8 causes of sex denial and how to handle it

8 causes of sex denial and how to handle it

Some time ago, a story trended in the media about a man who set his five stepchildren ablaze because of sex denial from their mother. It’s a ridiculously extreme action from the man but it shows that sex denial is actually a serious issue. Many times we hear of people who deny their significant others sex due to one reason or the other. Women have been touted to be especially guilty as it’s one of the effective ways of “punishing” their husbands or getting what they want.

However, it’s important to note that sex denial is sometimes necessary especially if it’s a matter of life and death. Let’s then go ahead and discuss what sex denial is all about.

What is sex denial?

Urban Dictionary defines sex denial as a situation in which one member of a couple is failing to meet the other’s sexual needs. Here, one spouse is longing for more touch, more physical closeness and more sex while the other spouse is unwilling to give it probably because he or she doesn’t see that type of intimacy as a big deal. Sex denial without sufficient reasons is often seen as mental cruelty which can lead to a breakdown of a marriage. It can ultimately lead to divorce when the sex-starved spouse has had enough.

Causes of sex denial

We can agree that sex is one of the effective ways of spicing up a healthy marriage. However, there are marriages where sex is off the table because one spouse has refused it. Below are some of the causes of sex denial especially in marriages.

Emotional issues

Emotional issues

Many spouses don’t engage in sex due to having feelings of shame and guilt. Others may have low self esteem issues where they think they’re not attractive enough for their spouse to be interested in them. For instance, a wife may think her husband is merely interested in her only for sex. This may make her think she’s just a sexual tool and may lead to sexual denial on her part as a way of protesting what she views as an unfair perception about her.

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Social issues

Social issues

A person who has not had a social life for a long time will likely deny his or her partner sex. This is because the lack of social life leads to loneliness, making the individual seek alternatives to address it. Pornography is the most popular way to address loneliness. On the flip side, porn affects a person’s sexual life. A porn addicted person may see no need to engage in sex with the partner since they’re used to getting satisfaction from watching porn.

Medical issues

Medical issuesErectile dysfunction in men can lead to denying their spouses sex. Spouses who have cerebrovascular conditions like stroke and heart problems may avoid sex so as not to trigger their conditions. Other medical conditions that can lead to sex denial are chronic pain, diabetes, lack of quality sleep, substance abuse and so on.

Mental health issues

Mental health issues

Anxiety, depression, trauma, and other mental health issues are some factors responsible for sex denial. For instance, a victim of sexual abuse may lose interest in sex and will likely deny his or her spouse. Your mental state is one of the key factors that determines your sexual drive. Someone struggling with depression will most likely not want to have sex.

Pregnancy and other gender issues

Pregnancy and other gender issues

According to a publication on, women tend to avoid sex more due to pregnancy, parenting and other gender issues. The gender differences start early as teenage girls avoid sex more than boys due to upbringing and fear of unwanted pregnancy. In Nigeria, for instance, women are expected to be home builders and be more involved in raising their children. A woman who spends all her time taking care of her home and children will feel too exhausted to have sex.

ALSO READ: 10 signs of a controlling partner


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As we grow older, our sexual urge reduces. Many men begin to experience erectile dysfunction as early as their 30s. For women, the sexual drive begins to reduce at the onset of menopause. These factors can lead to sex denial especially when one spouse is far older than the other and can’t keep up with the younger and more virile spouse’s sexual urges.

Marital issues

Marital issuesWhen spouses are not in good terms, one person is bound to deny the other person sex so that the quarrel go loud. For instance, spouses can clash over parenting issues, financial issues, fidelity issues and other issues that are common in marriages. In that case, sex is off the table at least for one spouse.

Sexual incompatibility

Sexual incompatibilitySometimes you love your spouse with all your heart, but you can’t keep up with their sexual drive or vice versa. This is a problem of sexual compatibility where two partners don’t fit sexually. One person’s sexual drive is higher than the other’s. It has nothing to do with any medical condition as a person’s definition of sexual drive defers from the other.

How to handle sex denial from your partner

  • Talk about it to your partner. Let them know how hurt you feel when they deny you sex.
  • Understand the reason your partner is denying you sex. It may not be because they don’t love you. Other factors may cause sex denial. The factors have already been discussed above.
  • Change the way you initiate sex. If you’re the aggressive sexual type, your partner may not be in the mood. Try to be more romantic.
  • Encourage them to initiate sex with you. For instance, many women have been raised to believe it’s the duty of their men to initiate sex. Those who go against convention are viewed as promiscuous even by their spouses. If that’s you, change and let your woman know it’s ok for her to be an ashawo for you.
  • Reduce the stress. Sex should be viewed as fun instead of duty. When your partner doesn’t feel any pressure to have sex with you, sex denial will reduce.
  • Build your partner’s confidence by initiating fun activities into the act. When your partner has fun, he or she will be looking forward to having more sex with you.
  • If everything else fails, ask for help. You can book an appointment with a marriage counselor or sex therapist.

ALSO READ: 10 signs of a cheating spouse

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Nonye is a Thespian, screenwriter, creative writer and an unapologetic lover of books, great movies and sports. She has over 10 years experience in content writing on entertainment, movies, sports and lifestyle. Nonye is currently a content writer at Blackdot Media and founder of
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