problems form a negative feedback loop where instead of staying the same or getting better they just get worse and worse as resentment and frustration builds.


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