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When Sex Doesn’t Meet Your Expectations {She Said}

The wedding night approaches and finally arrives. We have grand ideas of what sharing intimacy will be like from that night on. What happens when you realize things are not just as you planned and expectations are crushed beneath disappointment? Sexual intimacy can be a huge struggle that can cripple your marriage. Read about a couple who struggled with sexual intimacy for years and now have a healed relationship and transformed sex life.

I married my best friend when I was twenty-one years old. I was eager to be his wife and I was eager to fully express my love for him. I believed it was important to save my virginity until marriage, a personal conviction that was not always easy to protect.

As our wedding day approached, anxiety rose up in my heart as I realized I would soon be completely known by my husband, a vulnerability I had never experienced before.

As much as I anticipated uniting as one, the thought of sex made me nervous. I hoped we would naturally figure it all out, and I hoped it would be perfect. However, as the night approached and we were finally able to say yes, we faced a great struggle. Sex was painful. Sex was messy. Sex took way more time than I thought it would. So many expectations crushed beneath disappointment.

As newlyweds we tried to encourage one another as we curled up in bed that night. I thought perhaps a few more days of practice would lead us to satisfaction. Little did we know that sexual intimacy would be our greatest struggle for our first four years of marriage.

I didn’t like sex. I didn’t like that it hurt, I didn’t like that it left me feeling inadequate and broken, I didn’t like that it required so much effort, and I didn’t like that I fought thoughts of shame saying yes to it because of how adamantly I trained my mind to associate sex with the word no growing up. My mind battled sex and out of my mouth came an excuse to excuse myself out of having to do it most nights my husband initiated.

In my hurt I withheld from my husband, without ever knowing how my actions were affecting him. I was never able to see his side of the story because I was too focused on me and my needs.

Our lack of sexual intimacy crippled our marriage and intensified other marital stressors. We became susceptible to sin that broke each other’s trust. Inches away from calling it quits, God threw us a life-line. Through people at church, God encouraged us to hang on just a little bit longer. Some days we received encouragement at just the right time, when our flesh was weak and our hearts were failing.

God used so many different people to teach us about who He is and His great design of marriage – ultimately leading us to a commitment to love each other unconditionally even if the sex never worked out. God gave us hope, but more than that He showed us how to extend grace and true love to each other.

After years of heartache and disappointment God heard our prayers and healed our relationship. He also transformed our sex life! What I think about sex now is very different than when our marriage first began. Now I know what it means to my husband, know I know it is worth the effort, now I know it is a good thing and should not stir up shame, now I know the priority it should have in marriage.

Sex was designed by God. It is an intimate and physical expression of two becoming one. If you and your husband are having issues in this area for any reason at all, I want to encourage you to never stop praying over that area, and to know that loving each other unconditionally, whether you receive healing or a “fix” at all, is powerful and life-transforming.



This post is part our He Said/She Said series, where we’ll get to peek at one topic from two points of view: both the husband’s perspective and the wife’s. We’ll be running it for the next five weeks, on Wednesdays (where you’ll read about what “she said” on a topic) and Thursdays (where you’ll read about what “he said” on a topic).

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  1. I thought like you in my honeymoon, nobody prepare you for this situation, but God knows you in a special way, so we still trying to have a better sexual life.
    Thank you for your story

  2. In my case, my husband has simply decided he doesn’t want to have sex anymore. And we haven’t in almost 3 years. It’s killing me. There is no more intimacy at all and I’m very lonely and depressed. I’ve tried talking to him and he says he won’t change his mind and if I want to go, then go. I left him a year ago and he destroyed me in court with horrible lies and got custody of our kids. Kids he didn’t even want! So I went back so I wouldn’t lose one second with my children. I’d rather be a nun the rest of my life than lose my kids. And that’s what is happening. I’m a nun. What does God say about that? I’m only in my 30s and I have hell to look forward to the rest of my life. A life of isolation and lonliness.

      1. Praying for you. praying for his heart to change. just remember that although this seems hard, God is able to move mountains if it is his will. Never cease to pray about it. God will bless you in your faithfulness

    1. I think what she is talking about here, is very different from what you are experiencing. You can not mend a broken relationship unless both people are willing to work at it. I think most marriages, even with problems, are like that. It doesn’t sound to me that this is what you are experiencing. From my experience men crave sex and if he is not getting it from you then he is getting it somewhere else. I know that sounds abrasive, but it is usually true. If you are looking for advice, I would say you should find your own happiness. Whether that is accepting your situation so you can have the “ideal” situation with your kids and learning to be okay with it. Or moving on, finding someone who will love you, respect you, and work with you even when things are hard. Find a better lawyer, or accept that you may not have the “ideal” situation with your kids, and not have them all the time and learn to be okay with that. You do have options. No one can have everything they want. But you have to decide what you can live with and what will make you happy.

