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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.

Add a Comment32 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

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

June 1, 2018 - 12:48pm

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)

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)

Is it possible to get it FULLY restored? I tend to think that when it's gone it's gone at least that's how I've been with all of my other relationships. But I refuse to live in a sexless marriage as a woman in a society where men are supposed to be fawning over me, practically sexually harassing me on a daily basis.

August 16, 2017 - 7:05am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Yes! I am also a male refuser, but I only became this way after years of rejection. I have successfully reprogrammed myself to disdain sex with my wife. it wasn't easy, but it was necessary for my own sanity and my own confidence.

June 7, 2017 - 5:28pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Does the desire ever FULLY return? Its been years and im still waiting. It seems forced on his part and i refuse to live this way. We have 3 kids but my body and looks are the same. I just cant keep doing this.

August 16, 2017 - 7:22am
EmpowHER Guest

I have been dating this guy for over 2 years and we've only had sex once and we were both drunk! He never told me until I broke up with him recently that it's hard for him to have sex with someone he loves. He only had sex with his ex of 4 years a couple times. But he is able to have sex if it has no meaning. I'm running out of patience and getting so frustrated but don't want to break up with him because of this but I don't know if I have a choice. I haven't had sex in basically 2 years! He just started therapy but I don't know how much longer I can wait. We are now not exclusive which is maybe not the answer but he doesn't want me to hook up with anyone or else he'll get upset. I feel like he is the one besides this thing he has, so confused.

October 26, 2016 - 5:27pm
EmpowHER Guest

You'll have to excuse me if I don't shed a tear for all you "poor women" who are being so disrespected by her mate withholding affection/sex as some sort of manipulation tool. I mean, isn't this EXACTLY WHAT WOMEN HAVE DONE FOR DECADES TO THEIR HUSBANDS?

Seriously, I always love seeing these stories where something is a serious problem when it's a woman suffering because a man is doing something that women have done to men for generations. It's the same thing on rare occasions when women have to pay alimony after a divorce... it all becomes some egregious affront to humanity when it's a woman suffering, nevermind that men have dealt with the same BS for as long as anyone can remember.

That aside, I've been the guy withholding sex in more than one relationship in the past, and TBH, the reason was ALWAYS-- EVERY SINGLE TIME-- that she demanded to be pleased (which obviously I succeeded at since they were the ones pawing at me, not the other way around) while she did NOTHING to please me. Obviously, this makes a guy feel infuriatingly disrespected-- she got physical pleasure, got to feel intimately and passionately desired, and got emotional fulfillment (which I actually enjoy giving), but I got to do all the work while being neglected, overlooked, and for the most part went completely unfulfilled by a minimal, robotic, and hollow effort that was completely devoid of any sort of passion on their part... sorry, but just being a set of body parts to look at and play with along with holes to stick things in isn't enough to keep him truly happy, ladies.

So communicate with her, you say? Yeah, I tried that... they (i.e. MULTIPLE WOMEN from MULTIPLE RELATIONSHIPS) just fought tooth-and-nail to justify why they shouldn't have to put in more than that often not even remotely satisfying job they did... so that doesn't work. And that's all besides the fact that him telling the woman he's with that she's doing a crappy job just makes him feel like he's whining and begging to be pleased (not to mention feeling like a jerk), which no man wants to do. What's more, there's always the thought in the back of his head that if she does improve after he points it out that he's not happy and has started pulling away from her (i.e. the point where it's stopped being fun and worthwhile for him and has become more thankless work for him to do just for her default existence in his life), that she's only improving because she wants to keep the status of the relationship, or keep getting the pleasure he's been giving, not because she genuinely wants to please him and make him happy.

And you women all wonder why decent men (or at least those with a spine) have disappeared and/or don't want to court you, commit to you, or want you for anything more than pump-and-dump (and TBH, most good men don't even want you for that anymore... it's just not worth the effort for essentially the same thing he gets from masturbation-- i.e. a physical release with no emotional fulfillment)? Really?

Just to put this into perspective, I'm personally to the point now where even if I see a woman that most would consider extremely beautiful (for example, the models on Victoria's Secret commercials), all I can think about is how much of a selfish bitch she'd be when it comes to sex... and end up not feeling even passing attraction whatsoever anymore. Take that concept, and consider how I'm gonna feel about a normal, every-day, average woman... yeah.

One last sidenote just for good measure: Lingerie... LOL... what a joke... he gets to look at you all done up and put together for, what, 20-30 seconds... maybe a few minutes at most, before being demanded to snap into "please the woman mode" for a half-hour plus (usually more) while getting the same half-assed effort from you in the end? Sorry, that's a total cop-out, and you're just trying to short-cut it. Slapping on lingerie while still not putting quality effort into what you're doing to please him is like putting extra icing on a cake that's dry and tasteless. It's like putting parsley on a plate next to a steak that's not seasoned or properly prepared and has no sides, drink or dessert to go with it.

Just to make this clear, it's not your physical appearance that's the problem... it's the overall experience and lack of quality performance that you're bringing that's the problem... you can't just substitute lingerie/makeup/etc. for warmth, passion, attentiveness, and selflessly giving pleasure through proactive expressive physical contact (i.e. showing desire through action taken directly with him).

May 3, 2016 - 11:37pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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