Dear Coleen: My wife shuns sex with me and says it’s not a big deal

Dear Coleen

I’m a man in my mid-30s and I’ve been married for five years. We got together pretty quickly and didn’t make love much before we moved in together, although it was fine for a while.

We were both keen on having a baby, so she was OK with having sex when she was ovulating, but for the rest of the month it was pretty non-existent.

We now have a gorgeous three-year-old son, but we’ve barely had sex since he was born.

I’ve been incredibly patient, as I know she’s tired from looking after him, but I don’t think I can carry on like this.

I have tried talking to her about it, but she just says she’s exhausted or doesn’t feel like it and doesn’t see why it’s “such a big deal”.

I’m a good husband and father, and I also do my best to be romantic and do nice things for her, but nothing seems to make any difference. I’ve literally tried everything.

It’s got to the point where I just think our sex drives aren’t compatible and she’ll never be interested in the
physical side of the relationship. I’ve just kind of resigned myself to it. The only thing that’s keeping me in the marriage is our son, who I adore, and I can’t stand the thought of us being separated. Deep down I know our marriage isn’t working.

Coleen says

I can feel how sad and disappointed you are, and you seem to have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at trying to make things work.

I also understand you don’t want to be separated from your son, but you can still be a wonderful parent if you split up. If you end things amiably you can work out an access agreement where you get to see him all the time.

However, before throwing in the towel, it might be worth giving relationship therapy a try and, even if you still walk away, you’ll know you gave it absolutely everything. It’ll show your wife how serious this is for you, but also that you’re willing to try to work through it if she is.

Sexual intimacy is an important component of a relationship, especially when you’re still young, so it’s
something that she can’t sweep under the carpet.

It sounds like you had a whirlwind romance and perhaps didn’t get to know each other that well before your son came along and, when he did, being mum and dad took over and sex was pushed even further down the agenda.

Sexual intimacy and compatibility is important and you have to think about your future.

You might find if you suggest counselling that your wife will engage with you and be willing to try to make things work.

You can try or visit the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy at to
find a qualified psychotherapist in your area.

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