    2. Staying in your marriage to have and enjoy your children is priceless. God will reward you down the road. I raised my children without their father, he left when they were babies. I would of lived in a loveless marriage just for my children. Today I have been blessed with a husband who loves and and honors me aside from my brokeness of failed realtionships. He loves my childrn and has help me to have peace with their dad .

      1. Living in a loveless marriage that has the resulting problems is never good for children. Believe me, they see and sense many things, including hidden resentments, bitterness, unhappiness and the walls erected between two people who do not want to be together. It can cause horrible problems later in life. Your children were far better off living with one parent who loved freely and happily, than two who struggled beneath the weight of misery. I am glad you found someone special…I did, as well, after experiencing an abusive, selfish husband who made my children and me very unhappy. My children rejoiced the day I finally said “enough”, and they have all done exceedingly well without him. My second husband has been the father to them that their own never was, and for that I am grateful. My only wish is that it all happened sooner, so my children could have known the love of a good father earlier in life. Best to you.

    3. I know the pain of not having heart intimacy, and struggling with the sexual intimacy. While I don’t know the extent of your pain, I know someone who does, and that someone loves you with an everlasting undying love (Jeremiah 31:3). He can be your husband when your earthly,husband can’t (Isaiah 54:5,6). He sings over you in His love, and will be your Defendor. (Zepheniah 3:17,18)
      Anything is possible with Jesus! (Matthew 19:26) He can turn anything around, and if you trust Him can give you the desires of your heart. (Psalms 37:4,5)
      It is hard to accept a husband who does not want to be intimate and be ok to give up your innermost desires to trust God to Him fill you. It doesn’t seem fair, it hurts, and it is scary to trust God to fill you. It doesnt feel the same, and we desire that our man do what he is supposed to. But I promise you that Jesus fills one up so full, and when you understand and KNOW His love…well, then, you just want to dance and tell the whole world how awesome He is and how He loves.
      Believe me! It is hard at first. But trusting Jesus, and being loved by Him, seeing Him work and show you His love…it I worth it!! There is hope, friend!!

    4. DLH is your husband a Christian? If so you might want to show him the scripture 1 corinthians 7:3-5 I hope that helps

    5. Prayer is the key, trusting God is what will unlock the door.
      1 be specific in what you would like to happen in your marriage.
      2. Use this time to love you again find you again,.
      3. Let God love on You! If you do believe in God then this time is HIS, get reacquainted with being intimate with God thru worship, His word and time in His word.
      4. Find scripture to support what your wants need and desire is for your marriage. I suggest proverbs, and song of Solomon.
      5. Focus on the God, self awareness and happiness, and loving on your children.

      After all God made all of us and he knows us all and have what we need.
      The said he made your husband and knows all about him and he will turn his heart back towards you or he will bow out gracefully or give you the strength to win by walking away.
      I pray for reconciliation and restoration according to the perfect will of God! IN Jesus Name Amen

  3. I just want to commend you for your commitment to your marriage vows. I am a Christian wife of 25 years. My husband was not very “into” sex when we got married, and his desire waned over the years until our marriage became entirely sexless about 6 years ago. I am a very sexual being, so this has always been a struggle for me. My hubby has diabetes and other issues that affect his sex drive, so I quit asking years ago. I am fully committed to this man, no matter what. .. but it isn’t easy, and I pray a lot about it. He says he wants to please me, but I learned a long time ago that mentioning it only hurts his manhood and makes him feel bad, so I suffer in silence.
    Living without sex is not a reason for divorce. I am a committed, loving wife, and my husband loves me too. This is simply another hurdle that we must cross. God will give us the victory.

    1. Thank you for putting your story “out there”. It encourages my heart to hear that there are other women out there with the same story. I sometimes feel very alone in this struggle. Its painful to go to womens events and hear women encouraged to engage in sex with their relentless husbands. I would love to be pursued and desired like that by someone who knows me most intimately.

      This has been a struggle in my 10 year marriage. This issue in the past has caused me to struggle with self worth, not feeling like a woman or not feeling beautiful (at all), etc.

