It’s Okay to Say No to Your Husband

This editorial series, S-E-X, is brought to you by the Fort Worth Moms Blog and Andrea Palmer, MD FACOG with Fenom Women’s Care. All 15 original articles from the S-E-X series can be found on our website.

s-e-x series by dr. palmer and fenom 800 x 800Okay ladies, time for some real talk. Sometimes I just don’t want to have sex. And, sometimes, I frequently don’t want to have sex. At all. For a while. (And I know I’m not alone.)

I know, I know. I’m supposed to want to. Cue the good advice from well-meaning friends and Internet bloggers with all the pep talks and words of wisdom. It’s good for the relationship. It’s good for me. It’s good for my partner. It’s healthy and empowering, and on and on with all endorphins and the benefits.

I know. And I don’t care. I don’t want to. I’m tired. Strike that. I’m completely and utterly exhausted. I’m so damned tired that I cannot keep my eyes open for one single second more. If I get in bed with my face washed and my teeth brushed, it’s a victory, not an invitation. I give, and I give, and I give all day, every day. Sometimes, all I want to do is sit in a dark, silent room. Or read a book. Or watch a show. Or eat some chocolate. I do not want you to touch me, or look at me, or smack me on the ass, or say I look “hot.” And, I definitely do not want to have sex.

Do not roll over to this side of the bed because it isn’t happening. Not tonight.

And I am completely over feeling guilty about it.

These are the things I’ve heard from my friends:

  • It’s important.
  • It’s your duty.
  • He’ll feel rejected.
  • If you’re not having sex with him, he’ll find someone who will.

Wait, what?

No. I’m not owning any of that. 

lady in bed square

It’s Important

I know. It is important. And do you know what else is important? Me. I matter, too. And, I get to choose what I want to do with my body. When I need to rest, that’s important. When I am feeling overwhelmed, that’s important. My partner’s needs, and desires, and preferences matter, too, but they don’t have veto power. We both count.

It’s Your Duty

Um. No. No, it is not. I don’t know what your vows and promises were — but I did not promise to have sex even when I didn’t want to. This is my body. This is my spirit, and I don’t give it away. I choose. And I have to tell you, I’m a little rebellious. Pushing false obligations on me is counterproductive.

He’ll Feel Rejected

I sure hope not. I love my partner. I am attracted to him, and I want him to know that. If I’m not in the mood — that is about me, not him. And if he is feeling rejected, I hope we can communicate about that. I hope the dynamic between us includes many ways for me to show my love — so that, when I say I’m not up for physical intimacy, he knows I’m just not up for it right now. Not never. 

He’ll Find Someone Who Will

Well, maybe. I guess that he might, but if I’m in a committed relationship with someone who values the physical act of sex over his commitment to me, then we have bigger problems than my libido. I’m betting we probably need to work on some things that happen outside of the bedroom, too.

It’s Okay to Say No

Here’s the thing: Sex is awesome. It is a vital part of a relationship. It is a pretty fun way to show your love. I’m definitely not suggesting that you give it up entirely. But, nothing makes sex feel less appealing than doing it when you don’t want to. It doesn’t feel good. It can make you resentful, angry, and much less likely to want to do again any time soon. Pressure and guilt are not hot. If you’re not up for it — it’s okay . . . even if it’s been a while.

If you are kind to  yourself and let go of some of those arbitrary, self-imposed obligations, you might recover your sense of desire just a little sooner. Do you know what happens when you tell the truth and you stand up for yourself? You feel strong and confident. And what happens when your partner honors what you want? You feel respected and cherished. (Hey, wasn’t that in those vows somewhere — to love, to honor, and to cherish?)

The good news is, when you are feeling strong and confident, and when your partner respects and cherishes you (and when you get a little rest) — you might start feeling just a little bit sexier. 


  1. If I had facebook, I would like it out of this world. I’m so tired of hearing ” I dont cook enough, do this enough…” I take care of the baby, I go to school full time but apparently now the house is not to standards. It’s enough pressure to turn anyone alcoholic. Thanks for the post.


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