In our fortnightly column ‘Great Sexpectations’ the Woman Alive panel answer your questions on sex, faith and intimacy. Drop us a confidential email on email@example.com and ask us anything. Here, we tackle; what to do when you don’t fancy your husband.
Dear Woman Alive Panel,
I’ve been struggling and surely can’t be alone in this - I simply don’t fancy my husband. I know most people get married because they fancy each other. And I fancied him a bit. But only a bit. The reality is that churches are full of gorgeous single women and just a handful of single men - who are often not that attractive and are able to take their pick of women much more attractive than themselves, meaning that they often have poor attitudes too.
I suppose that when he asked me it seemed like a good idea. I didn’t have any other options within the church. I hoped that when we had a sexual relationship this might change, but it didn’t. We are still together, and plan always to be. He is kind and I love him. I know he really fancies me, but I can’t make myself feel the same. I’m sure others must be in this position. It’s not a sexuality thing - I’ve really fancied and had great sexual chemistry with men in the past, although not all Christians. It is just him. I love him and want us both to be happy, but sex and physical intimacy with him is just a turnoff to me.
First of all, thank you for being so honest with us. You make some good points about the state of the Church. The gender imbalance in Church is well documented and a survey by Single Friendly Church reported that around 50 per cent of women are concerned about this because they see it as lessening their chance of finding a husband. However, I am deeply saddened to hear you say you said yes to your now husband because you didn’t have any other options in the Church.
I am deeply saddened to hear you say you said yes to your now husband because you didn’t have any other options in the Church.
I want to tell you not to worry; that attraction can come later and that’s because in my personal experience, it can. When I first met my husband, I wasn’t attracted to him at all, I didn’t even like him very much. But over time we got to know each other as friends and the more I got to know the real him, the more he became attractive to me. However, you have been (happily?) married for a number of years so I’m curious, have you spent time really thinking about the incredible things about your husband that make him a great partner? You say he is kind and that you love him. What do you love about him and can you dedicate some serious time to regularly meditate on those things? If you want to stay together, as you say you do, this is going to be a really important practice.
I would also counter your assertion that most people get married because they fancy each other. Historically, marriage has often looked transactional and more to do with how the families of the couple are benefitting from the match. In more modern times, on and off screen, we see an exchange of attractiveness for power where beautiful younger women marry wealthy older (and less beautiful) men. I want to ask quite frankly, was there a similar “exchange” that made this relationship seem “worth it” at the time, maybe involving power or social status? Speaking broadly, sex and physical intimacy for women is very emotive – less so for men. And I know I’m generalising here, but good looks alone are usually not enough to turn a woman on, or if it does then it does so in the moment and not for a long lasting relationship which would need more substance to maintain it.
What do you love about him and can you dedicate some serious time to regularly meditate on those things?
It sounds like what you are missing with your husband is a deeper connection, which is not solely about what we look like in the flesh. You say you are still together and plan to always be, but that sex is a turnoff for you. We know that sex is a beautiful gift from God and it sounds as though you have found a lovely man of God to spend your life with. I think you should park the focus on physical attractiveness for now and seek out a Christian counsellor to help you both work through these intimacy issues so that you can bring back a healthy balance to your marriage.
Our Great Sexpectations column is written by a number of different contributors who make up the Woman Alive panel.