      When we first started dating he would threaten to leave me or divorce me (when married) if I ever cheated on him…which stunned and perplexed me because I would never think about doing that, nor had I ever. After realizing that my lot was to become a”nun” two years into our marriage (my husbands number 1 spiritual gift is celibacy according to a spiritual gift test – which made me cry)…. I emotionally left our marriage, I gave up on it. Satan took advantage of the noticeable weakness and brought someone just my type. After a month long affair, my husband became a born again Christian, and the Lord used it to rescue me from sin that I desperately wanted freedom from but couldn’t get the cords of death off of me. It took deep grieving over my sin, and years of being healed and restored from the death of my own sin to walk confidently as a Christian again.

      After 10 years of praying over this issue, struggling with it, hurting over it, giving up, and then struggling some more….I realize that the Lord has given me my answer. The answer is “no”. This is not going to be fixed this side of heaven. I get to choose to loose my life over this, so that I can gain it for Jesus sake. I have chosen to pray for those being sexually molested, abused, raped all over the world every time I am tempted to throw myself a pity party. My husband is a wonderful, amazing man and father. I am very grateful to have my husband as part of my life, to walk this walk home with him to meet the Lord.

  4. Once again as a christian woman I feel like I cannot identify with other christian women. I was not a virgin. I am not a twenty something married person. I got married much later. I wasnt a virgin Idk. I truly wish there were christian women who sounded like me or that i could identify with.

    1. Im young, married young, but I was far from a virgin when we married. Even him and I slept together while dating. I sometimes feel like the problems in our marriage are a punishment or something. I had too much sex early in life and its hard for me to enjoy it now with the person im supposed to enjoy it with. Oh and he was a virgin when we met and he used to hang thay over my head =/

    2. I can, partially… I am a Christian woman, but alas I wasn’t a virgin when I got married, and in fact had a child. I understand feeling “different” … but God forgives, and my son wasn’t a mistake. He was a blessing from God, even though I was out of wedlock.

    3. There are plenty of women like you. And the best thing is when you feel shame about it and repent and confess it to God, he sees you sinless, white as snow. Its easy to not forgive yourself but just remember God forgave you and he died for your sins. It is finished. what helped me forgive myself was knowing that god forgave me and if i didn’t forgive myself then i wasn’t truly believing that he was who he says. Everyone sins, and the seed of every sin is in every heart. You are loved by a Mighty redeemer

    4. I have often felt as you do and before being born again I did things that most women can’t relate to either what I have learned is learn to learn from them and share you! Many of them are likely to be lifted up by your testimony and inspired by who you have become. Many Christian women I have found are not as judgemental as we fear. It is like any relationship you have to build those things and keep doing maintenance.

    5. I was 30 when I met Jesus. I had already been married and divorced and was living the modern definition of a single woman. Dating whomever I wanted and all that goes along with that. But when I accepted Jesus in my heart all that changed. I remarried at 34. So there are others out there who you can relate to.

  5. I’m 21 and have only been a wife for just over a year, but in that short time, I have already learned so much about what it means to be fully committed to someone else. Like many, my husband and I saved ourselves for our wedding night, and it has definitely been an adventure to learn about ourselves and each other sexually. It hasn’t always been easy, comfortable, etc. but it is worth the time and attention. I applaud the efforts of the women [and men] who stay married through struggles that can sometimes be very difficult. I’ll be praying that God gives you the strength and grace to get through the struggles!

  6. I met my husband online in 2000. Eight months later we married. I was a single mother with a child so I had already been sexually active. My husband had not. We were very sexually active for the first few months, until I gave up. My husband had some issues that made our sexual relationship very unsatisfying. He went to the doctor, went to counseling, to no avail. Somehow during this time we managed to get pregnant and have two children. As time went on, sex just stopped. We went years living as roommates….with me sleeping in my daughter’s room. Last year we tried to be intimate again but the same old problems surfaced. So once again, we are no longer intimate.

    It has not been easy as I enjoy sex and know what it is like to have a sexually fulfilling relationship. I miss that. I’ve never had that with my husband. I never will. But….I am ok with that.

    I am no longer in love with my husband but I made a commitment to him when we stood before God and said we would stay together till death do us part. It has not been easy, but we are both committed to this. As another poster said “Living without sex is not a reason for divorce.”

  7. Ever since I hurt my hip 12/12 I had been issues with sex being very painful. So in 11/13 I had hip surgery to repair my hip, thinking this would solve my problems. Going on 11 months, what used to be a highly fulfilling sexlife, is a dream to me. My body can’t move the way it used to, it doesn’t react the way it used to and I’m left feeling frustrated and hurt, not wanting to have seed because I don’t wasn’t too be disappointed.
    My husband is truthfully understanding. He is lovng and supportive. He’s shown me and told me that there is more to our marriage than sex… I understand him and I’m thankful but I do still want it, I just don’t want the struggle that goes with it.

  8. I love my husband so very much, but I don’t get the same thing during sex as he does and it’s so frustrating! Sure, I love being that close to him, but when I see the enjoyment and relief of release on his face, I feel like a failure! I pray every day that I will one day know what it’s like to be that close to him as he is to me at that moment; I want to feel that depth of love as well.

    1. I’m sorry to hear this. Sex is created for both the wife and husband. It’s meant to be a two way effort, for both to get a release. Your husband should be trying to pleasure you in that way too, he needs to be giving, not just taking. I would advise a book such as the one other posters have been mentioning for both of you to read, or he needs counselling/ someone to explain to him what he needs to do, and you need to be open/have good communication with each other in regards to this.

  9. A marriage partner who refuses to have sex with their spouse is being unfaithful. Unfaithful to the vows you both made. Making you feel about mentioning it is manipulation. Talk to your pastor or a marriage counselor. There is infidelity in your marriage.

  10. There is a great book that helped us learn to enjoy sex the way God intended it called “Sheet Music” by Kevin Lemans now whenever my husband performs a wedding we give this book as a gift. I believe your story is all to common but not shared out of shame. Thank you for being willing.

  11. Unfortunately even though I became a christian at 13 my experience of sex was destroyed by an abuser in childhood. I am married with children but am praying that God restores to me the joy in ‘knowing’ my husband that erases the fear.x

  12. My confidence now shattered and doubtful I can continue with life. Surely God would not allow such things to happen in marriage.

    1. God doesn’t promise bad things or hard times will never occur, but he promises to be with us through those difficult times. We have hope where others may not because we have the Lord. Your comment “doubtful I can continue with life” concerned me. Are you ok? Do you need help?

  13. I have been marired for one year now, not long I know. I was a virgin raised in a christian family, my husband had previous sexual relationships because he became a christian about three years before our wedding. In his teenage years he was very sexual person (not many partners but lots of activity) so I was excited for your honeymoon and marriage because I have always been eager to enjoy sex. However from the beginning of our marriage my husband hasn’t had any sex drive, he doesn’t seem to want any intimate relatioship. The first year of our marriage has been the hardest time of my life. I stuggle with disappointment, anger … recently God has showed me His love and strenght and I still hope it will get better. But when I read some of your stories I get worried again. I am not sure that I am strong enought for sexless marriage, but I believe God will provide me with love and strenght to manage. Thank you for this place to share my thoughts and sorry for my english (not my native language 🙂

    1. Hi Chava,
      I have had some of the same problems. I am a very sexual woman and my husband was the same but when we got married something happened to him. I thought it was me,I thought all kinds of crazy things and realized there is no condemnation in God. My husband went to the doctor due to a heart attack. The doctor did a thorough work up and they realized his testosterone level was so low it was almost negative. Now my husband is a very big burly man’s man so you wouldn’t think that by looking at him,but it caused him to be extremely tired and no desire. So now I give him a testosterone shot every 10 days. We still deal with some things but through communication and understanding and love, my relationship with my husband is a lot closer now even though our sex life is a lot less, my husband is more loving and understanding of my needs as I am of his.

  14. I was sexually molested as a child, but did not loose my virginity till I was about 17. By 21 I had a son out of wedlock. God reached down into the muck of my life and cleansed me shortly after the birth of my son. I have now been married about 18 yrs and because of the things done to me as a child, I struggle with certain aspects of our sex life. I also tend to spiritualize things lots. I have been wanting, longing to have a study or something on a Christian wife’s sex life and how important it is on a spiritual level. Because I do tend to think certain things are wrong or sinful, no matter how enjoyable they are. I love my husband, but also think that our marriage would benefit greatly for me to have a change of heart and attitude on this subject.

    1. Hi Dee, I (sadly, as well as so many other women) have experienced some form of molestation as a child which has formed negative or wrong thoughts with sexual enjoyment or activity. It was uncomfortable at first but my husband and I now bring God into our sex life by often praying beforehand. It was Gods idea and He created it for our intimacy and enjoyment. Overtime this has helped me be more comfortable and open with my husband and helped break the negative/ guilty/ dirty feelings I had associated with it.

  15. Do not feel alone. I was did not save myself for marriage….struggled with that one. We waited and waited for my dads approval for 5 years and just werent strong enough to wait that long. But he is my first and last:) i do not think you are doomed if you werent a virgin. You just may need counseling or help if you are struggling in that area. we are sinners…all fall short pf the glory of God and are forgiven. I may have been nervous the first time….but we have now been together for 8 years and married for 3…with a sweet almost 2 yr old boy and one almost here. Couldnt be happier.

  16. For me sex was painful the first few years of marriage. I had negative feelings associated with it and every painful and unsatisfying experience added to it. I was on an acne drug as well, which also altered my moods, effected sex drive and made me dry (& cry). I was also discouraged because my husband didn’t seem to want sex much either and I felt like something was wrong with me. I went off the drugs after a year of marriage and fell pregnant straight away and although it was no longer as painful I still had a whole lot of road blocks in my mind and didn’t feel any satisfaction myself. Giving birth also brought on other issues which caused discomfort.
    We did a marriage course (2 equal 1) which helped us talk about stuff. About 2 years ago my husband and I started praying together in bed, whilst embracing, we pray blessing over each other, thank God for each other, declare complete healing for my body and thanked God for the blessing of sexual intimacy. Praying together strengthened our emotional and spiritual intimacy and it greatly improved our sexual intimacy as well. It wasn’t long before I no longer felt discomfort, I felt a lot closer and safer with my husband. We are now 8 years married and every year gets better. I don’t experience what he does during intercourse but he satisfys my needs in other ways. I am so blessed to have a husband who truly loves me and is willing to work with me. Sometimes I feel totally uninterested but I pray that God will increase my sex drive and improve our sex life. It was Gods plan and I’m sure he has more for us. Communicating this stuff is hard but it is just another part of intimacy and openness. I love that sex is not just an act but is really an expression of love and intimacy that God created, when we focus on the other person. I need to be careful not to be dissatisfied or compare myself and my experience with others as media is unrealistic and there is no normal. I hope that we can all experience what God has for us in every area of marriage, continue to grow and I hope this helps someone overcome.

  17. I am like you. I had sex before marriage. I have been with my husband for over 6 years and 4 months married. God forgives us for our past as long as you confess your sins to him. I can tell you married sex has been very different for me in a good way. I sometimes wish I would have waited, but I can’t dwell on the past. So you are not alone! 🙂

  18. The first half of your story is exactly how my marriage is and I also feel the same about sex tho Im trying to work on it. Thank you for sharing so now I don’t feel like Im the only one who feels this way because I feel defective and broken maybe beyond repair 🙁

  19. Thank you for writing this article. I am 21, single and a virgin. And though there are many benefits to marriage that I can see, sex is the main thing I am afraid of. And due to the intimate nature of sex, I never get to hear about it from the good side, people who are married and know what godly sex is. This article has helped me, I believe, because here people are not talking about all the bad consequences of sex outside marriage. It’s good to know those things, but it’s all I ever hear, and it made me afraid that if I get married, I would feel sinful on my wedding night, having sex with my new husband. I just wish more people, parents especially, would be open about sex inside of marriage, instead of leaving me on my own after I’m married to figure it out. Also, this article helped break the myth in my mind that only men enjoy sex, because people talk about it as if men like it and women don’t. Thanks to the author and the commentators for being open and talking without coarse joking about this serious subject to which I have been looking for answers.

  20. I can’t say that I agree, folks. I believe that witholding sex in marriage is a direct violation of marriage vows, in the same way that marital infidelity is. Both contradict those promises made before God, and both leave our partner out in the open and left to fend for themself against the enemy. I think that it IS worthy of considering divorce, but as with any divorce, we need to recognize the gravity of our choices. Recognize that divorce doesn’t make it okay to seek another partner, except for cases of marital infidelity (Jesus’ words, not mine). Like it or not, we chose a partner for life. I believe that God wants use to reconcile our relationships, but when that isn’t possible, divorce is an option. But it’s not an excuse to go get what we want.

  21. “Holy Sex!” by Dr Greg Popcack

    Awesome……spiritual, practical, in depth conversation about Biblical Christian marriage.

  22. Well, great, but you don’t really say what you did, except pray. Sort of leaves me unsatisfied, and it doesn’t seem as though it would give much hope to others. Prayers don’t fix everything,you have to do something about your situation. Maybe communication with your partner?

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